THE SOUND OF 2016 : 76-100

Well, 2016 is almost over and what a year of music it has been. Bowie died, Prince died, and Phil Collins announced a comeback. It hasn’t been all bad. There were some songs I liked, and I’ve put them into a chart.

There’s nothing scientific to it, I just cut and pasted Friday Fives and spent half an hour trying to put them into an order based on what I liked the most over the past year.

You may notice a few rerecordings and previously unreleased versions of songs that have already been released. Well, my chart, my rules.

So, who will join the list of previous winners? You’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.

2006-2009 were done on Bebo, so the articles are sadly gone, but you can click on the links to previous countdowns. There are a few former winners in this year’s chart.

2015 Blossoms – Charlemagne
2014 Jamie T – Zombie
2013 Haim – The Wire
2012 Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
2011 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – AKA …… What A Life
2010 Marina and the Diamonds – Shampain
2009 Little Boots – New In Town
2008 Sons and Daughters – Darling
2007 Feist – 1, 2, 3, 4
2006 Kasabian – Empire

76. Wyvern Lingo – Letter To Willow
77. DNCE – Cake By The Ocean
78. Tegan and Sara – Faint Of Heart
79. Bruno Mars – 24k Magic
80. Frank Turner – Mittens
81. David Bowie – Killing A Little Time
82. Garbage – Empty
83. James – Dear John
84. Primal Scream and Sky Ferreira – When The Light Comes In
85. Travis – Everything At Once
86. Manic Street Preachers – Together Stronger
87. Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure?
88. Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight Gold
89. Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
90. KT Tunstall – Evil Eye
91. Tove Lo – True Disaster
92. Kings Of Leon – Waste A Moment
93. The Divine Comedy – How Can You Leave Me On My Own?
94. Bear’s Den – Dew On The Vine
95. Richard Ashcroft – Hold On
96. Izzy Bizu & the BBC Orchestra – La Foule
97. Travis – What Will Come
98. Madness – Herbert
99. Primal Scream – Mantra For A State Of Mind
100. Madness – Can’t Touch Us Now

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BASTILLE – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 9.11.2016

Regular visitors to Belfast, Bastille dropped by on their biggest tour to date to perform at The Odyssey.

It’s been a gradual climb for the band, as singer Dan Smith reference during the show. Their first Belfast gig was at The Oh Yeah Centre, then Mandela Hall, then Ulster Hall, supporting The Killers at Tennent’s Vital, headlining Belsonic, and then this gig at The Odyssey.

My own Bastille history is varied. I faffed about too much in 2013 and missed out on getting a ticket for their Ulster Hall. The following year, I saw them supporting The Killers at Tennent’s Vital. When they performed at Belsonic last year I was away, so missed out on them.

That Belsonic concert last year, they were still touring their debut album Bad Blood. This time around, they were performing songs from their second album Wild World, a grandiose concept album projecting images of media overlords.

The band get their name because singer Dan Smith was born on Bastille Day. Imagine if he was born two days earlier, it would have been a laugh to see a band called King Billy’s White Horse doing a gig in Belfast.

Support came from Rationale. I’d seen them on Jools Holland a few weeks ago. They were decent. Chilled out songs you can dance to. There was also a band called Keywest (You probably had to do a double take there because you thought I wrote Kanye West) who were also decent, even though their songs were more toetappers than dancers.

Eventually, Bastille appeared on stage, jumping straight into new single Send Them Off, which was not a reference to the events at Mourneview Park the previous Saturday, with it’s distinctive brass riff and groove getting everyone dancing before performing on of the big hits from their debut album, Laura Palmer.

As the world continued to digest Donald Trump’s election victory in America, Dan Smith urged the crowd to “forget about certain people for one night”

Smith was everywhere during the show, walking through the crowd, walking along the seated area, singing from the mixing desk area, even singing from the balcony of a corporate area during the encore.

Naturally, each of these occasions saw eager fans desperate from their idol.

All the big hits were on the setlist, Things We Lost In The Fire, Bad Blod, Of The Night, Good Grief, with the crowd being sent home with Pompeii.

On social media afterwards, the band tweeted visiting the Game Of Thrones throne, a random trend amongst bands who visit Belfast. It appears that nobody can come to Belfast to do a concert without posting a photo on social media with Bastille joining Jimmy Eat World and KT Tunstall in this trend.

There were some new gigs announced this week which tempt me, mostly of a Scottish theme.

