10. TV on the Radio – Dear Science
If the fist half was as good as the second half it would have been in the top five. I think a lot of people would agree with that. The initial listens were tremendous but it lost something quite quickly. Still, DLZ and love dog are two of the songs of the year, and the overall sound is great.. Still a top band.
9.M83 – Satudays = Youth
Hotly anticipated, and to a certain extent i think again put down a bit too easily. Quite different to his previous albums, a lot thicker in emotion and feeling – something i think a lot of people didn’t like – exemplified by the fact that they all thought Couleurs was the best track. There are couple of amazing tracks, i love 'Graveyard Girl' and 'You, Appearing.' Was gutted i couldn’t see him and the band live quite recently . Stupid band practices!
8.Gregory and the hawk - Moenie And Kitchi
A really nice easy listening album. Reminds me quite a bit of Laura Veirs. The guy from Mice Parade produces this band and does a fine job. One of the top albums for listening whilst sat at my desk. Not necessarily the most interesting album, but I think that’s sometime just what the doctor orders.
7. Youthmovies – Good Nature
A like this band a lot. Kind of rocky post-rocky but not. A very English record, quite typical of a lot of what rock bands are dong to mix it up these days i think, much more varied dynamically, instrumentally (good horn action in this case) and timbre wise. Really cool album.
6.Atlas Sound – Let the blind lead those who see but cannot feel
This is such a nice album, some real beauties on it ‘Cold as Ice’ the main standout. I cant really compare it with anything much. Really nicely produced, very glacial and warm in parts. Lots of lovely reverberousness too. He is better as Atlas Sound than he is Deerhunter in my opinion.
5.Foals – Antidotes
Well not much to say here – you know how cool this album is after all - just great upbeat tunes,. Very unfairly maligned too (the backlash on drowned in sound was at times ridiculous) i think a lot of people are jealous of what this band have achieved in such a short space of time. And one of the best live bands out there without doubt. Tight, interesting, and great energy.
4.Vessels – White Fields and Open Devices
The best post-rock record of the year. Really interesting ideas and at times brilliantly executed. Has everything post rock stands for in abundance. A brilliant live performance at Bestival and at the Cats Alldayer in London recently only accentuated my liking for this band.
3.Bon Ivor – For Emma, Forever Ago
When i first got this i was fairly indifferent, it’s only been in the last few weeks that i have really fallen in love with it.. Dreamy tunes and i love how the vocals sound - double tracked all the way through, so engaging, much like the Acorn. I get drawn into the songs effortlessly.
2.The Acorn – Glory Hope Mountain
A beautifully produced record that has grown and grown on me the more i listen to it. Such an honest record. Love the vocals and the hints of a Central American theme on which the record is based. Apart from number one in this list, this is the best example of an album that as a whole is far greater in quality than the sum of its parts.
1.Minilogue – Animals
Every bloody time i put this on i think fuck me, i don’t honestly think ill ever hear a dance record as good as this ever again - If i do ill be stunned. It's had the same effect as Booka Shade – Memento did a couple of years back, but times that by tenfold. Everything they touch turns to gold as far as im concerned. The album (both halves) are works of sheer brilliance, beautifully mixed, beautifully produced. Incredible. A clear, clear album of the year. I think i would have been confident saying that six months ago too. They are a class apart.
Honourable mentions go to: (these were in around the action and it was a shame to leave each of them out really but I must be cutthroat about it eh.)
MGMT – oracular spectacular
Really enjoy this one, i love their style and their look, and although apparently they are gash live, i love the feel of the record as a whole. Love 'Pieces of What' and ‘Of Moons Birds and Monsters’ - which is a track of the year contender
Deerhoof – Offend Maggie
A very interesting album indeed. At times a bit grating and quite mercurial on the whole but some really good tracks in there. Much more accessible than their previous album (Friend Opportunity) which was just too ‘out there’. ‘Jagged fruit’ on this album is mind blowingly good, in the top three tracks of the year without a doubt.
Beach House – Devotion
As with many good things (see also Youthmovies), my friend Botfield was the source for this one. These two guys (girl and guy i think) have come up with some really nice unusual melodies and tracks. Cant really compare it with anything. Not all amazing but very pleasant and easy listeinng on the whole. I love Holy Dances and Turtle Island in particular. I think if i had discovered this a bit earlier on in the year it would be in the top ten with no trouble.
Also i should give a mention to British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?.. It was released this year and i like that album a lot but i totally forgot about it as it leaked months before that at the end of last year. Probably just would have made the top ten.
Two big let downs.. booooo!
Sigur Ross – Med Sur eyeyey whatever its called.
Just not what i was hoping at all. Very relaxed, folky (not that i don’t like folky) and too laid back on the whole. Lacks the kind of passion and beauty that the previous albums are full of. Some nice stuff, don’t get me wrong, but just not what it could have been.
Mogwai – The hawk is howling
As you know (or dont), one of the most important bands in my musical life. But im afraid they have said all they can say. ‘I’m Jim Morrison i’m dead’ is comfortably my favourite and it's a corker actually. Scotland’s Shame’ is good too. But every time i try to listen to it i lose interest fairly quickly. Its a tough formula to keep pushing, and i think they have hit a fairly well mortared brick wall for the most part. The high point of this band was, probably, the best gig of my life at the Albert Hall. That will never be topped. I guess this wasn’t a huge let down as i can’t say i was expecting another brilliant album, i didn’t think they had it in them - Indeed they didn’t.
