So here we are — 2005

Interpol live in 2005
Incase you can't tell, this is Interpol performing in 2005.

Let us remember 2005; The year the first ever video was uploaded to YouTube, the year that England won the Ashes on home soil, it was also the year we said goodbye to supermarket chain Safeway and high street chain Littlewoods. Twitter was still a year away from being launched, hardly anyone had a Facebook account, and people used to look out of windows during train journies.

Big Brother was into its 6th season, and won by that guy from Newcastle. The 4th generation of the iPod was launched with a colour screen - ooh fancy. Liverpool won their fifth Champions League title after beating AC Milan in Istanbul, and London celebrated being awarded the 2012 Olympic Games ahead of Paris.

I was half way through my first year at University in Lincoln. Discovering bands on MySpace, buying the NME every week, and going to SonicSounds every Monday to pick up new 7" singles was my recipe to unearth new music, and I loved it.

I've been using iTunes ever since I picked up an iPod back in 2003, and I am quite precious over my music library. I curate yearly playlists, I make sure that all the artwork is up to date, I add missing metadata to files and also create setlist playlists from almost every gig I go to. These days it's a mix of mp3 files burnt from every cd I own, dodgy downloaded files with questionable sound quality, and stuff added via Apple Music.

Towards the end of last year [2020], I was going through some of those yearly playlists wondering what my favourite year for music is. Turns out it's 2005. I think this was the time when I was most invested in seeking out new influences. I had only left the UK twice; both times to Majorca on a family holiday so I wasn't exactly well travelled, and not many of my schools friends were into the same things as me. I had recently left home for University, and started to meet people who had similar interests to me, that I actually enjoyed hanging out with. Turns out I wasn't the only person who liked Belle & Sebastian.

Back then it felt like you had to put the leg work in to find something new. I remember buying the self released Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album directly from the band. It was being shipped from the US and I waited weeks for it to arrive. Having only heard a bunch of tracks prior to buying it, and it still being months before being officially released in the UK, I was eager to get hold of it earlier than my peers. I remember when it arrived, it felt like Christmas Day and I was the only one celebrating.

The Stands live in 2005
The Stands, Sheffield Leadmill, 1st October 2005.

I discovered a lot of stuff from across the pond in 2005; Andrew Bird, Broken Social Scene, The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, The National, We Are Scientists and Sufjan Stevens all released excellent albums. Bright Eyes realeased two on the same day! How could I drop £20 on 2 albums in 1 day as a student? 1 of them had to be downloaded.

There was also a lot of great stuff coming out of the North of Englad at that point, too. Coles Corner by Richard Hawley — amazing. Maxïmo Park burst onto the scene, Kaiser Chiefs, Doves came back with their 3rd album Some Cities, Elbow had an album out, I Am Kloot, The Coral, The Cribs, The Stands... I could could on.

Household names such as Oasis were still trying to remain relevant in 2005, Coldplay hit the big time with their 3rd album X&Y. The Strokes released First Impressions of Earth, The White Stripes were still around, as were Supergrass.

There's a lot that I don't listen to very often these days. I can't recall the last time I listened to Employment by Kaiser Chiefs, but I do remember playing I Predict A Riot on repeat in my mate Ross' car whilst driving along Prince of Wales Road in Norwich late one Saturday night, watching all the drunken lads fighting in the streets. Good times.

I remember taking a gamble on a lot of stuff back then, too. When you're living off a student loan, forking out £12 for a new cd was something that had to be done with caution. Occasionally I would buy something purley based on the fact NME gave it 8/10. Clor's self titled album fell into this category. An example where a chance purchase paid off, what an album! Sadly, it was to be their one and only release.

Doves live in 2005
Doves, live at V Festival 2005

Fast forward 16 years, and I'm still hunting out new music every week, but it's not the same. I can tweet a band and there's a high chance they will reply. Constant posts on Instagram makes you realise that musicians are just the same as you and me. I can launch Apple Music or Spotify and be told what I'm likely to enjoy based on my listening habits, and I can watch footage from almost any band on YouTube and decide if I want to go see them live or not. Everything is there, for everyone to access.

I've made a Spotify playlist which is over 5 and a half hours long of music released in 2005. A lot of it I own, a lot of it I downloaded illeaglly at the time. A lot of it I don't listen to much anymore, and a lot of it makes me question certain decisions I was making at the time. But I love it all. It's a very one-dimensional, indie rock set of songs, but it paints a good portrait of myself during that time.

Fear not, my photography skills have improved since then.