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2010 review – music

This year has been a bit different for music I’ve listened to less new bands than ever before. The highlight probably was either the [Lostprophets] or the [Story of the Year] album. I did however really enjoy the Anberlin album and the Linkin Park album (which I still am ambivalent about). No matter what [last.fm] does not lie in what I’ve been listening to (it keeps track of what I play at home, on my ipod and work… and even what I stream online – no escape!). I’ve actually been listening to an increasing amount of “trance” which I’m not sure is very representative here though (lots of individual artists):
music2010_lastfm

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What I’m listening to: “Lostprophets – The Betrayed”

Lostprophets - The Betrayed
Story of the Year – The Constant

Over the past couple of months I’ve spent quite a lot of time listening to the [Lostprophets’] latest offering – “The Betrayed”. Now this is not the best offering from the Lostprophets ever I still quite enjoyed it. Its got their usual sound but I dunno, I just feel something is slightly missing. I think my favourite track on the album is “It’s Not the End of the World, But I Can See It From Here” though you can really hear the Billy Talent coming through… then again I like that. So I’m not moaning. This is in contrast the to the more melodic “Where We Belong”. Proper Lostprophets is found on “Next Stop Atro City” – you might even be able to hear the Pontypridd origins coming through (that’s a Welsh accent in case you were wondering).
The album takes a bit of a turn then getting a bit more pop-punk, I think the best way to describe it is Fall-Out Boy like. After this you really start to hear the proper Lostprophets, the other tracks are worth listening to but if you want to remind yourself of the sound of the Lostprophets then you probably want to listen to the second half of the album. The album finishes really strong with the excellent “The Light That Burns Twice As Bright…”… the song is full of lovely texture and doesn’t miss a nice heavy percussion section. biggrin.gif
Overall I quite enjoyed this album.. offers a few different things but its not quite what I was expecting.

What I’m listening to: “Story of the Year – The Constant”

I thought its been ages since I actually wrote about some music so here goes.
Story of the Year - The Constant
Story of the Year – The Constant

The album I’m currently spending alot of time listening to is [Story of the Year] – The Constant. Though I’m not sure any of the tracks live up to their debut single (of 7 years ago), “Until the Day I Die”, its still quite nice. I feel that the music here shows a progression of age. There is definitely less screaming, that or maybe I just don’t notice it anymore. I quite like “Holding on to you” – resonates well with me at the moment. I guess its a bit “pop-y” and not very pop-punk. That probably describes my tastes quite well at the moment. Though if you are about to forget what Story of the Year are about you are hit with a wake up call in their next track “Won Threw Ate”. That really gets me going on the way to work. Overall I’m loving this album and was kinda-what I was expecting and I was pleased. Compared to some of the releases of other bands recently it was nice to have something that hit the nail on the head. “Eye for an Eye” nicely finishes off the album.. and normally by that point I’m ready to work.

Olympic Celebration in Calgary..

Last Saturday Calgary (well CTV) held a celebration for the start of the Olympic Games over in British Columbia. I have to say this is probably the coldest gig I’ve ever been to. It was fun though.. but still it was darn cold. Not sure if holding an outdoors gig in Calgary in the winter is ever a good idea… it was foogy too – such that you could just make the outline of the Calgary tower:
Is that the tower?
I got there in time to watch some local band called [“the Dudes”] who played a solid set of music. Not sure if they are really my thing but they are defineely worth a look out. Probably the best local band I’ve seen so far. I’ve not seen many though.
"The Dudes" play
Eventually, as it got darker, the Tower broke through the clouds and you could see the Olympic Flame burning brightly over Calgary…
Calgary Tower, olympic flame
The main attraction for me to go down to the event was to see the headline band, Simple Plan. They were definitely worth waiting around in the cold for (well it wasn’t so cold after I had a hot chocolate and then jumped around a bit).
Simple Plan at Olympic Celebration
Simple Plan at Olympic Celebration
.. but by the end of this and when I got on the C-train to go home I couldn’t feel my feet properly.. hmmm. Oh and here is a quick clip of the gig:

More photos from the gig can be found [on flickr].

