Not The Mercury Shortlist 2014

I could really just post the intro blurb from when I did this last year as it’s pretty much exactly the same thing…

Is anyone really that bothered about the Mercury Prize anymore?  Named after oh hang on, this is the intro blurb from last year.  Sorry.  Nice to see the Jazzers getting back in again to this year’s list, but it’s still a bit same old same old in order to try to look a bit edgy.  Then again, pickings are slim this year anyway so it was a tricky thing to pick stuff I’ve liked from what’s already been mentioned, suffice to say that I hope Anna Calvi wins it (whatever “it” is now), and congratulations to Damon/Royal Blood/East India Youth on being whoever the judges decide what mood they’re going to be in this year.  It’s an increasing irrelevance now though, especially given that it’s been moved from a time specifically chosen in midsummer because nobody bought records then to a time when every publication will be publishing their Fourth Quarter results (formerly known as “our favourite records” before it became a 3-monthly thing).

But I started doing this back whenever I can’t be bothered to check, so here we go again.  It’s not been a great year so far for British Music.  Indeed, the most exciting thing about it so far is that after next month, it’s a distinct possibility that artists such as Teenage Fanclub, the Vaselines and the Bay City Rollers will have to be reclassified as World Music.  I love you, Scotland.  But I understand why you want to leave me.  Still, I managed to cobble together a few records that I liked and would possibly qualify if any of them could have been bothered enough to pony up the initial 200 quid to enter this silly competition that only seems to be of interest to people biffing on about why someone wasn’t nominated.

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Sunday Whatever

071Sometime during the last couple of months when the hinges fell of this blog (and myself), I made a bit of a discovery.   I’m doing all of this wrong.  What I should be doing by all accounts is to spend more time saying that I’ve written something (or, in many cases, copy/pasted a press release) rather than sitting down thinking of what to say.  And if that’s the wrong way of going about things in the current climate of “look at me and give me traffic” music blogging, then I’m happy to be such a halfwit for not joining in.  6 Days From Tomorrow was never truly written in order to be read (I rarely read it myself, so I have no drive to make others do so.  But thanks for reading anyway, you’re more than welcome here), it was done as what I thought would be a private thing to get my thoughts in order when other attempts failed, and it’s not doing a very good job of that either!  That it’s become something else entirely from whatever I originally set out to so is a source of occasional pride, and that I’ve managed to gain such little victories without recourse to “You won’t believe what has done, it’ll blow your mind” clickbait shenanigans or paying neither Facebook nor for the privilege of spreading the word feels like quite an achievement in itself.

So, whenever I write something, I park it on the 6dft Facebook Page and the 6dft Twitter thing (although I have to say that this is a very underused feed and my personal one is much sillier), and I park it there once.  I tried the “ICYMI” thing last week that everyone else does (which some proper sites do several times a day) and felt such an absolute wretched tart for doing so that this will never happen again.  This doesn’t mean that I am averse to Likes, Shares, Favourites Retweets and other such word of mouth if someone gets to read any of this and feels strongly enough to do so, and in fact it remains a thrill to me whenever someone takes the time to do so, but I’m not doing any of this cobblers in order to be at all popular.  I’m doing it to keep my own ducks in a row.

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Sunday Whatever

005Things are going a bit slow here at the moment, largely because things are far too full-on elsewhere.  There’s a definite disparity in the work-life balance here, and that can never be seen to be right.  So while I try to address that, this week shall be mostly comprised of EPs and quiet things as that’s all my attention span can cope with while all else goes mad around me.  This whatever also reflects the lunacy of the past couple of weeks, but I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about and nothing that a bit of a sleep can’t remedy.

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Sunday Whatever

weblogoHope  you like the new look of the place!  There’s still much tinkering to be done as I had to put in a whole new theme at very short notice when it turned out that the one I’ve been using for the last four years didn’t want to play, and I’m not 100% sure about the one I chose in a moment of “that’ll do for now” late on Friday night, but it’s certainly something to build on over the next few weeks or so.

