7. THIS IS MY TRUTH 2005–2009


   When we finally waved goodbye to the smackheads, the beer bellies, the scum and the grime of the town I’d lived in for almost my entire adult life, I did have a tinge of regret, uncertain of a future in a village where there were just two Sunday buses and the local teenagers idea of fun was pulling skateboard moves in the park rather than breaking and entering. I guess what we were trying to do was rebuild our castle, pull up the drawbridge, and forget about the youthful junkies and middle aged drunks of this world.

   A downer amongst these shifting sands was the recurrence of my melancholy moods. I tended to agree with whoever said: ‘Human beings are simply not equipped to deal with the crushing demands of 21st century living and its deluded update of Descartes ’I’m busy therefore I am’. In the new millennium there were so many illusions underpinning our lives; of being busy, of security, of control, of happiness, while each day raced by faster than the last, the pace of life accelerating up the cul-de-sac towards the proverbial brick wall. 

   Traditionally Britain had always lagged behind in the work ethic stakes and once had even been considered the lazy man of Europe. While I did my best to uphold that honourable reputation, the new decade cemented us as a nation of hopeless workaholics. In real terms that often meant less job security, less time off and fewer rights, but it also left us with more aspirations than ever before and an uncontrollable lust for more, more, more, even if that in itself made us feel increasingly like there was something missing. I certainly had a strong desire to be lifted out of a life that had gotten immeasurably hectic. All too often l found myself drowning in a sea of irrelevant crap with no idea how I’d got there and I was fucked off with it.

   One easily available, instant cure was anti-depressants even if they did turn me into a soporific, grinning blimp, gliding through the world with all bumps and dips chemically removed. Counselling was something I’d never really considered, my teenage experiences of mother enforced psychiatry still too fresh a memory, but once I understood that the little white pill I was taking suppressed good emotions just as effectively as the bad, I put my misgivings to one side and gave it a go. 

   In the spirit of finally sorting myself out, I took the therapy seriously and realised that the black hole sucking me in was made of the same kind of childhood issues everyone has. My problem was that I’d repressed them for so long they’d developed into shadowy demons with loud voices, loud enough to drown out all the real voices around me, like my wife’s when she told me how much she loved me. She’s lying the demons roared and I would believe them, my self-loathing and misery going from there.

   Much to my amazement, the sessions I attended religiously every week for three years proved a real life changer. They didn’t cure me, exactly, but they did introduce my self-image to my real self and encouraged them to get along. Of course, with such an intense deconstruction of my own mindset I did crawl up my own arse occasionally, but thankfully I’d been taught how to escape so whenever I did venture up that dark passage, I was able to find my way out and not become trapped in the usual cycle of despair.

   As ever music helped get me through, my son’s infectious enthusiasm always there to invigorate me whenever I wavered. For the first time in a decade I started going to shows again, and I mean proper shows with current artists, not The Stones on one of their Fleecing The Punters tours or any other bunch of greedy old bastards jacking up their pensions off the backs of sad middle agers desperate to rekindle the good old days. With so much else to listen to I could never get my head around that kind of nostalgia and still can’t. It’s all crap, pure showbiz.

   Following the initial surge, by the mid noughties the internet’s ability to connect groups with their audience had finally begun to mature. The matrix of connections built through social networking reached critical mass and the flier pasted to a phone box became the blog read by thousands. With eager young fans keeping up with more music so easily, tastes broadened and specialisation followed meaning artists could get as weird and out there as they liked with no fear of rejection. Every avenue was explored, even once forbidden zones like the stirring, passionate arena ready anthems of Arcade Fire, the new old weird Americana of Beirut or the unearthly prog of Sigur Ros. None of these artists were stars in the old sense but they were able to find a global fan base and make a significant impact and decent living, often off the back of one great album. Sure, there were way too many beards about, and the smell of hippy would rise up again, but hey, that was just my old prejudices coming out to play.

   As pop culture became more and more fragmented and transient, the meaning behind music and the reasons for making it changed almost completely. In the face of an increasing abundance of deathly leisure options music lost much of its cultural power, so much so that it became almost impossible to create a big movement in a way that had been possible even in the nineties. Everything suddenly became so post-modern and broken down that in the West at least, no-one thought about revolution anymore.

