Speakers Push Air

End Of Year Charts 2014
December 11, 2014, 2:03 pm
Filed under: 2014 Albums Of The Year | Tags:

Since various personal and practical issues are eating into my Anally Retentive List Making time, this end of year business is going to be much less elaborate than previous years. The lovely new Narc Magazine website is going to post my Top 5 over the weekend. But here’s the rest (a new rule this year – to be included in the chart, I have to own the vinyl, if it came out on vinyl. If not, meh.. )

Albums Of The Year – Numbers 6 to 30


6 Swans – To Be Kind (Mute)

7 Steven James Adams – House Music (The State 51 Conspiracy)

8 Mogwai – Rave Tapes (Rock Action)

9 Sleaford Mods – Divide And Exit (Harbinger Sound)

10 Martha – Courting Strong (Fortuna Pop!)

11 Kogumaza – Kолокол (Lancashire & Somerset)

12 Lykke Li – I Never Learn (Atlantic)

13 Rob Heron & The Teapad Orchestra – Talk About The Weather (Tea Pad Recordings)

14 Shellac – Dude Incredible (Touch & Go)

15 IX Tab – R.O.C. (Exotic Pylon)

16 Aphex Twin – Syro (Warp)


17 Carla Bozulich – Boy (Constellation)

18 Chain & The Gang – Minimum Rock N Roll (Fortuna Pop!)

19 Grouper – Ruins (Kranky)

20 Warpaint – Warpaint (Rough Trade)

21 Resource Centre – Low Fantasy EP (Geography Trip)

22 Morton Valence – Left (Bastard)


23 Scott Walker & Sunn O))) – Soused (4AD)

24 Billy Childish & CTMF – Acorn Man (Damaged Goods)

25 Teeth Of The Sea – Master (Rocket Recordings)

26 Grumbling Fur – Preternaturals (Quietus)

27 Mirel Wagner – When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day (Sub Pop)

28 Wooden Wand – Farmer’s Corner (Fire)


29 Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads (Domino)

30 Kemper Norton – Loor (Front & Follow)


Gigs Of The Year

  1. Sly & The Family Drone / Teeth Of The Sea / Part Chimp (August 9th, Supernormal Festival) – A triple-whammy of glorious demented noise.


  1. King Champion Sounds / Interrobang? (November 16th, The Ferret, Preston) – two of my favourite new bands of the year at their absolute peak



  1. Neutral Milk Hotel (May 18th, Manchester Albert Hall – as much as anything , because I never thought I’d see these songs played live again.


  1. Richard Dawson / Rhodri Davies / Pentecostal Party / Nev Clay (November 1st, Star & Shadow) – a celebration not just of Dawson but of the incredible vitality of the Newcastle scene


  1. Southern Culture On The Skids (April 5th, Austin Continental Club) – because I was in Austin. Watching Southern Culture On The Skids. Duh!
  2. https://i0.wp.com/photos-c.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-xap1/10013232_232356706965274_1283831678_n.jpg



Soundtrack Of The Year


Mica Levi – Under The Skin (Milan / Rough Trade)

Live Album Of The Year


Ambarchi / Campbell / Flower – Live At Tusk Festival 2013 (Tusk)

Compilation Of The Year


In transit back from Austin…


Harry Smith’s Anthology Of American Folk Music (8 Album Boxed Set) (Mississippi)


Single Of The Year


Oren Ambarchi – Stacte Karaoke (Black Truffle)

Narc Magazine July 2014















Narc Magazine April – June

june cover

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Fuck Buttons Pic Junefuck buttons june


Gnaw June

Phantom June


shannon pic juneShannon June


White June




Wooden Wand


Sons Of Bill April


SnakeheadsSingles April




Miners 1MIners 2







Band of Holy Joy @ The Cluny
March 26, 2014, 11:19 am
Filed under: Narc | Tags: ,

2014-03-02 21.00.35

Band Of Holy Joy

The Cluny, March 2nd

Despite a frustratingly short set in the middle of an oddly mismatched bill, Band Of Holy Joy totally overwhelmed me tonight. I’d waited twenty-five years to see them play and they still managed to exceed my expectations. Their recent Easy Listening album is the best of the year so far and the songs from it were wonderful – the dignified, measured rage at the heart of There Was A Fall, their forensically scathing account of the death of Ian Tomlinson; their gorgeous cover of Darryl Banks’ timeless Open The Door To Your Heart, which saw singer Johny Brown beseeching and imploring like a North Shields James Brown. The band – four musicians managing to sound like so much more – did justice to the richness and ambition of the songs without ever lapsing into bombast, and clearly a had a blast on their cover of Penetration’s Don’t Dictate (which Brown introduced as having changed his life). And as great it was to finally see Tactless live – one of my very favourite songs – it was during the genuinely astonishing closer A Train Ride To Another Place that my arm hairs prickled, my heart soared and I was reminded all over again that Brown is without question the greatest songwriter the north east has ever produced.

(this didn’t make it into the April edition of Narc magazine so I’m posting it here instead)

Narc March 2014

Quite a busy month for me in Narc, including another cover feature (and what a beautiful cover it is)

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Narc February 2014

Lots of my stuff in Narc this month. I’m pretty pleased with how the Tiger Lillies and Band of Holy Joy features came out

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imagetiger pic

Sunn O)))





2013-12-29 21.34.57



Photography by www.idene.co.uk


newman 1newman 2


Albums Of The Year Joint First Place
December 31, 2013, 5:00 pm
Filed under: 2013 Albums Of The Year | Tags: ,

I never thought this would happen but I just couldn’t pick so we have a two-way tie for first.

Satisfyingly, the two albums sharing first place represent perhaps the two extremes of my taste, so there’s a pleasing symmetry.

draw01. Caitlin Rose – The Stand In (Names Records)

Caitlin Rose’s debut album Own Side Now was something of a gem: classic country songwriting with enough ‘indie’ elements for the hipsters, and dominated by Rose’s amazing vocals – powerful without being overwraught, never resorting to warble or melisma. Here, Rose sounds even better, but a bigger budget means things have got fuller  (great organ and brass, even some gospel-tinged backing vocals) without being remotely over-egged. There are covers, a collaboration with Gary Louris, even a loveable crack at Dixie jazz that works a treat. But mostly there is Rose with her solid gold songwriting and breathtaking voice and songs like No One To Call and Golden Boy that show up Shania and Taylor and the rest as shiny, empty clichés. – 5/5, Narc Review


01. Hey Colossus – Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo (MIE)

This album is a fucking BEAST! 10 years after they formed, and  a few months after they absolutely killed it at Supersonic, Hey Colossus are back with album number 8 and have clearly been re-energised by adding Tim ‘Every Great Noisy London Band Ever’ Cedar on drums.  It’s lazy – but fun! – to think of Hey Colossus as simply the bastard spawn of The Butthole Surfers and Killdozer, but as Cuckoo… shows, there’s much more going besides arsequake noise (although there is PLENTY of that). Motorik epic How To Keep Time With Jesus  sounds like Neu! down a K hole, Pit & Hope like a mutant Mogwai and Neanderthal opener Hot Grave is the very best kind of filthy riff nonsense. – 5/5, Narc Review




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