Yep, it’s that time of year again, and as I mercifully find myself in the rare position of being finished my year’s work early for once (!), I thought I’d list my highlights of the year.
I do love a good list, but not necessarily to rank ‘x’ over ‘y’ – I find that it’s really helpful to read other peoples’ lists and maybe get a good sense of any albums/songs/films that may have bypassed you during the year. It’s so easy to overlook records when you’re listening to so much stuff for work, and it can be difficult to keep up with the sheer volume of stuff being released. Nevertheless… below are my favourites of 2013.
Have a lovely Christmas! Continue reading
Originally published in The Irish Times, March 1st 2013.
THERE ARE confessional songwriters, and then there is John Grant. The Michigan-born, Colorado-raised musician had been celebrated as a lyricist throughout his tenure with The Czars, the band he fronted for ten years until their split in 2004. Yet it was the release of his astounding solo debut Queen of Denmark in 2010 that his propensity for pouring his heart and soul – metaphorical warts and all – brought his music to a wider audience.
I think I might be taking my maiden trip to Kilkenny later this year for the city’s annual Rhythm & Roots festival. The long-running festival has a reputation for bringing in some very high profile artists before they’d ‘made it’ (Ryan Adams and Ray Lamontagne both played early gigs there).
The first names announced for this year’s event (April 29th – May 2nd) are John Grant (hurray!), Wilko Johnson, Mary Gauthier, Terry Reid, Frontier Ruckus, Stacie Collins and Little Miss Higgins.
Grant has gone into the studio to make an album with Swedish producer Kleerup, who’s known for his work with Robyn and Lykke Li. Those sessions may have interesting consequences. However, he’s also going to make another album with Midlake this September. Busy man!
There’s no way to express this sentiment without sounding slightly cheesy, but really, the power of music never fails to astound me. About a month ago, I, like many other music hacks, was asked to start thinking about my top 10 albums of the year. It’s been an excellent year for music in general, but the problem with that – if you can call it a problem – is trying to decide which excellent album is a little bit more excellent than the others. I hummed-and-hawed for a few weeks about what to make my number one, but even after hours and hours of re-listening, I was struggling to make a decision. Continue reading