The Oldspeak Journal Science Can’t Save The Earth This Time

1Oldspeak:We will not be able to “science” our way out of a climate collapse. Instead, we must act now. Rather than slamming on the brakes in the future, let’s start tapping that brake before we skid into oblivion… What can be done? Instead of searching for that Hail Mary global engineering project, look closer at hand, at fine-tuning the “science” already at our disposal: improving solar energy, making nuclear energy safer, building a better battery, lowering the cost of desalination, expanding biofuel use.” -James Rollins

 

“Mr Rollins is on the right track here. We can’t science our way out of this clusterfuck we’ve made of our Great Mother.   However, ‘improving solar energy, making nuclear energy safer, building a better battery, lowering the cost of desalination, expanding biofuel use’ is just as futile an effort as geoengineering at this point. Nuclear energy is INHERENTLY UNSAFE. There’s no way to make it safe. All of these technofixes will require  trillions of dollars, tremendous amounts of resources like fresh water, rare earth minerals, and other irreplaceable materials that are becoming scarcer every day. With a global economy at stall speed, those trillions are unlikely to be produced in the short order required. Also, I’m wondering, when has human science EVER saved the earth?! In my estimation, all human science has ever done really is ravaged the earth… Sigh. It’s time we fully accept that we can’t science our way out of this. It’s likely we only make it worse with our science. The point of no return has long passed.” -OSJ

Written By James Rollins @ The Daily Beast:

Politicians seem to hope we’ll be able to ‘science the s**t’ out of global warming’s consequences at some point in the distant future—but the point of no return is fast approaching.

In the movie The Martian, Matt Damon proves he can “science the shit” out of his situation to survive on a toxic planet. We, unfortunately, will not be so lucky.

I’ve written some 30 novels, where invariably our planet is threatened, but by and large it’s due to the usual suspects: a despot seeking power, science run amok, a ticking nuclear crisis, a global terrorist threat. And, as is often the case, we are frequently our own worst enemies. That’s certainly the situation in my latest thriller, The Seventh Plague.

The current novel deals with the looming threat of climate change and addresses the likelihood of our being able to “science” our way out of this crisis. Over the past decade, we’ve seen the debate on global warming shift from “It ain’t happening” to “OK, it’s happening, but there’s not much we can do about it.” Of course, this helpless shoulder-shrugging is just another shade of denial, manifesting as the rejection of any immediate need for a solution. I believe such sentiment is buried in a very human desire to put off the inevitable, a willingness to foist a present problem off to a future generation—in other words, to cross that bridge when we get to it.

Unfortunately, that bridge is already burning. November was the hottest November on record; the winter Arctic ice cap is nearly the smallest it has ever been. And with all that ice melting, cruise companies are now selling seats on ships slated to sail along the Northwest Passage, a voyage once considered too hazardous to even contemplate and that led to the deaths of countless explorers. In fact, the Jet Propulsion Lab recently announced that the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets is even causing the Earth’s axis to shift.

So where are we headed next? I suspect many of those in the denial camp are secretly hedging their bets, trusting that in some distant future, if the situation proves dire enough, the whiz-bang of science will pull our butts out of the fire (in such a case, perhaps literally).

So let’s “science the shit” out of that future scenario. What can be done when we’re past the proverbial point of no return? By that time, the more conservative approach of reducing carbon emissions and switching to green energy sources won’t be enough. It would take a truly massive engineering project, one on a global scale, in order to reverse course and steer this giant ship to safety. The scientific term for such projects is “geoengineering.” The non-scientific term is a “Hail Mary pass,” one last-ditch effort before all is lost.

What do such geoengineering projects look like? In a word: big. Some of the proposals already under consideration include flooding Death Valley to stave off the rise of ocean levels, or wrapping Greenland in a reflective solar blanket to slow the melting of its ice fields, or constructing a 100,000-square-mile solar shield made up of trillions of tiny lenses that could deflect a portion of the sun’s ray. Even Bill Gates teamed up with NASA to consider the viability of shooting seawater into the skies to increase cloud cover as a means of cloaking the planet from the sun.

