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The BAMS 2015

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BAMS 2015

It’s been that time of the year again when I put my feet up, grab a bunch of CDs, stick on my headphones, treat myself to a glass or two of Bamgria and work out my top ten albums of the last twelve months for the BAMS (Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites), an award run by Mike (Manic Pop Thrills), Neil (Scottish Fiction), Jamie (Netsounds Unsigned), Al (Houdidont), Stuart (Is This Music?) and Lloyd (Honorary Head BAM).

In the end and after much thought (and tonic wine) Kathryn Joseph’s bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled headed my list, just edging out John Foxx’s completely under-rated ambient masterpiece London Overgrown, which in turn just edged out Infinite Variety by The Cathode Ray.

Here is my full top ten. In reverse order of course.

10. The Fall: Sub-Lingual Tablet
9. Wire: Wire
8. Dot Dash: Earthquakes & Tidal Waves
7. C Duncan: Architect
6. Lonelady: Hinterland
5. Blur: The Magic Whip
4. _Linden: Rest and be Thankful
3. The Cathode Ray: Infinite Variety
2. John Foxx: London Overgrown
1. Kathryn Joseph: bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled


Seeing Kathryn Joseph accept the SAY (Scottish Artist of the Year) Award at the O2 ABC in Glasgow back in June (as I predicted she would) was a highlight of 2015. But could she make it a double victory and bag the famous BAMS prize of a bottle of Buckfast?

Again, here is the BAMS top ten in reverse order.

10. Public Service Broadcasting: The Race For Space
9. Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool
8. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
7. Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly
6. Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
5. Chrvches: Open Every Eye
4. Young Fathers: White Men Are Black Men
3. C Duncan: Architect
2. Miaoux Miaoux: School Of Velocity
1. Kathryn Joseph: bones you have thrown me and blood I’ve spilled

Kathryn Joseph BAMS 2015

Well done to Kathryn and pleasing to see that Infinite Variety put up a decent showing, finishing joint twentieth on the list. From the album here is This Force of Nature:

 

For more on Kathryn Joseph, click here.

For more on The Cathode Ray, here’s yer link.

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Blackstar & Oh, To Be a Defector (Best of 2015, Part One)

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Okay, in no particular order, the first batch of my thirty favourite tracks released during 2015, kicking off with David Bowie – who I first heard in 1969 when Space Oddity made the British singles chart – and Chorusgirl, a London based act that I only discovered a few weeks ago and whose self titled album is just out on Fortuna POP! I have also included a list of my five top reads and, in future weeks, you can expect ten of the very best compilations, reissues or soundtracks and the ten films that have impressed me the most.

singles

_Linden: Rest and Be Thankful
John Foxx: Oceanic II
FFS: Johnny Delusional
Anton Newcombe and Tess Parks: German Tangerine
David Bowie: Blackstar:


Django Django: First Light
Jacco Gardner: Find Yourself
The Pop Group: Mad Truth
The Cathode Ray: Resist
Chorusgirl: Oh, To Be a Defector


Chorusgirl play Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on 06/12/15 with The Spook School and tickets are only six quid.

For more on Chorusgirl click here for their official site. And here for their Facebook page.

the-written-word

It’s been a year where I have read less new fiction than is normally the case although, before the end of the year, I am hoping to make a start on the new Ian Rankin Rebus novel and Silenced by talented Glasgow crime writer A.J. McCreanor. And I might even have a go at Morrissey’s fiction debut, List of the Lost, a book savaged by many critics and which has just been nominated for The Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Heaven knows how Morrissey will feel if it wins this unwelcome ‘honour’ but I’m guessing pretty miserable.

Anyway, here’s my top five:

Stuart DavidIn the All-Night Cafe
Stuart Cosgrove – Detroit 67
David Cavanagh – Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life
Kris Needs – Dream Baby Dream: Suicide: A New York City Story
Irvine Welsh – A Decent Ride

Infinite Variety & Earthquakes & Tidal Waves

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Infinite Variety

If I had to list every act that the members of The Cathode Ray had ever plyed their trade in then this would likely become an overly long post. Instead I’ll just say that singer Jeremy Thoms was once upon a time a Revillo, going under the gloriously bad but somehow perfect for that band moniker of Fabian Wonderful, while Neil Baldwin was bassist of TV21 and guitarist Steve Fraser used to be a Scar.

Various bloggers have mentioned the influence of Buzzcocks, Wire and Blur on the music of The Cathode Ray and, sure enough, the single Resist does come over as the closest thing we’ll ever get to hearing what a collaboration between A Different Kind of Tension era Buzzcocks, early Wire and Blur at the height of Britpop might have sounded like.

The Cathode Ray have a new album Infinite Variety out shortly on Stereogram Recordings, a label based in Edinburgh whose roster includes Lola in Slacks and James King and The Lonewolves. If such an award exists, Stereogram surely must be in the running for best Scottish independent label in 2015.

Written and produced by Fabian, sorry Jeremy, this is their new single Resist, which the band themselves describe as ‘a sort of crazy punk rock/krautrock oompah hybrid.’ I find it almost impossible to believe that anybody that follows his blog won’t approve heartily of this track:

 
To coincide with the release of Infinite Variety, the band will perform a half hour in-store set at the Elvis Shakespeare Book & Record Shop on Leith Walk in Edinburgh on Record Store Day (Saturday, April 18).

Here’s The Cathode Ray Facebook page and here’s the Facebook page of Stereogram Recordings.

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves

Dot Dash are one of those groups that appear incapable of writing a bad tune. They’re also one of the most underrated bands in America in my not entirely humble opinion.

Their third album, Half-Remembered Dream, was one of my favourites of 2013 and since then a new lead guitarist, Steve Hansgen, formerly of Washington D.C. hardcore pioneers Minor Threat, has slotted seamlessly into their line-up. Now they have just released a new album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves on Canadian indie label The Beautiful Music.

I’ll be covering Dot Dash in more detail soon but if you want a taster from the album – which I would definitely recommend – head over to this Bandcamp page where you can download a free MP3 of track three from the album, Rainclouds.

For more on Dot Dash, here’s their Facebook page.

For my post Three Girl Rhumba & A Band Called Dot Dash, click here. For Wire & A Band Called Dot Dash (The Sequel), click here.