transmission
15Mar/19Off

cursed?

Gentlemen

Bob Gendron

This entry in the 33⅓ series covers The Afghan Whigs estimable 1993 release Gentlemen.
After brief but well constructed introduction to the band members it seemed to me that it became rather by-the-numbers when talking about the recording of the record. The section talking about the individual songs held nothing new and was where the author's personal opinions began to overwhelm the factual content.
As for the part of the book dealing with the book's reception after release and it's lack of sales is chock full of biases about the music industry (Gendron seems to really not get why a difficult to classify album about messed up sexual relationships might not have sold in the early 90s) and is less than even handed when talking about the fallout.
It was worth borrowing from the library. I'd be rather disappointed if I'd paid money for it.

Rating: B

13Jan/19Off

heaven?

Fear of Music

Garry Mulholland

The follow up to This is Uncool is Mulholland's choice of the greatest albums since Disco and Punk (the original was just singles).
This book is very similar in style to This is Uncool. It's tone is much angrier and (to me as someone who was on message boards during the poptimism/rockism thing) it's a more political than personal in some choices this time around.
I've docked it point for the off tangent ranting in some entries and for the rather bleak view takes of even the best music in the final few choices.
It's a cheap and interesting read for any pop music nerd in your life.

Rating: B

1Jan/19Off

2018 Albums of the Year

1Low
Double Negative

8Nov/18Off

stan?

This Is Uncool

Garry Mulholland

In this collection of reviews Mulholland picks the best singles from Punk to the Milennium.
Of course this is a highly subjective thing but writes persuadingly on the worth of Pop in general and specifically on critically derided musical genres like Disco.
I vehemently disagreed with some of his opinions (mainly about your more earnest 80's rock acts) but learned enough to want to listen to a whole lot of music that I'd never even thought of checking out before.
It's super cheap right now second hand but for the sake of your wrists don't buy the hardback like I did!
If it matters I bought this because it came highly recommended by Kieron Gillen.

Rating: B+

29May/18Off

attention?

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl

Carrie Brownstein

I picked this up because Brownstein is part of one of my favourite bands: the wonderful Sleater-Kinney.
Despite her success with the cult comedy show Portlandia this book is very much more concerned with her band than any other aspect of her life.
Speaking with a disarmingly frank and self-deprecating tone she looks back at the band and her early life.
It's definitely one of the stronger rock musician autobiographies I've read.
I don't think she paints a very flattering picture of herself but she does come across as someone very much worth knowing.

Rating: A-

30Jan/18Off

2017 Albums of the Year

1Rose Elinor Dougall
Stellular

2St. Vincent
Masseduction

3Algiers
The Underside Of Power

4Richard Dawson
Peasant

5Nadine Shah
Holiday Destination

6Filthy Friends
Invitation

7LCD Soundsystem
american dream

8Mark Lanegan
Gargoyle

9Moses Sumney
Aromanticism

10Lorde
Melodrama

11Feb/17Off

2016 Albums of the Year

1Wussy
Forever Sounds

2Angel Olsen
MY WOMAN

3Lambchop
FLOTUS

4Lou Rhodes
theyesandeye

5case/lang/veirs
case/lang/veirs

6Leonard Cohen
You Want It Darker

7Hannah Peel
Awake But Always Dreaming

8Drive-By Truckers
American Band

9Heron Oblivion
Heron Oblivion

10Mitski
Puberty 2

15Aug/16Off

perfumed?

Good Night and Good Riddance

David Cavanagh

good night and good riddanceCavanagh is a music writer famed for his extensive research (and how much of it ends up on the page).
I read his authoritative book on Creation records a few years back. That book went into so much depth that it basically covers the entirety of the UK indie music business in the UK from the 70s to the turn of the millenium.
This book is a look at the career of the much missed BBC DJ John Peel. Rather than write a traditional biography Cavanagh has listened to hundreds of Peel shows from across his thirty-odd year UK broadcasting career.
He uses the context of a few shows each year to draw a picture of what was happening in the news, what music Peel was playing and goes into certain aspects of the DJ's behind the scenes life - both personally and professionally.
It's a startling piece of work revealing not only Peel's impact on UK cultural life but also how much has changed (and indeed not changed) in Britain since the late 1960s.
If you're at all interested in Peel, pop history, pop radio or UK society in general during the time period covered then this is a must-read.
Very highly recommended.

