Things 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.
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…
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
I guess it’s a good sign of the increasing popularity of vinyl that bonus digital copies are more conspicuous by their absence than welcomed for merely being there. Indeed, for the format to flourish properly as a format for all and not just collectors (so at least then we might stop paying collector’s prices for the bloody things), it needs to get with the program a bit and make it possible for music to be appreciated in the manner that we most listen to it nowadays.
A minor gripe though, as the way that something is played isn’t really that important – just that something is played at all. More than a couple of entrants here have arrived in foot-wide formats without digital versions, and I’ll be honest and say that I have no idea how easy/expensive it is to provide a downloadable version (bunging a CD in, which many more of the Fifty did is a shocking waste of plastic in these environmentally conscious times). And I should also apologise for this coming across as a rant – it most definitely isn’t, I’m just having a bit of an idea about something and this record is helping immensely by virtue of it being in the right place at the right time. It’s just a shame I can’t play it in the car.
Four hundred posts in, and I’m still here bobbing about like Steve McQueen on a sackful of coconuts. Not sure if this is an achievement or a sad indictment of a state of mind, but there you go. So it’s nice to mark the occasion not with booze (although I am) but with something that goes back to round about the time this rambling nonsense all started.
Back in July 2010 I wrote about what I now know to be the first part of a trilogy, and have followed its author’s career with interest since then – a particular highlight being catching him live and (in an event as yet uncatalogued by yours truly) seeing first hand just how much of an effect a song can have on someone. And now here we are at the other end of it all. Richard Warren’s third album as a solo artist is here, bringing down the curtain as graciously as he first raised it three years ago.
I have to say that the real Mercury Prize shortlist this year is a bit of a disappointment this year in the respect that it’s a bit on the vanilla side. Thankfully this means that everyone can get all in a strop about *their* faves not getting a mention, and this is the real spirit of the competition. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way from an award named after a telecommunications company that went bust in 1999.
So, to join in with the doings, here’s an almost shortlist of my favourites that weren’t nominated keeping to a couple of mild criteria:
Released within the real prize’s qualification period (July 12 2011 – September 10 2012)
Artists involved are at least partly from the UK
Artists not actually shortlisted (although for the purposes of this list, only Richard Hawley – see below for comedy gold in 2006 – is omitted from this thingy)
Something from qualifying album is on Spotify, just to make it easy for me. BTW, if you like something here or elsewhere on the various playlists, please buy it – no artist will ever make a living from the tiny streaming royalties they receive.
Hope there’s something you like, or violently disagree with.
A bit late, but this blog being down for most of Sunday (I pressed nothing! Honest) coupled with it being a bit sunny and me being a bit lazy has meant that this is now so late, it’s almost qualifying as being early for the next one. So, as it’s a bit of a different Sunday (what with it being late on a Tuesday, for a start), rather than just knock a playlist together from whatever I’ve been listening to since I last bothered doing one of these, I’m going to get back into the swing of things by having a brief trawlette through some of the singles that are out and about at the mo, as there have been a few choice solitary cuts recently…
Two weeks of awfulness over, now it’s back to mere drudgery. And now I have a bit of time to myself, I’ve got a small pile to navigate that will start getting bigger after tomorrow plus I’m going to force myself to do the thing I keep saying that I’m going to do and delve back into the 80s and 90s once more to bring back a “From The Past” section that is getting too close for comfort to requiring the services of a professional necromancer.
And I’ll also take this opportunity to once more mention the startling debut from Keaton Henson that I made time to mention last week – an incredible record, and a post about it that sadly (and, slightly ironically given the subject’s own reticence) went largely unread…
Anyways, on with what’s been keeping me awake this week. And as a bit of a treat to Spotify types who follow either my Facebook or Twitter doingses and get the playlists that accompany these Whatevers, someone’s finally pointed out to this technological halfwit that the songs on my list that are in grey can’t be seen by people who aren’t me. So I’ve picked a whole list of things that can actually be heard for a change.
Well, it feels like one, doesn’t it? Am already one week late with this thanks to illness, so one more day isn’t going to make much more of a difference… Not quite sure what’s going to be happening this week as proper work is going to take up almost all of my time, but it’s also the start of what seems to be a very busy period here – new arrivals both anticipated and surprising starting (hopefully) tomorrow and then carrying on until the end of May. And to think, I’ve been bored lately.
Whatever passes for normal service around here will be resumed next week. Probably.
I’m not entirely sure if this means that I can’t make my mind up, or that I can’t count, as this technically makes the whole malarkey a Top 51. Then again, even before I started to compile this list I knew that these would be top of the pile, and as I was further listening to all of the records in this list and beyond to try to find some sort of pathway through it all, it became harder and harder to separate them. So, in the end, I didn’t bother. Because not only was it ultimately pointless to try to convince myself that one was better than the other, the two records could almost be brothers – not twins, as the differences are just as great between them as the similarities that bind them, but each fits with the other so well that it’s now difficult for me to listen to one without the other. So, it’s far from an annoyance for me that I can’t pick between them, it’s more of a joy.
I have to admit to being especially pleased when this album arrived last weekend. Thanks to a friend letting me know in the nick of time that not only was Richard Warren supporting Josh T Pearson in Leeds (after seeing the pair of them play great sets in Manchester earlier in the year), but also that a new album was forthcoming. There’s definitely something to be said for looking forward to something, but it’s all the better for not having to wait that long. Not that there’s anything wrong with anticipation of course, but immediacy is a lot more fun.
So, given that last year’s Laments was one of my favourite records of last year, hopes were very high for this one. And the Wayfarer doesn’t disappoint. It’s something recorded (on a two-track reel-to-reel) with a singular intensity and almost completely unadorned, except for his own accompaniment and the heavy dramatic presence of the Union Band providing a brass background that is both exultant and infernal depending on which of the two songs they are so well-employed on.