Circuit Sweet Interview, Feature, Reviews

Rad Releases 20 – Tom John Hall / Year Of Glad

December 22, 2020

Rad Releases 20 – Tom John Hall / Year Of Glad

It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2020 rapidly approaches and we quickly want to move away from this year- we take a personal look back on familiar names, labels, promoters, and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been a challenging year for all, the one constant has been how artists and their labels have adapted and produced some of the best records of our time and it’s those releases that have the audience has depended on to get them through the year.

This year the Rad Releases special celebrates 10 years, to mark the decade-long feature we let our favorites take over the site to tell us the records that have kept them going throughout this trying year. Telling us how they’ve adapted, if they’ve returned to a loved record and what we can look forward to from them next year.

Our next takeover comes from Tom John Hall. Despite the madness of this year, Tom John Hall defeated the difficulties by immersing himself into music and his music community. This year Tom John Hall released his remarkable record ‘My Big Album’, a bedroom pop epic created as a consequence of isolated living and evoking our evolving world. Four years in the making and released in two distinct parts digitally, and a special double-vinyl release. Tom also threw himself into a new label- Year Of Glad Records . Year Of Glad was founded by a group of long time collaborators involved in Derby’s bustling creative scene. Originally set up to release Tom John Hall’s debut double record and throw a big party, as the year ticked on and the label became home to more like minded artists making pop music just wide of the norm (MARIA-MAl BamfsPhatso) and we are obsessed with YOG and their ethos. We handover to Tom to find out more about his year in music…

Top Releases

Grawl!x – Peeps

Peeps came out on Valentines Day just before lockdown this year – I remember Maria, the artist whose solo endeavour gradually grew into the brilliant ensemble that Grawl!x is today, mentioned off hand to me that they were about to put out a new album about friendship, and I listened to it for the first time on a bus to Derby to see a lot of my friends for what would turn out to be the last time for a long time. It’s such a stunning piece of work, easily my album of the year and one of my all time favourites. It’s delicate, rich and full of beautiful surprises and has kept me in good spirits all year.

Kate NV – Room For The Moon

I struggle to be up to date with music so it’s rare that I’m actively awaiting the release of an album, but this Kate NV release was eagerly anticipated for me and my favourite of hers to date. I discovered Kate NV last year, was enamoured by her two extremely different previous records, and RFTM captures the exploratory joy of those with an added dose of all the things I’m a sucker for – dry, complex percussion, basslines and wonky synths that could have come straight off Talking Heads ‘ Remain In Light.

Phatso – PT 1 EP

Another release on our Year Of Glad family, PT 1 is the first release from our resident chef, Papayér bassist and now legendary beatmaker Phatso. It plays like a sketchbook of lockdown exploration, with great collaborations from Al Bamfs, Cal Proctor and Dani from Pet Crow. Little Rough is a personal highlight – it’s a unique gem of an EP and I’m excited for PT 2 next year! 

Ed The Dog – Untitled.crashed.crashed.crashed

Ed The Dog has been steadily putting out tracks throughout the year from his upcoming album, of which this is the title track. It’s my favourite yet, a suitably cynical slant on Ed’s love hate relationship with music. Reminds me of loads of the bands that shaped my own relationship with music, but fed through a broken computer. I mean I guess that was the point and is a bit too on the nose to say it out loud, but yeah, you get it, it’s great, it works, I love it. 

Little Simz – one life, might live

I’ve been lazily listening to more playlists this year while working at home, but one thing that I have no qualms with being repeated over and over is one life, might live. Since I heard it earlier in the year It got locked in my mind and never left. The rest of that EP, Drop 6, is amazing too – pristine production, full of genius hooks and loads of tiny details to pick up on each revisit.

The best show you have played this year / gig attended (if you had the opportunity at the start of the year)

I only played one show this year as far as I remember – 1st Feb was the Year Of Glad launch night at Dubrek, I shared the bill with YAY MARIA ( then known as (( MARIA )) ) and Cal (Cal Proctor, who is going to be releasing his new work as auo next year – we’re changing names a lot in YOG land). It was such an amazing night, and I’m happy we managed to do it – so many people showed up to support and it was just a really fun time. 10pm Print Club did some commemorative totes and prints too and I have one of their posters from the gig up on my wall now.

Has there been any record that’s got you through this year?

Kano’s Hoodies All Summer came out last year but it feels like an album which is too important to go away too soon – so all this year it’s still been on regular rotation. I’ve loved Kano’s music, if not always followed him closely, since Ps & Qs was my most played on the iPod classic in secondary school. This record is different, though. It’s a true master of an art form putting everything into one perfect album and you can hear how much it means to everyone involved. I’m not sure why this album has been such a comfort this year, I think it’s partly the cathartic release of some of the frustrations and injustices approached in the songs, and partly just the joy of hearing someone so admirable achieving the great thing they were always meant to do. It’s been a really good few years for music in that respect, I think, songs like Class of Deja, SYM, Trouble are ones that everyone should hear if they missed them.

How have you adapted with releasing/recording/promoting during this year?

I’m lucky in that I don’t rely too much on touring and live shows to do what I love and all my music is homemade. I was hoping to be able to start doing more shows this year in support of the album, but I managed to put my record out and that’s all that counted, really. I decided to spread it out over the year a bit to compensate for having to do it all online, and did a few live streams on twitch which have all been really fun. I’m so thankful that people have supported me from a distance, it’s been a weird way to do a first record but we did it!

Best discovery this year? 

The bandcamp Fridays this year have had me digging around more obscure corners of the music world which has been amazing. A couple of my favourite discoveries include Engone Endong (, an amazing Canadian producer, and Yazzus, a producer and DJ from London who does these insane high energy bootleg remixes which I love (

As this is our 10th year of Rad Releases, we want to look back on your 10 years- has there been on standout moment/standout record of the past 10 years for you?

I’ve already mentioned it, but Hoodies All Summer has to be my highlight! In general though alongside that album, not that awards matter but Dave’s BRIT awards performance and Mercury win (and Skepta, and Little Simz’s nomination), Stormzy’s two huge albums and Glasto performance. Been a real turning point for artists making music that has been pigeon-holed and sidelined for too long. Maybe Randy Newman’s Dark Matter, too, because I’ve realised I’ve gone through all these answers without mentioning Randy, my number one.

Artist/Band to watch for 2021

YAY MARIA! Is the latest iteration of the solo project of Maria (of Grawl!x, aka (( MARIA )), MARIA-M). I am completely biased because I’m collaborating on producing the upcoming YAY MARIA release, but it is absolutely amazing and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!

Plans for the New Year

It would be nice to play live shows in some capacity. I’m sure that’s how everyone’s feeling right now. It has been a long, long while now, so that would be great. But I’m going to be focusing on upcoming Year Of Glad projects with other artists much more, it’ll be nice not to be so locked into working on a TJH album and try out a few different things. I’ve been collaborating loads more over lockdown, I think that’s one thing we’ve all learned to do better at a distance, which is cool, so most likely more collaborations, and at some point I’ll get down to the serious work of my second record – a sci fi concept album called THUNDERCHILD.  

Thank you Tom, so grateful for the work you’ve put out this year!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.