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The soundtrack to my life
Time for that end of year list of music that I really enjoyed. I thought I better get it done early in case I don't have time over the Christmas holidays. Anywa as usual this list would number the fifties if I my memory could serve me. I end up missing loads of things but here goes...

  • Aidan Smith - The At Home With... EP's show Aidan to be the emerging talent to look out for, it really helps being on Twisted Nerve. His performance for In The City although short and shaky was nothing short of brilliant. Songs of wit, humour, love and sadness so enjoyable. Look forward to his debut album. Adian is also my artist of the year

  • The BMX Bandits - Down At The Hop LP, the return of my favourite band of all time. Such an enjoyable album it's difficult to imagine they have been away for seven years. Loads of Beach Boys influenced pop. Their gigs are equally brilliant and more importantly fun, a lot of bands have forgotten this element.

  • Magnet - On Your Side LP, Evan Johannsen has created such beautiful sounds from his lap steel guitar. Sounds that wrap themselves in your mind.

  • The Bear Quartet - Angry Brigade, I listened to a lot of the Bear Quartet's back catalogue as I am releasing a record by them on my label. Their latest album is superb, anthemic tunes, stripped down pop that's intelligent and get's you jumping around to it.

  • The Sea And The Cake - Sound And Vision taken from their album One Bedroom. An excellent cover of Bowie's song.

  • The Postal Service - Give Up album, made without either of the collaborators meeting it's suprising how well the music and lyrics fit together, bits of electronica thrown into great indie pop songs.

  • Is This Music? - various compilation of Teenage Fanclub covers. A Japanese only thing that deserves much respect in getting together excellent covers that are not just fillers.

  • I Am Kloot - I Am Kloot LP, second album that improves on their first album by a substantial margin. Same dark songs that have real prescence.

  • Manecas Costas - Paradiso De Gumbe, His debut album on the new Late Junction label. His performance at the opening of the Bath Music Festival made a great impression on me. Songs full of real rhythm that are steeped in his local culture and surroundings.

  • The Strokes - Room on Fire, second album bum album, I don't think so, I enjoyed this more than their first.

  • Fourtet - Rounds, the genius Kieran Hebden returns once more with more enjoyable folk, jazz, electronica influenced music.

  • Pernice Brothers - Yours Mine And Ours, another beautiful album. I am so grateful for that chance meeting with Mark in New York a few years ago who said I should listen to these guys.

  • The Innocence Mission - Befriended, so delicate and fragile you can feel it. Their sixth album.

  • Nice Man - Sauchiehall And Hope, Francis MacDonald from Teenage Fanclub and The BMX Bandits releases his solo debut album. Superb power-pop and country tinged songs.

  • Cat Power - You Are Free, Chan Marshall comes up with the goods again. I Don't Blame You on Jools Holland, haunting Werewolf and the superb Free are my highlights.

  • The Tindersticks - Waiting For The Moon, simply a wonderful album.

  • As you can tell I am running out of superlatives so I'm just going to say the following records deserve much listening: Calexico - Feast Of Wire; Colder - Again; Manitoba - Up In Flames; Orchestra Boabab Pirates Choice; Cannonball Jane - Street Venicular; Europa 51 - Abstractions; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Nocturama; Mogwai - Happy Songs For Happy People; Stephen Fretwell's new EP's, David Tyack and Malcolm Mooney with the soundtrack to Rip Van Winkle; The White Stripes - Elephant; Soledad Brothers; The Hope Of States EPs; Mr David Viner; Blur - Out Of Time; The Buena Social Club presents series including Ibraheim Ferrer and Ormoa Portunondo; The Fall - The Real New Fall LP; Camera Obscura - Please Try Harder; Lamb - Between Darkness and Wonder; Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner; Spearmint - My Missing Days LP

I also listened to :

  • Elliott Smith's entire back catalogue including so many excellent live gigs. Sadly no more.

  • East River Pipe's early stuff from Sarah Records era and beyond.

  • Portishead thought I should after Beth Gibbon's superb solo efforts.

  • Loads of soundtracks including Ameilé, American Beauty, Charlie Brown Christmas, The Royal Tannebaums and City of God.

  • Lot's of soul from compilations like the Talcolm Soul series to Sam Cooke, Eddie and Ernie and Barbara Lewis.

  • David Bowie, Louis Armstrong, Bob Marley, Trojan Reggae comps, Heavenly, Yellow Magic Orchestra....

  • And of course the music I am releasing on Heliotone Records namely Anthony Atkinson and Mundane Music.

Radio programme of the year for me again goes to the wonderful Greasy Kids Stuff on WFMU. Gig of the year probably goes to the Twisted Nerve night for In The City just for having it at the Bridgewater Hall, although many Purr nights at Moles Club in Bath were enjoyable.

Bloody hell this list is getting out of control. I listen to all of this stuff then put it away for a while and then listen to it again reviving the sensations of a first hearing again. Maybe it's a bit too long and I should say these are the ten best records or songs I enjoyed this year but why? We shouldn't be discriminative about these things especially in the press. Are these end of years lists that important? I would put ten artists who have hardly any exposure just to get more people to listen to the talent beyond their usual circle which some magazines do to a certain extent. I like what I listen to, yet as always welcome new artists to break in and grab my ears. I hope I listen to a fair share of unknown and commercial acts everyday.

I've already got another list of records to try and get for next year.... along with the dozens of records I just don't have the money to buy at the moment. It could be a very pocket damaging 2004. Almost zero social life this year but music will always get me by.