After our album of the year list in part 1 HERE which saw Ladytron’s Helen Marnie scoop a “Pipster” award for her amazing solo début album ‘Crystal World’…
and our top 20 albums of 2013 podcast (below) …
…..we move on to part 2 with our singles, Ep’s, gigs and review of 2013
Single Of The Year 2013 – Blessa – ‘Between Times’
Blessa’s official début single arrived in the wake of a batch of excellent tracks that had appeared on-line over the last 12 months or so and proved that their undoubted potential has become a reality. ‘Between Times’ was a potent, beguiling blend of exhilarating poetic, intelligent, literate dream pop. To say we were somewhat enamoured by this track is an understatement to rival the suggestion that Eric Pickles ‘quite likes pies.‘ Blessa are a band we have tipped for success in our year-end tips and we will be supporting them throughout 2014. However, obviously not in an Annie Wilkes- Paul Sheldon type way
EP Of The Year – 1. Wolf Alice – ‘Blush’
Wolf Alice’s début EP ‘Blush’ highlighted why this band have been getting rave reviews this year. Ellie Roswell’s captivating vocals range from demurely coquettish to belligerently combative sometimes juxtaposed against a wall of urgent beats and grunge infused guitars whilst at other times featuring a slightly more contemplative musical backdrop. It’s intelligent, melodic and at times incendiary indie-pop-rock from a band that continues to dazzle with every release.
2. Lyla Foy – ‘Shoestrings’ EP
To be honest we’ve only very recently become utterly beguiled by this EP and have had it on repeat for weeks. Previously known as Walls, Lyla has produced a collection of songs that are imbued with an understated sense of beauty and a yearning sense of melancholy. There’s a timeless quality to much of Lyla’s work and as such is difficult to pigeon-hole to any particular movement or genre. This is a good thing because constantly dancing to the Zeitgeist’s tune actually does new music no favours at all. Marvellous.
Gig Of The Year – Paloma Faith – Liverpool Empire
This may be something of surprise to some, perhaps those who imagine music bloggers spend their time in steamy sweaty basement clubs listening to feedback and the anguished howls of artful stylised existential angst , but we are a broad church. We’ve known Paloma since the early days and it’s amazing, if not entirely unexpected to watch her star continue to rise. It also makes a refreshing change to see good people attain a level of success in the music industry without reeking of the sort of privileged wealth ‘cool’ artists such as The Strokes (who we like) for example have benefited from. Saying that even Paloma herself seems somewhat surprised when we attend her shows. In fact during this show (the first of two sold out gigs at The Liverpool Empire) she even gave us a mention from the stage- ‘We have something of an anarchist here tonight, somebody who normally wouldn’t be seen dead at these kind of shows!! But he knows me from the early days and knows that I come from a bit of an avant-garde background, and I’m a proper socialist like him!’
We’ve previously written that the live performance is essentially what Paloma is all about, on stage is where she truly belongs and the place where her songs come to life and take on a whole new dimension. She is quite simply a natural born entertainer and this show to mixed her natural theatricality with amazing performances from everybody involved. As an added bonus we also met Andrea, Paloma’s bassist who was once a member of the mighty Ladytron and it was also my daughters first ever gig and it proved to be a magical experience for her!
Upon accepting her quite magnificent ‘Pipster award’ Paloma said ‘Andy, I am so honoured to get this award from you. I will never forget how you supported me in the old MySpace days and I have such fond memories of those times. Those nights of inviting hundreds of people to a gig in the hope that a few would turn up! I am thrilled that these days I seem to sell out, as the stage is where I love to be. I look forward to seeing you at more of my gigs. Liverpool always welcomes me with such enthusiasm. Thank you again. Love Paloma x
And just behind this was Natalie Findlay’s show stopping performance at Liverpool Sound City, who along with her highly talented band of musical hobbits blasted the other bands off stage and proved to us that 2014 should be a big year for them !
Video of The Year – Scout Niblett – ‘Gun’
It’s simple and yet incredibly powerful, and somehow manages to expose the myth, and indeed the emptiness that lies at behind the façade of the American dream. Hollow and haunting.
Runner Up – Poliça – ‘Tiff’
Poliça’s second album ‘Shulamith’ didn’t dazzle in the same way as ‘Give You The Ghost ‘had done, but this video ‘a portrait of a woman as her own worst enemy’ was innovative and disturbing.
3. Marnie – ‘The Hunter’
This was the first glimpse of Marnie’s début album which of course induced ridiculous excitement in VP Towers and no, it had absolutely nothing to do with the latex body suit, what do you take us for ? Benny Hill ?
