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Both Bars On: Top Thirty Records of 2015


2015. Our seventh end of year list, this time augmented by our two new writers, Matt and Pete. Which means double the confusion and argument, though actually our choices overlapped more than usual. Sort of. Anyway, you don’t need to know about the infighting, gerrymandering and filibustering that went on behind the scenes – someday it will make a great film but now you just want to know about the List, right?

This year it’s our top thirty records, to fit in all the choices of the four of us. It’s an eclectic mix, though it has the signature BBO elements you have come to know and love – well, OK, know and shake your head over while muttering “you boys”. In a disappointed way. But it’s very definitely us – the new, improved, BBO us.

Feast your mince pies on this little lot.

In the bubbling under category: Downtown Boys: Full Communism; King Khan and BBQ Show: Bad News Boys; Dead Sea Apes: Spectral Domain; Thomas Brinkmann: What You Hear (Is What You Hear).

Reissues: British Sea Power: Decline of British Sea Power; Super Furry Animals: Mwng

30. HOX: Duke of York

29. White Hills: Walks For Motorists

28. Het Droste Effect: Soar

27. Container: LP

26. Steve Hauschildt – Where All Is Fled

25. GNOD: Infinity Machines

24. Tim Bowness: Stupid Things That Mean The World

23. Girl Band: Holding Hands With Jamie

22. Diebenkorn: Magnox

21. Bad Guys: Bad Guynaecology

20. Pega Monstro: Alfarroba 

pega monstro

Distortion, zippy tunes and reflective scuzzy ambience from Lisbon’s Julia and Maria Reis.

19. KoMaRa: KoMoRa

20 Komara

Industrial drumming, dark riffs and atmospheric noises; it is truly, in the bands own words, a “dark, deviant and explicit detective story”.

18.  Sufjan Stevens: Carrie and Lowell

19 Sufjan Stevens

Heartbreaking, immmensely affecting songwriting, bringing beauty out of sorrow.

17. Outblinker: Pink/Blue

18 Outblinker

Menacing but ecstatic, juddering but groovy, starting small but ending huge, you could dance to it, but you wouldn’t in public.

16. Evan Caminiti: Meridien

17 evan caminiti

Drones, crackling static, dark pulses and minimal percussive elements – a horror soundtrack for a post apocalyptic landscape.

15. Sauna Youth: Distractions

16 Sauna Youth

As we said, “Short sharp post-punk pop songs, propelled by insistent no wave guitars”, and more besides.

14. Orlando & Tomaga: Play Time: Music for Video Games

15 Orlando _ Tomaga

Out in the space forest, the neon frogs are looking for romance to a bossanova beat, before boarding the interstellar cruise – but the slomo robo crew are still marching over the tarmac, nodding and calling to themselves as they come.

13. Ultimate Painting: Green Lanes

14 Ultimate Painting

On very heavy rotation at the London office this year, this is guitar music full of pop hooks and irresistible harmonies.

12. Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress

12 Godspeed

Decried by some, celebrated herein, this album rekindled our love of the Montreal titans (and was semi-religious performed live).

11. British Sea Power: Sea of Brass

11 BSP

Performed by BSP and a full brass band, these songs become something completely different, capturing something of the live spectacle.

10. Heroin in Tahiti: Sun and Violence

10 Heroin in Tahiti

Well this came from seemingly nowhere, but was a stunning tour-de-force that left us partly uplifted and partly disturbed.

9. Titus Andronicus: The Most Lamentable Tragedy 


A rock opera about manic depression and um I don’t know in five acts, this is also a collection of exactly the kind of rabble-rousing songs you were hoping for from one of the smartest and most interesting guitar bands in America.

8. Steven Wilson: Hand. Cannot. Erase.


A huge brooding slab of a concept album, about a woman who chooses to disconnect from society in a big city and whose disappearance goes unnoticed. Wilson’s output is getting better and better with each album.

7. Parastatic: Recall Fade Return


Reverby twangy echoey tuney goodness, with a beat that cries out to be drummed on the steering wheel over the Pennines.

6. Adderall Canyonly: Beneath The Crystal Canyon A Spark Remains


Adderall Canyonly has practically owned 2015. Stupidly prolific, it was between this and Museum of Fire as a pick for our list. Beneath The Crystal Canyon A Spark Remains reveals an almost sickening level of talent.


