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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Lockdown has proved just as busy as pre-COVID times, just with opportunities for discovering new music shifting from seeing live bands to listening to the radio. Favourites on the markontour playlist of late have included:
As we enter a third week of lock-down in Britain, markontour’s isolation playlist is growing nicely, now topped up by some wonderful on-line live sessions, Jarvis dj-ing from his living room, and the daily pleasure of Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin’s ‘Nature Livestreams’. The whole playlist is available here.