Archive for the ‘Music 2011’ Category

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.

 

As if I could crash this elevator through the roof

Monday, November 14th, 2011


It’s monthlyish musical purchasing round-up time!

19th October 2011
James Vincent McMorrow: Early in the Morning (£7.99 incl P&P)

This was mentioned on Facebook by Mr Rod Bright Light Bright Light Thomas and I loved the track he posted the video for (below), played it a few times then immediately bought the whole album. It’s rather beautiful and good to do stressy admin work to.

25th October 2011
DNA: Taste This (£2.98 plus P&P)

Another of my CD Album Replacements For Binned Vinyl Singles moments. Jamie was playing one of the singles in the car and I thought I’d see how cheap the album was. It was cheap enough to buy so that is what happened. Not just that bloody Suzanne Vega remix!

5th November 2011
fDeluxe: Gaslight (£8.99 plus P&P)

This lot used to be called The Family and were a collection of Prince’s mates doing songs by Prince back when Prince had too many good ideas for one man. They got back together but can’t use their name any more (a Prince thing? I do not know) so re-named themselves with this odd lower case / upper case name. I liked the song they gave away enough to buy the CD and it’s rather pleasant.

8th November 2011
Garbage: Bleed Like Me (39p plus P&P)

I had a Garbage revivial recently and realised that I’d never bought their fourth abum due to not being all that crazy about it. Well seeing as it was so cheap second hand on Amazon it would have been foolish not to be all completist.

8th November 2011
Original 7Ven aka The Time: Condensate (£8.26 incl P&P)

The Family had to change their name into something odd and now The Time have done the same. It’s contagious. Their new album is mostly really very good indeed and I’ve played it at work when I need the musical equivalent of caffeine. Better than anything Prince has done in the last 20-ish years so well done The Time (their new name is a weird grammatical mess to my eyes).

10th November 2011
Lindy Layton: Pressure (£2.57 plus P&P)

Another old one I never owned until now. I had all the singles but then I had all the singles to everything at the time until that last house move when I had to be realistic and grown-up. Not a bad album really.

12th November 2011
Fingersnap: Smokehouse EP (Signed) (£3.99 plus P&P)

A firm favourite already due to the Soundcloud on their site. This is the first release under this name for David McAlmont and Guy Davies who I may have blogged about before (heh) and it’s got four very good songs on it.

Get off your throne… it’s not that f***ing difficult

Monday, October 17th, 2011


It’s the quiet season for music purchases:
29th September 2011
Lovers Electric: Impossible Dreams (£8.35 incl P&P)

This is one of those handy random downloads from a certain leak site whose picture tempted me and I ended up loving. Lovers Electric are another great Aussie act and are one of those ‘old fashioned’ duos who do male/female pop songs like people did in the old days. This is the new album which I had to buy on import because I really wanted it.

Lovers Electric: Whatever You Want (£14.30 plus P&P)

Their debut album fron 2008 includes one of the songs from their new album and a load of other ‘new’ old ones. The music speaks for itself really:

7th October 2011
Martine Girault: Revival (£6.11 plus P&P)

Another one of those albums that I oddly never got round to owning despite having the title track in  several single formats. Classic post-acid jazz (soul but more than  soul) written and produced by the man from Opaz aka Ray Hayden and it’s rather lovely. Well apart from Revival: Bad Boy Remix which is really horrible and unnecessary. Listening to this album reminded me that Guru once ‘borrowed’ a bit of the title track for one of his Jazzmatazz songs but I’m  not going there now.

16th October 2011: Holestar: Queen of F***ing Everything EP (download):
The Queen of F***ing Everything by phileastend

Everyone’s favourite “Tranny with a Fanny” (best press pack line ever) is back with three new songs in a download EP and it’s three hits to these ears. Queen of F***ing Everything is the most attitudey one with its really very fair telling-off for a certain type of person, The Insider is one of those more thoughtful electropop tracks that are popular these days (as they should be) with a touch of the scary and Another Heartbeat is slightly calmer but just as lovely. It’s released in a week’s time on those popular downloady places where you can buy sounds.

