Archive for January, 2009

January 26, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 23

I was spoilt for choice this week but after much agonising, here are the ten best songs I could find:

B. Fleischmann delivers a swoon-some nursery-rhyme ballad called ‘Still See You Smile’.  Sit back as the music-box sounds, dreamy Organs and brushed Drums caress your ears for three and a half minutes.

I’m mainly choosing the Tru Menace Remix of Daniel Merriweather’s Hip-Hop/Soul cut ‘Chainsaw’ because it’s a got a rare guest Rap from Skinnyman.  If you’ve regularly read this blog you’d know that I’ve been bangin’ on about the guy at every opportunity for the last couple of years (Check out Skinnyman’s sensational LP ‘Council Estate Of Mind’).

Grand Duchy are husband & wife Black Francis & Violet Clark and it seems like Frank has found a partner to match Kim Deal because this sounds like one of the best things he’s been involved with since Pixies (Grand Duchy has the same spirit as that legendary band).  ‘Volcano!’ has got screechy vocals, rumbling Bass and it’s even got passages in different languages à la Pixies.

I’m absolutely in love with Jay-Z’s Obama saluting rework of Young Jezzy & Nas’ ‘My President’ (Re-titled ‘My President Is Black (DC Mix)’).  It’s doing the rounds in different versions but the one I’ve got is just Hove on his lonesome spitting incredible verses like “My president is black, in fact he’s half white, so even in a racist mind he’s half right, if you have a racist mind you be a’ight, my president is black but his house is all white”.  The new American national anthem.

Swanton Bombs’ ‘Shock’ is a supremely catchy Indie ditty in The Strokes mould.  Check out their ‘Mammoth Skull’ EP for three more brilliant cuts.

‘So Messed Up’ begins as a woozy and boozy, shambling shot of Americana then coalesces into a magnificent Psychedelic ballad.  Tall Firs conjure up The Doors at their most unhinged and mystical.

‘Keep That Control (Dancin’ Shoes Mix)’ is an irresistible body-poppin’ Dance tune from The Shoes and Scream Club.  There’s Punk-Funk, Dance, Rock, Funk and hooky Raps to please every taste.

The Travelling Band’s ‘Only Waiting’ is a gorgeous Alt-Country song, graced by subtle production flourishes.  Check out their album ‘Under The Pavement’ which brims with tracks of equal quality.

I like just about everything that Erlend Øye touches and the first track I’m hearing from The Whitest Boy Alive’s (His four piece band) second album doesn’t disappoint.  ‘Island’ has an incredible toe-tapping Indie-Funk sound.

I adore both Kid Sister and Pase Rock so I was ecstatic to discover they’d both dropped guest Raps on Tittsworth’s ‘WTF’.  The available Remixes are all great but for me DJ Wool’s is the pick.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING THE TEN SONGS

B. Fleischmann MySpace / Purchase
Daniel Merriweather MySpace / Purchase
Grand Duchy MySpace / Purchase
Jay-Z MySpace / Purchase
Swanton Bombs MySpace / Purchase
Tall Firs MySpace / Purchase
The Shoes MySpace / Purchase
The Travelling Band MySpace / Purchase
The Whitest Boy Alive MySpace / Purchase
Tittsworth MySpace / Purchase

Check out this amazing (But unfortunately low quality) clip of Jay-Z and Young Jeezy performing ‘My President Is Black’ to a delirious pre-inauguration crowd (You might wanna skip the annoying sweary bit at the start though).  The parts where Jay-Z does his lines acapella, nearly causing a riot, give me goosebumps every time:

January 20, 2009

WAX AUDIO – Come To Nazareth (MLK-Obama Mix) mp3

Just thought I’d point everyone in the direction of this superb mashup (That’s been rocking my world for the last month!) on this particular day… for no particular reason:

Wax Audio – Come To Nazareth (MLK-Obama Mix) mp3

Check out this bit of Boss lead awesomeness (Though it does get a bit ‘Nuremberg’ at points):

January 19, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 22

For the last couple of days, I’ve been sniggering happily while reading (Daily Show star) John Hodgman’s list of ‘700 Hobo Names’.  My favurites include ‘#34 Senator Cletus Scoffpossum’, ‘#675 Rocky Shitstain Mankowicz’, ‘#132 Patrick Intergalatic’ and… ‘#209 Nick Nolte’.  Check out this website devoted to it and there’s a 50 minute recording of him reading them out with Guitar backing (If you know where to look).  While not listening to that, I’ve been listening to this:

Firstly I can recommend the undulating Pianos and clattering Drums of Delta Spirit’s ‘Trashcan’.   The vocal is halfway between a piercing Indie screech and a full bodied Soul roar.

DJ B-Stee has taken Daft Punk’s already magnificent floor shaker ‘Robot Rock’ and squeezed in an extra descriptive word and doubled the pace for his remix entitled ‘Robot Club Rock’.  It’s a cut with every beat and sound designed to make you move.

The immense Brass-heavy orchestral sound on ‘Sincerely, Jane’ brings to mind a flavoursome Bernard Hermann score.  It’s a delightful backing that makes for a great contrast for Janelle Monáe’s soulful vocals and grimey street level lyrics.  Easily gotta be my track of the week.

If you’ve got a few hours this weekend, I suggest checking out Buffetlibre’s ‘Rewind 2.0′ covers and remixes project.  They’ve got together a plethora of artists to cover their favourite songs from the Eighties and Nineties.  Unlike similar compilations, the standard is amazingly high so it was agony to choose just one track.  In the end I plumbed for Little Pictures’ Funky Electronic reworking of Weezer’s classic Guitar-Pop single ‘Buddy Holly’ (Download more cuts or even the whole damn thing for free by clicking here).

