• Albums Of The Year 2014

    31. Dez. 2014, 1:11

    This year, I had to cull this top forty from 108 albums I bought. Can you imagine how fucking painful that was? I had to leave out a lot of music that found a place in my heart. So, anything, everything you see below is worthy of owning, doesn't matter if it's number 40 or number 1. The bandnames link through to Last.fm so please do give them a listen if you have time, they are all immensely talented artists.

    2014, it's been a fucking riot! OH MY EARS!

    40. Hauschka - Abandoned City
    Wherein abandoned cities are each given varying prepared piano homages. Some work better than others (Pripyat is the most moving for me) but they're all perfect in their own, tiny ways.

    39. Homeboy Sandman - Hallways
    Delightfully meandering and IDGAF hip hop from HS. A crucial antagonist.

    38. D. Tiffany - S/T
    The almighty net has given me fuck-all background about D. Tiffany apart from this techno opus came out on cassette. It certainly sounds like this was dubbed from one. But that just adds to the charm.

    37. La Dispute - Rooms Of The House
    Call them tradcore, call them neoscreamo or whatevercore, this is a damn fine album of shouty angst. Very hooky!

    36. Clark - Clark
    All you really need to know is that is some fucking beautiful electronic noise going on here. If that has ever meant anything to you, get this record. Is this a Clark pop record??

    35. Termanology - Mas Goya
    Beautiful, jazzy breaks that hark back to prime Tribe seems to be a thing this year. But Mas Goya couples that with actual lyrics. You know, like Tribe had.

    34. Tycho - Awake
    One of my top emowalking albums of this year. Insanely addictive flowing, thrumming electronic landscapes.

    33. Leon Vynehall - Music For The Uninvited
    A far more 'hands in the air' proposition than Tycho but behind the beats is a sense of whimsy and nostalgia that echoes the best of Music Has The Right To Children.

    32. The Tops - Picture You Staring
    When I first heard Tops' Blind Faze, I thought I was hearing a previously un-released Fleetwood Mac demo, circa Lies. Yes, it's that poppy.

    31. Integral - Sercosa
    This album is too disconcerting to be classed as ambient, to troubling to be new age. Yes, there are washes and pleasing melodic elements but behind these are always tiny creatures stridulating and waiting to claw your flesh.

    30. Eternal Summers - The Drop Beneath
    Just a huge slab of '80s-influenced indie, the most poppy track being Gouge which has a definite touch of the Bob Smith about it.

    29. Thee Oh Sees - Drop
    Well, they never put a fucking foot wrong, do they? Another mad, psyched-up, stupid, lovely record.

    28. Dag Savage - E&J
    Exile on the beats, Johaz on the mic and also on some horribly intense lyrics. This isn't party hip hop but listen on a train journey and your world will be different after.

    27. Let's Wrestle - Let's Wrestle
    Pull Through For You is perfect Let's Wrestle ~ wry, sarcastic, doomed, misanthropic indiepop. Lovely.

    26. CYNE - All My Angles Are Right
    I've loved CYNE for a while now and this was ten dollars well-spent on Bandcamp. It's that knife-edge balance between beats and rhyme that they always, always get right. The lyrics... man. Oh and CYNE, angles... geddit?

    25. Cymbals - The Age Of Fracture
    A joyful, innocent indie record that kind of reminds me of very early XTC in its geeky jumpiness.

    24. Broken Bells - After The Disco
    I really am unsure why Mercer and DM aren't hogging the radio with their pop tunes. This is just a supremely catchy album. At least use it for beds, lazy TV people! C'MON!

    23. Fatima - Yellow Memories
    A beautiful soul record. Intimate and also universal with a few wiggy fusiony excursions. Mmm...

    22. Objekt - Flatland
    Minimal, shimmering, dreamy with the occasional muttering glitches or vast creatures sloshing around in the background. Quite, quite yummy!

    21. People Under The Stairs - 12 Step Program
    This is unassailable, unmissable. Like they always deliver. Another band that should be a household name and not in the lesser-known bin.

    20. Deerhoof - La Isla Bonita
    Deerhoof were weirdly absent from my 2013 list because they didn't record an album. Yes, they are that consistent. They're consistently mental. THANKS, 'HOOF!

    19. Copeland - Because I'm Worth It
    An assured, powerful album that melds deliberately unsettling drones and ticks with catchier riffs and lyrics. Not hugely poppy but hugely moreish, weirdly. The city is yours...

    18. Alvvays - Alvvays
    AlWays? AlVays? ELVIS? This is the best Elvis album since Feral Pop Frenzy. Just lovely, summery, swirly indiepop. These are going to be all over quirky, indie romcoms, aren't they?

    17. Kishi Bashi - Lighght
    This is one my mate Lozzer put my way and so it sounds like a thousand happy mice Rockettes putting on a loose musical based on old Bonzo Dog b-sides. In other words, AWESOME!

    16. Withered Hand - New Gods
    "Some of you guys should get with my god, he hates about everything" was my gateway lyric to this album. If the idea of crossing Springsteen anthems with Kinks-ian vignettes appeals to you, this is your album, mate.

    15. Black Milk - If There’s A Hell Below
    The interplay between BM's beats and his frenetic, almost machined delivery is at a height here. And all the guest spots work too. Fucking hell.

    14. The Hidden Cameras - Age
    Whether it's the cruel opera of Gay Goth Scene or the Gahan dancefloor drawl of Carpe Jugular, Joel and co. manage to surprise and destabilise and be poppy. This is a perfect electropop album. Somewhere, Martin Gore is weeping.

    13. Manchester Orchestra - Cope
    I've listened the shit out of this album, it's so fucking addictive. With a fairly straight, guitar-band production, I should maybe get bored of it. But the riffs! And the lyrics! And Andy Hull's voice! Shows how much you can do with rock, if you're clever enough.

    12. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Wig Out At Ragbags
    Speaking of clever.. Hello, Malkmus! Look, you either love Pavement/Malkmus or you don't. This album doesn't push sonic cathedrelic boundaries but it does present some of his finest songs that make you cry when you recognise he's talking about you. Yeah, you, in your Sonics shirt. You.

    11. Main Flow - The Cincinnati Kid
    Usually, I approach albums that are 71 minutes long with trepidation. Usually, they're an exercise in never mind the quality feel the width, like a terrible buffet that costs a tenner. But with Main Flow (and assorted guests), that isn't the case. Tracks like Boomtown just kick your door down and give you a mad, shiteating grin. How can you not like them?

    10. Trap Them - Blissfucker
    Look, they were always mental as fuck but adding Brad Fickeisen (ex-Red Chord, another of my faves) just seems to work a strange magic on Blissfucker. Whether it's the full-blast freak outs or breakdowns, Trap Them have this majestic, arrogant edge. They swagger, they saunter, they don't give a fuck about you. Raw and ragged, this is a perfect heavy record.

    9. Akrobatik - Built To Last
    It's hard to believe I first heard AK in The Perceptionists, waaay back in '05. He was a master then and it's not like he's been getting any worse. On Built, he switches and swerves, weaving the kind of magic lesser rappers will never cast. And he makes it all seem effortless. Which is some trick when you're rapping next to Masta Ace. Add to that a soundscape that eschews hip hop cliche, that actually tries to do something fresh, something more than quotidian beats and you have a supreme album.
    Every track has a hook, every track has a killer lyric.

    8. Noisia - Purpose
    I never listen to this when I'm driving because the stuttering beats and howling, grumbling synths would make me instantly ram any cars around me before climbing on the roofs and masturbating onto their fractured windscreens. So, I warned you.

    7. Planningtorock - All Love's Legal
    I got this earlier in the year, liked it but didn't love it. Then, I found myself going back to it. It wasn't the politics although they're obviously relevant to my interests. It's the way Jam Rostron makes stupid, funky disco music and slips the tricky stuff in around the corners. The sheer subversive gall makes me smile. It's the classic sugar-coated pill. These are pop songs that misogynists will dance to and, thus, find themselves singing along to lyrics calling for the dismantling of patriarchy. How beautiful is that?

    6. Jack Jetson - Adventures Of Johnny Strange
    Before I even knew anything about him, I thought, hold on, this accent sounds a bit familiar, innit? And it turns out Jack Jetson is a Notts lad emigrated to Brum. Whatever ~ I'm not a petty regionalist and his locality doesn't usurp his mentality which is to deliver my fave hip hop album of 2014.

