2013 has certainly been a busy year packed with Gigslutz goodness. From the ‘slutz point of view it’s been a magical year. Since launching in March of this year we’ve had numerous national news exclusives, we’ve been named Guardian Music ‘Blog Of The Week’, interviewed an array of national treasures such as The Specials, New Order, Alan McGee and Happy Mondays and in the process had over a million visitors to the site. Not bad!
Music releases wise however I’d say 2013 has been something of a let down. There has been some cracking debuts from Disclosure and Jagwar Ma in particular, and then there was the outstanding album of the year in Arctic Monkeys breathtakingly good ‘AM’ however, looking at the bigger picture it’s been somewhat sparse on quality.
That’s not to say to there has not been some brilliant musical highlights throughout the year though. My personal highlight was the ‘you had to be there’ New Order show at Jodrell Bank whilst getting another helping of The Stone Roses at Finsbury Park for two nights on the bounce was more than welcome. Below the rest of the Gigslutz writing staff will pick their highlights from the year gone by…
As always, a big massive fuck off THANK YOU to all of the wonderful contributors, and of course everyone who has read our ramblings. We’ve got exciting plans afoot for the new year so please keep coming back.
Onwards and upwards!
Mari Lane – Unsigned Artists Editor
2013 has been filled with an infinite number of highlights for me. The most memorable probably being the time Jarvis Cocker gave me a kazoo… But there have been many exciting, inspirational and unforgettable musical moments, like seeing the legendary Wilko Johnson live, going to an intimate and moving Maida Vale session with Edwyn Collins and sharing a beautiful evening of folky goodness at The Union Chapel with John Smith. I also came across and sometimes had the pleasure of interviewing some pretty awesome new and upcoming bands (Tripwires, The 45s, Eight Rounds Rapid, The Savage Nomads to name a few…).
Most of this would not have been possible, however, had I not started writing for Gigslutz. My highlight of 2013, therefore, would have to be just that – writing for this website and all the amazing opportunities it has opened up for me. Being able to do two of the things I love most – see live music and write – is pretty much a dream come true. So, thank you Gigslutz, thank you Steve and thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read my musings on all these amazing musical highlights.
… I also saw Queens Of The Stone Age. That was cool.
Elliott Homer – Features Editor
There’s very little that surprises me about music nowadays. I have rarely had an album take me by such complete surprise as Tegan and Sara’s ‘Heartthrob’ did back in February. The Canadian twins delivered a 40-minute sugar rush of a record that could convince even the greatest cynic that “pop” is not a dirty word. Few will name it their best album of the year and yet no other release in 2013 brought a bigger smile to my face and for that it gets my vote.
Amelia Ward – News Editor
The rise of Gigslutz has got to be the obvious overall highlight of 2013. From when I became involved back in July we have gone from strength to strength, being named Blog of the Week by The Guardian and interviewing and reviewing some of the biggest acts around. Everyone has worked hard to get us this far and we have some very exciting things lined up for next year. On a personal level, my highlight of the year would have to be seeing the legendary Stone Roses at Finsbury Park and subsequently meeting Mani a few months later at a Tim Burgess gig. He was lovely and having missed the Heaton Park gigs last year I was thrilled to go to London in June, be a right Northern Monkey in the South and get all messed up to some of my favourite tunes!
Andy Chandler – Hijacker Records
Started in 2006 as an attempt to bring Electronic music to the Polish public, the organizers of Nova Muzyka (literally translated as New Music) is based in Katowice, about an hour away from Krakow. Virtually no-one in the UK appears to have heard of the festival and with only 9,000 attendees it still feels relatively intimate in comparison to other European behemoths such as Exit or Benicassim.
The music was utterly fantastic, Friday saw Amon Tobin and Squarepusher veering from the sublime to the ridiculous with their esoteric styles, Jon Hopkins stole the show with a hypnotic rendition of Immunity. Saturday saw London Grammar elevated to the main stage on the back of their ascent to fame in 2013, playing their haunting melancholic tinged tunes at dusk. Jamie Lidell entertained with his unique brand of electronic funk, and there was a rush to the main stage to see the all conquering Moderat complete with new visuals to compliment their melodic and bass-heavy electronica, demonstrating why they are so in demand at festivals.
Nowa Muzyka, an Eastern European gem of a festival.
Well well, I’ve had music all over me this year, constantly wiping of bits of tonal joy into carefully formulated piles, and from these piles I pick my highlights:
Album: Valerie June Pushin’ Against A Stone. The amount of times of gone on about her this year, I think it’s safe to say I’m a little bit very much in love. The album is just everything amazing about Memphis sounds; darkly uplifting, dirtily sexy, tear jerkingly emotional. Can’t and won’t stop playing it. Fact. I love you Val.
