Tuesday, 18 December 2012

2012's ultimate post: The Culture Shock After Shock 2012 Celebration, the 100 for 2012 playlist and the Top 50 Albums of 2012

The Culture Shock After Shock 2012 Celebration
It's that time again. For this year's lists I've made a special edition of Culture Shock, celebrating some of the best tracks released in 2012, and counting down my ten favourite tracks of the whole year. Give it a listen below:

100 for 2012
Here's the complete playlist, my top 100 tracks of 2012. Firstly here's the Spotify version (note that a number of tracks are missing from the UK Spotify library):

And this is the list in full. I've provided links for the tracks missing from the Spotify version where appropriate:

1.    Death Grips - "Hacker"
2.    Matthew Dear - "Her Fantasy"
3.    CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"
4.    Torche - "Kicking"
5.    Angel Olsen - "Acrobat"
6.    Todd Terje - "Inspector Norse"
7.    El-P - "The Full Retard"
8.    Mac DeMarco - "My Kind of Woman"
9.    Hot Chip - "Flutes"
10.    Loma Prieta - "Fly By Night"
11.    Burial - "Kindred"
12.    Jai Paul - "Jasmine (Demo)"
13.    Sharon Van Etten - "Leonard"
14.    Cloud Nothings - "Wasted Days"
15.    Swans - "A Piece of the Sky"
16.    Icona Pop - "I Love It" (feat. Charli XCX)
17.    Amber London - "Low MF Key"
18.    Nicolas Jaar - "And I Say / With Just One Glance You" (feat. Scout Larue and Will Epstein)
19.    Perfume Genius - "Dark Parts"
20.    Andy Stott - "Sleepless"
21.    Aesop Rock - "Zero Dark Thirty"
22.    Frank Ocean - "Pyramids"
23.    Liars - "Brats"
24.    AlunaGeorge - "You Know You Like It"
25.    Kendrick Lamar - "Cartoon & Cereal" (feat. Gunplay)
26.    TNGHT - "Bugg'n"
27.    Bat For Lashes - "Laura"
28.    Lone - "The Animal Pattern"
29.    Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Only In My Dreams"
30.    Ab-Soul - "The Book of Soul"
31.    Grimes - "Genesis"
32.    Killer Mike - "Don't Die"
33.    Jessie Ware - "Running" (Disclosure Remix)
34.    War - "In Your Arms (Final Fantasy)"
35.    Spiritualized - "Hey Jane"
36.    Miguel - "Adorn"
37.    Evans The Death - "Telling Lies"
38.    Beach House - "Lazuli"
39.    Dinosaur Jr. - "Watch the Corners"
40.    Fiona Apple - "Regret"
41.    Wild Nothing - "Shadow"
42.    St. Vincent - "Krokodil"
43.    Big K.R.I.T. - "I Got This"
44.    Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 - "DoYaThing"
45.    Tall Ships - "Murmurations"
46.    Chairlift - "Met Before"
47.    Jessie Ware - "Night Light"
48.    Foxygen - "Make it Known"
49.    Cassie – "King of Hearts" (Richard X Remix Edit)
50.    Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II" (Soulwax Remix)
51.    Jamie Lidell - "What a Shame"
52.    BADBADNOTGOOD - "Flashing Lights"
53.    alt-J - "Breezeblocks"
54.    Young Fathers - "Rumbling"
55.    Mosca - "What You Came For" (feat. Katy B)
56.    Animal Collective - "Honeycomb"
57.    King Krule - "Rock Bottom”
58.    The Walkmen - "Heaven"
59.    Solange - "Losing You"
60.    David Byrne & St. Vincent - "I Should Watch TV"
61.    The Men - "Open Your Heart"
62.    John Talabot - "So Will Be Now..." (feat. Pional)
63.    Laurel Halo - "Thaw"
64.    Dirty Projectors - "The Socialites"
65.    Kendrick Lamar - "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"
66.    Flying Lotus - "me Yesterday//Corded"
67.    Toy - "Motoring"
68.    Ty Segall Band - "Wave Goodbye"
69.    Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"
70.    Japandroids - "The House That Heaven Built"
71.    ScHoolboy Q - "Hands on the Wheel" (feat. A$AP Rocky)
72.    Grizzly Bear - "Sleeping Ute"
73.    Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid"
74.    How To Dress Well - "& It Was U"
75.    Chris Cohen - "Optimist High"
76.    Of Montreal - "Dour Percentage"
77.    King Felix - "SPRING01"
78.    Frankie Rose - "Know Me"
79.    Dave Aju - "Rise"
80.    M.I.A. - "Bad Girls"
81.    Tame Impala - "Apocalypse Dreams"
82.    Big Sean, Jay-Z and Kanye West – "Clique"
83.    Cat Power - "Ruin"
84.    Jens Lekman - "Become Someone Else’s"
85.    Zammuto - "The Shape of Things to Come"
86.    Egyptian Hip Hop - "SYH"
87.    Baroness - "Take My Bones Away"
88.    Flying Lotus - "Between Friends" (feat. Earl Sweatshirt and Captain Murphy)
89.    Usher - "Climax"
90.    Scott Walker - "Epizootics!"
91.    The Shins - "Simple Song"
92.    Mister Lies - "Dionysian"
93.    Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - "Same Love" (feat. Mary Lambert)
94.    The Gaslamp Killer - "Impulse" (feat. Daedalus)
95.    Passion Pit - "Take a Walk"
96.    The Antlers - "Zelda"
97.    Kanye West - "White Dress"
98.    Deerhoof - "Fete D'Adieu"
99.    The Flaming Lips and Nick Cave - "You, Man? Human???"
100.    Mouse On Mars - "Polaroyced"