  Of course, in the cracks between the generations, hidden deep within the class system, racism, the haves and the have not’s, there was still the odd voice of dissent but they were almost completely overwhelmed by the tidal wave of greed, intolerance and fraud. And I have to admit that often even the small amount of politically engaged, meaningful art I did manage to find sounded horribly irrelevant and indulgent, lost and lonely in the vast retail parks of consumerism. They were still vital for my own personal hope and sanity but I couldn’t help wondering if I was just deluding myself, particularly as no matter where I thought I stood on all the weighty cultural and political issues of the time, the fact was that I still appreciated the value of a killer tune above all else.

   While I eagerly embraced MP3 culture, illegal downloading and all that, I was more than happy to leave the virtual world alone; virtual friends, virtual sex, virtual war. In the noughties nothing was ever quite what it seemed. As soon as technology reconfigured the landscape, surface and appearance had the edge over substance, the rise of the internet and social networking instilling an unnatural fear of losing reputations. It was all very restrictive, very pacifying and very safe with no-one prepared to rattle the cage for fear of becoming an outcast. And yet, while the West slumbered in a virtual, digitally induced heaven, there were more bad things happening in world than ever before, and my son was slap bang in the middle of the very worst of them.

   Afghanistan may not have been the greatest place to be but for an infantry soldier it was the only place, and my son most definitely wanted to be there. Having joined up determined to live a life outside the norm, and with the noble intention of at least trying to make a difference, by the time he was 21 not only had he literally seen the world, he had also completed two combat tours of Afghanistan including the infamous Siege Of Sangin where his platoon were besieged by the Taliban day and night over an increasingly desperate four month period. Despite the obvious danger he always said that it was in the midst of combat when he felt truly alive. Of course, for any parent those times were purgatory, the fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night ever present although in a weird kind of way we did learn to live with it simply because we had to. But that didn’t make it any easier when I waved him off for the third time on a tour that was predicted to be the most dangerous and deadly of the lot. Yet I was still kind of envious.

   My life, as comfortable as it was, had slowed to a crawl. Like most of us, I knew what I didn’t want but had no idea what I did. Maybe that’s why I began to question my long standing commitment to the power of music or maybe it was because my half century was fast approaching. As James Murphy so eloquently put it, I was ‘losing my edge’. I needed a small yet meaningful gesture to regain my perspective so hatched a crazy, Bill Drummond type plan to listen to just one current album per month to the exclusion of everything else. Predictably I barely got started, the anticipation of hearing other new, potentially life changing songs still impossible to resist after my near forty years of listening.

   It was a momentary yet necessary lapse of faith yet it did serve its purpose by confirming what really I already knew; that music and the songs I invest in continue to define me and always will. In the ongoing, unpredictable, brilliant chaos of my life, they are my tablets of stone, my holy sacraments. They are my truth!


LCD SOUNDSYSTEM / Losing My Edge / LCD Soundsystem LP / January 2005

   James Murphy may well have been losing his edge but by the time I got to the second half of the noughties I’d already lost mine. Otherwise, how do I explain missing out three years earlier when this was released as LCD Soundsystem’s debut single? In hindsight I guess that was kind of appropriate given it was the story of an ageing hipster who suddenly found himself irrelevant when a new generation of kids entered the fray. Being someone who had always balanced his own admittedly self- perceived cool taste in music with the anxiety of growing older, it not only made me realise just how much I’d lost touch, it made me laugh out loud.

   Over an old post punk beat, Murphy threw insults at the kids ‘coming up from behind’ while trying to retain a few crumbs of credibility with some ridiculously tall tales of early encounters with Can, Suicide, the Jamaican Sound Clashes, Ibiza and other sacred moments, eventually signing off with the list to end all lists of influential obscurities and icons impossible to top. A hilarious, yet ultimately poignant history of hipsterdom, ‘Losing My Edge’ remains my most played song of the decade.


BECK / Scarecrow / Guero LP / March 2005

   Poor Beck he’s never been much loved, so often dismissed as a record shop junkie sheltering behind clever, clever songs designed to garner praise from a public who just don’t care. Me, I think he’s great, each album carrying a welcome familiarity in its dusty, new from old beats, and of course Beck being the urban craftsman that he is, as groovy as fuck.   


ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS / Hope There’s Someone / I Am A Bird Now LP / March 2005

   Sometimes a song has the power to literally take your breath away. Whatever you're doing, you stop and just stare at the speakers, amazed at the power and beauty coming out of them. As pretentious as that maybe, ‘Hope There's Someone’ really was an extraordinary song, Antony’s remarkable voice imbuing the heart wrenching lyric and its plea for companionship with such devastating emotion it became a thing of true wonder.


