Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

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Music

The Festive Fifteen 2022

It is the season of lists and best-of-the-year’s, so here’s my annual contribution: the fifteen songs released in 2022 which have most inspired and uplifted me. In keeping with precedent, there are more than fifteen songs in the list and none of them are festive. I am indebted as always to the late, great John Peel and the inspiration of his Festive Fifty.

Green Man Festival 2022

Nestled between the west bank of the river Usk and the eastern side of the Monmouth and Brecon canal, protected by the gently rolling hulk of the Black Mountains, and boasting the best selection of beers and ciders at any festival I’ve ever been too, Green Man is much more than a music event. Here follows markontour’s review of the bliss that was Green Man 2022.

Latitude 2022

What a perfect weekend. Despite the late nights, I always come away from Latitude feeling relaxed rather than tired. This was a largely hot one and so we managed to spend most of Sunday just lounging in the wooded shade of the Sunrise stage, watching great new band after great new band. Elsewhere, alongside all the music, there was Disco Yoga, Maseoke, street dance, performance poetry, decent vegan/veggie food, and swimming in the lake. Couldn’t ask for more.

Glastonbury returns

Aah – what a feeling it was to be back. The first Glastonbury in three years and everyone was well up for it, including the weather gods, who were enjoying the spectacle so much they forgot to send rain. Unlike 2010, when consecutive sunny days seemed to dampen the hedonism a bit, Glastonbury 2022 was one of the liveliest, loudest and happiest I can remember in 30 years. Here follows the markontour review of the bands I saw at Glastonbury 2022.

Broken Greek

I’ve read a lot of music biographies, but Broken Greek is in a league of its own. For a start the author, Pete Paphides, writes about music for a living rather than performing it. More importantly, while Broken Greek’s timeline begins, quite traditionally, in the author’s infancy, six hundred pages later it ends with Paphides still in his early teens – an age at which many people are only just discovering bands. It is a measure of the authors’ precocious music obsessiveness that despite mostly relying on Paphides’ pre-pubescent experience of rock n roll his autobiography nevertheless provides a wonderfully evocative revisiting of punk, pop and rock, alongside a tender, sometimes poignant, and consistently laugh out loud funny examination of what it was like to be a young immigrant in 1970s and 1980s Britain.

Festive Fifteen 2021

A few days ago I was feeling good with myself, having polished my annual markontour favourite songs of the year list down to the fifteen tracks that would befit its title, and then Rough Trade went and sold me The Felice Brothers’ new album. Ah well. Herewith the sixteen tracks of the Festive Fifteen 2021. The usual rules apply: all songs must have been released this calendar year, one song per band, no re-releases, plus an indeterminate number of bonus tracks, usually commemorating an artist who passed away during the year. The full playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify.

Green Man Festival 2021

Fontaines DC were the stand-out band at Green Man this year, with one of the most intense sets I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing. But they could have run an open-mic session on the main stage and it would still have been a wonderful festival, such was the anticipation for Green Man 2021 in the markontour household. As it was, this was a bumper year, with many great performances from a mostly British and Irish line up, particularly from bands who have yet to get an album under their belts. Here follows markontour’s review of Green Man Festival 2021

I’m a peach and you’re a plum – Album of the Week

I have become somewhat addicted in recent weeks to Widowspeak’s new album, ‘Plum’. The gateway drug was the Brooklyn duo’s dreamy, hypnotic cover of Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ from a recent EP, ‘Honeychurch’. But now I am hooked on their own compositions, particularly the album’s title track.

A Dark Murmuration of Words

Emily Barkers’ mesmerising ‘A Dark Murmuration of Words’ has been the soundtrack to my 2021 lockdown mornings. There’s both beauty and sadness in these songs that describe the natural world and what humanity has done to it, while bridging from nature to mull over human emotions.

The Festive Fifteen 2020

December is here, which means it is time for the annual markontour Festive Fifteen. As usual, there’s nothing to do with Xmas in this compilation, just my favourite songs released in this very strange year and put together in homage to the much missed John Peel and his alternative Festive Fifty. The full playlist is available on my YouTube and Spotify channels.