Monday, 26 January 2015

BAMS Award 2014 - And the winner is...

The Scottish Blogs and Music Site Awards return for another year with the polls closed and all the votes counted.  Voted for by 37 writers from 26 different blogs and music sites, there were an incredible 192 different albums nominated, with each BAM asked to nominate their favourite ten albums; 20 points assigned to the number 1 choice and downwards in a descending nature until only 2 points are assigned to the number 10 choice.  There can, however, only be one winner. 

The Twilight Sad’s fourth album, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave  has emerged as the winner of the sixth annual poll pipping Rave Tapes  by Scottish indie veterans Mogwai in a straight head to head shoot-out between the top two albums.  The Sad's cause was helped by the fact that 16 BAMS selected  Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave  in their top 10.  Inaugural winners The Phantom Band again had a strong showing with third LP Strange Friend  finishing in third spot ahead of the fast closing Withered Hand, whose New Gods  squeezed into fourth ahead of the self-titled debut from Honeyblood in fifth.  Scottish acts filled the BAMS’ top 7 slots; Young Father's Dead  in 6th spot and Jonnie Common Trapped in Amber  at number 7; with St Vincent the top international act in eighth place ahead of Caribou in 9th.  The Amazing Snakeheads filled the top ten in 10th position.  Here's the full BAMS Top 30 list:

1. The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave  - 239 points
2. Mogwai - Rave Tapes  - 222 points
3. The Phantom Band - Strange Friend   - 166 points
4. Withered Hand - New Gods  - 157 points
5. Honeyblood - Honeyblood   - 150 points
6. Young Fathers - DEAD  - 140 points
7. Jonnie Common - Trapped in Amber  - 132 points
8. St. Vincent - St Vincent  - 104 points
9. Caribou - Our Love  - 102 points
10. The Amazing Snakeheads - Amphetamine Ballads  -  94 points
11. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream  - 90 points
12. King Creosote - From Scotland with Love  - 87 points
13. Bastard Mountain - Farewell, Bastard Mountain  - 83 points
14. We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling  - 78 points
15. Fatherson - I Am An Island  - 75 points
16. PAWS - Youth Culture Forever - 70 points
17. Randolph's Leap - Clumsy Knot  - 64 points
18. Stanley Odd - A Thing Brand New  - 60 points
19. Call To Mind - The Winter Is White  - 59 points
20. Swans - To Be Kind  - 48 points
21. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2  - 46 points
22. Machines In Heaven - bordersbreakdown  - 44 points
23. Ought - More Than Any Other Day  - 43 points
24. The Last Battle - Lay Your Burden Down  - 42 points
25. Sun Kil Moon - Benji  - 40 points
26. Aphex Twin - Syro  - 37 points
=27. Beerjacket - Darling Darkness  - 36 points
=27. Martha - Courting Strong  - 36 points
29. Taylor Swift - 1989  - 35 points
30. Warpaint - Warpaint  - 32 points

The Twilight Sad frontman, James Graham reflected on the band’s success, when I caught up with him earlier last week at Mono in Glasgow.

Congratulations, Nobody Wants To Be Here, Nobody Wants To Leave  is this years' winner of the Scottish BAMS Award!  How does it feel?

James - "Really good. I think I found out last week, and I told my Dad right away.  He was like, "well done son!'"

"I've said a few times that last year was a big year for us, and to have released the record that we've released and to have got the reception that it’s got has been a massive thing for us."

"I don’t want to be melodramatic and say it’s saved the band, but it kind of has in a way.  When you release something you don’t really know [how it will be received].  You can like it as much as you want, but ultimately in the long run, people have got to like it to have any sort of success or be able to make another one.  So to be voted number one for the BAMS is pretty mental for a miserable bunch of guys from Kilsyth.  It’s great though.  We really appreciate it, and things like this don’t happen to us all the time, so it’s really cool."

Previous winners of course include The National, The Phantom Band, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, and last year's winner CHVRCHES.  Good company to be amongst.

James - "Aye I’m a fan of every single one of those bands and the records that won.  Bill and Aidan's record [Everything’s Getting Older] is one of my favourite albums of all time."

"It's great though, those bands are bands we aspire to be like.  And to be in that company is phenomenal.   To be in the position where we are mentioned in the same breath as those artists; 16-year old James would have told you to fuck off.   So aye it’s nice.  It’s been a good year for once.  Don’t worry we’re not going to write a happy album after it!"

