The Top Seven Albums of 2012

Well, hello. It’s that time again, where I pontificate – good word, huh? – on my favourite records of the year. Hardly anyone reads it, but it makes me feel better. And if one person listens to something and likes it? All good.

I don’t think it’s been a stellar year for music this year, I found myself listening to more and more podcasts and classic, older records than anything else. I wouldn’t say the music scene is stagnant, though. The album does seem to have less importance than it did. Maybe I’m just getting old…

Continue reading “The Top Seven Albums of 2012”

The Top Seven Albums of 2011

It’s that time of year when all of these shitey lists start popping up all over the place. And, dammit, this site is no different.

Well, hello.

It’s that time of year when all of these shitey lists start popping up all over the place. And, dammit, this site is no different.

I always do a list, a review if you will, of the best new records I’ve listened to over the the last 12 months – or a year, if you want to be smart. It’s been a weird year, I’ve found myself listening more and more to podcasts and classic albums, but there has been some top, top music out there.

You may not agree with any of them – I’d be bemused and amazed if you did – but have a read and a dabble anyway. You might just find something you like. Enjoy.
Continue reading “The Top Seven Albums of 2011”

Top 7 of ’09

It’s just as well for you, dear reader, that I have indeed picked my top records this year… and I will regale you with my top seven right here. Why seven? Why not? Everyone does a top ten, and I’m not everyone. Trust me, I’m special. And not in *that* way.

The best albums of 2009

Well, hello. I’m sure all of you have been sat on the edge of your seat thinking “my, I wonder what Inno’s top records of the year are” – I can sense these things, y’know. I really can.

It’s just as well for you, dear reader, that I have indeed picked my top records this year… and I will regale you with my top seven right here. Why seven? Why not? Everyone does a top ten, and I’m not everyone. Trust me, I’m special. And not in *that* way.

I would just like to give some honourable mentions to the following – Them Crooked Vultures self titled debut, New Device’s “Takin’ Over“, Spinerette’s self titled record, and Gun’s “Popkiller” (even though it’s only a 5 track EP) as they didn’t quite make my list, but are all worth a listen to in their own right. With no further ado, on with the show!

7. The Answer – Everyday Demons

The big question I and presumably everyone else had was would The Answer be able to follow up their stonking debut or would the ‘difficult second album’ syndrome rear it’s ugly head? The answer – arf – was that they had no such difficulties. Everyday Demons was an amazing record… “Walkin’ Mat” and “Dead Of The Night” rocked out like classic Zeppelin, yet tracks like “Why’d You Take A Chance On Me” having the soul of Bad Company and Free. The Answer proved they were no flash in the pan, and will be at the forefront of the UK rock scene for years to come.
Key Track: Demon Eyes

6. Kiss – Sonic Boom

You know what? You listen to this and you swear you’ve heard it before… and that’s because you more or less have. It’s Kiss! You know what you’re gonna get with Kiss… but they do it better than anyone else out there. Lyrics like “Danger you, danger me, Dangerous” just make you grin, and add them to big riffs, big choruses, huge singalong bits… Kiss tick all the boxes. It’s a return to form… you can almost smell the face paint.
Key Track: Stand

5. Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot

Yup, it’s a supergroup that takes the ones Eddie Van Halen kicked out, adds them to the Chilli’s drummer and Joe Satriani… it’s a recipe for ego and disaster, but it’s not. It works in a big way. I’ve always been a huge fan of Sammy Hagar’s vocals, and he shines all over this. It’s tight, it grooves, it drives… it’s just a great feel good, fun time record. Here’s hoping to Chickenfoot volume 2 in the future.
Key Track: Oh Yeah

4. The Black Crowes – Before The Frost

Let’s get it out of the way, first and foremost: Yes, it does have that ‘Disco Tune’ on it. And it’s not as bad as you’d think. The Crowes, when they’re on, are world class musicians… and on this record, they are definitely on. They riff away as well as anyone, but they’re at their best when they’re playing the blues and hanging their heart on their sleeve. Chris Robinson’s vocals have never sounded so good, and Rich’s guitar playing compliments him rather than trying to steal show. They still don’t half write some nonsensical lyrics at times, but that’s the charm of The Crowes for me.
Key Track: Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)