And Now Let’s Look Back At Key Figures /Events During 2013 – *Warning *- Contains Political References!
(but hey life ‘is’ politics!)
Tw*at of the Year
So many contenders , but we’ll have to go for …..
Iain Duncan Smith take a bow for dismantling the benefits system, destroying the welfare safety net and dancing to the Daily Mail’s monstrous twa*ish drumbeat of self-serving moral outrage. You weapons grade c**tknuckle. In fact as we write we hear news that George Osborne is set to slash further billions in spending and welfare cuts. Perhaps this should come as no surprise when Haim’s biggest fan and bestest new buddy David Cameron, (a man who revealed he didn’t know the price of a loaf but simply loves to bake his own bread) used his annual speech at the Lord Mayor’s sumptuous Banquet in London’s Guildhall to reveal that the cataclysmic austerity measures being imposed by his government of millionaires will be “permanent.”
Tweet Of The Year
Musician Josh Weller’s tweets are more often than not hilarious and when his joke tweet to EDF Energy went viral, the obvious daft humour somehow got lost in translation. In a moment of pure Brass Eye’ ‘the media will eat itself’ irony, everybody from topical panel-show ‘comedians’ to the red top press reported it as an actual serious tweet ! They then contrived to use it as some sort of mirror to highlight the stupidity of people on twitter. In reality all this achieved was to reflect back their own ignorance – Oh dear oh dear – Two – Nil to Josh!
Josh said ‘So, I posted a joke on my twitter which seems to have gone viral and been taken seriously. Trust me; I know the difference between EDF and EDL.’
Music Festivals 2013
We didn’t go to Glastonbury, we cant handle camping anymore, we cant afford a Yurt and we really didn’t fancy watching a barn dance band headline, nor did we fancy seeing The Stones bring assistive technology to a whole new level. We did however enjoy a number of urban festivals with Liverpool Soundcity just pipping The Great Escape in Brighton as our festival of the year.
2013 – Lest We Forget
In the music world we said goodbye to, amongst others, Phil Chevron (the Pogues), Jon Brooks (The Charlatans), JJ Cale, Ray Manzarek (the Doors), Jason Molina, Chrissy Amphlett (The Divinyls), Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Alan Myers (Devo), Jeff Hanneman (Slayer), Regg Presley (the Troggs), Patti Page, Junior Murvin (best known for ‘Police & Thieves’), Kevin Ayers (Soft Machine), Slim Whitman and of course the great Lou Reed.
Metro magazine did provide some unintentional humour, with a quite dreadful error in Lou’s obituary –
And obviously we had to –
We do urge you to read Laurie Anderson’s beautiful and moving tribute to Lou HERE
Outside of the world of music we also lost Nelson Mandela, James Gandolfini and with a shrill scream of ‘The lady’s not for burning’ Satan claimed what is rightfully his and finally took collection of the blackened lump of coal that passed for a soul and dragged Thatcher down to her final fiery resting place. Doubtless hell will start to freeze over at some point in the future when she gets round to privatising the furnaces. And not a tear was shed in the north of the UK.
The BBC got in hot water as the Thatcher protest song ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ hit number 2 in the charts, the Beeb refused to play it in full, claiming it was disrespectful but then fudged the issue by playing a few seconds of it replete with a patronising ‘Newsbeat’ voice over ostensibly to inform ‘the kids’ of Thatcher’s divisive legacy … In response to numerous complaints a standard letter was issued which contained a glib, mealy mouthed self justifying load of twaddle which only made matters worse – and appeared to be based on the Controller of Radio 1’s own personal feelings and assumptions – “There are times as Controller of Radio 1 when you find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place. The rise up the charts of the Judy Garland song ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ is one of those moments. I find the campaign to promote the song in response to the death of Baroness Thatcher as distasteful as anyone and I’ve thought long and hard about how to respond.”
The last sentence is key – and proof that this was a political decision. It goes on –
‘ I’ve therefore decided exceptionally that we should treat the rise of the song, based as it is on a political campaign to denigrate Lady Thatcher’s memory, as a news story. So we will play a brief excerpt of it in a short news report during the show which explains to our audience why a 70-year-old song is at the top of the charts. Most of them are too young to remember Lady Thatcher and many will be baffled by the sound of the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz. To ban the record from our airwaves completely would risk giving the campaign the oxygen of further publicity and might inflame an already delicate situation. Some people have also contacted us to say they were unhappy that ‘I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher’ by the Notsensibles was played during the show. This song was part of The Official Chart on Sunday and there were no editorial reasons not to play it.”
