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The Amazing Life of Ant D - Page 9

  • Best of 2012 (albums)

    Its still just about relevant to talk about 2012 despite being all of a week into the new year and so I thought lets get my review on, what was the music that really hit the spot over the past twelve months and so I have created a top 10 list of my favourite albums released last year. It was a hard list to compile and not for the right reasons, last year was probably my most prolific of all time for going to see live music, in October alone I went to 9 separate shows but as far as albums went I found it pretty hard to find even 10 released in 2012 that I listened to enough to even contemplate putting on a list. Maybe it was lack of time or maybe that I listened to far too much old Irish music this year but whatever, I struggled. Here though is what I came up with in reverse order;

    uxb010_skints_part___parcel_600x600.jpg10. The Skints - Part & Parcel. This the 2nd full length from Kingston (London) based Reggae/Ska group The Skints in my opinion is better than their first release two years prior with a couple of real stand out tracks Rise Up, Rat-A-Tat and Lay you down but the problem with the album is that is has absolutely nothing of the feel of their live performances which I saw 3 of in 2012.




    into-the-diamond-sun.jpg9. Stealing Sheep - Into the Diamond Sun. This is a band that I hadn't even heard of until October and the release of the Libertines cover album. Their version of Boys in the Band (which isn't on the album) was so good I had to hear more. I fell immediately in love with Shut Eye and latest single Rearrange, I may love more but I haven't got around to listening to the whole intently as of yet





    8. Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon. For my inner teenager this was my most eagerly anticipated albums of the year and when I first listened to it when it was released back in September I was bitterly disappointed but with a steady few months of listening it has really grown on me with Sun being my personal highlight. I look forward to seeing them live in April this year.




    artworks-000023431565-j3iz03-original1.jpeg7. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave. The Mercury prize winning album and the no.1 album in many peoples 2012 lists. Another album that I took a while to get into but once I had given it a real chance I learned to love it despite secretly not wanting to. I unfortunately missed out on the chance on seeing these at In the Woods festival due to my sister inconveniently turning 21 and having a party.




    CitizensHereWeAre600Mg250512.jpg6. Citizens! - Here We Are. Citizens! are your everyday indie rock band who I had known of for a little while but didn't really get into until I saw  live at Field Day festival last year. From then on Here We Are became on of my most listened to albums with (I'm in Love with your) Girlfriend the stand out track for me. 





    28427562_700x700min_1.jpg5. King Charles - LoveBlood. King Charles was surprisingly one of the best live acts that I saw in 2012 when seeing them at New Slang, Kingston. Despite liking all of the songs on the album particularly Love Lust and Mississippi Isabel it didn't really flow the way a really top album should the layout felt more like a greatest hits compilation. Live he also performs a great cover of Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire




    MysteryJetsRadlands260412.jpg4. Mystery Jets - Radlands. There was always a good chance that this, the 4th studio album by one of my favourite bands would make the list. Radlands sees the band return to a more guitar driven sound than their last album Serotonin to good effect. Someone Purer, Greatest Hits and The Hale Bop are my favourites among 11 really good tracks.





    oberhoferpic.jpg3. Oberhofer - Time Capsules II. This one was a real surprise to me, Oberhofer is the brainchild of a 20 year old American pretentious twat. His twitter posts are among the most inane I have ever seen but despite this I like the album.. a lot. It is pure teen electro indie with my favourites being oOoO and Away Frm U. Even the track names are painful to write but they sound good, honest.




    Bellowhead-Broadside_2012_artwork.jpg2. Bellowhead - Broadside. About time some truly middle aged music made it onto the list. For those who don't know, Bellowhead are an eleven piece folk band. Broadside. the bands 4th full length album carries on where 2010s Hedonism left off, turning traditional folk music into something a lot bigger. I stick by my statement that they are the best band I have ever seen live and they aren't half bad on CD either.




    tfr.jpg1. The Futureheads - Rant. Definitely the bravest album on the list and for me the best. The Futureheads ditched the electric guitars used to record their first 4 albums and went A Capella to fine effect. A mixture of traditional, reworked versions of their own songs and covers it really is something very different. The Band accompanied the album with a live tour (which I saw twice in 2 days). If you only listen to a small part of it which truly would be heracy you should give Old Dun Cow or their cover of the Black Eyed Peas Meet me Halfway a listen, you won't regret it.