    Of course, I'm a sucker for Leaf Dog's production, too. There's just this weird juxtaposition where LD takes something so soulful, so intrinsically American like the riff behind Blue Moon and converts it into this Midlands vibe. That sounds really wanky but it's true: this is definitely and defiantly a British rap record and for that, we can all bow down. Because if hip hop is about anything, it's about truth. Whether it's grimy shit or paeans to the actual art of the rhyme, Jetson has it bashing out, his confidence perfectly matched by his ability. And when him and BVA get fucking going... maaaaate....

    5. Kiasmos - Kiasmos
    This album is a soundtrack waiting for a film. Sadly, Zimmer got Interstellar so it's cruelly robbed of the herculean tides it demands to frame.

    I've listened to this album emowalking. I've listened to it driving around at 4am, trying to see if there's anything to keep me on this planet. I've listened to it falling asleep into another universe full of the colour and love that this one lacks.

    Every time, I hear different things. And I'm caught by the contrast between the more classical, ambient side and the pulsing, electronic rhythmic side. It's a beautiful contrast, one flows from the other gracefully, never feeling squashed or inappropriate. That contrast also helps the album in terms of growing on you because you mis-remember as being "ooh, floaty" or "ooh minimal tech house" and then you re-listen and realise the delicacy of its little chimeric beak. This is why it's my favourite electronic album of 2014.

    Sadly, I'm a shit filmmaker. Otherwise...

    4. Gold-Bears - Dalliance
    Earlier this year, I DJed at HDIF. And I'd just got this album so I did my normal thing: skipping through the tracks to find very poppy, immediate songs that I thought indiekids would love on first listening.

    And there were too many.

    Every song on this album is poppy. Even the very quiet I Hope They're Right, you could play at the end of a night, a bittersweet closer. And the rest of them? ALL BANGERS, MATE!

    If you have ever liked any form of guitar-based indie or alternative rock, you need this album in your life. Whether you're a badly-ageing C86-er like me or some young, dapper whippersnapper cutting a rug, this is an album you must own.

    3. Babymetal - Babymetal
    You can blame my mate Matt for this entry being here at all. I was absolutely oblivious the the metalbabies until he introduced me to their fabulous collision of JPop and metal. I was instantly hooked by the melodies because, not being fluent in Japanese, the lyrics went over my head.

    And it's the melodies and the sheer metal awesomeness of Babymetal the album that makes it transcend novelty and lodge itself awkwardly into weird, like a fishbone harpooning your gum. This is basically the most expensive outsider music record ever made. If you're open-minded enough to groove to Shooby Taylor non-ironically, then Babymetal are for you. If you dance to Abba ironically, this is not for you.

    Where do I start? Every track is perfect, every track is mental. The track line! is one of the most schizoid, strange things I've heard in a pop record, it skips through genres like pop stars skip through worthy causes. Every person I've played it to has just done this face at me of WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? Kind of pisses on Venetian Snares and Igorrr in that regard.

    Then take the absolutely beautiful Head Bangya!!, this is a chorus that is absurdly, insanely catchy. You will find yourself singing it as you do your shopping and, unless you actually are a teenage Japanese girl, that's going to make you look pretty fucking weird. Gimme Chocolate transforms a simple sugary comestible request into a surreal hymn to THE ICHOR OF LORD THEOBROMOS. Why is it so catchy? I DON'T KNOW! Why am I singing it in Marks & Sparks till baby grebs give me evils? BECAUSE I HAVE TO!

    What the hell are they going to do for their next album? They invented THIS, how do they follow that??

    2. Cheatahs - Cheatahs
    Now I'm old, I see falsified, particular versions of history I've lived through. I'm disproportionately  annoyed that every baby greb knows Nirvana because of 5SOS but none of them are wearing Mudhoney, Tad or Melvins shirts. Part of this revisionism is how Loveless is the MBV album talked about hyperbolically when, as everyone who was there at the time knows, it was Isn't Anything that was the real shit. If you agree with me on that, you will probably love Cheatahs because they are unafraid to shoegaze. But there's no loose, baggy dance rhythms here. It's more about ferocious, flailing machine gun snare fills and sticking your head into a jet engine. Good.

    Even on their slowies like Mission Creep, they echo lost shoegaze bands like The Boo Radley or the godlike Smashing Orange rather than later MBV. The thing is, you could write them off as being rockist curators if the damned songs weren't so good. Over forty-six minutes, Cheatahs build a coherent, cohesive narrative. This, like Kiasmos, is soundtrack music. It's been my album of choice when driving home from clubbing because it doesn't feel like you're listening to music, it just is. It has achieved that highest form of art in that it deceives you into thinking it has not been constructed.

    So, I get in my car, press start and after the little intro, Geographic storms into the air around me, through the car and beyond. Midpointer The Swan starts with a Mouldy/Sugary riff that just kicks and twists and shimmers and oooh, look at that, the rear brakelights are flashing in time. When it finishes, you're home. And you're home.

    There's a lot of shit muttered about nugaze. I generally agree with it, partially because White Town ripped off Sonic Youth, MBV and Ride shamelessly when we first started as a guitar band and I'm jealous of other people's success. But if you hear anyone, anyone talking shit about Cheatahs, just take a few minutes to point out that they have chewed-up the genre and spat out something perfect, which is something a lot of the bands who were original shoegazers failed to do.

    1. Martha - Courting Strong
    I had the privilege of seeing Martha rule the Main Stage at Indietracks last year so I know they are one the best live bands I have ever seen. Their frantic, often ragged punk polemics are as warm and funny as they are totally, completely serious. And I love their politics, I love their straight-edgeness, I love their stupidly posicore spirit. But that doesn't necessarily mean they can deliver a brilliant album. Will all that energy translate, will it captivate when we can't see them jumping round like knobheads?


    Courting Strong is the best  album of 2014 because it is the complete, auteurist expression of intelligent, awesome people. Compromise, zero. Pandering, zero. Weird, fake American accents, zero. Heteronormative cliches, zero. Here, fucking finally, is an indiepop band, a punk band which remembers that those genres were founded on political bases. I see so many indiepop bands who ape the aesthetic or instrumentation of the C-86 era while conveniently ignoring everything political about those times. And, truly, who wants a bunch of Tory fucks in cardigans mewling about some imaginary girl who wouldn't suck them off?

    Take the last bit of Present Tense:
    You lost your lucky purple lighter/On the Megabus to Brighton/But on the way you read a zine that made you think/You’d be a good Anarcho writer/But not even Voltairine de Cleyre/Could successfully get you there/Without a list of aspirations gushing out of your pen/As you stewed in that sticky chair/Regretting the choices that we made, 

    You’re wishing your life away/Or longing for bygone days/Oh would you give me a fucking break? Cause they won’t come back/ 
    So give me something that lasts/You’re searching for answers in tough circumstances but I just need something that lasts/so give me something that lasts.

    It's hardly "boo hoo, some mean girl fucked someone who wasn't me" is it?

    Couple Martha's lyrical prowess with a gazillion pop hooks that any living motherfucker would find irresistible and you have this rare thing, a niche record that is also a proper pop record.  If Dust, Juice, Bones, Hair made it onto an advert or primetime Radio 1, it would be an instant hit. I have no doubt.

    This is the pop music I love: I can sing along to it, I can dance to it and it makes me think. Most stuff I hear can manage two out of three at most. Chart pop, generally one, if that. But how often does pop music leave you musing for days after, trying to pick out what was being said or, more importantly, why?

    Courting Strong is flicking vs at your mates, it's rolling up your skirt at the waist as soon as you're in school and your Mum can't see, it's oinking when you pass a copper, it's telling the rest of the world to fuck off because this, right here, this is important. It's as fundamentally British and Durham as it is Internationalist and intersectional. Buy it now, here.
  • HDIF Playlist 17/10/14

    20. Okt. 2014, 17:03

    On Friday, the lovely chap above, Ian, had me guest DJ at HDIF again and, as ever, I had a whaaale of a time.

    It's the first time I've DJed in The Buffalo Bar and I love the venue, it's got a wonderful vibe and it was soon packed with shimmying indie peeps. There's a gallery of pics here but they're mixed up between Ian taking them and my snaps as his camera unfortunately crapped out.

    I played indie(pop) oldies that made said peeps whoop and holler and some brand-new tunes that went down brilliantly too!

