Sunday 23 December 2018

20 new songs from 2018

All by new acts, because that's what this end of year compilation is. It's in no order. They're all brilliant.

Aright, I know Birdie aren't new, but no 2018 brilliant music list is complete without Bowling Green. And, again, 2018 didn't exactly mark Tony Molina's debut but any song on Kill The Lights could have made a best of list. I've almost certainly left off some brilliant debuts. By accident.

2018 has been the best year for music in ages. What have we learned? That pop music can be the silliest and the most important thing in the world. Sometimes it can be both at the same time. But I think we knew that already. Enjoy it (and keep paying for music because no one band or label can afford to lose money forever).

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Stars - a Christmas compilation

If Apple preload all iPhones with Stars music fans will have the best Christmas ever.

A mate of mine reckons Woah Melodic’s Christmas Stars is the best Christmas single since Low’s Just Like Christmas. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it certainly draws on the ghost of Paul McCartney’s festive past to wonderful effect.

I lean towards Scrabbel’s Hiding In The Snow - glacial synths, minor chords, baroque pop - as this compilation’s killer tune. And then there’s White Town offering spectral Pet Shop Boys balladry in Say You’ll Be Home For Christmas. Jyoti, if you’ve been writing songs this good in the last 20 years, sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. This is marvellous.

Bill Botting takes us on a trip in the southern summer, winds the windows down, snaps on the car radio’s FM soft rock dial and names pretty much everyone in England he was ever in a band with. In pockets of east London there are musicians wiping away their tears. Rightly so.

Pop quiz question: does Darren Hayman, as he claims on his festive jangleathon, really have cousins called Terry and Julie or is he channelling The Kinks? It doesn’t matter. You’ll likely be grinning too much to worry about it. Thanks to all these musical Santas for sprinkling their magical fairy dust on their songs.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Three Christmas Wishes from Daniel Treacy

London, late 1995. My ex-girlfriend wants to get back together (I know, what was she thinking). I didn’t (I knew exactly what I was thinking). She got me this signed photo of Dan Treacy, which I obviously liked and accepted but clearly couldn’t compromise my love god (YMMV) integrity for.

I had introduced the gift giver to indiepop’s wonders a few years before. She took to it and joined a band who were not only influenced by the Television Personalities but made them sound professional and polished.

I understand that some of their early releases now trade hands for more than they cost to record, but I didn’t really follow where they went.

Anyway, she’d got to know Dan Treacy’s then girlfriend, who got this signed photo.