As one might imagine, such projects would be astronomically costly and require the international coordination of many governments. Even NASA’s seawater-spraying project was estimated to involve 2,000 ships at a cost over $7 billion, and still there would be no guarantee of success. And that’s assuming the current stagnated government could even manage such an act.

It will likely take the participation of an individual like Bill Gates, someone with the freedom and financial resources to pull off such a project. At the beginning of the 20th century, when the American government was gridlocked and unable to deal with rising global threats, it was wealthy entrepreneurs—great barons of industry Henry Ford and John Rockefeller—who wrested control from complacent politicians and faced those challenges head-on, ushering in the technological age. And now with governments again stultifying, with politicians deadlocked and mired in one-upmanship, it may very well take a new set of forward-thinkers to step in, to advance new technologies.

The Norwegians coined a phrase for such projects, calling them stormannsgalskap, or “the madness of great men.” While the term was meant to be disparaging, it might very well become a badge of honor in the future. If rising carbon levels are left unchecked, the world will need pioneering innovation. It will need great individuals who are willing to defy governments and do what is necessary to make hard, bold choices.

But better yet, let’s do that now.

Even if one of these massive geoengineering projects could be developed, financed, and implemented in the future, the question arises whether it will do more harm than good. When you’re talking about trying to control climate via an engineering project, there are a thousand variables at play. Pull the wrong string and everything could unravel. An international team of researchers ran models for a dozen different geoengineering projects and concluded that such massive endeavors would likely have disastrous unintended consequences. Their final conclusion was even more disturbing. Even if a project was successful at controlling carbon levels for 50 years, once the project was stopped, the rebound effect could actually accelerate climate change.

So in the end, geoengineering is a lose-lose scenario. It’s a scientific pipe dream. We will not be able to “science” our way out of a climate collapse. Instead, we must act now. Rather than slamming on the brakes in the future, let’s start tapping that brake before we skid into oblivion.

What can be done? Instead of searching for that Hail Mary global engineering project, look closer at hand, at fine-tuning the “science” already at our disposal: improving solar energy, making nuclear energy safer, building a better battery, lowering the cost of desalination, expanding biofuel use. These projects aren’t as exciting as wrapping Greenland in a blanket, but they’re more likely to be successful and last longer.

So maybe, in the end, science will save us—but only if we act now.

James Rollins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Seventh Plague.

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the finest kiss: Albums of 2016

bentcousin2016
1. Bentcousin – Bentcousin (Team Love)
I was genuinely surprised this record did not get more recognition, but maybe the world no longer pines for wonderful pop records? The Orange Juice meets St. Etienne album had it all, including a dynamite Dino Jr cover.
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chook
2. Chook Race – Around the House (Tenth Court/Trouble In Mind)
A lot of people still worship at the alter of Flying Nun. If you are one of those folk then I’m sure you were bowing down to this record all year. Best jangle pop album since the Bats’ Fear of God.
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whyteh
3. Whyte Horses – Pop Or Not (CRC)
Another record that seems to have flown under the mass media radar. Shame, because it is classic sounding stuff that shares a love of Stone Roses, Broadcast and Free Design.
http://ift.tt/29HUmhv