Top Five EPs
1.Maps & Atlases - You & Me & The Mountain E.P
2.Danananakroyd – Sissy Hits E.P
3.Efterklang – Under Giant Trees
4. Giraffes? Giraffes! – More Skin With Milk Mouth
5. Adebisi Shank – This is the EP of a band called Adebisi Shank
I procured a lot of really good e.ps this year (as one does). Again tough to wittle it down so i had to do five in the end. Really tough to choose the top three. Maps & Atlases are really fucking good, kind of tv on the radio esq vocals and really interesting and varied dynamics with some great ideas in the tracks.. Danananana is just raw aggression and awesome, one of my must see bands. Efterklang are easily my favourite band of the last year, discovering their albums has been life changing, and this ep has a couple of gems (‘hands playing butterfly’ is sublime) though it’s not quite as consistent as the two above it. The last two are really cool intricate math rock, Adebisi being the slightly heavier and less good of the two, both top draw mind.
Top Five Mixes.
1. Pedro @ One Nights
I've never been so blown away by a mix on a first listen i don’t think. The tunes are incredible, the basslines and the weaving of mixes is something else. The little touches here and there really make it. An incredible journey. Pedro you are sheer class. Miles ahead of R and R on the basis of this mix. The organic intricate nature of the tunes and the mixing is inspirational, Its really helped shape the development in my taste this year..
2. Audion Essential Mix
After much consideration this pips Loco Dice.. It flows better, and I think I prefer the mix as a whole, some excellent tunes in there and the transitions are so brilliantly indistinct. I also love his voice into at the start. Very apt. The first hour of this mix is the best pre-recorded hour I've heard this year, hands down.
3. Loco Dice Essential Mix
Well. We all know about this (Jack and Jim). This is more about the tunes than the mix i think, though obviously the mix as a whole is still fantastic. This has immortalised ‘Vandon’ for one, and introduced me to that mental Nina Simone remix (FYI apprantly it might be the 'Pitto Bootleg' version). Great stuff.
4. Danton Eeprom GTC
Ah yes. Right at the start of the year and what a mix, so many great tunes. The first time I heard the Grindhouse remix too, my lord. Loved it. Also had ‘Radar’ by H.O.S.H and Stimming, a great track which consequently found it's way on to my essential mix.
5. Ame Fabric Live
Best fabric cd this year i would say (though iv not heard them all) flows really really well and has a really cool feel about it. Very easy on the ears and a great groove. Love the remix of 'That's a Nice Way to Give Me Feedback'.
Honourable mention to Mathew Johnson live @ Zenzero, Italy especially for the second half which i swear is four corking tunes in about forty minutes. Also RA094 – Anders Llar, deep deep deep and beautiful. Love it.
Best label - Vakant
Tough one. Very tough. I think this label epitomises the tunes that I've been getting into more and more this year. Great releases from Mathias Kaden, Onur Ozur and Dewalta come to mind.. Really difficult to pick out one label i feel, was close between this and Vinyl Club.. Honouable mentions to Cadenza and Freude Am Tanzen Recordings, both with great releases, especially the latter which i have only recently discoverd in the last few months
Best producer(s) – Minilogue.
Has to be. Consistently awesome.. No contest. Produced at least five of my favourite tunes this year alone, all on Animals...
Ten of the best (in no order and not counting any of Animals)
Michel Cleis - La Mezcla
Prompt – Evolve
That track (tracks?) at the start of the Pedro mix
Johnny D – Soleil
Raz Ohara – Where He At (Apparat remix)
Modi – Shatese
Minilogue – Birdsong
Reboot – Vandon
SIS - Nesrib
Radioslave - Grindhouse (Dubfire Terror Planet)
Again pretty tough – Not that many obvious stand outs, so many great tunes i might as well have just picked ten out of a hat of about thirty. Obviously had to pick grindhouse, i think most people would agree that that was the biggest track of the summer – that and Trompeta.. Really a shame i never got to hear Evolve played out anywhere too (as far as i can remember). I don’t know if we will ever find out what those tracks in the Pedro mix are but man they are special.
Best Dj set
Luciano @ Fabric August bank holiday The best and most influential set iv ever heard. So many moments ill never forget (see below) Christ. Also the hour or so of Villalobos at the end of July (i think?) was something else.
Best live Gig
There wasn’t really one stand out gig to be honest. I think it will have to be either Efterklang @ Field day (above), Vessels @ Bestival or Radiohead @ Victoria Park. All immensely good, particularly the former as it was pissing it down. Radiohead were awesome, great set list and sounded pretty good, but it was just the wrong venue, too many people, too much ignorance.
Moments to savour..
Radiohead playing 'The Tourist' at Victoria Park in June, one of my favourite and most evocative Radiohead tunes, totally out of the blue. It was a special moment (or two).
Luciano in August: Doing his M83 thing, that twenty minutes at around 9am when he dropped Stokholm Marathon then played the tracks at the start of the Pedro Mix back to back. Astonishing. That feeling when we walked back into the main room after a fag - feeling the energy and the presence of the man at the desk, the vibe and the sound was unmistakable.
Radioslave in August: dropping the Grinhouse remix. The most mental experience at fabric I’ve had so far..
Broken Social Scene playing 7/4 shoreline at Shepherds Bush in May - the song I was introduced to them with - an incredible moment, and also playing It's all Gonna Break at the end. Brilliant.