Most noticeably, 2013 has gone so quickly and at the start of the year, I had no idea how big of a deal music would become for me. But here we are, 12 months on, my first piece for Hooting & Howling, and I can certainly say that 2013 has been a great year for music. It would be the understatement of the decade, to say that it was hard to choose my favourites from this year. Looking (and listening) back, it has reminded me that I have made some great friends through music this year, I’ve met some of my favourite bands and found some great new artists. On a light hearted note, I literally bumped into Sergio Pizzorno on the stairs at Electric Ballroom, and Josh McClorey swung open the double doors at the O2 academy in Oxford, so hard it nearly knocked my friend out – quite the conversation starters. So here it is. My round up of 2013 in 5 albums, 10 songs and 5 gigs! My Top 5 Albums of the Year #1: Snapshot // The Strypes After seeing The Strypes a countless number of times this year – and being fantastic every single time I must add – it was with great anticipation that I heard this record. The Strypes have condensed all of their live energy into a thunderstorm of a debut, which brilliantly displays a punchy teenage spirit but possesses an innocence you just can’t get with any band past the age of 20. Each member of The Strypes, have that ‘star quality’ but for a legitimate reason: they are all first class musicians. If I was only allowed to listen/buy one album that was released this year, there is no doubt it would be ‘Snapshot’. #2: Shangri La // Jake Bugg #3: AM // Arctic Monkeys #4: North South Divide // John Lennon McCullagh #5: The Stand In // Caitlin Rose My Top 10 Songs of the Year #1 : Do I Wanna Know? // Arctic Monkeys I first heard this track on the day it was unexpectedly released back in June. I was on a long bus journey to Camden and the moment I opened Twitter, my timeline was full with just one question ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. It’s something about the intro to this tune that just bursts with excitement. Plus the music video helped me pass my Physics exam on frequency waves, so in some ways it’s educational too! #2: Blue Collar Jane // The Strypes #3: She Changes The Weather // Swim Deep #4: Off & On // Findlay #5: Bros // Wolf Alice #6: Get Away // Circa Waves #7: It Ain’t Over // The 45’s #8: Stand Clear Of My Mind // The Turning #9: You’ve Got What I Need // The High Learys #10: Twenty Thirty Three // The Whereabouts My Top 5 Gigs of the Year #1: Miles Kane, O2 Academy, Birmingham, 1st June Scheduled 4 days after I came back from doing charity work in South Africa, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go, but I am so glad I did. My cousin and I queued outside the venue, for what felt like days before the doors opened. I remember this clearly as it was freezing; to the point it felt like the middle of December not June. It was well worth it, as we were at the barrier for the duration. The atmosphere was immense, Miles was a true showman. It is difficult to describe what it was like; but I suppose by saying that, it describes it all really. #2: The Strypes, Electric Ballroom, London, 12th September #3: Swim Deep, Town Hall, Birmingham, 20th September #4: The Who, LG Arena, Birmingham, 28th June #5: Arctic Monkeys, LG Arena, Birmingham, (postponed to) 20th November Things I’m Looking Forward To In 2014 #1: Teenage Takeover This year has seen a surge in teenagers taking control of a vintage style that would normally be associated with musician’s way beyond their years. I love the music that’s being produced by bands such as The 45’s, The Turning and The Whereabouts, not forgetting acoustic artist John Lennon McCullagh – they all have a youthful flair, which nothing else can live up to. It will be interesting to see where they go and how they develop as musicians throughout 2014. #2: Finsbury and Victoria Park When Arctic Monkeys announced that they were to play Finsbury Park in May next year, there was no doubting whether I would be going, it was a must. Oddly, I am equally excited about seeing their supporting acts; Miles Kane and Tame Impala, too. Just as I thought nothing would top this, Kasabian followed suit and declared they are going to play a 10th anniversary gig at Leicester’s Victoria Park. I can now see I am going to be broke for the foreseeable, but with the venue only down the road from me, there is no excuses for me to miss Leicester’s finest export coming home. #3: Writing Personally, next year I’m looking forward to writing more. I’ve only been doing this since mid-September but I’ve found that discovering and writing about music, bands and gigs is something I truly love doing. Hopefully there is more of this to come in the future! Thanks to Hooting & Howling for letting me comprise this list, difficult as it was, it was very enjoyable! Another big thank you to the bands and artists reading and sharing my write ups and well… to everyone who has put up with my musical obsession over the past year, I owe you one! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!