Sunday, 25 January 2009

Where to now?

How's your 2009 going? Animal Collective have brought on a heatwave pretty early on in the year huh? Merriweather’s where it’s at, properly sunny and free-spirited and a bleak-month mood-lifter. Those dual Crippled Black Phoenix albums are pretty special, really. If you weren’t quite sure of A Love Of Shared Disasters, then this might be the thing that really sucks you in to this band. Spreading their massive post-rock vistas over a wider area that brings in a bit more country, a bit more found sound sampling, a bit more of a groovier riff, a bit of stoned Doorsy pulse. The Doors have cropped up in Golden Animals Free Your Mind and Win a Pony, which is pretty much a Morrison/Manzenera tribute, but respectably so. More throwback action from The Dutchess & The Duke who have produced an heroically rocking Rolling Stones record of their very own. The Blank Dogs The Fields cassette on Fuck It Tapes is way way cool, all the surfy garage psych(o) rock’n’ roll you could ask for (Plus De Stijl just re-released Wavves that Fuck It put out last year which Blank Dogs jump off the back of, but a bit slicker like a helicopter drop on to an even bigger wave in deeper waters….meh, that’s an analogy that not going much further than Long Beach). Speaking of deep, The Hospitals Hairdryer Peace deserved it’s Wire number 3 spot in their EOY list (could/should even have been number 1 over the Bug). I have been playing that a lot and getting more out of it each time, swapping between paying attention to the groove and the backdrops they’re set against – both of which constantly switch focus anyway. Grampall Jookabox are my other pretty essential what-the-hell?! Album band of the moment - Ropechain on Asthmatic Kitty is a real melting pot of surrealism, absurdism and down right screaming soul-jacked rock and roll brilliance. They call it Jungle-Folk. It’s a good a name as any. Also been playing a lot of These Feathers Have Plumes, which Syd really loves too – baby boys can really get into that heavy heady flowing liquid murk and phosphorescent eddies of that tape. Hakobune has also been a pretty effective ambient nursery brew of pretty pretty homeostatic Japanese contours and electronic chanting. Incredibly, Persistent Repetition Of Phrases, the album from V/VM’s new incarnation The Caretaker is another hit with little boy; not sure whether grainy, spectral 40’s instrumentals were intended to be the soundtrack to an 18-week-old’s sleep, but it really works.

Things of a grimmer nature that have darkened the skies over Chez Meat is Fauna – temperate climate black metal from the US – warm, wet, humid misty guitars. So-long frostbite, hello heatstroke – it’s all as blurry and overwhelmingly crippling. Szarlem, another in a long-line of outfits from Varghkoghargasmal’s Avenger, tears it up in suitably lone-ranger fashion. Lots of utterly oppressive sustained claustrophobia from bands like these: Brulvahnatu, Lyrinx, Ashtoreth Incesti, Darkspace, Exitus Letalis, Hopeless and Paranomia. Mutant BM is likely to get even weirder this year, thanks to the January release by Den Saakaldte that features vaudeville and Arabian flourishes, trumpet and….woahwoah…yeah? I think we can leave it on BLACK METAL TRUMPETS and ponder that for some long time.

…..Black metal trumpets. Where to now?

Oh yeah – Old Mayor release their debut ep on London based Paradigms Recordings. Should be due February or March. Awesome news.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

IMP Last.FM Group

I went a bit IMP fan-boy and made an IMP group on I've really gotten into over the last 6 months so much so that I combined my love for it with the International Mixtape Project and made this:

I made a bit of a cheesy first topic post on it, but I still think it's a good idea for a thread. Hopefully the IMP can get some good use out of it, there's a lot of potential in it I think (but then I would, I made it!!)


Sunday, 18 January 2009

101 : 08

For the first time ever I have made my top 100 tracks of the year. The main reason being that I have listened and loved so many dubstep/bass 12"'s this year which didn't go in to my end of year albums list that I just wanted to post something up that represented the massive impact they have had on me this year, plus there’s loads of singles and some amazing compilation tracks which I wouldn't include in my albums list either but I wanted to rep on here too. Plus, this was pretty fun. It has taken me almost an entire month of near-constant post-work work to finish it, so whether I can be bothered to do it again is another matter, but it was a lot of fun.

