It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2019 rapidly approaches and we somehow end this decade- we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been another crazy year filled with plenty of highs and lows- it’s the releases that have once again pulled a lot of people through the year.
Now in it’s 9th year, we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists. Telling us their most loved events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
Next up, the triumphant Dead Shed Jokers take on the site to share about their year in music. With an incredible year under their belt with the release of their bold, brash and equally beautiful third album release ‘All The Seasons’. The Aberdare/Merythr based quintet have continued to grow into one of the most powerful bands of our time and their new album reflects this. Their record ‘All The Seasons‘ is a progressive, intense and dark journey. Tracks flow between high octane mighty rock anthems to tracks with truly haunting vocals from Hywel and exuding melancholy. We handover to Hywel to discover more…
Top releases of the year
In no particular order…
1. Fear Innoculum (Tool)
An atmospheric, melodic, metal odyssey.
2. Pang (Gruff Rhys)
Gruff has found his post-Furries sonic excellence again.
3. Are You Nervous? (Swedish Death Candy)
A psych, desert, alt-rock, Homme homage.
4. The Book of Traps and Lessons (Kate Tempest)
For literally making you want to wake up another day.
5. Bolt on the Rust (Heavy Flames)
A swampy, bluesy, riff rollicking delight.
6. Smartphone Rabbit Hole (Henry’s Funeral Shoe)
A juicy slab of stomping, horn honking blues rock with some delicate ditties thrown in for good measure.
The best show you have played this year
Pity My Brain have busted their hump for us over the last 5 years and have relentlessly pushed our music far and wide. Without their belief we probably wouldn’t have made 3 albums, so to play their 5th anniversary night in Clwb Ifor Bach (Cardiff) with all the bands that they’ve promoted and helped was awesome. It was a proper pissed up shindig with friends and everyone got naked and danced like they were giving out free whizz at the door.
The Best Gig you have attended
Neil Young, Antwerp (09.07.2019). Before the tour, through his Archives site, I wrote him a letter telling him that me and a mate would be following him through Europe and it would mean the world if he played ‘On The Beach’ or ‘Danger Bird’. He wrote back and said they would be on the tour list of songs. To be fair, having direct communication with my musical spirit guide was enough to make my year, but then the first gig we attended he played both and it was the first time he’d played OTB for 40 years with a full band. Needless to say, I melted and was carried home in a bucket.
Honourable mentions to Swedish Death Candy, All Them Witches and Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind which I caught in Clwb Ifor Bach this year too. Bumping.
Highlights of your year
After 4 years in shed obscurity (it’s like a tardis in there!), releasing our 3rd album ‘All The Seasons’ was massive for us. After the slight line-up change in 2015 and touring that album for a couple of years, we struggled to get into the swing of things on the writing side and creatively we had become a bit stale. Using Metz as a third guitarist, with the three boys sharing bass duties and chucking a load of guitar and vocal pedals in the mix really opened things up writing and sound wise though, and then the songs dropped quite quickly out of the sonic ether. We’ve re-discovered and re-shaped our sound in the process too and it’s been a treat to break new ground.
Releasing ‘All The Seasons’ as a beautiful gatefold pressed on red coloured heavyweight vinyl (our first one!) was pretty darn special too (we’ve still got copies left by the way!). Black Smudge blew our socks off with the artwork and absolutely captured the thematic heart of the album, so to see that in large format and hold that red plastic in our hands was a dream come true. We can’t thank Voodoo Duke enough for helping us make that happen.
Artist/Band to watch for 2020
Next Day Shakes are a new band formed from some of our local areas brightest and best and they practice in the infamous ‘shed’, the heart of the local underground scene. They are releasing some singles in December and tasters suggest we are in for a feast of banging filthy disco desert riff rock.
Best discovery this year
Probably Nick Cave. I bought a greatest hits a good few years back when Arctic Monkeys covered Red Right Hand, but for some reason, while I liked that track, the rest didn’t click for me (which happens some time). A friend lent me Henry’s Dream at the start of the year, which is bluesy and pretty raucous and I was diggin’ it and then I moved onto Skeleton Tree and Push The Sky Away which are more atmospheric and weighty. His voice has so much majesty and his lyrics are second to none, the guy’s a poet. Higgs Boson Blues and tracks like Jesus Alone, Magneto and Anthrocene are some of my favourite of the year. I saw him on his ‘In Conversation’ tour and he was so captivating, such an amazing human, a genuinely caring nice guy (check out his red hand files letters to fans). Everyone was hanging off every word and then he’d bust out Jubilee Street solo on the piano and people were crying like babies. He’s got a massive back catalogue to explore, so plenty of aural goodness to come.
Plans for the New Year
Mainly to get out there in support of the album and vinyl and play some new places and meet new people. We’ve got a few live radio sessions and festivals in the pipeline and we’ll be releasing a few more singles off ATS too.
Beyond that, we’ll keep congregating in the shed, create music and lyrical content that we enjoy and has meaning to us and will continue to go further down the rabbit hole. There’s enough ideas for a new album in 2020. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than being able to share this experience with your mates, having a laugh and an audience that get’s it and is invested. We’re very appreciative of that and long may it continue.
Thank you DSJ and thanks for the incredible release which has made our year, looking forward to more from you all in 2020….