The Top 50 Albums of 2012
Now we're onto serious business. Unlike last year I've combined albums and EP's onto one list. Most of the albums here featured on the "2012 Recommended Albums" post; others did not. Here are a few honourable mentions:
Laurel Halo - Quarantine, King Felix - Spring EP, Frankie Rose - Interstellar, The Walkmen - Heaven: Great albums, all of which were on the "2012 Recommnded Albums" post, but there can only be 50 on the list! Unfortunately these were the ones that drew the short straws. I own all of these too, so maybe I'm just bored with them right now.
BADBADNOTGOOD - BBNG2: Mostly instrumental jazz reinterpretations of tracks by Odd Future, James Blake and My Bloody Valentine, balanced out with a healthy number of original compositions and improvisations, moreso than the first BBNG tape. Used as Culture Shock background music on more than one occasion. Pick it up for free at BBNG's Bandcamp.
Clams Casino - Instrumental Mixtape 2: If you picked up the first Clams Casino Instrumental Mixtape (which featured on last year's Albums list), you'll know the score. All those great LIVELOVEA$AP instrumentals and more. Another free download.
Nicolas Jaar - The Essential Mix: Without a doubt my favourite extended mix of the whole year, Nicolas Jaar recorded his Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1 back in May and takes us from Twin Peaks to Chilean classical pieces, Feist, Ricardo Villalobos and even N*SYNC. Along with The Seer it's been an indispensable part of my long train journeys this year. Here's the uninterrupted version you'll want to download. If you want more try the Don't Break My Love compilation.
Todd Terje - It's The Arps EP: Mostly here for the incredible "Inspector Norse" track.
Scott Walker - Bish Bosch: I wanted to like this but after listening to it a couple of times it's doing absolutely nothing for me right now. As I loved Scott's previous album The Drift and not having much time with this one (it was released late into the year) I'm giving it an honourable mention as I may change my mind about it. Recommended if you find The Seer too easy-going for your tastes.

Now for the top 50. The entries for the bottom half of the list are unnumbered and presented in alphabetical order. I didn't really feel the need to put these ones into a specific order, as they're all more or less of the same quality to me:

Ab-Soul - Control System (click for review)
Ab-Soul - Control System
Dave Aju - Heirlooms
alt-J - An Awesome Wave
AlunaGeorge - You Know You Like It (EP)
Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
The Antlers - Undersea (EP)
Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man
Beach House - Bloom
Big K.R.I.T. - 4Eva N A Day (mixtape)
Chairlift - Something
Cloud Nothings - Attack On Memory
Grimes - Visions

Hot Chip - In Our Heads (click for review)
Grizzly Bear - Shields
Himanshu - Nehru Jackets (mixtape)
Hot Chip - In Our Heads
Japandroids - Celebration Rock
Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't
Melody's Echo Chamber - Melody's Echo Chamber
The Men - Open Your Heart
Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream
Daniel Rossen - Silent Hour / Golden Mile (EP)
Tall Ships - Everything Touching
Tame Impala - Lonerism
Ty Segall Band - Slaughterhouse
Wild Nothing - Nocturne

Deerhoof - Breakup Song (click for review)
25. Evans The Death - Evans The Death
24. Death Grips - NO LOVE DEEP WEB
23. Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
22. Zammuto - Zammuto
21. Andy Stott - Luxury Problems
20. Torche - Harmonicraft
19. Deerhoof - Breakup Song
18. Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes

Angel Olsen - Half Way Home (click for review)

17. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music
16. Loma Prieta - I.V.
15. Lone - Galaxy Garden
14. Angel Olsen - Half Way Home
13. Burial - Kindred (EP)
12. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
11. Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan

10. Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
Tramp was an album I liked at first but grew on me immensely as the year continued. The opening three songs can demonstrate why. "Warsaw" is a short but great leading electric waltz. "Give Out" is drastically different; a solemn acoustic-led track, with Sharon's shaking confidence being fully cemented by "Serpents", a bitterly angry emotional assault on a lover. The central theme of Tramp is Sharon's desire to bury her past, to release herself from her previous burdens, even whilst suffering the pain of severing them. Produced by the National's Aaron Dessner the album has more than enough variety of moods and textures; at times dreamy, melancholic and potent, Tramp is a triumphant blend of modern folk and indie rock.
Essential track: "Leonard"
Built around a few mandolin chords, "Leonard" (named after Leonard Cohen) is the most gorgeous track Tramp has to offer. The way Sharon's voice wistfully hoversover the verses, unwrapping her story bit by bit during the choruses, is absolutely breathtaking. Seeing Sharon performing this song with a full band on a rainy Saturday morning at Latitude this year was one of this year's unforgettable moments.

If the idea behind Hudson Mohawke and Lunice's EP as TNGHT was to make the most unnecessarily sound-smashing, joyously addictive set of hip hop instrumentals, they most certainly succeeded. I don't think any other release made me smile as much per minute as the first time I put this EP on. Ridiculous levels of bass and pitched vocals offset the sounds of dogs barking, glass breaking and marching bands. Its brevity only makes me want to play it again and again. And we can see already that these guys are moving onto bigger and better things. Whatever the future holds for TNGHT, at least their influence is already being reverberated.
Essential track: "Bugg'n"
There's nothing on TNGHT that doesn't feel like a highlight, and "Bugg'n" doesn't represent the EP as well as "Higher Ground", but nevertheless it's the year's best instrumental. The opening "Are You That Somebody?" coo gives way to a clapping hi-hat rhythm, steady tempo and growling bass. The whole track feels like it's dripping across its unconventional rhythm, and above all else sounds like classic Timbaland updated for 2012.

8. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
Poetry in album titles isn't Fiona Apple's only skill. The Idler Wheel... is her most intimate album, and despite its stripped-down approach has plenty of interesting choices of field recordings and instrumentation from Fiona and her collaborator Charley Drayton. A children's playground, a factory and glass bottles all feature, making The Idler Wheel... resemble Fiona's version of Swordfishtrombones; but it's the singer/pianist that truly shines. Many a songwriter would chew off a limb for writing credits for "Every Single Night", "Jonathan", "Werewolf" or "Anything We Want", and the balance of longing and obsession was never more clearly demonstrated.
Essential track: "Regret"
Again, difficult to choose, for all the right reasons. "Regret" only just scrapes ahead of the pack. It's those strained choruses that help it along, and what a line - "I ran out of white horse feathers/To soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth every time you address me". Towards the end Fiona mumbles into the phrase "leave me alone"; only after listening to The Idler Wheel... repeatedly does this stand out as an important moment.

7. Aesop Rock - Skelethon
One of the most important things I was looking for in albums this year was longevity; albums that could take me far past 2012 to unpack their meanings entirely. With Aesop Rock's Skelethon, I might never be able to unwrap all the lyrics. It's so dense yet adventurous; Aes is one of the most lyrical rappers there is, and with this album he brings not only a number of genuinely varied themes - late night trips to Bob's Donuts, haircuts, canine baby rescues and how to make a homemade mummy to name a few - but for the first time he handles all of the album's production, making equally strange and unconventional beats that fit together so perfectly. The recurring motifs of death and emptiness run so deep into the lyrics that it's a delight whenever I unearth a new one. More than Cancer For Cure, this is the lyricist rap fan's album of the year.
Essential track: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Another clear rap single favourite of mine this year. "Zero Dark Thirty" is essentially a warning to Aes's opponents, isolating himself as "down from a huntable surplus to one", but it's so much more complicated than that it takes ages to work it out. It also has Skelethon's best instrumental, mixing a crunchy bass riff and sombre violins seamlessly together.