GORILLAZ / Dirty Harry / Demon Days LP / May 2005

  Damon Albarn ain’t half been a clever bastard! I can only imagine the gnashing of teeth when Noel Gallagher first heard Gorillaz but then middle class, softy, southerner Damon always had more talent in his arsehole than working class, hard nut northerner Noely had in his rotting retro carcass. No matter what the mono browed one thought, when Gorillaz debut appeared it completely redefined the meaning of the term musical side project. The second instalment Demon Days was no less revolutionary but did mark a shift into darker realms, a long way from the instant party hits of the debut. I liked it a whole lot more, touched as it was with a palpable all too human sadness offering far more soul than the cartoon concept originally suggested.      


SUFJAN STEVENS / Chicago / Illinoise LP / July 2005

   I’ve never liked the idea of America the nation very much, so when a literary folk poet threatened to record an album about every state in the union I wasn’t exactly thrilled. It’s a good job then that Sufjan Stevens only managed to complete a couple, the first about Michigan, the second the cleverly subtitled Come On Feel The Illinoise. A staggeringly ambitious, lushly orchestrated extravaganza, his songs about God, mortality and love could just as easily have been applied to any of the remaining forty eight states. 


GOLDFRAPP / Ooh La La / Supernature LP / August 2005

   Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory spent the noughties flip flopping between icy glam and electronic balladry. Guess which one I preferred? While ‘Ooh La La’ may have been their most successful song, it also happened to be their best; super charged, futuristic and proof that the stomp of glam will never truly disappear. 


SIGUR RÓS  / Hoppipolla / Takk LP / September 2005

   ‘Hoppipolla’ was the first song my daughter told me she liked and a classic example of the new way music was being utilised in the new Century. Its use in numerous films and commercials meant there was no avoiding it. For some reason Sigur Rós had completely passed me by, but when I dug a little deeper there was no denying their magic. Whilst attempting to mythologize their other worldliness, they shattered the language barrier by tapping into a universal past. No wonder they enchanted my six year old girl. 


ARCTIC MONKEYS / Mardy Bum / Whatever People Say I Am LP / January 2006

  When The Libertines imploded The Arctic Monkeys must have even surprised themselves with the speed they filled the gaping hole. Almost immediately they were declared ‘Their generations most important band’, maybe because in essence they made stripped down punk records with every touchstone of Great British music covered; the Englishness of The Kinks, the melodic nous of The Beatles, the sneer of the Sex Pistols, the wit of The Smiths, the groove of the Stone Roses and the clatter of The Libertines. Not bad for a bunch of kids who spent their teens listening to hip-hop. Where that really showed was in Alex Turners lyrics and frenetic delivery. Forgetting the flowery fancies conjured up by Dickensian Doherty, his tales were of the scum-ridden streets in the 21st Century rather than the nineteenth.


LIARS / The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack / Single A Side / February 2006

   In the second half of the noughties I more or less gave up on buying and listening to albums. Downloading meant why bother when I could cherry pick the best songs. Besides, who had 70 minutes to wade through a shit load of filler on the off chance of discovering yet another nugget of gold? Of course, the downside was that whereas once I’d invested so completely in an artist’s records, art and theories on life, suddenly those things didn’t seem to matter anymore. Inevitably that meant that I would regularly find myself listening to something and have no idea who or why it was, which is exactly what happened with ‘The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack’. I knew nothing about Liars but that didn’t matter. I loved their song and that’s all that did.


THE KNIFE / We Share Our Mothers Health / Silent Shout LP / March 2006

   Silent Shout was exactly the sort of album helping to keep electronic music alive. Carrying an uneasy ghost in the machine feel, it cultivated a mood of encroaching dread through a ceaseless inventiveness that pulled together every peculiar gift this Swedish brother and sister duo had been blessed with. And within all that there was some serious lyrical weirdness going on; fairy tale creepiness, childlike wailing, waltz’s for the dead, scared housewives, rage, forests, politics, family and Volvo employees!


HOT CHIP / Over And Over / The Warning LP / May 2006

   The Warning may have sounded like a wonky version of smart electronic pop, but what really surprised me was that within its propulsive danceable rhythms, it was possible to detect a distinct seventies and eighties funk’n’soul influence touching on everything from Donna Summer to Jam & Lewis. What I didn’t know was that despite being a bunch of self-confessed white, geeky, middle class boys, Hot Chip’s relationship with black music had always been intense and complex so they used those influences to rework their electronica into a new, refreshingly original form. In 2006 The Warning sounded like our pop future!    


