Thursday, 17 December 2009

songs of 2009: 25-1 (SPOTIFY-CENTRIC)

here's the next 25 in my songs-of-the-year list. as with the first half, i tried to track these tracks down on spotify..some were there, many weren't..


here's the spotify link again

and here's the countdown..enjoy..:

25. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: on a highway

24. GIRLS: laura

23. BUILT TO SPILL: aisle 13

22. THE XX: islands

21. THE NATIONAL: so far around the bend

20. SUNSET RUBDOWN: idiot heart

19. GRIZZLY BEAR: foreground

18. WILD BEASTS: hooting and howling

17. THE FLAMING LIPS: watching the planets

16. GRIZZLY BEAR: while you wait for the others

15. ART BRUT: dc comics and chocolate milkshake

14. GIRLS: hellhole ratrace

13. COLD WAR KIDS: audience

12. PHOENIX: lasso

11. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: want would I want? sky

10. HANDSOME FURS: radio kaliningrad

9. JAPANDROIDS: wet hair

8. THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART: young adult friction

7. GRIZZLY BEAR: two weeks

6. PHOENIX: 1901

5. REAL ESTATE: fake blues

4. BEN GIBBARD AND JAY FARRAR: one fast move or im gone


2. VOLCANO CHOIR: island, il

1. GIRLS: lust for life


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

songs of 2009: 50-26 (SPOTIFY-CENTRIC)

i tried to make a top 20. i failed. too many excellent tunes, too few spots. SO, instead, here's the first half of the newly extended top 50. i wrote this yesterday afternoon and i'm already having second thoughts with about 90% of the eventual rankings...hence why i'm stalling on posting the business end of proceedings! i suppose that's the nature of these silly rundowns though.


because i currently have no money and thus no social life, i ATTEMPTED to find all 25 on spotify..turns out there's only about half of them on there. regardless, there's a link at the bottom for anyone who cares. the other tunes will get added as the chart continues..i can sense your anticipation already...

enjoy, comment, interact, criticise, gush, whatever you please:

50. SIXSTARHOTEL: kid go get it

49. FUTURE OF THE LEFT: arming eritrea

48. REAL ESTATE: snow days

47. LOVVERS: ocd go go girls

46. ATLAS SOUND: walkabout

45. NO AGE: you're a target

44. CYMBALS EAT GUITARS: ...and the hazy sea

43. THE NATIONAL: ashamed of the story I told

42. FUCK BUTTONS: olympians

41. BON IVER: blood bank

40. BILL CALLAHAN: eid ma clack shaw

39. WAVVES: to the dregs

38. GOLD PANDA: quitter's ragga

37. THE ANTLERS: two

36. CASS MCCOMBS: you saved my life

35. YEAH YEAH YEAHS: heads will roll (a-trak remix)

34. WASHED OUT: feel it all around

33. THE CRIBS: we were aborted

32. SURFER BLOOD: floating vibes

31. BEST COAST: when i'm with you

30. REAL ESTATE: beachcomber

29. NEON INDIAN: should have taken acid with you

28. THE BIG PINK: velvet


26. AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR: set guitars to kill


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

the gigs that made 2009.

so, here we go. the best gigs i attended all year. there's been a plethora of them, but that two that came out on top were streets ahead of anything i've ever seen. seriously.

10. AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR/LAFARO: cassette, glasgow, 11/2

9. THE ANTLERS: 13th note, glasgow, 17/11

8. WILD BEASTS: the arches, glasgow, 29/9

7. THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART: nice 'n sleazys, glasgow, 20/5

6. EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY: spring and airbrake, belfast, 6/9

5. A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS/JAPANDROIDS: captain's rest, glasgow, 12/11

there's very little to be said about a place to bury strangers' live setup that hasn't already been pasted over numerous websites. they're loud, they're very, very, VERY loud. they use massive amounts of strobe lights. there's so much reverb and distortion that you think your stomach might end up coming out of your ears. but crucially, they pull all of this off effortlessly. lesser bands have been ruined by hiding behind walls of noise, smoke and flashes, but not oliver ackermann and his not-so-merry crew. this was the third time i had managed to catch aptbs in a two year stretch, but this gig stood out immensely. the oldies were OBVIOUSLY still goodies, the 'exploding head' era material (which i admit to having been initially sceptical of) sounded filled-out and truly fucking monsterous live, and the confines of the captain's rest ensured the sound, although really REALLY loud, stayed listenable. plus, japandroids were friggin' unbelievable too.

