Here be dragons.

An Ubu review of the year.

Jan 1 2011. A cold day. Had soup for lunch. Took dog for walk.
Jan 2 2011. Still cold. Leftover soup. Took dog for walk.
Jan 3 2011. Slightly warmer. Run out of soup. Dog took self for walk.

Only kidding.
Bored. Wife abandoned me, Ubuette busy dancing round bedroom with tongue hanging out like demented puppy listening to the odd selection of CDs she got for Christmas..so.. I thought I’d pose a little query.

What has been your ( musical or other) discovery of the year ?
Not necessarily what you think of as the “best” thing just the most interesting or startling new discovery. Have you found a third nipple on the sole of your foot ?* Have you succumbed to the delights of Boney M after years of ridiculing their fine output ?
What is it ? Come on, spill the beans.

Mine is this group. Kegawa No Maries ( they are, you may be shocked to hear, Japanese). A fine example of the common experience of bands the world over. Make great records for indie label- sign with major- spend too long in studio- release ever decreasingly interesting material- break up.
Still, fun while they lasted, I think.

* Yes, it really happens.

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28 thoughts on “Here be dragons.

  1. On Sunday morning, me and Her Indoors head to the car boot sale, she in search of antiques, me in search of the scent of aged vinyl.

    I was never a particular fan of Free, so I guess this would have to rate as rediscovery of the year. Alright Now was just too ubiquitous for anyone to claim ownership. But I came across a pink Island label copy of Fire And Water during the year and surprised myself by paying for it the princely sum of one pound.

    It is a terrific album – nice arrangements, an undated sound, and of course Paul Rodgers at just about the height of his powers. I saw him in Edinburgh about 10 years ago with a bunch of sessioneers who ground down any spark that was in his songs, but it was worth it just to hear that majestic delivery and the effortless power and control.

    • I’ve had a similar awakening with Shocking Blue. Only ever heard Venus before this year when, for some reason, I decided to give them a listen on Spotify and discovered that they had quite a few decent tunes ( and quite a few clunkers, admittedly).

      Legend had it, when I was growing up, that Free once stayed in a house in our village. We once heard a group practicing in the Village Hall and I’ve often wondered if it were they.
      Never seen anything to confirm it though. It could all have been blarney.

  2. Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys. I got a chance to listen to Riley talk about the music and its heritage and to hear first hand how the players’ timing must be perfect to bring out the beauty in Cajun music.

  3. No great musical discoveries this year for me but I did discover the wonders of the island of Lundy. I spent a glorious Easter weekend there this year and I loved every minute of it. The landscape, the people, the wildlife (particularly the wildlife!), the pace of life. Of course, we were lucky with the weather and if it had pissed down all weekend I probably wouldn’t have such fond feelings for the place but it didn’t and I do.

    If I knew how to post pictures in comments I’d show you what I mean. But alas…

    I intend to return.

    • What about the people? Did you find them friendly but not overly so?

      I only ask because I remember something vaguely about someone vaguely famous going and having a vaguely negative experience.All I remember for sure is the song, which I suppose I should listen to again for details.
      *iSearches I Don’t Like Lundys

      ———————————————————————-> Me, running

  4. Too many musical discoveries, really. For starters most of the songs on my previous birthday playlist. A renewed love of psychedelia. Inching closer to jazz appreciation. Something i don’t think i mentioned previously, but when i did the b-list for the garden topic, i was pleasantly surprised at the excellence of nearly all Pairubu’s Japanese / Korean / Taiwanese noms. (Especially as i was semi-expecting Wingesque tunes.) How good some of Chinny’s over-the-top metal noms actually are.

    But my discovery of the year, with the caveat that the jury is still out for a long time, is ambient / electronica courtesy of Shoey, Mnemonic, Panther, Sakura, etc.

    Dragons indeed!

    • Glad you appreciated the oriental stuff, there really is some excellent material coming from all over the East.
      Not sure I share ambient enthusiasm, I’m not one for pastoral music on the whole.
      How do you like the photo at the top, it’s an Ubuette original taken from our front door a couple of weeks back.
      I think it’s nicely spooky.

      • The photo is lovely! It really is.

        As to the ambient, i’m not sure enthusiasm is the proper word. Safe to say that for a lover of rock / metal / psychedelia / funk / sleazy blues, there’s something missing for sure. I’d call it just another musical brick in my wall that filled a hole. And it’s some nice music for being holed up for the winter when there’s a lot of work to be done.