What I am 100% sure on is the new logo and banner.  Nick Rhodes at Switchopen has produced some beautiful art for the likes of Mark Lanegan, Soulsavers, Ed Harcourt, Queens of the Stone Age and so many others, and now his work adorns the top of this page.  I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that this happened at all and how happy I am with the result, especially after it puts a happier hat on the end of a rather sad few weeks.

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Singles Night

Yes, it's the same photo as last time.  I'm tired.

Well, crikey.  This is the second of these, which technically makes it a series or something.  Woo.  It’s something I should make more of an effort with though as I am very fond of singles, relegated as they largely are to novelty items instead of the towering make-or-break powerhouses they once were.  And now that the UK charts are going to factor in streaming media when compiling the charts, these little chunks of music are under even greater threat than ever.  Pretty soon if we’re not careful, Record Store Day will be the only place that we will be able to purchase singles in graspable form, and we all know how bloody expensive that gets…

It’s not all doom and gloom though as the below doingses illustrate – and I’m happy to report that I am having to be on the lookout for another 7″ box because mine is full to overflowing (and there’s nothing at all funny about that statement), so there’s plenty of people still willing to give it a bit of a go.  And it has to be said there’s more than a couple of digital noteables as well out there.

 

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Nobuo Uematsu – Final Fantasy VII Vinyl

ffviiWont as I am to occasionally delve into the nerdier recesses of the CD shelves, especially during this time of year when there’s not much out and finances don’t stretch to having a bit of a gamble. This one, timed as it is, ticks a few boxes in 6DFT towers as it’s not only one I’ve felt like writing about for a while but also appears here in the form of a recently reissued vinyl selection as well as providing grist for the ranting mill with regard to the current vinyl market.

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Sunday Whatever

002I was supposed to have posted this last week, but it ended up a bit glum.  So after letting it simmer for a bit before deciding whether or not to post it, I’m glad I didn’t and have deleted the entire above-the-line bit and started again.

It is a weird time for 6 Days From Tomorrow and for me – being out of work redefines priorities and shifts perspective (the latter, somewhat uncomfortably), which means that the times where I’m inclined to sit here and rattle off a load of drivel are fewer as well as the funds required to buy stuff to do the aforementioned drivel-rattling.  This isn’t the most expensive pastime in the world (although, certain formats dictate that it can be), but while the immediate future is a bit unsettled, I have to cut my cloth accordingly.  Never sure what that idiom meant, but there you go.

All of which ties in rather oddly with something I’ve been pondering this week.  At this very moment, I am waiting for a pre-ordered record (or two – there was a bit of a mixup) to arrive from the US.  After tracking it from Seattle earlier in the week, it left San Francisco on Friday to I know not where, because it’s not arrived yet.  I was a bit grumpy about this, as I’d paid for it ages ago and I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m not alone in this grump after reading elsewhere.  This is where I kind of stopped in my tracks though – when did punctuality become so important in all of this?  When did expectation overrule anticipation?  We buy into this stuff not for a scheduled date, but for years ahead of us.  Tomorrow I’m off to a record store (Piccadilly Records in Manchester, if you must know) to see what’s there and not worry too much about the bill, which’ll make a nice change in the current climate.

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Moon Wiring Club – A Fondness For Fancy Hats

fffhSlightly in keeping with the themes held within the last post, here’s another slice of otherworldly visitations from a bygone era.  But where Ed Harcourt’s ghostly parlour-seance dreamscapes come across as gentle harbingers of evil, Moon Wiring Club’s chronologically different offerings provide an altogether different aural and ethereal experience.  But I get ahead of myself.  Firstly, from a year where “Event!” releases were all the rage, this seemed to have been put out with the same short-term fanfare (I got an email saying it was on the way from the ever-polite Servant Roberts, I pre-ordered, it turned up very shortly afterwards) but without all the screamy fuss accompanying others.  This was less of a rooftop-blasting “hype by no hype” thing and more of a sedate, genial “let’s see what this does” sort of affair.  And now I’m rambling.

