Tuesday, 3 January 2012

15 for 2012

In no particular order, I give to you 15 confirmed album releases to get all excited about in 2012.

1. THE MACCABEES: Given to the Wild (9 January)

What better way to spend that £15 HMV gift card you got for Christmas from your gran than on this (probable) gem? If the first two singles are anything to go by, the third album from the most underrated band in indie is gonna be a beaut.

2. PULLED APART BY HORSES: Tough Love (23 January)

Will it be as brutal as their eponymous debut? Just listen to 'V.E.N.O.M.'

3. THE TWILIGHT SAD: No One Can Ever Know (6 February)

A hotly anticipated release this, particularly off the back of spectacular new single 'Sick' and the deliciously sinister 'Kill It In The Morning' (below).

4. BAND OF SKULLS: Sweet Sour (21 February 2012)

Looks like February's gonna be a hell of a month, huh?

5. THE CRIBS (Spring/Summer 2012)

Apparently, according to this interview conducted at 2011's Latitude Festival, the new record will sound like Queen. Could be interesting. Check them out at a few small scale dates in early March.

6. EUGENE MCGUINNESS: The Invitation to the Voyage (Autumn 2012)

Having already released a strong contender for indie dancefloor filler of the year in lead single 'Lion', expect 'The Invitation to the Voyage' to contain more of the same.

7. DRY THE RIVER: Shallow Bed (March 2012) (debut)

The hottest tip for 'biggest breakthrough of 2012', Dry the River will follow up stonking 2011 releases 'No Rest' and 'New Ceremony' with an album hopefully as heartbreakingly epic.

8. GENERAL FIASCO (Spring/Summer 2012)

The follow-up to 2010's stupendously addictive 'Buildings' is due for release this year. Expect big things.


Look, if it doesn't happen in 2012, it probably never will, okay? Having released countless tremendous singles and EPs, it's about time Newcastle's Let's Buy Happiness got round to unleashing the long-promised debut LP on the world. It'll skyrocket them to superstardom. If there's any justice in the world.

10. FATHERSON (debut)

Manchester Orchestra meets Twin Atlantic meets The Xcerts. Or something. They're Scottish, they sound incredible. Nuff said.

11. METRIC: Realities (Spring 2012)

Frankly, with their track record, we're convinced that Metric can do absolutely no wrong. Hopefully, given the parallels, 'Realities' will pick up where 'Fantasies' left off and give us more deliciously dark indie-pop gems.

12. MUSE (Autumn 2012)

According to Matt Bellamy, Muse feel like they've drawn a line under 'a certain period for the band' and that their forthcoming sixth release, expected late this year, will herald the dawning of a new era. Quite what that will entail is anyone's guess but hopefully, it'll be as spine-tinglingly out of this world as everything else they've ever recorded.

13. MUMFORD & SONS (Summer/Autumn 2012)

Well, given that they've now just about taken over the entire Western world, Mumford & Sons will be looking to consolidate their position upon release of their sophomore record later this year. If the new songs they've debuted live thus far are any gauge, there's no reason why they can't headline festivals within a year or so.


Yes, it's now official folks... Kele has finally got all of that awful gymtastic dancefloor house pap out of his system and he's back recording with three of the most talented musicians this country has to offer. Expect a new record at some point in 2012 and hopefully, it'll sound more 'So Here We Are' than 'One More Chance'.

15. SILVERSUN PICKUPS: 3 (Spring 2012)

This will be incredible. Trust me.

Oh, it might not be a bad shout to expect something new from Biffy Clyro, Frightened Rabbit, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Gaslight Anthem either. Good year? Are they ever anything but?

