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Archive for December 2008

Albums Of 2008: A Rock-A-Rolla list

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As 2008 slips out of view invariably we are asked to compile numerous, ‘Best Of’ lists. The following is the top 30 non reissue, non cover albums of 2008 with my Rock-A-Rolla magazine head on. Arguements on a postcode please!

1 Grails: ‘Doomsdayers Holiday’

2 Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: ‘Sunday At Devil Dirt’

3 Johnny Foreigner: ‘Waited Up Until It Was Light’

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The Fratellis – Jon

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‘We really haven’t achieved anything yet, we’re just getting started, so it’s flattering to be compared to bands that have really meant something, but we haven’t earned it yet.’ So muses John Lawler (Jon Fratelli) of Glaswegian tunesmiths The Fratellis when asked if he feels part of a new wave of Scottish bands that have come to the fore over the last 2 years including Biffy Clyro, Glasvegas, The View and more. He is reflecting as the band pause before launching into a December headlining tour that will see the band sign off 2008 to a packed SECC crowd in Glasgow a few days before Christmas, and though his initial statement may seem dismissive of a Brit award winning band who this year released their second album and who’s doo doo de doo refrain from breakthrough single ‘Chelsea Dagger’ still reverberates along terraces the length and breadth of the nation, it is not that surprising of a man who takes most of his notes on how to be a band from that small beat combo from Liverpool, The Beatles.

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Smashing Pumpkins – If All Goes Wrong DVD

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Billy Corgan, front man of Chicago behemoth Smashing Pumpkins, is one of the most consistently frustrating musicians of the last thirty years. He is at once the most grandiose and pompous example of stadium orientated rock that Generation X ever produced, counter to every sanctified decree from the house of Cobain, and yet he is the champion of fan taping, he has distributed demos, exclusive recordings and entire concerts through a carefully selected network of fans and friends, distributing for free music that some of his more ‘noble’ peers have charged hundreds and hundreds of dollars for. This is the man who issued the ultimate punk rock ‘fuck you’ to Virgin records self releasing his final double album as fan distributed free releases long before NIN and Radiohead jumped on the headlines.

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December is a double edged sword for those who write about the music world. On the one hand you have a glittering array of high profile gigs, numerous self congratulatory parties involving free drinks and freer talk…yet on the other hand you are asked to concoct endless ‘Best of’ lists, rating and compartmentalising the outgoing year for ease of future reference if, and when, highly advanced alien conquerors wish to know if Coldplays album was indeed stolen from Mr Satriani and if so was it any good?

Whilst the impending financial implosion has put paid to some of the dirth of actual news during the festive period as the Jurassic ‘majors’ march out their big guns next attempt at a magnum opus at…well gunpoint it would see, in some CaptainoftheTitanic style doomed attempt at making those 4th quarter targets, it was still blessed relief to receive an email from those innovative and elixir smothered persona at The free and devilishly legal music site We7 represents a huge signpost as to the future of music consumption, and they are currently compiling a poll of the most underrated albums. To which end I have been asked to add my tuppence, which leads me to the following 2 works of godlike genius. We’ve all seen High Fidelity where Jack black earnestly assures his poor, heathen customer that ‘it’s going to be OK’ after the shocking revelation that he doesn’t own ‘Blonde On Blonde’, well my friends, read on, and it’s going to be OK!
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