cityy
4. The City Yelps – Half Hour (Odd Box / Emotional Response)
A noisy little thing full of piss and vinegar that had the lo-fi sensibilities of a Boyracer album and great story telling of Animials that Swim.
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fieldmusic
5. Field Music – Commontime (Memphis Industries)
The Brewis brothers released their best record yet, heck even Prince liked it.
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terrymalt
6. Terry Malts – Lost at the Party (Slumberland)
The Bay area’s Terry Malts struck pop-punk gold on album number three where they combine old school punk like 7 Seconds with post punk wonder of the Chameleons. Every song is a killer sing-along anthem.
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woods
7. Woods – City Sun Eater In the River of Light (Woodsist)
Sometimes you lose track of a band after they release LP after LP of similar sounding music. On Sun City Eater the band incorporate African influences to brighten their sound and make a stand out record.
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goon
8. The Goon Sax – Up To Anything (Chapter)
Brisbane teen band who count Louis Forster the son of the Go-Betweens’ Robert Forster as a member got a lot of attention for that mere fact. Due to the album contained top quality indie pop akin to Beat Happening and the Pastels the attention kept coming all year.
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coldp
9. Cold Pumas – The Hanging Valley (Faux Discx)
Moody post-punk that was a perfect soundtrack to this year of the winter of our lives.
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monomyth
10. Monomyth – Happy Pop Family (Mint)
Velvet Underground, the Byrds and fellow countrymen Sloan all figure into the recipe for this sublime and understated album.
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kikagaku
11. Kikagaku Moyo – House in the Tall Grass (Guruguru Brain)
These Japanese renaissance men paint from a pallet of folk, psych and prog that meanders into dark fantastic places and then blasts out them into dry canyons on the California coast.
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lithics
12. Lithics – Borrowed Floors (Water Wing)
This Portland band’s tightly wound, minimalist songs on Borrowed Floors always find their groove and then shatter floor.
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witching
13. Witching Waves – Crystal Cafe (Soft Power/HHBTM)
The sophomore album is chock full of swirling, jagged songs with ambient interludes. A perfect combination of rough and smooch.
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pooches
14. The Pooches – The Pooches (Lame-O)
I love bands that write songs about obsessing about records and the Pooches Heart Attack is perfect in that regard. Combine that with a lazy southern jangle that reminded me of REM and you have a great album.
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finks
15. The Finks – Middling (Milk)
If you combine the easy going erudite nature of the Lucksmiths with the down home comfort of label mate Courtney Barnett you have this wonderful record from Melbourne’s Minks.
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realnumbers
16. Real Numbers – Wordless Wonder (Slumberland)
Minneapolis’ Real Numbers finally release a full length album and their Television Personalities meets Buddy Holly inspired DIY pop is more then enough to fill two sides.
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terry
17. Terry – Terry HQ (Upset the Rhythm)
Terry and the Shifters (they shared a split cassette release a few years ago) carry the Fall torch down under. Terry are the hippy-Pavement side of the coin and dial up just the right amount of dissonant yawp on their debut LP.
//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=2691060620/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/

lionsden
18. Lion’s Den – Lion’s Den (Lazy Octopus)
Lion’s Den take their innate Swedish pop sensibilities and dirty them up with their brand of idiosyncratic garage rock, sounding sort of like the Intelligence meets Neil Armstrong.
http://ift.tt/2iR7bMV

asondas
19. As Ondas – Mares (Jigsaw)
Shopping spin off band mine some early New Order veins and insert some Young Marble Giants to create a beautifully understated record.
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snails
20. Snails – Safe in Silence (Self-Released)
I’m not going out on a limb by drawing a family tree that shows Snails at the tip of the Beatles, Kinks, Kevin Ayers, Kate Le Bon family tree.
//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=1787120411/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/

radiodept
21. Radio Dept. – Running Out of Love (Labrador)
These guys work at a slow pace so every record feels like an event. With barely a guitar in the mix this event was their mellowest outing to date, but no less arousing or compelling.
http://ift.tt/2iR9sYl

protoidio
22. Proto Idiot – For Dummies (Bad Paintings)
I’m a sucker for any Television Personalities influenced band and these guys had me plunking down some cash for their smart UK garage punk.
http://ift.tt/2iR1Bdx

omni
23. Omni – Delux (Trouble In Mind)
Delux caught me off guard with its tightly wound and spiraling guitars that reminded me of Joseph K and Magazine, yet there is a slick 80’s quality to their sound that also evokes mainstream bands like Flock of Seagulls and Thomas Dolby.
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hisclancy
24. His Clancyness – Isolation Culture (Maple Death)
A Classic Education’s Jonathan Clancy other band is a tour into a darker side of things. Book-ended by two excellent motorik tracks and stuffed with exquisite downtrodden pop reminiscent of East River Pipe and the Shins.
//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=506190528/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/