    Funnily enough the song Old Dun Cow appears on both my two favourite albums of the year but in very different guises. Albums which just missed out include Bloc Party's Four, Grimes' Visions and Zulu Winter's Language. Without a doubt the most dissapointing album of the year for me was Egyptian Hip Hop's GOOD DONT SLEEP (apostrophe removed on purpose), one of the most promising new bands I had seen in 2010 I was waiting for 2 years for this album and when it came it was a pile of pretentious tosh. And on that note



  • The Libertines - My Word That Was Fun

    The Libertines are and probably always will be my favourite band, they, in my eyes at least have the perfect mix of catchy tunes and meaningful lyrics something that it saddens me to say has never been recreated by either Doherty or Barat since the band split in 2004. The 2010 Reading performance was a wonderful moment but I would guess that it signalled a final end rather than a new beginning for the band.

    Anyway none of that was particularly relevant to what I am writing this for; October 14th 2012 marks exactly 10 years since the release of the Libertine's debut album and my favourite album of all time, Up the Bracket. As a tribute the NME has released an album of covers of every track by various artists from up and comers such as Birmingham's PEACE to more seasoned professionals such as The Charlatan's Tim Burgess. As Up The Bracket is closest thing I have ever come across to a 10/10 album I feel the urge to review this remake to find out whether or not it honours or insults the original piece. 

    1. Vertigo - PEACE

    Hailing from ever pleasant Birmingham, PEACE are one of the most exciting new bands of the moment having just released EP delicious to high acclaim. Unfortunately their take on the Up the Bracket opener is sub par. I had very high hopes for it but it brought none of the substance that has made their debut EP such a success. You can hear from the vocals that they are Libertines fans as one of the two leads almost identically impersonates Pete's drones but musically there just wasn't enough - 4/10

    2. Death on the Stairs - Spector

    I want to like Spector, Frederick Macpherson is a wonderful lead vocalist and I have followed him from his days as Les Incompetents but they've failed to grab me with the Spring 2012 release. Enjoy it While it Lasts. Therefore I wasn't expecting huge things and they delivered exactly that, I don't feel Macpherson's voice particularly suited and the lo-fi adaption of the melody didn't really work - 4/10

    3. Horrorshow - Eyes on Film

    I hadn't heard of Eyes on Film until about a week previous when I saw them listed as 'Carl Barat's new band' on a flyer. It is then no surprise that the style of this track was extremely similar to the original but again without any of the same passion. They're a band that I will no doubt look out for as Carl's new project but not really right for this - 5/10

    4. Time for Heroes - The Milk

    Right, this is pretty much my favourite song of all time so the Milk had a really tough task before they even started BUT I was pleasantly surprised. I've known about the Milk for a little while, seeing them live earlier in the year at the Stockton Weekender and didn't really think much of them but their take on this classic wasn't half bad, they made it their own. There were a lot of similarities with the original but enough of themselves to make it a good listen - 6/10

    5. Boys in the Band - Stealing Sheep

    This for me was the first track that really stood out. Stealing Sheep are a band who I had heard the name of but knew nothing about, turns out they are 3 scouse lasses who must be quite brave gaging by the way they did this track. And in my eyes at least it works, the song is completely reworked and sounds like a spacey dream, I love it - 9/10

    6. Radio America - Mystery Jets

    Back down to earth with a bang from another track that I had expected a lot from. I saw Mystery Jets along with this track and on paper it looks really good but in reality it gave me absolutely nothing apart from the odd change in word timing and a bit of harmonica. I love the bands latest Radlands but this had nothing of the Americana of that release nor the quirky charm of their earlier work - 4/10

    7. Up the Bracket - Howler

    Another dire Karaoke style attempt at a cover. The Minneapolis quintet are another band who I really enjoy on their own record, I rate America Give Up as one of the years better debuts but this rework of the title track sounds somehow more slurred than the original but with none of the passion - 3/10

    8. Tell the King - Tribes

    This Acoustic rework was surprisingly good. Tribes are a band who have been floating around for a while but that I had never given a chance too as I had just assumed they were one of these new electro inspired kid bands but this take on one of the more subtle tracks on the album is very bare an honest and feels like the band have made a real connection with the song which really can't be said for the majority of this album - 7/10

    9. The Boy Looked at Johnny - Marybell Katastrophy

    Another band that I had never heard of and thus had no idea what to expect from and like Stealing Sheep earlier, another complete rewrite of the entire song. The Boy looked at Johnny is one of the shorter, more raw songs from Up the Bracket but Marybell have turned it into a Scandinavian electro dance tune. It is so strange, I wasn't sure if I liked it at first but after a couple of listens it is now one of my favourites - 8/10

    10. Begging - The Cast of Cheers

    A Band that I have been watching closely since the release of their debut single Family was released earlier in the year. And for the first time on the album a track that I had high hopes for delivered, again I wasn't sure at first as the changes in this rework are more subtle than that of Marybell or Stealing Sheep but they are there and although it still sounds like an Indie rock guitar track it very much has its own personality - 8/10