    Here's what I played:

    Broken Bells - After the Disco
    The Tops - Blind Faze
    The Bristols - who does she think she is?
    Withered Hand - Heart Heart
    Cornelius - Count Five Or Six
    The Primitives - Really Stupid
    Alvvays - Next of Kin
    Talulah Gosh - i can't get no satisfaction (thank god)
    Let's Wrestle - Pull Through for You
    The Lucksmiths - Self-Preservation
    The Delgados - Under Canvas Under Wraps
    Cheatahs - Get Tight
    Dananananaykroyd - Watch This!
    All Girl Summer Fun Band - Theme Song
    The Wake - Crush The Flowers
    Herb Alpert - Casino Royale
    Martha - Present, Tense
    Jonathan Richman + The Modern - Roadrunner
    Stephen Malkmus and the Jinks - Rumble at the Rainbo
    The Human League - Empire State Human
    The Hidden Cameras - Gay Goth Scene
    The Magnetic Fields - I Don't Want to Get Over You
    The Field Mice - If You Need Someone
    Gold-Bears - Yeah, Tonight
    My Bloody Valentine - Thorn
    Le Tigre - Deceptacon
    Huggy Bear - Herjazz
    Kishi Bashi - Carry on Phenomenon
    The Shins - So Says I
    The Wedding Present - My Favourite Dress
    Eternal Summers - Never Enough
    The Cure - In Between Days
  • Albums Of The Year 2013

    31. Dez. 2013, 7:48

    As ever, there are no losers here. Since I've cut this list down from around sixty albums, just to be on here means that I think the album will enrich your life, wherever it is on the list.

    Each band name is a hyperlink to their page on Last.fm so go ahead and click away!

    2013, thank you for all the great tunes! :-D

    40. The Heights - Old Lies For Young Lives
    Raw, ripping. They are fucking amazing live, mesmerising.

    39. Daniel Avery - Drone Logic
    Where this year's Boards and Hopkins' albums fell off the bottom of my list, Daniel Avery made it because this album is chocker with melody.

    38. Thee Oh Sees - Thumb Buster
    Effortlessly poppy and grungeypsychweird. Thank you.

    37. Russian Circles - Memorial
    Enormous, bludgeoning. If there was a soundtrack to get me up a mountain, this would be it.

    36. The Story So Far - What You Don't See
    TSSF steer a little too close to USAD on their follow up but it still has some marvellous tunes on it!

    35. Samiyam - Wish You Were Here
    Loping, lolloping beats and the occasional laconic rap. Wish there were more.

    34. Wonder Years - The Greatest Generation
    Catchy hooks, rites-of-passage lyrics, classic pop punk.

    33. Pelican - Forever Becoming
    It's that Pelican swagger I love. Pure rock, pure T-800 putting his motherfucking shades on.

    32. Prodigy & Alchemist - Albert Einstein
    P, A and illustrious guests deliver brick-heavy hip hop.

    31. Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! - Pardon My French
    Wherein the cheeky French chappies show the world of poppunk how to make an album that is both poppy *and* a progression from the previous one. Take note, connardzzz!

    30. Dick Diver - Calendar Days
    There's so much simple pop here: Richman, Herman Dune, Pastels but DD do their own twist. Instant indiepop disco love.

    29. Knockout Kid - It Comes With The Job Description
    KK make stupidly catchy poppunk - riffs, choruses, the whole lovely, meaty mess. Mmmm...

    28. Crystal Stilts - Nature Noir
    More reflective than their last album but still plenty of glowering, twangy grooves to do your best existentialist twist to.

    27. London Grammar - If You Wait
    I got a little obsessed with LG earlier this year so you should read this.

    26. Mixtapes - Ordinary Silence
    Genres are funny things, aren't they? If Mixtapes were Brits, they'd probably be touring with Martha and playing Indietracks. As it is, they remain a cruelly-slept-on and wonderful poppunk beat combo.

    25. Kid Tsunami - The Chase
    El Da Sensei, Kool G, Kool Keith... coupled with Tsunami's frankly ridiculous beats, hip hop heaven?

    24. Deafheaven - Sunbather
    Metalgaze may seem like a peculiar genre for me to embrace but all I know is that this album makes my head hurt in a quite beautiful way. I'm surprised it doesn't give me nosebleeds.

    23. The Pastels - Slow Summits
    How the fuck have The Pastels kept making sublime pop songs for over thirty years now? MOTHERFUCKERS!

    22. Disclosure - Settle
    I first heard Disclosure out clubbing and having their beats shake my guts is the best way to experience them, I fell in love then. Thankfully, so did Radio One so you'll know most of this album of hooky electropop already.

    21. Kettel - Ibb & Obb
    I think this is the first ever time I've had a soundtrack album in a best of and one for a video game at that. I haven't played the game but I can tell you that this one hour and fourteen minutes of Kettel is magical.

    20. Rogue Wave - Nightingale Floors
    I can't believe I've loved Rogue Wave for a decade now. Fuck. I also can't believe they can still make pop songs as effervescently summery as 'College.' Looking forward to the next decade, peeps.

    19. Moderat - II
    Apparat's 2013 album was on my list but fell off the bottom but his second collab with Modeselektor makes it because it's shitloads poppier. You know, for kids.

    18. Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise
    Steady-footed, sureshot hip hop that is, like all the best hip hop, unafraid of fucking with you, your ears or your lyrical and sonic preconceptions. If you prefer your genres monolithic, best avoided.

    17. Altars - Something More
    This is my top shouty album this year and it's because I've listened to it the most, mostly on emowalks. I'll skip through my iPhone, trying to find something heavy but also something that'll involve me over the length of the album. An actual album rather than a collation of potential singles.

    Altars have delivered that with 'Something More.' And, like all my fave albums this year, they wrongfoot me continually. On 'Sent To Destroy,' the song morphs into an almost DM bridge before the coda. Lovely!

    16. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus
    Maaaan, if I could see a gig with these, Deafheaven, Pelican and Russian Circles, I think I could easily die and be transported straight to the Valhalla of marvellously epic soundtracks to asteroid storms. FB's synths peep out of their flight cases, longing to taste your vanilla marrow.

    15. Factory Floor - Factory Floor
    Stark, naked electronics that eschew dreaminess for pounding icicles into your ears. Semiquavers all over the fucking shop, hardsynced arpeggios that enrich in their passing-note minimalism. I love the dancefloor imperative here, so often avoided by chin-stroking IDMers. Fuck that shit.

    14. The Front Bottoms - Talon Of The Hawk
    Again, dunno where these bleeders would be if they were Brits, they're so hard to pigeonhole. Of course punk, of course indie in the non-NME-haircut-band sense. Ultimately, it's the narratives that draw one in, as voyeur and conspirator.

    "I wanna be stronger than your Dad was for your Mom."


    13. Gesaffelstein - Aleph
    Listen to 'Pursuit' off 'Aleph' and it's everything I love about electronic music: it's robotic, funky, machined, precise, relentless, repetitive and undeniable. It's the kind of track I avoid listening to when I'm driving on motorways because it makes me want to drive faster and faster, searching for some road/strobe synchronicity. 'Hellifornia' reminds me of Huroratron at his stupidest but even bleaker and even less human. Beautiful.

    I seriously wish I had made this album.

    12. Everything Everything - Arc
    I'll admit, it took me a while to get into 'Arc.' I emowalked it a few times and nothing really clicked. But gradually, I found myself singing bits from it in my very awful fractured falsetto. It crept up on me like the NSA, rifled through my brain and left behind a series of pictures of cats and Manchurian Candidate trigger words.

    "And that eureka moment hits you like a cop car."

    11. CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe
    Argh, this album makes me mad. Firstly, because I'm jealous that Chvrches have melded a beautiful, delicate female vocal with rich, melodic synthpop. I've been trying to find a female singer for over a decade now but one just can't find the staff nowadays, donchaknow.

    Secondly, Chvrches annoy me because they're too good. I've never seen Mayberry's bands but I saw Aereogramme live and they were also awesome at what they did, the fuckers. And The Twilight Sad are beautiful! How are Chvrches equally good? It really isn't fair, is it?

    Thirdly, and lastly, you may think you've heard all the popness from this album on the radio. You haven't. It's all fucking poppy. 'We Sink' is easily as catchy as any of the singles.

    The fuckers.

    10. Latyrx - The Second Album
    Wherein Lateef and Lyrics Born shit over their biters, detractors and debtors with a hippo-sized spray of ideas, any one of which most other artists would stretch out for a song rather than for a line.

