Saturday, 24 December 2011

Tracks of the Year 10-1

Top ten below! Try not to hold your excitment in, embrace it, much like the excessive amount of alcohol and food you will (or currently are) going to consume over the next few days. No top album list (well not a detailed one anyway) as time is scarce. Having a family takes up more time than you think, but it's ultimately worth it. Try it, beats speaking to yourself on your laptop. Happy Holidays. Don't drink too much coke.

Click on the track names to listen/preview. cheers!

10. The National-Exile Vilify (buy)

It might have been for a videogame (remember them) but it still tore at the heartstrings effectively enough to ensure The National's most die hard fans had enough to get through 2011 with.

9. Real Estate-Green Aisles (buy)

While 'It's Real' was summery guitar pop at it's finest, 'Green Aisles' was by far the stronger song among a strong collection from Real Estate's latest album. A fine listen.

8. Daniel Bortz-Don't Call (buy)

Cracking EP from Daniel Bortz. All four tracks were belters, 'Don't Call' was my fave and I recently airplayed that fact at Soundwaves.

7. Bon Iver-Holocene (buy)

Took me a while to get into the new Bon Iver album. Might not have had the dynamic and personal touch of the first record, but with tracks as beautiful as 'Holocene', who cares.

6. Chad Van Gaalen-Sara (buy)

Chad Van Gaalen went for a 'rockier' feel to this record. On it's most 'alternative' parts it sounded like the band he has produced for, Women. On others such as 'Sara', it sounded like a heart-wrencher of the highest order. A paen to a happy long lasting relationship.

5. Maximillion Dunbar-Piano & Dream World (buy)

Quite simply stunning. Sends you into another world, possibly a dream one and definitely some kind of utopia.

4. The Antlers-Putting the Dog to Sleep (buy)

Majestic soul throwback from the best album of this year (and probably for about 5 years).

3. Genius of Time-Houston, We Have a Problem (buy)

Simplicity was all that was required for this, my tune of the summer. Rolling bass over a simple enough beat resulted in me absolutely caining my vinyl copy and playing it out wherever I played.

2. Low-Witches (buy)

"You gonna wish you were Al Green"

1. The Antlers-Corsicana (buy)

We all have often wrong intepretations of lyrics. However it's often our personal touch to a track and it's words which makes it so special to us. 'Corsicana' to me is about a doomed relationship which continues to persist due to the fact that the thought of the end is too much to bear. "We should shut that door we both left opened now". It might not be about this, but it is to me. Best piece of music I've heard in a long time, and like I said in my first blog about top tracks of the year; I listen to a lot.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Tracks of the Year 30-11

More tracks, little time to reel em off. Enjoy. Once again, click on the track name to listen\preview.

30. Psychologist-Comes in Waves (buy)

Whilst James Blake hit the headlines and the critics, a small undercurrent of similar artists treaded a similar artistic path. Psychologist released various tracks, but hit a sombre note with 'Comes in Waves' and a video featuring a man going through pregnancy.

29. Daphni-Ye Ye (buy)

Probably 'bangoh' of the year (as certain people would put it) from a very unlikely source. Relentless stuff from Dan Snaith aka Caribou.

28. Motor City Drum Ensemble-L.O.V.E.\Basement L.O.V.E.(buy)

MCDE's DJ Kicks was one of the mixes of the year, wearing his influences on his sleeve and showing him digging deep into his crate. L.O.V.E. was his best tune since the Raw hits. The basement dub featured on the vinyl release was a beauty too that I could not leave out.

27. The Field-Then It's White (buy)

Return to form is not the way I'd explain enjoying the latest The Field album. I just forgot all about listening to the last one. This is such a lovely listen.

26. Yuck-Get Away (buy)

Ever after hearing their EP 'Rubber' I was looking forward to any full length Yuck would throw up (excuse the awlful pun). Their self-titled release was an assured listen, full of 3 or 4 minute scuzzy pop tracks that Sebadoh would be proud of. Opener 'Get Away' had this nailed down to a tee.

25. Love Unlimited Vibes 3-A1 (buy)

Mysterious re-edits are about as original as a club night advising to purchase tickets in advance as 'this will sell out'. However Love Unlimited series threw up some belters, including this SBTRKT edit. The B side even gave us a superb Grace Jones cover to boot.

24. David Bazan-Don't Change (buy)

Another Bazan album dropped and I knew what to expect. Full of the harmony and pain that it often seems only David can deliver. Don't Change really delivered a cracking storyline of a man focused on changing his life for the better, but unable to deliver the promise to himself, and asking the question is change always better?