    11. The Good Old Days - Tim Burgess

    After 3 good covers in a row it was too much to ask for another right? Well yes, Tim Burgess has managed to make it sound EXACTLY the same as the original. It doesn't sound bad but it just doesn't really deserve a place on a covers album. I can't say I am surprised though as Mr. Burgess is a long standing friend of Carl Barat and I wouldn't be surprised if they played it together as The Chavs - 4/10

    12. I Get Along - Splashh

    There is a lot of hype about this band at the moment, you might say they are making a big.. no I won't do it. The band had a very tough job adapting this track as it is two and a half minutes of near perfection and not to the bands discredit what they tried didn't really come off. Too similar to the original with a few more pedals and a bit of muffled conversation at the end didn't really do it for me - 4/10


    So there you have it, I've totted up the scores and averaged it out to give the album a very mediocre 5.5/10 overall rating and that is only brought up by a couple of really good tracks. I don't know if I am a good critic of the piece really though as I was never going to fairly compare it to the original and thus it is no surprise that my favourite tracks are the ones that sound least like the Libertines own material.

  • Hitting mid-Twenties

    Yesterday I turned 24 years old; no longer can I parade around as a young man in my early twenties but as a gentleman in the mid-twenties. Usually I think of the age I turn as just being a number but this time it feels different, it feels like I should be somewhere important by this point in my life but enough of the deep thoughts for now, they are for later on in the blog. First I shall regale you with the Quad-tacular of events that was my 24th Birthday.



    Part 1: The Drinks

    Friday 11th February came about and due to my astute lack of any real planning we ended up in the Cock Tavern off Oxford Street. It is a wonderful pub complete with humorous name, reasonably priced drinks and is in close proximity to numerous trendy London establishments but it is not ideal as a venue to meet a large number of people as the capacity of the entire bar is about 12. Nevertheless after a good while hovering we grabbed ourselves some seats and slowly began to take over the establishment one chair at a time. We drank there telling stories 41607_53407685149_5266549_n.jpgof past times until eventually we decided to move on to the Roxy bar. Roxy bar was a mere ten minute walk down the road and provided us with much merriment into the wee hours. The music was described on the fliers as pop/disco but in truth it was far more wide ranging incorporating everything from Madonna to toots & the maytals with a bit of pendulum thrown in for good measure. I left the club reasonably early which in hindsight was a great idea as it meant I wouldn't be too hung-over for the next day. So it was to be a night bus home and then to sleep.


    Part 2: The Go-Karts

    Saturday 12th February I woke up surprisingly chipper considering the number of Jagerbombs amongst other drinks I had had the night before, said bon voyage to my guests and set of to Surbiton Raceway. As a group we had said that we should do GoKarting as we had enjoyed it so whilst stagging it up in the East end of the continent. The prices weren't pretty to say the least but I for one had a great time. 45 minutes of pedal to the metal thrills, well apart from Ross who I can only jon_1.jpgassume couldn't reach the pedals as he pondered around the track at what seemed like half the speed of everyone else. Saying this he didn't come last, in a race decided by track position slow and steady didn't quite win the race but it did mean that the serial crashers Blondie and Tate finished behind him. I finished comfortably in mid-table despite my fairly meager lap-times but was no where near the leading pack; both Tom and Mike were miles ahead of everyone else with Tom just pipping Mike to win by 6 seconds. A successful outing indeed.


    Part 3: The Gig

    On the very same evening I went out to a gig in Camden, I knew very well that this was not going to be one for the masses but I did enjoy the company of Ross as well as my little sister. We arrived at the barfly just as the 1st band was starting, perfect timing you might think? You'd be wrong what we thought were the first band were in fact the second but considering I only knew one of the 4 bands on show I wasn't particularly distressed. Hooded Fang took to the stage, a Canadian grunge-rock outfit who apart from the odd computerised noises sounded like they could have been dragged straight out of the early 90s. This isn't to say that they were bad; I enjoyed their first number a lot despite the lead singer forgetting the words half way through. As the set wore on and the clichés carried on I did grow tired of the performance though and wasn't upset when they got off stage. A short interlude ensued before the next bad appeared, first a long, greasy haired man with extremely thick glasses, then a podgy bassist with a permanent grin and nirvana hoody, shortly followed by a very young looking drummer; I was assuming more of the same. Then the lead singer came on, a man with a dirty green puffer jacket and matching beanie came on and started shouting and hollering over some distorted guitars. Usually that is the kind of thing that I would hate but the 'cleverly' named Eagulls had something about them that I quite liked, even if I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I won't lie; my enjoyment of the set definitely wasn't hindered by the overly aggressive dwarf who barged his way through the audience before grabbing the mic and proclaiming that this was the best band ever before starting a mosh pit. Needless to say he was fairly quickly removed by a bouncer who you could see had a wry smile on his face whilst asking him to leave.The-History-Of-Apple-Pie.jpg The final band of the evening and the act that I had wanted to see, The History of Apple Pie; I really enjoyed the performance even if it did take the lead woman a good half a song to get her voice in tune. To my knowledge the band have only released two singles, one of which they didn't play and whether this was through arrogance or just a lack of time I wasn't too disheartened as they did play my favourite song of theirs 'Science for the young' which I do highly recommend checking out. On the way home I bought some Orange and White Chocolate cookies, win!


