Saturday, December 24, 2005

Stav Tunes Top 10 Singles of 2006

It's the post you've been waiting for. Inspired by my opinion that it has been a good year for music, I have an early Christmas present for you all.

All the tunes listed below are for download until later in January, they are for sample purposes only. If you want to buy anything you've heard on this site, try here, here or here. Downloads will be taken down immediately upon request.

Right then pop-pickers, I've not done a chart, it was too difficult just selecting the ten, so they are in approximate chronological order of release.

Bloc Party - So Here We Are
It's Johnny Marr-jangly, delicate, dreamy and somehow wintry. They can be a bit 'London' occasionally, but this track is simply stunning. It's their best and their most mature track on a fine album. It's still a crap name for a band though.

Doves - Black and White Town
An absolute anthem of a bored binge-drinking rainy Britain. A bit like a Northern 'That's Entertainment' but with a great bastard of a piano loop and stronger vocals.

Kaiser Chiefs - Oh My God
These boys know how to write a chorus, and even if the constant airplay, regular re-issues and screamy bits in the middle did get tiring by the end of the year this is still a fine single. Liam Gallagher reckoned they were a 'bad Blur', but the Kaisers are a better band than Blur were after one album.

The Futureheads - Hounds of Love
2005 has been the year of skinny blokes in skinnier ties jumping around to post-punk. Some have been poor, some have been good, and some make a belter out of a Kate Bush cover. Altogether now, "Oh-o-oh oh-o-oh".

Maxïmo Park - Graffiti
No sooner did Makem boys The Futureheads break the top ten, there was another North East band already citing them as one of their influences. The lead singer's got an odd haircut, but there's a Pulp-esque intelligence in the lyrics to go with the limbs-everywhere jumpy dancing.

Hard-Fi - Hard To Beat
A minor summer anthem this one. If the above two singles could have been recorded anytime after 1978, then this is achingly modern. All dead end jobs, being skint and sweaty clubs. I don't know what they are going to write the second album about while sitting on the pile they'll have made from this.

Gorillaz - Dare
The cartoon band could have gone so so wrong. Instead it has gone so right, from big sell-out residences at Manchester Opera House, instigating the resurrection of Shaun Ryder, and blurring (no pun) the boundaries of musical genre. Not a bad year for our two dimensional heroes.

The Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
The authors of my album of the year, Funeral. This is a beautiful, haunting nursery rhyme by the odd collective of Canadian pianists, violin and accordian players. Their stock is growing.

Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Surprise number one of the year. If 2004 was the year of the Franz, and 2005 the year of the Kaiser, 2006 could well be the year of the Monkey. They'll have to do damn well to follow this stomping Undertones-esque indie-disco anthem.

Guillemots - Trains To Brazil
I know next to nothing about this lot. I know it has a great vocal, various whistles and odd noises and the return of the sax solo and horn section. It all works out like Belle and Sebastian jamming with the Blow Monkeys while listening to Stax Records compilations in a school hall.

So that's the ten. The unlucky ones who didn't quite make it were Willy Mason, The Rakes, Louis XIV, Chemical Brothers, Morning Runner, The Mystery Jets and Interpol. I hope you find summat new and interesting, and I'm hoping 2006 shapes up nicely against that lot this time next year.

Merry Christmas.


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Friday, December 23, 2005

Johnny Mathis must suffer

So here it is. As Noddy Holder reminds us at the drop of a mirror-plated hat, "it's Christmas". The hairy one may have a complexion like the inside of a teapot, but the World's Best Brummy™ is finally right. About time too. Working all week has taken a bit of the excitement away, but I was in the boozer and therefore officially festive, by midday. Which was good, because there was nothing to do in the office anyway (it remains to be seen whether I would have done any work today if there had been stuff to do).

