GSTV’s Mad Dog Blogger reflects on the year in rock
Here we go – time to transition from days and days of sedentary excess into the month of ridiculously-imposed resolutions and promises to overhaul the debauched lifestyle into which we have sunk (and which we, quite frankly and honestly, prefer). I’ll let you into a secret – if you stop smoking, stop drinking and no longer self-medicate, you won’t live any longer – it will just feel like it.
That’s it for the forward looking part of the blog. Although I’m not a big fan of “looking-back, Best-of lists”, my esteemed and insomniac Editor woke me from my winter hibernation for a review of 2013.
“You’ve already had my highlights in previous blogs,” grumbled I…..but then I figured, having not burned a single calorie for several days, I could at least start my new exercise regime with my fingers.
Maybe, I thought, the way to make this a tad more interesting is to change the categories. As a matter of fact, and as followers of this blog will know, the Mad Dog Award for Best Band, Best Album and Best Newcomer (and possibly Best Gig) has already gone to……..(much anticipatory crinkling of paper and ripping open of a stubborn envelope)………The Temperance Movement. Hands down without question – get out, get it, get home and get some…..it’ll do that, guaranteed.
So, let’s see here – new and unusual categories……….Most Predictable Release of 2013 ? Well, 13 by Black Sabbath, of course. Not bad, not new, but who cares? You’d complain if it didn’t sound gloomy and dark. Ozzy and Co. must have been up all night thinking the title up.
Best 23 Seconds Of Music in 2013 (and also Best Album Opener)….”Howl” by LA’s Beware of Darkness – meaty and not a little threatening – it’s the aural equivalent of when you get a look from a woman across the bar that says….”it’s on.” As if to prove my point, the opening line is maybe Lyric of 2013 – “….Lay down, Heaven can wait….”
Biggest Disappointment of 2013 would have to be the new Boston offering Life, Love and Hope. Rather surprisingly, and regrettably because I used to love this band, this album is instantly forgettable. And eight years in the making, or something like that. A perfect example that you can spend too much time getting the production and sound right but if you don’t have well-crafted songs, it’s all a bit of a waste of time. There’s nothing on this album that you’ll be singing in the shower five minutes after listening to it. Yet another example – bit like the last Aerosmith album – of a band regurgitating the same ‘ole stuff.
Now, you can do that if you’re The Stones or the Sabs but the songwriting still has to be good. The tracks on the new Boston album sound the way day old dishwater looks and it should have been called “Bland, Tepid and and Fetid”. “4 out of 10 – could do better”.
Best Gig – The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park 2. Storming performance by Britain’s evergreen quinquagenarians – much was the same as the first time around in 1969, except of course for the price of entry !
Best Make Out Music of 2013 – okay, I’ll admit – I didn’t come up with this category but someone I know VERY well did…..it’s a tie between lesser known Soulwax with their 2004 electronic rock album “Any Minute Now” (who knew anything musically significant ever came out of Belgium but there you go – check it out, good stuff) and Groove Armada’s 2002 album “Lovebox”. Great stuff to shake the sheets and steam the windows to….
Best Band Name – a tie for first place between Fuckshovel and Gaggle of Cocks…..clearly not named to achieve radio airplay – “Ladies and Gentlemen, coming up in this hour of drive time……”
Best Album Title has to be Suck Cocks In Hell by “Shitfucker”…..enuff said. It was on my Christmas list but Mum couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get it anywhere…..jeez, you only have to ask for it.
Best Youngsters – definitely The Strypes…..an amphetamine-infused-Beatles sponge cake of a debut album, smothered with attitude-icing by The Who and topped off with angst candles….ferkin’ brilliant debut album – and these guys can’t legally pay tax for another 4 years (or something….).
Bands That Won’t Go Away and Still Didn’t in 2013 – alright, let’s see how many people actually read this blog….Pearl Jam – Why ? Discuss. I’ve tried to get into these guys but it’s almost all dreary piffle. A mate of mine keeps sending me clips of the covers/jams they do at the end of their shows – all brilliant stuff so I think the message to them is “stop writing original songs and be a cover band.” There, I said it……I’ll just sit here and wait for the “earned media” or as we used to call it…..”fan/hate mail”……..
Also, in this category, Deep Purple whose 2013 release was called Now What ?! should have been called “So What ?” It is arguable whether Deep Purple has done a significant album since about 1984. Maybe it’s Ian Gillan‘s bingo wings and white baggy trousers but I find these guys about as relevant these days as a dial-up internet connection.
Hero of 2013 – my vote would go to Wilko Johnson, guitarist with Dr. Feelgood. This time last year, Wilko was given 10 months to live after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, 12 months if he did chemotherapy. In true rock and roll style, Wilko decided to shun chemo and go to work, completing a farewell tour of UK gigs and festivals and recruiting Roger Daltrey to sing on his final album. Maybe we should say “latest album” because, as of December 2013, he is still with us, looking and feeling great and was just awarded Classic Rock’s 2013 Innovator Award. Rock on Wilko…..and on and on and on !!!
So, there you have it – that was the year that was. Here’s to those who wish us well and those who don’t…….can go to hell.
Have a Rockin’ 2014.