Soundcast: Underrated albums of 2013 so far

AFTER a brief blog break – did you miss me? what? no? oh… – I thought it would be nice of me to put forward a quick recap.
And given the time of year, just past the half-way point, Father Time is begging me to throw together a collection of my Albums of the Year to date.
But rather than point out the big hitters that have been released in 2013 – your Kanye Wests, your Daft Punks, your David Bowies et als – I thought it would be nice to give some love to the lesser lights.
So here are my underrated albums of 2013, the collections I’ve loved that you may have overlooked, as a Spotify Soundcast playlist.

Soundcast: Craig Ward

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THE awesome Craig Ward has found the time in his busy schedule to create us a Soundcast Spotify playlist, and boy are we glad he did.
The former dEUS and The Love Substitutes guitarist has picked out some gems in the selection, which you can hear below.
A spokesman for his label, Jezus Factory, said: “Craig Ward moved from Scotland to Antwerp after an invitation from Stef Kamil Carlens (dEUS, Zita Swoon) to holiday there.
“It was a long holiday.
“Craig joined Kiss My Jazz and found himself in the hub of a fervent music scene to the extent that Rudy TrouvĂ© suggested him as his replacement in dEUS (‘In A Bar Under The Sea’ and ‘The Ideal Crash’ era albums and tours). After leaving dEUS in 2004 Craig formed the acclaimed band The Love Substitutes with Mauro Pawlowski and Rudy Trouve, releasing two albums, ‘Meet The Love Substitutes While The House Is On Fire’ (2005) and ‘More Songs About Hangovers and Sailors’ (2007).
“In 2008 the trio released a split solo album as Pawlowski, TrouvĂ© and Ward. Craig also fronts the noise jazz band A Clean Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen who released their self titled vinyl in 2011 and a split EP in 2012 with Silent Front. In 2012 he released a split album with Mark Mulholland called ‘Waiting For The Storm’ .
“His production credits include The Frames ‘For The Birds’ alongside Steve Albini. In 2013 Jezus Factory Records plan to release his first full solo album and the second full length A Clean Kitchen Is A Happy Kitchen album.
“Craig has recently moved back to Scotland where he runs Ford House a guest house specialising in musical and artisitic endeavours.”

Soundcast: Bank Holiday!

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HOORAY! Hooray! It’s a public holiday!
Today in the UK it’s the snazzily titled Early May Bank Holiday, and it looks like the sun has got his hat on too.
And while I was rooting around looking for my emergency lagers, a clean pair of shorts, and the matches to light the barbecue, I also unearthed a Bank Holiday playlist I made a few years back, so I thought I’d share.
Happy holidays, everyone!

Soundcast – It’s 3:4 Time!

WHEN it comes to time signatures for modern music, it seems hard to beat 4:4 time.
Four beats in a bar dominates the charts – so I thought I would waltz through my collection and try to find a few 3:4 tracks.
No doubt some more musically-minded than me will point out how most of these probably don’t count due to changing time signatures, or compound time, or whatever.
But I reckon it’s just nice to move to a different beat for once.
Suggest any others in the comments below!

Soundcast: Forgotten Mixtapes

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LAST weekend, while rooting around in my garage, I found a bag of CDs.
In that bag of CDs, I stumbled across one of the sweetest things a music lover can find – a forgotten ‘mixtape’.
I say mixtape, because obviously the cassette tape was the golden age of making compilations, the almost forgotten art of putting together a collection of tracks which work together, and perfectly capture a moment in time.
This one – titled What The F***? – was burnt for posterity in my first year at university, which were heady days, I can assure you.
It’s Roni Size, Red Snapper and DJ Shadow dominated, with a smattering of other acts including Fatboy Slim’s Star 69 – the inspiration for the title.
I’ve recreated this classic compilation – which if I remember even had a follow-up, What The F***? II – as much as Spotify will allow, give it a listen below, and let me know your mixtape memories in the comments box.

Soundcast: Bearded Theory Festival Anthems

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THE Bearded Theory music festival in Derbyshire has put together a bill bristling with talent for 2013.
A spokesman said: “Main Stage Additions include Stiff Little Fingers, New Model Army, The Farm, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Ruts DC and current Mercury Music Prize Nominees, The Hummingbirds.
“Other notable additions to the festival’s line up include Magical Sounds Dance Stage Headliners The Egg, A Guy Called Gerald and Subgiant.”
And fresh from unveiling a truckful of new acts to brush shoulders with the likes of headliners Asian Dub Foundation, The Levellers and Reverend And The Makers, Bearded Theory has put together a Festival Anthems Soundcast playlist for Sound Advice to showcase the sounds that will be rocking Kedleston Hall this Summer.
Listen below, and visit for more information.

Soundcast: Fanuary – Top 10 DJ Shadow

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I’M CLOSING down this badly-named Fanuary feature with a run-down of my top 10 tracks by Dj Shadow.
Shadow, real name Joel Zimmerman, has loomed over my listening for a good decade now, and each and every release he puts out adds something new and inventive to his oeuvre – and how many artists can say that over that period of time?
My top 10 is –
10. Midnight In A Perfect World (Gab Mix)
9. You Made It
8. The Number Song (Cut Chemist Mix)
7. High Noon
6. You Can’t Go Home Again
5. Skullf*ckery
4. Stem/Long Stem
3. Mashin’ On The Motorway
2. Blood On The Motorway
1. I’ve Been Trying
Agree? Disagree? Leave me a shout in the comments section!

Soundcast: Fanuary – Top 10 Biffy Clyro

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I ALWAYS get a swell of pride when I see Biffy Clyro topping festival bills, winning awards, generally getting the recognition they always deserved.
I’ve been a fan of the Scottish trio since their grungey start, and they’re probably the band I’ve recommended to people the most as they’ve grown more and more bloody awesome with each album.
Basically, ‘mon the Biff this Fanuary.
Here’s my top 10 –
10. Let’s Get Smiling
9. Justboy
8. Only One Word Comes To Mind
7. Stingin’ Belle
6. Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies
5. Wave Upon Wave Upon Wave
4. My Recovery Injection
3. The Captain
2. Eradicate The Doubt
1. There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake
Agree? Disagree? Have a top 10 for your favourite band to share? Let me know in the comments.