‘Years Of Refusal’ is Morrissey’s third album since his return from exile and the striking image on the cover proclaims his new confidence.  Gone is the whippet thin image of The Smiths, replaced with a vaguely threatening photo of him looking like he’s built like the proverbial “Brick shithouse”.  Highlight ‘It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore’ builds in intensity across it’s five minute length, while Morrissey delivers a spine tingling vocal (Naturally!).

New Villager’s ‘Rich Doors’ is part Tribal rhythm, part Chinese Opera, and part Kraftwerk like Electronica.  The track leaps between these different genres with gleeful abandon.

‘If My Album Sold A Million’ is from Noah & The Whale’s new rarities compilation erroneously titled ‘The A Sides’.  But of course that’s intentional as a track this lyrically and musically catchy could’ve easily been an ‘A Side’.

Passion Pit’s ‘I’ve Got Your Number’ reminded me a little of Postal Service.  Mix in a little Flaming Lips silliness and Kate Bush seriousness and you’ve got it.

‘Hot Tips’ sounds allot like Pixies (With a pinch of Punk-Funk) and since Frank Black and Kim Deal don’t seem to have overcome their hatred of one another (And recorded anything else new) The D’Urbervilles are entirely welcome.

The Virgins album is a uniformly great LP packed with ear catching Indie-Rock tunes.  ‘Fernando Pando’ is just one example, half toe-tapping Indie-Funk and half searingly emotional acoustic ballad.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP FILE WITH ALL TEN SONGS

Delta Spirit MySpace / Purchase
DJ B-Stee MySpace / Purchase
Janelle Monáe MySpace / Purchase
Little Pictures MySpace / Download
Morrissey MySpace / Purchase
New Villager MySpace / Purchase
Noah & The Whale MySpace / Purchase
Passion Pit MySpace / Purchase
The D’Urbervilles MySpace / Purchase
The Virgins MySpace / Purchase

Here’s a live performance of Janelle Monáe’s ‘Sincerely, Jane’ featuring a different and fantastic outro (She’s rocking the Grace Jones look):

January 12, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 21

It’s pleasing that my musical 2009 has kicked off by finding ten tracks as great and as varied as these… let’s hope the rest of year is gonna be as good:

‘I Love College’ is Rap-jester Asher Roth’s soundtrack to the kind of antics displayed in 1978 comedy classic ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’.  His vocals are gonna remind you of Eminem but his rhymes have more of the lyrical cheek of early Beastie Boys.  This boy’s got plenty of other tunes equally destined for chart success.

‘Deer Tick’ bring a bit of Lo-Fi acidic Psychedelic-Folk called ‘These Old Shoes’.  It’s got the gently rolling rhythm of the train mentioned in the lyrics.

Luke Steele, the loony Pop mind behind The Sleepy Jackson is back, with a new band called Empire of the Sun.  They have many fine tunes but I’m partial to the Prince influenced (‘Around the World in a Day’ period anyway) ‘Half Mast’.

Sound Of Rum are purveyors of fine Rap-Poetry delivered by front woman Excentral Tempest.  They’re well worth checking out but here’s a solo track from the lady herself called ‘What We Came After’.  Harps and Synths shimmer while she drops her labyrinthine rhymes (Thanks to MusicLikeDirt and Scroobius Pip for the tip).

‘If I Had A Heart’ mixes the ominous chants of some heathen temple with the terrifying hum of a dreaded machine of death… so not a Pop song then.  Sweden’s Fever Ray have created a soundscape racked with tension adorned with ghostly vocals.

‘Don’t Joke With DJ Papa’ is a clever collision of Quantic & Spanky Wilson’s ‘Don’t Joke With A Hungry Man’ and Polish-Funk-outfit Big Band Katowice’s ‘Sorcery’.  It’s got Soul power, Funk drive and it’s just one cut from new Mash-Up maestros Funky Mamas & Papas Recordings.

Japanese Cartoon are rumoured to be the new Rock-based project from Lupe Fiasco.  However their MySpace page states that singer “Percival Fats is NOT Lupe Fiasco, although he is a dear friend”.  To my ears ‘Heirplanes’ sounds like Lupe, but whatever the truth, it’s a thrilling, sub-sonic-Bass driven, politically sharp Demo.

Kid Cudi’s Rap cut ‘Cudi Get’ features weird 50s B-Movie sounds against a little kiddie singing a Slade chorus.  On top of this unorthodox production, Cudi’s rhymes take in Martin Luther King and Stop ‘n’ Search.

‘Back In The Orange Grove’ is a gorgeous Piano lament enhanced with some David Gilmour style Guitar atmospherics.  It’s a performance of towering emotional power and searing beauty.  Kingsbury are kindly giving away the whole ‘Lie To Me’ EP, from whence it came, if you click here.

‘Dem Na Like Me’ manages to combine three peerless talents in one short track.  There’s Ninja Tune’s The Qemists featuring guest Raps from chart star Wiley and Dubstep genius King Cannibal on Remixing duties.  I’d also suggest checking out the rest of the remixes of ‘Dem Na Like Me’, as it’s one of those rare occasions when they’re all good (And all in different ways).

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP CONTAINING THE TEN SONGS

Asher Roth MySpace / Blog
Deer Tick MySpace / Purchase
Empire Of The Sun MySpace / Purchase
Excentral Tempest MySpace / Purchase
Fever Ray MySpace / Purchase
Funky Mamas & Papas Recordings MySpace / Purchase
Japanese Cartoon MySpace
Kid Cudi MySpace / Purchase
Kingsbury MySpace / Purchase
The Qemists MySpace / Purchase

Here’s the Video for Fever Ray’s ‘If I Had A Heart':

January 9, 2009

STOP ME’s: Top 100 Tracks Of 2008

I’ve greatly enjoyed doing my weekly TEN4SE7EN posts this year, putting the emphasis on searching out new and exciting sounds (Many of which feature in this top 100) rather than previous years when I’d concentrated on  writing lengthy and tiring reviews of a handful of singles (Click to view 2005, 2006 and 2007’s ‘Top 100 Tracks’).