 

Holestar images by Lee Roberts, squished together by me

 

Head To The Sky

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011


I foolishly decided to blog every record/CD/whatever I buy this year so here are some more with lovely videos.

9th August 2011
Sounds of Blackness: The Collection (£3.93 incl P&P)
After digging out some of the old singles I realised I own none of the albums on CD so this compilation was the best idea. They are now following me on Twitter, which is nice.

17th August 2011
Various Artists: Hard To Find (£8.93 incl P&P)
This 2 disc compilation of late 80s/early 90s dance remixes seems psychic for my musical requirements! They have made a very nice video trailer showing what’s on it:

Bernfort: Solidarity Breaks (£14.08 incl P&P)
New to me, via husband Jamie: this talented Norwegian man has worked with Fred Ball (Pleasure, Brett Anderson) on this rather great album.

18th August
Shaznay Lewis: Open (1p plus P&P)
I never did buy this rather underrated album at the time of its release and as it was 1p (plus a bit of postage and packing) on Amazon it seemed silly not to.


19th August
Luxembourg: Sick of DIY (single) (£1.98 plus P&P)
Saw this on Amazon so had to buy it even though I have all the tracks. Never underestimate the geeky collector gene. No video, bah! But I would highly recommend the free dowload tracks at their lastfm home here.

22nd August
Luscious Jackson: Fever In, Fever Out (1p plus P&P)
Another one of those gaps oin my collection that I looked up after someone mentioned one of the singles from it. Not as good as their other albums but still not bad.

Because it’s all about expression

Thursday, July 28th, 2011


It’s been a bit hectic but I still have time to visit the virtual record shop (and in one instance a real physical shop that smelt a bit funny) for musical purchases:

Craig Armstrong: As If To Nothing (98p plus P&P)
This is one of those albums that I thought I owned but it turned out that I didn’t. It’s rather great despite featuring That Bono on one track as it has a lovely David McAlmont collaboration called Snow alongside blasts from the past like Wendy Stubbs who worked with Alpha (I’m getting obscure) and Steven Lindsay (whatever happened to him?). Cinematic orchestral marvellousness throughout and I recommend its predecessor The Space Between Us which has the Liz Fraser and Paul Buchanan songs on it.

20th July 2011
Sheila & B.Devotion: Spacer 7″ vinyl single (49p in charity shop)
A disco classic for less than 50p? Why not? Shame the b-side plays all wobbly which baffled me as it moves round at the correct speed.

Kate Bush: The Whole Story gatefold vinyl abum (99p in charity shop)
Bargain! The inner sleve is actually for her The Dreaming album but this big old gatefold sleeved thing is rather special.

21st July 2011
Grace Jones: Slave to the Rhythm album (£3.93 plus P&P)
Another album I never actually owned on CD, finally purchased after digging out the single. A whole lot of Slave To The Rhythms but not the b-side one with the weird Trevor Horn conversation. Great ZTT album full of the Horn & co stylings you’d expect.

27th July 2011
Paul Rutherford: Oh World 2 CD deluxe Edition (£9.45 plus P&P)
This again! After giving up on the 2 disc reissue due to multiple delays on Amazon and then a mesasage that they could not supply it I decided to just get the original version from back into time… and then this appears on my radar again. My pile of replaced single disc albums keeps on growing this year.

27th July 2011
Beverley Knight: Soul UK CD & Live DVD (£8.74 incl P&P)
New yet old, like most things on this blog: Beverley Knight’s latest is a covers album of UK Soul songs (hence the title) including quite a few greats (Soul II Soul’s Fairplay, Lewis Taylor’s Damn, Princess’s Say I’m Your Number One and more) and it comes with a live DVD. How could I refuse? Bev’s albums usually contain a few excellent tracks and this one is no exception.

