Top 50 songs of 2012: 50-41

cherry thing

Another one of those obligatory lists. We’ll have to call this “in no particular order” (though the number one spot is thoroughly deserved) …

50. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – Accordion

This jazz covers album wasn’t some vague grab for “credibility” by a worn-out has-been: Don Cherry’s daughter’s credentials run blood deep. Neneh has a warm, rich voice that lends itself well to the fuzzy double bass and scratchy violins.  Continue reading

Lamenting the impossibility of narrowing down the best tracks of the year

BFL-The-Haunted-Man-artwork-500x500

If I’ve gone quiet, it’s because I’m trying to create a Spotify playlist of my top 50 tracks of the year. Trouble is, there have been so many songs in 2012 that I’ve enjoyed that narrowing it down is simply impossible. Just to take the acts I’m really struggling with, which is the best Bat For Lashes song out of this  Continue reading

First impressions: Alexander Tucker – Third Mouth

Written for Collapse Board

Don’t be silly, of course you didn’t think that Alexander Tucker could put out an album a year after Dorwytch and expect it to be as good – it doesn’t work like that. You have a lifetime to work on your first album and a year to work on your second. (This is his sixth.)

It says something that I bought Third Mouth today on iTunes: I’d have picked up a £1 voucher if I’d waited a day to buy it from Amazon, but I couldn’t wait 24 hours. I couldn’t live without it for one day.  Continue reading

Reinspired Year 2 mixtape

It’s been exactly two years since I started this blog and the difference it has made to my life has been remarkable. Not the writing part; I’ve always done that. Even when I wasn’t writing for publication, I was wittering away on internet forums or clogging up Facebook with my rantings. No, it’s the inspiration. It’s like being in love. You know, the butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling you get that makes you feel like you’ll just burst if you don’t shout it from the rooftops – that’s how I feel when I hear a great song. It goes far beyond just transforming my mood or giving me an idea. The word “inspiration” is related to breathing, and that’s how essential and natural this process is. I might have a conscious discipline to blog every day, but that just facilitates my discovery of these wonderful tunes – the words that appear on the screen are just a manifestation, a by-product of the process. If I couldn’t write, I’d just have to speak about it, and if I couldn’t speak I’d grunt and gibber. I’d point. I’d take you by the hand and drag you over to the record player. This. Hear it. Now.

These are just a few of the songs that have inspired me in the past 12 months. You can hear them as a Youtube Playlist (click to stream). Enjoy! Continue reading

First impressions: Alexander Tucker – Dorwytch

Last year was a pretty good year for music. I know this because every month for the past 15 months, I’ve had to narrow down my choice of what to spend my music budget on: I never make it through my to-buy list.

Alexander Tucker has been on my list for months – ever since I heard Red String and instantly fell in love. It’s indicative of Dorwytch, but not to the point where the album’s so samey you get bored. It’s too fresh and breezy for that – like a picnic on a summer’s day, but minus the tweeness, ants and strawberries.  Continue reading

It’s just like being ambushed in broad daylight

I don’t know why I should feel uncomfortable. I’m not talking about the part where, earlier today, I was walking through town and the underwear I bought a size too big started falling down (thank God I was wearing trousers!). I’m talking about the part where I was sitting in Costa Coffee and they started playing Anna Calvi.  Continue reading

Best of 2011: Make your own MTV!

Remember I mentioned a couple of days back about the new features on the Xbox 360? Well, you probably knew all about them anyway. So, today I explored the Youtube facility of being able to play back your “Watch Later” playlist, and – on the nice big shiny screen of the TV – it’s like having your own MTV where the music is actually good!

Since I don’t really have time to sit there reading through blog posts any more and clicking on all the links, I just add the Youtube clips to my Watch Later list and can then investigate each recommendation from the comfort of the sofa while I’m taking care of Her Tiny Highness. The list of recommendations I was just exploring comes from Collapse Board’s various “best of 2011” posts, so I would in turn suggest that you add these to your own Watch Later list and play along at home.

Continue reading