Simple Minds are touring, with KT Tunstall supporting them in Mainland Europe. Fingers crossed for a Belfast gig with that line-up.

Meanwhile, Primal Scream are headlining Bundoran Sea Sessions (no date for their gig yet) which might tempt me to do a Innishowen Cycling/Finn Harps/Sligo Rovers/Primal Scream weekend.

Live at the Marquee in Cork announced it’s first headliners this week – Elton John, Cliff Richard and Nathan Carter. I know, underwhelming. Might leave it until 2018 before I visit Cork again.

Photo Album

Bastille live at Boucher Road Playing Fields

Bastille live at Boucher Road Playing Fields Photo Album

KT TUNSTALL – LIVE AT MANDELA HALL 30.10.2016

It’s great when a gamble pays off, and this was a gamble that paid off.

When KT Tunstall announced a tour for October, Belfast was a conspicuous absence from the schedule. That would be become clear in late June when she was announced to play Belsonic.

Great you think. Unfortunately, it was as support to The Corrs. Yep, i’d have to go to a Corrs concert if I wanted to see KT Tunstall.

I decided to take a gamble, having an idea of how Music PR works. I suspected that there would be a Belfast gig on the October/November tour, but that the announcement would be embargoed until after the Belsonic concert.

In fact, it was announced during that concert, by KT herself. The gamble had paid off.

I’ve been a fan of hers since her debut in 2005, when I saw her performing Black Horse And The Cherry Tree on Jools Holland. Around the same time, a work colleague was raving about her. She also introduced me to James Blunt, but don’t hold that against her.

Her concert in Dublin the following night, 31st October, was marketed as a Halloween Party.

Not to be left out, the Belfast concert would soon be marketed as a Halloween Party, but a bit short notice as not a lot of people were in fancy dress.

One member of the audience came dressed as Donald Trump, jokingly shouting “Make America great again” when she spotted him in the crowd, replying “i’m fucking trying”. She lives in America these days. More of that later.

She entered the stage to the sound of We Will Rock You by Queen, not because she was here to rock us, but because she was in fancy dress as Freddie Mercury.

If you need to know, it was the 1980s Mercury with the moustache. Nobody ever goes as long haired 1970s Freddie Mercury.

Of course, she had a moustache, announcing that she didn’t expect the tache to stay on her face for more than three songs. It didn’t even last one song.

She opened with If Only, then following it up with an anecdote about being backstage at a festival in America when a hairy man in a golf cart drove towards her, shouting “TUNSTALL!!!! FIRST SONG, SECOND ALBUM. IT ROCKS!!!!!”.

It was none other than Dave Grohl, accompanied by fellow Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins. That song, she then played, Little Favours.

It was one of many stories shared, the show bordering into stand-up at times. The music was almost feeling like a bonus at times.

She was claiming this as a hometown show as her dad is from Belfast, though she has never met him.

Tunstall is now living in America and spoke of the cultural differences, such as strangers talking to her and the standard response of “Fuck off” isn’t as acceptable in America as it is in Scotland.

She told of how she walked past an Irish Bar and a band was playing one of her songs, making eye contact with the guitarist to give her approval, and he didn’t recognise her.

As well as KT Mercury, her crew were in fancy dress. One dressed as a banana, one dressed as Lady Gaga wearing a ham dress and her drummer was dressed as a member of Devo.

One of her band claimed he was dressed as James Bay though he didn’t look anything like him, it was purely for him to take on the James Bay role when performing Two Way, a duet between them on her new album.

There were some treats for fans, including covers of Walk Like An Egyptian and Seven Nation Army, the latter being played with a kazoo.

There was a treat for two members of the audience called Stephen/Steven and Tracey/Tracy (covering all bases to avoid spelling their name wrong) who shouted to request a selfie with her and she obliged, even though she did say it would “open the floodgates”

Signing off with Suddenly I See, she told the audience “See you soon”.

We can only hope.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 30.9.2016

1. Simple Minds ft KT Tunstall – Promised You A Miracle
2. Bloc Party – Stunt Queen
3. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – Lullaby
4. Cast – Do That
5. Barry Gibb In And Out

This week, saw the 40th anniversary of U2 being formed. So here is a U2 Top 40. Only joking, it’s The Friday Five, not The Friday Forty.