23. Session Victim-Good Intentions (buy)
An anthem for an entire weekend in mid-Wales in July. Session Victim have bubbled under the surface before but with 'Good Intentions' released on their vinyl only label Retreat, they have begun their ascent to heady festival heights.

22. Beach Fossils-What A Pleasure (buy)

Captured Tracks is a label that can do no wrong at the moment. Whilst one may argue that the majority of the sounds is limiting, it makes up for in quality. Beach Fossils followed the same shoegazy, 80s lite-pop path with their 'What a Pleasure' EP.

21. Larry Tiger-Eagle (buy)

When edits are good. Larry Tiger's edit of Clyde Brown's 'Your wish is my command' was a high point of their RA podcast at the end of last year and it quickly secured a release at the start of 2011. About 1% of edits are good, and this is it.

20. Other Lives-Tamer Animals (buy)

Sounding like Midlake if they had not gone all 1960s British Folk, The Other Lives' track 'Tamer Animals' talked fondly but wearily of the world against the backdrop of shimmer of soaring piano notes.

19. The Tortoise-Last Night (Genius of Time Remix) (buy)

Two of the best new house artists of 2011 combined to great affect here. The subtle remix from Genius of Time is a gem and thanks to a juno fuck up I have two copies!

18. Move D-Your Personal Healer (buy)

David Moufang continued his ascent this year with consistently great releases. Uzuri released some great stuff in 2011(such as the Pittsburgh Authority EP) and 'Your Personal Healer' with it's Hydraulic Guitar by Juju and shimmering keys by the man himself was it's standout.

17. The Drums-Days (buy)

Another killer doom-pop track by the Drums. New album was full of them, some with extra added whining.

16. Mark E-Call Me (buy)

Mark E's launch into original productions away from edits interested many, however 'Call Me' with it's Diana sample kindly advising that she is available whenever stole the limelight away from 'Stone Breaker'. This was a bit of a shame as it contained some really good tracks.

15. Pure X-Voices (buy)

Lo-fi sounds of 1990s may hold a heavy burden on Pure X but that doesn't mean the music isn't good. 'Voices' is lo-fi, scuzzy and warm at heart. 

14. Junior Boys-You'll Improve Me (buy)

Nevermind the Caribou remix or the proposed KDJ re-edit, the original Junior Boys's 'You'll Improve Me' was a highlight of their 4th long player, one which contained many (especially the mighty Banana Ripple). Electronic pop music at it's strongest.

13. Four Tet-Pyramid (buy)

Kieran Hebden's Fabric mix got a lot of people talking and typing (including me) and included some great new music as well as a shit load of old. Pyramid is his strongest dancefloor orientated track to date.

12. Low-Nothing But Heart (buy)

When I saw Low live earlier this year, they opened with this. The crunchy opening guitar almost made my ears bleed. The beauty that followed it is capable of healing any wound.

11. Craft Spells-The Fog Rose High (buy)

More Captured Tracks pop music, showcasing early New Order-Power Corruption and Lies era influences on it's sleeve. Even the artwork is familiar. Close your eyes and it's 1984.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Tracks of the Year 50-31

In 2011, I've probably listened to more music than in any other of my life. I seem to have it on all the time. I don't really watch TV any more, other than for the odd footy match, film or interesting documentary. So it took a while to whittle it down. I probably don't have the time to do a top 50, but I could have done a top 100 with plently to spare. I'm sure there's releases from the start of the year that my brain can no longer remember. That's not to mention the plethora of music from before Jan 1 2011 than I've enjoyed. Hope you enjoy the following...

(I've not included youtube/soundcloud as it would make the pages unbearably slow. Click on the track for a preview/video)

50. Omar S-Here's Your Trance, Now Dance (buy)

A quite magical ten minute epic from Omar S which set the scene for him in 2011, culminating in a full length entitled 'It Can Be Done, But Only I Can Do It' (humble yeah), showcasing some of his best recent releases (including this) and some excellent new tracks.

49. Intruder-Amame (Long Ass Mix) (buy)

Murk Records of the early 90s like Liberty City's 'Some Lovin' and 'That's What I Got' certainly found their place on the dancefloor in 2011, so smelling the renewed interest labelowners Ralph Falcon and Oscar Gaten re-emerged under an old name of 'Intruder' and delivered a stunning peak time 303 bomb.