There’s always the chance that this list would change depending on the week it was finished, but since it’s taken me so long, I’m pretty sure that these tracks are accurately ranked to a precise and highly scientific degree.

Something like that anyway.

So here is my list, my cross-section of my year, my boiled down essence of 2008, my essential elements – the tracks that really made me stop and listen right from the first bar to the final beat (or hum), every time.

No descriptions or anything this time – just the list and downloads in four parts, because the whole thing is pretty massive. I really hope you enjoy all this, because I really do!


Tracks 77 – 101: Download
Tracks 51 – 76: Download
Tracks 26 – 50: Download
Tracks 01 – 25: Download

101. The Rotted - 28 Days Later (Get Dead or Die Trying)
100. Melencolia Estatica - 'Untitled' I (Letum)
99. Awesome Color - Already Down (Electric Aborigines)
98. Appleblim & Peverelist - Circling (12”)
97. Joker - Gully Brook Lane (12”)
96. Aosoth - Never Betrayed (Aosoth)
95. Errors - Pump (It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever)
94. Totalselfhatred - Ruoska (Totalselfhatred)
93. The Black Angels - Snake In The Grass (Directions To See A Ghost)
92. Fortresse - Les Corbeaux (Les Hivers De Notre Epoque)
91. Dananananaykroyd - Pink Sabbath (7”)
90. Black Mountain - Bright Lights (In The Future)
89. Leviathan - Made As The Stale Wine Of Wrath (Massive Conspiracy Against All Life)
88. Pagan Hammer - Ode To My Fathers (Ode To My Fathers)
87. Flying Lotus - STUNTS (Mr Oizo blessKUTMAH Remix)
86. Horse Feathers - Heathen's Kiss (House With No Home)
85. Religious Knives - The Storm (The Door)
84. Emeralds - Magic (Solar Bridge)
83. Grouper - Disengaged (Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill)
82. Pangaea - Router (12”)
81. Shackleton - El Din (Part One) (12”)
80. Prussia - Lady Lady (Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly)
79. Pivot - O Soundtrack My Heart (O Soundtrack My Heart)
78. Hakobune - Yukidaruma (Melting Reminiscence)
77. A.H. Kraken - Black Borny (A.H. Kraken)
76. Cloudland Canyon - Krautwerk (Lie In Light)
75. Woodpigeon - Knock Knock (Treasury Library Canada)
74. To The Boy Elis - Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down (Love Is Like The Cost Of Living)
73. I Haunt Wizards - Incentive To Miscarriage (Demo)
72. Pied Plat - Double Trouble (12”)
71. John the Savage - Hoser (Demo)
70. Tayside Mental Health - I See Hygiene Issues (Mental Eyes Split EP)
69. Sparkling Wide Pressure - Tearing Rippling (Touching Pasture)
68. Wild Beasts - Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyant (Limbo, Panto)
67. Varghkoghargasmal - Near The Stars (Drowned In Lakes)
66. Natural Snow Buildings - Song For Laurie Bird (Laurie Bird)
65. Cheval Sombre - Hyacinth House (Sonic Visitations)
64. Factory Floor - Taxidermist (Planning Application EP)
63. Plastic Passion - Beneath The Light (Contrived Imagery)
62. Oneida - 'Untitled' 3 (Preteen Weaponry)
61. Hercules & Love Affair - Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
60. Hotel Wrecking City Traders - The Lakeshore Strangler (Black Yolk)
59. A Forest Of Stars - Earth and Matter (The Corpse Of Rebirth)
58. Wovenhand - White Knuckle Grip (Ten Stones)
57. Rudi Arapahoe - Conversation Piece (Echoes From One To Another)
56. Paavoharju - Uskallan (Laulu Laakson Kukista)
55. Kowloon Walled City - My Hands Are Turning To Bricks (Turk Street)
54. Grasscut - Muppet (Demo)
