Monthly Archives: January 2012

Walking Heads – Glasgow’s new music tour

As ideas go, this is both brilliant and long overdue. Walking Heads this week launched a downloadable audio tour of Glasgow, a guide to the city looking at its musical history and the present scene. You can download the tour here, stick it on your phone or MP3 player, and away you go (mind and pick a dry day for it). Your intrepid correspondent is going to do exactly that, and a report on findings will follow.

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The Maccabees: 2012’s first big surprise

Upon hearing that the new Maccabees album was meant to be rather good, your correspondent was doubtful. They first emerged amid the wave of sludge that blighted the mid-2000s which came to be known as landfill indie, and were just sort of there. They had a song called About Your Dress and an album called Colour It In, and even though I vaguely remember reviewing them at The Garage at some point, I remember nothing of what they sounded like, with the exception of Toothpaste Kisses, largely because they cocked it up and it went on to be one of those songs that crept up on tv promos and the soundtracks to films like Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. At least most people could sing you a bit of something by The Wombats if you asked – The Maccabees seemed to leave no such impression.

Where, then, has third album Given to the Wild come from? It’s complex, unexpected, strangely seductive and astoundingly good, the likes of Child and Forever I’ve Known a million miles away from what came before. It’s an impressive trick, and it’s frankly amazing that it has had an audience at all, but it has already made a decent dent in the album charts. Few things are more exciting than the real surprise of an average band turned good, and The Maccabees have just given 2012 a real shot in the arm. Seriously, well done.

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It’s 2012 – keep it down

It’s January, and inevitably there’s no room to move for lists and lists telling us what we’re all going to be listening to this year, who is going to be BIG in 2012. Personally, your correspondent is already exhausted by it. These endless lists, particularly the BBC’s Sound of… poll, scream of trying too hard. Yep, we’ve just got Christmas out of the way and everyone is feeling a little bit “what now?”, but every publication and blog in the world screaming “This! And this! And THIS! And these guys are AWESOME!” just feels a bit false. Give us time to find out what we’d like to listen to ourselves. That Lana Del Ray song was nice enough, if distressingly subservient, but I think I would like to decide if I’m going to lose my mind over her album release, thanks.

The BBC is currently running a series of Radio 1 promos on TV which show Zane Lowe and co effectively destroying London with gigantic spectres meant to represent the power of new music but have more in common with something found wandering around Butlins, and they genuinely give me the fear, not least because they imply that Fearne Cotton has some kind of conjuring ability. Yes, there will be great new bands discovered this year – there always are – and there will be lots of bands coming back with (hopefully) great albums too. The year will take shape however it damn well pleases, and whether or not anyone cares about the new Maccabees album or the oddly medieval stylings of Sound of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka¬†will be proved in the fullness of time. For now, just shhh, please. I’m still listening to the CDs I got for Christmas.

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