glasto 2017 www.instagram.com/ben_ross1

In what is probably the least surprising confession ever; with my 30th birthday approaching I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing, ruminating and re-living. The other night I found myself alone in an old fashioned boozer in the medieval market town I’ve just moved to. I’ve never sat in a pub on my own before and I felt every bit as old as the senior regulars around me. It was just then that my phone pinged with a link from one of my oldest and best friends Shep (pictured above) I guess he’d been feeling some of the same things…


Nothing handed to us came free;
Young family, hometown, too expensive to breathe
Anything borrowed in desperate times; I paid back in full
Anything else: I worked hard for and earned, or stole
It’s not a lesson I ever want my daughter to learn
Ironic, she’s the reason I do things I can’t condone

Video call: see their private collection in the background
I tilt the screen so you can’t see my wallpaper falling down
Landlords stay taking deposits they don’t need,
There’s money to be made in the pandemic; immortal greed
Nothing more deadly than shame when you can’t provide
In the dirt you…


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTz3QZNORg4

It’s a rare occurrence these days that I hear an album and feel immediately moved to write about it. I actually haven’t done it since 2016 — usually preferring to just round up my favourite albums at the end of each year. But in this case I feel like it can’t wait; and that people should be able to experience this one as soon as possible. Conversely though, I feel a kind of hesitance to write about For Those I Love; as if by doing so I’m trying to position myself as some kind of authority on— or a guide…


www.instagram.com/calwst

I am the Relay Race Runner, I’ve been pro for years
I have fans all across the world, I’m at the peak of my career
But today I feel like fucking up, today will be the day
Take a good hard look at my face. I am bigger than this race

We start running with the gun, neck and neck with the breeze
But I don’t wanna meddle, it’s time for me to leave

My teammate stands waiting, poised for the baton
But when I come to pass him, I decide to run on
And on his face confusion, in my palm…


www.instagram.com/calwst

In previous annual retrospectives I’ve talked about how music is often the one thing that can liberate us from the hard times we endure. This year though, not even music could do that. As I write this, over 66,000 people have been lost in the country I live in — with over 1.6 million lives lost worldwide and counting. There’s no song to take you away from that; nor should there be. But we carried on listening because there was little else that we could do; and often the volume of that music was the only barrier between you and…


I don’t listen to a lot of podcasts. I’m actually one of the few people who’s recorded more podcasts than he’s listened to. But during lockdown I gravitated back to them to some degree, mainly just to catch up on a longtime favourite Hip Hop Saved My Life from Romesh Ranganathan. I’ve always loved his show because it’s essentially just what I love doing myself; completely nerding out over a long discussion about hip hop. The show is guided by simple questions about what the music means to the guest that week; sparking deeper conversation along the way. Since he…


www.instagram.com/calwst

I could only save the greatest til last. Undoubtedly, the genre that has dominated the last decade not just in terms of music, but in culture at large is Rap music, and everything under its umbrella. The rapid evolution and unstoppable rise that we’ve seen, to me makes the 2010’s The Second Golden Age, and one that (no disrespect intended) has even eclipsed the legends of the original mid-80s to mid-90s run. Hear me out: they lay the blueprints — but today’s kings & queens have successfully forced the world to fold to their vision rather than simply railing against…


www.instagram.com/calwst

Somehow it doesn’t feel right putting albums like these into a list — even if it does remain un-ordered. It’s akin to lining up all the most treasured personal moments in your life and just prodding at them with a ruler. Because for me, some of the most affecting music of the last 10 years was either acoustic, folk-tinged or bluesy in concept. There was probably an argument to include a lot of these in the ‘Alternative’ write-up, but I wanted to give them their own room in a list with like-mooded records; the ones for long nights of the…


www.instagram.com/calwst

Talking about the best electronic music of the decade somehow feels wrong, because the sounds oozing, crashing and screaming out of the following 10 albums all feel as thought they’re from hundreds of years in the future. The restless spirit of experimental synthetic music is always ahead of its time — you only have to look at the music of pioneering artists 20 or 30 years ago and you’ll hear styles that are only just now settling into the mainstream. I think that’s why this sub-set of music still feels like the best kept secret which makes it all the…


www.instagram.com/calwst

What a funny sub-category the alternative rock one is. Arguably my first love, I’ve had a long and complicated relationship with the bands and albums umbrella’d beneath it. Whether it’s been indie or post-punk, there’s always been something about the guitar which has pulled me back in. The ties between us. however, have never been tested as much as they have in the last 10 years — a period where I strayed all but completely from the traditional setup of the guitar, bass and drum-kit. I think the following list shows a real journey; one that starts the decade with…

Cal W. Stannard

Digital Account Manager but I write short stories, talk music and photography. Also do a mental health podcast thegoodlisteners.co.uk. I speak that ugly elegant

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