Posted in SHOFT on Sunday 26th December 2010 at 9:14am
I agonised over the wisdom of posting a list like this. The drawbacks were of course very apparent - I open myself to accusations of whimsy or elitism with some of my choices, or I miss out something I really liked and realise too late. However, since 2010 is the year I've purchased more music than for any in the preceding decade, it feels important to mark the occasion. I've tried to list things I've listened to most - because that seems like a fair test of how much impact they've made. This does of course miss the acts which have released less music this year but have been very much on my list - honourable mentions to White Heath and French Wives for instance. Also, there are many others just outside the top twenty who I'd love to have included - but there have to be some self-imposed rules or these things would never work.
I make absolutely no apology that this list is largely of Scottish musicians. I've spend an inordinate amount of the last year north of the border on a variety of trips and missions, and this has left it's mark. Also, there is a genuinely supportive network of musicians in Scotland who, as one starts to explore, suggest and link to countless others. That this sprawling and sometimes incestuous network functions on a genuinely human scale is amazing and inspiring to me. Before I knew it, my old preferences for things Scottish had reawakened with a whole host of new talent. There are of course some remarkable artists from elsewhere around the world on the list. There is also an equally impressive network of Scottish blogs which serve this diverse scene - including Peenko, Aye Tunes and the truly inspiring Glasgow PodcART - all of which nurture and promote talent with fervour and humour.
I also make no apology about the downbeat, often acoustic bent of this selection. It's the kind of year it's been - and while there have been some fantastic released by louder or more electronic acts, they've just not achieved the place in my heart that these have.
So, here then are the things which have inspired, delighted and consoled me during the year. Wherever possible, I've tried to link them to a place where you can hear the music almost straight away and completely for free. This has sometimes meant using bands' Myspace pages - which are now rendered pretty horrible by the new platform, but at least allow access to the music. I hope there's something in here which others find equally entrancing...
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.