Monday, 2 January 2012

POKE playlists: December 2011

December 30th 2011

David Bowie: Speed of Life

Noah and the Whale: L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

Rilo Kiley: Moneymaker

Tears for Fears: Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)

Death Cab for Cutie: You Are A Tourist

British Sea Power: Observe the Skies

Bright Eyes: Jejune Stars

Los Campesinos!: Hello Sadness

The Spinto Band: Oh Mandy

Tegan and Sara: Walking With A Ghost

Vampire Weekend: Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Fanfarlo: Drowning Men

Gomez: Hangover

Tapes 'n' Tapes: Just Drums

Beirut: Santa Fe

The Divine Comedy: Neapolitan Girl

Aloe Black: I Need A Dollar

Eric B & Rakim: Don't Sweat the Technique

Nina Simone: Love Me or Leave Me

Hellicopter Girl: White Revolving Circles

Stricken City: Pull Down the House

Burning Hotels: Beach

The Naked and Famous: Girls Like You

Sparks: When Do I Get To Sing 'My Way'?

Foster the People: Helena Beat

The Killers: On Top

MGMT: Time to Pretend

Suede: Metal Mickey

Franz Ferdinand: The Dark of the Matinee

Talking Heads: And She Was

Wild Beasts: Reach a Bit Further

Eurythmics: Sex Crime (1984)

Ida Maria: Queen of the World

SBTRKT: Pharoahs

Feist: 1 2 3 4 (Van She Remix)

LL Cool J: Phenomenon

Prince: When Doves Cry

Scissor Sisters: Invisible Light

The Go! Team: Milk Crisis

Austra: Beat and the Pulse

Clock Opera: A Piece of String

Metronomy: The Bay

Arcade Fire: No Cars Go

The Cure: Friday I'm In Love

R.E.M.: Orange Crush

The Vaccines: Post Break-Up Sex

Arctic Monkeys: Fake Tales of San Francisco

The Smiths: Panic

The White Stripes: My Doorbell

Interpol: Evil

Joy Division: Digital

Bo Diddley: Bo Diddley

The War on Drugs: Baby Missiles

The Strokes: Machu Picchu

Crystal Castles: Not in Love

Kele: Tenderoni

Everything Everything: MY KZ YR BF (Grum Remix)

Crystal Fighters: Champion Sound

Bombay Bicycle Club: Shuffle

Thao + Mirah: Eleven

Kate Bush: Hounds of Love

Florence and the Machine: Drumming Song

Goldfrapp: Train

Depeche Mode: Enjoy the Silence

Pet Shop Boys: Domino Dancing

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: The Message

Chemical Brothers: Hey Boy, Hey Girl

The Prodigy: Girls

Dubstar: Not So Manic Now

Blondie: Union City Blue

Eddie Cochran: Come On Everybody

Nancy Sinatra: These Boots Are Made For Walking

Jonathan Richman: California Desert Party

Cher: For What It's Worth

December 16th 2011

Arcade Fire: Haiti

Los Campesinos!: By Your Hand

Gang of Four: I Love A Man In Uniform

Miami Horror: Holidays

Battles: Sweetie & Shag

of Montreal: Sex Karma

Foals: Olympic Airwaves

The National: Bloodbuzz Ohio

The Maccabees: Pelican

Wild Beasts: Thankless Thing

Emily Wells: Symphony 3: The Story

Feist: See Lion Woman

Pulp: Do You Remember The First Time?

Amy Winehouse: Stronger Than Me

Belle and Sebastian: Step Into My Office Baby

Little Dragon: Ritual Union

Cloud Control: There's Nothing In The Water

David Bowie: John I'm Only Dancing

Little Comets: Joanna

Young the Giant: My Body

Sons and Daughters: Rose Red

The Vaccines: Norgaard

The Long Blondes: Once and Never Again

Band of Skulls: I Know What I Am

The Futureheads: Skip to the End

Fun Lovin' Criminals: Korean Bodega

Smashing Pumpkins: 1979

Bran Van 3000: Drinking In L.A.

Beck: The New Pollution

Chad Jackson: Hear The Drummer (Get Wicked)

A Tribe Called Quest: Can I Kick It?