You’ll find links below to YouTube vids of the tracks (If they exist), MySpace links, links to purchase the tracks/albums, a couple of links to download-for-free (If the artists are kindly sharing) and lastly a Zip file containing the Top 10 plus 15 other of the hardest-to-find/vinyl-only Mp3s.

So, without further ado here’s my annual Top 100 For 2008 (In descending order!):

1. DAN BLACK – HYPNTZ
“And I just love your flashy ways, I guess that’s why they broke and you’re so paid”
It took me a little by surprise, that Dan Black’s cover of the posthumous Notorious B.I.G. hit ‘Hypnotize’ was my favourite track of the year.  On the first spin I thought it was certainly a fine track but every listen since has raised it that little bit higher in my estimation (Probably by the thousandth listen I’ll be proclaiming it “Track of the century!”).  It’s the angelic choirs and soaring strings that really make ‘HYPNTZ’  but it’s finished off by a great drum-loop and Dan Black’s bizarre-sounding fey Indie reading of Biggie’s harsh gangsta rhymes.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

2. MGMT – Time To Pretend
“I’m feeling rough, I’m feeling raw, I’m in the prime of my life, let’s make some music, make some money, find some models for wives”
The lyrics to ‘Time To Pretend’ speak eloquently of the bright lights of celebrity that have (Siren-like) called men and women to their destruction for the past century.  Underpinning the words is one of the most fabulous, technicolour and explosive Pop productions ever produced which manages to capture all the glittering diamond like beauty and all the elegantly-wasted-corpse like darkness.
(Buy) (YouTube) (Website)

3. GRACE JONES – Williams’ Blood
“Finally she told me, Grandpa Dan travelled, playing on the road, with Nat King Cole”
Grace sings of the the dangerous streak she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family (Note the location of the apostrophe).  ‘Williams’ Blood’ is glorious Disco and heavenly Gospel with a truly liberating chorus of “Let me fly!”.   Listen for the ghostly recording of her mother, singing ‘Amazing Grace’ at the end.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

4. TY – The Scheme Of Things
“I smile at the crackheads in my area, I remember when we used to play pat-ball as children, in neat school uniforms, what went wrong?”
Without doubt ‘The Scheme Of Things’ is the best thing that Ty’s done so far.  His rhymes take in the whole sweep of day-to-day human existence while the undulating Piano captures the up-and-down nature of life.  This should be  his application for poet Laurette.
(Buy) (Apples & Snakes MySpace) (Ty MySpace)

5. BRITISH SEA POWER – A Trip Out
“Out with the daggers, off with the gloves, there is so much, that you can loath”
‘A Trip Out’ absolutely raaawwkks! plain and simple with Drum dueling against Guitar in a thrilling battle.  The lyrics surge with anger and brim over with joy.  Every album that BSP release inches them closer to the Coldplay-like stardom that they deserve.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

6. LOW MOTION DISCO – Things Are Gonna Get Easier (Sebastien Tellier Vocal Remix)
“Ooo-oh child, things are gonna get easier”
‘Things Are Gonna Get Easier’ is a slow-burning, hypnotic Eighties-sounding minimal ballad with a tear-inducing Clapton-esque Guitar solo.  Bye the way, it’s an almost unrecognisable re-work of The Five Stairsteps 1970 Soul single ‘O-o-h Child’.
(Buy) (MySpace)

7. A-TRAK (FEAT. LUPE FIASCO) – Mastered
“I’m much flyer, united I’m NASA, I’m much higher, not a puffer I’m a passer, not a rusher or a tackler”
Lupe had the number 1 spot in my list last year but number 7 ain’t bad.  He barely pauses for breath between tongue-twisting rhymes while A-Trak creates a deliciously different pulsating Hip-Hop production.
(Buy) (MySpace)

8. ESTELLE (FEAT. KANYE WEST) – American Boy
“About this Americana, rhymer, am I shallow, cuz all my clothes designer, dressed smart like a London bloke, before he speak his suit bespoke”
You can hear why Kanye deserves the acclaim, when he manages to make every line of his guest rap an irresistible hook.  Estelle’s vocals are also magic with producer Will.I.Am re-cutting his own album-track ‘Impatient’ into this international smash.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

9. DINOSAUR PILE-UP – My Rock ‘n’ Roll
“Bless my poor mother, she always knew somethin’ was goin’ on with her son, I guess it shows”
This UK trio manage to out Rock the muscular power of America’s Foo Fighters.  Get those devil horns ready to scream the chorus of “Rock ‘n’ Roll! Rock ‘n’ Roll! Rock ‘n’ Roll! My Rock ‘n’ Roll!!”.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

10. FLAMINGO CRASH – It’s Mystery Music!
“I’m seeing visions of the future but it’s no different from the past”
‘It’s Mystery Music!’ features one of the best uses of the Saxophone since the instrument was invented.  Every molecule of your body will want to move along to this Indie dancefloor destroyer.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

11. THE BACAO RHYTHM & STEEL BAND – Pimp
“Instrumental”
Steel Drum players and a Cuban style Trumpet remake the music from 50 Cent’s ‘P.I.M.P’ knocking the original out of the park.
(Buy) (MySpace)

