I proudly present 'The Music Snob Guide for Compiling Your 2014 Christmas Playlist'. Come in Boney M, Shakin Stevens, and Mel and Kim, your time is up! Here are my top 10 essentials...
Hailing from London E3, Jessica Agombar has rid any notion of Grime being entirely by males. Having rolled deep (pun intended) with Dizzee Rascal and Ruff Sqwad, this young lady has entered the Grime arena to add a fresh approach to the genre she grew up on. Here, he tells us more about her jouney so far.
Vancouver's Billy The Kid (real name Billy Pettinger) lies somewhere between the street tough song writing of Loretta Lynn and the raw Grrl power of Kathleen Hanna, and her latest effort, Horseshoes & Hand grenades, is the perfect synthesis of American roots and punk scene spirit.
Let's face it the vast majority of people turn a darker shade of Scrooge once they come into contact with Christmas music at any point before December. As a consequence those of the opposite disposition, namely Christmas music aficionados, play a dangerous game.
Musicians (people playing instruments), are not used much at all anymore on pop recordings or on the songs that were presented on the trending music page of SoundCloud meaning the music now comes from machines, usually with vocals over the top. Again, everyone using the same machines.
Across the last decade or so, Nordic music, via a dedicated export agency named Nomex, has stormed the UK, and has perhaps developed into a scene or music sub-culture all of its own.
Supertramp are not quite in Floyd or Zep's rock icon's league, but for a while they certainly had a lot more successful singles circa 1979 than the latter two bands.
I've previously featured young singer Josh Savage. Josh bears all the hallmarks of a future star, from a captivating voice to real songwriting talent. In the era of the male vocalist, I wanted to pick his brains for advice for other musicians on their way up.
Thirty years - digest that for a moment. If you're shrugging and asking "What's to digest?", you're probably under 30 and have never known a world without Madonna - you don't know how different life was for young women before she became a lightning rod for debate on Western female sexuality, and changed the way women view sex, love and ambition.
Not to say they were that bad at the Forum in July, far from it; they were astonishing then, but now they had a meaner, more purposeful edge.
Is it me, or are we in the Western World, becoming the New Narcissists? I'm not referring to some 80s pop movement here, and by 'we' I mean me, and all the me's who see our smartphones as our BFF's and think nothing of bringing our tawdry private lives into public places.
Of course in many ways she is right. Spotify is not run by the artists or record labels. It is an entirely different entity, however the question could be framed in a different way. If artists such as Swift are withdrawing from major streaming services like Spotify then what are they suggesting is the alternative?
I'm well aware of the stigma that comes when an actor works on music. I hate that preconception, but the only way to fight it is to be completely honest about it: this is who I am, this is what inspired me, this is what the album is about. I'm not hiding behind any gimmicks. It's been a really long journey to release this album - I spent almost a year playing Mandela - and I'm really excited that people will finally be able to hear it.
'I never asked for autographs when I was photographing celebrities,' Fraser Ballantyne tells me, 'as it seemed unprofessional, but I did on this occasion.' Ballantyne was a staff photographer for almost 40 years on Scotland's Daily Record newspaper, and 'this occasion' was when the Beatles came to town on 19th October, 1964.
Seeing an act live has the ability to turn you from impartial listener to major fan. It's happened to me only a couple of times. Muse, Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Dragon, all amazing acts to see live and absolute headliners. Last night though, I walked away from a gig with Tina Arena far more impressed than I've ever been.
The musicianship of all four members of Queen is phenomenal. Roger, an extraordinarily multi talented man whom I've known for many years and always admired. John Deacon's original bass part with its lyrical fluidity that made it easy for me to know where to put the odd reinforcement. Freddy's original piano carried most of the song's musical DNA...