Apologies for not being a tad briefer and being able to complete this overview/review all in one post. That would have been much neater. But then of course I would have no doubt missed out even more than I already did with those top albums featured in Part I. There's just so very much to look back on and include! It actually makes me dizzy doing so. Looking back at all this and trying to consolidate it into blog posts at the same time as trying desperately (and failing miserably) to keep up with this new year's fantastic offerings. When thinking about Luke Ritchie's The Water's Edge being the first album I reviewed back in early March I'm like WTFing at this crazy time speed phenomenon. Surely there must be some kind of 'Big Bad' The Doctor needs to come and sort out. Could it be The Rani did not perish during that Last Great Time War, and is now somehow siphoning off our time? I don't recall getting the memo of how we're being sucked into some bizarro world anyway. I remember writing that Luke Ritchie review just before going to Wales for a weekend break. There, I watched the awesome Norwegian film Troll Hunter. Not sure that needs to be expressed here but if you haven't seen it yet, you should do! I must warn you though, afterwards you will want to visit Scandinavia and hunt trolls. Seriously, don't laugh just yet. You just watch it and see. I can't recall if it was last year I first saw Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, or if it was 2011. No matter, it is one of those films I can (and do) watch over and over. Again, if you've not seen it, give it a try. Oh dear. Digressing once more. And so early on too. There is no hope!
Let's crack on before Christmas really does come to smack us in the face again. Do make yourself comfortable and put those feet up. Grab a nice cup of tea or coffee, a beer or glass of wine perhaps. Once again, the below are those that really stuck out as something special last year. However, that doesn't mean I hold any of the other bands or artists in any less esteem. As with the albums, I will undoubtedly miss some and for this I apologise in advance. What can I say? Your time will come.
Follow Me Down by The Slow Readers Club
Wired by The Scholars
Last of the Hobo Kings by Mary Gauthier (from the album Live At Blue Rock)
High Lights by Whitemoor
Eve by fiN
I must leave it there for now or I will list on for infinity, as you well know.
Another young guy with a big bright future is Aidan Logan from Belfast. I was so humbled and appreciative to him recently when he asked for my feedback and opinion on the new song he'd produced all by himself. As his debut album has been a little delayed, Aidan wanted to share something new with his followers to thank them for their support and encouragement. I'd had a rubbish day that day and was feeling sorry for myself so being asked for my opinion on this perked me up in a huge way. Standing Next To Me is an amazing effort considering it was all done on his lonesome. His talents are showcased well and you can hear the passion he has for making music so very clearly. His album is one I'm very much looking forward to this year. Aidan is a hugely talented young singer-songwriter with an incredibly bright and long future in music ahead of him. https://www.facebook.com/aidanloganmusic
Beyond WOW is how I described Nate's music after listening to just a few of his songs for the first time. The vocals are crisp, the lyrics heartfelt and poignant. For his young age, he has a very mature outlook while retaining what's important about youth. I've mentioned passion quite a bit and Nate has this by the planet-load. With a mutual appreciation for the legendary beat writer Jack Kerouac, this is just one of many influences I hear in his output. His performance lays his soul bare for all to soak up. If you buy songs from his website, 50% of the money goes to World Vision so as well as getting some truly wonderful music you will be donating to a very worthy cause. Go on. Get yourself some top tunes today. Perhaps start with the incredibly beautiful Autumn Road below. I'm now going to go and work on that teleportation device because as much as I would totally spend the cost of the air fare to get over and see Nate play live, I know my funds are never likely to stretch quite that far. *studies application for science funding*
When discussing and mentioning Julie's album Trippin' The Light before, I could not but emphasize the scale of diversity she brings to the record. There are so many styles, so many twists to the music and songs. In fact, it is so heavy from all the talent I'm surprised it didn't cost what would amount to a lottery jackpot to post it all this way across the globe to me. This is just what Julie did and is something I'm very grateful for. You can do away with your categories and pigeon-holing with this one because they just cannot apply. This is a marvelous achievement to be honest because as much as those categories can do to help there is always going to be something limiting about them. With this album, Julie manages to transcend so many she will fit into them all and more besides. I guess it is kind of like having a cake and eating it if you'll excuse me using a ridiculous saying.
I wrote as much regards this diversity back when I played Undone on podcast #9. This is a rock chic who knows her music and produces end results that torpedo her contemporaries out of the water and into deep space. Blues, jazz, rock and more. She moves effortlessly through the lot and mixes a few here and there like on the opener Tell Me Who I Am. And as deeply sad as Cold Rainy Nights is, it is such a beautiful sounding tune. The album is so tightly produced too, with layers of instruments arranged to compliment the mood of each track on an individual level. Julie also pulls no punches when it comes to her lyrics. She writes so eloquently. There's a fluidity to these words and you just know how once that spark has caught, her pen won't stop until the verses are complete. Julie Lamb was a real delight to discover last year and I'm looking forward to keeping a close eye on her continuing progress this year. She writes on her Facebook page how she wants to be doing stuff when she's 90. I can see this being a reality. http://www.julielamb.co.nz/
Listening to Angel is like literally listening to an angel! She was one of the first musicians I came across not long after I started getting more into Twitter and I have indie author Craig Stone to thank for tweeting lots about her music at the time. Otherwise I may never have had the immense pleasure of hearing her wonderful and beautiful songs. The moment she begins singing cements the fact she was born into a musical family. The collection of songs below are live recordings from a set at the Troubadour in Earls Court. After listening to these you can buy the EP Angel Song from iTunes >>here<< and the single Less Is More from >>here<<.
Okay, let's put a stop to this there before we bleed this page over into 2015. Sincerest of apologies for those I haven't got the space to mention. You will be coming up over the coming year anyway. You may well remember I did/do have a schedule for things this year. Well, I was trying one out but as usual it seems to have collapsed in the oven like a badly baked flan or something. I've never actually baked a flan. Do you even bake flans? Which reminds me, I need to go check the fresh chicken in the oven. This is for the cat you understand. Part III of the review covering bands will follow very very shortly. With any luck tomorrow, in fact.
JUMP STRAIGHT TO THE OTHER PARTS OF MY 2012 OVERVIEW/REVIEW:
PART I >>here<<
PART III >>here<<
PART IV >>here<<