    Part 4: The Football

    Tuesday 14th and the day of my actual birthday came and started with a lovely fried breakfast down the local cafe before a short stint at work. Then the excitement came Sutton United vs. Boreham Wood... Again I wasn't surprised that this wasn't a highly attended part of the celebration but I, Ross, Matt and my Uncle enjoyed Sutton playing out a 2-1 victory over the Blue Square South Mid-Tablers. The quality of the football was exactly what you would expect from teams in the 6th tier of the English league, not particularly skillful but passionate. You could see both in the opening goal as Sutton's Simon Downer swung and missed the ball in his own penalty area leading to Boreham Wood's goal which was a beautiful chip over the Sutton keeper, 4032199772-04122011181215.jpgSutton's number 5 could be seen shortly after with his head in his hands sitting on the pitch. Just before half time though out of nowhere Craig Dundas took a shot from outside the area which skimmed across the pitch into the bottom corner of Boreham Wood's goal, leveling the tie. It stayed like that until about 10 minutes from the end of the match when a mistake from the Boreham Wood keeper put the ball at the feet of Harry Beautyman who took advantage and slotted the ball into the top corner and provided the mighty U's with the victory. Then that was it, the end of the match and near as damn it the end of my birthday for another year. A massive thank you to all who took part in it in some way or another as I enjoyed it all thoroughly.



    Now as promised at the start I shall go into the reasons that turning 24 genuinely feels different from the average birthday because lets face it I only write a blog once in a blue moon so I should probably get as much into this one as humanly possible.


    The most notable factor of my increasing age at the moment is that sudden decision of just about every couple I know moving in together. In 2011 I was lucky enough to be invited to two of my friend’s weddings which were wonderful and scary events, wonderful in that I had a great time at both, scary in that I was seeing these people that I had grown up with taking a massive leap into REAL adulthood. Now in what seems like the last two or three weeks I have found out about another 3 sets of couples who are moving in together. At this point in time I don't see myself being any closer to moving away from home than I was the day I came home from the hospital screaming in my mother's arms. Maybe if I hadn't been stupid last year I may have been in a similar position to my friends but I was and that is just something that I have had to come to terms with. Nevertheless it does feel a little like I am being left behind in youth whilst everyone around me is turning into these "real", grown-up people.

    Saying that this week I have put my application in for the CQF (Formerly GNVQ) level 3 in care. This effectively moves what I am doing at the moment from just a job to a potential career. Due to my intelligence and charm I have been able to avoid doing levels 1 and 2 and have moved straight up to level 3 which potentially will allow me to move up to become a manager or equivalent within the next year or so. I would still like to involve politics in my life at some point as it is still something I am very passionate about although now I think I will probably use that passion to campaign for the rights of people with disabilities rather than just go into the ugly world of party politics.

    And finally and less importantly I know too many people my age and younger who are becoming successful in the music business making me realise that the chances are I probably never will be a rock star considering my music career to date is a couple of demos about socks and farm animals written with my sister. Clement-Marfo-and-the-Fro-006.jpgDon't get me wrong I am very proud of "Sock Puppets" and "Farmhouse Fury" and if you look for them hard enough, they are there to be heard out there on the interweb but they aren't a patch on the quality on the recordings of people like Clement Marfo & the Frontline or DRAPER. Clement was in my class at school and has now been named in a number of the 'next big thing for 2012' lists and he has been collaborating with the likes of Kano who has been at the top of the game for a good number of years. 407168_342014912495321_173356189361195_1277300_1735477795_n.jpgDRAPER, as the name might suggest is a relative of mine, my little cousin in fact and he has been signed up by Drop Dead (A label owned by Bring me the Horizon front man Oli Sykes). His music falls into dubstep or 'liquidstep' as he has labeled it. His EP just came out and he's been played on radio 1 and all sorts. I am massively jealous. 


    Anyway I think that really is it. Cheers for reading. END