6. Matthew Dear - Beams
Although not everyone may see it this way, Matthew Dear took a huge risk with Beams, abandoning large qualities of his trademark industrial disco-noir that culminated with 2010's Black City in favour of something poppier, bouncier and much more colourful. The album cover says it all; this is a portrait of Matthew with a full spectrum of sounds to present, and is also his strongest work yet. There's touches of Talking Heads' rubber-funk in "Earthforms", a palpable tenderness in "Ahead Of Myself", and a menacing humanity in "Shake Me". Matthew's baritone is also stronger than ever and lends itself to many an addictive vocal hook: proving that Beams is still overtly sexual, but encompasses love, loss, desire and uncertainty into Matthew's world.
Essential track: "Her Fantasy"
I seriously considered making this track my #1 of the year, I really did. "Her Fantasy" is Matthew Dear's finest hour (or six minutes), built around a delightful shoegazey synth riff. Matthew contemplates the effects of love on the human mind and body when he questions "Am I one heartbeat away from receiving a damaging shock to my life?" The huge sugary rise that proceeds seems to either know the answer, or celebrates the uncertainties that lie ahead in such a way that it no longer matters. Headphones necessary.

5. El-P - Cancer For Cure
From the very first beat of "Request Denied", Cancer For Cure feels like an occasion. El-P has always been a hip hop head's hip hop producer (which is probably why Killer Mike was so insistent on recruiting him to produce the entirety of his album R.A.P. Music, another of the year's strongest releases), and this album sees yet another progression of his underground skronk-rap style. It has a tight concept, a number of classic instrumentals, brilliantly written and delivered lines from El and all of his collaborators (Killer Mike, Danny Brown, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire and Despot all show up), and it flows as a momentous whole. I've given it more plays than any other album this year.
Essential track: "The Full Retard"
At first I was uncertain about "The Full Retard" as a lead single. But after a few listens I think it's one of the best rap singles in years. "So you should pump this shit/Like they do in the future" is as good as a mantra as any, and indeed I will be pumping this shit for a long time to come. It's also one of two great musical tributes to the late Camu Tao (the other being Aesop Rock's "Racing Stripes"). Kirk Lazarus was wrong. Always go Full Retard.

4. Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city
Apologies for drawing the inevitable comparison, but Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city rivals Frank Ocean's Channel Orange for critic's choice of album of the year, and both have made leaps from their 2011 efforts above and beyond what anyone could have hoped for with their major label debuts. Last year's Section.80 was easily one of my favourite hip hop albums but this one is something else entirely. Every one of good kid, m.A.A.d city's tracks is an essential component in the narrative Kendrick weaves. Whereas the other rap albums in this top 10 are mostly for fans of the genre, good kid, m.A.A.d city is everyone's rap album; the number of styles on display means no two tracks sound alike. As Kendrick said in a post-album celebratory track: "real people want real music, the jig is up".
Essential track: "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst"
This late album centrepiece returns to the most sobering track of Section.80, "Keisha's Song". In its first half Kendrick singles himself out for one-dimensionalising its subject, and by doing so readdresses his own fears of remorselessness. It's tragic, soulful and raises a lot of questions, reaching the conclusion that he's "dying of thirst", turning the whole album towards the path of redemption. This along with the non-album "Cartoon & Cereal" were high points of hip hop as a whole for 2012. For that reason I've had to include both in my "100 for 2012" playlist.

3. Liars - WIXIW
WIXIW got under my skin like nothing else this year. Liars' first attempt at making an "electronic" album certainly doesn't sound like much else in the genre, but instead stands as the band's most mature record. Starting with "The Exact Colour of Doubt", the palindromic WIXIW explores the space between wanting and not wanting, being and not being; a perfect balance of contradictions. Angus Andrew remains one of modern music's most tactile vocal presences, whose lyrics and delivery on the glowing looped drones of "WIXIW" and the post-kraut-glam-whatever of "Flood to Flood" capture the essence of this doubt.
Essential track: "Brats"
"Brats" is the most immediate of WIXIW's tracks, where the tension of what's come before is lifted out through a post-punk dance groove. It sounds strangely 90s, especially with the distorted effect on Angus's voice, and it's hard to make out what he's singing. I considered other tracks from this album, such as the magnificent centre "WIXIW", but "Brats" is the most fun by a distance, like a shot of vodka in a morning cup of bitter coffee.

2. Swans - The Seer
It's tough to say anything about this album that hasn't already been said. Not many people can make such life-affirming creations (destructions?) at this stage of their career, but at 58 Michael Gira (and his collaborators) prove that it's possible to release a two-hour gargantuan record with absolutely no wasted moments. It's easy to think of The Seer's longest tracks, (the 32-minute title track especially) as the result of off-handed improv sessions, but every piece is so meticulously crafted that once it clicks it becomes clear that this is some of the most exhilarating rock music you're ever likely to come across, and given you're in the right mood, is beaten by nothing else.
Essential track: "A Piece of the Sky"
Whereas much of The Seer (and much of Swans' output, for that matter) focuses on draining beauty out of its violence, "A Piece of the Sky" is purely beautiful. Beginning with the sounds of fire and ending in an almost doo-wop ballad where "the sun fucks the dawn", it doesn't even have to coerce you through its 19 effortless minutes. It's almost the album's reward, a stunning path of light leading through to the Somme of "The Apostate". I love this record.

1. Death Grips - The Money Store

Whether they'll be remembered as attention-whoreing dramatists or misunderstood musical free spirits spreading the gospel of true punk for this generation's finger-smearing Appleites (or both), 2012's most talked about band made for many one of its most interesting tales. In the space of ten months Death Grips evolved from beloved cult act (see Albums 2011) to arguably the most leftfield major label act back to simply a fan favourite (albeit with a much larger fan base than with what they began with). They released 28 songs (19 of which were free downloads), two officially commissioned Björk remixes, an instrumental album (also for free) and a handful of self-directed music videos; undertook a bizarre alternate reality game on 4chan's /mu/ board; collaborated with MTV for an (admittedly terrible) interactive music video; booked a tour, cancelled a tour; and of course sparked off one of the most notorious label fuck-you's of recent times, giving away their own album for free in the process. With a penis on the cover.

