Alpha Male Tea Party at Green Door Store, February 2018

Charlotte said I should post this but I didn't want to

Death and the Penguin


The Music of 2016

To save you from all the preamble, you can read about why I'm a year late to this on The Music of 2015. This is still as relevant as ever, and I'm still as self-indulgent as ever. But if you're here, you probably don't mind that anyway. With that in mind, here's the music I've heard of from 2016 that I still listen to and love. Obviously there's more than this, but this is the good stuff.

Bossk - Audio Noir

Listen to: The Reverie II (listen to all of it though. It's really good)

Earth Moves - The Truth in Our Bodies

Listen to: Pia Mater

Dance Gavin Dance - Mothership

Listen to: Deception

Fall of Messiah - Empty Colours

Listen to: I always thought that one day everything would be settled, but everything just went black.

Conjurer - I

Listen to: Behold the Swine (but listen to the whole thing)

Aesop Rock - The Impossible Kid

Listen to: Lotta Years

Knocked Loose - Laugh Tracks

Listen to: Billy No Mates (but seriously. Whole thing)

Apologies, I Have None - Pharmacie

Listen to: Anything Chemical

Swet Shop Boys - Cashmere

Listen to: Tiger Hologram

Slaves BC - All is Dust and I am Nothing

Listen to: Crawling Through Nothing to Nothing

Car Bomb - Meta

Listen to: Nonagon (but the whole thing is a riot)

This Monstrosity

When Apple removed the 3.5mm jack from the iPhone, I was annoyed. They'd bought Beats, and I assumed (still do) it was a long term play to only allow Beats to have officially endorsed Lightning headphones, and effectively erase most of a market. Given my reasonably heavy personal investment in headphones, this is irritating. I mean sure I could have just not bought a new iPhone but come on.

Apple's inclusion of a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter with new iPhones solves half a problem - you can now use your headphones. Unless your battery is about to die - then you have to use that Lightning port to charge. Super courageous.

If you trawl head-fi, or keep reading here, you'll discover that Apple's USB-3 Camera Connection Kit will allow you to use a low-powered USB device, and daisy-chain Lightning, meaning that you can charge and run a low-power USB DAC to give you that 3.5mm port. I mean, sure, it looks ridiculous, but you can do it.

It's still pretty early for this configuration, but more and more stuff is coming out. USB DACs aren't exactly a new concept, but powered ones are another thing to charge, and I can't be bothered with that, so I went for the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red, and if you ignore all the inconvenience, the audio quality is noticeably better, especially with a decent pair of headphones. I'd love to give the Chord Mojo a proper spin, but I'd rather have a Nintendo Switch so that's going to have to wait.

The Music of 2015

If I've learned one thing from tweeting about music, it's that people don't seem to care all that much about music that I share. I've always taken as simple an approach as possible to everything I do, and recommending music is no exception. If I like it, I share it because you might like it too. I'm not really interested in reading a lot of words about an album - I'd sooner listen to it and draw my own conclusions - but this is a conversation about something a little more meta: End of Year lists.

At the end of every year, everyone with an internet connection scrambles to share their End of Year list with people. Like your tweets and blog posts; no-one reads them, but there's something fun about dipping through a year's worth of something to highlight that which really shone.

And that, for me, is the key: Shone. The volume of music that gets released, combined with the ease of access facilitated by Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, et al means that there's no possible way to hear everything that would appeal to you, much less give it enough of a chance to speak to you. And, come Christmas, when everyone's putting together their Top Albums of the Year That I Heard and You Didn't lists, you get a brand new backlog just in time for the new year.

With this in mind, and to focus on really trying to listen to albums and appreciate them, here is my list of albums released in 2015 that I'm still listening to now. There was an incredible amount of music released in 2015, and I enjoyed a lot more than appears on this list, but I think a great album stays with you and becomes something that you can specifically name as something important to you.

If you're interested and have time on your hands, there's also a full list of stuff that I enjoyed enough to buy

Benjamin Clementine - At Least For Now

Listen to: Condolence

We Never Learned To Live - Silently, I Threw Them Skyward

Listen to: fragmented footnotes on self-diagnosis

Employed to Serve - Greyer Than You Remember

Listen to: Watching Films to Forget I Exist

Birch - Birch EP

Listen to: 36 Views of Mt. Fuji

The Armed - Untitled

Listen to: Forever Scum

Girl Band - Holding Hands With Jamie

Listen to: Paul

Dance Gavin Dance - Instant Gratification

Listen to: We Own The Night

Blacklisters - Adult

Listen to: Priss

Joanna Newsom - Divers

Listen to: Divers

The Soft Moon - Deeper

Listen to: Wasting

All cover art used absolutely without permission

Every Time I Die at The Haunt

When you see Every Time I Die, the crowd is as fun to watch as the band. There's no limits at these shows: no barriers, and they encourage you to get up on stage and throw yourself off. Now, I've got a wife and kids and a hybrid car. I've got a good life I can't risk losing, so I stand a safe distance back and enjoy the spectacle of it all. And there is a lot of spectacle. You should go and see them if the opportunity presents itself.

I had the idea for this video but I am even worse at making videos than I am at making photos so I didn't get enough audio for this to really work.