tyvek
25. Tyvek – Origin of What (In the Red)
Origin of What is not quite the tour de force that 2012’s On Tripple Beams was, but Kevin Boyer and crew still deliver. The scope is broader and their social consious punk rock addresses wider topics beyond their native Detroit. Extra points for including Tyvek Chant because every band should have their own chant.
http://ift.tt/2hA5oqg

rebelkind
26. Rebel Kind – Just For Fools (Urinal Cake)
Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti group excels at jangly harmony filled wonder on their second album, combining influences like the Softies and Look Blue Go Purple.
http://ift.tt/2hA5qhS

verner
27. Verner Pantons – First Album (Curly)
The Paisely Underground is long gone, but its influence is lasting as evidenced in Portland’s Verner Pantons. Dusty psychedlia with a slight country tinge will remind many of the Syd Griffin and the Long Ryders.
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katejack
28. Kate Jackson – British Road Movie (Hoo Ha)
Former singer of the Long Blonds, Kate Jackson made this album years ago with ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler and there it sat until this year. Lucky for us that Kate decided to finish it. Jackson has a great voice and Butler’s guitar is a perfect compliment.
http://ift.tt/2hA9krc

savak
29. Savak – Best of Luck In Future Endeavors (Comedy Minus One)
Once a punk always a punk and these punk veterans made one of the best politically aware records of the year. A soundtrack for taking to the streets!
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lawarab
30. Lawrence Arabia – Absolute Truth (Flying Nun)
James Milne infuses his Harry Nilsson highly stylized pop with some dance beats and makes his best album yet.
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ural
31. Ural Thomas & the Pain – Ural Thomas & the Pain (Mississippi)
Ural Thomas has been a fixture in the underground PNW soul scene going back to the 1950’s. This record hasn’t received the attention that Charles Bradley’s Changes has but it’s just as good if not better.

martha
32. Martha – Blisters In the Pit of Your Heart (Dirtnap)
UK sucre popsters deal in high fructose pop like Joanna Gruesome and Los Campesinos! It sounds better the louder you make it with power chords slapping you to attention and choruses that will make your head explode.
//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=691190749/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/

honeyradar
33. Honey Radar – Blank Cartoon (What’s Your Rupture)
If you prefer your pristine pop savaged by distortion and difficulty then Blank Cartoon will put the cobwebs into your clarity.
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puberty
34. Puberty – Puberty (Born Bad)
Intelligence side project that sat in moth balls for a couple years. More tongue and cheek than the Intelligence with a decided nod to Tones on Tail, it may never have been said before, but this Puberty is fun.
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hooton
35. Hooton Tennis Club – Big Box of Chocolates (Heavenly)
Produced by Edwyn Collins, the sophomore LP from Hooton Tennis Club takes the good parts of Britpop and adds their laid back style for a winning volley that sustains itself into extra sets.

quilt
36. Quilt – Plaza (Mexican Summer)
Quilt continue to hone their psych-pop on their third album and come up with their most consistent and satisfying record yet.
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flyying
37. Flyying Colours – Mindfullness (AC30)
Australian shoegazerrs who like extra letters also like extra tremelo. A classic sounding record that sits comfortably next to MBV, Chapterhouse and Slowdive.
http://ift.tt/2iR4Hho

jangle
38. The Jangle Band – Edge of a Dream (Pretty Olivia)
Appropriately named Australians descending from the Rainyard and the Palisades, Edge of a Dream is a record you immediately feel comfortable with. Like an old friend you haven’t seen in years, but the conversation picks up like you saw each other yesterday.
//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=2656718279/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/

prophet
39. The Prophet Hens – the Wonderful Shapes of Back Door Keys (Fishrider)
Wonderful Shapes was not as immediate as the Prophet Hens’ debut, but it has a lasting power to it. More complex and varied, it continued to delight and surprise me throughout the year.

