Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Music 2012 : I feel love in digital stereo

Thursday, December 27th, 2012


Previously: The songs of the year, here.

Now: It may now be the future but albums still exist in this world of downloading individual tracks and all that. Lots of great songs this year where the album did not live up to it so I had to do a lot of brain  time working out my Top Albums list. Here it is, with music and pictures:


The Irrepressibles: Nude. I found them via a package of remixes for a single from their debut album which was nice enough but this second album is a work of art…. almost literally in this case with all the imagery, videos and bonus bits. Some orchestral slowies, some faster electropop plus strings tracks and everything in-between. Beautiful!  One of those albums that will get taken out and played for years to come.


Bright Light Bright Light: Make Me Believe In Hope. After a long lead time the album was released and it was everything the fans expected / wanted. Not a dud track on it and lots of extras like a vinyl edition, a remixes CD, some t-shirts (and a cassette that I cannot play!) and all sorts of other online bits and bobs. The quality is there so the quantity is a bonus. This album did well in a lot of end of year polls despite not having a massive commercial success which goes to show that the right music can get the attention.


Saint Etienne: Words and Music. A concept album about pop music that is one of the finest pop albums of recent years? Great idea. Perfect from start to finish, supported by an excellent live show and a tea towel. Saint Etienne never disappoint.


The Melting Ice Caps: Permissible Permutations. Another kind of concept album, from a man who, like Saint Etienne, never disappoints. The Melting Ice Caps are the best indie pop (and other things) one man band that you have not heard of and are hard to describe so how about “excellent songwriting with depth?”


No Doubt: Push and Shove. This comeback album apparently did pretty bad commercially and annoyed some of the older fans with its new sound. It has an extra layer of pop what with all those lovely synth riffs but I adored it as I go mad for  a bit of anthemic synth and guitars pop. Maybe it’s the fault of classic era Duran for imprinting that on me. Anyway, it’s a marvellous upbeat pop album that still has a No Doubt feel to it.


Jessie Ware: Devotion. So much has been said about this album already and it’s everything That Emeli Bloody Sande album is not. Jessie Ware can do ‘sophisticated’ as well as uptempo and this long player may occasionally veer into slightly baffling youthful sounds but I can cope with a bit of that.


Frank Ocean: Channel Orange. I eventually investigated this one. Oh yes.


Twin Shadow: Confess. An unknown to me until I heard a track in our car, loved it, bought this album and then their debut too. Very good mixed bag of sounds that come together to make a strong set of tunes. Strong creative vision, a bit like the old days when people seemed to try harder, or am I just a grumpy oldie?


Niki & the Dove: Instinct. I missed out on the initial hype but found myself loving a song or two via bloggy pals and then bought the album which was a big success in my ears. They’re from Europe and have a great brand of slightly freaky synthpop so perfect for me.


Gaz Coombes Presents Here Come The Bombs. Easy to love this album as it’s Gaz From Supergrass and it’s great.


Foxy Shazam: The Church of Rock and Roll. Ridiculous overblown American rock anthem cliches all  over the place and I like it. A lot.

Gigs of the year:

Fingersnap at Leicester Square Theatre on Valentine’s Day. Excellent music and banter, and I got my lurve dedication read out.
The Melting Ice Caps at that pub with the pint of chips with the CD Walkman.
Saint Etienne at the London Palladium. Music! Merchandise! Massive balloons!
Scritti Politti at Firestation in Windsor. Hypnotised.

Reissues:



All those lovely Jimmy Somerville reissues that included the first Bronski Beat album, both of the Communards ones and his first two solo releases.
Human League Dare/Fascination boxy thing, even though I had most of it already.
ZTT Reissues of all sorts of stuff from my childhood.
The four Everything But The Girl reissues because I never had them before and they were clearly made with love.

Sarah Cracknell’s album coming out in the Saint Etienne Deluxe format: lost semi-classic.

Covers:

The Spiels & Autoheart : Northern Lad. Jody Gadsden and friends do one of my all time favourite Tori Amos songs and do it so very well.
Temper Trap: Love Is A Losing Game. From a cover mount CD with Q, this was a slightly raspy pleasant surprise.
Jonny Cola & the A-Grades: Ship Of Fools. I remembered how much I liked Jonny Cola and bought all their music. This cover is a joy!

Next time: Back to nerd whimsy some time soon.

Music 2012 : How melodic.