5. Du Blonde: Welcome Back to Milk


Power ballads, anger, music-hall silliness, tenderness – Beth Jeans Houghton’s incredible voice made it all sound so natural. An unexpected best of the year for one of us.

4. Zombi: Shape Shift


Living fully up to the hyped expectations, Shape Shift kept the funked horror and progressive rhythms. They’ve never sounded tighter and more exciting. And that last track, ‘Siberia II’…Oh. My/Our. Word!

3. John Carpenter: Lost Themes


The master returns. There was much excitement from at least half of BBO when John Carpenter’s first ever non-soundtrack album was released, and the lack of a film to tie these songs to doesn’t detract from Carpenter’s ability to terrify and amaze us in equal measures with his signature horror sounds. A simply sublime album.

2. Ubre Blanca: The Sadist


Horror theme this year? You betcha phantasmagoric bits there is! This Glaswegian duo simply blew us away with their Occult rock and spooked atmospheres. Incredible release and no mistake.

1. Teeth of the Sea: Highly Deadly Black Tarantula


They did it in 2013 with Master and they’ve taken our highly prized top spot again. With HDBT, Teeth of the Sea retained something of their former selves but evolved into something more cerebral, yet guttural, sweaty and appealingly disfigured. As all truly great albums do, it just gets better and better with every listen. Brilliant. Really and actually, very brilliant.


So you can do yourself a big end-of-the-year favour and go buy some or all of the above albums. They are available from shops and sites – independent ones, big shiny ones, online ones (who pay their taxes), ones where there isn’t really a shop but you have to email some bloke. We like buying records – actually, we really do. And we think you should too.

Merry Xmas and a happy Newest Year one and all.

angrybonbon, JKneale, matthewpetty & Pete Collins


Both Bars On: Top 20 Records of 2013


2013, eh? Not Both Bars On’s favourite year, though the music kept us going. OK, so one of us (the soft southern one) slipped a bit, but we seem to have survived and have reached the end refreshed and ready for another year’s inappropriate email submissions.

So here are our Top 20 Albums of 2013, our fifth end of year list(!). It’s a strange mixture, even to our eyes: electronica, psych, songs with words and (gasp) tunes, slabs of noise, country & western. We point this out not to boast of our eclecticism but to remind you that this is no averaging out of the choices of a vast team of staffers – it’s the list of two blokes whose tastes overlap but who occasionally accuse each other of having cloth ears. Sorry to whisk the curtain away, but this is just what what we like. But we really like it. Hope you like some of it too. Merry Xmas!

In our bubbling under and reissues category we have: Billy Bragg – Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy [30 year reissue]; Billy Bragg – Tooth & Nail; Savages – Silence Yourself; The Outer Church/Front&Follow compilation; Fresh Snow- I; The Indelicates – Diseases of England; The National – Trouble Will Find Me; and Chop – Illuminate.

And our top twenty is…

20. Café Kaput – Applied Music Vol​.​1: Science & Nature

Jon Brooks explores analogics with dutiful and masterful attention. Time to cover those textbooks with wallpaper.

19. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – II  

A lovely record of poppy, hook-filled, lo-fi psychedelia from Ruban Nielson and his Ffunny Ffrends.

18. Emptyset – Recur

An institution of grinding interference. Not for the feint-hearted.

17. Mogwai – Les Revenants

Mogwai’s soundtrack for the French TV series was appropriately chilly, but also a slight departure from their usual style; this track is great, but untypical of the album.

16. Whirling Hall of Knives – Devisions

Whirling and swirling maelstroms of joyfulness. A true ‘experience’ of an album.

15. Way Through – Clapper is Still

Pastoral punk postcards from somewhere a long way from Constable Country. Songs of loss for things we’d forgotten we once had.

14. Vision Fortune – Mas Fiestas con el Grupo Vision Fortune

Tension and repetition. Repetition and tension. Brilliant début.

13. Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – What The Brothers Sang

If you’d told us in January that one of our favourite albums of the year would be a set of covers of Everly Brothers’s songs we would have shown you the door. But they did write great songs and McCarthy and Oldham do them proud.

