A quick round-up of my year in music…

Albums of the Year 2013

I’ve put together my top 40 albums of 2013 which you can read here – it really has been a fantastic year for music and it’s been a tough job to keep the list this short.

I’ve also contributed to the Louder Than War albums of the year 2013 list which you can find here.

Louder Than War

This year has seen me take a slight shift in what I do for Louder Than War, moving from nominally sharing Reviews Editor duties with Guy Manchester (he always did loads more than me!) and become Features Editor.

And I’m really excited about the stuff we have planned for the new year – the features from around the world, written by people passionate about bringing their local scene to a new audience; more interviews; and more thoughtful long-form pieces from writers who I consider to be amongst the best crafting words about music today. If you don’t know the site already then do check out www.louderthanwar.com.

I’ve been lucky enough to write about records that have become some of my favourite releases and interview some people I admire. The live highlight had to be covering Kendal Calling – standing with John Robb, watching people haphazardly crowd-surfing on scuzzy mattresses to Twisted Wheel as the damp of the audience’s clothes turned to steam in the packed tent will be one of those memories that last forever.

Noble and Wild

The first half of the year was a busy one for Noble and Wild – the name I use for all my music promotion activity.

In the first six months a hook up with the awesome Phil Burgess at Derby’s Hairy Dog venue saw us put on local band all dayers across four Bank Holiday Mondays as well as gigs by Evans the Death (with great support from Mascot Fight, Some Skeletons and Fencing) and Chris Helme (again, great support from Liam Walker, Red Bear and Jo Lewis).

Since then the will has been there but not the time so live music promotion has had to take a back seat. I’d love to say I’ll be back in 2014 with more gigs but we’ll just have to see what the year brings.

Follow Noble and Wild on Twitter in case something does happen.

Favourite record labels

My love affair with O Genesis continues unabated for another year – there is a real feeling of community between the artists and management of Tim Burgess’s label and I’m yet to hear a release which I didn’t like. It seems to present music as an art form more explicitly than most – but in a way that makes you want to dance as much as consider. Check out the And Now Our Lives Are Complete compilation if you’re not familiar with the roster.

Other labels which have captured my heart this year are Ample Play and Hand of Glory.

Ample Play has put out some fantastic psych pop this year (Beat Mark and Sudden Death of Stars amongst my top 40 albums) and are passionate as much as humble in their DIY approach. I’m already looking forward to releases they have scheduled for 2014.

And Hand of Glory – well Mary and Will just seem like lovely people with that obsessive passion for music that I recognise only too well. Their repping of Kiran Leonard has been a masterpiece of understated PR and holding out for the quality of release you know the music deserves (the sleeve and pressing of Bowler Hat Soup are top notch).