Strangely however, it was none of these acts that first bought them notable attention. For any fan of the group the meat and bones of this year came from the two albums Death Grips promised (and delivered). It was the release of the first of these, The Money Store, which brought exposure to the insular, disorientating world of Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett, Flatlander and Zach Hill. The group's first album/mixtape Exmilitary presented a glitchy, sample-heavy spatter of mp3s from the then-five member collective. Too abrasive for DatPiff-centric hip hop circles, and too obscure for noise fans, Exmilitary went largely ignored save for a few critical praises, and perhaps more importantly the vice president of marketing for Sony-owned Epic, Angelica Cob-Baehler, who got caught up in the group's impressive video creations; and after a reportedly awkward visit to the office of L.A. Reid Death Grips had signed a two-album deal.

As major label debuts go, The Money Store is right up there with the strangest. The musique concrète-style quality of the web of recognisable samples Exmilitary provided is gone for obvious logistical purposes, as well as a degree of Death Grips' (and particularly MC Ride's) anonymic intrigue. But the elements that remained were just as vital to The Money Store as they were its predecessor. The powerhouse of Zach Hill's drum patterns, inherited from his days in the math-rock duo Hella provides schizophrenic clatter, working through a multitude of time signatures. Producer Flatlander, a.k.a Andy Morin fills the void with huge, off-kilter synth patches and hefty low end. Nothing these two do is subtle; rather they provide an overwhelming, confusing display of fireworks for each instrumental, ensuring the requirement for multiple listens to comprehend, let alone enjoy. Between them they make up a wildly innovative production team that have almost nothing in common with modern hip hop, which in turn defines and expands the Death Grips sound beyond Exmilitary, and arguably to its fullest realization so far. "Blackjack", the album's first single builds its beat around a psychedelic guitar riff and Ride's barks are played in reverse beneath their forward selves. "System Blower" and "Bitch Please" bring brighter yet noisier tones to the front. Yet these moments are relatively unsurprising when sat alongside left hooks like the Indian chipmunk-folk intro to "Punk Weight", or the Salt-N-Pepa via Nine Inch Nails of album centrepiece "I've Seen Footage", a.k.a "the Death Grips song that even people who don't like Death Grips like". The siren-like cycles that nauseously stir "The Fever (Aye Aye)" into focus make for as thrilling a building exercise on any Death Grips release, and the whole track bears possibly the strongest consistent elements across projects.

But Hill and Flatlander, as taut and off-kilter as they are, aren't the most compelling force on The Money Store; clearly MC Ride can boast that achievement, or rather scream it out at full force. For Ride is something of a living myth in himself at this stage: a phenomenal vocalist whose performance and lyrics provide the essential piece of the puzzle. Naysayers will tell you he's nothing but flash, but taken as a rapper on his own terms he stands proudly as the ultimate anti-hero: his overbearing vocals at first distract from his terrifyingly sharp lyricism, but after a few repeats envelop it completely, and become inseparable. Opener "Get Got" may start the album from a quieter approach, but is used to perfectly demonstrate Burnett's abilities, his rage building through the vile imagery - "drilled a hole into my head / pierced the bone and felt the breeze" - and unique, pliable wordplay (who uses phrases like "lycanthropic manic cycles"?), like Chuck D on his very worst days. Yet the abundant detail is only there if you want it: The Money Store is as immediate as any major-label album, once the abrasive nature of the songs sinks into your skull. Ride's ear for hooks is almost as strong; the number of vocal earworms being too many to mention, but you'll probably know what I'm getting at. His voice would take on all new characteristics in NO LOVE DEEP WEB, but Ride's performance on this album is no less, well, gripping.

The Money Store may not have been the album Death Grips wanted to make, and who knows what cuts were made to keep it onside with Epic, but it's still their most essential record. No other group in recent memory has been able to produce such a polarising sound that doesn't feel temporary. In a recent Pitckfork interview Zach Hill talked of Death Grips as a separate entity, as though he, Burnett and Morin merely channelled their energy from elsewhere. "We never really once talked about what kind of sounds we'd make, or instruments we'd use" was one sentence that stood out from the occultisms and various philosophies that construed his explanations (entertaining reads in their own right). Which is maybe why it isn't hard to understand why they signed that contract in L.A. Reid's office. They're a group that no matter what may be thought of them musically (God knows I haven't done them justice) certainly have a lot to say, and for a short while, a substantial platform to say it on. The Money Store is a great testament to a moment of a band who seem to live permanently in the moment, but more importantly it's a great record, the most indispensable of 2012.

Essential track: "Hacker"
"Hacker" is hidden away at the back of The Money Store, but if there's one Death Grips track that needs to be heard, it's this one. It's first few seconds resemble Daft Punk's "Revolution 909", but enters a stutter-funk groove closer to LCD Soundsystem, with MC Ride as its very own James Murphy. Ride's lyrics reference everything and anything, echoing the trio's obsession (and to an extent control over) internet culture. If you've heard it you'll probably have your own favourite lines (there are so many!), but its indisputable apex (and by extension, 2012's apex) is the chorus scream "I'M IN YOUR AREAAAAAAAAA", letting loose Ride, Hill and Flatlander all at once. It doesn't stop being exciting after the tenth, hundredth or two hundredth time. "Hacker"'s message is one of physicality bursting through the hymen of the digital age, from the opening "Goin' back to Tangier" to the threatening "I know the first three numbers". Lyrically and sonically uncompromising, everything Death Grips promise in a single four minute track. Whenever I need to think about the alienating processes of modern culture, or just need to let off some steam, I reach straight for "Hacker", and press play.