Thursday, December 20th, 2012


Another year draws to a close and my annual plan to spend less money on music due to my ever-increasing old git status has failed as usual. I found that this year had a much higher proportion of reissues than before, due to the boom in deluxe pretty thing reissues in lovely packaging full of hard to find old songs. Nice. I also got into my charity shop record hunts in a big way and the wad of vinyl LPs is expanding across the room. Anyway, this blog post is concerned with the new stuff, specifically the tracks of the year. Albums to follow, along with some other odds and sods.


“We could have made it but we didn’t have the stamina, we both lost out in the end. “ Autoheart: Control. This track has been around for a while but its official release this year meant it sneaked back into my end of year review. Autoheart’s forthcoming album is my most eagerly awaited music of 2013 due to the quality of their songs which have appeared in the usual places on the internet. Melodic heartfelt pop is their strength and that’s something that I adore!


“Once a passion filled your eyes, left me speechless , satisfied. Now tonight all we have is this darkening sky.” Jimmy Somerville: Taken Away. Listening to this song led me to buy the EP it comes from, then his two other recent EPs and then his entire back catalogue. Jimmy Somerville is in an imperial phase right now but is not really in the limelight as much as he should be.


“It’s getting louder and louder and louder and louder and louder.” The Irrespressibles: Two Men In Love. This choice could have been their electropop + orchestra song Ship, narrowly beaten by the beautiful epic slow-build of a song that will not surprise you when I say it is about two men in love. The album is pretty amazing.


“From the outside, from the outside. Everyone must be wondering why we try.” Jessie Ware: Wildest Moments. One of those artists who was tipped for the top that actually did some tipping (in my ears)! This has soul, which is sorely lacking in a lot of modern pop music. Smooooooth but not too glossy, just right.


“Patiently, I’m waiting. For you to give up everything. And say just what you mean.” Twin Shadow: Patient. I discovered this song in our car via Jamie’s iPod, loved it, bought the album, played it a lot. I like it when that happens! Twin Shadow is one to watch, great song writing and performing, and the videos are also excellent. This one has dance routines!


“Tell me the truth boy, am I losing you for good.” Solange: Losing You. She’s back! She’s still amazing! Phew. This song is both old-fashioned and new/exciting. Funky heartbreak, oh yes.


“I’ll be your warrior.” Mark Foster, Kimbra and A-Trak: Warrior. An unexpected crossover episode! This single with Mark Foster from Foster The People gave Kimbra’s album a further push, which was nice. I may be too old to know who A-Trak is but this is a super energetic pop number with the kind of offbeat video you’d expect from Mr Foster.


“You’re the reason there’s still hope in my heart.” Bright Light Bright Light: Feel It. Inspired by Laura Palmer’s diary and cheesy 90s dance pop, and featuring a great big diva voice : how could I not love this? Great single from an excellent album. Well done that man Rod Thomas.


“Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge, nobody wants to see your fingertips, detached from your piano fingers… At least not yet.” The Melting Ice Caps: Keep Both Hands Behind The Cutting Edge. This song is superficially a series of health and safety warning signs but actually something cleverer, as I would expect from the mind of David Shah (Mr Ice Caps). Another recommended album there.


“And when the music stops …” Little Boots: Headphones (Ronika remix). Yes, a remix! This version is better than the original, a peculiar old school dance sound about a disco with weird pitch changes to Ms Boots’ voice to make it just marvellously different and a bit non-specific gender. Hard to explain. Now where’s the album?


“She’s working at the pyramid tonight.” Frank Ocean: Pyramids. This one is also rather odd, in a great way. It’s not quite hip hop and not quite R&B either. When I got this album it was a priority playlist on the iPod for ages and deserving of all the hype it got.


“To you it’s just the same old story. Another fairy tale made of faded glory.” David Morales and Roisin Murphy: Golden Era. This Murphy / Morales collaboration was a lovely surprise and it was everything I hoped for in such a project. A deep housey disco number with regret in the lyrics, should have been a big hit.


“Get lost, you’re dancing to the beat of a different drum .” Gossip: Get Lost. The album may have annoyed some of their older fans (in loyalty, not in years) but this Xenomania collaboration was the first Gossip album I loved enough to buy. I’m weird but the vibes were right and this track is the highlight of a great pop long-player.