CAMERA OBSCURA / Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken / Single A Side / May 2006

   An achingly poised update of Lloyd Coles ‘Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?’ and a real throwback to the glory days of Glaswegian indie pop, where girls swooned and boys worried.


LOVE IS ALL / Busy Doing Nothing / Busy Doing Nothing EP / June 2006

   As technology helped odd little groups and artists become modestly successful, it also made room for a lot more cultural variety. In this new environment all musical and physical borders and barriers were removed until it became perfectly feasible for previously unfashionable countries like France to become a new centre for grinding dance music and Sweden to become a new home for clattering neo post punk pop like Love Is All.


JARVIS COCKER / Running The World / Single A Side / July 2006

   Over a portentous, electronic orchestra, one of our greatest living Englishmen solemnly muttered ‘cunts are still running the world’. As I thought of all the grey faced, grey suited, grey minded beauracrat’s I’d ever known, all I could do was nod in agreement. It was a classic tale of despair and disgust, Jarvis knowing only too well that the closest the plebs sordida would ever get to a social revolution was a ruck at the Next January sales.      


JAMIE T / Shelia / Single A Side / July 2006

   What could possibly have attracted me, a nice, middle-class, forty something to this 20 year old South London brat’s squalid three act play packed with a sad cast of boozers and ne’er do wells? The devil as they say was most definitely in the detail; the plummy John Betjeman quote from ‘The Cockney Amorist’; the bellow of ‘Loondooon!’ interrupting the chorus. Raised up on a rattling hip hop backbeat, in Jamie T’s croaky Joe Strummer-ish patois, his tales became curiously uplifting.


MR THING & YUNGUN / Peter Pan Syndrome / Grown Man Business LP / September 2006

   Every time I hear ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ I’m reminded how Thingy’s beats, plundered as they were from Stylistics era jams had never been used before. I’m also reminded how Yungun was one of the few MC’s, certainly from the UK, who had the fire and skill to negotiate such a tricky transition between straight reminiscence and profound melancholy without falling into schmaltzy sentimentality. 


BEIRUT / Postcards From Italy / The Gulag Orkestar LP / December 2006

   The internet opened up the blogosphere to every kind of musician and non-musician looking for their own post box to the world. When Zach Condon recorded Gulag Orkestar his compelling vocal presence, charismatic melodies, Balkan brass and love for Olde Worlde Europe made him sound like an ancient crooner. And yet, he was just a nineteen year old kid recording in his Albuquerque bedroom. Without the new digital world he’d surely still be there and we’d all be none the wiser.


NAS / Hip Hop Is Dead / Hip Hop Is Dead LP / December 2006

   Now, while I can’t help thinking Nas’s tongue was firmly in his cheek when he solemnly announced ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’, having been a commercial proposition for over 25 years, a long time for any genre to stay relevant, 2006 did seem as good a time as any to pronounce the death sentence. What hip hop taught me like no other music before or since was that while it could be the most thrilling noise ever, there was no denying that it had become a desperately unmemorable procession of production line robots with lyrics trudging the hedonistic treadmill of bling and booty. 

   Even the sound of hip hop, always its saving grace in the absence of political engagement or MC as poet, had deteriorated. All the odd angles and eerie spaces had been flattened out, replaced by portentous Digi-synth fanfares, plastic Autotune and lumbering beats, pre-degraded to sound good on YouTube and mobiles. Ironically, Nas’s declaration did force me to reflect on this lack of vigour and invention, so much so that I decided for me at least hip hop really was dead and Nas’s brilliant construction based on Iron Butterflys epic ‘In A Gadda Da Vida’ would be its gravestone.


ARCADE FIRE / Intervention / Neon Bible LP / March 2007

   When my youngest son marched off to war, Neon Bible was exactly the sort of album he had playing in his headphones. I guess that despite Arcade Fire’s epic coming Armageddon, nothing lasts forever doom and gloom, he was able to find the glimmer of hope and courage he needed within the earnest grandeur and absolute majesty of their music. ‘Intervention’ alone boasted soaring strings and a great welling chorus that built to an utterly glorious climax. An absolute masterstroke, it was a song that lyrically was so mired in unfathomable darkness, there’s no way it should have sounded so completely dazzling yet it did, a thrilling enigma providing some comfort in seriously troubled times.


