I’m so glad you could join me for another blog. Thank you for listening / reading / sniffing.
Ooh. And what is that smell? It’s the smell of 2014 - which has almost shat it. And what a fragrant year it’s been.
Cheers to everyone that came along for the Pictish Baboo Sweet Trail tour - it was great fun. So many memorable gigs, which is a feat in itself considering how much booze I imbibed. I’m surprised i remember any of it. I really loved it - it was fun getting to play some new songs, too. I think Sheffield and Cardiff were my favourite two gigs of the tour, probably the year … although Manchester was a top laugh, and York and Margate too. Ach, they were all good. Apologies we didn’t make it down to Exeter - Baboo got a deadly illness.
We’re reuniting for one more show, next month, as part of Celtic Connections in Glasgow. It’s the last Pictish Trail show i’m doing for a wee while. I’ll still be doing bits and bobs, but i’m concentrating on getting the album finished.
I’m back in the caravan, on Eigg, now - preparing to herald in the new year. I’m going to be celebrating by drinking large quantities of strong booze. Topless. Yes, i’ve already got my boobies out.
It's the end of the year, time to take stock. The best music this year, for me, was released by my label Lost Map Records. So of course i’m going to recommend the following new releases …
Tuff Love - Junk E.P.
Randolph’s Leap - Clumsy Knot
Insect Heroes - Apocalypso
Rozi Plain / Rachael Dadd - 7” split single
and all the Lost Cat stuff we released. More of that to come.
… 2015 promises a lot of good stuff, in fact. Rozi Plain’s album is a thing of sublime beauty, and we’ll have some news about that on the Lost Map site in the next week or so. Tuff Love’s second EP is out in February - you’ll hopefully have heard lead single, ‘Slammer’, already. It’s the first single from Lost Map to have reached the 6Music B-List, which is a maaaaassive step up for us. It’s well deserved, too - Julie and Suse have been gigging hard this year, and their new EP is really great. Lots of fun songs on it. Lots of fun.
Seamus Fogarty spent a lot of 2014 in front of his laptop, and his new recordings blow my mind. Really good stuff. Insect Heroes have had most of their second album ready for the past year so no doubt that’ll emerge soon… and Randolph’s Leap have just been in the studio, as have Kid Canaveral and Monoganon, and i’m really excited to hear all of that too. The whole Lost Map family are keeping busy. So that’s nice.
But here’s my top 10 of stuff that was not released by Lost Map …
The EP / mini album by Happy Meals called Apéro is really good. I love that record, it’s really nice. Have been listening to that on my new record player on Eigg, which i’ve just set up. Exciting.
My favourite electronic release of the year is by a Welsh dude called R.Seiliog - the album is called In Hz. It’s really mesmeric. Fans of FourTet, Gold Panda and some of the Border Community stuff, i think you will enjoy that.
Mac DeMarco - Salad Days - i love that record. A friend of mine said "you can’t like that album cos all the songs sound the same". But that’s why i like it.
Alexis Taylor’s album - the guy from Hot Chip, he did an record called - Await Barbarians, and i really love that. That record kinda made even more sense to me when i saw him perform it live with a band. The album is really great, it’s a lot of songs that are so minimal they feel like they could collapse at any point, they’re quite fragile. But it’s strength is in his lyrics and his voice and it carries the whole thing. It’s made a big impression on me, that album.
Recently i’ve been listening to this EP by a band called Winter - who released a collection of 6 songs, put out by GoldFlakePaint (a blog based in Glasgow), as part of a series called Beautiful Confusion. This Winter one is really good. I downloaded it earlier in the year, but didn’t listen to it until recently, and then i was like ‘oh yeah, it’s goooood’.
Other things i’ve enjoyed … Jane Weaver - The Sliver Globe is really great. So many different styles going on. We listened to that a fair few times on the car stereo in the Sweet Baboo-mobile, over the tour.
Caribou - Our Love is brilliant.
Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness is brilliant.
François & The Atlas Mountains - Piano Ombre is briliiant.
and H.Hawkline, Huw, is a guy from Wales who has been signed to Heavenly Records, and they put out a compilation of his earlier stuff called Salt Gall Box Ghouls, which is psychedelic and lo-fi. Fans of Lone Pigeon will enjoy, i think. His first album proper is coming out next year. This current compilation you can download for free, here. So you should do it.
I really liked that self-titled Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album, but I just realised that was released in 2013. Oh. Courtney Barnett’s stuff too.
Ok, i’d best go and blow me nose.
Thanks for listening to this blog. I’ll be back some time in January or February.
I love you.