12. THE RACONTEURS – Consoler Of The Lonely
“Lightbulbs are getting dim, my interests are starting to wane, I’m told it’s everything a man could want, and I shouldn’t complain”
A piledriving thrilling ride and the band is clearly on fire, recording one of the best tracks that Jack White’s ever done (Which is saying something!).
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

13. KWES – Hearts In Home
“I’d rather spend the night indoors with you, the music and the food, we must be true”
An intimate, delicate, beautiful flower of a song by a future superstar.
(Buy) (MySpace)

14. WARNING! HEAT RAY! – Spit It Out
“Green hills, dead mills and bruises, man lives his life as he chooses, skunk pale skin, taint of Mosley, man of the people, you lonely”
An Indie masterpiece made to mark the 50th anniversary of the Notting Hill riots featuring disturbing samples of ‘vintage’ rascists.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

15. BENJI HUGHES – Tight Tee Shirt
“She works for the circus sellin’ cotton candy, sellin’ people rotten candy, she’s got a pistol in ‘er purse, and it comes in handy, when a fella gets too friendly”
Perfectly crafted Pop from the hirsute genius that is Benji Hughes.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

16. AMADOU & MARIAM – Sabali
“La la la la la la…”
Damon Albarn brings a distinctly different Electronic production to this famous “World Music” duo.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

17. KELPE – Shipwreck Glue (Kelpe Extraversion)
“Instrumental”
One the most inventive records all year, featuring a ping pong table for percussion and a Bass sound so huge you could stick it on the stereo while you “Cruze in da hood”.
(Buy) (MySpace)

18. BUMBLEBEEZ – Rio
“No doubt the beaches will be bangin’ on the sand, and everybody doin’ their thing when they move it to the sound of the band”
A super catchy chorus and an equally catchy bizarro Pop sound.
(Buy) (MySpace)

19. FELLA VAUGHN – Sardines For Dinner
“I used to read Word Up! magazine, Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Heavy D up in the Limousine”
At 53 seconds, this nostalgic treat is one of the shortest Raps ever but also one of the best.
(Buy) (MySpace)

20. BIG STRIDES – No Lower Case Kisses
“Even if I get your number wrong, or even if I can’t spell Lapsang Souchong”
From the first second of that double Bass sound you love it but then the Drums and rhymes come in sending the track into the stratosphere.
(Buy) (MySpace)

21. THE REAL TUESDAY WELD – The Decline & Fall Of The Clerkenwell Kid
“One day in May, it suddenly happened, I met myself, I had to go, so I did”
The finest track from one of the finest albums of the year featuring a beautiful and unlikely marriage of the Banjo and Clarinet.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

22. MILK KAN – God With An Ipod
“Leadbelly and Woody on the Rock Island Line, Tin Pan Alley, Billie Holiday time”
Every single that Milk Kan puts out is a classic so I await his album with baited breath.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

23. STANLEY BRINKS – Stanley Brinks
“She travelled the world, she studied and painted, my mother was quitet and educated”
A intriguing autobiographical lyric about the man himself from his curiously titled ‘Dank U’ LP.
(Buy) (MySpace)

24. GOLDEN BUG – Midnight Rabbit
“My name is white rabbit, I’m gonna prove to you, that all your bad habits, are really good for you”
The “My name is white rabbit…” vocal sample drives me crazy and much robot dancing ensues.
(Buy) (MySpace)

25. ELBOW – One Day Like This
“Someone tell me how I feel, it’s silly wrong, but vivid right, oh kiss me like the final meal, yeah kiss me like we die tonight”
For me, their last album was better but they richly deserved the Mercury Prize and no one could deny that this single was epic and beautiful songwriting (But I bet the short-sighted guy that dropped Elbow from their last label tried to deny it… through tears of despair).
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

26. KING CANNIBAL – Flower Of Flesh & Blood
“We are many and you are one, how can you hope to prevail?”
One of the two best Dub-Step tracks of the year, with creepy beats and disturbing samples this pulsates with dangerous energy.
(Buy) (MySpace)

27. D-FROST BEATS – Big Bwoy
“Instrumental”
A rubberised, big Bass bouncing, twisting and turning instrumental from Damon Frost.
(Buy) (MySpace)

28. THE FABULOUS PENETRATORS – Dixiefied
“I wanna go out, like a feral child… dixiefied”
Just one awesome track from this toe-tapping and thrilling Rock-a-Billy band.
(Buy) (MySpace)

29. FLEET FOXES – English House
“You go with your two feet bare, down through the cold lane there, to Brighton, a country house, a liar and a louse live there”
Featuring beautiful choirs to match The Beach Boys at their best but in a distinctly Brit-Folk style.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

30. GONZALES – Working Together (Akira The Don Remix)
“Every day I cycle, cos London Transport takes the michaels, I’m signed up with Hackney Freecycle, I got a free fishtank, it’s delightful”
One of the greatest things that Gonzalez and Akira have done, featuring the best uplifting chorus in ages and new rhymes from The Don.
(Buy) (Mp3) (YouTube) (Website)

31. THE BUG (FEAT. KILLA P & FLOWDAN) – Skeng
“Skeng, Skeng, Skeng, me an’ Killa man we load the big Skeng”
The other great Dub-Step cut, combining hard edged beats and equally hard words.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

32. BOY CRISIS – Dressed To Digress
“Fresh to death and dressed to digress, I’m just the tiger and I’m lookin’ for a tigress”
Glitzy Electro-Pop genius with deliciously fun lyrics.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

33. GIDEON CONN – I Want You Around
“Been lucky to be able to do what I wanna do, well I do it for me, but I also wanna share it with you”
First-album-Badly-Drawn-Boy music meets Rap on this brilliant track from Sam Duckworth’s (aka Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.) Mannequin Republic label.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

