In 2008 I was between my first and second years at University, did temporary office jobs for the Borough of Poole, went on my first UK tour with Canada Water, had a couple of short-lived relationships and spent most of my evenings at a bar my friend built in his spare room.

This mixtape is the soundtrack to a formative year. You can listen to the playlist on Spotify and scroll down to learn a little more about each of the tracks.

Frank Turner – I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous

A theme tune for life in 2008. I’m still proud to to say that Frank played this song live for the first time at the show we put on in Boscombe at the infamous Green Room (RIP). It incited many a drunken sing along back then and continues to a decade later, as the couple stood next me at this year’s album show in Camden will attest.

The Hold Steady – Constructive Summer

“Let this be my annual reminder, that we can all be something bigger” – It has been, for ten years now. Around about March / April time, I’ll put this on and find a renewed inspiration for my fading optimism and new years resolutions.

Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop Drop and Roll

The first Green Day ‘side project’ (The Network) passed me by. This one I was fully onboard for. So much so that I’ve preferred the subsequent Green Day material that has sounded more like this. Crack a beer or two and turn it up.

Vampire Weekend – A-Punk

I never took the time to get into this band but every time I hear that opening riff I’m immediately transported back to 2008. On those grounds, it’s earned it’s place in this playlist.

Kids In Glass Houses – Lovely Bones

We all wore this album out during the Summer of 2008. Little did I know then it would come back into my life in a big way five years later as our first sell out vinyl pressing for Saint November Records.

Less Than Jake – Abandon Ship

A more melancholy moment from LTJ and a side of the band I welcomed with open arms as my teens became my twenties. “Give me some more music, I’ll sit and read the lyrics, like a bible, a gospel, I’ll sing along”.

The Gaslight Anthem – Old White Lincoln 

I saw The Gaslight Anthem at Reading 2008 and picked up The 59 Sound shortly after. Driving around listening to this song I felt like I was driving an old white Lincoln. I wasn’t. It was an old white Fiesta.

Feeder – Fires

This album didn’t have the big hit for Feeder the previous two did, which isn’t a reflection of the quality, I guess their moment as a band in the spotlight had passed. I enjoyed it (and the three records since) just as much as the earlier records.

1997 – Winds Of Change

I had a borderline obsession with this band from 2007 to 2009. This is how I want 2000’s emo to be remembered, not guy liner and fringes. Unfortunately I’m not sure many people will even remember the name 1997 now. On The Run was my companion album for travelling on the 2008 tour.

Punchline – Just Say Yes

For their 2008 album Just Say Yes, Punchline changed things up a bit from their previous records, and no more so than on the title track. If you like this take a listen to their later album Thrilled which continues in a similar vibe.

The Academy Is… – About A Girl

All three The Academy Is… albums walked in a different direction. This is the opener from their third (and final) album Fast Times at Barrington High and is a fair representation of the sound on that record. It is also the only song I can remember having on my Myspace profile player.

Alphabeat – Fascination

Look, I know what it is alright. Allow me this one (and maybe one more further on)

Fall Out Boy – (Coffee’s For Closers)

It felt people had lost interest in Fall Out Boy by 2008. I remember being divided on this album at the time, but I liked a few of the songs, including this one. I’ve revisited Folie a Deux a couple of times recently and actually enjoyed some of the other tracks more than I did back then.

The Ting Tings – Be The One

I never invested in a Ting Tings album, almost every track from their debut We Started Nothing was a hit though. Listening back I think it’s aged pretty well, even if it does just remind me of The Inbetweeners (not a complaint).

Cut The Blue Wire – Everest

In the heydays of iBar (on Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth) I’d sometimes go to a gig two or three times a week. Cut The Blue Wire were one of the best bands to emerge from that time. I also saw the critically acclaimed Future Islands around this time play the same basement to notably less people.

I Say Marvin – Gloria

This band was criminally short-lived and this song is a fine example to prove my point. Everyone should still be singing this chorus now. I hadn’t heard them until the first night of our tour together. Looking back, getting to see their set every night for a week is a highlight from my time playing in bands.