The Explosions: Garden of Four Trees

tUnE-yArDs: Bizness

Cher: For What It's Worth

Fredo Viola: Original Man

Bjork: Violently Happy

Emiliana Torrini: Jungle Drum

Adam Ant: Goody Two Shoes

Good Shoes: Under Control

Bloc Party: The Prayer

Suede: Filmstar

Metronomy: The Bay

New Order: True Faith

Talking Heads: Road to Nowhere

The White Stripes: Seven Nation Army

T-Rex: Get It On

Iggy Pop: The Passenger

Neon Neon: Told Her On Alderaan

School of Seven Bells: The Night

St. Etienne: He's On The Phone

Azari + III: Manic

Eurythmics: Right By Your Side

Eugene McGuinness: Lion

Suede: Beautiful Ones

Foster the People: Pumped Up Kicks

Neneh Cherry: Buffalo Stance

Blondie: Call Me

Martha and the Muffins: Echo Beach

The Cure: Close to Me

Depeche Mode: Just Can't Get Enough

Blur: Girls and Boys

Pulp: Babies

Two Door Cinema Club: Something Good Can Work

Propellerheads f/Shirley Bassey: History Repeating

Violent Femmes: Blister in the Sun

Beach Boys: I Get Around

The Kinks: All Day and All of the Night

Prince: Raspberry Beret

Madonna: Material Girl

Scissor Sisters: Filthy/Gorgeous

Chemical Brothers: Do It Again

Azealia Banks: 212

Beyonce: Single Ladies

Betty Boo: Doin The Do

Kelis: Trick Me

Ike and Tina Turner: Nutbush City Limits

Goldfrapp: Ride A White Horse

Florence and the Machine: Dog Days Are Over

The Temper Trap: Sweet Disposition

The Smiths: Panic

Joy Division: Love Will Tear Us Apart

Arcade Fire: Rebellion (Lies)

Interpol: Evil

Foals: Cassius

Vampire Weekend: A-Punk

Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've?)

Ramones: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

The Gossip: Standing In The Way of Control

Franz Ferdinand: Take Me Out

The Killers: Somebody Told Me

Editors: Munich

Blue Boy: Remember Me

KRS-One: Sound Of Da Police

En Vogue: My Lovin'

Roots Manuva: Watch Me Dance

David Bowie: Golden Years

Elvis Costello: I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea

The Vapors: Turning Japanese

Devo: Whip It

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Date With The Night

Men Without Hats: The Safety Dance

Kate Bush: Babooshka

Eurythmics: There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Dancing In The Street

Alphabeat: Fascination

Erin McKeown: It's A Very Queer Christmas

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Top 20 Gigs of 2011

Of the 66 gigs I attended this year (excluding 3 festivals), these were the 20 finest performances...

20. WILD BEASTS, Manchester Cathedral (17/11/11)
19. JIMMY EAT WORLD performing 'Clarity' and 'Bleed American', HMV Forum, London (22/06/11)
18. SAVES THE DAY, Electric Ballroom, London (26/04/11)
17. INTERPOL, O2 Academy, Leeds (22/03/11)
16. MANIC STREET PREACHERS performing 'all' of their singles, O2 Arena, London (17/12/11)
15. THE SUBWAYS, O2 Academy, Newcastle (25/09/11)
14. LOS CAMPESINOS!, The Cockpit, Leeds (11/11/11)
13. REVIVAL TOUR (BRIAN FALLON, DAN ANDRIANO, CHUCK RAGAN, DAVE HAUSE), Northumbria University, Newcastle (01/10/11)
12. LOW, The Sage, Gateshead (18/05/11)
11. PULLED APART BY HORSES, The Cluny, Newcastle (11/01/11)
10. ARCADE FIRE, Hyde Park, London (30/06/11)
9. BRIGHT EYES, The Sage, Gateshead (12/07/11)
8. THE NATIONAL, Edinburgh Corn Exchange (23/08/11)
7. DANANANAKROYD (last ever show), The Cluny, Newcastle (12/11/11)
6. FRANK TURNER (secret show), Santiago's, Leeds (05/03/11)
5. LES SAVY FAV, The Cluny, Newcastle (02/03/11)
4. MANCHESTER ORCHESTRA, Manchester Academy 2 (05/10/11)
3. AGAINST ME!, The Cockpit, Leeds (18/11/11)
2. RYAN ADAMS, Glasgow Academy (25/06/11)
1. WEEZER, Brixton Academy, London (06/07/11)