34. JAPE – Phil Lynott
“It was a luner eclipse, I was out drinkin’ with two of my oldest pals, one is called Glen, one is Al”
Lyrics that take you right to a point in Jape’s life, like a beautiful photograph.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

35. GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY. – Waiting For The Monster To Drown
“I just don’t know what it was, and I don’t know whence it came, an Albatross fighting like a buzz saw and calling my name”
One of the most perfectly produced tracks of the year thanks to Nitin Sawhney, and of course those huge Drums and electrifying Strings.
(Buy) (MySpace)

36. TILLY & THE WALL – Beat Control
“Let the beat control your body, you and me there’s no one watching, c’mon we can rock this party, all night long believe me”
If (Like me) you were mildly underwhelmed by previous Tilly & The Wall tracks then you’ll be unprepared for the Glorious Pop perfection of ‘Beat Control’.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

37. ORPHAN BOY – Satellites
“So I seem to lose the peace, a common riot on the common streets, we love the rose but we hate the rule, for private land and for private schools”
A raging Punk single from the criminally overlooked Orphan Boy who produced one of the albums of the year ‘Shop Local’.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

38. JEGSY DODD & THE ORIGINAL SINNERS – Liverpool (So Good They Named It Once)
“We could of filled the Mersey a hundred times, with the tears this City’s shed, from the poverty of our forefathers, to Hillsborough’s futile dead”
Jegsy’s 7 minute ode to his native city, chocked full of his usual caustic witticisms.
(Buy) (MySpace)

39. NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
“He ended up like so many of them do, back on the streets of New York City, in a soup queue, a dope-fiend, a slave, then prison, then the madhouse, then the grave”
Grinding Blues goodness featuring one of Nick’s all time greatest lyrics.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

40. K-THE-I??? – Lead The Floor
“I’m sick to my stomach and I feel like I’m about to vomit, correct me if I attend Hailey’s comet”
A cerebral 2008 Rap highlight with skittering beats and ominous Electronics.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

41. BLITZEN TRAPPER – Furr
“You can wear your fur, like the river on fire, but you better be sure, if your makin’ god a liar, I’m a rattlesnake babe, I’m like fuel on fire”
Close harmony Folk about turning into a wolf, making it unique and rather wonderful.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

42. LE LE – Breakfast
“Hola hola hola, oatmeal and granola… you breakfast”
An hilariously offensive spoken word dance killer comparing “Yo’ Bitch” to the most important meal of the day.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

43. YILA (FEAT. SCROOBIUS PIP) – Astronaut
“It was kinda clear right then, there were strangers within us, we’re more like, you be Charles Mingus, I’ll be sticky fingers”
One of Scroobius Pip’s finest lyrics and according to Music Like Dirt there are  more collaborations with Yila in the pipeline.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

44. JULIAN COPE & THE BLACK SHEEP – Preaching Revolution
“Diggers, ranters, levellers, did force a real solution, they gave to us our common-wealth by preaching revolution”
A 7 minute acoustic song taking in the sweep of British history managing to be both lyrically educational and lyrically quite daft.
(Buy) (MySpace)

45. MENAHAN STREET BAND – Home Again!
“Instrumental”
A musical evocation of that wonderful feeling of a warm summers evening, with just a hint of melancholy.
(Buy) (MySpace)

46. DON CAVALLI – Aggression
“Gimme wine like a river, and wine as it flows, pop the sound up in my ears, I got to have some more”
A classic sounding Blues tune with John Lee Hooker style “How, how, how” bits.
(Buy) (MySpace)

47. MR OIZO (FEAT. CARMEN CASTRO) – Two Takes It
“I wanna cum right now, in your face, let me show ya how”
Features a well deployed sample of Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s hit single combined with sexy Disco strings.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

48. MICK BOOGIE Vs ADELE (FEAT. 6TH SENSE) – Chasing 1988: The Intro
“Let me tell you ’bout miss A to the D to the ELE, I remember the day when I picked up the cell-ay, it was my hommie Mick Boogie, said that we remixing Adele, and yer he got the goodies”
Adele’s smash ‘Chasing Pavements’ gets remade as a Drum-Break laden late eighties cut, complete with superb guest rhymes from 6th Sense.
(Mp3) (YouTube) (MySpace)

49. WILD BEASTS – The Devil’s Crayon
“This truly is the Devil’s crayon, tracing your shoulder blades, aglow like Rayon”
Bizarro Indie-Pop with theatrical vocals worthy of Sparks.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

50. PETE GREENWOOD – Penny Dreadful
“I’m holding down the notion that I’m doomed and it’s all relatively bad, and it’s all me to blame”
Absolutely gorgeous gently rolling Folk with Pete’s beautifully understated voice.
(Buy) (MySpace)

51. EAST IS EAST – Da Encore
“When you first come in the game, they try to play you, then you drop a couple of hits, look how they wave to you”
An inspired mashup of Jay-Z’s ‘Encore’ and Daft Punk’s ‘Da Funk’.
(Buy) (MySpace)

52. ARCADION – Ghost Feeder
“Instrumental”
Bass heavy, percussive masterpiece designed to “Roll wid”.
(Buy) (MySpace)

53. ALPINEKAT – The Large Hadron Rap
“A circle that crosses through Switzerland and France, sixty nations contribute to scientific advance”
Science journalist Kate McAlpine quite literally “Drops some science” managing to educate and entertain.
(YouTube) (Wikipedia)

54. AKALA – Bit By Bit (Acoustic Remix)
“No more bluffin’, it’s somethin’, I feel it in my belly button, I’m a glutton for yo blushin’, your sweet little nothin’s, are just gushin’, and you fussin’, in yo face when you cussin’, even when you wrong and no one can tell you nothin'”
The acoustic-based-beats are much more mellow than the album cut, leaving Akala’s masterful rhymes room to breath.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

