Friday 19 December 2014

2014 review by Kevin Harper

I've met some brilliant people involved in the Glasgow/Scottish music scene since I started this blog, putting on a few gigs and managing/advising bands. One of the nicest, funniest and most knowledgable guys (about music and films at least)  I have met is Kevin Harper, formerly lead singer and guitarist with Little Eskimos, sometime contributor to (Glasgow) Podcart and now a solo artist - check his incredible album Kingdom of Wires if you haven't already.

I have fond memories of a brilliant night at a youth hostel in Loch Lomond when Kev played  alongside Sonny Marvello and I DJ'd and we partied long into the night.

I caught up with Kev to see what music had been turning him on through 2014.

1. What singles/songs that have been released in 2014 have stood out for you?

Ahhh as much as I hate to say it, Swifty's 'Shake It Off' is pretty much perfect, (as perfect a pop song as Call Me Maybe and Heart Of Glass) but that's all I really wanna say about it. 

It's been a long time since he interested me (and I'm speaking as someone who used to be *obsessed* with his work) but I have to say, 'Gimme Something Good' by Ryan Adams is just a fantastic tune. I can't wait to get sick of it. And it's an apt title. When he's good he's great, but he seems to have no internal filter. If he was accidentally recorded farting in the next room I'm convinced he'd release it. The rest of the album bores me. He uses pretty much the same chorus on two songs. 

The main song from the soundtrack to 'Battered Bastards of Baseball', Man With A Broom by Brocker Way is my song of the year. And as a sidenote, if you haven't seen that film yet, do so at your earliest convenience. 

2. What albums released in 2014 have you enjoyed?

I haven't had a lot of time to listen to any albums this year, I'll be honest, but' Alvvays' by Alvvays took me right back to the glory days of the 90's (in fact you can apply this to all the music I like. If it's from or evokes the US indie tidal wave that hit just before Britpop happened then it's A-Okay with me). 

The new Deerhoof is as weird and wacky as is to be expected, but god damn it could possibly be their best album. 

'Complete Surrender' by Slow Club is just great. Songs which would make Goffin and King proud. Those guy are two or three years away from being HUGE. And by god they deserve it.  

I feel redundant including Sharon Van Etten's 'Are We There' despite it being beautiful, because everyone else has already sppken at great length at how great it is. That woman can seriously do no wrong.

3. What old music/bands have you discovered/gone back to in 2014?

I got re-acquainted with two of my favorite albums this year, Illmatic by Nas and Girls Can Tell by Spoon. Neither of them should require any introduction. If you haven't heard them, then you should totally do that. 

This year I came to the conclusion that there's no point whatsoever in trying to decide which is the best British space rock album between 'Northern Soul' by the Verve, 'Lost Souls' by Doves or 'Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space' by Spiritualised. So just listen to all three of them. At once. While on drugs.  Sorts the wheat from the chaff. 

Also, I've been hammering the hell out of everything Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra did. God they were nuts. There's something almost Vic and Bob about them.. But Hazlewood was a pioneering producer and not a bad songwriter to boot.

Realising how insipid and bland Tegan And Sara have become, I went back and listened to The Con to make sure i wasn't imagining a time when they were fantastic. I wasn't imagining it. It's a shame when that happens eh?  

4. What has been the musical highlight of 2014 for you?

Let's see... Sharon Van Etten utterly KILLED IT on Jools, Like i said, she can do no wrong. I have to say I felt a considerable bit schadenfreude when Beady Eye split up. Oasis without the songs: what's the point? 

I'm sure I'm forgetting something.....

5. What are you plans for 2015?

Well I soon shall be welcoming the birth of my son (congrats on the birth of Jackson), and everything that that entails, (developing a fear of sharp corners, beginning my sandal collection, all music instantly becoming 'noise') and if I get the chance I hope to record another album. Hopefully I get to do that but my focus is shifting on to other things anyway, things that take time, like writing, film making. Whatever happens, I feel it's time to stop writing songs about girls, definitely. It's already gotten me into too much trouble

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