Milestones is a new feature looking to gain an insight into a particular character of the music 'industry'. We ask them a few questions about music, and they do their best to answer.
Featured this week is Matthew Britton, music writer, new music expert, and the 'brains' behind on-the-ball blogs such as The Pigeon Post and lostlostlost. Any regular follower of Basement Fever will know that we're good friends so it seems only right to have Matthew as the first feature. And if we're being honest, Basement Fever probably wouldn't exist were it not for The Pigeon Post. So...
The album that first got you into music:
There are a load of contenders for this, but I've decided to go for the album that properly got me into music, rather than just being the first time that I appreciated it or felt slightly excited about it. So there's no place for the variety of novelty hits of the early 90's that I made my Mum buy on cassette (Mr Blobby, you were purely misunderstood in your genius) and there's thankfully no room for Limp Bizkit and the nu-metal crew that blighted my mid-teenage years.
It's a choice probably typical of people my age and skin colour - The Libertines cast a huge shadow over everyone who went after them for quite a while, and for a few breif years their sense of brotherhood and ability to make a nice little ditty were the central narrative to my life. I joined their forum, downloaded Pete's acoustic, solo stuff (the material of which would go on to form the basis of his entire career as a solo artist) and toyed, however shortly, with the idea of getting a libertine tattoo when I was old enough. The first album intrigued me, but the second sent me over the edge, and I spent day upon day listening to it on repeat, eking out the details of it's minutiae, desperate to get closer.
It'd be nice to look back upon the time fondly - it gave me a sense of musical identity, a sense of the broader world outside of the terrible second rate pop-punk I'd listened to before hand and gave me enough courage to try out more stuff of a similar vein. sadly, a lot of people didn't see it as such an opportunity, and have instead decided to sit upon the legend, boldly guarding it every Saturday night in indie discos up and down the land, as they get played alongside the ridiculously less exciting likes of Oasis and The Courteneers. Just like Pete himself, the chance to step up the pantheon of true greats was there, but instead it's wallowing in the gutter.
The Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now
The band that dominated your teenage years:
...and this is what it led me onto. The Libertines might've made the inroads, but Forward, Russia definitely took over my life for an inhumane amount of years. I own, at last count, about 15 of their trademark t-shirts, I went to their every Manchester show (except one where they supported Biffy Clyro, in which I got the date wrong and spent a week moping afterwards over the ticket I'd already purchased), purposely turned up late to work just to go see them do instore performances. I threw abusive messages at their roadie after learning that he'd slept with someone from their forum, of which I was subsequently banned for said abuse (taking signs with the legend 'Bentley is a Paedo' on don't go down well, apparently), and at their last show I almost broke down in tears after travelling to Leeds just for the occasion.
More than that, it's defined the years afterwards, too. A load of people who used to go to the gigs have gone on to do much more important things - Jamila, who runs Cruel Rhythm (formerly Fucking Dance) was at the front of every show, taking pictures, Cal from D/R/U/G/S once put on the singer's solo project on at his house and, more relevantly for me, it's house I first became friends with Miriam (my girlfriend).
Forward, Russia - 12
The album in your parents' collection that made a lasting impression:
My mum didn't really listen to full albums - she just used to make these little mixes for the car. We didn't even really listen to radio that much, come to think of it, but the mixes were always present, and occasionally themed - around the time of Euro '96 and World Cup '98, she'd swap over to her football based tapes. But there was one that always seemed to be on, and the one track that always stuck with me was Crash, by The Primitives. It was largely mixed in with stuff by Blondie and other 80's pop music, so for years I presumed Debbie Harry was signing on this, but it's a pretty perfect pop song, heavily weighted towards the chorus with a load of 'nah nah nah' action to pad it out.
Famously (in the family, at least), the mix carried on halfway through this song the first time we got in the car after Diana's death. I'd be certain that my mum had got in the car to get up to that section if she didn't spent the the entire funeral crying about it all a few days later.
The Primitives - Crash (Live)
The album that has dominated your last 12 months' listening:
There are loads of good albums and then there are a few that are brilliant. Then, every couple of years, there's an album that completely redefines everything you thought you liked and utterly refuses to go away. I didn't really get on with Kanye's first couple of albums, and even the better tracks on them still felt a little bit weak. But My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy isn't anything like his past works at all. In short, I think it might be perfect.
Only Kanye could've made this album, purely due to the level of depth and complexity you have to endure as a listener. We all know about his ego, his many misdemeanours, his connections, mis-trust of the media and his background, and the joy of the album is watching them all play up against each other, the bombast and bravado having to go up against humility and self loathing - and god, does he know how to self-loath. Runaway is, without doubt, one of the great masterpieces of the decade - you're essentially listening to a man have a nervous breakdown, but he's doing it with such bluster that it never descends into the realms of emo or massive self-indulgence. Then you play it against the likes of Power, and the pure pop of All of the Lights, then consider he's got the larger than life Monster on there too - it's beyond brilliant. A man of sickening talent, he is never ever going to top this as an album, and we can only hope that he doesn't try.
Kanye West - Runaway
The most exciting new band you've heard recently:
Might not grab straight away - certainly didn't for me - but Bos Angeles have the potential to be the biggest thing to spring out of the bandcamp-combing scene, and I can only hope that they do. The fact that they're pretty much the complete package already defies belief, too.
Bos Angeles - Beach Slalom
And the one song that best represents what it is that you do:
On a loop.
Lovvers - Wasted Youth
Follow Matthew on Twitter, or read more of his stuff at The Pigeon Post or over at LostLostLost to find some of the genuinely best new music from around the world.