12. No Age – An Object

Randy Randall and Dean Spunt displayed a more controlled but still experimental sound on this record, which seems handtooled for the listening pleasure of at least one of us. Full album streamable here:

11. Gnod – Presents…Dwellings & Druss

A few fools decried Gnod’s move to solely electronics; at BBO terraces we put out the bunting. These Salford based maestros can do little wrong in our ears.

10. Il Sogno del Marinaio – La Busta Gialla


Post-punk hero Mike Watt teamed up with Stefano Pilia and Andrea Belfi to write and record this album, and while the songs may have been quickly written and recorded, in the hands of these ace players they sound great.

9. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus


It might not have had as much wide-screen weirdness as previous outings, but Slow Focus has enough innovation, sweeping gestures and unrepentant noise to pleasure us.

8. The Polyphonic Spree – Yes, It’s True


It went awfully quiet there for a while – last proper album The Fragile Army came out in 2007 – but yes, it’s true – the Spree are back! And god we needed them – if you don’t need a shot of pure joy like this, then congratulations, you’ve had a better year than either of us.

7. Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In


The second album from the woman with a sweet voice and a broken heart. It’s not quite as consistently brilliant as the first album, but it’s still better than almost everything else in this list.

6. The Haxan Cloak – Excavation


An absolute master class in darkness. Incredible nocturnal and necro-electronics. And the most intense and roof-shaking live experience to boot.

5. Superman Revenge Squad Band – There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time


A very welcome return for SRS’ Ben Parker – one of the best lyricists of his generation – this time with a ‘big band’, some lovely new songs and re-recordings of old ones. The whole album is here:

4. Factory Floor – Factory Floor


Old-skool has never been so futuristic. Minimal explorations in sweat, mingling with four tons of tarnished glitter. Shut the fuck up and dance.

3. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest


Beyond the ridiculously contrived build-up campaign, beyond the usual fanboy gushings and stupendous hype, Boards of Canada managed to produce an album that is pure electronica at its absolute finest. And hats are doffed to any band that will drive hundreds of miles to purchase a rare synth only for it to play a few notes across the whole album.

‘Cold Earth’ (unofficial video):

2. British Sea Power – Machineries of Joy


The fifth album from the band who have been BBO’s fantasy band-in-residence since before there was a blog was intended to act as a counter to the grim realities of life in 2013, or as Yan put it “a nice game of cards in pleasant company”. It was much more than that, of course, because it also contained its fair share of adventures into the K Hole, and the band were pretty much at the peak of their powers live this year. We salute them.

‘Machineries of Joy’ [Radio Edit]:

1. Teeth Of The Sea – Master


For the second year in a row a Rocket Recording’s product tops our chart. We got very excited when we reviewed it (leading to some wordy twaddle), but we stand by the sentiment we were trying to express. Master is an astounding lesson in genuinely innovative, yet carefully respectful and intelligent, rock music in its broadest definition. Magnificent.


So there you go. As we said, we hope you found something here to enjoy and if not, we apologise for clogging your earholes.

Sometimes we can’t believe this blog is still going when so many have disappeared, but it is and will be for the foreseeable future. And the only reason we continue is because every now and again somebody somewhere says something nice about our wordy nonsense. We really, really appreciate all that continue to support us. Thank you.

Now bog off and buy some or all of the above albums.They are available from shops – independent ones, big shiny ones, online ones (who pay their tax), ones where there isn’t really a shop but you have to email some bloke. We like buying records – actually, we really do. And we think you should too.

JKneale and angrybonbon

Both Bars On: Top 10 Records of 2011

It seems that the real cool kids on the blog don’t do end of year lists. Well we like them and hope that those miserable sods slip in their paper shoes and find other people’s dirty hankies in their bobble hats.

Those artists who will be sobbing into their pillows tonight because they didn’t quite make it onto our list include blistering aural adventures by: Wooden Shjips, Cave, Dead Skeletons, Eat Lights Become Lights, The Field, Moon Duo, Blanck Mass, Hills, Benjamin Shaw (sorry, Jamie), Gruff Rhys, Dels, White Denim, King Creosote & John Hopkins (robbed!), and Mike Watt.