Iglu & Hartly – In This City

Yep. This is the other one. Be honest, there was a time you thought they were going to be your new favourite band.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Postcards From Catalunya 

The first Get Cape record was such a big deal for me, it was near impossible for the second to live up to the giddy expectations. It didn’t. That said, it’s still really good and I struggled to pick a favourite to include, for all the right reasons.

Gym Class Heroes feat. Daryl Hall – Live Forever (Fly With Me) 

I’m not sure how well time has remembered Gym Class Heroes. It becomes fuzzy around the early 2010’s as Travis became Travie and fell into some interesting company (Olly Murs?). Forget all of that though and enjoy this 7 minute epic with Daryl Hall (from Hall and Oats) to close us out.

MIXTAPE: Summer 2018

During a Summer so hot I think I actually did melt, these are the songs that provided a backdrop to both the blazing sun and the cool shade. You can listen to the playlist on Spotify and scroll down to learn a little more about each of the tracks.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Green Bay, Wisconsin

The plaid boys of Boston are back! I remember a time when I never thought there’d be another Bosstones record, so every time we get one it’s always a big deal and I can’t think of a better time for one to drop than the middle of Summer. This is the opening track from the new record, While We’re At It.

Bedouin Soundclash – Salt-Water

The three singles that Bedouin Soundclash have released in the past year or so have all been great. It’s unclear whether these will feature on the next album (and currently no confirmation when this is due), but they mark a welcome return following a break in new material since 2010’s sublime Light The Horizon.

The Go! Team – If There’s One Thing You Should Know

I’ve been aware of The Go! Team for years, yet didn’t (knowingly) hear any of their music until earlier this year when BBC 6 Music had May Day, the lead single from their new album on regular rotation. The track piqued my curiosity and I bought the album. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more joyous, kaleidoscopic sound in my life.

Charli XCX – No Angel

Charlotte Aitchison is an enigma. She has huge top 10 singles that you can’t escape for months and in between that, a string of low key releases that are arguably stronger than her chart hits which barely see the light of day. I’m not sure where this track sits in the mix, it dropped out of the blue in June as double A side (with Focus).

The 1975 – Give Yourself A Try

This fuzzy debut single from the first of two upcoming albums is everything you’ve come to expect from The 1975, a little deliberately weird, a little unashamedly pretentious. It’s exactly what I’ve liked about them to date and the two tracks that have followed since this continue in a similar vein.

Ash – Confessions In The Pool

On a first listen there wasn’t much that stood out on Ash’s new album Islands as being as good as the fantastic lead single Buzzkill. After a few more listens I have some firm favourites, including this one.

Death Cab For Cutie – Gold Rush

As much as I’m looking forward to having a new Death Cab record for the later half of 2018, this single wasn’t too out of place for a Summer release. Something about it reminds me of both George Michael’s Freedom and Happy Monday’s Step On. Have a listen and tell me if I’m crazy.

Third Eye Blind – Joke

This is the second track to be aired from the band’s upcoming covers album. I’d never heard the original by Chastity Belt so to me it’s as good as being an entirely new Third Eye Blind song.

MxPx – Let’s Ride

I feel like MxPx is experiencing something of a renaissance. Fans of the genre still dissatisfied with Blink 182’s attempts to be Blink 182 can perhaps find something they’re longing for here. Mike Herrera has a well earned credibility for his years spent honing this sound.

Justin Courtney Pierre – In The Drink

I love this. And I’m so glad I do. The first preview of what’s to come from Justin post Motion City Soundtrack under his own name (also check out The Rapture Twins). This is quick and to the point. It’s gets me excited in the way Attractive Today did as the opener for Commit This To Memory.

The Get Up Kids – Maybe

I was never a fan of The Get Up Kids during their early 2000’s prime. For some reason I got onboard for their comeback EP and album in the early 2010’s. Now we’re fast approaching the early 2020’s and the band is back again with a new EP, Kicker.

