The best of 2014 playlist

To see out 2014, I put together a (short) playlist containing some of my favourite tracks of the year. Some are cool, some definitely aren't, but I liked them all.

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January 6th, 2015
Blog Entry

The best of 2014 playlist

To see out 2014, I put together a (short) playlist containing some of my favourite tracks of the year. Some are cool, some definitely aren’t, but I liked them all.

Postpartum – Taylor Mcferrin, from the album Early Riser

This intro track from a great rainy day album sets the mood to “cool” from the get-go.

Time Will Wait – The Submotion Orchestra, from the album Alium

The sort of music I imagine proper grown-ups listening to, all atmosphere and subtle brass (it is possible!). The album is all this good by the way.

Sound of a Woman – Kiesza, from the album Sound of a Woman

She does belt them out, our Kiesza. She reminds me of a less timid Lisa Stansfield; if you like early 90s divas, you’ll like this.

Monument – Röyksopp & Robyn, from the album Do It Again

Hands down my favourite saxophone solo (a baritone sax, to boot) exhales its way into a brooding track about legacies and statues or something.

Love XYZ – Luke James, from the album Luke James

Luke, Luke, Luke. Your whole album should have this good: great harmonies, beats, synths. Sadly it’s downhill after this (until I Want You, his best song but disqualified from this list as it dates back to 2013) but still, this is good.

V. 3005 – Childish Gambino, from the album because the internet

I haven’t listened to because the internet as much as I’ve listened to Camp, but crikey this song is catchy.

Blood – Patterns, from the album Waking Lines

Pleasantly melodic indie-pop from Manchester. Not groundbreaking, but it all works. Words that come to mind include “tropical” and “hopeful”. I don’t know what the lyrics are about because I can’t make them out.

Up We Go – LIGHTS, from the album Little Machines

Concluding the synth-pop section of the playlist, it’s LIGHTS’s ode to friendship and togetherness and never, ever giving up. Had a bad year? Give this a listen.

Panic Tree – Jimi Goodwin, from the album Odludek

I could have included Oh! Whiskey (the aspirational/deluded “One of these days I’m gonna give myself a real good talking to/And recover some youth, maybe give up the booze” got me through a great many long, slow runs) but there’s something about the honky-tonky piano that makes this yarn about chopping down a tree a real knee-slapping good time.

You Go Down Smooth – Lake Street Dive, from the album Bad Self Portraits

Speaking of good times, here’s 3:29 of pure musical enjoyment. It all skips along effortlessly, and produces two moments that still get my hairs standing on end. Crank it up for the choruses and hear those harmonies and brass really glisten: I have never once made it through this song without tapping something in time with the beat.

Rental Love – Lake Street Dive, from the album Bad Self Portraits

My final track of the year is the final track from my album of the year. Sounding like a long-forgotten blues standard, sung with precision and purpose by Rachael Price, it’s just lovely, lovely music.


February 16th, 2014
Blog Entry

Miguel

I’m a bit late to the Miguel party. He’s been around for about eight or ten years or so, but he first came to my attention a couple of years ago with “Many Times”, a pretty dirty collaboration with the dependably grotty Esthero. Then last year I found out about his album Kaleidoscope Dream, and listened to it an awful lot.

“Have you ever felt alone? Do you still believe in love? Or do you like drugs?”

So goes the most memorable line on an album full of them. Miguel doesn’t take himself too seriously, so you get songs asking whether you like drugs, or how many drinks it would take you to leave with him. Listening to the album is like Miguel chatting you up, then having an aside while he wonders to himself who got there before he did.

An album full of good music and peppered with humour, it’s really worth a listen. There’s a deluxe version with two alternate versions of Adorn (admittedly the best song on the album) and a remix of that song about drugs I mentioned, but it’s more for fans and completionists, really.

Miguel – “Do You” on Soundcloud


February 4th, 2014
Blog Entry

Lanterns on the Lake

My first listen to Lanterns on the Lake was back in late 2011 (or that’s when I first scrobbled them, anyway) but I’ve been listening to them a lot more recently. In January of this year I saw them live in a church in Darmstadt for a memorable evening. So far they’ve released two albums: Gracious Tide, Take Me Home in 2011, and Until the Colours Run in late 2013.

A great album to listen to on a wet night, or if you’re feeling a bit homesick. If you’re listening through headphones there’s something unsettling, invasive almost, about the opening clicks of “Lungs Quicken”, but the rest of the album is warm and comforting, like coming home to a hot fire after being caught in the winter rain. In fact there’s quite a lot of aquatic themes and references threaded throughout, but it’s not an album borne of the beach, but of the quay or the docks, perhaps.

Musically accomplished and full of striking moments of harmony, it’s an album I’m really glad I discovered.

(More…)


February 2nd, 2014
Blog Entry

Celebrating 10 years of prosody.co.uk

On 13th February, prosody.co.uk will celebrate its 10th anniversary. What started as a dark blue site to host my music became a place of experimental blogging, then truly a “collected writings” as it evolved to capture everything I ever wrote at Nintendo Life, and later its sister sites.

Primarily for my own interest, here’s an evolution of prosody.co.uk over the last decade.

The first archive: 17th February, 2004

OK, so I had the domain from 13th February, but the site didn’t go live until a bit later. The text was a reference to that Grolsch advert, but we changed “beer” to “website”, setting a high standard of linguistic creativity that the site continually fell below.

Prosody version 0.1: 9th May 2004

This very, very blue site had everything a musician nobody had heard of could need: a guestbook, forum, biography, that sort of stuff. I think at one point the forum had around 20 members, so you can tell how big things were getting.

In January 2006 (I forgot exactly when, and Web Archive did too), I started writing at prosody.co.uk/blog. It used Pivot and had a really nice rainy blue theme with a fountain pen, if I recall.

This was the first time I felt excited about writing online.

The first “Collected Writings”: 4th June 2006

(Note: this link is actually to November 2006, just because it’s the first archive of this page that looks right)

I changed from Pivot to WordPress in June 2006, and launched the first proper “Collected Writings”. This was the first design I really loved – the top banner changed every month, and I did banners for special occasions, like this one for Tails’ 14th birthday.

This version of the blog was home to a lot of ideas, as I basically did anything I wanted. I wasn’t studying or working full-time, so I had time to write diaries for my Harvest Moon farmer; virtually cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats using an exercise bike, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Wikipedia; do podcasts, and that sort of thing. Truly it was a golden age.

What this site means to me has changed enormously over the years. What started out as a promotional site for my ill-fated musical endeavour turned into a place I could try any idea I wanted. I created a Blog Carnival, podcasted, wrote match reports for Pro Evo 4, and loads more. It helped me develop my writing style and create a portfolio – there are over 1.25 million words here, spread across more than 7,200 published posts – and have a huge amount of fun in the process.

Since moving to Germany for work, I haven’t shown this site any attention. I’d like to change that in 2014.

Happy anniversary, URL. Thanks for everything.


September 7th, 2012
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This was fun, but it's time to call it a day. Thanks for reading!


September 5th, 2012
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Just remembered PICROSS e is out tomorrow. Should make my bus rides go much quicker!


September 4th, 2012
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The Netflix category "TV Shows with a Strong Female Lead" bizarrely features Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Teen Mom.


September 3rd, 2012
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Went for a run in the forest as the sun set. I feel wonderful.


September 2nd, 2012
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Set up US Netflix today. Parks and Recreation marathon. Best Sunday ever.


August 31st, 2012
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Check out Nintendo's new #WiiU console & its games http://t.co/cStStS6o


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