Stepping up to the plate is Fergal Corscadden, lead guitar grappler of The Gatefolds, a man with undoubted taste in music & questionable taste in football clubs. Fergal has been our psychedelic correspondent for some time now. He has turned us on & tuned us in to some fine music. I’m sure that Fergal will be spending a quiet holiday period with his family, saving his energy for the 3rd of January when the Gatefolds launch their new single “Smokin’ Pockets” with a gig at Sandinos in Derry. A guaranteed good resolution-breaking night. He has elected, in the tradition of the Miss World contest, to announce his results in reverse order. Crazy !
3. Thurston Moore – “The Best Day” (October).
OK, first up and 3rd, kicking Papir’s 4th album (“IIII”) into 4th, Thurston Moore needs no introduction. For his first song collection since the break up of his group & his marriage he has assembled a tidy bunch of musician friends including bassist Debbie Googe (My Bloody Valentine) & guitarist James Sedwards (Nought/Chrome Hoof). Drummer Steve Shelley abides from Sonic Youth & if you’re a fan of that band, which I am, you get the same sound and vibes (man). Track 1, “Speak To the Wild” will set you right. In 2013 Lee Ranaldo and the Dust’s “The Last Night On Earth” had some decent sounds on it too, retaining a SonicYouth(iness). The same cannot be said of the massively experimental ‘Coming Apart’, the debut album from Body/Head, aka Kim Gordon and Bill Nace, which is interesting but not as immediate as Moore nor Ronaldo. I look forward to a post-Sonic Youth jam playing all 3 artists at the same time, just for the craic. In fact I’ve just done that on the Y-Tube.
2. Fugazi – “First Demo” (November)
Fugazi make the number 2 slot. I’ve loved everything about this band and their music since the early 1990’s, and they haven’t released anything in 13 years (album-wise) so I was pleasantly surprised to say the least by the news of this one. Ah, band demos… the real stuff. A chance to listen to the similarities in sounds carried through and those they’ve enhanced over the years. There are a lot of differences here and the obvious similarities (mainly in song structure, minimal effects in this release as a difference), compared to the eventual, much tighter, studio recorded versions that we as fans have since and continue to enjoy. But the best thing about this is that it sounds decades better than a whole lot of 2014 material that is supposed to be ‘contemporary’ and in this genre, whatever that might be.
1. SWANS – “To Be Kind” (June).
Ok, next up is another 80’s band and I’m a latecomer to SWANS. Having never listened to any of their massive discography, until a couple of years ago I’m a huge fan. They’re not everybody’s Cuppa Charlie, but I get them/it and I like it a lot. It has taken me a good few spins but I got there with this, their 13th record, too. The band have had a lot of changes line-up wise mainly in the rhythm section but this hasn’t affected their sound…but who gives a fook…jeeze The Fall hi!…consistency however in terms of band members and sound, depth and breadth of sound since reforming in 2010, make this album ‘To Be Kind’ a much listened to 2014 release.
Other notable shouts out for Hookworms & Mogwai (Top 3 F, that’s 6 now, one a triple LP !). Lots of listening to do, Merry Christmas etc.