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Showing posts from December, 2014

Simply the Best: 2014's Finest Music

At this time of year like a lot of people I always enjoy looking back and choosing my favourite music of the past 12 months. It's not always easy and there is always a chance that something put to one side initially or that you've not managed to hear will in the future emerge as one of your best-ever albums.

But...as of today and after much deliberation these are the 10 albums that have consistently given me the most pleasure over the year and remain a delight each time I return to them. I have mentioned a couple of them in previous blogs, so feel free to check them out for more information. In no particular order we have:
Royal Blood - Royal Blood(Explicit) This album came crashing upon us early Autumn, the best, noisiest, kick-ass, adrenalin-fuelled driving rock I heard all year. Amazingly, it was just 2 guys from the South Coast, Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher, one on bass, one on drums and that's it. No lead guitar. This was the album I heard more people talking about than an…

Rainey Street Band: Brighouse Band of the Year 2014

OK, I only started blogging back in March and some of what I write is very much first time around. Whether this becomes a regular feature I don't know. But...some of my friends have delivered some fantastic music which is continually evolving and which has made Sunday teatimes at either The Beck or at The Cock of The North one of my favourite times of the week and in my view they need to be applauded.

The Rainey Street Band have consistently been entertaining us over the year with their mix of Americana and Bluegrass, with songs from the likes of Simone Felice and The Old Crow Medicine Show. Rainey Street is in Austin, Texas, where a couple of years ago band founder, Dave Kennedy and his mate, and now fellow band member, Tom Firth, headed for a holiday and to pick up on what was happening in the burgeoning local music scene over there. 

Dave had originally played solo, then linked up with ace local harmonica player Ian Crabtree, who has been playing with local legends Blood, Sweat a…

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?

The report into the CIA's torture of al-Qaeda suspects has re-opened what is a very murky chapter in recent history.

'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques', or torture to you and me, were used as part of the CIA's so-called 'Rendition, Detention and Interrogation' Programme in the years after the 9/11 attacks and in the fight against the so-called 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'.

Now, no-one can deny that the recent murders of captured Western hostages by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, which included Salford taxi driver, Alan Henning, are anything but barbarous and horrific. All made worse by the use of slick media techniques which meant TV and the internet were able to capture the sickening details and beam it into our homes.

But...can the use of water boarding, sleep deprivation, humiliation and numerous other 'Enhanced Interrogation' techniques be regarded as acceptable? Dreamt up by psychologists and guys in suits, rather than guys in robes fr…