66 gigs by city/town

Newcastle - 29
London - 8
Leeds - 7
Manchester - 5
Los Angeles - 4
Gateshead - 3
Durham - 2
Glasgow - 2
San Francisco - 2
Edinburgh - 1
Middlesbrough - 1
Milton Keynes - 1
Sunderland - 1

Festival locations:

Leeds - 1 (Leeds Fest)
Balado, Kinross - 1 (T in the Park)
Sheffield - 1 (Tramlines)

Top 50 Albums of 2011

Alright pop pickers, it's time for the definitive list of the best (read: my favourite) fifty long-players released this year. Read 'em and weep.

50. THE COMPUTERS: This Is The Computers
49. NOAH AND THE WHALE: Last Night on Earth
48. COSMO JARVIS: Is the World Strange or am I Strange?
46. I AM THE AVALANCHE: Avalanche United
45. LITTLE COMETS: In Search of Elusive Little Comets
44. MAZES: A Thousand Heys
43. COPY HAHO: Copy Haho
42. SMITH WESTERNS: Dye It Blonde
41. TELEKINESIS: 12 Desperate Straight Lines
40. CHRIS T-T: Disobedience (Chris T-T Sings A.A. Milne)
38. BATTLES: Gloss Drop
37. BLACK LIPS: Arabia Mountain
36. VERONICA FALLS: Veronica Falls
34. GIRLS: Father, Son, Holy Ghost
33. FUCKED UP: David Comes to Life
32. BJORK: Biophilia
31. tUnE-yArDs: w h o k i l l
30. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY: Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
29. ARCTIC MONKEYS: Suck It and See
28. BEIRUT: The Rip Tide
26. PATRICK WOLF: Lupercalia
25. TV ON THE RADIO: Nine Types of Light
24. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE: Codes and Keys
23. FLEET FOXES: Helplessness Blues
22. THE ANTLERS: Burst Apart
21. THE NAKED AND FAMOUS: Passive Me, Aggressive You
20. BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB: A Different Kind of Fix
19. DAVE HAUSE: Resolutions
18. WILD FLAG: Wild Flag
17. IRON & WINE: Kiss Each Other Clean
16. THE VACCINES: What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
15. CRAZY ARM: Union City Breath
14. BON IVER: Bon Iver
13. BRITISH SEA POWER: Valhalla Dancehall
12. THE BLACK KEYS: El Camino
11. WILD BEASTS: Smother
10. CAGE THE ELEPHANT: Thank You, Happy Birthday
8. LOS CAMPESINOS!: Hello Sadness
7. BRIGHT EYES: The People's Key
6. RYAN ADAMS: Ashes and Fire
5. WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS: In the Pit of the Stomach
4. THE HEAD AND THE HEART: The Head and the Heart
3. PJ HARVEY: Let England Shake

And the record of the year goes to... drum roll please...

1. FRANK TURNER: England, Keep My Bones

Consisting of 12 of his very finest lyrics, 'England, Keep My Bones 'is Frank Turner’s love letter to dear old Blighty, a collection of beautifully evocative and at times deliciously poignant poems that celebrate the people and places that make up this ramshackle little country. It’s undoubtedly his most consistent, and really bloody brilliant, work to date, moving effortlessly from one rousing chorus to the next; whether it’s the unashamedly atheist 'Glory Hallelujah' or the spine-tinglingly moving 'I Am Disappeared', these are songs that you just cannot resist singing along to. It’s no coincidence that this is his most successful album yet and long may the upward trend continue. Roll on Wembley.

And also... a special mention to Alex Turner's sublime soundtrack to Submarine, a truly beautiful piece of work that would most definitely be awarded Soundtrack of the Year status if I'd actually bothered listening to any other soundtracks. Probably.