    'Deliberate Gibberish' is a masterclass in saying, 'oh, you want to go there ~ sure, we can go there... huh, why?' Contrast that with tracks actually about the non-rap world, less meta and more matter and that will give you the breadth of this album.

    All of that would leave me interested but cold if it wasn't laced up with some simply golden soundscapes. It all fits together, no gaps, no filler, no fucking about.

    9. The State Champs - The Finer Things
    As you can tell, this has been a fine year for new poppunk. The State Champs album builds on their earlier super-catchiness with more riffs, cleaner, clearer dynamics and lyrics that bleed poppunk:

    "I fell asleep in a city that doesn't
    Thought I was special but you know I wasn't."

    They sound more assured, more focussed and like their heads are up and they're ready to take on the world.

    8. Cloud Control - Dream Cave
    This album wraps me up, it's kept me warm on cold walks. Cloud Control lazily brilliant in that these songs don't sound written, they sound like they've been discovered. In the saucily-titled 'Dojo Rising,' the slamming car-door drums form a perfect anchor for the stacks of harmonies, guitar noodling and almost gospel piano figures.

    But through the album, Cloud Control pull this magic trick again and again, directing the listener in one direction, making us think we know what's going to happen but they they sneak all kinds of twinkling frippery in to the soundscape. It's often harmonies but it might be a cheesy organ arpeggio or even a super-wibbly guitar solo.

    Look, if you hate Cali harmonies and sunshine, you're going to loathe this album. But if you've ever sung along to the 'baa-baa-baaaaaa' bit of any pop song ever, this album is pretty much an essential purchase.

    7. Serengeti - Kenny Dennis LP
    Serengeti expands on the debut EP of his alter-ego Kenny Dennis with a whole album. When I first heard Kenny, I didn't know who the fuck it was. I actually thought it was Carl from ATHF. Or maybe big moustache dude from The Lordz of Brooklyn But while there are undoubtedly similarities in the Fauvist declamations these characters make, this album takes KD's character to a different place.

    We get a lot more of Kenny's story and a lot of it isn't played for laughs. It's a strange journey, I started listening to the album expecting more lols and by halfway through I was genuinely sad for the dude.

    Even though he doesn't exist.

    6. Bastille - Bad Blood
    This is a vast, muscular steamroller of a pop album. Look, you'll know all these songs from their breakthrough 'Pompeii' through 'Laura Palmer' and the other singles.

    They are undeniably poppy. I've sung along to this album so many times in my car, trying to match singer dude trill for trill, serious face for serious face. Can't do it. I can almost do it but... no...

    And that's where Bastille overtake their mainstream indie peers. The other bands nipping at their heels may have the looks and the quiffs and the pipe cleaner bodies de-rigeur for the genre but Bastille have better songs.

    One thing, though ~ if they don't release 'Weight Of Living II' as a single, they're idiots. C'mon!

    5. The Little Ones - The Dawn Sang Along
    The Little Ones take the US alt-indie-rock blueprint and stuff it as full of melody, twiddly bits and harmonies as Bastille do for the UK counterpart. Now, whether they over-egg the pudding is a matter of taste. For me, they're spot on. Sounds like 'Boy On Wheel' are just the right side of smug to still be winsome. But then, I love indiepop, which is blatantly what this album is, albeit with different production values.

    This is an album for picnics, road-trip singsongs and pretending your life is actually way more fun than it is. Often, as I've been walking, soaked by the rain and whipped by the wind, just hearing the synthbass of 'Little Souls' will cheer me up with its Sailor-like joy.

    I guess the most obvious comparisons would be old MGMT or now Vampire Weekend but that's only an approximation. I find The Little Ones to be way poppier and less arch than either of those acts. That's both refreshing and liberating.

    4. Real Friends - Put Yourself Back Together
    I guess I'm pretty fucking emo because I'm hooked on Real Friends' brutally, despairingly honest lyrics. You can't be this honest in mainstream indie because everything there is arch / ironic / a Duran Duran reference. What poppunk bands like Real Friends do is flense the flesh from their skinny mallrat bodies to provide some kind of zomboid emotional flesh for us to swallow.

    Sometimes... well, most of the time, that is disturbing. I find myself singing along to something like:

    "Maybe I'll run away from it all and fake my own death, see if you really care
    A week goes by and I doubt if you'll be waiting at all...
    ...because everything you said was a lie."

    ..and I catch myself and think, what the fuck? I'm not a kid, why does this connect? But like their peers TSSF, Real Friends have a way of singing what you feel and making you deal with it, even though it's often ugly, stupid and clumsy.

    But at least it's honest.

    "I write songs about you all the time,
    I bet I don't even run through your mind."
    ...It's been a lonely year...


    3. Ghettosocks - For You Pretty Things
    Very, very nearly my fave hip hop of 2013, Ghettosocks' 'FYPT' is a solid monster, seventeen tracks of intricate beats, deft rhyming and IDEAS. It doesn't matter if he's over a Premier-style minimal jazz beat like 'Youth In Asia' or feelgood Ugly Duckling groove like 'Human Sacrifice,' Ghettosocks remains unflappable, unstoppable. And he's also a great relationship counsellor:

    "I'm down for trips to the zoo and boob touching,
    but ain't you heard the old saying: fools rush in?"

    The guests flesh out the album but always complement rather than dominate. Some albums suffer from acute guesteritis, hoping to cover over deficiencies with a list of known names. This isn't one of them. Whether it's El Da Sensei, Sadat X, Moka Only or whoever, the collab is always natural and fun. Less business, more smiles.

    Hats off to the track 'Poutine' for combining the Canadian delicacy with delicious synth blarts. It's these little jumps and skips, turning left instead of right that make 'FYPT' consistent, stupid fun.

    2. Verb T - I Remain
    What the fuck? Verb T released 'The Morning Process' last year and it reached number three on my best albums of 2012. Now, here he is with a whole new album!

    If you like UK hip hop, you've probably been listening to Verb for years, even if you didn't know it. Whether it's Braintax, Food Records, Low Life or, now, High Focus, he's been consistently brilliant. And on this new album, he's even self-producing the beats, a fact he plays up nicely on the middle skit of 'Toast Jazz.'

    Just watch this vid for 'Old And Grumpy':


    This is why I fucking love Verb T:

    "Ooh, you getting fucked up?
    Cor, that's exciting!
    Gang of weird kids on horse tranquillisers,
    False advertising, saying that it's popping off,
    Dancing about dressed up like a proper knob,
    Wear what ya want,
    But i don't see why your kid,
    Tuck his jeans in his socks,
    If he ain't a cyclist
    Frame ain't changed but you wear tighter shit
    Once XL, now you're medium, why is this?
    Why is it relevant who your designer is?
    Oh I see!
    Cos there's eager kids buying this."

    More than anything, I love Verb T because he is who he is. So many Brits sing in fake American accents, so many Brits rap with fake American twangs or drop slang no bugger who lives here uses. Verb T, on the other hand, drops 'cor' and 'proper knob' into his rhyme and I'm laughing as I'm listening as I'm loving as I am understanding.

    He also pulls off the same trick Braintax managed with aplomb: he preaches truth whilst never, ever, for even a nanosecond claiming he's better than the divs he's criticising. That's a move of some finesse, those are acrobatics most rappers flail at, flip-flopping from self-proclaimed messiah to proud fuck-up, all the while their eyes on the headlines.

    I cannot believe he's come out with this whole new album in a year. It makes me feel stupidly un-productive in that he can maintain this quality level and output. All I want now is a new Four Owls album. Maaaaaan.

    If you buy only one hip hop album from 2013, make sure this is it.

    1. Baths - Obsidian
    Okay, I’m a sucker for synthpop, electro, whatever you goddamn kids call it this week. I’m also a sucker for immaculate, perfect pop songs that are as unsettling as they are catchy. That’s why Baths’ ‘Obsidian’ is my number one album of 2013. Will Weisenfeld, the genius behind Baths wraps the most painful of private confessions in the most perfect sugar coatings. If there is a modern-day heir to Gore’s ‘Black Celebration’ electro-goth noir, it’s Baths. Look, if you really want a cookie-cutter, easy-sell handle about it, imagine a very depressed, maimingly honest Postal Service with 100% more lyrics about needy erections.

