Justin and Helen Watson are the creators of the wonderful Manchester label ‘Front & Follow’. Their releases over the last few years have been exceptional; including the ‘Collision/Detection’ series of EPs; Sone Institute’s ‘A Model Life’ from 2012; ‘Blind Mouths Eat’, the latest album by Doomed Bird of Providence; and the astoundingly good ‘The Outer Church’ compilation, masterminded with Joseph Stannard. Here are some of Justin’s thoughts on 2013.
5 things I enjoyed this year
More Than Human (http://www.morethanhumanrecords.com) – a real find. An engrossing and entertaining radio show from Gareth Moses, and now a stunning new imprint including new work from Kemper Norton.
Exotic Pylon (http://exoticpylon.com) – Jonny Mugwump’s label branch of the EP empire has been the soundtrack to the year, with highlights including Hacker Farm’s UHF, Kemper Norton’s Carn (not him again), Canonbury’s The Knock of the Shoe and House in the Woods’ Bucolica.
2013: The Year of the Compilation – a series of era-defining (albeit different eras) collections arrived this year, from Noise in Opposition (http://noiseopposition.wordpress.com) to The Sound of Belgium (http://www.tsob.be)
Lots of TV – a whole load of fodder for a mostly house-bound new dad – Mad Men, Top Of The Lake, Girls, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Adventures of Abney and Teal. The best of it was cold, bleak and wonderful.
Films – not much escape to the cinema this year (see above), but I did take Little Watson #1 to see Despicable Me 2. Hehe,bottom.
5 musical releases I liked a lot (not mentioned above, not in any order)
Watching Dead Empires in Decay by The Stranger – perfect for these bleak winter evenings in the North West.
Low Point X by Some Truths – incredible live this year at The Outer Church and Full Moon Revenge Rainbow by his other project Bass Clef is on repeat non-stop at Watson Towers.
Klepsydra by Jodie Lowther – a haunting soundtrack to a late night drive through Seal Sands a few weeks ago
8 Track Remind by West Norwood Cassette Library – perfect for the living room toddler rave, which is about the highest praise possible.
The Final Mapping Of New Constellations by BLK w/BEAR – perhaps the opposite of music for a toddler rave, but the debut release on the new Little Crackd Rabbit (http://www.littlecrackdrabbit.co.uk) is Jim and co’s finest moment to date, which is saying something.
The Fortified Herd by Paddy Steer – Manchester finest, utterly joyful madness.