Happy People / Get Real

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011


Instead of woe about mixing the Ventolin and the Clarityn to make my very own My Drugs Hell, hurting my ankle in my sleep, riveting tales of how my office is full of popular brand plug in air fresheners which hide the normal stinky smell of the place but I swear are making me high (I wonder if that was what Toni Braxton was singing about) or the tale of how my ‘All Stations’ tube train miraculously transformed into a fast one this morning after I got on so I had a ‘bonus’ trip into Finchley Road and back to Stanmore I give you more records what I have done bought with my pennies:

 

29th June 2011:
Paul Rutherford: Oh World (£2.25 plus P&P)

This is one of those very underated albums from yesteryear (1989 or 1990 off the top of my head) which on paper should be awful but it is clearly not. The backing singer from Frankie made a solo album full of lovely house and a bit of soul with some occasional acid house noises and it was supposed to have been reissued in a delue format by now. It has not.  I boughtthe original version to make up for this disappointment as I’ve had it on mp3 for ages but really wanted to buy it. Bargain!

Get Real (Happy House Mix) video:

Oh World TV performance:

Interview with Paula Yates:

4th July 2011:
Jimmy Scott: Someone To Watch Over Me – The Definitive Jimmy Scott (£10.16)
Jimmy Scott is one of those rare musical things that are hard to explain but I’ll try. I first saw him when he turned up in Twin Peaks and sang a song about trees (yes, honestly) and one of his songs cropped up on an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street that we watched the other week. That particular show is one of my favourite TV things of all time and you really would like it if you saw it. Anyway, he’s a male jazz singer with a hormonal condition so he sounds like a woman but from another planet. Will that do? Music:


Marvellous!

Outrun my gun / Secretly died

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011


Suede: A New Morning Deluxe +DVD (£9.93 incl P&P)
The final Suede album and the most awkward. I can see what they were trying to do here after all the dramas of the previous one and I can see why they would want to make a different kind of sound but it just doesn’t work as well as it should. A lot of the songs are just not strong enough and even a more Suedey production would not change that. Still, it’s an interesting one and the re-issue package is as lovely as ever.


Foster The People: Torches (£6.99 incl P&P)
The name Paul Epworth pops up in this albums credits (Cee Lo Green, Plan B, etc) and so does Greg Kurstin (The Bird and the Bee, Sia) but it stands on its own as a pretty fantastic Summer pop disc. The music can speak for itself on this one:

Steve Nicks: In Your Dreams (£8.93 incl P&P)
My first Stevie Nicks purchase ever! This album kept on getting played when it leaked quite a whilke ago and there are some excellent tracks on here. It’s the most Steve Nicks-sounding project I’ve ever heard if that makes sense (meaning she focuses on her strangths) with a nice photo of Stevie with an owl on the disc. Lovely horse on the cover too.

Love this house / Stupid as a mouse

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011


What with going on holiday and a lot of albums coming out I have got a bit behind on obsessively cataloguing all my purchases so here’s a bumper batch:

15th June 2011:

Suede: Coming Up Deluxe +DVD (£9.93 incl P&P)
Suede Version 2.0′s first album was rather marvellous and it was the one that turned me into a big fan, along with the now unnecessary b-sides album Sci-Fi Lullabies (due to all these explanded editions). The extras on this are fantastic and I can’t recommmend it enough so here are some videos to recommend it instead:

Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Make A Scene (£8.93 incl P&P)
aka That Album We Never Thought Was Coming Out. I like it, obviously, and it’s a big of a greatest hits EP plus some new (to me) tracks. Pretty successful as an album to my ears.

20th June 2011
Gomez: Whatever’s On Your Mind (£7.69 incl P&P)
Good old reliable Gomez (in a positive way) have made another album and it’s a good Gomez album. That’s a result.