“… the dead don’t go away, They made us what we are, they’re with us every day.” Pet Shop Boys: Leaving. I loved this track immediately and recently the lyrics make me a bit too sad, which is not really a bad thing for a song to do when I think about it. A mixed album but I would compare it to a good b-sides compilation and we do love our b-sides.


“That’s why, the carols make you cry. Joy.” Tracey Thorn: Joy. Another weepy happy song, one of the original compositions on Tracey Thorn’s excellent (more than just a) Christmas album.


“No one should settle for a maybe, I’ll get an answer for you soon.” Saint Etienne: Answer Song. So many lovely songs on their Words and Music album but I had to choose one. I’ll go for the sad romantic one every time!


“I’m ready to learn what it tastes to burn, I’m gonna let you show me what it means to breathe fire.” Niki & the Dove: Tomorrow. I found this Swedish duo via a blog and was captivated by their atmospheric brand of slightly freaky big electropop.


“Honey get your hands off those boys. Honey put your arms around me.” Bearcraft: Honey. Another one of Jamie’s favourite artists and this single was definitely their best work yet. Bearcraft have been quiet recently as Dicky Moore (Mr Craft) has been busy playing guitar for Scritti Politti but they’ll be back with an album of this melodic synthpop soon.


“Sad, so sad.” Elton John vs Pnau: Sad. Not actually all that sad, mostly very pleasant and melodic. I think “melodic” is becoming one of my words. As well as this Pnau collaboration via a remix project I also finally bought Elton’s discoey Thom Bell Sessions on CD but didn’t get the urge for any other albums.


“I’m always trying to tell you, I’ve got problems, That I can’t work out.” Gaz Coombes: White Noise. The return of The Artist Formerly Known As Gaz From Supergrass was a big success for me and this track in particular showed him in fine form.

Next time: Albums of the Year, maybe some Gigs and Covers. The version type, not the images on the front of records although I do like those too.

2011 Non-Poll Winners’ Non-Party

Friday, December 30th, 2011


End of year and end of blog for a while: It’s time for the annual Music That I Did Like Best blog of lists and that…


Songs of 2011:
Fingersnap: I Wanna Rise: A ruddy big soul anthem from the year’s most played EP (even before it was released, via their Soundcloud page).
CockNBullKid: Distractions: Marvellous album with so many top tunes. This was like a magical All Saints pop song.
Patrick Wolf: Together: Single from the excellent mostly-happy-love album. Patrick’s popstar moment.
Autoheart: Control: Debut free single from The Band Formerly Known As the Gadsdens. Beautiful and intricate.
Stevie Nicks: Secret Love: The largest gestation period ever with a song demoed in the 1970s. Bewitching.
The Melting Ice Caps: Strike in the Dark: The band that keeps on growing released an excellent EP and this is the lead track.
Brett Anderson: Unsung: Mega return to form when Brett came back with a rock band.
Bright Light Bright Light: Disco Moment: The launch night gig was a top memory. Glittery greatness.
Kimbra: Cameo Lover: Classic pop from an artist who hasn’t really launched in the UK yet.
Monsta: Holdin’ On: Bryn Christopher returned with that voice in a band whose Soundcloud has some big songs on it.
Florrie: Experimenting With Rugs: Another one of the top EP artists of the year. Pop gold.
The Original 7Ven: Strawberry Lake: The Time came back and continued where they had left off. Funky.
The Pipettes: Boo Shuffle: New non-album energetic single that sounded like the old days.
James Vincent McMorrow: We Don’t Eat: Lovely album, great for the quiet moments.
Emeli Sande: Heaven: When not with shouty rappers Emeli did good things in my ears.
Foster The People: Call It What You Want: This song ended up everywhere in the end.
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans: ‘Internet Sensation’ whose songs are on every bloody list this year.
Gomez: Song in My Heart: They continually make great albums and make that seem easy.
Bernhoft: Choices: One of Husband Jamie’s discoveries: super-talented Norwegian all-rounder.
Penguin Prison: Don’t Fuck With My Money: This should have been the pop anthem of the year.
Will Young: Safe From Harm: Consistently good artist teams up with Richard X and makes best album of his career.

Now it’s time for some music:
Control by Autoheart

 

MONSTA by MONSTAcloud

 

Disco Moment [Video Edit] by brightlightx2

Back to the ‘awards’:

Best UK album:
Winner:
Patrick Wolf: Lupercalia : A coherent long-player is quite hard to find these days but Mr Wolf goes from strength to strength.