That's all from me this year. What were your favourites? Did I miss anything? What do you think 2013 will bring?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Single of the Week: Solange - "Losing You"

The latest Solange single, "Losing You" sees the younger Knowles sister continuing to carve out a style and direction all of her own. Written with and produced by Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) the track bounces joyously off funk guitar and afrobeat-flavoured syncopated rhythms, that match the South Africa-shot footage found in its accompanying music video. Its lack of complication ultimately helps it along, although this shouldn't be confused with its lack of ambition. As it washes into tropical synthwork, under Solange's ready-for-the-radio R&B vocals, "Losing You" proves its worth amongst the countless other great songs of its ilk heard in recent memory.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Single of the Week: Death Grips - "No Love"

Unfortunately for me, there are no awards for predictability. Death Grips' second album of 2012, NO LOVE DEEP WEB was released by the band themselves yesterday so I've hardly had much time to decide a favourite track for certain yet, however as it stands "No Love" is a belter. In a way it signifies the best elements of the new album: the beat is much slower and sludgier than anything on the comparitively brisk The Money Store, and impossibly thick with bass. Zach Hill's drumming is unflashy and primal, providing only heavy support for the main driver of the track's momentum: MC Ride. Its hook stands out as one of Death Grips' best (a feat in itself), and Burnett's using his vocal range to immensely satisfying effect, but the lyrics of "No Love" could stand as the band's ultimate "fuck you" so far (if we ignore something large and pink for a moment). In light of recent label politics, Death Grips are at their most unapologetic here, and that can only be a good thing for those who fervently follow them.

Monday, 1 October 2012

STOP THE PRESS: Death Grips leak their own album

Looks like Death Grips' relationship with major label imprint Epic may have come to a turbulent end. The group had a deal with the imprint, insisting on releasing two albums before 2012 was over: May's The Money Store and NO LOVE DEEP WEB, which was apparently planned for public consumption at the end of this month. However no longer. Death Grips started posting cryptic messages on Twitter and Facebook last night, culminating in this one:

"the label wouldn't confirm a release date for NO LOVE DEEP WEB until "next year sometime " . the label will be hearing the album for the first time with you."

Now they've decided to post a number of links to the album over their website, Twitter and Facebook, and have also made it available for streaming on Soundcloud and Youtube channels. Also there's that completely inappropriate cover art, which I'm currently unable to upload is now below the Soundcloud player (NSFW).

I'd suggest even if you are a fan, or want to wait to own NO LOVE DEEP WEB on vinyl before you hear it or whatever now is still the time to download, as this window of opportunity may be brief, and who knows what kind of trouble Death Grips are in now. Also it completely makes up for the tour cancellation blunder earlier this year, the details of which were never explained.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Single of the Week: Chvrches - "The Mother We Share"

The latest single from Glasgow-based electro pop newcomers Chvrches may bear similarities with more than just a name of a certain other song, but when all the best qualities of the genre's expansions over the last ten years are present, the end result is an undeniably catchy and rewarding pop hit. "The Mother We Share" has icy, disembodied vocal "oo"'s, handclaps, lyrics like "the way is long but you can make it easy on me", and most importantly a great big synthesized chorus, but what Chvrches create is bigger than the sum of its parts. It's universal, euphoric, and just too loveable to dismiss; that more than makes up for its lack of originality by crafting from the sounds around as brilliantly as possible.

Angel Olsen - Half Way Home added to 2012 Recommended Albums

I'm making a conscious effort to make my reviews shorter from now on (it's only by accident that over time they've become wordier), so the choice moment for me to announce that is on a review of an album which associated genre I know little about anyway (or is short enough not to demand further description). All I could really find out about Angel Olsen was that she's been a member of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Cairo Gang, the band Will Oldham has used for several of his last few albums and tours. A six-track cassette of Olsen songs entitled Strange Cacti was also released in limited supply last year, but Half Way Home stands for all its intents and purposes as her debut album.

It begins with the mesmeric "Acrobat". One of the few numbers to stretch out its instrumentation beyond merely vocals, acoustic guitar and occasional drumming, it nonethelesss pulls one of country music's most searing qualities straight to the foreground: its capability to showcase great sadness. This is painful music, and Olsen makes no bones about wanting to break your heart while she's being recorded. Her voice is a major catalyst in this regard, more specifically the moments when she strains her cords into uncomfortable, even unsettling territory. At other times it shrinks back down to the level of the guitar, and she can be an equally effective comforter, albeit a melancholic one. This dualism is particularly apparent on the extended centerpiece "Lonely Universe". The storytelling on this track is also vivid, beginning with the childhood loss of her mother, before sliding back into a more regular register, although not completely, whilst giving out sagely life advice. The refrain also contains one of the album's strongest thought-provoking images: "Goodbye sweet Mother Earth / Without you now, I'm a lonely universe". Death is a major theme of Half Way Home, and Olsen's attitudes really have to be heard to be appreciated; however love is just as prevalent, cropping up on virtually every track. The shorter tracks that are more focused on the subject - "You Are Song", "Free" and "The Waiting" - rank among the best.

Half Way Home feels like a special album; a strangely nostalgic one at that. At times it reminds me of the kind of music my parents used to play through the house when I was growing up. I've avoided specific cornerstones to avoid inaccuracy, as I'm really a novice when it comes to country, but this album is a welcome discovery, and easily ranks beside the best I've heard this year. Hopefully her connection to Will Oldham will allow Olsen to get her music into the wider community, because her current perspective is a fascinating, alluring one.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Deerhoof - Breakup Song added to 2012 Recommended Albums

I understand that giving the new Deerhoof album, Breakup Song, the "recommended" tag is very much a personal decision. Not many people would be so praiseworthy of it, which isn't to say it's not very likeable, rather it can be tough what to make of it. Although in this sense it would appear to be a challenging album, it's actually a very immediate and straightforward slice of art-pop lasting nigh-on exactly 30 minutes. The 11 songs on here are over in a flash, but it's not like they need to get started, as they burst into your eardrums right from pressing play. First track "Breakup Songs" sets this example, with shards of electric guitar and drums resembling harsh electronic noises. This is the chorus; the sweet-as-ever vocal of Satomi Matsuzaki tells you of this. Each track makes an average of two or three radical changes on average, in as many minutes. And these changes rarely miss the mark either.

The joy of Breakup Song is not knowing in what way it's going to go next. After you've realised the formula the album takes, and it's done over such a short length of time that it remains effective, it's simply a matter of following it's windy trajectory wherever it jitters. "Zero Seconds Pause" opens like a huge, flourescent rave, but then decides to roll over Greg Saunier's tumbling drum patterns. "The Trouble With Candyhands" fades in with Latin horns, which seemed wonderfully inspired as a lead single, but is just another happy left turn by the time it shows up on Breakup Song eight tracks in. "Flower" bounces off a fat bass synth riff, which contrasts hugely with the following song "To Fly Or Not To Fly", that instead has an oriental-inspired rally from some imagined neon Kurosawa battle scene. And I've just described less than half of the tracks.