48. The Dead Leaves-Harm (buy)

No new album for New York's finest The National this year, however if you wanted a fix turning to Australians' The Dead Leaves 'Harm' might have done the trick. Plagiaristic? Yes. As Good? Pretty much.

47. The Drums-I Need A Doctor (buy)

 The Drums quick fire release in 2011 may have had much of the same qualities from their 1st album, it did also highlight a much darker side sprayed all over the record, none more so than on 'I Need A Doctor'.

46. The Tortoise-Gonna Be (buy)

In 2011, Melbourne pushed itself forward as a major player in modern deep house/disco sounds. The Tortoise party house track 'Gonna Be' was one of many high points from the city which also included respected artists such as Tornado Wallace (Lewie Day) and Mic Newman (Fantastic Man). Another top notch release from 3rd Strike Records out of London.

45. Girls-Vomit (buy)

After the excellent ep 'Broken Dreams Club' in 2010, many were excited to hear what Girls would deliver in 2011. Whilst the album didn't hit the heights for myself personally, lead track 'Vomit' wasa clear standout with a slow quiet build up leading to a frenzied epic guitar solo.

44. Deep Space Orchestra-Riding in My Imaginery Jeep (buy)

DSO really emerged in 2011, with a successive of quality releases together with their own quality label Use of Weapons. 'Riding in My Imaginery Jeep' is tip top spaced out house music, with a nod to Germans Move D and Soulphiction.

43. Ron Basejam-Distant Voices (Hot Coins Remix) (buy)

Hot Coins aka Red Rack 'Em delivered a stunning remix here of Crazy P's Ron Basejam's Distant Voices. Finally pressed onto to vinyl this month, it's steady bass reminds me of the early hours of a balearic holiday.

42. Zodiac Free Arts Club-Floating World (buy)

Greek producer Argy moved away from his usual house output by creating Zodiac Free Arts Club, inspired by atmospheric krautrock of the 60s and 70s. Title track 'Floating World' hopes captures the psychdelic underground sound, and was a lovely journey into a largely forgotten era.

41. Owen-I Believe (buy)

Much of my musical taste now veers away from what Owen continues to release. However, the lush guitars and honest lyrics still turn my head, especially on 'I Believe'.

40. We Are Trees-I Don't Believe in Love (buy)

Sounding like Grizzly Bear without the really boring bits, We Are Trees completed their Girlfriend/Boyfriend EP set in 2011, with the bitter sounding 'I Don't Believe in Love' being a highlight. Lyrics like "I starts with a kiss, then ends with a bitch" displays good old fashioned indie-boy loser resentment.

39. Levon Vincent-No Regrets (buy)

Levon Vincent returned in 2011 with a couple of big releases and heavy, heavy tracks. I could have included all of his tracks of 2011 in my top 50 quite easily to be honest, but it was 'No Regrets' that was my personal fave.

38. Dive-Sometime (buy)

Straight out of the stables of Captured Tracks came member of Beach Fossils side project 'Dive'. No real surprises, just a shoegaze-harmony soaked number full of quality.

37. Wbeeza-Laying Here (buy)

House sound of London alert! Or some bullshit. Whatever. Quality house music from Wbeeza. Blogged about earlier in the year. Read all about it. The end.

36. Dorisburg-Emotion (buy) 

Top notch German deep house that I couldn't get enough off. From the excellent 'Family Horror' double LP from earlier this year. Recommended.

35. Zoo Kid-Out Getting Ribs (buy)

Mate of mine told me about this kid a while back, and hasn't shut up about him since. Pitchfork have gone on and on about this song (and the video) for a while. Don't bother with that shit, just give it a keen listen.

34. No Regular Play-Takin' U Back (buy)

Wolf & Lamb & Soul Clap were at one point beginning to take over the house world. Of course that didn't happen. But from one of the best mixes of the year, their combined DJ kicks, brought us this great tune from regular cohorts No Regular Play. Sexy music apparently.

33. Maximillion Dunbar-Polo (buy)

Lifted from probably the EP of the year for me, balearic, slowed down grown up house music. Or just some good sounds playing off a bit of wax.

32. Pygmy Lush-January Song (buy)

Low key indie-folk from Pygmy Lush. Underground as hell apparently. But with the internet is anything nowadays? Hints of the best of Port O Brien and Fleet Foxes.

31. Moomin-You (buy)

More German deep house again. There's just so much of it! Moomin's album was a beauty with so many highlights. The hypnotic loop and beat of 'You' ensured it ended the year as very high on my playlist counter.