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lakeruth
40. Lake Ruth – Actual Entity (The Great Pop Supplement)
New York City’s Lake Ruth have an elegant baroque sound that feels a little bit like Broadcast meets Left Banke. Actual Entity was their debut album, yet it sounds like they’ve been at since the 60’s. A timeless sounding record with memorable songs.
//bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=3439127573/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/

Filed under: Albums, Lists, Music Tagged: As Ondas, Bentcousin, Chook Race, City Yelps, Cold Pumas, Field Music, Flyying Colours, His Clancyness, Honey Radar, Hooton Tennis Club, Kate Jackson, Kikagaku Moyo, Lake Ruth, Lawrence Arabia, Lion’s Den, Lithics, Martha, Monomyth, Omni, Proto Idiot, Puberty, Quilt, Radio Dept., Real Numbers, Rebel Kind, Savak, Snails, Terry, Terry Malts, The Finks, The Goon Sax, The Jangle Band, The Pooches, The Prophet Hens, Tyvek, Ural Thomas, Verner Pantons, Whyte Horses, Witching Waves, Woods

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The VPME VPME – Singles, video and gigs of the year 2016

The Songs Of 2016

A final best of, before we unceremoniously usher, nay kick, 2016 out the door and only allow the new year in if it promises to be good. Early signs indicate it won’t be playing ball  Wink

blunty
Anyway below, my 16  fave singles of 2016, my fave videos and the gig of the year

1. South Collins By Beverly

2. Hey Heartbreaker By Dream Wife

3. Breaking My Light by Minor Victories

4. Sour Candy – By Bleached

5. Cecile By Pumarosa

6. Metropolis By Kate Jackson

7. Where The Light Gets In – Primal Scream

8. Amputation  – The Jesus And Mary Chain

9. Social Politics – Yassassin

10. All My Pride – Black Honey

11. Cowboy Joe – Hannah Lou Clark

12. When You’re Loney – Cash + David

 13. Kristin Kontrol – X – Communicate


14. Camp Claude – Golden Prize

15. Get Off – Zuzu

16.  You’re Evil – Coves

Best Cover Version

  I’m Just A Star On A Democratic Flag – Pink Flames

Fave videos of the year

1.Amber Arcades – Fading Lines

2. Minor Victories – Scattered Ashes (song for Richard)

3. Bowie – Lazarus

4. Black Honey – Hello Today

And a word too for Lovestarrs vid.. WTF(Pop Culture) which features a Pipster award Smile

GIG OF THE YEAR- PRIMAL SCREAM – Albert Hall, Manchester –  Sat 2nd April 2016

It could have been the Mary Chain At Cosmosis,  Peaches or Deap Vally in Liverpool, Wolf Alice, Dream Wife or Black Honey. Lush’s final gig in October or Pink Kink’s amazing performance at Sound City. But Primal Scream’s gig in Manchester was extraordinary, a gig that ‘brought me back to life’ after bereavement and had me once more believing in the power of music to help heal to comfort and to uplift. Simply amazing.  Full review and more pictures HERE 

Primal Scream - Live Albert Hall, Manchester 2ndApril2016 Photo By Andy Von Pip
And so 2016 is almost over. Thanks to the musicians I’ve photographed, interviewed chatted to on the phone and watched in awe, thanks to all the lovely people I’ve met and worked with.  And love and respect to my family, yes it’s been a shit year, but we’ve almost made it. “Without music life would be a mistake”

Goodbye 2016. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out .
This one’s for me Ma. Much missed.

