Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Summary, birthdays and the future

Now firstly, apologies for the image above, taken at our first Christmas outing.  To me Ian's camera seems to have badly smoothed our skin. His camera needs to dial back the Gaussian blur in future.

Love is Overdrive

So here was are at the end of 2015.   

The Hair Thieves started and the band name registered in December 2000 as an outlet for tunes that I had been writing whilst teaching myself Cubase.

It started with the release in 2001 of Baited Breath a song I had written back in 1994 whilst at University, (later re-recorded on EP2) before the first proper Hair Thieves tune "Girl With Two Names".

So happy 15th birthday to The Hair Thieves.   I'm not convinced I thought I would still be doing this fifteen years later, but I'm very happy that I am still doing this.

Of course the plan in 2000 was to release an album.  Something we have not yet done. I doubt we ever will (unless it is a best of compilation). Seven EPs is obviously more than an albums worth of material.

EP1 was recorded 10 years ago in November 2005, when I took a week off work to write and record it.  It was nearing completion, when I asked Ian to join the band. 

So happy 10th anniversay to Ian for being in the band.

2015 saw us release EP7 into the world.  We are very happy with it.

You can purchase it (including physical copies) from our Bandcamp store, or Amazon, iTunes, or stream it in Spotify, Deezer etc.

2016 will be the 10th Anniversary of EP1 being released. 

So what else do we have planned for 2016.

Personally, now we live in the same town, I'd like to start playing live again.. It has been a while.

EP8 is starting to shape up.  We have run out of old songs that we want to re-record (one has been on the other seven EPs).  So this will be the first EP with 100% new material.

At the moment, we have five or six songs on the go, at various states of completion, including an interesting song where we don't actually play anything on it.  More on that gem in an upcoming blog piece.

I'm optimistic EP8 will have five songs on it.

I'm going to be doing FAWM again in February, where I attempt to write fourteen songs in twenty eight days.   In 2015, I managed nine songs, including "Love is Overdrive" off EP7 and "The Distance" off EP8, both in collaboration with Ian.

So we shall see if any of those make it as Hair Thieves tunes.

So hopefully, you will all have a great Christmas and a wonderful 2016.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten albums 2015 - Part 3

So I lied, it is the same length as last year, just in a different order.

Back to the list

5 - Bruce Soord - 

The Pineapple Thief front man has released an album of lighter tunes, from the recent TPT and Wisdom of Crowds albums.   Slightly reminiscent of the acoustic bonus TPT albums with hints of The smashing pumpkins in places.  It hasn't been out long, else it might have been higher on my list.

Starting to worry the Bruce and his various bands keep getting higher on my recent lists than the prpg god that is Steven Wilson.

4. Heidi Browne - White Rabbits

Local Shropshire musician and winner of the UKs 2014's open mic competition, Heidicame back with her third album.   Autocannibal is one of my favourite tunes of the year.  The title track is also great. 

3. Of Monsters & Men - Beneath the skin..

E got me into those after writing a bit of tune with a tom groove.   He said he'd been listening to Of monsters and men and felt inspired. So he played me Crystals.

I have probably listened to this once a day since I got the album (other than weekends).

We also went to see them last month.  

Plus one of their tunes was used in the trailer for the excellent Jessica Jones series.   Rumour has it, they have a part in the next season of Game of Thrones.

2 Vennart -The Demon Joke.

Anyone who knows me, should know, I am a massive Oceansize fan.   It was a sad day in the Rollasoc household when they split. 

But Mike Vennart is back after his stint as touring guitarist for Biffy Clyro with a new album, with two ex Oceansize members, Gambler and Mr Durose. 

"Operate" is probably my favourite tune of 2015.   E wasn't impressed when I took his Of Monsters and Men verse tom groove songs and bolted in the drums from "Operate" for the chorus.  Trust me it was epic.

Now "Don't forget the joker" when it was previewed before the album was released, did worry me.  It wasn't until it was heard in context with the rest of the album, that I started liking it.

So the album is part beauty, part filth.  Which was exactly what was expected and it didn't disapoint.

1. Paper Aeroplanes - Joy

Now along with Vennart, I seem to have signed copies of both these albums.

It was really hard to pick between Vennart and Paper Aeroplanes, given I listen to each of them most days.

But I think Paper Aeroplanes just inch it, possibly since I managed to catch them live in Shrewsbury earlier in the year, possibly since it has been out a little longer and has managed to stay in my consciousness for longer, possibly due to the beauty and quality of songs like Emily, race you home and Guessing game.  

It is a beautiful album.

So there is my list of top ten albums for 2015.   