4. AND SO I WATCH YOU FROM AFAR'S ALBUM LAUNCH, mandela hall, belfast, 4/4

and so i watch you from afar: where do you start... ripping the roof off venues around wee norn iron for a good while, suddenly the press and the punters seemed to sit up and take notice. fast forward past numerous uk tours, 2, the unbelievable 'tonight the city burns' and 'solidarity' gig projects, and 2009 finally saw their stunning self-titled debut album primed and ready for release on the unsuspecting public. needless to say, i had NEVER witnessed so much anticipation before a so-called ''local'' gig, and it certainly did NOT disappoint in the slightest. ripping straight into set guitars to kill, the north-coast legends-in-the-making stomped, flailed and careered through the entire lp, climaxing with a gut-blastingly epic rendition of eat the city, eat it whole.. the crowd was nuts, the band were nuts, the sound was excellent, and everyone left with a smile on their face and sweat pouring from their foreheads.. it was a just a wee bit special..

3. GIRLS, SWANTON BOMBS: captain's rest, glasgow, 13/10

girls: hyped beyond any reasonable proportion coming into 09, did anyone actually think they could fill out their early promise? aye, well, they did. 'album' is one of the year's bona fide classic-in-the-waiting pop records, and they slay live. i had no idea what to expect going into this show, but i hadn't counted on it being one of the finest gigs of the year. firing out breakout single and album standout 'lust for life' early in their set struck me at the time as being a bit of a gamble, but charging into an huge, distortion-heavy rendition of 'big bad mean mother fucker,' and reigning it back in immediately for the melancholy 'hellhole ratrace,' showed just how versatile and genuinely special this band are. plus, my blissfully ignorant glaswegian flatmate asking singer christopher owens ''so pal...where ya fae?'' and continuing the conversation with ''...ohh san just over here for university then, aye?'' was probably the single funniest occurance of my entire semester.


1= MOGWAI: the academy, dublin, 20/3

one of my most beloved bands.
one of the best live acts of this, or any other, generation.
playing a venue they could sell out ten-times over.
in dublin.
on my twentieth birthday.
i don't think i can honestly do this evening justice in a paragraph, so i'm not even going to try. it was perfect.

1= THE FLAMING LIPS: o2 academy, glasgow, 15/11

its the flaming friggin' lips! also playing a venue they could pack out numerous times over! there was confetti, a space-bubble, the band emerging from a neon, pulsating vagina (SERIOUSLY) and more balloons than normally sit in the house of commons. BUT. most importantly there was simple, human warmth. lots and lots of it. it sounds cliched and corny, but seeing wayne coyne pour his entire being into some of the best songs ever recorded was an absolute privilege. again, it would be a disservice to the entire occasion to try and go on describing the feelings and emotions this managed to stir, but at the time of writing, there is absolutely no doubt that this was probably one of the very happiest evenings of my life. stunning.

its freezing outside. there's tim allen on the TV. and my nose is running. BEST OF THE YEAR LIST TIME, THEN.

somehow the middle of december has crept up on an unsuspecting me, like a ninja in a santa costume suddenly breaking cover to sing fairytale of new york every ten minutes and throw mince pies at passers by.

having no university exams until may, this week i've been left with little to do except watch diagnosis murder re-runs and think about the 11 and a half months that seem to have gone past in a manic blur. 2009 has been a really bizarre year in a lot of respects, but there's little doubting it has produced a shitload of stellar quality music... which has been both a blessing and a curse to anyone with half a brain trying to make reasonably coherent year-end list.


i've given it a go, and slapped together a few run-downs. i'll try and post them here over the course of the week, starting with my personal picks for gigs and songs of the year. hopefully these end up providing a decent snapshot of what i've really enjoyed in 2009..

so, let the list madness commence...

Monday, 14 December 2009

this riot is just the beginning.

'bout 'ye?

i'm mark, and i've been meaning to start writing random crap on the internet for a good while now. being a typical slacker student though, inevitably this hadn't actually come to any sort of fruitation.

until now.

its the christmas holidays, the snooker coverage on tv has just ended, and i have LITERALLY ran out of excuses not to actually get my backside/fingers around to doing this. plus, my good friend, dear acquintance, and author of some of the most hilariously vitriolic vocal and internet based comments in history, mr christopher cowgill, has also recently got his arse around to blogging. and i'm not letting him have that one over on me. (p.s. go read his blog at if you're in any way partial to the metal-ly/proper goth-y side of music, he knows his stuff more thoroughly than the vast, VAST majority of absolute idiots writing in those fields.)

i am aware that i'll probably be the only person who actually reads any of this, such is the nature of the information-heavy crazy internet world... but, regardless, i hope to use this space as somewhere to vent (hopefully) reasonably intelligent views and critiques on a variety of pretty cool things. for as long as i remember to keep writing on this page, in all liklihood there's going to be a lot of rambling about a pretty broad range of musical stuff, football, books, more music, more football, other culture-y lovely things and a heck of a lot more. i WON'T be posting links to full albums or leaks or anything illegal and stupid. just sayin'.

so yeah, hopefully someone gets something out of this silly wee page at some point. i'll try my best not to be too much of an eejit.