Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Guest Year End List: Sparky Deathcap

It's time consuming to be in a band. You have to write the songs, record, tour, do interviews you don't want to do, and then come back and work at a day job because you don't have enough money after all that work. Rob Taylor AKA Sparky Deathcap, doesn't only have to do this with one band, his absolutely wonderful and heart wrenching solo project, but also now with my beloved Los Campesinos! Not to mention he takes out time to work on his art as well. Since discovering Rob's music early this year it has been pouring endlessly out of my iPod and I was honored when he agreed to do a year end list for me.

I’m probably the worst person to ask for an end of the year list, I usually run at least 18 months behind everyone else in the high speed taste marathon that is life with a broadband connection. That year and a half window gives me the chance to sample half a song from a hot new band, loudly deride it along with the wanton industry that spawned it, before accidentally watching them play live at some European festival and decide I actually rather like them after all. By then they’re old news, woefully uncool and even my Dad will throw me a horrified “really?” when he sees their one and only chart success on the track listing of a mix CD. So, with that in mind probably best not to read any of the following. Particularly as, 18 months behind as I am, I give my tips for the year ahead. Kind of like watching The Lake House; just go with it, lock all sharps away in a cabinet and keep critical analysis to a minimum.

Records of 2010

White Hinterland- Kairos

I first came across White Hinterland at a festival in Manchester that we played. I was blown away and promptly bought their record in the car park as they we loading out. Got a free badge too!

Beach House- Teen Dream

At the same festival we shared a dressing room for three days with Beach House. So it was pretty awkward for the remaining time after I acted like a massive fanboy on the first day and asked them for their autographs. Anyway, this record’s awesome.

Women- Public Strain

I liked their first record, but this is inspired. Quite retro sounding, can’t put my
finger on what it reminds me of. The Yardbirds, maybe? Cool.

Best Coast- Crazy for You

I probably preferred the earlier EPs on balance, but with highlights like “Our Deal” this is impossible to ignore. So well done there, Best Coast.

Inlets- Inter Arbiter

Inlets, the project of one Sebastian Kruger, are one of the most incredible bands I’ve heard in a long time and it always baffles me how they remain almost entirely unknown, at least in the UK. I have it on good authority that Sebastian played on Sufjan’s new album, which is a pretty good endorsement for both parties.

Sky Larkin- Kaleide

I recently visited the room in Cardiff where Katy from Sky Larkin apparently wrote much of Kaleide. There was excrement all over the walls and there were still fragments of fingernail in the shredded carpet. And her torment was not in vain, for this is an exceptional album.

Mat Riviere- Follow Your Heart

Mat Riviere is a real talent, a really cerebral modern musician. A real force in the making, and this record is testament.

Islet- Wimmy

We got to tour with Islet for a month last spring and they’re the only live band I can watch over and over again and still find utterly exhilarating. Luckily they’re just as awesome on record, so you can listen in the comfort of your own home without that strange BO smell that pervades all UK venues since the smoking ban.

Laboratory Noise -When Sound Generates Light

This is my cousin’s band. He was probably my biggest influence in getting into music in the first place. This record was a long time in the making but the results are utterly breathtaking. Flavours of Spacemen 3 and Mercury Rev; awesome.

Perfume Genius- Learning

When we were in Philadelphia on our last US tour we went to see Perfume Genius play his new record in a small chapel. A mighty thunderstorm raged around the building

Grass Widow- Past Time

Bought this on the back of a Columbo hunch after liking the cover art, and I always trust my hunches. And once again my hunch didn’t let me down; it’s excellent.

Jam On Bread- A Railcard Adventure

I was lucky enough to be allowed to draw the cover art for this and it’s a wonderful record, which goes some way to recreate Steve’s vibrant live set.

Bands of 2011

And here are some bands that I think deserve to be BIG in 2011. Await them at a stadium near you soon.

Copy Haho

Planet Earth

Them Squirrels

Tisso Lake

King And The Olive Fields

Extradition Order

Summer Camp

Slow Club

The Middle Ones

Ben and Bruno


Internet Forever

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