A year in music: seven random things

The precedent was set last year with my awkward "eight random things" post. Now, being a craven creature of habit, I've got to keep it going. Dredging up a few more oddities from my year in music. So here they are ...

Biggest purchase
Not having actually purchased any new vinyl/tapes/CDs from a record shop for 30 years (really), I changed my habits slightly this year and splashed a cool £26 on a little bunch of CDs and 7" singles from the Brighton record label Faux Discx. An online order in their closing-down sale (RIP Faux Discx). Rather rash of me? Sure was. But I liked the look of their stuff and knew some of the bands, so ... why not? Turns out the music I bought was uniformly good so ... er, well done me. (Now I think about it, by the way, this £26 must be the MOST money I've ever spent in one go on music products in my entire life. Next: hundreds spent on Discogs. Ruinously expensive copies of Joy Division first pressings, £200 reggae singles ... ).

Bands missed because of excessive earliness
I can't remember who the bands actually were, but I must have missed four or five outfits this year (like every year) through what I can only describe as excessive earliness. On the musicians' part, not mine. They'd been and gone by something like 8.55pm. In one case I got to the gig at that oh-so-late hour of 9.40 to find the whole thing had finished. Blimey. What's the rush? Why do gigs start and finish so early? Even in a supposedly "happening" city like London? Time for musicians to put their clocks back.

Music listened to
As ever, it's a lot more than the stuff in this puny list, but things that come to mind (with a little mental prodding) are:

Cold Pumas, Persistent Malaise (an album's worth of subtle indie-cum-math-rock sounds)
Allister Thompson, My name is death (genuinely haunting darker-than-dark death-folk)
KidNNasty, Don't knead drugs (excellent chiptune/techno weirdness)
Ye Olde Maids, Cocoa cherubs (an abrupt wall of electro pop-noise)
Ewan MacColl, Four loom weaver (ancient-sounding Geordie blues)
Mean Motor Scooter, Sam, the homosapien (swaggering garage rock)
Albert Chevalier, ‘E can’t take a roise out of oi (enjoyable musical hall skit-song)
Flying Species, Electric zygoptera part II (insectoid electro glitch stuff)
Anna McLellan, Demos (fragile, lovely emo-pop)
Phibes, We run tingz (excellent drum 'n' bass)
Cigarettes, They're back again, here they come (buzzy new wave)
Dog Legs, Toot toot (hey) (rambunctious/cutesy garage rock stuff)
Witching Waves, Creeping (also garage rock-ish, though more urgent and pounding)
Glue, Testimony (compulsive hardcore-edged noise rock)
Rival Youth, TV dinner (rather epic stoner rock)
Mingus Three, Summertime (a cool, twangy version)
Clint Eastwood & General Saint, Tribute to General Echo (an infectious DJ skanker)

And, of course, lots of other stuff. Do you listen to my monthly podcasts, or what?

Best things found in the street
Not only did I lean all the way down to the pavement to pick up a stash of free-for-anyone-to-take CDs on one previously-blogged-about occasion, but I also found a copy of Kevin & Tanja Grouch's Sun King book. Thrown away! A perfectly good book - dumped in the street (Homerton, east London) along with several other decent books. What's wrong with people? Answers on a postcard please. Though be warned: I'll just throw the cards away if you send them through ...

Don't be cruel to books about music

Another shout-out for classical
As with last year's fascinating random things post, I'm here to stand up for The Classical. Courtesy of my CD player-hogging partner, my year's been saturated in Handel, Purcell, Monteverdi, Bach and, recently, a new entry into the domestic classical canon, Arvo Pärt. I'm not complaining. It's great music. I even played a snatch of Wagner in a radio show I did. You should listen to all two hours of it to catch that 35 seconds of Wagner. It's worth it.

Best second-hand stuff purchased
Having apparently found an urge to buy more music in general, it's also true that I acquired a fair few second-hand items this year - mostly vinyl (LPs and 12"s), but also a few CDs. Best ones? The Buff Medways' 1914, Volcano The Bear's rather amazing Five Hundred Boy Piano, The Red Guitars' Marimba Jive, Alex Campbell's Sings Folk, and ... quite a lot of other stuff. Some of which I haven't even got around to playing yet. I really should stop rambling on in these stupid blog posts and listen to some music ...

Most annoying things at gigs
As regular readers will know, there's always fierce competition in this category. The list of things that can potentially disturb me when I'm out watching music is pretty much endless: too many people, too few, inane on-stage announcements (especially aimed at flogging merchandise), bouncers bothering you at the door, people crashing into you as they get rowdy in the moshpit. On and on. This year I got worked up over people indulging in those tiresome screech-whistles. Look at me, they seem to be saying. I'm at a gig and I'm enjoying it. Just watch me whistle! Loud, isn't it ..?

And that, it seems, is that. Last year I had eight random things, this year only seven. Standards are slipping ...



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