So let’s get down to it boppers. In now traditional reverse order:

10. The Indelicates: David Koresh Superstar

How do you follow two great albums of bile and wit and proper pop songs? You make a concept album about the Waco siege, that’s what. Thoughtful and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, the scope of this record – the research and understanding – made most of the year’s records seem pretty unambitious. jkneale treasures his lyric booklet.

Indelicates – ‘I Am Koresh’:

9. Parts & Labor: Constant Future

By the time this list is published Parts & Labor will have done their penultimate show before going on an ‘extended hiatus’. On the strength of Constant Future this ‘break’ should and must be stupidly short. Rock n’ roll needs forward thinking bands like Parts & Labor. We will miss them.

Parts & Labor – ‘Echo Chamber’:

8. Jonny: Jonny

Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub joins forces with Gorky’s Euros Childs for thirteen songs of slightly off-kilter pop and gorgeous harmonies. “Could be in Mexico, could be Japan, could be in Fishguard with another man”. Sunshine on a rainy day, and jkneale’s most-listened to this year.

Jonny – ‘Circling The Sun’:


Two songs equalling two assaults on all that is holy and sacred. A lesson in sonic desecration and sense fucking. GNOD can and will save us all.

GNOD – ‘Vatican’:

6. Pete and the Pirates: One Thousand Pictures

A dark horse this one. It’s here because of two killer singles heard on the radio and loved immediately – you know, like it’s still 1986 or something. Wriggling with earworms; jkneale has played this to death.

Pete and the Pirates – ‘Half Moon Street’:

5. The Advisory Circle: As The Crow Flies

The pinnacle of all that is deemed hauntological. Electronica that makes you misty eyed for all the things you thought you’d forgotten and thought that bored you in the first place. Remarkable.

The Advisory Circle – ‘Modern Through Movement’:

The Advisory Circle – ‘Learning Owl Reappears’:

4. EMA: Past Life Martyred Saints

This is on a lot of lists this year but that’s only right. BBO is old and grumpy enough to know hype when it sees it, and you could be forgiven for fearing a bit of that with EMA, but this is such a strong record. One of the live performances of the year, too (for both of us).

EMA – ‘Endless Nameless’:

EMA – ‘Angelo’:

3. Mogwai: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Are you over post-rock (or ‘hipster jazz’ as Jamie Audio Antihero has it)? Don’t let any of that nonsense stop you from listening to one of Mogwai’s best albums for some time. One of us saw them twice this year and is still twitching.

Mogwai – ‘Music For A Forgotten Future’:

Mogwai – ‘Mexican Grand Prix’:

2. White Hills: H-P1

Guttural glitter soaked sleaze, experimental guitar spanking, wheeling circling solos and pummelling interference: White Hills took what can be nominally called space rock and made it as mesmerising, hypnotic and intergalactic as you’d always it hoped it could be.

White Hills – H-p1 (Live at SXSW 2011):

White Hills – ‘The Condition of Nothing’:

1. British Sea Power: Valhalla Dancehall

At #1, the band who are pretty much guaranteed a place in our end of year lists every time they issue an album (see the 2009 and 2008 lists). This came out so long ago that you might have forgotten what a blast it is and how much we need bands like British Sea Power right now. It’s them or the book burning rats.

British Sea Power – ‘Who’s In Control?’ live at Westminster Reference Library:

British Sea Power – ‘Mongk II’:

We hope you like our likes and thanks to anyone who has read our mutterings this year.

Jkneale and Angrybonbon

[All of these lovely records are available from shops – independent ones, big shiny ones, online ones, ones where there isn’t really a shop but you have to email some bloke. We like buying records – actually, we really do. And we think you should too, so if you like any of this and haven’t already bought them, go on! They’ll be cheap by now]

British Sea Power and Teeth of the Sea: The Ritz, Manchester.

[Picture of Teeth of the Sea courtesy of @PeteCollinsMCR of ‘Having A Party Without Me’ infamy]

The Ritz is renowned for its sprung dance floor and sticky carpet. Stories of its acrid and overpowering stink are less common amongst the residents of Manchester. And my word it pongs. This irrefutable fact must have contributed to the late showing of any form of animation amongst a generally sleepy crowd gathered last night to see British Sea Power and Teeth of the Sea: trying to catch your breath whilst moving and bopping only results in the inhalation of the stench of a very ripe Camembert to the point of near suffocation.