BATTLES / Atlas / Single A Side / April 2007

   Living in a Swindon terraced house, the painting of his beloved model soldiers only interrupted by an occasional trip to the shed to bash down the music still bubbling up in his head, Andy Partridge remains the perfect anti pop star. Odd then that despite never being mentioned, the songs this bloke from Wiltshire wrote over twenty five years ago for his pop combo XTC should still be informing a top rated indie group from New York.


M.I.A. / Paper Planes / Kala LP / August 2007

   M.I.A. was never trendy in my admittedly small social circle, the use of The Clash’s ‘Straight To Hell’ thought to be sacrilege by those old enough to remember. And yet ‘Paper Planes’ is a whole lot more than just a nifty steal. I’ve always thought of it as a modern day torch song for the worlds disaffected, M.I.A.’s genius lying in her ability to make the fairly meaningless lyrics about US immigration sound like a grand proclamation. And with its chorus of gunshots, the ker-ching of a cash register and a kiddy choir singing ‘All I wanna do is take your money’ how did anyone resist?


THE OSCILLATION / Liquid Memoryman / Out Of Phase LP / October 2007

   One of the reasons for the decline in dance music’s ability to shock and amaze was the arrival of the superclub and loathsome, dollar eyed, superstar DJ’s who didn’t exactly make for cutting edge mavericks pushing things forward. Thinking back to the more pioneering days of rave I found The Oscillation. They evoked that same spirit, albeit with real drums, a hint of the more interesting side of the Floyd and not being strictly danceable


BURIAL / Archangel / Untrue LP / November 2007

   For those of us who knew little about the every twist and turn of EDM micro genres, the rise of Burial to Godlike status came out of nowhere. Given its uncoordinated often sparse rhythms, I couldn’t imagine anyone seriously into dance music finding much to get excited about on Untrue. But to me it was truly addictive, groundbreaking and modern, the digitally manipulated, repeated voices creating a beautiful sense of sadness that matched my own introspective state perfectly. 


MGMT / Time To Pretend / Oracular Spectacular LP/ December 2007

   Occasionally a song comes along that is so glorious it blows the bullshit away. With such an incredible tune and searing electronic melody, ‘Time To Pretend’ did just that, lines like ‘I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin and fuck with the stars / You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars’ detailing the kind of shallow, rock’n’roll lifestyle we all used to fantasise about as teenagers.


HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR / Blind / Single A Side / March 2008

   Propelled forward by a classic disco groove topped with some urgent brass and weeping strings, ‘Blind’ related a tale of transition from innocent certainty to disillusioned isolation as told by Antony Hegarty. It could have been about love, sex, sexuality, society, drugs, an amazing night out and the emptiness of the following morning. Alternatively it could have been about a community that spent so long on the dancefloor waiting for a moment of shared epiphany that it drifted off into the margins only to be snared by bad sex and better drugs. In truth, 'Blind' was about all of those things and more. And that is why it is still the greatest dance anthem of its time.


BON IVER / Flume / For Emma, Forever Ago LP / April 2008

   For Emma, Forever Ago emerged from Justin Vernon’s three month hibernation in the woods of Wisconsin. While any fool can write and sing about loneliness, he sounded so truly alone I wondered how he made it through. I’d often dreamed about such isolation, to escape the world for a while, but after listening to For Emma, Forever Ago, I wasn’t quite so sure.    


COLDPLAY / Viva La Vida / Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends LP / June 2008

   My eldest son had his own theory about Coldplay. Given their critical pasting he believed their problems started with the ridiculous comparisons to Radiohead, the original bastions of rock seriousness. To him, Chris Martin was always more Morten Harket than Thom Yorke, and he was right because Coldplay made so much more sense when compared to A-Ha. So forget all that middlebrow, intelligent rock bollocks, Coldplay are popbrow and always have been. Once you know that they suddenly come into their own, and ‘Viva La Vida’ certainly does that.


THE WAVE PICTURES / Leave The Scene Behind / Instant Coffee Baby LP / June 2008

   A sharp, simple, pop song about an ordinary boy and his pursuit of a girl way out of his league, a scenario most lads know all about. Hand claps, guitar solo, amazing backing vocals, sometimes this is all I need.   


