As last year, here are a selection of songs from 2012 that I listened on repeat over and over and over. Some were not recorded in 2012, but I listened to them for hours and hours until they wore out their welcome. Here we go:
1. Wild Beasts – Albatross (Smother)
I had never heard of this band before primavera festival 2012, but I have a nice memories of sitting up on the steps of the amphitheatre overlooking the Ray Bans stage, chatting with my new irish friends and generally having a wonderful time. The song itself (like the album its from) is a moody, quiet groove with some delightfully fey singing and its very listenable.
2. Chromatics – These Streets Will Never Look The Same (Kill for Love)
Another primavera find. In the days following the festival, I feverishly started to believe that I wasn’t going to die of liver collapse after all. Barcelona was all hedonism, no sleep, vodka and Fanta Limon. Back home it was all dreary rain, keep calm and carry on and barely submerged undercurrents of hate and regicide (i.e. the Jubilee weekend). This band made the inevitable apathy and melancholy seem glamorous in this post-festival world.
3. Talking Heads – Girlfriend is Better (Live 1984)
I literally couldn’t stop listening to this song for about a month. I think it’s the funk bassline and cheesy synth combo. Plus if you watch the video David Byrne’s big suit is a lovely thing to behold. One day I will be able to dance like him.
4. EL-P – Tougher, Colder, Killer (Cancer 4 Cure)
This song is more ridiculous sci-fi fight rap from everyone’s favourite angry ginger MC, El-Producto. He really does sound quite irritable. Its about getting slapped so hard your mama calls to say “Baby you ok? I just got a straight pain inside of my face.”
I can’t fucking believe I saw that blind bible-basher Stevie Wonder instead of this guy at Bestival. Hey, it’s a learning curve. No more compromises.
5. Alexander Tucker – The Glass Axe (Third Mouth)
I think I saw this guy live in 2011 actually, but listened to him hard at the beginning of the year. He was first on at a random gig in Vortex Dalston. Also on the bill were an all-improv noise band fronted by a large-bellied Scottish transvestite. The assembled 30 hipsters were beside themselves with glee at their discovery.
Anyway this guy sounds completely different on record, a kind of kind of far out alternative and hypnotic folk. I remember playing this at Michael at Jonny’s stag do at about 6am. Then my subsequent 2 hours of sleep probably explains why I couldn’t waterski for shit.
6. Nick Cave – Stagger Lee (Murder Ballads)
As the album title suggests, this is just a straight-up tale about moiiiiider. Another retelling of the Stagger Lee standard, but with Cave adding his customary perversion and foul language. As you all know, I love crude and unpleasant swearing, so this pushes a lot of buttons for me.
7. Cooly G – He Said I Said (Playin’ Me)
I don’t even know how to describe the beat of this song. Its quite dubby I guess, and… bouncy and propulsive? I’m no good at this kind of thing. Mood-wise it’s one of the most atmospheric on this list; her lyrics and delivery are kind of woozy and romantic, but also almost mournful at the same time.
Saw her perform at a Hyperdub showcase early in the year at Koko. She seemed like a genuinely nice person, pretty nervous and bashful even. This song reminds me of unfortunate and ill-timed liaisons that were woven throughout 2012. Bad medicine.
8. Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute (Shields)
One of my favourite bands, and one of the best gigs of 2012 (Brixton Academy). You could hear a pin drop during some of their performances, which is unusual, as London gig goers are normally loudly announcing their latest contribution to the tweet-o-sphere, or at least genuflecting to each others mightily sculpted beards. A hirsute crowd to be sure, but respectful to the (sometimes extremely) delicate music on show.
This song however is more driving and heavy than maybe any other they’ve done. I have no idea how the sounds are made, but nevertheless between 0:33 and 0:41 a fireworks factory goes off in my head.
9. Kendrick Lamar – Money Trees / Swimming Pools (Drank) (good kid, m.A.A.d city)
Two late entries for the price of one. Absolutely menacing bangers. I won’t tell you how I act on the London Overground when these come on my headphones.
10. Julio Bashmore – Au Seve
This was undoubtedly the sound of the summer (even though I didn’t realize it until September). Must have heard this twenty times at Bestival. Bestival was a very special time indeed. Also it was amazing to see in the new year crammed into the Troxy dancefloor listening to the ginger one himself play this out. Gingers were quite well represented for 2012 it seems.