Runners-up:
CockNBullKid: Adulthood
Brett Anderson: Black Rainbows
Sarah Nixey: Brave Tin Soldiers
Nerina Pallot: Year of the Wolf

Best International album:
Winner:
Steve Nicks: In Your Dreams: I fell in love with the singles and videos, and ended the year with a load of her Fleetwood Mac albums.

Runners-up:
Bernhoft: Solidarity Breaks
Jenny Wilson: Blazing
Foster The People: Torches
Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field

Best UK Group:
Fingersnap: David McAlmont has always been in my musical lists and the addition of Guy Davies led to one of those duos that are more than the sum of their parts.

The Melting Ice Caps
Autoheart
Monsta

Best International Group:
Foster The People: Earworm singles, fun videos and an album that got played so many times.

The Pierces
The Original 7Ven
Wolf Gang

Best UK Male single:
Bright Light Bright Light: Disco Moment: Why is this man not a massive pop star? The charts deserve some great acts.

Best International Male single:
Penguin Prison: Don’t Fuck With My Money: American equivalent to the great things I see and hear in Bright Light Bright Light.

Best UK Female single:
CockNBullKid: Yellow: She’s just been excellent all year.

Best International Female single:
Steve Nicks: Secret Love: I’m repeating myself from my Songs of the Year now! Lead single that was just perfect.

Best UK EP:
Winner: Fingersnap: Smokehouse EP: See all my other bloggings about why this is such a treasure.
Runners-up:
Florrie: Experiments EP

The Melting Ice Caps: Strike EP
Patrick Wolf: Brumalia EP
The Mummers: Mink Hollow Road EP
The Primitives: Never Kill A Secret EP

Best International EP:
Winner: Beth Ditto: EP: We need an album of this electropop Beth.

Runner up: Uh Huh Her: Black and Blue

Best Gig:
Fingersnap at the Jazz Cafe (20th November): Stunning set, great company, chat with the singer, intimate venue. Excellent.
The Melting Ice Caps, Dream Themes and Mr Solo at Buffalo Bar (21st August): David Shah’s Ice Caps got even better and the other acts were pretty good.
Bright Light Bright Light single launch at London Fashion Week (21st September): Surrounded by trendies (eek!) but the music was so exciting.
The Soft Close-Ups at Native Tongue (2nd August): Perfect sit-down music with beers.

Best Live Album:
David McAlmont Live From Leicester Square CD & DVD : Even if I hadn’t been to that show I would have to recommend this one.

Best project people complained about but I quite liked:
Winner: Kate Bush: Director’s Cut album : But then I didn’t own all the original albums that got re-jiggled and it came in a nice package.
Runner up: Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Make A Scene album

Best album I know is good but I just couldn’t get to grips with as much as I wanted to:
Wild Beasts: Smother : The music didn’t register in my memory despite multiple plays but the EP that followed it had some songs that I understood far better.

Artist that gets a lot of love but I just don’t feel:
Lady Gaga : A hybrid of Grace Jones and Younger Madonna being all Ooh Controversial with some average pop songs? I’ll pass.

Return to form:
Brett Anderson: Black Rainbows : Glad he went back to what he does best after the previous album was too boring to buy. That seemed so wrong.

Best video downloady thing that’s kind of a single I think:
Miles Fisher: New Romance : It’s apparently an in-joke/tie-in with a film I have never seen but still great fun.

Surprise new song that was number two in the UK Top 40 when I heard it:
Emeli Sande: Heaven : Unfinished Sympathy is 20 years old and still wonderful.

Best Scandinavian import newcomer album:
Bernhoft: Solidarity Breaks : The live video clips don’t really show off the full blown production of the album.

Hamel: Lohengrin : Good old fashioned music and lyrics is sometimes all you need.

Best new artist found via a Facebook posting:
James Vincent McMorrow: Early In The Morning album : Minimal at times but always lovely. Not ‘bland’ like this year’s buzzword.

Best new Antipodean act:
Lovers Electric : I ended up buying both their albums after the new one looked promising on a leaks site.
Gotye
Kimba

Best Mashup:
Soundhog: A Witty Title Involving Rockets & Losing Sleep : Marvellous.