The message of Deerhoof has always been fun, but Breakup Song increases it's potency to unrelenting levels by speeding their music up and turning up the volume. And it's been created by musicians that have proven to be not only capable but innovative. There's not a moment where Saunier's drums won't souund impressively complex, or a synth part won't be gleefully smothered in distortion. And despite the amount of change the album experiences Deerhoof always moves tightly with it. It's only been eighteen months since Deerhoof Vs. Evil but Breakup Song is meticulously crafted and feels endlessly rehearsed for it to sound so effortless. And it's title doesn't lie either, it feels like one long song with hundreds of minute changes composing several huge ones, moving together, but never inthe same direction twice. What a song it is.

Single of the Week: Bat For Lashes - "Marilyn"

Natasha Khan values the idea of people. The most popular (and dare I say best) Bat For Lashes songs have used the concept of first names as a gateway to deeper moods, themes and explorations into relationships. "Marilyn", the second single from The Haunted Man (after the similarly-eponymic "Laura") is no different to these. The large, glistening, Cocteau Twins-like instrumental backing suits Khan's lyrical atmosphere perfectly. As she examines the notion of celebrity, contrasted with her own normality, you get the image of Khan's proximity to the sublime. "Marilyn" is a pretty track, but it's also substantial, and breathes deeply into the spaces that "Laura" found more effective to leave untouched.

This track is free for all Amazon.co.uk customers. Download it here.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

El-P w/ Despot - Birmingham Rainbow Warehouse (15th September 2012)

Despot (left) and El-P (right) leading the audience's free aerobics session (you couldn't make this up)

Anyone familiar with Despot's work will be glad to know his onstage presence matches expectations in terms of comedic value. His brief opening set involved not only the first rap aerobics session/performance I've ever attended (pictured), but also conversations with his iPad, and a whole slew of nonchalant one-liners. We (the audience) also managed to convince him that cake was a drug (a made-up drug). The set was made up of mostly new material which Despot claimed to be taken from his debut album to be released "soon" (and produced entirely by Ratatat). I assume I speak for many when I say that album needs to see the light of day because both the beats and the MC's technique worked amazingly together. "I'm goin' ham, I'm goin' bread, I'm goin' cheese!!!"

Knowing Despot was just the warm-up act made the anticipation for El-Producto's set even more tantalizing. When it did begin El sinply didn't let up - and he and his band played Cancer For Cure from beginning to end. And the fact that C4C is easily my most played album of this year didn't stop every track from hitting as hard as the first. Personal highlights were the full-throttle "The Full Retard", surely one of the smartest dumb rap singles in years; and Despot's returrn for his verses on "Tougher Colder Killer" felt like the stars had aligned. El-P also played the perfect host to the night's preceedings; it's no wonder that he's popularly considered the underground legend that he is.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Danny Brown announces new EP and mixtape

The ever prolific Danny Brown has unexpetedly announced a new EP with his Bruiser Brigade crew, apparently set for release "next week". The news comes from ScionAV, who were behind releasing Brown's "Grown Up" single and music video.

Also recently announced was a collaborative mixtape between Brown and production team Johnson & Jonson (a.k.a. Blu & Mainframe). The dreadfully titled Danny Johnson is coming out through New World Color and has no release date as of yet. It may or may not feature "Change", a track Brown has called "old as hell" (supposedly it was released bck in 2010 and has been floating around the internet since). Here it is regardless:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Watch a new documetary about D.I.Y. pop legend R.Stevie Moore

R. Stevie Moore's been experiencing an increase in popularity lately, in part thanks to the success of his supporters such as Ariel Pink, to whom Moore has played the part of unofficial mentor, and collaborator on this year's expansive Ku Klux Glam project. Moore has also recently been the subject of an atempted "best-of" collection, Lo Fi Hi Fives, curated by Tim Burgess. Now French director Arnaud Maguet is the latest to add a chapter to Moore's legacy; he's called it I Am a Genius (And There’s Nothing I Can Do About It): A Movie About Some Situations With R Stevie Moore. Here are the results:

Single of the Week: Disclosure - "Latch" (feat. Sam Smith)

I'm the kind of listener who if questioned would say that the best thing Disclosure have done until now is their superb remix of Jessie Ware's "Running", a track that comes dangerously close to beating everything on her recently released debut album Devotion as well. Everything the duo have tried since seems to be overshadowed by it, however "Latch", the first single from their upcoming 2013 debut album suggests this may not be te case for much longer. The next-to-unknown Sam Smith is Disclosure's singer of choice this time around, who sings with consistent fire and intensity, reaching a huge crescendo at the chorus. This chorus is also where Disclosure deploy their signature "skipped beat", showing of their drum programming mastery and knowledge of the club environment. Overall "Latch" proves to be their best standalone single yet.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Wild Nothing - Nocturne added to 2012 Recommended Albums

For certain people, the "dream-pop" label can carry with it a number of negative ideas. Ideas of sunbaked American students spending hours in dorms with MacBooks and the latest music editing software, writing songs about the girl they're too wet behind the ears to ask out at the cocktail bar. Moreso than that this new generation of indie songwriters are accused of being lazy and unoriginal, favouring the trend of soaking their guitars and vocals in reverb to hide the lack of substance to their work. Add to that the derivative nature that comes from the copy-and-pasted style thse bands follow and dream-pop becomes ripe for parody and ridicule.

The upshot of this genre's popularity is that when someone like Wild Nothing (aka the now Brooklyn-based Jack Tatum) comes along, a songwriter with integrity and charisma, he isn't slept on. Nocturne is the second Wild Nothing album, folowing 2010's sleeper success Gemini, and on surface level there maybe isn't enough change here to convert the typical dream-pop cynic. The most significant is the introduction of producer Nicolas Vernhes, who insures a professional touch to Tatum's otherwise homespun sound. Also of note from a sonic perspective is the influence of 80s British electronic acts such as New Order in some of the guitar/keyboard lines and occasional Stephen Morris-esque drum patterns. Much has been made of this, and it does serve as another usp for Wild Nothing, but you're not going to mistake it from a Factory Records album anytime soon. We are still firmly in the land of reverb.

