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2012: Time To Reflect

Leighton Baines, 29th November 2012 - 14:47

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Leighton Baines

Leighton Baines

Posts: 7

Welcome to my music blog!

I will be posting regular pieces on my biggest passion outside of football. But where I go with my entries is entirely up to you. There is one rule though - all football talk is banned! I would love to hear any recommendations people may have in terms of bands to listen to or tracks you like. I will give feedback on the recommendations – and will be offering my own insights into what I’m listening to every week and what I like. I’ll keep it light-hearted – and I hope it is something you enjoy.

 

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When the coffee shops started to go festive with their coffees and cakes I knew there was something to be excited about... yep, those end of year lists!

I accept that end of year lists can be a bit metaphoric marmite for people but I am a big fan myself. I tend to find some decent stuff that I either hadn't come across or, for one reason or another, just hadn't got around to trying at the time. It also gives you the chance to see how your tastes compare with the 'experts' of the music world, or how theirs compare with each other.

They don't need to be taken too seriously though. Lots of us are going to be looking for different things from a song or an album and we are all entitled to an opinion - the world would be a very boring place if we all agreed on everything! The main thing is that we find something that we enjoy.

So with a gingerbread muffin and strong black coffee, I decided to begin jotting down the music that had resonated with me during 2012.

Listen to my 2012 playlist on Spotify by clicking here.

One of my favourite albums was Locked Down by Dr John. The album was produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, which I thought was quite cool. More often than not you hear of older, more experienced musicians helping out and working with younger artists and I thought it was interesting that the roles were reversed in this case, although I am sure that up until that point Auerbach had more to thank Dr John for. Check out this track here.

Battling it out for top spot on my list would be Standing At The Sky’s Edge by Richard Hawley. I am sure some of his fans may not have got on board with this album and it probably caught a few off guard being a departure from some of his previous stuff. Still, I would like to think that the majority could appreciate how great this record is.

There's some great songwriting and, as always, some great guitar work. It’s probably a shorter trip from the You and I single he did with Arctic Monkeys than his last album Trueloves Gutter and I would encourage anyone who hasn't already tried it to give it a go. He is due to pay at The Philharmonic early next year too, which should be great!

Another album that I really enjoyed was Blunderbuss by Jack White. This one doesn't stray too far from the bulk of his previous offerings but to me it feels more accomplished somehow. I managed to catch him live and he has an impressive band with him. That, coupled with the armoury of his catalogue of previous work, makes for a great show.

Also high up the list would be Paul Weller's Sonic Kicks. Not to be patronising but I think it’s great that he is always pushing for new sounds and doesn't stick to the safety of tried and tested formulas after a career of great tunes in the bag. This one is certainly harder to pin down than some of his previous stuff – there’s a growing use of synths and other effects and I found it a pretty fun record to listen too.

Two years after putting out their debut album Innerspeaker, Tame Impala returned to my headphones with Lonerism. It builds on the psychedelic sound that Innerspeaker possessed and while still full of distortion, fuzz and effects, it is also more melodic and the songwriting is improved from Kevin Parker, whose multi-tracked vocals are very Lennon-esque.

So they’re probably my favourite five records this year, although there are plenty of others worth mentioning; Lana Del Rey, Bob Dylan, The XX, Neil Young... too many to mention.

Check out some of these though and you won’t go far wrong:

Mark Lanegan - Blues Funeral

Grizzly Bear - Shields

Cat Power - Sun  

Eugene McGuiness - Invitation To The Voyage

There are a few decent new bands to have put out debut albums that are also worth checking out…

Toy - Toy

Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber

By The Sea - By The Sea

Also, try these tunes by new bands…

Haim

Savages

Wicked Whispers

Finally, although they didn't have an album out, Arctic Monkeys still had one of my favourite tunes of 2012 with R U Mine? The video was pretty cool too.

There’s far too much stuff out there to get through it all (and I am out of coffee).

I would love to hear what’s taken your fancy this year. And if there are any new bands/artists you think could make a mark on 2013 then let us know… don't be selfish!

I am hoping to hear some new material from Anna Calvi as I was a big fan of her debut in 2011.

There’s also going to be new material from Miles Kane, Cat's Eyes and possibly Arctic Monkeys to look forward to.

I am also excited to hear a new record from Bill Ryder-Jones… I reckon 2013 is going to be a good year!

And one last thing. I am just about to make myself a playlist of Christmas songs and would be interested to know what you would pick as your favourite one? I’m going for Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie….

Listen to my 2012 playlist on Spotify by clicking here.

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