Friday, 30 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 9 - The Chasms

9.  Winter Arcade - The Chasms

For the fourth year running The Chasms make the top ten of this end of year list and, if a number 9 position seems unusually low, that's not an indicator that Winter Arcade represents any lapse of form, more that there's a hell of a top eight to come.  The Chasms have maintained their position as the world's most consistent and cherished band.   Perhaps others are catching up, but doing it so well so often is something that even the rest of the world's major musical forces will find it very hard to match.  

Winter Arcade contains guest appearances from Neil Whitehead of Vert:x on guitar, a product of the joint session the two bands did for my Dandelion Radio show, which remains one of the highlights of a very memorable year.   It's the work of a band at the height of its powers, but then this band is, uniquely, one that has only ever worked at that level.   Download it for free here and help yourself to a copy of the session (titled 'The Chasms Vs Mark Whitby) here.

And it's the last day for voting in the festive fifty at so, if you've not got your selections in yet, time to get a move on.

Mark W

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 10 - Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras Meet The Congos

10. Icon Give Thank - Sun Araw & M. Geddes Gengras Meet The Congos (Rvng International)

Cosmic West Coast riffs team up with up with vocal reggae maestros in Jamaica, with astonishing results.   Appalling as this may sound to the purists, together they conjure up something that at least matches, and dare I suggest exceeds, anything they've done apart.  Sun Araw's guitar work finds a natural home among The Congos' mystical chants, blissfully pulsing throughout the seven tracks in some kind of stoned communion that seems more inevitable and naturally productive the more you think about it.

Remember to vote in the official Festive Fifty at   Only three days left to tell us your three favourite tracks of the year in the chart begun by the legendary John Peel.

Mark W

Monday, 26 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 15-11

Absolutely loads of people accessed this blog yesterday, so I thought I'd follow up quickly with the next instalment while I've got your interest (!).   Remember it's to vote in the only chart that really counts.

Anyway, 15-11 coming up:

15. No Head In The Helmet - Suck Susan (Daddy Tank)

Another extraordinary electronic-and-much-more masterpiece from the world's famous label.  Their releases always sound nothing much like anything else - and this is no exception.

14. The Fearless Vampire Killers - Calavera Calavera (Self-Released)

Manic sub-gothic electronic with a broom shoved up its arse.  Another one that, amazingly, you can get for absolutely nothing here.  

13.  This Is PiL - Public Image Ltd (PiL)

Comeback of the century.   I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

12.  Spring I'm In - Alligator Indian (Bleeding Gold)

Always great when a band's early demos turn out to be bettered by their first official album.   Alligator Indian achieved this with a hellish brew of jagged ferocity and beautifully crafted melodies, all in one bundle, and provided the excellent Bleeding Gold label with their best release of the year.

11. Seitseman - The Sebastians (Trance Bum)

Techno and trance, but not as you know it.   One of many delights purloined from the always challenging Dogs Can Read Your Mind blog, and I'm still riding its freaky wave now.   In fact, reckon I'll put it on now...

Top Ten coming soon.

Mark W

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 20-16

Tiny Swimmers - Spurtin' Spirit
Into the top twenty of 2012's finest albums.    You've now got only five days left to vote in the 2012 Festive Fifty at

Wonder if any of these'll feature:

20.  Chest Crawl - Guantanamo Baywatch (Dirtnap)

Loved them as soon as I saw the name, but wasn't prepared for the manic excellence of this crazy-shit surf-punk barrage.   Frenetic and stupidly brilliant.

19.  Meanwhile - Interlard (Self-Released)

This has only been in my life for a couple of weeks and already I can't do without it.   Noisy noise with subtly majestic rhythmic jerks.   My wife asks me to switch it off.   Download for name your price here.

18.  The Sting - The Fuzz (Melting Records)

At about this time last year Melting Records were just about the most important thing in my life, and then they came up with this in early 2012.  Stunning garage rock with knobs on.

17.  Volume 7 - Bola (Awesome Tapes From Africa)

From a label that put out stunning stuff all year came this magnificent piece of Ghanaian kologo licks with deep soul-inflected vocals.   The remixes album that followed wasn't half bad either.

16.  Spurtin' Spirit - Tiny Swimmers (Self-Released)

Another one you can download for free from here.   Punk-fuelled everything but the kitchen sink wildness from Minneapolis.

Mark W

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 25-21

Continuing the rundown.  A quick reminder that you only have 10 days to vote in the official Festive Fifty at   This, to remind you, is purely my own choice of the best albums of the year:

25.   Zammuto - Zammuto (Temporary Residence)

Warped and wonky tunes from Nick Zammuto of The Books' solo project.

24.  Out of Sight Out of town - Standard Fare (Melodic)

As crafters of irresistable indie pop gems go, there aren't many who can outdo Standard Fare.   This was released back in January and continues to delight.

23.  The Observer in the Star House - The Orb (ft Lee 'Scratch' Perry) (Cooking Vinyl)

Two innovative giants of music get together.   Brilliance predictably ensues.

