BarryGruff Albums of the Year (2015)

BGs Albums of the year 2015So it is that time of year again, lists, lists and more lists. Well, not be out done, here are my 41 (yes 41, and yes it’s a weird number) albums of 2015.

It has been such a good year for new albums, probably the best since I started the blog back in 2010. So much so that there is very little difference between the top 5, top 10, top 15 and so on. So without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2015:

There is also a Spotify playlist of the Top 20 albums, to save you time and hassle (it’s here).

41. Only Real – Jerk At The End of the Line’

40. Rozi Plain – ‘Friend’

39. Wildling – ‘Molecules To Moon’

38. The School – ‘Wasting Away And Wondering’

37. Sweet Baboo – ‘Boombox Ballads’

36. The Stammer – ‘Days In Between’

35. SexWitch – Sex Witch’

34. Faith Healer – ‘Cosmic Troubles’

33. Girl Band – ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’

32. Joanna Gruesome – ‘Peanut Butter’

31. Fort Romeau – ‘Insides

30. Soft Serve – ‘S/t’

29. Applescal – ‘For’

28. Zefur Wolves – ‘Zefur Wolves’

27. Hot Chip – ‘Why Make Sense?’

26. Drenge – ‘Undertow’

25. The Charlatans – ‘Modern Nature’

24. Gaz Coombes – ‘Matador’

23. Bill Ryder-Jones – ‘West Kirby County Primary’

22. Drinks – ‘Hermits on Holiday’

21. The Expert – Dynamic Drift

20. Boxed In – ‘Boxed In’

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BarryGruff’s Albums of 2015 So Far……


I’m not exactly the best at keeping you and the site up-to-date with album reviews, to be honest, it’s the old enemy time. Discovering the hours to scribble some thoughts about this album or that has become rather elusive, but thankfully finding time to listen to albums, and music in general, is less of an issue.

Here are a list of my most listened and loved records of 2015 so far with Spotify links and playlists for overall albums of 2015. There are plenty of playlists on Spotify and Soundcloud and on the blog too. Oh, and with regards to albums *cough, cough*, you can still download GruffWuff, a 19 track compilation celebrating 5 years of BarryGruff, for FREE from bandcamp, *cough, cough*.

Top 24 albums of 2015 so far…

01. Czarface – ‘Every Hero Needs A Villain’

02. H. Hawkline – ‘In The Pink Of Condition’

03. Villagers – ‘Darling Arithmetic

04. Blur – ‘The Magic Whip’

05. Ghost Culture – ‘Ghost Culture’

06. Boxed In – ‘Boxed In’

07. Django Django – ‘Born Under Saturn’

08. Girlpool – ‘Before The World Was Big’

09. Stealing Sheep – ‘Not Real’

10. The Charlatans – ‘Modern Nature’

11. Courtney Barnett – ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’

12. Gaz Coombes – ‘Matador’

13. Hot Chip – ‘Why Make Sense?’

14. Applescal – ‘For’

15. Public Service Broadcasting – ‘The Race For Space’

16. Jamie xx – ‘In Colour’

17. Sen Segur – ‘Films’

18. Zefur Wolves – ‘Zefur Wolves’

19. Faith Healer – ‘Cosmic Troubles’

20. Mowbird – ‘One-Offs’

21. Joanna Gruesome – ‘Peanut Butter’

22. Fort Romeau – ‘Insides’

23. Rozi Plain – ‘Friend’

24. Pale Honey – ‘Pale Honey’

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Blur – ‘Go Out’ + New Album…. Finally


Toward the back end of last week, Blur announced news of The Magic Whip, their first new album for 12 years.

News arrived literally out of nowhere, drawing to a close the ‘will they, won’t they’ saga which has festered since their reformation back in 2009. Since ’09 new material has been noticeably lean much to the ire of fans who no doubt wondered if anything more substantial would ever surface (me being one). Aside from gigs, we’ve been privy to three new tracks during that time: the one-off Record Store Day release ‘Fool’s Day‘ in 2010 and double single ‘Under the Westway/The Puritan‘, in 2012. So, yeah, a new album has been a long time coming but accompanying all this fanfare is new single, ‘Go Out’. Sitting somewhere between their self-titled album and 13, the choppy guitar, submerged keys and loping bass provide something of a nervy, stop-start kind of groove. It feels experimental yet immediate, rambling yet to the point and when you get down to it, this is a peculiar little jam – and therein lies its charm. Brilliant stuff.

The Magic Whip will be released on 27 April & Blur will also play a show at Hyde Park in London on June 20th, the first of a few more big dates surely?

Two New Blur Songs | Under the Westway & The Puritan

Earlier this evening Blur debuted two brand new tracks live from a London rooftop and broadcast via their Twitter.

It is hard to believe it has been 9 years since their last album Think Tank. We find the band in fine form with ‘Under the Westway’ & ‘The Puritan’, the band’s first new material since the 2010 Record Store Day single Fool’s Day.