Moving with haste beyond the olfactory, Teeth of the Sea lived up to my massively, and potentially disabling, expectations. Despite a relatively sparse crowd for their slot, through opener ‘A.C.R.O.N.Y.M’ and via ‘Swear Blind The Alsatian’s Melting’, their enormous sound translated as I hoped it would. No doubt their all-round impact would have been enhanced further with projections and some flashy lights (which a support acts, it seems, are rarely permitted), but the confederation of a flying-V guitar (played with e-bow, beer bottle and behind the head), moustache/side parted hair combinations, and zoned out/face strained drumming, made up for any deficiencies in illuminations and visuals. A wonderful slice of post-psychedelic trash indeed.

It has to be said, British Sea Power are just getting better and better with time. The niggling sense of mild disappointment I’ve experienced after seeing them in the past has been replaced by a feeling that they really knowing their sound and how to deliver it. My song of the year so far ‘Who’s In Control?’ opened proceedings and others from the brilliant Valhalla Dancehall sat nicely in a set balanced enjoyably between the old and the new – ‘Oh Larsen B’ and ‘Apologies to Insect Life’ were accompanied well by the all-out frenzies of ‘Stunde Null’ and ‘Thin Black Sail’, and a stonking encore opener of ‘Zeus’. Yet it was, as it has been many times before, the majesty of ‘The Great Skua’ followed by ‘Carrion’ morphing into ‘All In It’ to finish off the main set that had me thoroughly locked in. A somewhat reserved, but still grin-worthy bit of crowd surfing by Noble (minus flying helmet and without a backdrop of bear-wrestling) during ‘No Lucifer’, and the slight and soon forgotten discomfort of his boot on my forehead (again), finished the events for the night.

And finally, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the exemplary practice of the merchandise stall: more bands should insist on such neatness in display and wickerwork baskets of fudge.

Teeth of the Sea – ‘Swear Blind The Alsatian’s Melting’:

Teeth of the Sea – ‘Cities of Gold’:

A glitch-rock remix of British Sea Power’s ‘Carrion’ and ‘All in it’ by Pressbutton:

British Sea Power – ‘Zeus’:

Just added. TOTS at the Ritz:


Buy TOTS and BSP here.


BBO’s Top Four of 2009

So here’s what you’ve all been waiting for – our top four albums of the year. Produced through complicated Venn diagrams and extended algorithms.

1- Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

Sublime. What more can we say?

Rough Steez

Flight Of The Feathered Serpent

2 – Brakes – Touchdown

Another of those bands we love to bits – we both saw them live this year and are still grinning about it.

Why Tell the Truth (When It’s Easier To Lie)

3-  Teeth of the Sea – Orphaned by the Ocean

We’ve been playing this droney, spacey lot all year long and haven’t tired of them yet.

Latin Inches

4 – British Sea Power – Man of Aran

What do you do after producing BBO’s number one record of 2008, Do You Like Rock Music? You work some of your instrumentals (and instrumental versions of other songs) up into the soundtrack for a 1934 documentary about life on the Aran Islands. It’s as atmospheric, evocative and affecting as you’d expect from a band at the peak of their powers, with special help from the London Bulgarian Choir. Glorious.

The South Sound

So, you have a few hours to pick up this little lot as late xmas presents – just imagine all those smiling faces as friends and family open their post-rock, droning, screeching, rocktastic gifts! We recommend Piccadilly Records in the North, Sister Ray in London (though you’ll have to pop into the shop), but any decent independent record shop would do. There are links to Cargo Records sales pages on the Teeth of the Sea review.

Merry xmas and we’ll see you soon!

jkneale and angrybonbon

BBO’s Top Ten of 2008


[Email subject line] Best of year post

JKneale: Ere, shall we do this?

Angrybonbon [follow up phone call]: Go on then.

And so it came to pass that BBO had what amounted to an AGM to finalise their top ten albums of 2008.  And as the top five pretty much picked themselves it was straightforward affair with only a minor amount of trading of horses at the tail end.

So in order of merit/scrobbling/lounge, tram and washing up listening, here they are:

1. British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?

A shoe-in. We blogged about this lot four times this year and saw them three or four times as well. Not as off-the-wall as the first or as polished as the second but we have both played this record to death all year long.