Best Comeback For An English Band Popular In The 80s:
Winner:
Duran Duran: All you Need Is Now : The most Duran Duran sounding album since Rio, probably.
Runners-up:
Human Leage: Credo
The Primitives: Never Kill A Secret EP
Blancmange: Blanc Burn

Best cover of one of my favourite old vinyl singles:
Beverley Knight: Fairplay : Lesser known Soul II Soul debut single done well.

Best modern remix of an old track:
Depeche Mode: Puppets (Royksopp Remix) : I wasn’t all that familiar with the original so this sounded like an excellent new track.

Best modern remix that purposefuly sounds like an old one:
Kylie Minogue: Put your Hands Up (Pete Hammmond Remix) : Sounds about putting hands up in a retro remix style proved popular.
Bright Light Bright Light: Italo Disco Moment
Nerina Pallot: Put Your Hands Up Like It’s 1987

Best Use of the Funky Drummer beat:
A tie between Katy B: Broken Record and Jamie Woon: Spirits : The one where I listen to what the young people and critics like.

Best Deluxes Reissues:
Winner:
All of the Suede albums : Even if the packaging of these fat products weren’t quite strong enough to prevent spine damage. Second only to those Saint Etienne ones from last year.
Runners-up:
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome To The Pleasuredome
Mica Paris: So Good

Best New Song That Arrived Out Of Nowhere:
Winner:
Hologram Heart Parade: Dirty Heart : Massive earworm song that got played a lot on my Czech holiday.

Runners-up:
Foster The People: Call It What You Want
Kimbra: Cameo Lover

Best debut Double A Side ‘single’:
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans / Video Games : Was this even a real old fashioned single? Is that concept even relevant anymore?

Best Artist I Always Thought Was OK But I Finally Got Into:
Winner: k d lang : It’s always good to go mad for a bunch of second hand albums by an artist you should have tried before.
Runners-up: Japan, David Sylvian

Best person from a terible TV talent show who made a good album:
Will Young: Echoes : I’m partial to bits of his other releases too but this one actually got purchased in our house.
Rebecca Ferguson: Heaven

Best new song from a Best Of compilation:
Winner: Scritti Politti: A Day Late And A Dollar Short (from Absolute) : Please can we have a new album now?

Runner up: Claudia Brucken: Thank You (from Combined)

Best new Various Artists compilation:
Zang Tuum Tumb: The Art of the 12″ : Excellent double disc ZTT retrospective in 12″s form, with a sequel due in Spring 2012.

 

That Year In Review (part three)

Friday, January 1st, 2010


September
I spent too much time upsetting racist readers of the Daily Mail but it’s always fun, and this adventure ended in one of my comments getting removed for being ‘offensive’.

Sep 09 Rutland
A trip to Rutland Water was rather pleasant in an English countryside kind of way.

October
Social event of the year? Lovely Big Gay Family Wedding of course! Yes, another one (nature? Nurture? Hmmm…)

Oct 09 Gateley
Handily, Jan Moir decided this kind of thing was fatal after a man from an average boy band died of being gay, sane people got angry and then the Mail lost all sense of irony when it accused all the complainers of being part of an orchestrated complain campaign.

Here’s my BNP dig that got me into trouble:
Oct 09 BNP complaint

David McAlmont and Michael Nyman made the record of the year.

November
The Tea Advisory Panel and The Daily Express joined forces to make a truly dreadful piece of ‘journalism.’

Nov 09 crumble
Cheryl came round and made a delicious apple crumble.

Weird meet of the year happened when I bumped into Arthur Mathews (co-creator of Father Ted) at The Drill Hall when he thought I was the producer. Great evening of potential sketches performed to see if they were good enough for the telly next year and most of them were.

December
Dec 09 Books Etc
Books Etc ended and took Borders UK with it, which was horribly sad. Then we had a party.

Then I wrote a lorra lorra list blogs and then it was Christmas.

That Year In Review (Part Two)

Friday, January 1st, 2010


May
Transmission Impossible made weekend television fun and Rock Profile returned, which was alright.

Tori Amos returned and had used more botox than both Minogues put together. How unnecessary.

Amy Pond was revealed!

June
Someone clever made some nice alternative Doctor Who titles.

Those Mitchell & Webb Sound guest list recording / pub trips were the comedy night out highlights of the year.

We went to Hampton Court Palace, Penzance and The Scilly Isles (including a helicopter trip) and then I got a sun allergy-induced mutant big face reaction thing and hid from the world.

June 09 Manhunter
Manhunter got un-axed again when Kate went to Gotham.