‘Under the Westway’ is a melancholic down-tempo ballad with a massive melody and carries certain similarity to ‘Best Days’ (from The Great Escape). A beautiful song plain and simple. Meanwhile ‘The Puritan’ is upbeat and buoyant with much more of a sing-a-long quality to it.

In some ways the two tracks kind of sum up what has made Blur so fantastic throughout the long and glittering career, mixing it up between touching, clever and catchy songs. Maybe that’s just me. Blur will always have a special place in my heart and it is so great to have them back, even if it’s only for a brief visit. Is it too much to hope for a new album? Only time will tell.

Anyway, enough rambling, you can listen to ‘Under the Westway’ & ‘The Puritan’ below and make up your own mind.

Graham Coxon Covers The Kinks + New Song

Blur guitarist and solo artist, Graham Coxon, appeared on Jools Holland’s BBC Radio 2 show on Monday last.

Amongst all the other chat Coxon confirmed a new solo album has been completed, under the working title of Accident and Emergency/A&E. There is no release date yet but this is still great news.

He joined Jools and his Rhythm Section in a performance of The Kinks’ classic Dead End Street after kindly playing new track, ‘Advice’, on the show. The track is a typical Coxon rock out, it’s got me very excited about the new album.

Check out both tracks below.

Graham Coxon – Dead End Street (The Kinks Cover)

 Download: Graham Coxon – Advice (Live on Jools Holland, BBC Radio 2, 29/08/11)

Graham Coxon, Paloma Faith & Bill Ryder-Jones – Desire

Get this. Converse pulled together awesome trio of Graham Coxon (Blur), Bill Ryder-Jones (Formerly The Coral) and Paloma Faith to create ‘Desire’.

It does seem a bit random, a shoe company bringing together exclusive music collaborations but, it is the latest of a series which has previously seen collaborations from Vampire Weekend, Kid Cudi & Best Coast, Bernard Sumner, Hot Chip and Hot City and Santigold, Pharrell and Julian Casablancas.

It doesn’t really matter about the who, what and why, this works so, so well. Ms. Faith’s soaring vocals are impeccable, especially against the backdrop of two of the most talented guitarists of their generation rockin’ out together. Thank you, Converse.

Watch the video or grab the track for keeps below.

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Download: Graham Coxon, Paloma Faith & Bill Ryder-Jones – Desire

Mixtape Extravaganza ‘The Otherside of Blur’

Some time ago I decided it might be useful and fun to put together some mixtapes of artists I really love, some of which readers may have been aware of (or not?) but just never found the time to give them a listen. As I’m off to London for a few days, there’s no better time to get this show on the, eh, road.

I mulled over how to start but there was only ever one option, Blur, the band who kick started my love affair with music. They were one of the most prominent, important and popular British bands to emerge in the ’90s who produced the era defining albums, Parklife and The Great Escape. While they will always be associated with the so-called ‘Britpop’ era they made two good, often overlooked albums Leisure and Modern Life Is Rubbish prior to the britpop circus. Notably unlike many of bands from this time they managed to transcend the genre, casting aside this mantle to produce arguably two of the best records of the late ’90s Blur and 13.

People are pretty well aware of the Blur back story especially with all the furore surrounding their re-union tour, the release of ‘Fool’s Day’ for Record Store Day last year and all the Albarn/Coxon projects of Gorillaz, The Good The Bad & The Queen etc.. So rather than rake over old ground, something a wee bit different was decided on. Take some of my favourite b-sides and well, make a mix from them. They were one of the few bands who recorded great b-sides, not just fillers and worth buying overpriced singles (and certainly worth a mixtape).

Blur remain by far my favourite band in the world, while others like The Clash, Super Furry Animals and Billy Bragg come close, there is just something special about Blur. This bug began when I was 11/12 and continues till today and has seen me attempt to acquire everything they’ve got, be it bootlegs, albums, singles, EPs, imports on CD cassette or vinyl. It was well worth the time, effort and money.

I would like to do a similar thing with other bands in the future, if you think is worth it that is. Last but not least a huge thanks and mucho respect for Stevie Moon who has outdone himself with the artwork this time, amazing!

So, without further ado I will leave you in the capable hands of Damon, Graham, Alex and Dave. The tracklisting is after the jump.

Download: The Otherside of Blur

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New Blur Song ‘Fool’s Day’ Free Download

Don’t panic if like me you failed to get your hands on the über limited edition 7 inch vinyl of ‘Fool’s Day’ yesterday, because the band have kindly decided to give it away free from their website. The song was released across the UK at independent music retailers as part of  Record Store Day. Blur’s manager Chris Morrison has said it is important that the song was made available to fans legally.

“To avoid fans having to illegally obtain an inferior copy of this track from pirate sites – we have made it freely available through the band’s website”.

It’s the first song all 4 members of the band have recorded together since Think Tank’s ‘Battery In Your Leg’ way back in 2003 and I’m diggin’ the tune, particularly the trade mark Graham Coxon riffs and solo (which the mp3 misses,or is it just me?).

Is this the start of things to come? I bloody hope so.

Download it here