Staff Picks: Graeme Marsh

It’s been a funny old year. One memorable for the wrong reasons in many households, what with Brexit and Trump dominating the news at every turn. And then there are the deaths, of course. David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and Pete Burns were just four of many music icons to pass away but there were endless other greats wherever you looked. Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood, Muhammed Ali, Caroline Aherne, Gene Wilder and Andrew Sachs were all great losses in their fields. It seemed at one point that you couldn’t turn on the TV or radio without hearing about the latest celebrity death.

As always, though, music proved to be a safe haven where you could escape the madness of the world and retreat into a secluded place. Having spent 2015 being whisked back to Planet Vinyl, an extended hospital stay and subsequent recuperation period in 2016 reaffirmed the necessity and value of MP3s and CDs (let’s ignore the dreaded streams, shall we?). All formats enjoyed a considerable share of the overall playing time. Indeed, a pie chart would probably have portrayed an even spread between the three for the first time ever from a personal perspective.

So here we go, once again into the fray of lists – and who can resist a good, or even bad, list, eh?

Albums of 2016:

  • Suede – Night Thoughts
  • White Lies – Friends
  • Black Mountain – IV
  • The Veils – Total Depravity
  • Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Third World Pyramid
  • Michael Kiwanuka – Love And Hate
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree
  • FEWS – Means
  • Garbage – Strange Little Birds

Songs of 2016:

  • Suede – I Don’t Know How To Reach You
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Don’t Get Lost
  • White Lies – Hold Back Your Love
  • TOY – Clear Shot

Most Awesome Of Awesome Gigs:

  • Ride – Brighton Concorde 2: Simply amazing. First of a two night stint. Unfortunately lack of babysitters prevented attendance at the second show. Ecstatic and gutted all at the same time.
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Brighton Concorde 2: Almost as amazing as Ride. First of a two night stint once again, and yes, no babysitter for the second night. Gah!
  • The Cult – Brixton Academy: At last, a chance to see the incredible Rain and She Sells Sanctuary, two of the greatest songs in history. I can play ‘em on the electric too (but admittedly, they sound like shit).
  • Black Mountain – Brighton Concorde 2: Brilliant, first class performance and Amber’s vocals were tremendous.
  • The Cure – SSE Arena Wembley: Simply incredible, another band from my youth that I had for whatever reason never been able to see previously. And fellow Crawley-ite Robert Smith proved that his voice has not aged one iota. Superb.

Miscellaneous:

  • AC/DC’s Brian Johnson losing his voice and being replaced by Axl Rose. Ahem, Wembley tickets sold in a flash, thanks all the same.
  • Most annoying song was easily Mr Birdsong by Arbor Labor Union. Check out the vocal performance, possibly the most irritating like, ever.
  • Biggest let down – the Dandy Warhols’ Distortland being way short of what they’re capable of yet people were still swooning over it. Not me.
  • On the plus side, rediscovered Brighton’s Resident Records, a treasure trove of vinyl. Get your ass to Brighton, you won’t be disappointed. If new records aren’t your thing, cross the street and go into the wonderful Snoopers Paradise instead. Sublime.

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