Welcome back my darlings. That was rather a longer advert break then I intended - but I had to hoover the remnants of the ready salted off the rug and refill the kettle before we could commence with part two. It's been all go backstage, I can tell you. I had a huge hissy fit when I realised no-one had pointed out I'd almost done a Judy Finnegan as I presented the last award. I don't think anyone noticed though, and if they did they kept manfully quiet to preserve my dignity (and my raspberries).
Anyway, here we are, reassembled and ready to go. Have you all done toilets and remembered to wash your hands? I shall be awfully cross if anyone has to leave this blog page to have a wee just as I'm warming up. There's nowt more annoying than getting into your stride and then being thrown off by someone walking past you in a dinner jacket and bermuda shorts. Or was that in my dream about Matt Berninger...?
Let's plummet on with part two shall we?
Award number six:
Band That Make thegeneral Most Very Excited For New Music In 2014
Arcs and Trauma
This again, was a very easy choice. Arcs and Trauma have simply rocked my world with their new single. This Place That I Love is a total joy - it's backed with another utter beauty of a song called "Lost Spirit". Both tracks are very different, yet still full of properly rocky, rampant energy and exuberance. Since their initial "2011EP" and the follow up "White To Violet" came out in 2012, they've continued to develop and hone their talent and these two new tracks show just how far they've come and just how far they could go. Hopefully 2014 has great things in store for them - and for their fans too. Thanks for a great end to the year, A&T (oh and also for the T-shirt, which I wear with total pride - and which I did pay for, in case anyone thinks I took a bribe...)
Award number seven:
Solo Artist That Makes thegeneral Feel The Same As For The Above Award But Totally On Their Own And Stuff:
Lovely lovely Joe. I was totally surprised by his song September, which he sent to me last month to have a listen to. I sometimes feel like a passe old mid-thirtysomething cliche maker when I review young bands and artists and try not to make too many "music's all changed from when I were a lass" comments, but as with Arcs and Trauma, Joe displays a real talent and a maturity in his music that can only improve over the coming year or two. The fact he is just preparing his debut EP for release in 2014 gives me great hope his music will reach a wider audience and that he is recognised for being a really great songwriter and musician.
Award number eight:
Gramaphone Record That I'm Most Getting My Drawers In A Tangle Over For 2014
Emperor The Stag - Fantasy To Bleak
When Emperor The Stag sent me their debut album - which is due out in February next year, I listened with relish and feel as though it's going to offer a great musical start to 2014. It's still top secret and hush-hush for now, but I can tell you that it will give so much to the discerning indie fan and really will be a treat to see the Spring in with. I'm hotly tipping both it and the band themselves for GOOD THINGS during the next year and can't wait for everyone to hear what they've come up with.
Award number nine:
Best Record Label And Band Collaboration That Totes Made Me Go All Emosh And Shit
Tiny Lights Recordings and Tissue Culture
Couldn't go to two nicer lots of folks. Just a few weeks ago I blogged about how Tissue Culture had won the Hit The North East and Tiny Lights Recordings Top Twenty Hit List thingy with their song "Satellites". When I played it, I could totally understand why. What you need to do is go over to their bandcamp page and have listen to their EP Saint Waleric and see/hear for yourself. They're a hard working, gutsy, intelligent and thoughtful group and Tiny Lights have really worked hard to bring out the best in them. Just like all the other acts I've featured over the last night or so, they deserve stellar success in the coming months and beyond. Good luck to the finest band of shouty, stroppy bairns there is and thank you to Tiny Lights for bringing some of the best music I've ever heard - not just from TC, but from all the other acts you've helped along the way this year. While the label itself is on a hiatus for the time being - you really should check out what they have to offer because you will not regret it.
Award number ten:
The Really Difficult To Pick Last Award, You Know The One That Includes A Montage On A Video Screen And Features Shots Of Everyone In The Audience Wiping A Solitary Tear Away And Then Checking Themselves Out To See How Good They Look Crying:
Every artist featured on the blog this year
So I know I like a laugh and a joke and to take the piss out of myself quite a lot. I also know that trying to pick ten acts who've really changed the way I think about music in 2013 has been really terribly difficult. The truth is that if I've featured you on here it's because I do genuinely love you and think you've got something to offer my small but perfectly formed readership - so, as cliched as it sounds, you're all winners in my eyes.
This blog came back from an extended hiatus in August and the first post featured the awesome Kill The Captains with their album "Sounds Mean", it was a fucking brilliant album to stage a return with. In the months that followed I've been lucky to hear some really great EPs and singles from really talented bands like PALACE and Lionhall. thegeneral was also incredibly lucky to witness one of the greatest comebacks in rock history - by going to see the mighty, mighty CUD in Manchester at the start of November, a band for whom it's been a twenty odd year ambition to see and who didn't disappoint. All the bands who've contacted me directly have been a pleasure to work with and a joy to help promote. So I'm hopeful that moving into 2014 I've got plenty more great new music to bring you.
I'm now taking a short break until the new year, to recharge, refresh, reboot and restart my life after what has been a difficult couple of years, but I'll be back and raring to go very soon. In the meantime, thank you to everyone for reading and thank you to the bands I've written about for giving me some music to cling on to when things have been mind-shitty. I wish you all a safe, happy Christmas and a peaceful and bright new year.