    • Heehee…. OTT Metal noms? From moi?! Shurely shome mishtake?!! I’ll keep ‘em coming anyway in the new year. Thank you kindly for the kindness, amy.

  5. Super photo, rather Japanese, I thought.

    Discoveries this year – Joe Bonamassa (thanks Tinny), Ian Siegal and Dumfries and Galloway (thanks TFD – beautiful place.

    Apart from that, not a year I would wish to repeat, glad to see the back of it.

  6. Slightly disappointed there – I read the opening “review of the year” and thought surely this was the internet finally reaching it’s full potential.
    Anyway, there’s been a few things I’ve picked up that I’ve really enjoyed which I have gone on to wax lyrical about around these parts, but the are mostly by artists I already liked so they don’t count. But this was the year I eventually invstigated and decided I liked the work of Lack Of Knowledge – proves that to be an anarcho band you don’t have to shout and swear, but can instead drone in a monotone voice. Excellent stuff
    Lack Of Knowledge – Another Sunset

    I also rediscovered this band, that I’d stopped listening to a few years ago,which may not be unrelated
    The Mob – Another Day Another Death

    • The lack of knowledge song is kind of “epic” isn’t it ?
      I’ve reaquainted myself with a few bands this year, Menace, Masterswitch and The Bags , for example.
      Probably early senility creeping on.

  7. I think the discovery for me this year was singer songwriter Miwa. She released he first album this year which was fantastic and had a a couple of hit singles.

    She is not revolutionary but she is writes really nice simple songs and is says she was inspired by YUI which I think you can hear in her songs.

    I saw her at Girls Factory festival this year which is an all girl music festival in Tokyo and this video is the song 441 from the set she performed at that concert. She was really great actually ! ! !

    The song is about remembering a summer love affair and is full of lovely references to summer things like firework displays and summer festivals.

    The 441 is talking about the radio station wavelength they used to listen together.

    I hope you liken the song ! ! !

    • I have listened to Miwa’s Guitarissimo album. Not bad but, rather as with Yui I suspect you have to understand the words to get the most out of the music.
      I guess she’s not very tall, that guitar in the video looks enormous compared to her !

  8. Neil Young

    I know/knew very little about him, but I bought “Rust Never Sleeps” and just loved all of it. I followed that with “Harvest” and “Comes A Time” and have been enjoying them all immensely for the last few months.

  9. A toss-up between Mono & the Yoshida Brothers for me, I think.

    Away from my collection ’til Monday, so can’t properly advance the listening advice on Free / Paul Rodgers or Neil Young.

  10. My discovery of the year has to be, in the Metal corner, Volbeat. Although, considering the variety of rockabilly and Johnny Cashian and rock’n’roll and Elvisish and other influences in their sound together with the more conventional Metallica and Slayer-isms, the label ‘Metal’ is probably a bit too reductive and restrictive for them. Anyway, they are superb on record and even more superber live. Here’s a small selection of their crowd-pleasers including a couple of unlikely covers…

  11. And in the non-Metal corner, and thanks to, as I recall, Helen and Zalamanda amongst others, I have fallen heartbreakingly in love (musically) with Kate Rusby. But she’s playing hard to get. We were supposed to see her in Stoke, but the show was cancelled at the last minute. And we were then supposed to see her in Wolves, but she lost her voice and the show was cancelled at the last minute! Fingers crossed for the replacement show in Wolves!

    • do you know Subrosa – Chinny? I imagine you do.
      A band I picked up because their name suggested a Pixies/ Sebadoh mix

      e-music said this:
      “This doomy, female-led Salt Lake City art-metal outfit made one of the most unique and powerful albums of 2011. Featuring violin as the lead instrument, with guitar secondary and a thundering, Sabbath-unto-Swans (male) rhythm section, it had the feeling of occult incantation mixed with carefully crafted pagan folk music (especially on their cover of the traditional English folk song “House Carpenter,” delivered a cappella). As thunderingly loud as it is sensitive and emotionally resonant, this is a masterful, assured record that will creep under your skin and bubble up out of your brain when you’re least expecting it. Essential.”

      Anyway, in loud moments – I love it.

  12. My discovery of the year was that even knitting blogs can lead you to music! A blog I regularly peer at featured the trio Pearl and the Beard because they wore a custom-made sweater with conjoined arms on their new album cover (i.e. one sweater for the whole band), which led me to the wonderful Family Records http://thefamilyrecords.com where you can follow (yet another!) blog and are encouraged to download loads of music for free.

    Here’s PatB with one of my favourite tunes:

    And stablemates Wakey! Wakey! with a tune most of you probably know already:

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