And a Spotify playlist of our faves during 2016

http://ift.tt/2hVYpJg

 

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Owen Jones: It’s not game over. Austria stopped rightwing populism in its tracks | Owen Jones

It was to be the last great domino of 2016, but the country showed that victory on the radical right is not inevitable

In 2016, the tide of rightwing populism has seemed unstoppable. From Britain’s vote to leave the EU after a referendum campaign soaked in foreigner-bashing, to Donald Trump’s elevation to the White House. Britain’s Nigel Farage, France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders were rarely spotted without a smirk etched on their faces.

The last great domino of 2016 was supposed to be Austria. A narrow defeat for the xenophobic right in the second round of the presidential elections in May was annulled, and the Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer looked set to become the first far-right Austrian-born head of state since the fall of Adolf Hitler.

Related: The rise of fascism is not inevitable – just look at Bridges Not Walls | Ellie Mae O’Hagan

Related: Austria defeated the far-right Norbert Hofer – finally, some hope for Europe | Julia Ebner

Continue reading…

The VPME The VPME Awards – Part 2 Albums of The Year Five To One

Yesterday we had a rant about the wrecking ball that was 2016 (HERE ) and listed our albums of 2016 from 10-6 . Today it’s 5 to 1, and no ranting Wink .  These are the records that helped me through a horrible bastard of a year, they may not be your favourites, but that’s cool because wouldn’t it be dreadful if we all liked the same thing?  Feel free to let me know your favourites if you are so inclinced.  Cheers.

5. Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

nick-cave

Skeleton Tree is an emotionally challenging listen and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by this beautifully, raw, bleak yet inspiring album. It’s been said much of the album was written before tragic events enveloped Mr Cave and his family, but for the listener, it remains impossible not to link the two when contemplating such an astonishingly intimate dark collection of songs.

http://ift.tt/2ioVV9X

4. Amber Arcades – Fading Lines

amber-arcades_andy-von-pip-02a

Amber Arcades is the project of Dutch singer-songwriter Annelotte de Graaf and her first album Fading Lines is a quite wonderful debut. Wistful beauty, a knowing yet nuanced bittersweetness and a yearning sense of melancholy are at the core of De Graaf’s evocative songs and she has delivered a multilayered album that is far more musically intricate than it may initially appear.

3. Primal Scream – Chaosmosis

Primal Scream - Live Albert Hall, Manchester 2ndApril2016 Photo By Andy Von Pip

Bobby Gillespie has always been an avid consumer of music, a restless spirit never content to limit himself to one style or genre, or simply reheat and rehash a winning formula,  a fact which has consistently made Primal Scream such a fascinating and occasionally infuriating proposition. Chasosmosis continues Primal Scream’s chameleon-like an ability to shape shift as they deliver arguably their most ‘pop’ album to date. This is pop with a political bent but ultimately shines it’s light on positives and as such is imbued with a sense of optimism and beauty. Something I desperately needed in 2016.

http://ift.tt/2ioP9Rj

2. Kate Jackson – British Road Movies

Kate Jackson header VPME

If you’re excepting a Long Blondes style record, you’d perhaps be best advised to pop ‘Someone To Drive You Home’ on. However, if  you’re a fan of beautifully crafted sophisticated, evocative British pop music, full of wistful poetry and passion then ‘British Road Movies’ is the album for you – Review/ Interview

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1.Minor Victories – Minor Victories

minor-victories-andy-von-pip-04

“The remarkable thing about Minor Victories self-titled debut album isn’t just the astonishing quality of the music produced but also the fact that the band members, as the sleeve notes point out – ‘never shared the same air.‘ Meaning that the album was created ‘remotely’ – ” by swapping ideas, songs, fragments and finished recordings via broadband connections.”  Given this way of working and the differing expectations ( ‘we probably didn’t start off with the same vision’ ) over what this collaboration should yield, the resultant album is a majestic, life-affirming triumph. ” Review

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With nods to The Anchoress’s Confessions of A Romance Novelist, Kristin Kontrols  X-communicate, Beverly’s  The Blue Swell, and Deap Vally’s  Femejisim

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The VPME The VPME Awards Part 1 – Albums of the Year Ten to Six