55. BEN MONO (FEAT. JEMENI) – Jesus Was A B-Boy
“I’m telling you Jesus was a B-Boy, for I too have seen the burning bush… and smoked it”
Slinky tune with Jemeni’s amusing spoken word lyric.
(Buy) (MySpace)

56. THE KILLS – U.R.A Fever
“Put it in my left hand, put it in a fruit machine, everyone’s a winner, laughing like a seagull”
Every Kills album contains one undisputed masterpiece and this one belongs to 2008’s ‘Midnight Boom’.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

57. DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB – Rivers & Rainbows
“I swear I’ll always need you, I swear I’ll always need you, I swear I’ll always need you”
A dramatic and thunderous Blues stomper recalling the first B.R.M.C. album (Going all ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ in the middle).
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

58. DAWN LANDES – Straight Lines
“Remember when we were right, God threw his darts at stars in the night, I had a kite, you had a trampoline and a BMX bike, you didn’t even like”
A Indie-Folk tune brightened with a light Country twang with a gorgeous vocal from Dawn.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

59. KING KHAN & THE SHRINES – Took My Lady To Dinner
“All I wanted was a little romance, a little hoochie coo on the side, Instead I watched her booty grow, three times its original size”
Riff-tastic, Horn filled Garage rocking love song about King Khan’s elephantine love.
(Buy) (MySpace)

60. RICHARD WALTERS – True Love Will Find You In The End
“This is a promise with a catch, only if you’re looking will it find you”
A magical cover of the Daniel Johnston classic.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

61. CASHIER NO.9 – To The Death Of Fun
“I slept with the light on, this man is terrified of all things, the small things, the things you shouldn’t think of”
Just one from track from a band with a catalogue of future Indie-Funk hits.
(Buy) (MySpace)

62. WILEY – Cash In My Pocket (Feat. Daniel Merriweather)
“All I need is that bread with a little bit o’ butter, cos I really need those pounds, pounds”
Wiley faces the current economic climate with a catchy song to blow the blues away.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

63. BOB DYLAN – Dreamin’ Of You
“Miss so much, the softest touch, like the grave of some child, who neither wept or smiled”
Not strictly a 2008 track, as it’s from Dylan’s new mid-90s rarities album but by god it’s so damn good.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

64. CALEXICO – Two Silver Trees
“You are draped in white, like the blossom of the trees”
A whispered, mysterious slice of Americana.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

65. DR. RUBBERFUNK – Dr. Rubberfunk’s Fantasy Funk Band
“Love will make you drink and gamble, make you stay out all night long”
A skillful blend that’s literally a “Fantasy Funk Band” featuring Nina Simone, Bootsy Collins, The Temptations and of course James Brown.
(Buy) (MySpace)

66. FLORENCE & THE MACHINE – Kiss With A Fist
“Your slaps don’t stick, your kicks don’t hit, so we remain the same, love sticks, sweat drips, break the lock if it don’t fit”
Garage-Rock guitars spice up this Indie-Pop single with a superb lyric (According to every ‘End of year’ roundup I’ve read, they’re going to be huge in 2009).
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

67. JOHN LEGEND (FEAT. ANDRE 3000) – Green Light (MSTRKRFT Remix)
“I see you move, I’m checkin’ your smile, you’re working your back like it’s goin’ out o’ style, shake just a little bit faster, shake just a little now girl”
The combined genius of Andre 3000’s guest Rap and MSTRKRFT’s remixing skills manage to cancel out the innate shity-ness of John Legend.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

68. KYLIE AULDIST – Make Me Want More
“I know just where I stand, I’m your everything, and your my man”
A true Soul classic with big strings and long languorous notes from Kylie Auldist.
(Buy) (MySpace)

69. MAVIS STAPLES – Eyes On The Prize (Live)
“Well the only chains we can stand, are the chains of hand in hand, keep your eyes on the prize, hold on”
The highlight from Mavis’ peerless live Soul album, demonstrating a band on fire.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

70. THE AEROPLANES – Slipping Away
“When all that I want is running away, with all that I need”
Some timeless Liverpudlian jangly Guitar-Pop.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

71. ANDRE WILLIAMS & THE NEW ORLEANS HELLHOUNDS – Can You Deal With It?
“I like that look in your eyes, I like them great thunder thighs”
Surging Blues power worthy of The Doors combined with Andre’s gravel Raw screeching.
(Buy) (MySpace)

72. 6IX TOYS (FEAT. YARAH BRAVO) – Wanna Ride
“If you try and stop it, you know it’ll only feed a hunger, come on over here and talk to me a little longer”
Silky Funk featuring Yarah Bravo sexy guest spot.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

73. NANA GRIZOL – Circles ‘Round The Moon
“A thousand postcards later we seem older, but that’s normal, my car’s broke down and its just too cold to hitchhike to your door”
An all to brief low-fi Indie singalong gem.
(Buy) (MySpace)

74. ABSENTEE – Boy, Did She Teach You Nothing?
“Without willing you to make mistakes that sink you, wouldn’t have it any other way”
A thrilling Pop single enhanced by Dan Michaelson’s cavern-deep vocals.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

75. MARC HYPE & JIM DUNLOOP – Wah Wah Wah
“The guitar plugs into the Wah-Wah-Peddle with a standard cord”
‘Wah Wah Wah’ has got one of those great Music-teacher vocal samples mixed with some damn fine breaks, and killer riffs.
(Buy) (MySpace)

