Tag Archives: year

12 Highlights From 2020 : A Sampler Of The Year.

A distillation of tracks taken from some of the memorable albums, singles and shows of 2020…

1. Coral : i just want you cause you’re gone. Probably my single of the year, a glorious summery confection where the bass and drums maintain a pulsing beat as an unadorned guitar runs up the scale to dreampop heaven. Floating on top is Coral’s voice delivering tones of regret, melancholy and a certain amount of hope on this brilliant track.

2. Ward Thomas : Someday. As the duo move their country sounds towards pop territory they can still deliver the heartfelt emotion on this big ballad (listen as well to the acoustic version…)

3. Salt House : Staring at Stars. The last live performance I saw in 2020 featured this acoustic folk evocation of windswept islands, timeless in its beauty, especially when the instrumental section takes over. A reminder of a very special show.

4. Josienne Clarke : Seconds. As the opener to her live show early this year this was quiet, gentle and magical.

5. Smoke Fairies : Out of the Woods. Wintry and sensuous, when heard played loud by the full band this track was a dark and dense treat.

6. Bob Dylan : I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You. This emotive slow and shuffling waltz is one of many highlights from the long-awaited album of new material.

7. Moscoman feat. Tom Sanders : What Do We Care. Sparse and finely honed electronics as the perfect backdrop for icy vocals from Teleman’s Tom.

8. Mammoth Penguins : Closure. I never tire of seeing this Cambridge trio perform and their recordings too capture the band energy and shared emotions, especially on this track which brings many aspects of their musical styles together.

9. Harriet Rose : Small Town Chains. The UK Americana/country scene is filled with talented writers and performers as emphatically shown on this debut single from Harriet Rose, it is an anthem of positivity and assertion.

10. Love Ssega : Find Another Way. A key song from immersive politico-dance LP ‘Celebration’, this is a swirling tapestry of rhythm, electronics and interweaving vocals from the London singer/songwriter.

11. The Harriets : Cafe Disco. Indie quartet from Leeds captures the spirit of early Pulp in this instantly likeable track, full of atmosphere and instrumental nuance.

12. Emzae : Thrive. Eighties stylings in this electro-funktastic culmination of a string of classy singles from the Derby singer/songwriter.

12 Highlights From 2018 : A Sampler Of The Year

A distillation of tracks taken from some of the memorable albums and Cambridge shows of 2018…

1. Wave Pictures: Sugar
Two albums this year and this uptempo loveable confection has already established itself into the trio’s live set.

2. Public Service Broadcasting: ROYGBIV
Stunning visuals made the live version of this lesser known track unforgettable.

3. Fightmilk: Your Girlfriend
Excellent new album but this stealthy masterpiece is in a class of its own.

4. Colour Me Wednesday: Sunriser
Album and live set opener, a summary of all the features that make this band something special.

5. Suggested Friends: Please Don’t Look At Me On The Bus
Short burst of DIY angst, delivers its message as the hookline haunts your brain.

6. Gaffa Tape Sandy: Water Bottle
High-energy set opener from explosive power trio.

7. Teleman: Cactus
One of many highlights of the new ‘Family Of Aliens’ LP, a stupendous and unrelenting electronic riff marches into the consciousness, with even more energy in the concert version.

8. Ember Rev: Bring It Right Down
Thoughtful and message filled accordion-based rock, works well on stage too.

9. The Sunbathers: Girl You Left Behind
Gentle seaside themed concept album includes this indie-folk waltzing gem.

10. Elma: September
A reminder of a celebratory album launch at the Portland for a fine collection of retro 60s delights. Special mention too for heart breaking ballad ‘Late To The Party’.

11. The Smittens: Upper West Side
Many vocalists and moods in a brilliant show at the Blue Moon from USA Indie collective.

12. Robyn Hitchcock: I Used To Love You
Cambridge references in this song from probably the best gig of my year, a church venue the perfect setting for the intimate performance of songs from a glorious back catalogue of timeless psychedelic imagery.

12 Highlights from 2015 : A Sampler of The Year

A distillation of tracks taken from some of the memorable albums and shows of 2015…

1. Mammoth Penguins: Work It Out
Pure pop pleasure from the album ‘Hide and Seek’

2. Wave Pictures: I Can Hear The Telephone(3 Floors Above Me)
Great live show featuring this and other tracks from another high quality album release ‘Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon’

3. Chorusgirl: No Moon
Indiepoptastic live show and debut self-titled album

4. Model Village: Sorry
Super set played after Chorusgirl to launch irresistable new album ‘Healing Centre’

5. Ryley Walker: Hide In The Roses
Supreme guitar at an intimate live show and on thoughtful album ‘Primrose Green’

6. British IBM: We Were The Stars
Mature crafted lyrics and arrangements on their second album

7. Motor Tapes: Falling Away
Cambridge four piece return with four distinctive and vivid tracks

8. Tellison: Orion
From third album ‘Hope Fading Nightly’, subtle start then hear those guitars crash in…

9. Wilko Johnson: Going Back Home
Triumphant and emotional live return from still the coolest guitarist around

10. Van Morrison: Carrying A Torch
The Master, returning with ‘Duets’ album. This is a sublime, sumptuous ballad with jazz singer Clare Teal

11. Public Service Broadcasting: Go!
Impressive live show with space, Everest, electronica, colour…listen and learn!

12. Bouquet Of Dead Crows: Just A Little More
Album launch for ‘Of The Night’ was a show to remember..