22.  View From The Outer Rim - Lee Negin (Passing Phase)

The second of Lee's releases in 2012 was a piece of at times unsurpassable electronic that satisfies mind and body in roughly equal measures.

21.  A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Globular (Omnitropic/Gliese 581C)

Mind-expanding transcendent gem from Bristolian crafter of psychedelic dub.   Sumptuous and available for free here.

Top Twenty to come soon.

Mark W

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 30-26

Continuing the countdown.  And remember you have 12 more days left to vote in the official Festive Fifty at Dandelion Radio here.

Wolfgang Sings Hymns - Wolfgang Strutz
30. Sorry - White Lung (Deranged)

Sizzling, rapidfire punk-inspired melodies (yes, melodies).

29.  Into The Diamond Sun - Stealing Sheep (Heavenly)

Saw them at this year's Green Man Festival.   Blown away.  Jerky rhythmic brilliance from Liverpool: think Raincoats and Slits with added mystery ingredients.

28. The Wild Wild Berry - Hladowski & Joynes (Bo' Weavil)

Not heard a straight folk record as good as this for years.

27. Tales of Interdimensional Travel - ZuVuYa (Akashik).

Mind expanding trance-y psychedelia froim another realm.  Get it for nothing here.

26. Wolfgang Sings Hymns - Wolfgang Strutz (Self-Released)

Exactly what it says.  Band reinterprets hymns and gospel tunes.   Gets it absolutely spot-on.   Free download from here.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Listen To Me Top Ten 2012 - The Nominations

As usual, I'll be counting down my top ten bands or artists who've been in touch during 2012 in my annual Listen To Me top ten in my December show on Dandelion Radio.  This year's nominations are:

King Twit
Long Hat Pins
Origami Horses
Origami Horses
Daryl Shawn
King Twit


Long Hat Pins
Andre La Fosse
Flies On You
The Fall & Fall

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012: 35-31

Again, a reminder that the only chart that really counts can be voted for via the link at

To be going along with, here's the next bit of the countdown of my favourite 50 albums of 2012:

35.  The Devil's Sea - Sandfingers (Command To Destroy)

Side project from Mike Seed and Richard Quirk of The Chasms that hit different spots from their usual band but hit them all in the right way.   Free download from here

34. Black & Ginger - Churn Milk Joan (Self-Released)

Another side project, this one recorded at the Big Block 454 studios in Hebden Bridge and a follow-up to One that managed to be even better.   Get hold of if for NYOP here.

33. Limbo - Eric Copeland (Underwater Peoples)

Black Dice's album was a bit of a disappointment for me this year.  Far better was Eric's solo effort which managed to combine all of BD's quirkiness with dollops of personality and style.

32. Nothing To Write Home About - Flies On You (Self-Released)

This Leeds duo were among my favourite discoveries of 2012.    Plenty of punk pizzazz but with lashings of unpredictable twists and turns.   Loads more to come from these fellas, I reckon.

31. Alkotmanios Anarchica – Opus Null (Self-Released)  (Pictured)

Of all the great Hungarian discovers of 2012, Opus Null produced enough great stuff to lay the most convincing claim to be the best.  This, their debut LP, delivered on the promise of their demos and then some.   You may still be able to grap a copy from here.  If not, you've seriously missed out.

Stay tuned.

Mark W

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Best Albums of 2012 - 40-36

The countdown begins.   The viewer count was pretty high on this blog towards the end of the countdown last year, so let's see if my parade of fluctuating thrills can do some more of that again.   Even better, I hope you might check some of these releases out if you've not done so already.   As usual, no compilations allowed and no split releases either, which actually rules out some extremely fine stuff this year.   My views will almost certainly change as I write, but here goes:

40. Funky Was The State Of Affairs - Fergus & Geromio (Hardly Art)

Wonky pop wonders with frequently inspirational twists.

39. Inzen - Wormkids.  (Self-Released)

One of many wonderful things to come out of Hungary this year.   Long may they continue.   Download it for free here.

38. Wild - The Inner Banks (DAG!)

Surprisingly brilliant pop stylings that could easily have been shit but weren't.

37. Cathexis: Motion Picture Soundtrack – Christ. (Parallax Sounds)

Crunching electronic wizardry.   Hopefully got a session coming up from them in my January Dandelion Radio show.

36. Indian Pussy – Harry Cloud (WhitewOrm)

Warped, tasteless and cruelly wonderful.

35-30 to come soon.   While you're waiting, why not cast your vote in the 2012 Festive Fifty at

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Vote in the 2012 Festive Fifty on Dandelion Radio

Voting is now open in the 2012 Festive Fifty.   In fact it's been open for about ten days now, and you've got until 30 November to tell us your favourite three tracks of the year at   Last year, a track from the album that topped my 2011 albums of the year - PJ Harvey's 'Let England Shake': will the same thing happen this year?  

One thing's for sure, the more people with impeccable musical tastes who cast their vote, the better the chart is likely to be.  That means you, so please pop over and cast your vote.   If you need a reminder of some of the stuff we've been playing over the year, visited our tracklisting pages at


Mark W