Sunday, 1 January 2012

20 Things That Were Great in 2011

Because everybody loves a list.

(I'm one of the many colourful blurs. It was shot in the O2 Academy Islington. It was rad. I got a setlist.)

(almost) 1. Live At Jodrell Bank

The Flaming Lips, British Sea Power and OK Go playing in front of the Lovell Telescope. Chants of “Science! Science!” Damian Kulash still the most perfect man in the world.

2. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead at Glasgow Garage

Made Rival Schools look average. Paralysingly awesome.

3. Barcelona

Went there on holiday. Saw The Wombats in front of the most fun crowd ever, went to my first F1 race, had incredible weather, and got around a good bunch of the sights.

4. Panic At The Disco – Vices And Virtues

Thought I knew this was going to be a disappointing album. Compelling, though, and grows with every listen. Addictive and brilliant pop.

5. Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo

I now live in the same country as pandas. Win.

6. The Week Of Twin

That week in December when Twin Atlantic were on the cover of Kerrang, made the Radio 1 A-list, and played to a sold out O2 Academy Glasgow. Rad.

7. Rams' Pocket Radio

New favourite band. New favourite people. Smart and special.

8. 50/50 and The Help

Went to the cinema more than usual. Most of it was rubbish. Two films stood out. This is them. The Help made me cry a lot. Racism makes me really, really, really sad.

9. Belsonic Festival

Went to Belfast to see 30 Seconds To Mars and Rams' Pocket Radio. Had a great time.

10. Bright Eyes at Oran Mor

Never got the fuss until I saw him live. Love the new album stuff. Also, Oran Mor upstairs is beautiful.

11. David Ford's book and accompanying tour

Got to see Dav Ford from Easyworld play some of my favourite Easyworld songs live on his weird wee book gig music tour thing. Book is a great read. Please borrow it from me if you have any delusions about becoming a rock star.

12. LightGuides Christmas Party

They played lots of songs, had Part Wind Part Wolf supporting in amazing outfits, and I got a photo of Martin mid-air. Bonus.

13. The Great Escape, Brighton

Saw Rams' Pocket Radio, You Animals, The Xcerts, My First Tooth, LightGuides, The Guillemots in a vintage clothes shop, and BEN HALES FROM RUTH PLAYING WITH FOREIGN SLIPPERS (guitarist of my favourite band from my teenage years, excellent writer and lovely man).

14. Radisson Burgers

Introduced to the burgers in the Collage Corner Bar at the Radisson by my lovely friend who works there. Tastiest meal in town.

[Unbelievably, despite my love of taking pictures of food I like, I've not taken any pictures of the Radisson's delicious burgers...]

15. What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction

Great pop song. Don't bother trying to disagree.

16. Part Wind Part Wolf

Probably my favourite new Glasgow band of the year. Well-crafted grunge-pop. Friends In America probably a close second, although wish they'd focus more on the moody narrative bits as it suits them better than the calypso-y hooks.

17. There Will Be Fireworks in onesies

Need I elaborate? It helped that they also performed excellently and are still miles better than pretty much every other band ever.

18. Jedward at Glasgow Green

Didn't even know this was happening til the day. Got some rad pictures and got to see first hand the mania that makes Jedward so fascinating/pleasing to me.

19. Rock Ness

The Wombats, We Are Scientists, The Boxer Rebellion and The Twilight Sad were totally awesome. Got a photo with Keith and Chris so I can forever pretend that I also was once the drummer of We Are Scientists...

20. Climbing Ben Vorlich

Not my usual cup of tea, but I climbed a munro in the name of charity and it felt good. Despite the snow blizzard.

Honorable mentions: Harry George Johns at Bloc, Jurassic Parrrrr crazy golf, the big wheel on George Square, World War Z/Brad Pitt filming on my doorstep, albums by Manchester Orchestra, The Wombats, Song Of Return and Little Comets, LightGuides' Samba Samba Samba, particularly awesome gigs from Walter Schreifels, Scott Frabbit, The Xcerts, Twin Atlantic, Katy Perry, Panic At The Disco, Endor, Manchester Orchestra, Bruno Mars, Arctic Monkeys and Smashing Pumpkins, getting an iPhone and thus Instagram, and another awesome T in the Park.

Monday, 7 November 2011

X Factor USA

I have a love/hate relationship the same as most sensible human beings with The X Factor and related programmes. The UK X Factor this year is particularly terrible. I don't even want to get started on what a talentless bunch of rubbish the finalists are. It's excruciating. The only possible reason left for watching is for conversation fodder.

The X Factor USA, on the other hand, is awesome. I don't care that nobody's talking about it, because I'm getting to see performances that I actually want to look up on YouTube and watch again. Even the worst are a million times better than the UK show's best. If I were ITV, I'd can the UK version and start showing the US one on Saturday nights instead, before the nation realises they're feeding it dog meat.

This is Drew. She's fourteen. Whaaaaaat.

This is Stereo Hogzz. They make The Risk look like an embarrassing accident.

Stacy is pretty good, but equally important to note about this clip is how FREAKING HOT Enrique Iglesias looks.

This dude is SIXTY.

Another just plain great singer.

X Factor UK is dabbling with the odd bit of rap this year, too. But it's nothing on Astro. Who is FIFTEEN.

Josh looks like Scott Frabbit.

Rachel is THIRTEEN.

So yeah. Stop watching X Factor UK. Start watching X Factor USA. Make your life better.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Boxer Rebellion

I find the hardest bands to describe are the ones I've listened to the most. The ones who have become such a permanent fixture in my mind that squatters' rights come in to play, and they actually own that wee part of my mind.

So yeah, I'm not going to describe them.


Oh, and they're playing Cabaret Voltaire on March 3rd. You will see few bands more impeccable live. And if you're a guitar nerd, Todd's pedals and stuff will drive you wild.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Veils

Almost every other band in Baeble's giant concert catalogue looks stupid compared to Mumford & Sons (see previous post), but The Veils... they hold their own...

Watch the full video at

Mumford & Sons live

I hated Mumford before I saw them live. The flipping banjo all over their album made me want to throw things. But they're so so so so so ridiculously good live that I've become completely accustomed to the banjo, and embrace them on record now too.

This live concert on the Baeble website is awesome. Watch it. (Yes, the 'full' video is an hour-long set. AMAZING.)

Watch the full video at

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Top 9 Albums of 2010

I get stuck every time I try to name a number 10. It seems to be a bazillion-way tie.

1 OK Go - Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
2 The Xcerts - Scatterbrain
3 30 Seconds To Mars - This Is War (released December 2009, shhh)
4 You, Me And Everyone We Know - Some Things Don't Wash Out
5 My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
6 Steel Train - Steel Train
7 Vampire Weekend - Contra
8 Kids In Glass Houses - Dirt
9 Fun. - Aim And Ignite

Listen to all of them (except Steel Train) on Spotify in one convenient playlist
Listen to a Steel Train song on YouTube (yes, it's a shame they're not on Spotify... but if you like it, the album's only £5.49 on iTunes last time I checked)

Wednesday, 29 December 2010