53. Department of Eagles - No One Does It Like You (In Ear Park)
52. Portishead - We Carry On (Third)
51. The Death Set - Impossible (Etan's Positive Outlook Remix)
50. Abandon - Lungs (Famine)
49. Women - Lawncare (Women)
48. Los Campesionos - You! Me! Dancing! (Hold on Now Youngster)
47. One Unique Signal - Dismemberment (Dismemberment EP)
46. Gnod - The Somnambulist's Tale (The Somnambulist's Tale)
45. Fuck Buttons - Colours Move (Street Horrrsing)
44. Nullifier - 30 Minute Heat (Demo)
43. Pocahaunted - Riddim Queen (Island Diamonds)
42. Wavves - Wavves (Wavves)
41. White Fang - Acid Reaper (Demo)
40. Revenge of Shinobi - Organ (Demo)
39. The Bug - Poison Dart (London Zoo)
38. The Caretaker - Long Term (Remote) (Persistent Repetition Of Phrases)
37. This Mono Galaxy - Team Building (The Glamour And The Pain)
36. Revenge - Death Heritage (Built Upon Sorrow) (Infiltration.Downfall.Death)
35. Iron Pirate - Abominable Iron Steamship of Death (Iron Pirate)
34. Pete & The Pirates - Bright Lights (Little Death)
33. Benga - 26 Basslines (Diary Of An Afro Warrior)
32. Pyha - Hyungga Is A Tangled Story, Pt. 1 (The Haunted House)
31. Lonely Ghosts - Happy Lovers-Friends Forever (Don’t Get Lost Or Hurt EP)
30. Foals - Two Steps, Twice (Antidotes)
29. I Hope You Suffer - I Could Move Mountains For You (Pocket Change Records Sampler)
28. Racebannon - The Killer (Acid Or Blood)
27. Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (A Land For Renegades)
26. Caina - Temporary Antennae (Temporary Antennae)
25. Krallice - Forgiveness In Rot (Krallice)
24. Times New Viking - Drop-Out (Rip It Off)
23. Brael and Tokyo Bloodworm - Golden Mean Rectangle (Living Language)
22. Laish Quartet - The Love Written Down (One-18, Toy Soldier Records)
21. Apollo Sunshine - Brotherhood Of Death (Shall Noise Upon)
20. Urfaust - 'Untitled' 1 (Drei Rituale Jenseits des Kosmos )
19. M83 - Couleurs (Saturdays=Youth, Mute)
18. Old Mayor - Bring In The Sleeper (Demo)
17. Frightened Rabbit - I Feel Better (Midnight Organ Fight)
16. Der Blutharsch - 'Untitled' VIII (The Philosopher's Stone)
15. Crystal Antlers - Parting Song For The Torn Sky (Crystal Antlers)
14. Action Beat - Maximum Bletchley (Thirty Years Of Hurt Then Us Cunts Exploded)
13. Crystal Castles - Alice Practice (Crystal Castles)
12. Cotti - The Search (12”)
11. MGMT - Kids (Oracular Spectacular)
10. The Mae Shi - Run To Your Grave (Hlllyh)
09. Mayyors - Airplanes (Megan's LOLZ 7”)
08. Horna - Liekki Ja Voima (Sanojesi Äärelle)
07. U.S. Christmas - Uktena (Eat The Low Dogs)
06. Brown Jenkins - Forever Funerals (Angel Eyes)
05. Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened (Microcastle)
04. Distance - V (12”)
03. Turbowolf - Power (7”)
02. Late Of The Pier - Heartbeat (Fantasy Black Channel)
01. TV On The Radio - DLZ (Dear Science)

Sunday, 11 January 2009

20:08 (IMP 41, December 2008)

20:08 (IMP 41, December 2008)


Disc One
20. Iron Pirate – Abominable Iron Steamship Of Death (Iron Pirate)
19. Woodpigeon - Knock Knock (Treasury Library Canada)
18. Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing! (Hold On Now Youngster)
17. Pyha - Hyungga Is A Tangled Story Pt. 1 (The Haunted House)
16. Krallice – Forgiveness In Rot (Krallice)
15. Prussia – Lady Lady (Dear Emily, Best Wishes, Molly)
14. WOLD – The Frozen Field (Stratification)
13. Frightened Rabbit – I Feel Better (The Midnight Organ Fight)
12. Women – Upstairs (Women)
11. Fuck Buttons - Colours Move (Street Horrsing)