Live: Art Brut and The Nature Boys @ Electric Circus, Edinburgh. Even with post-steak dinner indigestion, this was obscenely good! The two punk acts played absolute blinders, with synchronised crowd jumping, standing-up drumming and truly mental dancing. The tunes were glorious too, putting me in a perky yet bad ass stride ready to face the awaitng Fringe tourists outside. Looking forward to catching both of these acts again next year, and what the hosts’ Haddow Fest have on the menu for next year. I will not rest until I get a belly rub from Cammie (Nature Boys) at the next show…
Film: Made of Stone. Best band ever. Reliving the best working weekend I ever had at Heaton Park. Just the bloody best. Collectors edition from Santa please.
Arctic Monkeys: She’s Thunderstorms @ Glastonbury. Having somehow never managed to catch Arctic Monkeys live, it was beyond exciting to see them headlining Glastonbury, and especially as they played such an absolute blinder. Me and my chap watched it with our new ‘Glastonbury Friend!’ (exclamation mark compulsory), who we’d been hanging out with all day like an instant best mate, and he was from Sheffield so he sounded like Alex Turner shouting the words right in our ears as we all pogo’d around; everything, onstage and off, was adding up to a perfect festival moment. I was desperate to hear She’s Thunderstorms as I totally adore it, but it’s not one of their biggest tracks so it seemed unlikely. Feeling melodramatic, I blurted “I bet they won’t play She’s Thunderstorms, but if they do I’ll be so happy I’ll cry!” and a mere second later, the sky was pierced by the intro riff to… you guessed it! Cue jumpy-up-and-down hugs all round, and yes, I squeezed out a couple of tears. Well, I had to – I didn’t want to disappoint my new ‘GF!’.
It’s so hard to pick just one highlight from this year because it has truly been great, but if I have to choose one it would be seeing The Strypes perform at Virgin Records 40th Anniversary. It was an intimate, acoustic gig and the atmosphere was so fantastic. I met the lads afterwards; they were so generous with their time and absolutely hilarious! Hopefully I’ll get to meet them again, but I know I was lucky to see them in front of such a small crowd – I don’t think that will happen again, they are really making waves!
Mulling over my highlight of 2013 was, if I’m honest, a very easy decision. Despite seeing so many great bands and artists throughout the year one afternoon sticks in my mind as pure perfection. The Stone Roses tearing Finsbury Park a new one in the summer was about as good as it gets.
It was a strange line up with support coming from The Courteeners, who I am a fan of, and Dizzee Rascal who I am also a fan of the first album. It’s not a secret that Brown is a fan of a variety of music genres but it was clear that everyone was there for one reason. As soon as the bass on ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ came out of those mammoth speakers I was on cloud nine and didn’t come down for days.
It’s difficult to pick just one highlight of 2013 so I’m going with two. This year I got to see two of my favourite bands live, bands who had broken up and all hope of ever seeing them live had been lost. The Postal Service in May at Brixton Academy, where I regressed into my teenage self as the night went on jumping up and down like the fanatic fan I was (am). The second was Fleetwood Mac at London’s O2 Arena in September, 13 rows from the stage surrounded by ageing hippies I entered a dream like state for the full three hours. Two gigs I will never forget.
For me the summer of 2013 was pretty unforgettable – a first-time visit to Standon Calling, mischief in a park at Field Day, not to mention ticking two big hitters off my musical bucket list in the form of the Stone Roses and the Rolling Stones!
The return of David Bowie also made the year one to remember, from the awesome David Bowie Is…V&A exhibition, to his totally unexpected – and totally brilliant – new album. Sadly, it also made his old amigo Lou Reed’s death seem even more untimely. No one could describe this as a highlight but reading about the public memorial to Reed at Lincoln Center made me wish I could’ve been there.
Reading Festival was definitely my highlight of the year, the atmosphere was fascinating as it united all different kinds of people as there was such a wide variety of acts over the weekend and let a lot of young students who just got their results to go wild and celebrate! Green Day who headlined the Friday night were amazing with playing Dookie in full and the whole weekend was an experience I’ll never forget!
Tickets for Reading & Leeds 2014 are on sale now with the £50 deposit scheme available until the end of the month.
Job hunting, the right to suicide, life in a small countryside town: a personal reading of a common condition of the Italian youth nowadays sung in an intense, rock and roll way that, somehow, makes your body shake. This is my highlight for the past 2013: ‘Il Testamento’ by Andrea Appino. He has recently won one of the most Italian prestigious prizes, Premio Tenco for the best solo debut album. And, just to point out, Appino normally sings with The Zen Circus, the indie rock band he founded when he was 16.
My highlight of 2013 is Peace’s debut album ‘In Love’. I hadn’t came across Peace prior to the NME Awards Tour, but I fell in love with them as soon as they started with ‘Higher Than The Sun’. Their indie, vibrant and cheery sound is not quite like anything else. This album was the soundtrack to my summer, every time I hear the peaceful, melodic track California Daze, I remember lazy sunny afternoons, sitting in a field with my dog and my iPod, contemplating life. In my opinion it’s the possibly best debut album since Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not!