Listening to Episode 13 of Sounding Bored, the first of 2017 and the first to be recorded without the garbled contributions of yours truly, was rather like seeing an ex and realising he/she's moved on and is doing very well thank you very much. Which isn't to say I didn't enjoy it - I really did.
The episode begins with Amy's eloquent and heartfelt eulogy for George Michael, expressing regret that in his early career he missed out on the critical acclaim that would have surely been his due now and describing 'Careless Whisper', written when he was just 17, as being like a whole novel in three minutes. Niall, meanwhile, raises the debate over how the current Trump-infested, post-Brexit political climate might affect music - a subject I wrote about recently here too.
The meat of the podcast finds them and regular host Rob looking forward to the year ahead in terms both of new(ish) acts to look out for (Brighton outfit Abattoir Blues, French duo Acid Arab's multicultural musical stew, the Rising Sun collective) and hotly anticipated records from more established acts (Japandroids' Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, Sleaford Mods' English Tapas, the Magnetic Fields' latest high-concept LP, the autobiographical 50 Song Memoir).
Album of the Month is The XX's third LP I See You - generally rated as a disappointment, with the consensus being that Jamie XX should have been allowed free rein and is now being held back by the band with which he first came to prominence.
While I'm on the subject of Oxford-based musical endeavours to which I used to be a regular contributor, the February issue of Nightshift is out now, previewing a bumper crop of gigs (among other things).