76. JEREMY WARMSLEY – Temptation
“A heaven, a gateway, a hope, just like a feeling inside, it’s no joke, and though it hurts me to treat you this way, betrayed by words, I’d never heard, too hard to say”
On the surface, a fairly straight ahead cover of the New Order single but it’s got new magic pulsing in every note.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

77. SONNY J – Disastro
“Instrumental”
An absolutely monstrous sample-heavy cut destroying everything in it’s wake.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

78. SUSANNA – Jailbreak
“Tonight there’s gonna be a jailbreak, somewhere in this town, see me and the boys we don’t like it, so were getting up and going down”
A sublime cover of the Thin Lizzy track featuring nought but Piano and Susanna’s voice.
(Buy) (MySpace)

79. JENNY LEWIS (FEAT. ELVIS COSTELLO) – Carpetbaggers
“They come to town when the war is over, dirty boots in the middle of the night, trolling the bars, hitting on the soldiers, boys give it up without a fight”
A superb Country-Rock song from Jenny Lewis with a predictably superb guest vocal from Elvis Costello.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

80. MARVIN THE MARTIAN & DJ JACK NIMBLE (FEAT. 50 CENT) – You So Tough
“You wanna fuck wid us, you wanna scuffle us, I can’t think of anybody out der that’s tough enough, dey never rough enough, Marvin’ll rough ‘em up, I’m little as Elmo, strong as Snuffleupagus”
Marvin The Martian spits his typically funny rhymes over Fiddy’s beat.
(Mp3) (MySpace)

81. THE KING BLUES – What If Punk Never Happened? (Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip Mix)
“There’s no one around to fight Margaret Thatcher, the power of the flower just couldn’t match ‘er”
Dan Le Sac gives the poetic lyrics a superior Electronic backing than the original while Scroob adds his own words at the end.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

82. JACKSON BROWNE – Time The Conqueror
“Time in my mind, the past of least resistance, the future almost blind, both in need of assistance”
A warm Country-Rock song matured in oak and dipped in honey.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

83. R$STIFORM BOD1ES – Panic Shopper
“Look out you vibrating, bent neck, bowed head, PS3, building jumpin’, panic shopper”
Furious Political Rap with hardly a pause for breath over head nodding beats.
(Buy) (MySpace)

84. GENERAL FIASCO – Ever So Shy
“Let’s get wasted, it’s all we ever do, we’re so stupid, that’s okay the drunks are your friends”
This vocal-hook laden Indie track is my 2009-hit-single tip (If they release it).
(Buy) (MySpace)

85. THE MELTING ICE CAPS – Selfish Bachelor
“I’ve had too much time just pleasing myself, now I am too stuck to please anybody else”
David Shah’s burgeoning solo career (Producing subtlety witty songs such as this) is soothing comfort for those that were saddened by the demise of criminally overlooked Electro-Pop masters Luxembourg.
(Mp3) (MySpace)

86. FUJIYA & MIYAGI – Knickerbocker
“We’ve got no room for Technicolour, and Emeric Pressburger, set to Diedrich Knickerbocker”
Fujiya & Miyagi produced many fine tracks this year but the lyrically-twisting, name-dropping ‘Knickerbocker’ had to be my highlight.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

87. CITY REVERB – City Of Lights (Reverso 68 Remix)
“I was alone, I was alone, I was alone”
The original was great but Remix-masters Reverso 68 take it into their usual stratospheric House-Music realms.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

88. CAP PAS CAP – We Are Men (Jape Remix)
“I’m shakin’ my hand, to understand, drivin’ at night, do you see alright”
Jape almost totally remakes the track in his own twisted Phychedic image.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

89. THE GRITS – The Sons Of Your Funk Mother
“It’s time for some raw, rare, greasy, sleazy, slimy, sexed up Funk, the future of the funk, the sons of your funk mother, the UK saviours, The Grits”
The intro that I’ve quoted above pretty much says it all.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

90. NIKOLAJ GRANDJEAN – The First Picture
“One million different shadows, weeping round the willows”
Quite and understated Lo-Fi Folk that’s infused with emotional power.
(Buy)

91. PRODUCERS WITH COMPUTERS – Summer 98 (Remix)
“I wrote some songs cos I love her, then played some shows in the suburbs, it was the middle of summer, in Essex”
Features one of the best moments of any track this year, when the vocalist sings “In Essex” (Quoted above) in a high-pitched voice (But I couldn’t really tell you why).
(Buy) (MySpace)

92. MISTER MODO & UGLY MAC BEER (FEAT. JESSICA FITOUSSI) – Not Afraid
“Whispers on the willow tree”
Soulful vocals and a swinging Sixties vibe provided by the Harpsichord.
(Buy) (MySpace)

93. CONOR OBERST – Souled Out!!!
“Now all you need’s an electric razor, a magic bullet and a grassy knoll, the whole world’s just a little oyster, to Snow White and the poisoned apples”
One long Guitar-Solo soundtracking Conor’s Dylanesque lyrics.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

94. MOODYMANN – Heaven
“They say, you a ghostown thriller, no Michael Jackson magic, just a city full of killers”
Slow burning House with a Santana-like solo and a deep voiced vocal worthy of Barry White.
(Buy) (MySpace)

95. EAGLES OF DEATH METAL – Wannabe In L.A.
“I came to L.A. to make Rock ‘n’ Roll, along the way I had to sell my soul, I made some good friends that make me say, I really wannabe in L.A.”
For a band I’d normally associate with fairly straight-up Rock ‘n’ Roll, this sure is a musically exciting production.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

96. MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD – Soundsystem
“Your head’s like a record going gonga gong, the beat keeps pumpin’, pound for pound, and the whole wide world try to beat you down”
A rebellious yell plus a great dance tune to boot.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