FLEET FOXES / White Winter Hymnal / Single A Side / July 2008

   Pops greatest myths are always played out in the summer what with all those terminal images of scantily clad girlies, sand, sea and the fucking Beach Boys. So Fleet Foxes simple paean to the beauty of winter came as a welcome distraction; a wondrous moment of icy cool hidden amongst our irregular sunshine and more regular showers.


MOON WIRING CLUB / Ten Years Or Twenty / Shoes Off And Chairs Away LP / September 2008

   Recreating a musical English past has always been fraught with danger so hauntology was up against it from the start even if it was one of the more intriguing micro genres to emerge from a noticeably genre free decade. England and the English landscape lay at the very heart of this new obsession with artists attempting to reconnect with the intangible musical feelings and experiences that affected their formative years. Moon Wiring Club and their strange transmissions were perhaps the most dedicated, Shoes Off And Chairs Away the best of its kind if only for ‘Ten Years Or Twenty’, a quite staggering, spooky trip through darkest, deepest pastoral Britain. Utterly captivating and so completely English, it was a wave of eerie sound that instantly transported me back to a time when nothing was quite as it seemed. Never before had this green and unpleasant land sounded so unsettling.


EMPIRE OF THE SUN / We Are The People / Single A Side / September 2008

   With their exotic headgear and videos, Empire Of The Sun wanted us to believe they were soundtracking some Spielberg mega buster from the eighties so thank goodness they were nothing like it. Interesting without being cool, strange without being weird, their pop came in many colours.


GLASVEGAS / Lonesome Swan / Glasvegas LP / December 2008

   At its best rock’n’roll should be able to lift you from your daily tedium. In a disappointing 21st Century drowning in cynicism that maybe a completely outdated concept, but when I first heard ‘Lonesome Swan’ the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I was a believer once more. Singing real songs about real people in a real accent, with their all for one, one for all gang mentality Glasvegas were a genuine revelation.


ANIMAL COLLECTIVE / My Girls / Merriweather Post Pavilion / January 2009

   ‘There isn't much that I feel I'd need / A solid soul and the blood I bleed / With a little girl and by my spouse / I only want a proper house’. Allied to an insanely catchy and danceable tune, Animal Collectives ode to the bonds of family sounded like it was written especially for me.


LILY ALLEN / The Fear / Its Not Me Its You LP / February 2009

   For the first time since the early eighties pop began to move away from guilty pleasure territory, aged scribes and intellectuals trampling over each other to expound its virtues. Suddenly pop became interesting and cool proving, as if any proof were needed, that the pop song is still one of the greatest inventions there is. ‘The Fear’ was one of those songs, a withering comment on a world that is all surface, no feeling.  I know it’s still only a pop song, but then bullets are only metal, money only paper and religion just old stories. D’you know what I mean?   


PETER DOHERTY / Last Of The English Roses / Single A Side / March 2009

   Pete Doherty is often portrayed as the classic, misunderstood, romantic fop, clinging helplessly to a bottle, syringe or guitar while the crowd egg him on. Yet in a peculiar way, he has come to symbolise the helpless frustrations of an alienated British youth that finds life in the 51st state of America a sad farce. After the near hits and misses of Babyshambles our Pete finally manages to grab his reputation back, ‘Last Of The English Roses’ a euphoric sing song to be hollered in the pubs of old Arcady.


THE MUMMERS / March Of The Dawn / Tales To Tell LP / April 2009

   Few new groups could pull off the feat of inhabiting their own little universe quite as convincingly as The Mummers. Merrily weaving a web of old fashioned storytelling, Tales To Tell tapped into a very English eccentricity of Edward Lear fairytales, Victorian literature, music hall, circuses and Lewis Carroll that was all rather magical and childlike.


BIG PINK / Dominos / Single A Side / September 2009

   ‘Dominos’ was best taken at face value as a glorious chorus of five words repeated ad infinitum. Otherwise ‘these girls fall like dominos’ could easily have been construed as being a little bit sexist, although I preferred to hear it as a rite of passage for both boys and girls. Remember, we were all young once?


MUSE / Uprising / Single A Side / September 2009

   Occasionally, I just can’t be bothered wading through the traditional pillars of alternative music, trudging through the thick, unrelenting barrages of beats and noise in search of a graspable melody. Sometimes all I want is pure escapism and this trio of impeccable pop prog muso’s from Devon with their blend of the Glitter Band and Dr Who may have done nothing more than make a whole lot of people shake uncontrollably to their beautiful noise until the next beautiful noise began but that was enough.