3. Lynyrd Skynyrd – God and Guns

If you can overlook the iffy politics of Skynyrd – and to be fair, they don’t deny they are Good Ol’ Fashioned rednecks, tracks like “That Ain’t My America” prove that – this is a colossal record. This isn’t Southern Rock as we know it, this is relevant, modern, flowing, and everything you wouldn’t expect from Skynyrd… bar it being good. This is proof that good bands never die, they just hibernate. Smooth vocals, precise guitars, slick riffs… what a record.
Key Track: Still Unbroken

2. Thunder – 20 Years & Out: Live At The Hammersmith Apollo

Yeah, it’s a live album, so what? And yes, I may be biased as I was there, and these guys have been the soundtrack to my life for nearly 20 years… but blow me, if this isn’t the sound of a band going out on a high, then I don’t know what is. The tracklist is just one skillfully crafted song after another… Luke’s guitar playing is awesome at times, and Danny has never sounded so good. It really does make you wish they were still going, but this is as fine an epitaph to a career as anyone could hope for. Incredible energy on stage, and from the crowd… just an awesome, awesome spectacle, none more so than the epic 17 minute finalĂ© of “Dirty Love“.
Key Track: Dirty Love

1. The Wildhearts – Chutzpah!

The most perfect record of the year, by a long shot. One of the most perfect records I’ve ever heard. Ever. From start to finish, it’s a masterpiece. Huge choruses, huger riffs, amazing melodies, incredible vocals… it’s just… perfect. Ginger and the band have never sounded better on record. I’m not joking when I say that every track on the record would have made a great single. And the final two minutes of the record, the tail end of the incredible title track that covers at least 4 different genres… the guitar work on that is as beautiful, and as inspirational as anything I’ve ever heard. Seriously, peeps – do yourselves a favour and at least go check some of this record out. If there was any justice, this would have been all over the charts like a Simon Cowell wet dream.
Key Track: Chutzpah

So there you go. My choices. No doubt they don’t match anyone else’s – but that’s the joy of the Internet. Have a listen to them if you can… and enjoy!

Gun kill Pop!

Gun return with a five track EP, Popkiller – read the review here!

Gun – Popkiller

Gun's 'Popkiller'
Guns don't kill pop... well this one does.

Having just saw them live in Glasgow – review HERE – just had to weigh in with my opinions on the “comeback” mini album Popkiller.

Let Your Hair Down was first aired earlier this year on the mini tour, and I was fortunate enough to hear it during the Edinburgh gig. Loved it at the time, and it’s not overstayed it’s welcome. An ideal pick for a first single release – poppy, quirky, hooky with a chorus more infectious than swine flu, this is a great introduction to the ‘New’ Gun.

Second track Seraphina was also aired at the Glasgow gig, and was a wise choice for me. Huge riffs set this out as perhaps closest to the older Gun material, but that’s by no means a bad thing. The keyboards add an extra layer of depth to the track, and it swirls and climbs into your brain and won’t get out. This was my favourite live track, but on record, it’s a totally different beast – again, by no means a bad thing. Reminiscent slightly of modern rock bands like The Killers?

Popkiller is not only the title track of the EP, but for me is the out and out highlight. I will stick my neck out and say that I don’t think I have heard a song as good as this from anyone all year. The intro is very Roxy Music, but the riff that kicks in after dismisses any such comparisons, and is solid gold. The chorus on this is a thing a beauty, the backing vocals complimenting Toby’s voice. Call me a geek, but I already have the “pop… pop… popkiller” refrain as my text alert on my phone.

Ripping Up The Letters has the uneviable task of following that monster, and does it manfully. The vocal delivery on this is perhaps the closest to Toby’s Little Angels days, but that matters not a jot – this is a finely crafted tale of love gone wrong with a memorable chorus that rattles round your conscience like an old friend turning up on your doorstep out of the blue.

The Only concludes this five track demonstration of what road Gun are travelling on; Gun could be forgiven for easing up and taking a short cut, but this is anything but. A driving guitar hook and strong drumming power this track forward. The vocals and music again dovetail beautifully, and this is another quality piece of songwriting that bodes well for the future of the band. Snappier, poppier, punkier and dare I say it, younger sounding than anything else on the EP, it’s a fitting way to close out the record.

If this five track offering is anything to go by, then the future looks bright for Gun. As a live band, they already cut the mustard – but with these tracks, Gun have shown they have more to offer and more yet to come in an already glittering career.