F is for...

F is for… Frost* Image borrowed from the Frost* website with absolutely no permission Frost* are a funny one to be honest (and tricky to italicise in Markdown, but that’s my problem). In great prog tradition, they have released just three albums across a span of a decade, been on hiatus for a number of years, released a double live album, split up for a period because of creative burnout, and generally done the things that prog royalty should do. And this is true BritProg royalty for sure. Handling guitars and some vocals is friend of the show, His…

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E is for...

E is for… Elbow (Image by Evita wiki via Wikimedia) OK so first let's get this out of the way, I fucking hate that Manchester scene shit from the 90s. The Madchester (spit) fucking tosh from such luminary bellends as Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, James, The Charlatans, The Stone fucking Roses and that swaggering Gallagher prick can all fucking do one, alright? (And no this isn't the embittered tirade of an erstwhile Blur fan… the winner of the Blur vs Oasis "war" of the mid 90s was clearly the far superior Pulp.) Right. But one very successful band from '90s…

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D is for...

D is for… The Dead Daisies (Image sourced from Wikipedia) Meh, rock supergroups. Amirite? Aside from Flying Colors and Velvet Revolver, what have supergroups ever given us? Oh, and Sons of Apollo, obviously. They're amazing. Well, OK, The Damned Things were pretty awesome but seems like it was just a one-shot project. Oh I suppose Them Crooked Vultures count too. And Chickenfoot. Oh, and KXM are great. No, you can't have Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Or Gorillaz, for fuck's sake. Where do you think you are? So anyway, supergroups. Bad call, all the egos mash together, and you end…

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C is for...

C is for… Cloudkicker (Image on loan from Cloudkicker's Bandcamp) In around 2011 I discovered a number of heavy instrumental acts who rocked my bell, among them Scale the Summit, Chimp Spanner, Sithu Aye, the mighty Plini and Cloudkicker. This last is in fact a one-man act, and that man is Ben Sharp. Like a few of the others I discovered around this time, Ben writes, produces, programs and plays everything you hear, and releases his music on the splendid Bandcamp platform, rendering him truly a one-man-band. Cloudkicker's music is very hard to categorise, though I wouldn't be a proper…

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B is for...

B is for… Sebastian Bach (By Jamie - Flickr: Sebastian Bach & Rachel Bolan, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14408377) Hah! Didn't see that coming now, did you? OK, so I'm aware that a number of my listeners will be fully aware of Señor Bach from his time as lead shoutmarshall for that fine old American band, Skid Row, who released two absolutely barnstorming albums (and one mediocre one) right before the coming of The Dark Times. None of that is in question, and is a matter of immutable record. But what you…

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A is for...

A is for… Amorphis (Image by Cecil - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3668860) The year was 2009, I was still working in advertising, and I was in need of new music. I mentioned this to a colleague and he surprised the waste solids out of me with the news that he was quite deeply into something called "Battle Metal". "What the Jeff on earth is that?", quoth I, or similar. It transpired to be a subset of the genre I would then plunge myself into for the following year to…

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Clive's Album of the Year, 2017

OK, so I think I've sat with the albums of 2017 for long enough now to make the necessary judgement calls. 2017 was the year that came after the one before, and if anyone tries to tell you different, MURDER THEM. People have been banging on about how shit 2017 was… and they're not wrong… but hey, did everyone forget about 2016? This was just more of the same but at least we had some idea of what to expect. Oh, and Prince and Bowie didn't die in 2017, so on that basis alone it must be better than 2016.…

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Clive's Album of the Year, 1974-1976

The final part. The end, or I suppose, the beginning. Back to 1974, the year of my birth. The best release of 1974 was clearly me and frankly I only get better every year, but musically… 1976 Winner Jean-Michel Jarre - Oxygene One of the few artists I got into when I was young (not in 1976, obviously) and before I was gripped by the majesty of rock (and the mystery of roll) was J-MJ. I like pretty much all his stuff and always have. Oxygene was probably my favourite of his, and "Oxygene 4" was used on the TV…

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Clive's Album of the Year, 1977-1980

On we go, come on come on, keep up, I haven't got all day, you know. 1980 Honourable mention Van Halen - Women and Children First When Van Halen burst onto the scene they undeniably took it apart (more on that later), and they were still pretty much at the top of their game by the third album. Punchy. Top track: "Everybody Wants Some!!" Winner AC/DC - Back in Black Well. I know I'm going to get into trouble in some quarters, but for me AC/DC has a Geordie singer with a flat cap. I know, I know,…

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Clive's Album of the Year, 1981-1985

Right, I hadn't developed a real taste in music this far back, and a lot of what I've gotten into from these years is the back catalogues of a handful of bands, so it's going to get samey from here on in. I shall therefore be brief, we'll skip the preambles and births and deaths etc. – I'm sure you can all use Wikipedia. 1985 Winner Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms Possibly the first album I properly enjoyed. My mate next door, Craig, had it on tape and we would play it over and over in the tape decks of…

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