My favourite music according to Last.fm

Over the last 2 years I’ve been using Last.fm to record the music I listen to. I know this is all rather geeky but if you know me then you will know I am indeed a geek, shocking eh! Anyway, enough of the obvious (though the rest of this post is probably also fairly obvious if you ever looked at my Ipod). Over the last 2 years last.fm has been mostly recording what I listen to, though of course it doesn’t have everything I’ve listened to (for example its only very recently that I’ve hooked up my ipod to it, so that probably means there are a fair few tracks missing) and that’s some 14,000 songs (the reason that I thought I’d do this post in the first place). According to last.fm my favourite band is Linkin Park (which is probably true) and is being rapidly caught up by Anberlin, of course my musically taste changes quite rapidly and this is just a snapshot over the last 2 years – I’m pretty sure that bands like Maximo Park, the Foo Fighters, RHCP, Ash, Muse and Greenday would all feature higher if we looked over a larger time base (then again so would Effiel 65 – you probably remember “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”?). Anyway, here are my top 20 listened to artists…
top20
Nothing particularly shocking about it in my opinion, maybe I would have expected Maximo Park (they are 28th) to feature. Senses Fail and Disco Ensemble really were the two bands I listened to heavily during my PhD work, though I’ve also listened to 30 seconds to Mars (34th) alot.. hmm. If we just looked over the last few months then its Rise Against, Linkin Park and Senses Fail – I think I’ve had a bit more angst in my life and Rise Against to provide a nice aggression release. Oh and my most listened to track is Linkin Park – What I’ve Done.

Anberlin Gig

Last night I got to see one of my favourite bands, [Anberlin], at the [Birmingham Barfly]. They were supported by Data Select Party and Furthest Drive Home. Data Select Party were really good and I think I will have to buy their CD – I probably should have last night but I wasn’t really thinking when we left the venue.
Anberlin Gig 6Data Select Party Warming up the crowd.
Anberlin did a storming set. I very much enjoyed myself. I’ve not been to gig in a while and it was really good to be at a gig with a good atmosphere and not too many people along. The Barfly is much smaller than the Birmingham Academy and so you get a more intimate feeling. Anberlin seemed quite overwhelmed by the response of the crowd – to the point that they did 2 encores! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before (I guess I may have at a big festival, but I can’t pinpoint a moment). I was worried at the start of the gig, the typical american band not being able to voaclise well live was going through my head… but after a couple of songs he really got into it and the sound engineers obviously noticed it and sorted it… either that or I just stopped bouncing… probably a bit of both. It was a great gig – if they are coming to a venue near you – go see them. If they are not and you haven’t heard them, go listen. I personally like quite a range of their music but I think that their second album “Never Take Friendship Personal ” is their best. Here are a couple of shot of them during the gig…
Anberlin 3
Anberlin 5
We walked back past St. Martins and the Bullring to the bus stop and I took a couple of shots of the Christmas lights in Birmingham, I really like the blue and white.
St Martins
Birmingham Lights 3

Download Festival 2008

I know it was almost two weeks ago now but I’ve finally gotten around to having some time to write up on here what I thought of the [Download festival]. It was indeed my first time at this festival and I have to say I was very impressed. It was also the first festival that I have been to that we drop to and from every day. Donnington isn’t too far from Birmingham so its easily feasible and is the first thing I was very shocked about. I was expecting since we were driving each day to have to wait in long traffic queues. Nope, it appears that the place was very well organised and the longest we had to wait was 10 minutes when we left on the second night, now that’s not bad! Anyway onto the music…
Highlights:
– seeing Kiss, they were great showmen
– a certain song by Motorhead, this time I was not waiting for the young lady to come of the loo!
– HIM, they were excellent but I have to say I was really shocked by the numbers of people watching them, I guess they were all off watching the Offspring…
– The Offspring, we saw half of their set and wow they were great, shame they didn’t really do much of an encore but then again we were expecting an half an hour extra gig off them after Kiss…
– The rock (and peg) game, see below for pictures – essentially a game of deception when you end up with about a ton of rocks in your bag.. well Alice did!
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– Simple Plan, we caught about half of their set and they were great!
– The storm troopers that got me and Sean…
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– Ash, solid set!
– Clean toilets… actually coming home to have a shower every night was very nice!
– Free Muller rice, “eat it cold, eat it hot, eat it free”… we had a lot of these.
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– The crazy guys on bikes, wicked show (yep the guy is upside down in a ball in the second pic, at one point they had 3 guys in there!)!
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– Lostprophets… great set, but I just don’t think they are a headline act…
– Airbourne, great set… really got the crowd going!
– oh and meeting 001… we got a pic with Sean… I missed out 😦
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Disappointments:
– seeing Kiss, they really disappointed me by not playing a certain song… they also went on a bit!
– the price of the food.. but what do you expect
– Incubus, they were good but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
– Kid Rock not turning up… oh wait I didn’t care this is was a highlight! 😀
– having to put up with Sean the whole darn weekend!
– how cold it was on the first day… having to buy a new jumper.. not that I really minded!
– the fact that Lethal Bizzle was there… we walked past to have a game in the EA hub and he was on, there were lots of people there. I think a lot were booing but a number (more than the people who saw HIM) were jumping up and down… argh! If your band don’t play their own instruments then get off the stage.
Saying all that, overall it was a great festival and it was a lot more spread out and relaxed than Reading… I think I will be going back to Download.. especially if they keep the quality of the bands like there was this year!
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