FIVE SONGS BY U2

1. The Fly
2. Hallelujah Here She Comes
3. Discotheque
4. Angel Of Harlem
5. Wild Honey

Oh, i’m going to see Supersonic on Sunday. Can’t wait.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 2.9.2016

1. Tom Chaplin – Quicksand
2. The Courteeners – No One Will Ever Replace Us
3. Bastille – Send Them Off
4. KT Tunstall – Hard Girls
5. Squeeze – This Summer

This Monday sees what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday.

So, in honour of this milestone, here’s a look at Queen’s five finest moments

FIVE SONGS BY QUEEN

1. Seven Seas Of Rhye
2. Let Me Live
3. Innuendo
4. Bicycle Race
5. I Want It All

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 24.6.2016

First of all, apologies for no Friday Five last week. A combination of laziness and social life meant I didn’t get a chance.

Advance warning, might not be one next week. The plan is for the Chart Of The Year So Far. (Important word, the plan is)

1. Brijs – Thunder
2. Kylie Minogue – This Wheels On Fire
3. Hozier – Better Love
4. KT Tunstall – Evil Eye
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Parachute

The Top Of The Pops repeats on BBC Four have now reached 1982. At the current rate of repeats, it will probably be 2001 by November.

So, any excuse, here’s a 1982 chart for you

FIVE SONGS FROM 1982

1. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
2. Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
3. Madness – Our House
4. The Stranglers – Golden Brown
5. Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : Q – MARCH 2011

Liam Gallagher is the cover star of Q as he prepares to launch the debut album of Beady Eye, a band comprising of the non Noel Gallagher members of Oasis.

If you look closely, in Liam’s shades, you can see the other members of Beady Eye in his reflection.

In “Q Mail”, Simon Hunt e-mails to respond to previous correspondence complaining about Take That appearing in Q, while cheekily asking when Justin Bieber will be appearing on Cash For Questions.

Jonathan Paul from Leicester contacts Q to complain about their ignoring of Ian Matthews and Chris Edwards in Kasabian articles, in comparison to Serge Pizzorno and Tom Meighan.

Q50 is a feature of the 50 songs you should download this month. Top of the pile was The Beat Goes On by cover stars Beady Eye.

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol gets a guest submission, choosing Coal by The Mariner’s Children.

In news, Alex Turner records solo songs for a movie soundtrack, Green Day release a live album, The Kills are reforming and Beth Ditto is going on a solo career.

Featuring forthcoming albums, Glasvegas get a double page spread for their as yet titled new album.

Also working hard in the studio were Hard-Fi, with a propsed release date given as “Summer 2011”

Q dedicates a full page to a phone interview with Plan B, where he reveals that Forrest Gump is the one movie that makes him cry.

Tipped for greatness this month are The Joy Formidable, Miles Kane and MNDR.

Shaun Ryder is the subject of this month’s Cash For Questions, answering questions about Tony Wilson, UFOs and Reality TV.

In ads, Paul McCartney stars in an advert for PETA.

There are nine pages dedicated to cover stars Beady Eye, with Liam Gallagher claiming that “People will be calling their kids Beady Eye by the end of the year”

It’s not all about Liam, as Gem, Andy and Chris get profiled, looking at their musical CVs pre Oasis.

Junior Gallagher had gotten the first blow in to release post Oasis music, but Senior Gallagher (Noel) was at work on his debut solo album, with 17 tracks believed to have been recorded, one of which has Miles Kane on guitar, and was set for release in late summer.

Noel’s (using the name of Noel Galagher’s High Flying Birds) self titled debut album was eventually released in October 2011.

KT Tunstall gets a full page interview, where she denounces her stepdad, who was a BNP candidate.

Riding high on the success of Rolling In The Deep, Adele gets a four page profile.

Cee Lo Green is gets interviewed by Q, where he discusses his favourite albums.

Another band riding high in the charts, were Noah and the Whale, who got a three page feature.

2011 was the year that saw the 20th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury, and Q interviews Roger Taylor and Brian May, ahead of a feature about unseen Queen photographs being made public for the first time.

In reviews, Beady Eye’s debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding gets four stars.

Also getting four stars was Clare Maguire’s debut album Light After Dark and Hotel Shampoo by Gruff Rhys.

If Bruce Springsteen is your thing, Q has a handy guide for those wishing to explore his vast discography.

Concert Reviews sees Paul McCartney get a five star review for a concert at 100 Club in London just before Cristmas 2010.

Also getting five stars were The View for their pre Christmas gigs in Sheffield and Stoke.