So, as the law decrees, I begin to list my top 10 albums of 2016. Let’s face it ten is quite enough for a one man blog, and people who, as an individual, list 50 to 100? I’m somewhat sceptical about how deep their love flows? I don’t believe you can engage with that many albums on any sort of meaningful level in just 12 months. I mean seriously do the math!  There are only 52 weeks in the year, 24 hours in a day. In between listening to the albums (we assume more than once) you proclaim to love above all others this year, as a writer/reviewer/blogger you’d also be required to unearth new music, listen to more albums, singles, EP’s, perhaps interview artists, go to gigs write reviews, possibly work a day-job, have a family life and actually function as a human being outside of all this. And wash. Washing is very important if you go to gigs.  I mean I don’t care how avid a music fan you are, do the fucking math. Then again we live in an increasingly disposable age, wherein having a list is actually more important than its actual content.

The 52 weeks which stretched out like jagged barbed wire across exposed flesh during 2016 formed what was unequivocally the shittest year of my life. Life changing in the worst possible way, so when people say “It wasn’t THAT bad” I have to walk away lest I commit a random act of violence. It WAS.  I’ve also learnt that music, whilst not being a cure- all (some wounds run too deep) can genuinely help soothe, console and comfort when you’re at your lowest ebb. And perhaps this year’s list reflects that. I wasn’t looking to be challenged by music,  2016 did that all by its fucking self, but I was looking for comfort, for consolation, connection and escape and that’s what the majority of these albums provided.  Yes there is no Black Star by Bowie, which for many will be a glaring omission, and yes as a final artistic statement it is remarkable, a true work of art, a thing of infinite wonder and beauty but it came at a time when I too was facing imminent bereavement and I simply found it too hard to listen to … and still do.  I missed a lot of music this year, and at times 2016 really did seem to have been the year everything died, family, icons, sanity, common sense, empathy, compassion, my own rakish good looks but sadly not greed selfishness and general all round wankery.

Music journalism and blogging also seemed to be in desperate need of medical attention with many preferring speed over quality, glibness and cliché over insight and expression … and lists, endless fucking lists, ambulance-chasing-top-ten-songs-from-the-dead-pops-star for hits, top tens of puerile repetitive shite (“ten pop stars who look like pasta”) sprawled across the internet like a huge turd –  www.clickbait.com – and like an insatiable crack addict some would find new lows in their unrelenting quest for just a few more hits. It became a  place where editorial rigour was replaced with a “Never mind the quality, feel the width my son! “ ethos.   I have never read so many dull, lifeless reviews-by-numbers than I have in 2016 and as an actual fan of music writing, it’s been incredibly dispiriting. It was also the year the NME became the magazine you couldn’t even give away.

Music blogs too were folding at a rather alarming rate, according to the blog world’s very own “Statto,” Robin from the always excellent ‘Breaking More Waves’ “there are 657 Hype Machine blogs today. That’s a drop of 40 odd since August. In 2014 it was 800+. For the U.K. Hype Machine now lists 106 U.K. Blogs whereas in 2012 it was just over 130.”  And as smaller blogs fall by the wayside the bigger concerns hoover up with “premieres” and hastily regurgitated press releases, with many becoming all that they once sought to replace … What’s the answer? Who knows, but perhaps if we all slowed the fuck down a bit, and let things sink in it might help. Are we not just adding to the churn and sense of dispensability? I’ve asked myself, as a music fan –  would I prefer a well-considered gig review written a few days after the event, which includes perhaps a dash of intelligence, insight, personality, wit,  perhaps opening a door on the writer’s emotional response – or would I prefer something hastily written? Something templated beforehand in the sharp-elbowed rush to be first, full of cliches – a word salad dot to dot smeared across the screen which fills the space between songs on a set list, and which singularly fails to fire the imagination? To make you wish (or sometimes not) that you’d been at that gig.  Take a guess? …  That being said there is a lot of great writing out there, normally produced by writers whose passion, empathy and intelligence shine through and who get on with the business of writing rather than spending their time telling everybody on social media how influential yet unappreciated they are by the ghastly unfeeling music industry.