Patrick Wolf: Lupercalia/ Lemuralia (£14.99 + £3 P&P)
Probably my album of 2011. I love this and have been playing it to death but have not yet killed it completely. This is Mr Wolf’s romantic album and one with many songs that would work well for the gay wedding market. Marvellous songs, lots of interesting noises and it sounds great.

21st June 2011
The Feeling: Together We Were Made (2 disc version) (£12.55 incl P&P)
I wasn’t fussed about the single to be honest and bought it without hearing (wot no leak?) but it’s pretty solid. For some reason they also made a two disc version with more songs and only a few of those ones are b-sidey so it’s a thumbs up from me.

Suede: Head Music Deluxe +DVD (£9.93 incl P&P)
Hmmm… not the best Suede album but it has some nice moments on it. The b-sides are mostly pretty ropey this time. Boo hiss boo! Here are some ‘interesting’ video clips:


… and I’ll stay at home in my house.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011


More of the same today: I’ve been buying a lot of albums and want to share…

9th June 2011

Suede: Dog Man Star Deluxe +DVD (1994/2011) (£9.93 incl P&P)
The super-duper deluxe edition of Dog Man Star is rather special… if you’ve got the original it’s well worth buying this one and if you never had it the first time round then you really should. Full of remastered album songs (obviously), b-sides, oddities and some lovely films from the Dog Man Star tour like the ones below. Also: Bernard and Brett having an interview recently. Great value.

The 2 of Us:

Still Life:

David Sylvian: Brilliant Trees (1984) (£3.99 incl P&P)
Affter my Japan week (the 80s band, not the country) I had a David Sylvian fortnight. These three albums are what I call his best as they have less of the meandering atmospherics, nice as those are, and more of the songs. Bonus pop facts moments every time his wife Ingrid Chavez appears as she was a Paisley Park act in the old days and was in that Prince film we don’t mention.

Red Guitar:

Pulling Punches:

David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive (1987) (£3.99 incl P&P)
Orpheus:

David Sylvian: Dead Bees on a Cake (1999) (£3.99 incl P&P)
I Surrender:

13th June 2011
Nerina Pallot: Year Of The Wolf (£7.63 incl P&P)
Love this album, easily her best yet. She even replied to me on Twitter when I said so, which was nice (not that I am one of those types who contantly message famouses on there). This one is produced by Bernard Butler who sometimes goes into full-on McAlmont & Butler mode (with David on backing vocals) if you need another reason to look into it.

Next time: Probably some holiday photos in the future which has not happened yet and a load more albums.

Insatiable / Inflatable

Thursday, June 9th, 2011


While I wait impatiently for the second of the Suede deluxe re-releases to come in the crappy post…

2nd June 2011:
Alison Limerick: Still I Rise (97p not incl P&P)
Due to watching way too many uploaded old episodes of The ITV Chart show before the lovely Bit Torrent site in question decided to incorrectly tell us we were banned for sharing torrents on other sites (grrr) I realised I’d never owned Alison Limerick’s first album…. so I bought it. It’s not bad.

Alison Limerick: Club Classics (£3.23 not incl P&P)
Lots of lovely remixes to go with the regular album!

Suede: Suede Deluxe +DVD (£9.93 incl P&P)
Now remastered so it doesn’t sound like a tape from the Dolby D era! Don’t tell anyone but this is one of my least favourite Suede albums (oops) but the b-sides include some gems. Maybe because my first Suede purchase was their b-sides package. Anyway, this reissue is faultless with 3 discs (one of which is a DVD) in a foldy-outy chunky digipak thing. If you like That Suede you’ll love this and they’re doing an album a week.

Japan: The Very Best of Japan (£4.47 incl P&P)
We’ve been enjoying old 80s Top of the Pops (bah torrent site problem again) and I re-discovered Japan. This is lovely and very much one of the key Eighties Funny Voice bands.


Next week: Some David Sylvian solo albums! Another Suede jazzed-up thing! More sulking about not having that torrent site anymore!