July
Bow ties were now “in” after Doctor Version 11.0 was seen wearing one.

Jan Hankl’s Flank Pat System proved popular in the world inside my head

August
Trips out included Leicester (good place and people), BBC Studio Tours (a bit crap), new pub quiz pub (yummy food) and a posh hotel in the midlands for the IT Summer Do (crap ABBA tribute band and mad drunk faghag).

That Year In Review (part one)

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


Bloody hell, it’s the end of another decade. This time ten years ago the world was going mad for millennium and the more non-calm elements were almost touching cloth over That Bug which never happened in the end. I was in a doomed relationship (I was a replacement for someone else who later returned but it got me back on the horse. No I was not dating a horse) and my friend Jamie was going out with a vegan who he realised was also doomed. Millennium night in London was a huge disappointment due to the ‘spectacular’ aspect being most unspectacular, the doomed man not wanting to kiss me at the stoke of midnight (in public! What would people think?), London being a transport nightmare and the weirdness of running into an old genuinely not-all-there nemesis in the street. Such fun! My friend Jamie rebounded onto a new man that night who didn’t last all that long and I eneded up living with him as pretend man and wife by the end of 2000. Funny how it all turned out.

Anyway, here’s my review of the year with links to old blogs. No rubbish celebrities talking guff to camera allowed.

January
Matt Smith was announced as the 11th Doctor and then silly creatures started moaning about how we was unknown (really?) and too young (yawn). He was in fact a bloody good actor.

The Daily Express announced the death of bins.
Jan 09 bin
Yeah, that happened.

Jan 09 puppets
We went to Prague where it was cold, lovely and full of puppets.

February
Feb 09 blackface
Alan Carr became even more ‘hilarious’ when he blacked up as Barack Obama, who had an inexplicably shrill gay voice.

Feb 09 coffee
Coffee confused me in the World’s Greatest Newspaper.

I joined that Twitter.

Feb 09 FB cancer
Facebook was revealed to be cancer-inducing by the Mail.

March
The pub quiz had a rat themed round which included a question about Dangermouse. We quit soon after.

Michael Jackson announced a shedload of concerts and only two people were not cynical about it ever happening. Oops.

I explained Twitter to some posh women, which became a regular occurence this year.

Battlestar Galactica ended and it was all rather (to quote Doctor 9.0) fantastic.

March 09 Cyber
I spent too much money on Cybermen and had my credit card details stolen in the process. How modern!

April
I bought a Wii Fit and was surprised to find out that I was 5 months pregnant.

April Jews
Facebook thought I might like some Jewish folk.

Next time: More months of mirth and merriment…

Music 2009 Mixtape Giveaway

Saturday, December 19th, 2009


As a special Christmas treat I made a compilation of 20 songs from my top 20 musical acts of the year and it is free to download at this oh-so-handy link.

Ho ho ho!

2009 Top 30 : The final five!

Saturday, December 19th, 2009


Not some humans who are secretly super sophisticated mechanical types with the potential to be a tad dangerous but my top 5 musical things of the year…

1-5

5
Rose Elinor Dougall: Start/Stop/Synchro (download, vinyl and CD single)

The artist formerly known as Rosay from The Pipettes made some beautiful music this year.

Because: She has the real x factor, not like those showtunes karaoke puppets owned by the man with the scary hypnotic white teeth. Also: brilliant energetic sad songs are always a hit with me.
Video is here.

4
Patrick Wolf: The Bachelor (album)

The artist formerly known as Patrick Apps released his self-financed fourth album and it quickly became my favourite long player of the year… for most of the year until something even better came along.

Because: It’s an almost perfect album (the noisy song usually gets skipped here) with mad moments, beautiful moments and an occasional narration from Tilda Swinton.
Damaris video is here.

3
Del Marquis: Remember Me Young (from digital download Hothouse EP)
No video for this track so here’s the video for Character Assasination instead:

Several EPs were released digitally by the artist formerly known as Derek Gruen who is also the lead guitarist in Scissor Sisters.

Because: It reminds me of those long-forgotten 80s band like, er, you know… Here is a link to Remember Me Young on his site. I crave a proper old-fashioned CD album of all of these songs.

2
Marina and the Diamonds: I Am Not a Robot (from Crown Jewels EP)

The artist formerly known as Marina Diamandis was the female musician of the year for me and should have a glittering career (sorry for the pun) ahead of her.