Perhaps if you found people celebrating the news of the passing of a person who called Nelson Mandela ‘a grubby little terrorist’ and promoted greed as a virtue somewhat distasteful then you were obviously lucky enough not to have been affected by her pernicious policies. Lucky you. Sadly the current incumbents of Downing Street are now taking Thatcherisim to Warp factor 5 levels of f**kwittery as we go to hell in a handcart manned by an elitist interbred albino with comedy hair. Buy hey he was funny on ‘Have I Got News For You’ once.
Former Gene front man Martin Rossiter (who also released an excellent solo album this year – ‘The Defenestration Of St Martin’ ) summed it up
TV , which was as shite as ever, became even more so as two of the best shows of recent years came to an end – ‘Breaking Bad’ was praised universally whilst there was a degree of ambivalence toward the final denouement of ‘Dexter,’ the serial killer with a moral code. The series finale concluded with Dexter Morgan apparently morphing into Bon Iver replete with check shirt and a wispy beard leaving open the distinct possibility of spin-offs (with Yvonne Strahovski please) and perhaps even a return in the future – set in the UK perhaps?
Malcolm Capaldi or is that Peter Tucker was revealed as the new “Doctor Who the f**k are you looking at”… meanwhile
…the worst film of 2013 starred ‘actor’ Jason Statham (surprise, surprise) in which he maimed and murdered a southern accent. Yes his ill-advised attempt at deep American south intonation led to unintentionally hilarious results and sounded not unlike Forest Gump gargling with a mouthful of marbles – but at least he created a cinematic rival to challenge for the ‘Dick Van Dyke shitest accent in a movie ever’ mantle. We really do love the way Statham’s films always feature strong female leads who provide so much more than being simply eye candy or a lust vessel for Statham’s insatiable yet robotic rutting. Or not.
Tesco added a delightful new product to their fine dining inventory at the beginning of the year. The ‘Pete Doherty Signature Dish Range’ proved to be an immediate ‘hit.’
Microsoft Windows released a new operating system which caused controversy …. and then turned out to be no different to previous releases!
The collation continued to privatise pretty much anything they thought they could get away with, this year it was the Post Office….
…next year the NHS ? Jeremy (H)Cunt continued to peruse a policy that could best be described as ‘managed decline’ and bad news stories appeared in the press with the sort of grim unrelenting regulatory that you’d almost believe was preplanned. As ever the zealous-mad-staring-dead-eyed Hunt was always on hand, like the grim reaper to denounce the NHS. Why a cynic could think that these stories were part of some sort of overarching strategy to soften up public opinion and make make any future cuts more palatable? To put this in perspective the NHS budget will be slashed by £20 billion come 2015, around one-fifth of its annual budget. Hardliners are now calling for this to be increased to £30 billion…..
….and yet the RCN have informed this reprehensible f**kwit time and time again that there is a shortage of around 20,000 nurses in the health service, and that these inadequate staffing levels are the MAJOR factor in hospitals were there are unusually high mortality rates. His answer ? ‘Nowt to do with us guv, you’ll have to work smarter or we’ll just have to jolly well sell off the NHS to our super rich business chums then won’t we.’
When its gone, its gone. Time to wake up.
Yet another Tory grandee rolled off the overworked Conservative dickhead conveyor belt and managed to offend the whole of the North East of England. George Osborne’s father-in-law and a former Energy Secretary Lord Howell, stated that ‘fracking,’ the controversial method of extracting shale oil and gas should not in fact be inflicted on the “beautiful” South. Howell who resides in a resplendent Hampshire farmhouse said he’d be much more comfortable if the ‘desolate North East’ could be dug up instead. Is it any wonder large numbers in Scotland are seriously considering independence ? We may join them.
Best New Expression To Be Added To The Musical Lexicon
‘Shit on top of a boiled egg’
Noel Gallagher first coined this expression, which we hope X Factor judges, music journalists and A and R men will employ with equanimity. Ie/ ‘That is just shit on top of a boiled egg mate!’ Here’s Noel’s original quote ‘Don’t be outrageous. Anybody can be outrageous! I could go to the Rolling Stone office and fucking shit on top of a boiled egg, right? And people would go, ‘Wow, fucking hell, that’s outrageous!’ But is it any good? No, because, essentially, it’s just a shit on top of a boiled egg’
and he really is completely correct !
Most shameless and ill advised photo-opp
(and dedicating a song to him ! )
And that was 2013, the year when twerking was sold to women by fully clothed men such as Robin Thicke as somehow ’empowering’ – way to f**king go guys ! …. Just time for a Christmas break before we do it all again in 2014!
See you soon !