2010 in review: all about music

A bit late in the day for my 2010 roundup but hey, I’ve been busy.

I’ve split this post into two parts to break it up a bit; if you’re wondering where the other bit is, be patient. I’ve scheduled the two posts an hour apart.

Music writing!

Over the course of 2010 I posted reviews of (in chronological order) Nothington, French for Cartridge, Victoria & Jacob (twice), Rolo Tomassi, Throats (twice), Antares, Blacklisted, Bomb the Music Industry!, Bull See Red, Growns Ups (twice), Stegosaurus, Sundials, the Menzingers, Deftones, Boy Mandeville, the Black Keys, Dirty Tactics, Static Age, Campaign, Off With Their Heads, Victor! Fix the Sun, Junior Battles, Everyone Everywhere, Iron Chic, Frontier(s), Ghost Robot Ninja Bear, Come On Gang, Bastions, the Holy Mess, Pianos Become the Teeth, RVIVR, Banquets, Fake Problems, Charles the Osprey, Mixtapes, Direct Hit!, Bangers, the Border Surrender, Daughters, Young Adults, Let’s Talk Daggers, Jackals, Museum Mouth, Go Rydell, the Great Explainer, Castevet and Candy Hearts.

By my count that’s 48 reviews (there are a couple of splits in there). It’s been hugely rewarding to write these. At the start of the year there were only 1 or 2 PRs sending me material for review. 12 months later and I’m getting numerous submissions every week. The upshot is that I’m now getting sent lots of cool music to listen to, think and write about, and those reviews are being read.

It’s also been great to hear from a few of the bands I’ve reviewed – some people have gotten in touch to thank me for a “thoughtful” review or to express appreciation that I “get it”. While I may not always get what a band is trying to do I try and approach my reviews as thoughtfully as I can. I love a hilariously snarky review or a heavily contextualised critical review as much as the next guy but I can’t write those, so instead I do thoughtful.

Aside from record reviews my music-related writing was slim. Here’s my “best of 2009” round-up – I’ll have the 2010 equivalent sorted, uh, at some point. I also wrote a little about my friends’ band Offcuts / WW2 vs Dinosaurs, and two solitary live reviews (the second day of 2009’s Offset festival, and a bunch of nu-thrash bands at the now-defunct Engine Room here in Brighton). I now prefer writing record reviews as it’s harder to take notes during gigs. Also I drink and am very forgetful. There are only so many times you can get away with a live review that is basically “I like this band and, erm, they played all the songs I like except this one, possibly, and the singer told a joke that was pretty funny and a guy stood on an amp and waved his dick around.”

Anyway, links to all of the above can be found on the music reviews page.

Wrecktheplacefantastic

It’s been a really good year for my band. We’ve played just over a dozen shows around Brighton and are now much more comfortable and confident onstage. Thanks to playing those gigs and regularly practicing we’re also much tighter and it’s been commented on that we seem cohesive as a band now (as opposed to a collection of individuals who happen to be playing the same song).

Much of our set is still composed of our oldest songs, but tunes like Bus Song and Down With the Ship are proving quite difficult to let go of. The former is still my favourite thing to play (mostly because it’s the only one where I get to really let rip with a super melodic power chord chorus that’s dead easy to play) and I like the latter because I get to gruffshout a lot (coming in 2011: I learn how to sing?). Fortunately the less interesting old songs like Song 3 and Don’t Forget are facing the axe. The former is almost insultingly basic and I’ve never much liked the latter; that said, there are people who come to see us who love these songs.

We’ve added a number of new tunes to our set that we’re much more proud of. The Worst That Can Happen is from ’09 but was debuted live in January ’10 and is now much better; Everywhere At Once is a really solid tune; No Teeth is an unusual song in that it features our first time signature change and both myself and Ben experimenting with delay effects; Pckl Yr Lvr is the first song that I’ve written for the band – a fast number with lots of double octave slides – and I’m proud of it. We also have another new tune, Ruin, which has a really hooky chorus and clean guitar picking from both myself and Ben in the verse (I almost exclusively play chords so it’s been good to push myself a bit there). Ben’s lyrics are increasingly good, Jack is now a much tighter drummer (I hugely admire his multi-instrumentalist skills), and Chris’s aggressive yet melodic bass and powerful vocals have been a superb addition to the band.

We also recorded our second demo that is about a million times better than the first. Oh, and I made us a website.

Massive thanks to everyone who came to see us, everyone who put us on, everyone who has expressed support and everyone we’ve played with for being awesome.

[Read part two here.]

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  1. […] Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: the 2nd part of this 2-part blog post in which I gaze at my navel and discuss the epic history of some stuff I did in 2010. Part one is here. […]