This year’s been the best one so far in PearShaped’s short existence. We’ve had more writers than ever writing better articles than we’ve ever had before. The Editor’s been giving her impressions of the year already, and as President, I’d like to give my take on the year, and to celebrate some of my favourites. Forgive me any glaring omissions, it’s hard to hear the rabble from atop my ivory tower.
I love a good old hatchet job as much as the next man, and boy, we’ve had some good ones this year. The music industry has served up soft balls aplenty, just waiting for a smashing from our ready and willing writers. We had reviewers so reviled by their albums that they refused to give any picks. I personally found it agony to review Shabbazz Palaces this year, as well as White Hinterland and The Glitch Mob.
A novel kind of review that was born on PearShaped this year was that in which the reviewer was so bamboozled by what they heard, they found themselves giving a PoMo positive review, as in Dom Ford’s Rick Ro$$ review, and in Colin Bugler’s Nick Jønas review. In each case, the sheer distance between the reviewer’s own taste and the album at hand led to glorious results.
It’s fun to talk smack about the failures of the year, but I’d also like to highlight some of the music that I really loved this year. I loved Banks’debut, Goddess, and Matthew Graham’s review thereof. I very much agree with Jon Hall in thinking that The Kooks’ latest album is a proper return of force for the band, and gosh darn it if I can’t help but love Taylor Swift’s 1989. I’m also still waiting on more from Chet Faker and his beard; I’ve certainly enjoyed their collaboration so far.
My enduring memory of 2014 will probably be my fondness for Bombay Bicycle Club’s album, released in February. I’d also expect James Vincent McMorrow and Gem Club to be thrown into my rotation forevermore.
Kudos to Jon Hall for his interview with Clean Bandit. It looks like they share a similar obsession with heartthrob pop quartet, Years & Years as our Listening Post columnist, Emily Pratten does. Speaking of which, we got a great interview with them too.
We also had Laura Clarke interviewing Mahatma Music headliners Heyrocco, who I can only describe as the chillest in all the land.
And last but certainly not least, Nickie Shobeiry deserves an award for the amount of local South West interviews she managed to secure this year. How does she find these people? I have no idea.
We’ve sent a hell of a lot of people to free gigs this year. We’ve been to every single Mahatma night this year, and took great pleasure in reviewing our own launch night.
We’ve been back and forth to Cavern and Phoenix all year. At the Phoenix, we saw: Mr. Scruff, Lewis Watson and Amber Run, Dub Pistols, Beans On Toast, Nick Mulvey, the massive Blueprint Takeover, and Grandmaster Flash.
At PearShaped’s favourite venue in the city, we saw even more awesome live music. There was JAWS and Thumpers (thanks to Kink Nights, we miss you dearly). There was also Andrew Jackson Jihad and Kim Churchill, which couldn’t have been more different from one another.
Exeter has become an unlikely hub for bass music over the past couple of years. Despite the tragic closure of Cellar Door, the city’s spiritual home for both beats and bass, we’ve attracted heavy hitters like Zinc, Eton Messy, Duke Dumont, and Sigma. By the way, if you didn’t realise Gonzo gig reviews were a thing, check that last one out. Perhaps it’s our proximity to the trendiest city in the South West, Bristol. We sent some reviewers up there too. There was Gorgon City and Tycho on the electronic side of things, and then there was Sam Smith and Rhodes on the poppier side.
Elsewhere in the South West was Plymouth, which saw Bastille (for some reason with support by Angel Haze), Frank Turner, and Bombay Bicycle Club supported by Peace.
Despite all of this Devon and Somerset gallivanting, the biggest dates this year for me were always going to be when the huge names come to Exeter-town. Thank you to Bombay Bicycle Club and Rae Morris, Clean Bandit, and Band of Skulls for putting up with our dubious venues on campus. I’d also like to highlight the most fun music experience I had all year, Hijacked Festival. Students putting on huge names for students, what more could you want.