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Upcoming Gigs

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Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

The Hovel Session, York: 25th May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Depresstival Presents..., London: 3rd June

Off Yours!, Leeds: 6th June

Good Shout, Peterborough: 13th June

Supporting Jollyboat, Knaresborough: 22nd June

Brig-Aid Fundraiser, Fruit, Hull: 23rd June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Verse Matters, Sheffield, 5th July

Say Owt @ Deer Shed Festival, 21st July

Say Owt @ Great Yorkshire Fringe, York: 25th July

Working Title, Lancaster, 26th July

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

20.16 Blog #28: Albums of 2016

Henry’s albums of the year

So 2016 has been and is almost gone, and as usual I have a number of albums and EPs spinning on my antique 2009 iPod.  In fact, quite a lot.  Thematically, the majority are indie-pop/punk with a strong queer undercurrent.  I think this reflects the gigs and scenes I’ve been hanging out with.  

Sometimes you might assume the indie-pop/punk tunes below are descendents of the landfill indie of the late 00s.  These were mostly laddish bands doing anthemtic choruses, this new wave are more inclusive, political, DIY and lyrically inventive.

Something I love about following a band is how their catalogue of music expands.  A couple of years ago, all I had were 3 Petrol Girls songs that spun around on my repeat in my ear.  2015 I managed to put them on not once, but twice.  Now 2016 bequeathed us the Some Thing EP and their debut album Talk of Violence and I am consistently inspired by the band’s commitment to inter-sectionality.  Positioned as a feminist post-hardcore band, Petrol Girls also champion LBGTQ+ and refugee/immigration causes.  The album itself feels beautifully raw and captures their live performance, but for me whenever I listen to it I am reminded there’s a world of activism out there that isn’t going to get restful anytime soon.

Martha’s debut album was easily my favourite album of 2014, and probably one of my favourite bands.  Initially this album felt a little less raw than their first, but over time I realised instead of offered a more playful introspective approach to song-writing that probably make better earworms in the long run.  The album is a little more funky, a little more pop, a little funnier and friendlier than their s/t album, and the jangly upbeat tempo makes me return to the ‘M’ section of my iPod.  There's a lot of intelligent lyrics, well-crafted song-structure and a variety of tempos that it makes the album feel very special and so easy to listen to over and over and always discover something fun or unique in each song.  It always makes me re-think lyrics as poetry and stories but still with a punk and pop edge.

A band I’d heard a lot about, the album can feel incredibly smooth with a recurring undercurrent of politics, feminism, home, family and has a real strength that, if I’m honest, surprised me.  The band manage to capture a great turn of phrase, hook and definitely feels like a full repeatable album than a handful of catchy songs.  The band’s lyrics have real story-telling potential and Lande’s vocals draw you in alongside the music.  This was a toss-up between Happy Accident’s album (see below) simply because genre and scene-wise they share a lot, but I think I’m going for Muncie Girls because I already knew I was a big Happy Accidents fan thanks to their earlier furious madcap high energy EP (and their debut album is just as pumped), but this album was a refreshing discovery.

To lump all these albums together is a CRIME, especially as they all have their own unique charm.  Colour Me Wednesday’s EP is another slice of their clever pop lyricism, Ay Carmela treads the line nicely between heartfelt story-telling and sharp punk, The Tuts’ Update Your Brain is pretty much the perfect vehicle for their engaging and finely crafted live performance and Daniel Versus The World’s queer piano-punk music is as sad as it is angry, as powerful as it is delicate.  However the recurring themes of queer identity, feminism, friendship, home, DIY, anger and love, individuality and community have made the Dovetown collective mainstays of my listening life (and this way I get to include all them in my top 5).  Also, the fact the collective all play in each other's bands, and are essentially a family, means I hope they don't mind rocking up as single supportive gang as they so often do at gigs.

This album sneaks into the top 5, not because it’s not been well-played on my iPod but because actually I’m not as into ska-punk as I once was back in t’day.  But I will always return to SB6 as a band that excite me.  Not your run-of-the-mill ska-punk fusion, this album packs all the playfulness with rap and electronic music to keep apace of the scene.  Whilst the fury of out-and-out political lyrics might be the SB6 of the past, what the band still do incredibly well is tell stories of (usually female) characters, and has a direct message to stand up for yourself as a person, an individual, as power in your own right.  They have a great commitment to making something fresh, and in a world of indie-pop I was grateful, and excited by, these bangers.

Notable mentions:  Happy Accidents (You Might Be Right), Pokémon Liberation Army (TM101), OPS (Sluice Around), Chris T-T (9 Green Songs), The Julie Ruin (Hit Reset), The Fairweather Band (Meow), Harry & Chris (Simple Times)

Shout outs to:  Viva Zapata (Fuck It, It’ll Be Fine), The Potentials (We Are The Potentials), Doe (Some Things Last Longer Than You), KINKY (Sissy Mosh), Skull Puppies (Endless Dungeon Crawl), Camp Shy (Camp Shy), ROMP (Departure From Venus), The Coathangers (Nosebleed Weekend), Savages (Adore Life), Dream Nails (DIY), Tough Tits (Hairless), Austeros (Painted Blue), Pup (The Dream Is Over), Syslak (Syslak EP), Shit Present (Misery + Disaster), Dan Kemp (Holding Down)

Also my band made an EP.  Pewter City Punks (Glass Type EP)

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