The bassline does a little wobbly bit and it’s good.
Well, that’s it for another year. I have a spotify playlist as well if you’d like to hear the tunes in one convenient space : 2012 : The Cultural Olympiad
Bonus : Not a song, but another Primavera memory. Sleep the sleep of a thousand men! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8BPP4ASQWo
“Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.” Scarface (1983)
Brian was what you would call a compulsive liar; he had been doing it his whole life. You could say, in much the same way as some people are addicted to alcohol, or heroin, or gambling or sexual encounters or cigarettes, that Brian was addicted to lying.
I have compiled a short list of songs that I have listened to ad nauseum over 2011. They were all more or less released in 2011, apart from a few cases, where instead I first heard them this year and couldn’t turn it off, for reasons explained below:
1. Moderat – Rustie Nails
This soundtracked a brief period over the ‘summer’ that involved eating breakfast pancakes in the sun and getting drunk. It’s very Burial-esque, which was the thing to do around 2009 when the album came out. Also it’s a collaboration between Berlin’s Apparat and Modeselektor (which I didn’t know – thanks Wikipedia!). I went to Berlin in April 2011 and loved it, so, yeah… connections!
2. Bon Iver – Holocene / Wash
I have probably listened to these two songs more than any other on this list, just because they are so goddamn nice. I have never thought too much about what the lyrics mean, or are even saying, but his high pitched warbling sounds beautiful to my ears.
3. Friendly Fires - Live Those Days Tonight
This song is improved ten-fold by watching the youtube video that comes with it. This was a highlight of Glastonbury festival 2011 too, with everyone together, more or less sober, jigging around at the Other Stage as the sun was setting.
4. AraabMusik – Streetz Tonight
This guy has mad skills on the MPC, but has used them, for whatever reason, to re-appropriate old cheesy dance tunes into what I would label ‘trancestep’. It’s bloody brilliant.
5. Metronomy – The Bay
I think this song is about Torquay, but the video makes it look like the Côte d’Azur. I hate the English seaside. But this is a nice slice of funky bass-driven synth-pop. There’s not much of this around these days since the Hot Chip monkey wore out his miniature cymbal. Or something.
6. Clam’s Casino - Gorilla
This song represents my love of all of the output of the ‘Tri Angle’ label, Balam Acab, Holy Other etc. I don’t even know what you call this stuff. It’s like emo-goth-hip hop or something, like Boards of Canada painting their nails black and writing poems to Robert Smith… whilst listening to Kanye West in a cathedral.
7. Future Islands – Long Flight
There are better songs on the album, but I like this one the best; the singer’s trademark mental vocals (see ‘Tin Man’) are reigned in here until the very last moment, where his voice breaks and he gets all throaty and emotional. Seeing him live, he’s like a cross between Evil Morrissey and Jack Black from Tenacious D.
8. The Weeknd – The Zone
9. Charli XCX – Stay Away (SALEM’s Angel Remix)
More navel-gazing goth-synth weirdness. This would be the soundtrack to the movie ‘Labyrinth’ if it was made today, and under the influence of meow meow (do they still make that stuff?)
10. Hudson Mohawke – All Your Love
I would lump Rustie’s whole ‘Glass Swords’ album in with this song as well. Pure fluorescent adrenaline being injected straight into your eyeballs.
11. M83 – Midnight city
Like the previous track, but even more delirious, yelpy and sugar-coated. Must be a French thing. Plus points for having a ridiculous saxophone solo at the end.
12. Emeli Sande – Heaven
Like the Friendly Fires track above, this resurrects an ancestral memory of early 90s rave-bliss inside me that I must have absorbed by osmosis, being about 5 years old at the time. I don’t care if she was on X factor, this is Massive-Attack style diva brilliance.
Bonus Track: Cold Jazz and Wezzler - Serious Things
Nice and easy jungle tune. This reminds me of hectic times in Bristol.
See also: Rudeboy – Swagga Man
Burn The Jukebox Halloween: The Review
I was in such a hurry on my way into the supermarket that I nearly knocked over a display stand. It wasn’t there the last time I came, right in the entrance, and a hundred glass jars of human hearts nearly smashed all over the floor. Luckily I only bumped the table a little, causing the fleshy pods to bob and quiver floating in their preservative.
“Watch where you’re going,” said an old lady to my right, admiring the stock.
“Sorry, sorry.” I muttered, and strode off into the shop.