2011. BEST FOR GUESTS. 7 the whatevers

Mike Relton is the words and guitars of Leeds' (UK) finest 90's-twee-meets-indiepop-meets-punkish-manners band. Their music sounds like an effortless, natural evolution from melancholic DIY-ers that populate english bedrooms during the golden years of Sarah Records; and they shake the melancholy a bit by adding some lo-fi rebellion to their melodies and some sassy mood to their lyrics.
They have released singles via Holiday Records and February Records. And you can find a bunch of releases on their bandcamp page.

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"Since about 1994, I have had an imaginary album of the year award, with a ceremony and a big trophy and a prize of several million Imaginary Euros, all in my head, at the end of the year. This was the first year I decided maybe I should grow out of that and just listen to my favourite records without putting them into silly little lists, and lo and behold you’ve asked me to do this and got me started again! So here we go...

I only really discovered them this year and I got to go see them live in a tiny little room in Wakefield, they started with ‘johnny foreigner vs you’ from this record, that was awesome. I can always tell which is my favourite album of the year because I sing the songs from it when I am drunk and last night I was at this party doing laughing gas with a bunch of environmental activists and as we staggered into the taxi I was looking at all the trees and the winter stars through the fog and in my head I could just hear the chorus of ‘New Street, You Can Take It’. So yeah, whichever album makes me feel like my life is a film and it is the soundtrack and the city is a lover, that one’s my favourite, and this year it is this one and I just wanna hear it on the bus and when I wake up and when I am falling asleep.

I’m starting to feel really bad about not giving Los Cam my imaginary album of the year. They have come second three times. One year they came second AND third in the same year! What do they have to do?!! I’m sure they’re really bothered like. They can always cling on to the example of Belle and Sebastian. They never won it until 2006. It’ll be like Frank Bruno winning his world title. Years of build up, it’ll all mean so much more when it finally comes.

3 YUCK S/T (link)
There is always one album in a year that you listen to loads and loads because it is easy enough to listen to, and you wouldn’t really think of it as your album of the year and then you realise you have played it more than anyone else’s album because you always have it on when you are doing the washing up or cleaning the bathroom or something.

I didn’t like this one quite as much as I liked ‘City Fallen Leaves’ but I did still like it quite a very lot. Especially the bit on ‘An Arcade From The Warm Rain That Falls’ where he just sings lists of public parks. I thought that was very clever. I wish I had thought of that first. This is a great album for about four in the morning when the legs have gone but the head is still there and everyone wants to sing sweet drunken songs about dirty girls they used to know. Sort of that point in the night when the sun starts to come up and you are drinking toasts to John Steinbeck and the Queen. And to Queen as well.

There’s a real sense of freedom about this band’s songs, like they’re making it up as they go along and they might fall over at any second. I like that in a band. Their albums always seem to peter out a little bit towards the end but hey, haters love to hate. This is a good record and I can just eat a fat dick and shut the fuck up if I think I can criticise it. They sound a bit like a kind of prog rock Pavement if you haven’t heard them. Because I grew up in the North of England, it was always miserable and cold and a lot like living in a Smiths record cover, and the hazy vision of suburban America you saw on the telly seemed like this impossible romantic glamorous vision. So this album is like listening to crooked rain or smashing pumpkins or something and you pretend it is the soundtrack to going and hanging out in a big car park outside a walmart and doing things on skateboards with all your cool punk friends. Like if you lived in a Kevin Smith-directed cross between ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ and ‘Malcolm in the middle’. I am sure you know what I mean.


I’m not even joking man. I mean, what could anyone possibly find to not like about this record? It’s like a grimey dance take on ‘build a bonfire’. In fact it is the same tune. ‘build a bonfire, build a bonfire, put the teachers on the top...’ Some of your readers may know this tune with alternative lyrics called ‘found a peanut’. Anyway it is one of the great tunes, the great folk tunes that never die, and now it goes ‘swagger jagger, swagger jaaager, you should get some of your own’ and it is totally awesome.
I have got no idea if this song has even been a single or if it was released this year but I love it so much I am picking it anyway. It was the soundtrack to my Indietracks. I think they are from Spain or Mexico or somewhere and I imagine they are all absolutely amazing in bed and have pet panthers like in the novels of Louis De Bernieres.
This one shouldn’t be here either ‘cos I think it was released in December of 2010? But it was really criminal that they weren’t in the albums of the year so I am picking it. This song is like stealing a car with Molly Ringwald. 
This is a very good single and it has a very good chorus. I cannot think of anything else to say about this many boyfriends at all. 
Do you know sometimes you go through periods where you wish everyone would just shut up with all the talking and even become annoyed with your own inner monologue? You are trying to sleep or watch the telly or smoke fags or something and your own thoughts are just prattling on and on and you think SHUT UP I HAVEN’T GOT ANY SPARE CHANGE I DON’T SPEAK MEXICAN I DON;T WANT TO BUY ANYTHING TODAY THANK YOU?
Well this happened to come out while I was feeling like that and the chorus goes ‘stop talking stop talking STOP TALKING STOP TALKING’ and it struck a chord really.

You know ‘step into a world’ by KRS ONE where it goes ‘I’m not saying I’m number one-no sorry I lied I’m number one two three four and five’? I am sure you do. Well The Flaming Lips are my top five bands this year. They’ve released a double album’s worth of amazing new stuff in interesting ways like flash drive’s inside skulls and fetuses made of sweets. MADE OF SWEETS, no less. And then they did a six hour song and THEN they did a 24 hour song called ‘7SkiesH3’ and rather than just being a gimmick it was jaw droppingly amazing, especially the first hour and twelve minutes which comprises a long sad song that sounds like Pink Floyd and then this incredible blissed out synth jam which I think is a collaboration with Panda Bear. They were also my favourite gig of the year because I saw them doing the whole of ‘The Soft Bulletin’ in London and I cried like a big girls blouse all the way through. Wow, I love The Flaming Lips. I wanna be them when I grow up.

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