    This is my top album partly because it's been the key to my lock. When you're walking around your suburb hoping you'll be Regina Georged by a passing bus, you need lyrics in your ears that aren't facile. You don't care if they're uncomfortable or scratchy, crawling into your head and tickling alive memories you thought you'd drowned, as long as they're real. You need lyrics like this:

    "You don't do anything with your life
    Fascinating, terrible - your stupid idling mind
    I can prod your hurt all night
    Or resign and find
    Any other stupid thing to do with my time
    I was never poetic and never kind

    Scared of how little I care for you
    Scared of how little I care for you
    Scared of how little I care for you
    I am elsewhere."

    Please check out ‘Miasma Sky’ if nothing else from this album. I cannot believe any human who has ever loved pop music will be immune to its skittering, baleful charms.

    Apart from that, I find it hard to single out what to recommend from an album of such riches. A lot of people have and will call this a depressing album. I don't feel it to be. On the contrary, at my lowest ebb, this album has come to me at random times and punched me on the arm and made me feel a little less ridiculous and ugly.

    "It gets all in the way, the pit in my throat
    This isn't the adulthood I thought I wrote
    And I never see your face, but I just might be okay with that
    I have no eyes, I have no love, I have no hope

    And it is not a matter of
    If you need it
    But it is only a matter of
    Come and fuck me
    And it is not a matter of
    If you love me
    But it is only a matter of
    My fix."

    A little.
  • HDIF DJing Playlist 21/9/13

    23. Sep. 2013, 18:44


    On Saturday, I DJed How Does It Feel? again and had a silly fun time. It was a bit empty at the start but I got the floor full by the time I handed over to HDIF supremo Ian which is always VICTORY for a DJ.

    I managed to fit in a good few tunes fresh from 2013 as well as indiepop classics. After my set, Nat and I bopped around to Ian's tunes next to some wildly inebriated patrons. Ahhh, lovely night!

    Here's what I played:

    Dick Diver - Alice
    Au Revoir Simone - Hurricanes
    The Siddeleys - Sunshine Thuggery
    Deerhoof - Fete D'Adieu
    The Slits - I Heard It Through The Grapevi
    Allo Darlin' - Kiss Your Lips
    Marching Band - For Your Love
    The Bird and the Bee - Again & Again
    Crystal Stilts - Future Folklore
    Magnetic Fields - Epitaph for My Heart
    The Sea Urchins - Pristine Christine
    Go-Betweens - Streets of your town
    Death Cab for Cutie - The Sound of Settling
    Martha - Sycamore
    Rogue Wave - College
    Echo And The Bunnymen - Rescue
    The Fall - Mr. Pharmacist
    Ducktails - Ivy Covered House
    mylittlepony - Hard To Be Good
    Jens Lekman - I Saw Her In The Anti War Demonstration
    Best Coast - Crazy For You
    Black Flag - Wasted
    The Field Mice - If You Need Someone
    Felt - Bitter End
    Deerhunter - Leather Jacket I
    My Bloody Valentine - Sueisfine
    Belle and Sebastian - Funny Little Frog
    The Darling Buds - Shame on You
    The Buzzcocks - Orgasm Addict
    The Hidden Cameras - I Believe In The Good Of Life
    Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
    Orange Juice - Rip It Up
  • Indietracks 2013

    6. Aug. 2013, 15:47

    Last weekend was INDIETRACKS 2013! I wasn't playing this year so I could chill and just enjoy myself. This year was also even more fun because my beautiful friend Kaypea came to stay for the festival. This is her being all gorgeous:

    The best thing about Indietracks is discovering new music. That being said, there are always famous (well, indiepop famous) acts playing. Bis, The Pastels, The Wake, Camera Obscura and The Brilliant Corners all played.

    I haven't seen The Brilliant Corners in... umm? Twenty-four years? It's always problematic seeing a band decades after you first loved them but TBC didn't disappoint. Their set was just packed with the poppiest of popness. They always had amazing choruses and 'Why Do You,' 'Teenage,' 'Brian Rix,' sounded just as good now as in my hazy Trent Poly memories.

    The Pastels also played a glowing, effortless set. There's something strange about The Pastels - whenever I see them play, they have this poise and connection with each other and with the audience that's quite spooky. It's also weird how they can integrate decades of music into one set and not have it sound forced or jarring; a testament to their prowess. They're as much a Zen garden as they are a popular beat combo. They were playing the outdoor stage and I got soaked during their set but I didn't care. Totally worth it.

    And The Wake! Also veterans but you wouldn't know it from their set. I've seen too many bands going through the motions on stage, too obviously on autopilot and probably unsure as to where they actually are let alone why they're playing. The Wake were the opposite of that. They played the old favourites but it's like they were playing new songs. James, standing next to me, hadn't seen them before and didn't know much of their music but he was converted. Now, *that's* the power of a real performance!

    But there were loads of new acts that I'd never seen before and who I can now welcome into my extensive music library. One of them, Pale Spectres (named after a Wake song, fact fans) only formed in January of this year, after the drummer and singer met at this gig in Paris. Not bad going, playing Indietracks six months after you form!

    My fave band of this year was Martha, who I've never seen before. They came on and swept us all away, spunky punk pop with more of a lineage to Buzzcocks than Blink. Stupidly energetic, their set ended up in a stage invasion of laughing, jumping kids ~ the way every set by every gig ever should finish. Okay, maybe not goth gigs. And their drummer engaged in the first Indietracks crowdsurfing I've ever seen:

    So, another year, another Indietracks done. We came, we saw, we got soaked in the pissing rain, we danced to French synthpop at the disco.

    Can't wait for 2014! :-D

    (Click here for a gallery of indiepics!)

    Martha The Pastels The Wake The Brilliant Corners
  • Albums Of The Year 2012

    1. Jan. 2013, 12:37

    Soooo much great new hip hop this year, a lot of it UK! Not much shouty metal, more pop punkness. But, as ever, if an album appears anywhere on here, no matter what position, it's a winner as I had to cut out at least 25 albums I loved this year.

    Ladies and gentlemen: THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2012!

    40. Field Music – Plumb
    FM’s trademark skewed popness really marks them out as the modern-day XTC. Catchy but you don’t quite know how because it’s never easy listening.

    39. With the Punches – Seams & Stitches
    Frenetic, urgent pop punk. Some of the lyrical themes remind me of The Wonder Years but WTP are a bit more raw, a bit more angry.

    38. Ka – Grief Pedigree
    I love the eclecticism of this. Just awesome hip hop, check it out.

    37. Metric – Synthetica
    Metric kind of converge on Ladytron territory here which is no bad thing. I also like the concepty long tracks near the end, nice change-up!

    36. NZCA/LINES – NZCA/Lines
    Kind of reminds me of the first Pacific album, shiny synthpop but with floaty, neosoul song structures.

    35. Photek – KU:PALM
    Photek creates a space and then drops many wild things into it, often apparently at random. I like this.

    34. Vitalic – Rave Age
    As ever, Monsieur Vitalic kicks the crap out of his sound sources and delivers violently happy dancey fun. Mmmm!

    33. DJ Format – Statement of Intent
    Dancey, funbulous beats, lovely guesting on the vocals, awesome!

    32. Homeboy Sandman – First Of A Living Breed
    There’s a lightness of touch both in the beats and the imagery of this album. HS crams in so many twists and turns per line, you really have to listen a few times. Good!

    31. Motion City Soundtrack – Go
    As MCS mature, I wish they’d break through more, away from their initial pop punk fanbase. Songs like ‘Son Of A Gun’ just need to be on one film soundtrack and that’d do it. Just one!

    30. Zombie Nation – RGB
    Who doesn’t love ‘Kernkraft 400?’ Lovely to hear ZN is still delivering dance anthems on his new album but not just churning out cookie-cutter clones.

    29. Débruit – From The Horizon
    In places, utterly ramshackle and lopsided but perfectly so. Skittering electronic percussion plays against moogalicious bass riffing and snatched vocal chants and invocations. As modern as it is (and it is), a very spiritual record. Neovoudoun could be the coming thing.

    28. The Presets – Pacifica
    Not as catchy as their last album, which is why it isn’t higher. But still good, knobular fun!

    27. School of Seven Bells – Ghostory
    A ghost tory? URGH! But no, no hymns to deceased right-wingers here, more SOSB trying to drive themselves forward. They’re more spacious but also more aggressive. I’m interested to see where they go next!