No Lucifer (Efrim Menuck Mix)

2. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Pop, 2008-style, but with added lysergic interludes. Resistance was useless and they seemed to be everywhere.

Weekend Wars

3. Fuck Buttons – Street Horrsing

Pulling off the almost impossible feat of being simultaneously aggressively noisy and soothingly hypnotic, Street Horrsing is probably the most refreshing thing we’ve heard this year. Still haven’t got the first clue what they’re ranting about though.

Race You To My Bedroom/Spirit Rise

4. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive

Well, this could have been higher, but that’s the thing about lists. A storming record that sounds like a band still broadening their horizons while keeping the hooks and the stories about hardcore and drugs.

Stay Positive

5. Micah P Hinson – Micah P. Hinson and the Red Empire Orchestra

Heartbreaking, passionate, intimate and cinematic, Micah’s latest offering had us staring wistfully and weeping gently. Beautiful.

The Fire Came Up To My Knees

6. Julian Cope – Black Sheep

We like the fact that the Arch-Drude manages to piss off as many people as he pleases. His testimony to outsiders and the transgressive had us smiling, grimacing and tutting. Brilliant.

These Things I Know

7. A Silver Mount Zion – 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons

Apparently people are getting fed up with post-rock because it all sounds the same. Not from this lot it doesn’t. Clever people making frighteningly intense but still essentially simply music.


8. The Black Dog – Radio Scarecrow

Proving there’s still much life in the IDM dog (ahem), Radio Scarecrow mixed beats, harmonies and EVP to forbidding affect.

Flood v3.9

9. Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Common Life

A relatively late entry, and still not properly reviewed here, but my word what a record. Hardcore for people bored of the usual grind; imaginative arrangements (flutes!) and epic songs, but most of all, poppy hooks and frenetic energy.

Son The Father

10. Kontakte – Soundtracks to Lost Road Movies

Track 2 on Soundtracks to Lost Road Movies is entitled ‘Motorik’, so no prizes where this lot are coming from. Yet the result tingles the marrow and journeys you elsewhere.

Ghosts of Electricity

That’s your lot! Though in the bubbling under category for ’08 (i.e. we can’t be arsed to do a top 20 or 30), in no particular order we have:

Eine Kleine Nacht Musik – Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills, Working For a Nuclear Free City – Businessmen & Ghosts, Steeple Remove – Electric Suite, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Dig!! Lazarus Dig!!!, Secret Machines – Secret Machines, Adem – Takes, The Indelicates – American Demo, Portishead – Third, The Accidental – There Were Wolves.

A couple of re-issues or re-masters:

The Wonder Stuff: Eight Legged Groove Machine 20th Anniversary Edition, Stupids – Peruvian Vacation (and others)

Not a bad year then…

Angrybonbon and JKneale

The Best of BBO Mixtape #1: The First 100 Posts

100 posts since March 2007! Not exactly grafting, clearly, but in between the other stuff we have to do BothBarsOn has brought you a roguish mix of new music and some old rubbish you’d either never heard of or wished you hadn’t. We’ve had a ball and are proud of our nearly 22000 hits – hello Hawaii! – and would like to pass on our secret to anyone who thinks this is tricky:

1, Here’s WordPress. Get yourself a blog.

2. Here are the HypeMachine and Elbows. Publicise it to thousands of music fans.

3. That’s it! Fanzine plus distribution network.

To celebrate: a dozen tracks from bands BBO loves to pieces, with the largest share going to the things we’ve liked for a while.

[mixwit_mixtape wid=”54347f84eb76a1662e618b43f134b7b0″ pid=”a6314f215263a16af98289405363e930″ un=”jkneale” width=”426″ height=”327″ center=”true”]

Mix put together and presented thanks to the brilliant mixwit site – another recommendation!

See you all again soon… thanks!

JKneale and the angrybonbon

More British Sea Power

This is one of those BBO double-headers, as I’m seeing British Sea Power tonight at the Roundhouse and there’s not much point in me reviewing it after the last excellent post. But I still wanted to rummage through my BSP souvenir box… So here’s a slightly different image (unfortunately a paper sticker not a cloth badge like you might get at Cubs) and some more post-rock Sea Power from 2003 and 2005.