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Best of 2013, Favourite Tracks

Albums are all well and good, but what of the individual songs contained within?  A silly question to be sure, but it’s a bit more complicated than merely going “well that was the best record, so it had the best songs on it” – that works sometimes, but not always.  Sometimes, a song in its right place in the context of its album home is a euphoric, emotional high; but remove it from its running order and the joy is lost.  Conversely, a song can be so big, bold and beautiful that it swamps the rest of the record to the point that it has to be removed and isolated to give the rest of it a chance.  In short, this list (in no particular order other than the one in which they occurred to me) has very little bearing on the wordy behemoth that preceded it.

The following ten tracks I think (by happy accident) typify 2013 as far as 6 Days From Tomorrow is concerned.  They all trigger a response that goes beyond mere emotional; they make the heart beat faster or slower, they make arteries expand or contract, they make eyes mist up or a focus sharper.  It’s a strange thing to be talking about how the act of merely listening to something can evoke a physical reaction, and maybe this is just something that affects me.  If the latter is the case, then I’m the lucky one.

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Best of 2013, That Top 50 List in Full

Before I start this bit, something of an apology is due for a bit of an error while doing what little I do to publicise anything on here.  When tweeting each page as I’d finished them, I got my numbers wrong in haste, and pegged Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood’s wonderful Black Pudding album as Number 5, when it was actually Number 6.  Whoops.  And before I had any chance to delete them and repost (because to be honest, I didn’t notice for 3 days…), these two cheeky retweets happened which led to lots of others…

Eep.
Eep.

It’s always a rare thrill when someone I write about likes something enough to repost it, and anyone whose read this blog for any length of time will know how much of a lift this would have given me.  If only I’d got my bloody numbers right so that I wouldn’t be sitting here now in a state of mortal embarrassment.  This must be how the nation’s tabloid editors must feel every time they make an error in their publications.  Erm, yes.

Anyway, almost done with the end of year goings-on (Top 10 single/EPs and Top 10 tracks to follow suit either tonight or soon after), and it’s a weird year-end because I’m not sure what’s going to be happening with 6 Days From Tomorrow, at least in the short term.  I was made redundant on the Friday before Christmas, and although I’m not destitute just yet, I don’t know when I’ll be back in gainful employment in these uncertain times.  So unfortunately, hobbies and pastimes must take a financial backseat to more sensible matters for at least a while, as records aren’t cheap – especially the nice big waxy ones I’m so fond of.  I could delve back again (part of the reason for this blog’s existence in the first place, lest I forget) for those interested in the oeuvre of Nuclear Assault etc, or maybe one or two ruminations on records, formats or anything else that annoys me.  I don’t know.  An uncertain future could be the kick up the backside I need anyway, as 6dft has been losing readers by a consistently huge margin all year (down by a third all the way through).  Maybe this is a problem with all homespun blogs now that the bigger ones are now well established as tastemakers and bigger shop windows, maybe I don’t split my posts down into enough separate pages to get the traffic count up, maybe everyone hates the Oxford Comma, or maybe I’m just not s much fun as I once was.  But sod it, if I still enjoy doing this, then I’m still going to do it.

Ranting out of the way, it’s fun to re-edit the full Fifty down into one, difficult-to-read post.  These lists are all very silly anyway as they take far too long to type and become very wrong very quickly.  Looking through the lists from 2011 and 2012 (never did a 2010 full list in one post, but they’re all in there somewhere if you’re bothered enough to search), there’s so much stuff at the top of each respective list that I barely listen to now, or ones near the bottom (or that never featured) that get spun constantly.  They’re little more than snapshots of a week at the back end of November, which makes it all the more strange then that we all get so irritated when someone else’s list is wrong or – worse! – in the wrong order.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who’s read, commented, contributed, liked, shared, retweeted or just plain enjoyed/disagreed with having a few minutes of their time wasted (although I don’t think there’s a button for that, and so Social Media Regulations seems to mark this down as being a somewhat irrelevant activity, which is a bit of a shame really), hoping that Christmas went well for all and that 2014 brings everything you strive for.  And fingers crossed, this place may still be here.  Maybe with fewer mistakes.  Although while I say “with fewer mistakes”, I exclude the formatting of everything below as it’s taken me ages and I’m way beyond the “sod it, that’ll do” point of the evening.  Enjoy! x

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