Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Rollasoc's Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Part 2

5 Bird - My fear and Me

I discovered Bird, whilst photographing Bridgnorth Music Festival, a few years ago and have photographed them a couple of times.

I've been looking forward to this album since then.  

I believe they are in the process of changing their name.

4 Atlum Schema - Year Zero

I discovered Atlum Schema from when Andy was hosting the Right Chord Music podcast.  It was a few months of listening before I checked out his music.

I had a couple of previous albums, but wasn't prepared for how stripped back, raw and fragile this album is.  It took a few listens to get it.   I was lucky to get a ticket to the launch party (see first video).  Another grower.

3 Passenger - Whispers

I saw Passenger support Ed Sheeran a couple of years ago and he blew me away.  Simply beautiful songs.  When I got back home I ordered the album.  I was so happy when Let Her Go went massive last year.

I was actually surprised when I walked into Tescos and saw he had a new album out. 

I think this an even better album than "All the little lights".  A bit more sweary, very personal and some great story telling.

2 Blue Rose Code - The Ballads of Peckham Rye


I believe I discovered Blue Rose Code on someone's Facebook page a while ago and tracked him down on Bandcamp. I loved the album "North Ten" but this is a stronger album.  More country than I'd normally like, but such great songs!


1 Pineapple Thief - Magnolia

"All The Wars" the previous Pineapple Thief album is one of my favourite and most played albums of the last few years, which surprised me when Bruce said he didn't rate it that highly.

So I was looking forward to this album and in my eyes it had a lot to live up to.

It wasn't was I was expecting at all. This is the least prog, prog album I have heard.  I really wasn't sure of it for the first few listens, but it has really grown on  over time.

If I have one gripe with it, it would be the last track Bond, kind of just ends.  No big album closer.  More of a whimper.

I did buy this on vinyl as well as CD though.

So there it is.  To be honest, I haven't bought as much music this year as previous years and a lot of what I did buy was compilations and re-issues.

Some of my re-issue and compilation highlights this year.

1. Tear For Fears - Songs From the big chair.
In surround sound by non other than Steven Wilson.  No it doesn't get a lot better than that.
Plus b-sides, remixes, unreleased stuff and a DVD.

2. Steven Wilson - Cover Version
Who wouldn't want to hear Steven Wilson cover Abba, Alanis Morrisette and The Cure (amongst others).

3. Genesis - R-kive
3 disk best off, mostly listen to the Gabriel stuff..

Rollasoc's Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Part 1

I will try to make this slightly shorter post than last years list.

I am going to keep this list to albums I have physically purchased and not to albums that I have streamed on Spotify.   If I don't like it enough to buy it, then I don't think it should be on the list.

10  I Fight Dragons - The Near Future

The only album here that so far is only released on vinyl or download.  I ordered this through kickstarter about 18 months ago.  Though they sent me throught the MP3s a couple weeks ago, the vinyl only turned up this week. And the green marble vinyl is stunning.

I've followed this band since before they were signed, they are a shining example of how a band can use the internet to connect with fans.  

Please watch this afterwards.  1 Song, 18 versions, 7.5 songwriters.   
Version 11 - Chicago is on the album....

The first entry with my name in the album credits.

9 Damien Rice - My favourite faded Fantasy

Not a massive Damien Rice fan to be honest.  Mostly I know his songs from other people's cover versions, but I heard he was back after so thought I'd listened to this album on Spotify and promptly ordered it.

Beautifully, stripped back.  Stunning.

8 Steven Rothery - The Ghost of Pripyat

Growing up in the '80s in Cornwall, we were kind of lacking decent bands coming down to play.  I saw Marillion play at the Cornwall Colesseum several times.  I always loved Steve Rothery's playing and guitar tone. 

Marillion, were one of my favourite bands of the '80s and '90s.

Saying that, the last couple of Marillion albums have left me cold,  not enough Steve Rothery being Steve Rothery and not enough blistering, Mark Kelly, synth parts for my liking. Far too safe and middle of the road.

So essentially I have been waiting 30 years for this solo album.

There is some wonderful playing on this.  Great on headphones.  Everything I wanted from a Steve Rothery solo album.

The second entry with my name in the CD credits.

7 Stiff Little Fingers - No Going Back

Stiff Little Fingers have been one of my favourite bands since my brother David brought home "Suspect Device" back in the late '70s.

I have bought Inflamable Material more times than I care to mention.  So I was happy to Pledge towards the new album. 

It doesn't disappoint.  (other than I liked the acoustic version of "My Dark Places" Jake did as part of the Pledge videos.  I was surprised when it was rocked up).

A real return to form.  Shame I missed them on the tour.

6 Iamthemorning - Belighted

A school friend sent me a link to one of their songs a couple of years ago.  I was blown away by the debut album.

So another kickstarter campaign, to get to record the second album in England with Marcel van Limbeek and featuring Gavin Harrison on drums.

Classical russian prog rock.  A truely beautiful album. Hopefully, my physical copy will make it through Russian customs at some point.  They have stopped shipping them, until mid January due to how bad the russian postal service is!

More later in part 2

Monday, December 29, 2014

End of Year round up.

Well, it is the end of 2014.

It has been a pretty good year.   We released EP6 as well as contributing a cover version to a Mansun Tribute album.

EP6 has been heard far and wide, in places such as Mozambique, Iran, Isreal, the USA, Mexico and many other countries around the world. Which for a duo from Shropshire is both baffling, humbling and totally brilliant.   The internet is a wonderful tool for musicians to get their music out there.
We have started work on EP7 (see video at top of the post for an exclusive snippet of a work in progress).

So what of 2015?

Well EP7 should make it out into the world, I would also like to think that we may even venture out and play live again.    Stranger things have happened.

So thank you to all our old and new found friends and here is to a wonderful 2015.  Onwards and upwards.