Mix Tape Stories

Album of the Month - January and February 2021 

I'm not going to pretend that there's any scientific algorithm at work here but I wanted to make sure that I had something arbitrary for these "...of the month posts" - so I'm using my last.fm data, send me a request if you're on there 'cause I'm interested in what you're listening to as well.

JANUARY 2020 - Reluctant Hero - Killer Be Killed

I do love a good supergroup, and these guys are a GREAT supergroup. Their album of a few years back was a favourite but this record steps it up big time, especially with the epic closer and title track, "Reluctant Hero".

As a big fan of Mastodon, it's really the presence of Troy Sanders that drew me in but contributions from the others (including Max Cavalera!) just make this the perfect package.



FEBRUARY 2020 - (tie) Glastonbury 2000 Live - David Bowie and Escape Planet - Kids of Yesterday 

A tie you say? As I mentioned in the intro, this is statistically based to stop me picking albums that I think make me look cool [or, of course, ones I'd forgotten about]. I had been listening to a great podcast about Bowie [name escapes me, sorry] and felt like I needed to dig a bit deeper - and I still think that "live" is a great way to do that. All in all, a good listen. 


And Kids of Yesterday... honestly I can't tell you much about them but I heard their anti-gambling / anti-animal cruelty track "Horsin' Around" and I was very intrigued. I mean, have a go at these lyrics:

I went to the racecourse 
And I saw a fucking horse get killed! 
The Jockey took a tumble 
Heard the grumble of the stumbling patrons 
I could express atrocities of images I saw that day 
But the cash I lost my hard earned clay 
Might as well have paid for the poison

I have to say it aligns with some thoughts I've been having lately!


Album of the Month - November and December 2020 

I meant to post these, I really did but... well, who really knew what they were doing in 2020...

Let me know if you've listened to these as well!

NOVEMBER 2020 - Cannot Be, Whatsoever - Novo Amor

If there was a more beautiful album released in 2020 I didn't hear it. These songs just drift on the air, playing out in a perfect dance that moves and relaxes you. It reminds me a lot of Bon Iver and I really only came across the artist after Shazaming(?) a song that was on an ad in Indonesia. Granted, not the usual way that I come across my music but still an incredible find.


DECEMBER 2020 - The Modern Medieval - Something for Kate

I had a friend at uni who was an absolute acolyte for this band. Truth be told I didn't get it. The music wasn't presented in a way that made sense to me and the singer's voice was... different. I mean, forgive me, it was 1998 (I think - maybe '99?) and having grown up with only terribly bland lunch rock radio stations this piece didn't fit my puzzle. Then Echolalia happened. I started trying to figure out these songs on guitar and I realised I didn't get it 'cause I didn't understand its genius. I joined the Paul Dempsey club that day and have never left. When one of your favourite bands takes this many years to make a new record you get worried, but I shouldn't have been - it's a work of brilliance.


The Music Advantage 

I'm about to embark on another chapter in my professional life - high school music teacher - and while it scares the life out of me for some reason that something I've wanted for so long is so close, reading this book calms my nerves... music can do so much good in the world! 

Epiphanies and discoveries 

Something I look forward to every year with an astounding amount of enthusiasm is my Last.fm listening report. I've been using the service for well over a decade - it's heaven for stats nerds (of which I may be one).

Cool thing about 2020, I listened to more music than I ever have [well any year since 2007, probably not ever] - 10,580 tracks. That's 29 every day or 30 hours and 6 days worth of listening. Funnily my first reaction is... "is that all?" - music is a massive part of my life, yet I've only listened to music for 1/12 of a year - anyway, a challenge for 2021!

What I like most though is the "new music" section, where it tells me how many artists, albums and tracks I've listened to for the first time in a particular year - and 2020 had some great debuts - Cold Years and Chris Stapleton being my top picks, and new albums from Pearl Jam, the 1975, Slowly Slowly and Dua Lipa keeping my year fresh.

Hopefully 2021 is as full of good new music as 2020 was. Bring it on.

Mistakes That Make The Man 

A while ago I got my Dad to write some lyrics and we were going to go into a studio and record it. I know it was a while ago 'cause it was a present for his 60th, and he'll be 66 early next year. Today we sat and re-wrote most of the lyrics but it's now something we're both happy with. 

I guess sometimes it's ok to take a little extra time.

I'm ready 

This past 12 months allowed many tangents in my creative practice - one that was much needed. But it's time to get on track... I'm ready.