Thursday, 24 December 2009

Bawley (Hearts) 2009: Top 5 Concerts of the Year: Hummer

5. ATP – The Breeders, Minehead, 15-17/5/2009

The combination of The Bronx’s head smashing punk, CSS’s Brazilian carnival, Bon Iver’s emotional retelling of For Emma, Holy Fuck’s free beers, Mariarchi el Bronx’s guitarrĂ³n, Deerhunter’s daydream pop, The Breeders’ classic headline set and luxury indoor camping made for a perfect weekend on the Somerset coast. (photos, knitting)

4. Phoenix, O2 Academy, Birmingham, 24/10/2009

Still largely under the radar in the UK, Phoenix brought their delicious pop songs to an ever appreciative crowd. (review)

3. Datarock, Thekla, Bristol, 23/11/2009

The Boat That Rocked: When I think of bands on boats I get images of tired old crooners wobbling away to greys in Hawaiian shirts. Datarock on the Thekla was anything but tired, though they did play a cover of (I’ve Had The) Time Of My Life that would do Jack Jones proud (review).

2. Massive Attack, O2 Academy, Birmingham, 22/09/2009

Debuting new tracks alongside classics, Massive Attack proved they are still as angry and essential as ever. (review)

1. Nine Inch Nails and Janes Addiction, O2 Arena, London, 15/07/2009

These two behemoths of 90s alternative rock came together for a mind blowing stadium rock show.

The freshly reformed Jane’s Addiction pulled off a performance so good you could be forgiven for thinking they had never been away, before Nine Inch Nails played their rawest, rockest set in years with the urgency of a band trying to get noticed, not say goodbye. (review)

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bawley (Hearts) 2009: Top 5 albums of the year: Nick

In a rare display of Bawley team synchronicity, my top 5 of the year contains 60% of the albums in Hummer's 5. I have a hunch that this has more to do with the paucity of quality albums in 2009, than anything else, but who knows?

Here are my 5:

5 Doves, Kingdom Of Rust

With their fourth album, Doves didn't quite achieve the Elbow-style breakthrough that I speculated about in January, nor did they quite hit the highs they achieved on 2002's 'The Last Broadcast', but they did break a lot of ground musically to produce a really solid album that was sonically interesting from beginning to end.

4 The XX, XX

A band, absolutely unheard of at the beginning of the year, pool their record collections to forge a style that's halfway between indie and r&b and sounds quite unlike anything around at the moment: intimate, unselfconcious and strangely compelling.

3 Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

The party album of the year: full of great tunes, and no messing about.

2 Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More

The hotly tipped Mumford & Sons launched their debut album at a hoedown in a barn in Hertfordshire, and with it started an unlikely bluegrass revival. Really impressive album all the way through.

1 Sparklehorse & Dangermouse, Dark Night Of the Soul

It's a real shame that my album of the year is not available anywhere, but when it contains some of the best work by some of the most interesting artists of the last decade, and still ends up being better than the sum of its parts, how could it not be?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Bawley (Hearts) 2009: Top 5 Albums of the Year: Hummer

5. The Horrors – Primary Colours

On Primary Colours The Horrors recruited Portishead’s Geoff Burrow and ditched their goth punk in favour of rich moody textured rock. The result is one of the year’s best albums, which helped the band prove themselves to be more than the tidal wave of skinny jeans, haircuts and hype that overshadowed their 2007 debut.

4. Danger Mouse and Sparkle Horse – Dark Night Of The Soul

With its high art concept, Hollywood-style promotion, massive list of contributors, legal battles, 50 pages of glossy art work and David Lynch weirdness, Dark Night Of The Soul was going to be brilliant or a kick in the balls. Brilliant it is - the kick in the balls came when it was revealed that the album will never be released.

3. Fever Ray – Fever Ray

Droning, monotonous and claustrophobic: not words you would normally associate with great pop albums, but then again Fever Ray’s debut is not a normal pop album, just a great one.

2. The Xx – Xx

The self-produced debut album from London upstarts The Xx is gloriously downbeat: delicate guitars weave between trip hop-esque beats while the spoken boy/girl vocals give the feeling that you are eavesdropping on a private conversation.

1. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix finds the band doing what they do better than anyone else – danceable indie-pop with touches of shoegaze, dabs of ambient electro, a splatter of euphoric highs and lashings of Gallic cool.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

F- you I won’t do what you tell me

What starting as a facebook campaign pointing the stiff middle finger to Simon Cowell and his X Factor karaoke clones, has grown into a legitimate battle for the Christmas number 1.

Real music fans are being encouraged to download Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name on December 13th with the hope that collaborative action can knock X-Factor from its Christmas number one perch.

Join the facebook group, buy the single on iTunes (UK) and donate here.

And tell us would a RATM win be a perfect pop moment?