Having started off 2014 in a healthy state it’s safe to say that the malware infection which threw the Wordpress version of Muso’s Guide off track in the spring was a setback that we’ve been slow to get back up to speed from. Contributors disappearing into thin air over the past few months has also obviously been less than helpful in a year that, initially, was shaping up to be extremely good – we’d covered our first festival in the USA, reviews were being published at a rate seldom before witnessed and UK & European festival coverage was on the increase. Significant progress was also being made in the area of music-related books.
We’re still here though and as committed as ever to reviewing whatever we feel like, agenda-free and entirely honestly & whilst the past 12 months have thrown up challenges we’d definitely not anticipated it’s not been a bad year for music. I’ve personally thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at all of the festivals I’ve covered (Liverpool Psych Fest, Le Guess Who? & Long Division all for the second time and Beaches Brew & Bradford’s Threadfest for the first times). Practically everywhere you look now has a similar urban event going on at some point in the year so 2015 will see coverage from those already mentioned as well as the likes of Hipsville and a look at what Ghent & St. Malo have to offer.
On the recorded music front I’ve lost track of the enjoyable individual songs that have leapt out at me at various times across various platforms but we’ve tried to corral those we’ve particularly enjoyed on our soundcloud-hosted Underexposed playlists as well as collating the bigger named acts in a similar manner over on Rdio. As for albums keeping an ongoing list for the purposes of reference in this article has as ever been invaluable.
In no particular order then I can safely see myself still caring enough to be listening to the following in the year ahead:- Quilt’s Held In Splendor, Holy Wave’s Relax, Mark Morriss’s A Flash Of Darkness (which benefits greatly from his voice sounding a tad cheerier than with The Bluetones), The Faint’s Doom Abuse (possibly their best album yet), Chiaroscuro by I Break Horses, East India Youth’s Total Strife Forever, Bleeding Rainbow’s Interrupt, Pontiak’s Innocence, Skaters’ Manhattan, from way back in December 2013 The Frowning Clouds’ Whereabouts (the only act amongst this lot who’ve managed to have another album out in the same 12 month period), Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time, Cuello’s Modo Eterno, Luminous by The Horrors (who’ve managed to fully change their spots with a work that came close to being played to death), Clipping’s Clppng, White Fence’s For The Recently Found Innocent and, finally, the musical riot that is the self-titled debut from Meatbodies.
Gig-wise Augustines, Teenage Fanclub, Muck And The Mires & The Black Lips stand out for me but the bulk of performances taken in were during the previously mentioned festivals with Gnod, White Hills, Nissenmondai, Theo Verney, The Vaselines & Einstürzende Neubauten all delivering brilliantly (the latter being the best performance for this and many previous years combined). 2015 has a lot to live up to.