The true asset to Nocturne is Tatum's capabilities as a songwriter, the moods and themes he creates through his aesthetic. Maybe it was supposed to be Gemini's darker twin - the first three track names "Shadow", "Midnight Song" and "Nocturne" seem to suggest so - but its breezy nature makes that idea a little hard to take seriously. Instead we're treated to songs about girls called Heather and Rheya, and told that "love is paradise" in the five-and-a-half minute centrepiece, the most ambitious track by a stretch. Not exactly dark night of the soul-like stuff. That's not to say these moments aren't rewarding in themselves, and that trio of openers does hold a more tortured presence under all the wistfulness. Take lead single "Shadow". Although the vocals are low in the mix (below some lovely string arrangement), they're not so indecipherable as not to catch such pessimism as "I'd go with you if you asked me to / but we wouldn't get very far, two strangers in the dark". It's a pop song in the Robert Smith template: couterbalancing the instrumental's glimmer of optimism with crushing lyrical blows, and it can't be helped to hang on to the lyrics from there, whether they're the sensual "you can have me"'s of the title track, or the aforementioned laments for "Rheya".

With Wild Nothing's gift for songwriting and extended instrumental and tonal pallette, Nocturne successfully bucks the "style over substance" argument for dream-pop out of the water. Although Jack Tatum's heart is still firmly stuck to his sleeve his lyrics, song structures and tasteful nods to his influences add up to a sincere talent, and there are enough musical ideas happening for the album to work satisfyingly well. Until now I found the closest thing to a varied dream-pop album to be DIIV's Oshin, released a few months ago also on Captured Tracks. And while that certainly isn't a bad album it takes something like Nocturne to show that with any genre there's no obligation to play by the rules when it comes to making an album. There's plenty to stake out on the fringes.

Death Grips - "@deathgripz" and video interview

The 13th and final entry into Adult Swim's 2012 Singles Program comes appropriately enough from Death Grips who as promised close the show with a single planned for release between their two 2012 albums The Money Store and the forthcoming NO LOVE DEEP WEB. It's called "@deathgripz" and can be downloaded for free (along with the other twelve entries in the series) here. Below watch a new video interview released in tandem with the single:

Stream Grizzly Bear - Shields and Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky

I've been up early, working my way through the new album by Grizzly Bear, Shields, and have now moved onto Dinosaur Jr. (pictured) - I Bet On Sky. All thanks to NPR Music. Links:

Dinosaur Jr. - I Bet On Sky
Grizzly Bear - Shields

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dirty Projectors present their short film Hi Custodian

On the subject of short films, Dirty Projectors have premiered their visual accompniment to recent album Swing Lo Magellan, which was produced in association with Pitchfork x Youtube. Written and directed by bandleader David Longstreth, and starring bandmembers David Longstreth, Amber Coffman, Nat Baldwin, Haley Dekle and Mike Johnson, Hi Custodian is now available to view below. As promised the film contains elements influenced by Kanye West's similar 2010 project Runaway, not least alternate versions of songs featured on Swing Lo Magellan, so if you're still not convinced of my review of the album look no further:

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Introducing the short film for Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes

As is now sometimes the case with new high-profile releases, the upcoming Flying Lotus album Until The Quiet Comes has an accompanying short film of the same name, directed by Kahlil Joseph. It's a really quite moving work, violent yet beautifully shot and coloured, that features not only a cameo from Steven Ellison himself but also music from the album, including a snippet of the Erykah Badu-featuring "See Thru To U" not heard on the single release, and parts of two Niki Randa-sung tracks: "Hunger" and "Getting There". Although it's still early days, judging from the quality of this latest package my hopes for the album are higher than ever. 1st October!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Single of the Week: Angel Olsen - "Acrobat"

This is the second time I've blatantly ransacked a Pitchfork Best New Music track for my own Single of the Week feature, but whatever. When a track evokes such strong feelings of desperate hope and lovelorn curiousity as "Acrobat" does, it becomes a disservice not to recognise it. The opening track to Angel Olsen's second album Half Way Home, out now on Bathetic, does all these things by tugging at the line that seperates harmony and dissonance, played out through creeping yet comforting synthesizer, occasional guitar notes and the lower register of Olsen's extraordinary voice. The lyrical themes are perhaps more affecting, also using binaries to pattern the narrator's intricate feelings, including in the refrain: "I am alive / I thought that I'd died". Other lyrics capture the feeling of distance like some of the best of any unrequited love song; Olsen wishing to be merely "a bit like you" and "that distant thought, / Some growing meaning in yor mind", which in turn creates an interesting contrast with the unrestrained nature of the guitar and vocals. The only trrue reference to an "acrobat" in the song is the one that Olsen manages to survive these imbalanced ideas.

Angel Olsen - Acrobat (Official Music Video) from Toshadeva Palani on Vimeo.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Introducing Culture Shock: September 2012

An idea that's finally happened, I'm pleased to present this month's playlist in the form of the first part of a Mixcloud series called Culture Shock. It's mostly similar to the previous playlists only all in one place, and has vocal inturludes by myself going through each of the tracks selected. Episode 1 (September 2012) can be streamed below:

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Swans - The Seer added to 2012 Recommended Albums

Since there have been a huge number of noteworthy albums released in the last couple of weeks for your average indie blogger (at a rate that looks set to continue), it has become increasingly tough to seperate the great from the good, to predict what records will remain and be returned to long after the dust has settled. This simply isn't the case with The Seer, the second Swans album after bandleader Michael Gira resurrected the moniker in 2009. It seems as if any other review or discussion of The Seer has to include the following quote, and as I believe it to be an important one I'm going to regurgitate that trend. In case you missed it, this is what Gira said of the album in an interview with The Quietus:

"The Seer took 30 years to make. It's the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I've ever made, been involved in or imagined. But it's unfinished, like the songs themselves. It's one frame in a reel. The frames blur, blend and will eventually fade."
On surface level it isn't difficult to understand just why The Seer stands out. It's a monster, a 2CD/3LP experience that demands two hours of its listeners' misery. Amongst its eleven tracks lie a 32-minute title track and two closing tracks of around 20 minutes each. And not to mention it's by Swans, a group that has spent the best part of the last 30 years destroying people's conceptions of popular music, evolving over the  ages to marry no-wave punk with noise, industrial and post-rock music. But even with these credentials it's something else entirely to produce a two-hour album containing elements that longtime fans are going to be surprised by, and to result in a cohesive statement that deserves to stand next to Gira's towering words.