When you'd finished recording the album, how did it match up to your expectations?

James - "It's just another stage, it's who we were in our lives, that’s what it was.   I'm enjoying playing them [the new songs] live.  It's now a case of what do we leave out, instead of in the past we’ve not got enough songs.  Now we have to leave songs out and we want to play the full record, which shows you how much we like the record.  I think we can all look back on it and say we did a good job."

How important do you feel that the support of music blogs has been to the band?

James - "I think it's been, and I’m not just saying this, it's probably been one of the most important things for our band.  When we started out, it was blogs and things like that that helped spread the word about our music.  And through every release we've had we’ve constantly had that support.  We're not a band that is on the front of magazines or in big features, and in some ways I like that.  I mean if that comes along, then that comes along and that’s great.  But the best thing about it, is that it's the actual real genuine people who are writing about music because they give a fuck about it, that are actually writing about our band and spreading the word about our band.   And I think that’s a pretty cool thing to have that kind of support."

And finally, what has been your favourite album of 2014?

James - "I had quite a few actually.  I'm obviously a massive Mogwai fan, so Rave Tapes  was always going to be on that list.  I really liked Perfume Genius' album, Too Bright,  I found that really interesting.  Angel Olson, her record with the long song title [Burn Your Fire for No Witness], which is ironic because I can’t slag anyone for that as we have the longest going.  I liked Alvvays.  I only got into the Alvvays record at the end of the year.   It was one of those ones where people had been talking about it, and I saw their name about, but I purposely avoided it, but then I listened to it and it was great."

"The Phantom Band's record [Strange Friend] was really good.   Remember Remember's record, Forgetting The Present,  that was really good record.   I listened to The War on Drugs [Lost In the Dream] that was great record.  Sharon Van Etten, I like that."

"There was quite a lot last year.  I saw a few people saying it wasn’t that great a year for music, but I probably listened to more than I had in a while."

- For the full interview with James, check out our post here.

So congratulations to The Twilight Sad for winning this year's Scottish BAMS Award.  As always the BAMS Award captures the pulse of music in Scotland during the previous year, and I'm sure you can count on the forthcoming SAY Award long list nominations to include many of the albums listed above.  Most importantly though, the BAMS Award is about promoting and showcasing the music that bloggers and music writers have been loving, so please go and listen to; and buy; as many of the above albums as you can.  They are all fantastic in their own way.  If you are interested in such things you can see how Scottish Fiction voted by checking out our Top 20 Scottish Albums of 2014.

BAMS facts in 2014:

37 writers voted for 192 albums (3 less voters than 2013 but 28 extra albums!)
53 albums received more than 1 vote (66 in 2013).
27 different albums received first preference votes (28 in 2013)
Ten albums received multiple first preference votes in 2014 (compared to 5 in 2013).
The bands who received more than 1 first preference vote were: The Twilight Sad, Withered Hand (3), The Phantom Band, Caribou, The Amazing Snakeheads, Bastard Mountain, Randolph’s Leap, Sun Kil Moon (2)
The highest placed album without a first preference vote was #7 - Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber.
11 albums with first preference votes didn’t receive any other votes (8 in 2013) although Sun Kil Moon received only 2 votes – both first preferences!

Previous BAMS winners:

2009 - The Phantom Band - The Wants
2010 - The National - High Violet
2011 - Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older
2012 - Meursault - Something for the Weakened
2013 – CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe

The 2014 BAMS were:

Honorary Head BAM - Lloyd (Peenko)

Chief BAMS - Neil (Scottish Fiction), Mike (Manic Pop Thrills), Jamie (Netsounds Unsigned), Stuart (Is This Music?), and Al (Houdi)

Contributing BAMS - Bluesbunny, Jim Gellatly, Almost Predictable. Almost, Vic Galloway, Detour Scotland, The Spill, The Steinberg Principle, Haiver, For Malcontents, Last Year’s Girl, Tenement TV, Dear Scotland, Marion Scott, 17 Seconds, Alan Morrison (The Herald), Through The Wire, Post Nothing, Podcart, Everything Flows, Avalanche, Elba Sessions, La Terrasse, Edinburgh Man, The Skinny, Alive & Amplified, Song, By Toad, The Pop Cop

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