Well 2015….you’ve been an awkward one. While by no means a woeful year, 2015 was a bit stop start for the whole 12 months. Ireland seemed bereft of any real gig excitement this year and news of the passing of the likes of my favourite actor Christopher Lee, wrestlers Dusty Rhodes and Rowdy Roddy Piper and Motorhead’s Lemmy and Philthy Animal Taylor, not to mention the announcement that Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson had cancer just seemed to make the year a bit of a downer. Don’t even get me started on the shocking murders in Paris….
Still, there were highlights. Fleetwood Mac in Dublin was way better than a bunch of drug addled pensioners had any right to be.
Beach Slang in Manchester re-affirmed their best new band of the decade status during a mega-sweaty gig.
Finding myself in among a bunch of randy middle aged women at Take That was more fun than it sounds.
Iron Maiden’s ‘The Book Of Souls’ was more than worth the wait.
Seeing the Nature Boy Ric Flair in person was an absolute fucking treat.
And spending evenings reading the liner notes of my Beach Slang records was a blast.
Thanks to all the bands, promoters, editors, managers and chancers I worked with this year.Here’s to a kickass 2016.
And finally, here’s my albums, singles and gigs of 2015. Up the Irons.
Iron Maiden ‘The Book Of Souls’
Beach Slang ‘The Things We Do To Find People Like Us’
Charli XCX ‘Sucker’
Bully ‘Feels Like’
Mutoid Man ‘Bleeder’ 6
Sleater Kinney ‘No Cities To Love’
Kylesa ‘Exhausting Fire’
Fight Like Apes ‘Fight Like Apes’
Best Coast ‘California Nights’
Goatsnake ‘Black Age Blues’
Teenage Time Killers ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 1’
Veruca Salt ‘Ghost Notes’
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes ‘Blossom’
Gallows ‘Desolation Sounds’
Radkey ‘Dark Black Makeup’
Girls Names ‘Arms Around A Vision’
Faith No More ‘Sol Invictus’
Man The Machetes ‘Av Nag’
Beach Slang ‘Too Late To Die Young’ (Original Version)
Charli XCX ‘Doin’ It’
Rihanna ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’
Merchandise featuring Dum Dum Girls ‘Red Sun’
Demi Lovato ‘Cool For The Summer’
Little Mix ‘Love Me Like You’
Bitch Falcon ‘Breed’
Frankie and the Heartstrings ‘Think Yourself Lucky’
Fleetwood Mac, 3Arena Dublin
Beach Slang, Tiger Lounge Manchester
Sleater Kinney, Vicar Street Dublin
Mutoid Man, Voodoo, Belfast
Therapy?, Button Factory Dublin
Here’s a reprint of my Hot Press review of the stellar Beach Slang album.
The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
Big Scary Monsters
KEY TRACK: ‘Ride The Wild Haze’
PHILLY FOUR-PIECE UNLEASH PHENOMENAL DEBUT.
Every once in a while a group comes along that seem hell-bent on killing you with thrills. Philadelphia’s Beach Slang are once such band and their debut will make you thank whatever deity you subscribe to for the invention of a repeat button. Marrying romantic words with punk rock and indie guitars, they follow in the tradition of the Replacements, the Smiths and the Gaslight Anthem and make music you can get lost in for hours.
Wilder and more like their incendiary live shows than their previous EP’s, the ten track opus is a short but oh so sweet effort brimming with lyrics that will be inked on the insides of school-books and the outsides of human bodies for years to come. The thunderous ‘Ride The Wild Haze’ is a particular stand-out on an album full of highlights and their frontman James Alex sounds like a future superstar when he sings “I feel most alive when I’m listening/To every record that hits harder than the pain.” The string-laden, acoustic lullaby ‘Too Late To Die Young’ and fuzz-laden ‘Dirty Lights’ also skilfully show they know how to write top pop tunes too and help make the LP one of the best debuts of the decade.