As per usual December was a slower month than usual for gigs but I still managed to get out there and sample a few.

Firstly Spring King and Gorgeous Bully at Fallow Café in south Manchester was a must see for me! Gorgeous Bully have featured in NME of late with their track 'Sinking Feeling' and it was nice to finally put a visual to the sound. They comprised 1/2 of Shinies in their new line up and I heard lots of potential in their lo-fi fuzz sound. One to watch this year for sure.

Spring King seem to have a bit of a cult underground following on the garage scene and again it was nice to check out the five piece spearheaded by Tarek Musa, live.

The following night saw a total departure musically from the previous as I managed to catch East India Youth supporting Factory Floor at Gorilla In Manchester. The force of East India Youth's set saw his MacBook leap off his set up before being rescued and securely taped down to withstand the force of the remaining set. Powerful stuff!

Factory Floor took to the stage with their usual set of incredible visuals, their industrial almost tribal brand of electronic music is still one of the live shows of the moment and the Manchester show did not disappointment.

Night Beats released a new album in 2013 on The Reverberation Appreciation Society label, part of the Austin Psychfest family. Sonic Bloom is an incredible listen and some of my stand out shows of 2013 came at their hands and guitars. Therefore, I wouldn't have missed their Manchester return for the world! As expected, attitude and raw vibes aplenty shook the Roadhouse up. I also managed to check out new emerging psych band Purple Heart Parade out. There was an early Verve vibe about them and on that basis I can't wait to hear more..

I actually went a week or so without attending a gig this month as I had Christmas cover radio responsibilities and voiceover work to get through. No rest for the wicked, eh?!

But no fear, it didn't keep my prying eyes and ears away for long as I got to attend the Brown Brogues Christmas show. In retrospect maybe I should have kept my eyes away, Ben Brogue certainly put it all out there in a special ensemble for the event! MY EYES. MY EYES.

The Angelic halo wearing PINS were the surprise headliners and played an intense show at The Castle Hotel, the location where just a few weeks previously I had witnessed their album launch under the red lights of an eclectic art installation. What a year 2013 has been for them and they were quite rightly one of my favourite albums of 2013. My full list of albums of 2013 can be found here.

I got to check out L'amour Des Reves for the first time and was blown away by the incredible vocal from their drummer / lead vocalist. I couldn't help think that more potential could be achieved by bringing in a third member on drums to let her concentrate fully on her vocals and to captivate the audience further. That wouldn't be the done thing in the world of garage music though, right?!

One band that didn't struggle to captivate the audience were The Bell Peppers. The recently expanded four-piece had people grooving and shaking with their 50s inspired garage tones. With a new EP rumbling into focus at the back end of 2013 entitled Sizzling Hot Bell Peppers, there is every reason to be paying attention to their innovative moves.

My final show of the year was in Brooklyn of all places. I'd flown across to the US for a bit of a break and after friends being struck with illness, I decided to stick with what I know best and went to see DIIV at the Baby's All Right Venue in Williamsburg. Supported by Potty Mouth, Ratking, and more.. DIIV were as incredible as always and the mosh was pretty insane. Potty Mouth showed some real potential too; four ladies doing their own thing with no rules or limitations. It resonated with me.

Tips for 2014? Well my latest amazing radio show talks at length about these here.

But for five new ones this month:

I would have listed Perfect Pussy but they're not on soundcloud. They're releasing a debut full length on Captured Tracks this year and I can't wait to hear it. Their limited edition cassette is currently on sale in the Brooklyn label's shop.

Potty Mouth: The Northampton, Massachusetts based quartet hail from the home of Thurston Moore and Dinosaur Jr. and channel pop punk on their debut LP Hell Bent, which is out in the ether now.

NOPE: The experimental kraut/psych band from Yorkshire wrote and performed a track as part of a film / music collaboration with Eoin Shea for RECON festival in 2013. What I have heard of it is breathtakingly beautiful. Why haven't I heard it all? Well its just shy of 30 minutes long and I'm limited to 30 minutes of free internet in Amsterdam airport.

Foxtrott: Although I didn't attend M For Montreal festival in 2013, I kept my ear to the ground and Foxtrott seems to be one of the freshest talents on the scene. I can find very little information out about her but the soundcloud profile references a MH Delorme, and the Shields EP speaks for itself. I guess we'll find out more in time.

Swords: Dublin three-piece Swords released their debut album in July 2013 and the second single and title track hit my ears recently to great effect. They are said to blend guitars, synths, samples, drums and piano hooks with haunting and intimate vocals. There is some lovely violin in the mix here too.

Ski Lodge: An album that I've been In love with of late and I think more should hear! Upbeat Real Estate vibes from this Brooklyn based outfit. I even realized that one of my good friends digs this too over a roast recently, so if it's good enough for both of us, then it might resonate with you too... enjoy!