This is, as any drunk will tell you, a busy time of year. It narks me when footy managers like Souness and Wenger moan about a busy schedule. They should see mine.
Tonight: Crown and Fighting Cocks with the lads.
24th: Meal and drinks at Fat Frog in Coalbrookdale.
25th: JC's birthday, might have a drop or two for him.
26th: Nothing planned yet, probably the Crown then!
27th: Day after Boxing Day revelries at Chez Stav and Merk.
28th: Invited to have a crawl around Stafford with a jammy bastard Cayman Islander.
29th: Might stay in.
30th: It's a Friday, so that means a Crown/Fighting Cocks double-combo-spinning-bird-kick-special-move.
31st: Old Man Rich's much anticipated New Year's party, in his ramshackle castle.

Before I go off like the Edam at the back of our fridge dear readers, I'll share my latest art (or Photoshop faffing to describe it more accurately) with you both. They are pop-art portraits of Merk and Fella using a recipe I got from b3ta. Oh and I haven't forgot the StavTunes Top 10 of 2006 neither, I'm just waiting on Merk to find his Red Dwarf T-shirt and do something technical like hanging the mp3s on special web sky hooks or summat.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Ill Communication

As some of you might know, my mam's been poorly of late. Appendicitis no less. I'd make a rubbish doctor, I thought it was constipation or indigestion brought on by too many Tunnocks Teacakes. I've been visiting the hospital all week, which is pretty horrible really, especially when the only jokes I can make are at the unfortunate expense of others. Still, she's home now and making good recovery, sore stomach aside. I am now the only one in our house with an intact appendix. Unless cats have them. I think they do actually, so it's just me and Stumpy Jo in the appendix club then.

This drama did mean me and Merk had to look after ourselves for a few days (which at 26 and 24 respectively - you'd think we'd manage dim prob). We ate either out of a can or from a delivery lad. We forgot the cat existed for a few hours aswell.

I've been thinking of a blog post I'm going to write for about four months now. Since I realised I've enjoyed this year's music more than any other year since 1995 probably. I'm going to pick ten singles of the year in an award show style and put them up for download if you've not heard them (for sample purposes only and to be taken down immediately upon request - blogofstavros legal team). The hardest thing is limiting to ten from a shortlist of about sixty. I've got it down to fourteen so far.

Before the mini-episode of Holby City, I had attended one of the most boring and longest two hours of my life at a company conference in Penkridge. A conference suggests it involved interaction between speaker and audience. This wasn't a conference. It was a dictatorial speech by the company fromage grand. He even came out to his projected powerpoint presentation to Queen's One Vision. I actually laughed. Many businessy types from our Stoke and two Telford offices looked at me. It was quite loud laughter. I hate businessy types. Laughing at all his lame fucking jokes. It was so cringe-worthy, it could have been David Brent up there. Whatever the point to the hot air, it didn't inspire me to stay at work once my old dear went to hospital. Arses to that, there's more important things than work. Like getting up at 12 and going to the pub for a steak and mushy baguette and a couple of pints of Kronenberg before visiting hours start at 2pm. Tops.



Thursday, December 01, 2005

First Advent Chocolate

... was a log. I took my last holiday day before Christmas today. I've spent most of it getting rid of last night's Baltikas. I had a great load of booze and a good night was had. I was trying to understand Rich's cuddly brand of racism, which is admittingly more of a just-add-water Essex elitism.

I applied for a job, but I didn't get it. I'm not surprised. To be honest my CV is a bit half-hearted. It's like a quiet new schoolboy in the corner chewing his sleeve while introducing himself to the rest of the classroom. "Yeah I'm alright, you could employ me if you want.. or not, that's cool". Any tips on writing CV's would be most welcome. Maybe if I hadn't written my skills in rhyming couplets. Apparently poetry isn't an quality looked for in most payroll jobs. Pah!

Just finished up a Lamb Khyberi from Dilraj and a couple of bottles of Peroni, while watching Hugh Fearnley-thingythang meet and cook for what must be the oddest collection of people on this fair island. Scarecrow makers in Dorset, haggis hunters in Dumfries, sprinting mushroom-gatherer and odd Frank Sidebottom-a-likes on the shores of Coniston. Who are these people? I want to meet weird folk. Maybe I should get a car. Then find rural oddballs, and blog about them. Hmmm, that one's getting filed under potential New Year's resolutions.


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