97. MINDLESS BOOGIE – Pudding (Rubber Room Rerub)
“Instrumental”
A great Funk-Jazz instrumental that’s good enough to slip onto a Jimmy Smith Best-Of.
(Buy) (MySpace)

98. BILLY BRAGG – I Keep Faith (Solo Version)
“If you think you have the answer, don’t be surprised, if what you say is met with anger, and contempt and lies”
The best track from Billy’s long awaited new album which was released as a double disc Band Version/Solo Version.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

99. ROOTS MANUVA – Again & Again (Matt Helders Remix)
“Any time we chat dat ting, you know we back dat ting”
This year, Matt from Arctic Monkeys emerged as a talented Producer and this Remix was his best moment.
(Buy) (YouTube) (MySpace)

100. NITASHA JACKSON – First Love
“And are you cool, symmetrical, hypocritical, analytical, so critical, and nothing’s perfect, I was hoping I would do”
NiTasha turns what was an average single by The Maccabees into a powerful Piano lament.
(Buy) (MySpace)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE OF 25 TRACKS, INCLUDING THE TOP TEN (Large file, 104mb)

To conclude, here are 10 links to other blogs doing year-end lists:

Certified Banger (Top 20 UK Albums Of 2008 )
Hi-Fi Popcorn (Top 30 Albums & General Roundup)
Just Press Play (Top Singles 25 Singles & More)
Music To Die For (50 Best Tunes Of 2008 )
Music Is Art (Best Album Cover Art Of 2008 )
Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good (Favorite Albums Of 2008 )
Sweeping The Nation (Albums Of 2008 )
The Daily Growl (Festive Fifty)
The Good, The Bad & The Unknown (111 Best Albums Of 2008 )
XO’s Middle Eight (Top Albums Of 2008 )

January 5, 2009

TEN4SE7EN: Episode 20

My ‘Top 100 Tracks Of 2008′ nears completion but I’ve still managed to find ten fresh sounds to Christen the new year:

‘Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight’ is a howling Blues hurricane from Paul McCartney & Youth under their The Fireman moniker.  Macca sounds more like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins than his usual naff self-parodying vocals that’ve featured on his latter solo albums.  He’s clearly letting go of some serious anger, wonder what could’ve brought that about?

Genius steals as they say, so Prince should be doing a 50 stretch for his new track ‘Crimson & Clover’.  He nicks Lou Reed’s riff from ‘Sweet Jane’ and purloins musical elements and even whole lines from ‘Wild Thing’.  But who cares when he spins it all together into such a thrilling epic from one of the three albums he’s got planned for 2009 (Update! As George points out, this is a cover of Tommy James & The Shondells (1968 ) to which Prince has slipped in lines from Chip Taylor’s ‘Wild Thing’ (1965).  Lou Reed’s ‘Sweet Jane’ was first aired about twelve months after ‘Crimson & Clover’ charted.  Meaning it was in fact Lou Reed that was “Inspired” by The Shondells’ riff).

‘East End After-Hours Blues’ is camp-fire-Blues that manages to sound distantly-ancient and bang up-to-date at the same time.  But if you’re thinking that Popular Tyre are a Blues band, think again, depending on which of their tracks you listen to, you could get Rock, Folk or even Electro like on their new single ‘Robot Love’.

‘Dark Leaves Form A Thread’ is big bold Pop-Rock from Vancouver’s ‘Destroyer’.  Behind the bright catchy facade lurk much darker depressive lyrics, making for an intoxicating combination.

If The Polyphonic Spree were the rich kid singing, dancing and shouting at the front, then The Heart Strings would be the little guy sitting quietly at the back writing poetry.  On ‘Jose Fernandez’ plucked Harps, marching Drums and Church organs weave a beguiling tapestry.

She & Him are Folk musician M. Ward and actress Zooey Deschanel (The achingly-beautiful star of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ movie).  ‘Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?’ is Beatles-esque, not in the usual tired “Hey! Why don’t we tack on some Sitars?” way, but because it’s got the same peculiar Pop pedigree of McCartney’s finest mid-period compositions.

‘Life Like’ is a brooding Rock cut bringing to mind a less suicidally depressing version of iLiKETRAiNS.  The Rosebuds singer Ivan Howard delivers some introspective lyrical majesty while the music hums with dread (Click here to get a great Mash-Up featuring said track).

Plastic Little have got their sticky fingers in everybodies pies at the minute.  The latest track I’ve heard is their own Remix of their guest spot on Filthy Dukes’ already magnificent Club banger ‘Tupac Robot Club Rock’ (No relation to Daft Punk’s ‘Robot Rock’).  Naturally their guest rap covers such mature subjects as ding-a-lings, drug taking and pissing in sinks.

Mr. Hudson is finally moving towards releasing the follow up to his incredible 2007 album ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’.  ‘There Will Be Tears’ features Radiohead style beats and Mr. Hudson’s singing a soothing lament.  His heavy use of the Vocoder won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but don’t let that put you off this quiet but powerful performance.

Manchester’s prolific Stickboy rather generously has put up a new 4-track EP…  gratis!  ‘Forget Yourself’ is my Country-tinged highlight but check the rest of it (And some more of his amazing back catalogue) by visiting his MySpace Page.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A ZIP OF THE TEN TRACKS.

Destroyer MySpace / Purchase
Filthy Dukes MySpace / Purchase
Mr. Hudson MySpace / Purchase
Popular Tyre MySpace / Purchase
Prince Website / Purchase
She & Him MySpace / Purchase
Stickboy MySpace / Purchase
The Fireman MySpace / Purchase
The Heart Strings MySpace / Purchase
The Rosebuds MySpace / Purchase

Here’s the video for the original version of Filthy Dukes & Plastic Little’s ‘Tupac Robot Club Rock':

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