The Hold Steady – Star 18

It doesn’t look like we’re getting a full length anytime soon but I’ll settle for more in this series of double A sides. So far there’s been something to represent each era of the band, on this track I’m hearing moments that call back to their most recent album Teeth Dreams, with added Franz Nicolay.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – Try

A standalone track which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Sam’s Young Adult album released earlier this year (his first since returning to the ‘Get Cape’ moniker). It got lost in the noise when it surfaced online a few months back so I’m including it instead of a track from the album.

All Saints – Three Four

I haven’t got round to listening to the new All Saints record yet, but 2016’s Red Flag was a surprise hit for me and I like what I’m hearing of the follow up so far. All credit to Shaznay Lewis who is listed as lead songwriter on each of the tracks.

Iggy Azalea – Tokyo Snow Trip

The wild card, on this playlist at least. If you like it, the rest of the EP Survive The Summer has a similar vibe and is worth checking out. It seems as if Iggy has had a few misfires in terms of chart success since The New Classic. I’m still onboard though and maybe there’s something here that will lead us into an eventual full length release.

Brian Fallon – If Your Prayers Don’t Get To Heaven

For whatever reason neither of Brian’s solo records have quite landed with me. That said, there’s been a few standout tracks on each which are as good as any of The Gaslight Anthem’s best material (even if they do borrow a little from these). This track is perhaps the best representation of the Motown influence on the Sleepwalkers record.

Eagle-Eye Cherry – Save Tonight (2018 Rendition)

I think Eagle-Eye has earned the right to release the same song again. In my opinion (and a club full of people in Lithuania, where I randomly heard it played in 2014) the original still stands up twenty years later. This reimagining sounds like a quiet, reflective moment and I, of course, welcomed the opportunity to remember where I was in 1998 for a few minutes.

Frank Turner – Common Ground 

This is possibly my favourite track from a record in which Frank runs in a variety of different directions and only just manages to sound cohesive. I’m still unsure whether Be More Kind will be remembered as an album or a collection of songs (there is a difference). For all that can be said, it is at least an attempt to differentiate from earlier material.

CHVRCHES – Deliverance

It’s a lot of pressure to be my favourite album of the year before I’ve even heard it. This is what CHVRCHES had to contend with. It’s early days but they might have done it. I’ve got a couple of favourite tracks, at the moment it’s this one. Tomorrow it could very possibly be Heaven/Hell again.

Weezer – Africa

The number of Africa related videos / memes / content that I get tagged in or sent by friends would suggest I’ve done something in my life to become synonymous with this song. Amazingly, not one person sent me this contender for unexpected cover of the year. I like it, it’s fine.

MIXTAPE: Saint November Records

Taking a step back from running the label day-to-day has given me fresh perspective on what we achieved with Saint November Records. I put this mixtape together as a celebration of both the records we were able to licence for vinyl and the new releases we played a part in bringing into the world.

Genre wise, it’s a mixed bag and I couldn’t be happier with that. It was always my intention that the label would be eclectic and represent as much of the music I love as I could. I didn’t ever expect for it to include artists I’d been listening to since my early teens. It’s great listening back to this mix and hearing them alongside the new artists I discovered during the label years.

Click here to stream the playlist on Spotify. If you don’t have Spotify you can also listen to an alternative mix on Soundcloud. Enjoy!

MIXTAPE: Good Tidings

I used to be big on Christmas. These days I just look forward to the downtime. I think I realised that there’s a benchmark for Christmas set somewhere in your mind which is actually just an amalgamation of good things that’s have happened at this time over the years. That perfect Christmas doesn’t exist and probably never did.

It does however seem to live in songs. The soundtrack to decades of festivities, spinning continuously in the background, collecting up those same memories and presenting them back to you. Perhaps this is true for all songs, but there’s something about a playlist that you dig out once a year that only seems to heighten that transcendent experience.

All that said, there’s a bunch of Christmas songs that I’ve heard too many times for one year, even on the first listen of the season. Here’s 20 I’ve not yet worn out. I’ll meet you back here in another 12 months for part 2.

Click here to listen on Spotify