Got one last top tip for 2016

Beth Prior -  Debut album out in January 2015.  Little Acts of Kindness

Have a happy Christmas and see you in the new Year.  (or tommorrow if you read the blog, for the year's round up).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten Albums Part 2

Right, here is my top ten albums for the year.    Think I should have swapped Duran Duran and Passenger around.  Maybe not?

10 Duran Duran - Paper Gods

Not exactly a return to form, but probably their most enjoyable album since Astronaut.  Still think Andy should rejoin and force them to release Reportage.

Still listen to the re-issue of Rio more than I do this.  Which is probably not a good sign.

9 - I am the Morning - From the House of arts

The only live album in the top ten.    Russian classical prog rockers I am the morning, released a live album to finance their next album.  Looking forward to that in 2016.

8. Sexwitch

Another album I have on vinyl only.  But have been listening to it alot on Spotify.
A collaboration between Natasha Khan (Bat for lashes), Toy and Dan Carey.

Very hypnotic, good to listen to at work.

7.- Steven Wilson - Hand Cannot Erase

Probably should be higher in the list, but by this stage in the list, it is mostly sorted by how often I listen to the album.    Conceptually, not sure I get the album entirely.  The deluxe box is something very special though, as is the surround mix.

6 - Jean Michel Jarre - Electronica 1 - The Time machine.

Been an appreciative fan of JMM since the '80s. My brother Paul was the bigger fan and we were lucky enough to see him when he did Destination Docklands.

Really haven't kept up with his music for the last decade (Aero was the last thing I bough) or so, but heard he was doing two albums collaborating with artists old (Tangerine Dream, Vince Clarke, Laurie Anderson, Pete Townsend etc) and new (Little boots, Moby, fuck buttons etc), so was intregued.

I've been pleasently surprised how good this album is, obviously with the collaborations it is quite diverse in styles.  Looking forward to part 2 in 2016.

So this is the end of part 2. More tomorrow..

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rollasoc's Top Ten albums 2015 - Part 1. The nearlys

I will try to make this an even shorter post than last years three part 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.

I believe I have bought nineteen or twenty albums this year in physical form

Didn't make the list

1. Muse  - Drones - Nothing wrong with it, just not as good as their first two albums.
2. Idlewild - Everything ever written - I preordered this and it came with a acoustic live album,  I pla the acoustic album a lot.  This not so much.   I think the songs are fine, just don't like the production on it.

Honerable Mentions.

1. Loft - Empires - Cornish rock at its finest. Disqualified from the list by being download only.   Great 7 tracks though.

I really want to steal their raw files and have a go at mixing them.

2. Steven Wilson - Transience

Released on vinyl only and with my record player broken, I have yet to play this.  It did come with a download code, which I might download once I open the vinyl.  It does have a new version of Lazerus on it, which I have been known to play every now and again live.

3, Jessica Graae - Sea Dream.

A member of FAWM.   She released an album on bandcamp in the Autumn.  I decided to go for the physical copy, lush folk rock.

4. Bjork - Vulnicura -   Should be higher in the list, but some of the songs are quite long and I stupidly put this album in the car, which restarts the last song everytime you start the engine (and the forward button doesn't work).  So given I have a 3-6 minute trip to work. I can end up listening to the same song for a week.  So I'm a bit fed up of this.

Great use of electronics and orchestration.  Looking forward to the new mix without the electronics.

5 Iron Maiden - The book of Souls -   The first maiden album I have bought in more than a decade.
Quite long.

6. Hozier - Shock horror, something you might have heard of.  Occasionally, I listen to the chart music on Spotify.  I really liked this song.  Album is a bit hit and miss.

7. Dave Kerzer - New World (Deluxe version)

I'm sure he sent me the download in 2014, the officially the physical copies didn't ship until 2015.

Some old school prog, that doesn't hide its influences.   For a double album that is really long, I really don't struggle to listen to this in its entirity.  Plus Dave in his day job at Esoundz has been a top notch guy with good customer service since I started buying products from him, probably 15 years ago.  So good luck to him.

8. Passenger - Whispers 2

 Another beautiful album from Passenger, this time all proceeds going to charity.  Think I might have made a mistake not putting this into the top ten.

Tips for 2016.

1. The Anchoress - Confessions of a romance novelist.

Released in January, so looking forward to this collaboration between Catherine A.D and Mansun's Paul Draper.

2. Paul Draper - Spooky Distance

The companion album to The Anchoress, Catherine A.D. plays on this.  So far only one track has been leaked, at the Mansun Convention in 2014, plus some snippets by Paul.

So that is my two tips (other than my solo album, if I ever finish it. ha ha).

So tomorrow the top ten begins in ernest.