    26. Slagmalsklubben – The Garage
    Imagine if Sid’s Frankentoys from ‘Toy Story’ had made an album. Wonderful.

    25. Forever Came Calling – Contender
    Ferocious pop punk as toothy as their cover star, the drums blam away stupidly fast, the guitars form a wedding arch of majesty and it’s all topped-off by catchy lyrics and melodies. Pop punk that’s both poppy and punky – good work!

    24. Big Cakes – CCC
    UK hip hop, BC’s flow which is alternately jazzy and raw, lays over wonderfully interlocking beats. Sometimes reminding me of old Nas and maybe old Camp Lo, this is yet another grounded, true UK hip hop album.

    23. Handguns – Angst
    More than a touch of Promise Ring here in the angsty (ho ho) anthems Handguns deliver. But, boy, do they have a way with a rousing chorus!

    22. Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon
    I bought this album purely because I fell in love with ‘Sun’ and found myself singing it. It is the best track but the other tracks are well worth your time and money. Spookily like a Death Cab album in places though, Gibbard needs to sue.

    21. Chilly Gonzales – Solo Piano II
    More simple, flowing beauty from Maestro Gonzales. I really don’t want to overegg this review but if you’ve ever loved Debussy, Satie or Chopin, you’ll probably love this. And even if you don’t think you’re a classical head, give it a listen… plenty of earworms here.

    20. Jam Baxter – Gruesome Features
    This is a treasure-trove of hip hop, the ornate, fluttering beats are coupled with a pantheon of rappers. My fave joint is the one featuring Verb T because I do love Four Owls and V doesn’t disappoint. Another essential hip hop album, been a good fucking year for them!

    19. Allo Darlin’ - Europe
    AD’s second album is warm, sunny and definite progression from their first. Again, I’m biased as I’ve gigged alongside AD a few times and Elizabeth has sung with me live and been in one of my pop vids. Phew! So, yeah, probably not going to get objectivity here. But if you like lyrics chocker with beautiful imagery, proper choruses and music with real, real, real heart, check out this album.

    18. Huoratron – Cryptocracy
    Wherein Mr. H lubes up a load of mad old synths and fingers them till their diodes shatter quite deliciously. This is pure dancefloor, if this doesn’t make you want to act out a dodgy nightclub scene from a movie (possibly with a vampire fight, definitely with chains), I don’t know what will make your dead arse move. Buy this album if you have ever danced to any electronic music ever.

    17. Kindness – World You Need A Change Of Mind
    I played ‘Gee Up’ when I DJed HDIF and it went down a fucking storm, even though loose-limbed electrofunk isn’t the usual province of indiepop London. This album is alternately smooth and crystal and then swings onto weird rails that lead off to fuck knows where. All of which is why you must buy it. Oh yes.

    16. Masta Ace – Ma Doom: Son of Yvonne
    Not an actual collab, from what I know, Ace used pre-existing Doom beats for this beautiful album about the passing of his mother. ‘Nineteen Seventy Something’ is perfect, Ace recalling his kid days and the sound of EWF and The Emotions through his house. I love hip hop that takes chances like this. “Mom’s on the rampage, looking for her Parliament.”

    15. Melanin 9 – Magna Carta
    Love the beats, love the rhymes, love the imagery. Again, like my other fave hip hop albums of 2012, M9 takes chances, this is not a straight-forward listen, there are levels on levels here. That’s what makes it rock.

    14. The Men – Open Your Heart
    Garagey, psychey and at times wandering to shoegaze, a beautiful noise. If I filmed a video for it, it would have to rip off Brakhage shamelessly as this record is colours in sound.

    13. Porcelain Raft – Strange Weekend
    Very, very School Of Seven Bells but perhaps more minimal and intense than SOSB’s cinematic epicness. Tiny and lovely shoegazey electronica.

    12. Stick to Your Guns – Diamond
    This has been my go-to SHOUTY album this year, so many great riffs. And it helps that, unlike a lot of hc bands, STYG are actually singing about real shit. Standout track for me is ‘Life In A Box,’ all one minute, twenty-nine seconds of it.

    11. Such Gold – Misadventures
    If you like your pop punk ridiculously twiddly and with Wedding Present-speed strumming, this album is for you. They have their popness, obviously but it’s mostly wrapped in layers of ATDI arsing about. Which is just fine by me.

    10. Title Fight – Floral Green
    I know this album has polarised people but I love it. It’s been called shoegaze or ‘90s alt or whatever. If I had to say what it reminded me of, it’d probably be late Fugazi but via Dinosaur Jr. ‘Secret Society’ is a massive fucking track. Soooo good.
    Vee Kay – Fade Out

    9. Mystro – Mystrogen
    It’s weird to think I’ve been listening to Mystro for at least ten years now so it feels wrong to call this his debut LP but it appears to be true! What? From guesting on Low Life tracks through all his subsequent work, Mystro has maintained a quality control and playfulness that has sadly evaded other UK rappers. Fucking lovely.

    8. Deerhoof – Breakup Song
    Yes, I know. Every year, Deerhoof do a new bloody album and every bloody year, it’s in my top albums list. But I can’t help it: they’re so poppy! ‘Fete Adieu’ of this year’s killer is prime ‘Hoof, offbeat, wtf, I can’t dance to this coupled with a supersingalong chorus. I found myself singing this on the escalator in the Westfield the other day. But this album.

    7. DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles - Kolexxxion
    I’ll miss Guru forever but it’s sooo good to hear Premo firing on every available cylinder with BK’s rhymes fleshing out the scenarios. An essential album.

    6. Holograms – Holograms
    I could easily dismiss Holograms for their obvious fetishisation of 1980 post-punk aesthetics apart from the awkward fact that they write really fucking catchy pop songs. DAMN YOUU!

    5. Vee Kay – Fade Out
    VK’s swansong and what a great way to bow out. There’s a knowledge evidently at work here that makes the album stand out way above its peers. Couple that with great guests and it’s a lovely thing to behear. And it’s a FREE DOWNLOAD. What are you waiting for, dude?

    4. Clark – Iradelphic
    This is such a journey of an album: there are solo piano tracks like ‘Black Stone’ where Clark gets a bit Gonzales on our asses and then that’s followed by ‘The Pining pt. 1’ which is a sublimey jazzy, beaty mess of percussion, acoustica and electronica. There are even tracks which are definitely a bit trip-hoppy, so wide is Clark’s gamut. A beautiful, brave piece of work.

    3. Verb T – Morning Process
    If you love Four Owls like I do, you’ll love this album featuring feathered brethren Verb. I put this album on and it’s everything I love about UK hip hop: spare, confident, itself and no other, masterful. You have to buy this.

    2. Akira Kiteshi – Industrial Avenue
    Declaration of bias: I interviewed Tommy for Sound On Sound magazine and I’m a huge fan of AK since I first heard ‘Pinball.’ His debut album doesn’t disappoint, it’s got all the grunty, vomitty basslines dubstep heads would want but it also varies into different tempos, different atmospheres. ‘Snaggletooth’ is just pure electro heaven, all stuttering bass slaps, hubcap snares and solid kicks. Lovely stuff!

    1. Diamond Rings – Free Dimensional
    If there was any justice, DR would be bigger than Lady Gaga and Maroon 5 put together. He’s got fabulous synthpop songs, a voice like a charming, adolescent bear and he’s cute too. ‘All The Time’ is pure, pure, purest pop: intelligent verses matched with seductive, let’s-take-our-clothes-off-now-please choruses. ‘Runaway Love’ was obviously a massive ‘80s anthem in some parallel universe. Why can’t we make it come true in this one? But this album if you love pop music, choruses and shaking your ass in an outrageous fashion.


    Gojira's 'L'enfant Sauvage' should be in there somewhere but for some reason my iTunes 2012 smartlist excluded it. DAMN YOU, APPLE! Well, I'm a long-time fan of Gojira and their newie is deft, powerful, passionate metal. It's certainly a worthy successor to 2008's 'Way Of All Flesh,' which is one of my fave metal albums ever. Buy it!
  • HDIF DJing Playlist 17/11/12

    25. Nov. 2012, 13:02

    Last Saturday, I had the privilege of DJing at the almighty HDIF!

    And, my god, it was rammed! Probably the fullest I've done yet, which is encouraging. So many people were asking what tune I was playing, I love that because the whole reason I DJ is to introduce new music! Made me feel all warm and kitteny inside. I did play shitloads of old stuff but managed squeeze in quite a few 2012 newbies, Holograms and Kindness went down very well!