Because: “… you are so magnetic, you pick up all the pins.” Bloody marvellous song and not the only great robot metaphor of this year. Stunning simple video too.
Video is here.

1
McAlmont & Nyman: The Glare (album)

Bloody hell, what a stunning piece of work! David McAlmont never disappoints and his latest project where he took real life news events and made them into first person songs over music from Michael Nyman is perfect from beginning to end. This album should have been on more ‘proper’ end of year lists.

Because:
“I couldn’t look your way. Although I heard you when you said my name.”

“Then I burned everything that I had on. And I drove beyond there to another spot. And I threw the cheap handgun into a lake.”

“So millions think I’m ugly now. But it’s the same old story. Until I sing the song and I sense you close.”

The stories behind the songs can be found on their official blog (highly recommended as it makes the work even more poignant). Sad but not depressing, just beautiful and marvellous.
Secrets, Accusations and Charges video (of audio and a still image) is here. You really should buy this album.

2009 Top 30 : The beginning of the Ten…

Friday, December 18th, 2009


If I was bothered I would start blogging in a Tommy Vance voice at this stage…
6-10

10
Royksopp & Robyn: The Girl and the Robot (conventional single)
Robyn Carlsson, Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge did a super team-up.

Because: They made a cracking song not literally about being in love with a robot (metaphors and all that) which just worked. The album was not bad too.
Video is here, and non-embeddable. Damnit!

9
Pet Shop Boys & Phil Oakey: This Used To Be the Future

Synthpop icons overload on this track from the bonus disc of Pet Shop Boys’ Yes album, which is highly recommended.

Because: I do love a happy/sad song that works on several levels, especially as I remember that specific future rather well and it’s a bit disappointing what we ended up with.
Music with pictures is here.

8
Fibes Oh Fibes! : 1987 (Swedish import album)

Oh them Swedes!

Because: Scandinavia gets another point as Fibes third album arrived via ordering a CD off the internet and proved to be even better than its predecessors. Bonus point for a Kim Wilde duet. Fans of joyous pop moments should buy it if it ever gets released over here.
Lovechild video is here.

7
Saint Etienne: Method of Modern Love (single on limited edition numbered vinyl, CD and download)

A quiet year for new material by my official favourite band but this new track appeared to plug their latest Best Of (with a gorgeous special edition) and they also re-released a whole load of old albums jam packed with bonus ‘lost’ songs.

Because: It’s magnificent of course.
Videoish thing is here.

6
Wild Beasts: Hooting and Howling (single from album Two Dancers)

A bit of indie for you.

Because: In a year filled with bland or generic indie rock Wils Beasts stood out with their two contrasting vocalists and experimental song structures. Album also very good indeed.
Video is here.

2009 Top 30 : Unsurprisingly…

Thursday, December 17th, 2009


Day 4 with numbers 15 to 11…
11-15
15
Troy This & Robyn: American Dream (free download)
No video or music on YouTube but his MySpace site has some great tunes!

Because: New eclectic electric male stars who don’t conform to the usual types is a good thing and Troy Bonnes (who has been making music in London this year and was nice to me on Facebook) should be massive. Also: guest appearance from Robyn is always a bonus.

14
Music Go Music: Light of Love (American import album)

Retro multi-influenced American band with a nice line in home-made videos. Album should be released in the UK in 2010 but I couldn’t wait and bought the import.

Because: It’s like all the old songs from your childhood but in a shiny new box.
Video is here.

13
Miles Fisher: This Must Be the Place

Actor, singer, strange impressionist Miles Fisher appeared on the internet with a marvellous EP including this Talking Heads cover and some home-written tracks that are also pretty damn good.

Because: Interesting idea which is enhanced by the video, from a greeat free internet EP.
Video is here.

12
Fitz & the Tantrums: Songs for a Break Up, Vol. 1 (EP)

LA-based, a bit similar to Music Go Music, with their CD EP lent to me by my husband. Oh good!

Because: It’s a bit different to most things and there’s even a nice remix of the lead track floating around online.
Video is here.

11
Beverley Knight: Turned To Stone (from album 100%)
Another album from the UK soul lady, with some smashing tracks.

Because: Turned To Stone is one of those rare (these days) just rather good moden R&B tracks. No bloody autotune here! In Your Shoes was also great but the single release had the rapper Chipmunk (pass) doing rap things all over it and it was ruined.