Rating: A

2Jan/16Off

2015 Albums of the Year

1Low
Ones And Sixes

LOW_OnesSixes_cover

2Julia Holter
Have You In My Wilderness

Julia_Holter

3Susanne Sundfør
Ten Love Songs

Susanne-Sundfør-Ten-Love-Songs-2015

4Sleater-Kinney
No Cities To Love

14a54cdb469e4d2263913f9aeab720eb.1000x1000x1

5Drenge
Undertow

Drenge-Undertow-art

6Torres
Sprinter

torres-sprinter-1500x1500

7LoneLady
Hinterland

lonelady_hinterland_new_album_the_405

8Gwenno
Y Dydd Olaf

cover600x600

9My Morning Jacket
The Waterfall

the-waterfall-my-morning-jacket-album-cover-art

10Gaz Coombes
Matador

matador-packshot-share

11Courtney Barnett
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

12The Decemberists
What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

13Farao
Till It's All Forgotten

14Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Multi-Love

15John Grant
Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

16New Order
Music Complete

17Ought
Sun Coming Down

18Wolf Alice
My Love Is Cool

19Patty Griffin
Servant Of Love

20The Unthanks
Mount The Air

This year I found it very hard to choose between the top three choices - they are all SO good. In the end took the easy option I went with the order of most listens on last.fm.
Choosing albums to go on the list beyond the top dozen on so was also quite difficult. I added 1771 tracks to my iTunes library in 2015 and giving all that music the attention it deserved to make album of the year choices was basically impossible. I'm happy with the list as it stands but it took a concerted effort in the last few weeks of the year to be able to make my choices.

I think I only attended a couple of gigs this year. The Ex were great at Summerhall, but I had to leave early due to toothache. Low were similarly great at the Glasgow School of Art but it was spoiled by the guy who talked non-stop through the first half of the gig.

My favourite new-to-me track of the year was Kamikaze by Susanne Sundfør.
My most listened to track was Lies by Low

5Jan/15Off

2014 Albums of the Year

1O'Hooley & Tidow
The Hum

The Hum 150

2St. Vincent
St. Vincent

St_Vincent_artwork 150

3Jenny Lewis
The Voyager

The Voyager 150

4Angel Olsen
Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Burn Your Fire For No Witness 150

5Sharon Van Etten
Are We There

Are We There 150

6Perfume Genius
Too Bright

Perfume-Genius-Too-Bright 150

7Damien Jurado
Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son 150

8Morgan Delt
Morgan Delt

Morgan Delt 150

9Mark Lanegan Band
Phantom Radio

Phantom Radio 150

10King Creosote
From Scotland With Love

17118-from-scotland-with-love 150

11EMA
The Future's Void

12Wye Oak
Shriek

13The New Pornographers
Brill Bruisers

14Elbow
The Take Off and Landing of Everything

15The Afghan Whigs
Do The Beast

16Grouper
Ruins

17Lucius
Wildewoman

18Wild Beasts
Present Tense

19The War On Drugs
Lost In The Dream

20Mirel Wagner
When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day

21Sturgill Simpson
Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

22The Rural Alberta Advantage
Mended With Gold

23J Mascis
Tied To A Star

24Spoon
They Want My Soul

25Honeyblood
Honeyblood

The Hum and St. Vincent were released a week apart in February 2014 and it's a testament to their quality that even with the toll of many months listening that my pick for record of the year was a straight choice between the two.
It was a hard decision but I picked the O'Hooley & Tidow record for my number one. It's a very beautiful record packed with personality and humanity. That sense of personality edged it ahead of St. Vincent's seamless, jeweled, statement of intent.

Gig of the year was Neutral Milk Hotel at the Corn Exchange. A joyous experience from beginning to end despite the slightly rubbish venue.

My favourite new-to-me song of the year was You, Sailor by Erin McKeown.
My most listened to song from a 2014 record was Coil & Spring by O'Hooley & Tidow