Disc Two
10. Times New Viking - Drop-Out (Rip It Off)
09. Action Beat - Justice Yeldman (1977 - 2007: 30 Years Of Hurt Then Us Cunts Exploded)
08. Urfaust - ‘Untitled’ (Drei Rituale Jenseits Des Kosmos)
07. U.S. Christmas - Uktena (Eat The Low Dogs)
06. Horna - Liekki Ja Voima (Sanojesi Äärelle)
05. Rudi Arapahoe - Conversation Piece (Echoes From One To Another)
04. Caïna - Temporary Antennae (Temporary Antennae)
03. Brown Jenkins - Forever Funerals (Angel Eyes)
02. Late Of The Pier - Heartbeat (Fantasy Black Channel)
01. Paavoharju - Tyttö Tanssii (Laulu Laakson Kukista)

For my December IMP I always make it my top twenty tracks from my top twenty albums of the year and this year is no different. 2008 has been an incredibly interesting year for music. Again. Making this list really did feel like an impossible task, much moreso than other years – and it is not because this year has been lacking in greatness; quite the opposite as far as I am concerned. My end of year list has also been a pretty tough challenge because I have listened to so much music this year and have struggled to take it all in. This was the year when I felt dwarfed by the enormity of scale in the range and sheer volume of music in the world and I started really asking myself a lot of questions about what I wanted my relationship with music to be. It can never be a casual affair, but I have lifted the lid off something so large that trying to get to know every recess of it intimately would futile. I have no idea how I am going to tackle 2009, but I am sure I’ll think of something.

I have also been questioning the channels through which people have traditionally come to hear about artists. This was the year I fell totally out of thrall with music journalism. There are still writers I can read who inspire me who are extremely talented, perceptive, and have their own vision as much as the artists they choose to write about, but they are now very few and far between. Over the last 12 months I have got so tired of people writing to make themselves look good, or trying to place themselves in some kind of involved role of importance amongst the groups they are writing about. Far too much is written that comes across like attempts to write the cleverest sentence that the author could be writing about anything, the net result being so worthless and far removed from the task in hand. But I still continue to buy the magazines and read the websites (after all, I am on their side), but I still get angered at narrow minded editorial policy, at the limitations in both knowledge and writing and at the hapless delusions of grandeur.

Of course, I include myself in this, my limitations show themselves every time I hit a key or speak a word; one reason why I have written so little this year and another catalyst to my feelings of bleakness.

But yeah, I still read, and I notice that no two lists of the year have really been that similar, even across the mainstream. It seems this was a year when people’s listening habits became more fragmented than ever. More labels, publications/websites, blogs, social networks, P2P, Web2.0……yet, there seems to be a general consensus across many magazines that this year was pretty dull and lacked any really major classic albums or Big Events like Arctic Monkeys. Whenever anyone says that to me I always reply “You don’t listen to enough music” – which is almost always true. Those people who say this, who ignore word of mouth successes like MGMT or Bon Iver, have simply not been paying attention. But that is not the point. If they are looking for greatness they are looking in the wrong place. For me, this year was not the year of the difficult third album, but of the ever more limited tenth CDr, the swansong label and artist releases, split tour 7”s, free download net labels, sharity blogs, debuts and demos (always always more and more demos).

Apparently the record industry is in trouble and there is some kind of economic crisis crunching everything up. If that were true, why is it so many releases on so many labels have all sold out? Why are all the gigs still selling out? Why are people still making music?

My record industry is not in trouble.

My record industry thrives because the people involved love their music and art and create every part of it themselves. It is created by people, for people who actually care about every detail, right down to the kind of stamps on the envelope they send the records out in. It is this natural spirit of independence that makes the music individual, makes each record an almost incomparable entity to another, gives each artist their identity and a reason for existing.

This is what my top twenty represents and this is what it sounds like.