I sense a “Music Blogging isn’t dead, but perhaps we should consider starting a ‘Go-Fund me’ campaign to purchase a one-way ticket to Dignitas to put it out of its misery” style article in the coming weeks. Anyways end of year rant over here’s my list (including obligatory cliches and typos) to add to the tsunami of lists  Wink  Part 1 of my Best Albums of 2016, ones that brought me comfort and even joy on occasion in an unremittingly grim year.

Best of ’16 -Part 1
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10. Still Corners – Dead Blue

Bafflingly Still Corners have never quite broken through into the mainstream (whatever that even is these days)in the UK and yet are far more skilled than many of their contemporaries. Maybe they should consider spelling their name incorrectly? Their third album is eerie and beautiful and has more emotional heft than most bands who dip their toes into the world of dream pop/synthpop

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9. September Girls – Age Of Indignation

September Girls _body

‘Age Of Indignation’ is a more vociferous album than their sublime debut ‘Cursing The Sea’. It would perhaps be a misreading of September Girls to suggest that ‘Age Of Indignation’ is a massively more political statement than their debut, (which tackled heavyweight subjects such as societal to attitudes towards woman, victim blaming and rape.) However there does appear to be a more sustained sense of fury and indeed a genuine sense of indignation throughout, as it hones in on it’s targets with eloquence, clarity and deadly clear-eyed precision.

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8.Julia Jacklin – Don’t Let The Kids Win

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A timeless voice imbued with the kind of emotional resonance of someone whose been around a lot longer  Australia’s Julia Jacklin proved with her live shows and debut album that she really is the real deal. A major talent who will, we suspect win more hearts and minds in 2017

http://ift.tt/2gktx8y7.Honeyblood – Babes Never Die

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A massive leap forward following on from the Scottish duo’s debut album, which we thought was competent rather than thrilling.  ‘Babes Never Die’ sees Honeyblood scale new heights in terms of their songwriting and indeed singer-songwriter and guitarist Stina’s own vocal performance. A hugely enjoyable and likeable album full of melody and personality which shines through amid grungey serrated guitars.

http://ift.tt/2hspSkS6.Coves Peel

Coves - Manchester 9 March 2015

Peel is arguably a more ambitious and certainly a more confident sounding affair than Coves  debut. It still contains the duo’s predisposition towards shoegazey tinged glitter , replete with John Ridgard’s wonderful guitar embellishments, but it also hones their  pop sensibilities.

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Part 2 Tomorrow

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Dave Hill | The Guardian: Brexit Britain will depend on ‘foreign’ London and its Muslim mayor in 2017

The country needs a successful capital more than ever and it will help if Sadiq Khan builds on his solid start

They’re still at it out there. “Sadiq Khan getting elected as mayor tells you all you need to know about London!” declares a self-described royalist and Rangers fan on Twitter: “[it’s] Becoming a muslim/immigrant shit*****e!”. Here’s someone calling themselves Deadpool commenting at the Daily Mail: “How in hell did this guy get voted as London mayor. Ooh I forgot, no English living in London nowadays”. And meet a woman from Yorkshire, keen on opera, plants and reincarnation: “I’ve been warning what imho is #Londonmayor’s intention – London caliphate”.

Nearly eight months on from his election triumph in May, the London-born London bus-driver’s son, “proud feminist” and gay marriage backer continues to be accused of coming from another land bent on placing the capital under sharia law. Never mind that Khan’s swearing in as mayor was conducted at Southwark Cathedral and presided over by a Church of England cleric, or that his first official function as mayor was attending a holocaust memorial event in Hendon. And so what if he returned to the historic English cathedral the other day to celebrate Christmas “and our way of life here in this great city”? In the view of a “proud Briton” tweeting from Norfolk, his real plan for Christmas was to cancel it.

Continue reading…

via Dave Hill | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2htFDeL