Everyone has had their own gateway into alternative/indie music. The Cure, The Smiths, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, The Stone Roses - they've all provided a door through which to enter the alternative grotto of delights. For me, that door was The Wonder Stuff.
Over the next five, ten, fifteen plus years, lots of rock stars are going to die. This is not a statement of murderous intent, it's just a scientific and mathematic certainty. Some of them will be very famous and universally loved. Some more "niche". But die they will.
2015 was a particularly efficient 12 months for me in the realm of listening to new music, probably because I was on tour for most of it and therefore had much bunk time... Consequently I feel qualified to narrow down my experiences to 10 long playing records that rocked my world this calendar year. So, in true hit-parade style reverse order, here we go...
With the assistance of my publication of choice, Melody Maker, my eyes were opened to an increasingly large list of often ridiculously-named bands. The movement's zenith for me will always be the early 1990s; but time (i.e. the press) has not been kind to the memory of the indie music from this period.
I'm on the Fink tour bus, somewhere in Ukraine. Earlier today we were woken at 7am (having not crept into our bunks until about 3am after the show we played in Minsk, Belarus) and told to get dressed and ready, passports and vaguely sober expressions close at hand, for the border crossing.
Fink are going on tour again soon, and the 30 or so people who make up Team Fink are in a flurry of activity. Preparing for a trip like this - almost 40 days on the road, 16 countries and some whopping great venues (Berlin's Tempodrom, London's Forum, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw) - is no joke.
I have never seen Mamma Mia!, the musical, nor (emphatically nor) the film. But I do believe my appreciation of the music created by ABBA to be as great as that of any other living human. So, in an attempt to demonstrate this, here are 10 songs that say it all.
A festival tour, where you're encountering different bands from all over the place day after day, is even more likely to fill your brain with the most insistent variant of demented earworms. And so, upon my return from Fink's June/July festival run, I present to you, with the assistance of Spotify, my latest Festival Trip Tunes...
As I survey the place one last time to see if we've left anything crucial behind, I notice that all the bars of chocolate are still sitting, untouched, in the fridge. After a quick glance around, I shrug and stuff them into my bag. There you are, Fink touring party. I've confessed. It was me.
What do bands do when they're not doing anything?... You know when you've been on a business trip and you get back to the office and have to do the million things you didn't do while you were on the business trip? That.