Happy Christmas

Friday, 25 December 2009, 23:40 | Category : Songs
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Everything’s been running late this season. Right up to yesterday. I was all set to do my usual Christmas Eve post, and the pre-Christmas preparations were going well. Until the knife slipped. And Growl Junior got a fever. Things have strugged to keep up since, and only now the house is quiet, I’m here with [...]

Top 10 gigs of 2009

Thursday, 24 December 2009, 11:54 | Category : Lists
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This was a decent year for gigs, which means that I can actually do a top ten gigs this year, without listing almost all the gigs I went to. However, it’s the calm before the storm. The anticipated arrival of Baby Growl No.2 in early February means that the first half of next year will [...]

Albums of the year: top 10

Thursday, 24 December 2009, 1:04 | Category : Lists
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10. M. Ward - Hold Time
The sixth album by Matthew Ward saw him hitting a rich vein of form. It’s slick without being overproduced, familiar without outstaying its welcome. It’s not bright and shiny and it’s definitely not the cool sound of 2009. It’s just Ward knocking out some great rock ‘n’ roll and classic [...]

Albums of 2009: 20-11

Saturday, 19 December 2009, 1:04 | Category : Lists
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Finally, I’ve got round to compiling my albums of 2009. I’ve got a top 20. Not a top 10 because there’s always more than ten records I’d like to mention. Not a top 30 or 50 because there seems little point in grading anything any further. Basically, ten albums I really liked and ten more [...]

Seven (Christmas) Songs: Slow Club

Thursday, 17 December 2009, 17:13 | Category : Seven Songs
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The last ever Seven Songs takes on a festive theme, which is particularly relevant to Slow Club. Since they’ve just released a Christmas EP, where they take on a couple of Darlene Love classics, as well as their own seasonal tunes, it seemed appropriate to ask them for seven Christmas songs. So Charles has kindly [...]

December MAP

Tuesday, 15 December 2009, 12:31 | Category : Music Alliance Pact
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Just before I launch into my best of 2000s, here’s this month’s installment of MAP. I’ve bent the rules a little, because my pick Banjo or Freakout isn’t an English native, but he is based in London, so I’ve claimed him as one of our own. Thankfully I’m allowed this, because he is awesome. Click [...]

The Local Christmas Party @ The Big Chill House, 4 December 2009

Tuesday, 15 December 2009, 0:48 | Category : Live reviews
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It’s a Friday night in Kings Cross. Downstairs, weekend revellers are getting busy to some quality dance beats, but we’re upstairs in the appropriately named ‘Snug’, complete with Christmas tree, having a singalong. “Jesus, won’t you come my way” sings the bearded guy on stage, and the small, select audience joins in at his invitation. [...]

Two new Meursault singles

Saturday, 12 December 2009, 1:04 | Category : Good new stuff, Songs
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Throughout 2009, Meursault have gradually crept up on me, slowly overwhelming me to the point that I’m now happy to suggest that they’re one of the best British bands around. I’ve listened to their 2008 debut album more now than any of my top 20 albums of last year. A few months ago they put [...]

Laura Marling - Goodbye England

Friday, 11 December 2009, 17:01 | Category : Good new stuff, Songs
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It’s quite funny that Australians send each other Christmas cards with pictures of snow, while having parties on the beach under the blazing summer sun. Over here, despite the usual grey drizzle, we still have that romantic fixation with snow at Christmas. Which means that Laura Marling’s new song Goodbye England can be a Christmas [...]

It takes two

Friday, 11 December 2009, 1:31 | Category : Reviews
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Husband-wife bands are rife across the music world. You don’t have far to look to see spouses picking up instruments together, from Arcade Fire to Wildbirds and Peacedrums, from The Handsome Furs to The Handsome Family. But here’s something a wee bit different - a husband and wife, both closely involved in each other’s music [...]