    Here's what I played:

    le Page - Bubble Bubble

    YOU ! - Heart

    boo radleys - Lazy Day

    Making Marks - Capital Of Norway

    about the girl - Tiger Evolution

    Even as We Speak - Falling Down The Stairs

    Allo Darlin' - Northern Lights

    The Lucksmiths - Camera-Shy

    Diamond Rings - Wait And See

    Beat Happening - Hot Chocolate Boy

    My Bloody Valentine - Thorn

    Dinosaur Jr. - Freak Scene

    Belle and Sebastian - Funny Little Frog

    Crystal Stilts - Half a Moon

    The Magnetic Fields - Famous

    Holograms - Astray

    Spearmint - sweeping the nation

    Cure - In Between Days

    Kindness - Gee Up

    Chromeo - Call Me Up

    Stevie Wonder - I Wish

    The Hidden Cameras - Ban Marriage

    Comet Gain - Yoona Baines

    The Orchids - Bemused Confused and Bedraggled

    Echo And The Bunnymen - Rescue

    The Legends - Call it ours

    The Buzzcocks - Love You More

    Ben Folds Five - Army

    Cats On Fire - Higher Grounds (new)

    Teenage Fanclub - God Knows It's True

    The Brilliant Corners - Brian Rix

    The Lemonheads - If I could talk I'd tell you
  • Best Albums Of 2011

    31. Dez. 2011, 13:54

    This year, I was stupid busy finishing off my new album so I didn't have time to DJ for the last half of the year. But still, fuckloads of amazing new music came my way, both from new artists and old faves. As ever, although there is an order to this list, just to get on here is doing well as I had to narrow it down to forty albums out of around ninety!

    These were my fave albums of 2011, click the bandname for more info!

    40. Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer

    More floaty than their previous album, glacial with an edge of electronic menace.

    39. Roll The Dice - In Dust

    Brooding, pulsating, minimal electronic soundscapes. Some bits remind me of Terry Riley.

    38. Com Truise - Galactic Melt

    The opposite end of electronica, defiantly '80s, phat and throbbing. In the best possible way, Miami Vice incidental music.

    37. Africa Hitech - 93 Million Miles

    Dubby, toasty, blobby, farty and wonderful!

    36. Little Dragon - Ritual Union

    I don't understand why this lot don't get more hype - they've got lovely little pop songs, clad in the finest of bloopery and rattley reverb.

    35. Parts and Labor - Constant Future

    Such a fucking great pop band! And to be this shouty and loose but still catchy is a lovely surprise!

    34. Her Space Holiday - Her Space Holiday

    Marc Bianchi has this knack of being intimate and universal at the same time. Check this out if you've ever liked any indie pop/rock ever. Hints of Jon Brion too!

    33. Egyptrixx - Bible Eyes

    Fuck, I love this album! But how do I sell it to you? It's beaty, electronic pop that's a bit askew, like an off-centre wheel. There ya go!

    32. Cut Copy - Zonoscope

    This is a disco album, a funk album, an electronic album a dance album. Cut Copy keep on flowing, effortless pop.

    31. Acid House Kings - Music Sounds Better With You

    AHK are mistresses and masters of twee, summery, golden indiepop. And if you like that, you'll love this.

    30. REKS - Rhymatic Eternal King Supreme

    I've loved Reks for goddamn years and here he ropes in Premier and other luminaries to frame his awesome delivery with majestically awesome beats. Fuck.

    29. Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion

    Although I'd heard them, I didn't really "get" CS till I saw them play a storming gig at Indietracks 2011. Now I'm in love with their dour channelling of Echo & The Bunnymen doing Felt covers.

    28. Asobi Seksu - Fluorescence

    More off-kilter pop. Some of it a bit scary, to be honest. But mmmm...

    27. Robag Wruhme - Thora Vukk

    This is minimal, intimate electronic music. It whispers in your ear as it strokes the back of your knee. Oh, Robag!

    26. Set Your Goals - Burning At Both Ends

    SYG rock! Awesome live, too. Standout track, 'Product Of The '80s.' Which I don't really understand unless they're all old fuckers like me?

    25. Moustache of Insanity - Album Of Death

    If you can listen to 'Talk-Along' without getting a bit sniffly, your heart is made of dogpoo. Beautiful, heartfelt songs!

    24. Beneficence - Sidewalk Science

    This is all that's good about hip hop in 2011: rubbery, flubbery beats that make your head nod coupled with lyrics that echo around your head for weeks.

    23. Ochre - Early Learning

    Ochre has this knack of constructing nanosymphonies of joy/sorrow, played by happy-faced millipedes. Clicky, leggy, often stridulating electronic beauty.

    22. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong

    Why haven't Pains broken through to Radio One? Plenty of people that rip them off shamelessly seem to have done just that this year. But those biters haven't got their class or, most importantly, knack with a killer chorus.

    21. The Ladybug Transistor - Clutching Stems

    Seven albums in and TLT sound like a band who find making lyrical, swoonsome pop music easy. The bastards.

    20. Cuba Cuba - Where Else Is Safe But The Road?

    Welsh popsters CC sound sooo fucking assured on this album, it's chocker with little twiddly bits, massive choruses and a skipload of heart.

    19. Blind Pilot - We Are The Tide

    Laid back, country-tinged folkpop. Like being wrapped in a warm towel by your lover prior to a ravishing.

    18. The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing

    I love pop punk. Sometimes, people take the piss out of me for this. But as if I care ~ it means I've known perfect little worlds like the ones shared with me on this album.

    17. DTMD - Makin' Dollas

    Beautiful hip hop, can't fault it. The beats, the rhymes, the life described in precise, sharp detail. Reminds me a bit of Native Tongues which is always good.

    16. M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming

    I can't pigeonhole M83 easily. Yeah, the electro foundations are there but there's so much else going on. Anguish, celebration, snippets of atmosphere between the songs proper. All of it great.

    15. Death Cab for Cutie - Codes And Keys

    DCFC (heh) seem to be exploring more Krautrocky directions lately, whether it's on 'I Will Possess Your Heart' from the last album or 'Doors Unlocked And Open' from this one. Whatever, they twist it into their own shape. When the chorus kicks in, that's pure sunny delight!

    14. Evidence - Cats And Dogs

    Absconding from Dilated Peoples for a minute, Evidence uses his holiday to... well, make yet more fucking great hip hop. THANKS, EV!

    13. Comet Gain - Howl Of The Lonely Crowd

    CG are perfectly, raggedly raw on this album. 'Yoona Baines' just clangs and shreds along, all twisted tendons and bleeding lips. Shows the scope within the pop known as indie.

    12. Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwing

    Fuck, I hate how BT can just launch into a song and within thirty seconds I'm singing along like I've been a country rock fan all my life. This album is irresistible pop.

    11. Apparat Organ Quartet - Pólýfónía

    I love AOQ but this album stunned me. The Kraftwerkian vocoders floating over the intertwining melodies before being battered by distortion, the pounding beach drums, all of it makes me want to jump around till I hit my head. As I said, stunning.

    10. Digitalism - I Love You, Dude

    I fell in love with Digitalism the day I heard 'Zdarlight' and they don't break my heart here. I fucking love them even more just for bringing a track as stupidly, four-on-the-floor addictive as 'Blitz' into my life. I lost myself in this album.

    9. Metermaids - Rooftop Shake

    Alumni of Sage Francis' label, Metermaids rock it hard and heavy. But their hip hop is as thoughtful as it is uncompromising. Immense lyrics.

    8. Holy Ghost! - Holy Ghost!

    Sublime, sunny synthpop, overflowing with catchy riffs and 'eh?' lyrics (the best kind). Do yourself a favour and check out 'Wait And See' at the very least.

    7. Erland & The Carnival - Nightingale

    Brilliant, wonky guitar pop. Whenever I DJed 'This Night' earlier in the year, I'd always get peeps asking who it was. That's great pop for you!

    6. Army Navy - The Last Place

    Now, I must declare bias here: I loved this album so much that I got in touch with the band. And I'm meant to be remixing a track of it. But, in my defence, I have done fuck-all as I've been too busy making my own music. But if you've ever loved The Beatles, The Monkees, The Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub or any other amazing guitar (power) pop, buy this album!

    5. Deerhoof - Deerhoof vs. Evil

    Another year, another Deerhoof album in my top albums list. STOP BEING SO FUCKING AMAZING, DEERHOOF! If you don't like this album, you're insane.