Heavenly Waters‘ – British Sea Power – Carrion/Apologies to Insect Life CD1

Chicken Pig‘ – British Sea Power – Please Stand Up Enhanced CD


British Sea Power: The Ritz, 12th October 2008

I’ve been thinking about those sections of gigs between the support act and the main attraction. Y’know, the bit where you get your position (always left-side of the stage for me), worry about whether you need to go to the loo (again), get another pint or if some 6.5ft brick shithouse will stand in front of you (my rule of thumb: always make sure you can see the lead singer’s microphone stand, although this depends on the genre of the show – insert laptop, big tangle of wires etc as appropriate).

So you get your position and wait, sometimes with excited anticipation (which realises that decision on needing the loo or not) and sometimes with an arrogant indifference (‘entertain me then, you fuckers’). Usually all you get to see is a few roadies testing guitars, taping down set lists and flashing their torches. With BSP the in-between section is a show in itself: yes, you get the usual tuning and checking, but you also get the arrangement of flora of different types and the placement of a variety of different bird models – last night’s show featured an owl and a heron. The various twigs, branches and birds were arranged by one roadie whom I hope has ‘Foliage and wildlife model co-ordinator’ on his laminate. He seemed to be having trouble with one rather large branch (possibly sycamore) that kept on toppling over. In addition to his laminate pass I hope he carries – like all BSP roadies should – a good quality Swiss army knife as he disappeared behind a stack of amps for a few minutes and then managed to get said twig to stand up correctly. Some good quality whittling must have ensued for this to happen.

All of this happened to a projected film about the reproductive habits of seahorses – natch.

Oh and then BSP came on. Opener ‘Atom’ did not quite have the impact it should due to a woolly sound, but by the time ‘Remember Me’ was pounding us things had got sorted. ‘Waving Flags’, ‘Oh Larsen B’, ‘Carrion’ and an outing for ‘Apologies to Insect Life’ were wonderfully executed, but the real stand out moment, once again (like the Academy gig earlier this year) was the instrumental ‘The Great Skua’: they’ve really hit on something majestic with this track and I sincerely hope they take the template further.

Sometimes it looks like the band members are going through the motions up there on the stage, but this reveals itself to be an illusion as the mayhem surrounding encore ‘The Spirit of St. Louis’ gets going – crowd surfing, balcony climbing, wrestling helmets and an eight foot bear which both grapples with band members and gets attacked by aforementioned heron model.

You know the sort of stuff.

The Great Skua

Waving Flags (Live On Later With Jools Holland)

The Pelican

(ok they didn’t play the latter, but I do love it so)

Orienteer yourself down here to buy.


You have been selected to win a free mp3!



Nice to see the Mercury Prize Panel of Illuminati Judges have been reading BBO considering the number of nominees that have appeared here. It’s true I tells ya!

BSP are in there (an album I returned to at the weekend and sounds stronger every time), as are/is Burial and Radiohead. Admittedly the latter are only favourited by one half of this here blog (i.e. me), plus I’ve not really taken to In Rainbows despite considerable aural effort.

I read elsewhere a blog which trotted out the standard critique of the Prize – y’know the kind of stuff, ‘nothing groundbreaking here’ ‘all buzz bands’, etc, blah, blah. Describing BSP as “indier-than-thou” and Burial as “bumbling dance muzak” got my heckles up, but then this blogger, like us, are just voices in a Web 2.0 world where visitors mostly head straight to the free mp3s without actually reading the entries. And to a degree I don’t blame them.

Still, Last Shadow Puppets have been nominated as well and whereas Mr. Scott Walker is probably too high on the influences agenda to make the album something original, I can’t help thinking they’re just fans and if I had the music industry muscle that Alex Turner no doubt has I’d do a homage to what I love. God knows what it would sound like mind.

Here’s the FREE STUFF. Here’s the FREE MP3s. The DOWNLOADS are BELOW:

Burial – Ghost Hardware

British Sea Power – Atom

The Last Shadow Puppets – Separate and Ever Deadly

Oh and Neon Neon are in there which is more JKneale’s territory, plus I’ve yet to buy it.

Find the display stand at Tesco’s or go here to buy (most of) them.


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