Thursday, 31 December 2009

So that was what was and this is what is...

As we move seamlessly from 2009 to 2010, like an A-Trak mix, I find myself wondering...nay more than that...hoping...the big events of 2010.

Some are more easy than others to predict, we have already heard tantalising news of some new albums and tours in the pipeline and we feel in our bones the tingling sensation of anticipation. Others however are a little more abstract, intangible and down right personal and so will mean more or less to the average reader (or stumbler across) of this blog.

  • New Liars album - with a suitably enigmatic website and one mp3 already available for download (if Scissor is anything to go by the album will definitely be an interesting release and another big move for a band who are anything but predictable.) one of my big highlights of next year will be getting my paws on this. Sisterworld by Liars is released by Mute on 8th March 2010.
  • New Arcade Fire album - news of this is as yet rather sketchy but March will be the third anniversary of Neon Bible and we know AF like to keep their cards close to their chest. I've never been the biggest AF fan (I like the dancier of the tracks but always felt they were an Elephant 6 band for the masses - Neutral Milk Hotel do a similar sound much better) that said a new Arcade Fire album is a big indie event and I know one person in particular who is positively wetting herself with anticipation of a supporting tour.
  • New Scout Niblett album - I think quite likely of all predictions made this is the most likely because barring any unforseen circumstances The Calcination of Scout Niblett will be released by Drag City on the 19th January 2010. Judging from the new tracks she played when I saw her on the 16th December at Zé Dos Bois, here in Lisbon, she has lost nothing of the charm, charisma and wryness that have been present in the last two albums, or the rawness and vulnerability that she has had since the beginning. A new Scout album is always a special event in my diary.
  • More tours - if 2009 was dominated by the financial crisis then this was definitely felt in the music industry and especially in terms of touring. I could be wrong but stuck here as I am in something of the indie hinterlands (i.e. Lisbon) we are often bottom of the list when it comes to US or Northern European bands touring. 2008 saw quite a few smaller, up and coming, indie bands come to Lisbon but last year, with a few notable exceptions, we were limited to the indie giants or else (overpriced) festival appearances. Gigs are always going to be expensive here (you have to get the bands here) but next year is already starting out quite promising - The Fiery Furnaces and Yo La Tengo are already coming. This takes me to my next hope...
  • Primavera Sound 2010 - S and I missed last years due to a severe lack of funds but we have spent 2009 filling up our piggybank in the expectation of a stellar lineup for 2010 and we look not to be disappointed. Not only is Primavera Sound widely becoming known as the best European festival but I consider it something of a local festival being across the peninsular in Barcelona (the ones in Portugal tend to have about 10 bands - 50% international bands and 50% Portuguese filler and are way overpriced). Bands already confirmed for Primavera 2010 include Bis, Mission of Burma, Panda Bear, Pavement, Orbital, Pixies, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Low, The XX, Wilco, The Wild Beasts, Wire, The Antlers, The Fall, Delorean, Hope Sandoval and the Japandroids (and they are just the bands I want to see). Primavera Sound 2010 takes place in Barcelona between the 27th and 29th May.
  • The BurnTheJukebox night to take over the world - well perhaps this is a little over ambitious, maybe I will settle for just getting a few more nights in Lisbon and getting a little more attention via word of mouth. After two (more or less) successful nights in 2009 the BTJ will return early in 2010 with more details to follow but my plans for next year include making it a regular night (and by extension having a regular crowd) and also starting to put on some local Lisbon live music talent (to expose it to a larger audience and to give me more bathroom breaks).
2009 has been something of a strange year, it is the first year I've spent in my adoptive city and it has taken some time to get used to that. It's been a prolonged experience but now I'm settling in. I have my fingers still in many pies and now I can concentrate on making those things really work and become fruitful.

A sign of how much I have settled in is the fact that I have been asked to write for a really excellent group blog, sharing my experiences of the city - SpottedByLocals is by now a pretty well established travel blog where locals write about their own cities and you can find all kinds of hidden gems (most of) which you won't find in the guidebooks. My priority in this blog, other than of course attracting people to come and visit Lisbon, is to be as honest as I can and to get people to put down their Rough Guide and see the city as those who live in it see it.

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