    4. Maritime - Human Hearts

    My favourite indie / rock / guitar album of 2011. I have sung along to this sooo many times in the car. Take 'Annihilation Eyes' ~ I've played this to everyone and every time, they sit up, perk up and want to know who it is. And then they're singing along by the end of the song. Davey von Bohlen, you are a pop genius and I love you.

    3. The Four Owls - Nature's Greatest Mystery

    Pure UK hip hop that makes me sooo fucking proud to be British. The skills on display here are formidable, the imagery is visceral without being literal. If you have ever liked any hip hop ever, you better fucking buy this album.

    2. MC Esoteric - Boston Pharoah

    Dude's got to be my favourite current hip hop artist. His choice of samples, his flow, his themes, his humour, his heart, his sincerity. He makes every other rapper look paper-thin and silly. This is what should be on every radio and TV station, not the pimped, preening pretenders who aren't even fit to suck Eso's little toe. If you don't buy this album, your life will be immeasurably more impoverished.

    1. Yelle - Safari Disco Club

    I have listened to this album more than any other this year. I have driven mates barmy by hitting repeat in my car. I have watched all Yelle's vids and of course, I'm in love with Julie and would like her to have my fat, brown babies.

    This is a perfect electropop album. Nothing is wasted, everything works together. Every note hammers home Yelle's agenda of (primarily) sexy dance fun. The synths weave around Julie Budet's incredible voice like lovers' arms, tickling and teasing. The beats are undeniable, every fibre of your body starts pumping in resonance.

    I've sung along so many times to 'Comme Un Enfant' in my terrible French, it's ridiculous! How can you not love these lyrics:

    "J’aime les fraises tagada et je rêve d’un
    Wayne’s world 3, je veux une méga happy
    End enlacée dans tes bras
    J'en ai pas de dents de sagesse, ça ne me
    Manque pas, quand je mords la nuit à
    Pleines dents pour faire la nouba
    Je suis un enfant, comme un adolescent
    Je suis un adulte, comme un adolescent
    Faut-il vraiment choisir son camp (choisir son camp)
    Le faut-il vraiment, comme un adolescent
    Je chante et je pleure, comme un enfant

    Je joue à me faire peur,
    Comme un enfant, comme un enfant
    Je pense tout et son contraire,
    Comme un enfant, comme un enfant
    Je danse, j’ai le coeur à l’envers,
    Comme un enfant, comme un enfant"

    Here, sing along for yourself:

    Yelle have made the best pop album of 2011 and they have made me sad with their mastery of electropop. It means I have to try much fucking harder!

    Enjoy Yelle and the rest of my 2011 albums. But hands off Julie, she's mine! :-) ♥♥♥
  • HDIF DJing 20/8/11

    21. Aug. 2011, 23:08

    On Friday, I travelled down to London to see my friend Amy. We had a great time wandering around (to me) exotic and sumptuous Leyton. The cake shops! Mmmm... Those little Portuguese thingies, with the pastry and the custardniess are deadly.

    Then last night I DJed again at HDIF (How Does It Feel To Be Loved?), a wonderful indiepop clubnight run by Mr. Ian Watson. I'd originally been cheeky and asked if I could get Amy and I in on the guestlist. Even better than that, Ian said, how about DJing since the scheduled bloke couldn't make it? Of course I said yes.

    So, I DJed and then I danced around with a load of mates who seemed to have gathered from everywhere. It was a lovely night, full of new and old faces. Click the pic above to see a gallery of them!

    Today, Amy, Sean and I had a slap-up Sunday dinner at The Lexington on Pentonville Road before getting yet more cakes at St. Pancras. I would say I've eaten my own weight in cakes this weekend but seeing as they'll be increasing my weight, I think that's some kind of maths thing I don't understand? A convergent series?

    London was beautiful and ugly, rich and poor, tasty and nauseating. It always inspires me and takes me out of my everyday sense of self. I hope I can hold on to some of that feeling back in Derby.

    And here's what I played:

    Papa Topo - Oso Panda
    Army Navy - Last Legs
    [ingenting] - Tack.
    The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Heart In Your Heartbreak
    McCarthy - The Well Of Loneliness
    Moustache of Insanity - We Need More Awesome
    Butcher Boy - Clockwork
    Crystal Stilts - Half a Moon
    Sonic Youth - Kool Thing
    My Bloody Valentine - (When You Wake) You're Still in a Dream
    Comet Gain - The Weekend Dreams
    Pavement - Trigger Cut / Wounded Kite At 17
    La Casa Azul - El Momento Mßs Feliz
    Barry Gray - Joe 90
    Best Coast - Crazy For You
    The Lucksmiths - T-Shirt Weather
    The Shins - Kissing The Lipless
    Milky Wimpshake - Cherry Pop
    Thee Headcoatees - Come Into My Mouth
    Velocette - Get Yourself Together
    Huggy Bear - Herjazz
    Big Troubles - Modern Intimacy
    The Wedding Present - Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft
    House of Love - Destroy The Heart
    Deerhoof - Super Duper Rescue Heads !
    of Montreal - Coquet Coquette
    The Jam - David Watts
    The Hidden Cameras - I Believe In The Good Of Life
    Let's Wrestle - I Won't Lie To You
    Cats On Fire - Higher Grounds
    The Legends - Call it ours
    Erland & The Carnival - This Night
    The Field Mice - Sensitive
    Cure - In Between Days
    Yazoo - Don't Go
  • Bzangy Groink Playlist 16/3/2011

    29. Mär. 2011, 18:46

    Tonight's best new track was 'Super Duper Rescue Heads,' Deerhoof's poppiest track to date. This song is pure sunshine dappling your face through leaves, butterflies flapping around like nutters and tiny dogs yapping shopping lists.

    The best old track was The Boo Radley's 'Lazy Day.' Another slice of summer in a pop song, I used to love dancing to this in the Blue Note, back when they played non-chart music. Shoegaze love.

    Shpongle - before the big bang
    Cyanna - San Quentin
    Access Immortal - Acc The Villain
    Not Advised - A Red Light Situation
    Betty and The Werewolves - Wind-Up
    Shannon Wright - Fractured
    The Legends - Call it ours
    Set Your Goals - Mutiny!
    dr. Oop - Midtown Memoirs
    Akira Kiteshi - Ming The Merciless
    The Crayon Fields - Graceless
    Ten After Two - Reason To Fake
    MC Chris - EMO PARTY
    1000 robota - er sagt ( punks jump up remix )
    Kid Liberty - Fight With Your Fists
    Bassnectar - Art of Revolution
    The I.R.S - Gorilla Shuffle
    Big Troubles - Modern Intimacy
    Electric Wizard - Black Mass
    Igorrr - Melting Nails
    Brand New - Guernica
    School of Seven Bells - Babelonia
    Chunk! no captain chunk - Time's Up!
    Reso - Beasts In The Basement
    Erland & The Carnival - ThisNight
    Darkest Hour - Violent By Nature
    Xzibit f/ Nate Dogg - Multiply
    Chilly Gonzales - You Can Dance
    Calories - Orchard Girls
    Deerhoof - Super Duper Rescue Heads !
    Simon G - Simme
    ACODA - Finding Your Feet
    Amp Live - Hot Right Now (Bassnectar Remi
    boo radleys - Lazy Day
    Everything Everything - Schoolin
    NumÈro - H.O.N.N.E.U.R
    Veara - We Have a Body Count
    WC - Revenge Of The Barracuda
    Belle and Sebastian - Come On Sister
    Matta - Solar Driftwood (Feat. The Abyss)
    Atmosphere - You
    The Juan Maclean - No Time
    Counterpunch - The Great Regression
    Pelican - Ephemeral
    Data Select Party - Wake Up The Town
    Cut Copy - Take Me Over
    Algernon Cadwallader - Serial Killer Status
    The Answering Machine - Video 8
    Mystic Man - Off It
    le Page - Luna Land
    Hour of the Wolf - Domestic Wild
    Taking Back Sunday - Timberwolves at New Jersey
    Say Hi - Take Ya' Dancin'
    Super Chron Flight Brothers - Travailler
    Allo Darlin' - Silver Dollars
    Computer Club - Losing Streak (Featuring Frankmusik)
    KGV - Harde Kern
    Aden - Matinee Idol
    The Notorious B.I.G. - Juicy
    Telefon Tel Aviv - Helen Of Troy
    Luna - Beautiful View
    Sefiros - Exabyt
    Cylob - Flicklife (Cylob Mix)