But it does. One of the album's strongest qualities is that it manages to entertain consistently for that amount of time, albeit entertain a certain type of music listener. There are too many specific moments, instuments and guest musicians to name each one individually, and The Seer is something that needs to be heard to be believed, but likewise there are too many great things going on to neglect a mention. Opener "Lunacy" is a great one. It feels like the doorway into the album's netherworld, with Gira's chant "Your childhood is over" being the signpost pointing the way back for the unadventurous. The first half of the next track "Mother Of The World" is taken up with a two note riff that stutters its way into exhaustion, complete with heavy breathlessness. Of course the majority of the first disc is taken up with "The Seer", which without trying to sell it short (if that's even possible) is most strongly defined by Thor Harris' pummeling drums. "93 Ave. B Blues" builds tension until it breaks into classic Swans cacophony. Even the acoustic ballads on Disc 1 sound twisted; Gira's creaky vocals on "The Wolf" are brought right up close, elongated out of any comfort.

The second disc opens up with a respite, a ballad sung not by Gira but Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeah's fame. "Song For A Warrior" is perfectly placed; functioning as both a welcome and necessary break but also introducing what I consider to be the strongest three tracks on the album. Firstly "Avatar" skips along church bells andd Gira's monasterial chanting, gaining momentum until finaly breaking into one of the best dramatic turns on the album. It's a small shame it doesn't last longer; alas it moves into the crackling fires of "A Piece Of The Sky", nineteen minutes of sheer beauty, like a Pink Floyd album in microcosm, and as an essential part of the album as the final track. "The Apostate" is like the final boss of a video game: challenging, but if you've managed to get this far you'll see it as your reward. Initially slow, brooding; it takes exactly six minutes to turn unapologetic, and eventually seething.

The Seer is clearly a sprawling, cinematographic album, like Can's Tago Mago and Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Lift Yr Skinny Fists... before it, and not for the casual listener to pick up. But it's not so demanding as to drain you, not so repetitive as to be monotonous. It's length and scope may seem to disguise any faults repeated listening may unsurface, yet returning to it several times reveals few. The Seer is a masterpiece for Swans, that genuinely does draw from all phases of Michael Gira's musical career: the sounds of a lush plethora of acoustic instrumentation, with the massive force of the central band unit. In totality the album's hugeness is likeable to the heights Swans stand over the rest of the world's music makers.

Grizzly Bear w/ Perfume Genius - (Nottingham) Albert Hall Conference Centre (29th August 2012)

The 2 Bears (Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen). Couldn't get the rest in shot, heaven knows I tried.

Perfume Genius
Not too dissimilar to the set they performed at Latitude last month (and because I detailed that here I'm not going to elaborate much). Thankfully I was surrounded by less irriating company this time around. Surprisingly, the main difference between this Mike Hadreas and the one performing to double the amount of people in the i Arena was this one seemed to lack further confidence. Not a huge problem, as is the nature of Perfume Genius, and as far as support slots go, I don't think I could have asked for a better one.

Grizzly Bear
Ed Droste decided to turn the seated show into a standing one. One of the main issues of this was that it became tough to see (and photograph) entirely what was happening on stage. The Albert Hall Conference Centre isn't a typical music venue, and there's no barrier between the crowded audience and the under-three-feet stage. This was probably my only major negative of the show. The setlist ranged across Grizzly Bear's current three studio albums, but some of the night's brightest moments came from the scarcely-performed new material, to feature on the upcoming album Shields. No less than six new tracks were played: "Sleeping Ute" and "Yet Again" were already familiar, but they were rivalled by "Speak In Rounds", "A Simple Answer", "gun-shy" and "Half Gate". Between them signifies a prediction that Shields may turn out to be Grizzly Bear's rock album, and all four members infused these songs with a new passion. Some top-class banter solidified the evening, on the account of it being Chris Taylor's birthday, and they can be forgiven for shortening their encore to go out to celebrate.

I managed to nab myself a setlist, which is how I knew what the new songs were. The penultimate track is called "Half Gate":

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Converge announce new album - album cover, tracklist, music video for "Aimless Arrow"

Since Converge's last album, 2009's Axe To Fall guitarist Kurt Ballou has produced for some of the finest bands of American underground metal. Now he will be putting the skills he's learned on those records towards a new album for his own band. All We Love We Leave Behind (artwork above) will be released on 9th October on Epitaph, and will be available in both regular and deluxe edition packages. Below find the album's tracklist and Max Moore-directed video for first track "Aimless Arrow":

1. Aimless Arrow
2. Trespasses
3. Tender Abuse
4. Sadness Comes Home
5. Empty on the Inside
6. Sparrow's Fall
7. Glacial Pace
8. No Light Escapes*
9. Vicious Muse
10. Veins and Vails
11. Coral Blue
12. Shame in the Way
13. On My Shield*
14. Precipice
15. All We Love We Leave Behind
16. Runaway*
17. Predatory Glow

* Deluxe edition bonus tracks

Track all the info up to the release of All We Love We Leave Behind on the Upcoming Releases page.

Monday, 27 August 2012

TOY - "Lose My Way" video, plus other stuff

Finally I get an excuse to talk about TOY! I've been loosely following this band ever since I caught the back end of their set at Latitude last month. Their self-titled debut album is to be released via Heavenly Recordings on the 10th September (artwork above). This is the video to their latest single "Lose My Way", which will also see an individual release a week later:

Below you can find the album tracklist, trailer, singles and music video for "Motoring":

1. Colour’s Running Out
2. The Reasons Why
3. Dead & Gone
4. Lose My Way
5. Drifting Deeper
6. Motoring
7. My Heart Skips A Beat
8. Strange
9. Make It Mine
10. Omni
11. Walk Up To Me
12. Kopter

Track all the info up to the release of TOY on the Upcoming Releases page.

Cat Power - Sun and Deerhoof - Breakup Song streaming at NPR Music

New albums ahead of release this week come from Deerhoof and Cat Power, who release Breakup Song and Sun respectively next Monday. Enjoy yourself with these links:

Cat Power - Sun
Deerhoof - Breakup Song

Friday, 24 August 2012

Neil Young & Crazy Horse to release second album of 2012

Earlier in the year Neil Young reformed Crazy Horse, a band with which he recorded some of his best and most popular albums of his career. They released Americana, an album made up of classic American songs of yesteryear, but now Neil has announced on his website that there will be a new Neil Young/Crazy Horse album of entirely original material. Psychedelic Pill will be released on double CD and triple LP sometime in October. In addition "full length videos for each of the songs will be available and previewed. A recommended high resolution 24/192 full fidelity version of the album Psychedelic Pill will be released on Blu-ray and will include all the videos". Now that's what I'm talking about!

Track all the info up to the release of Psychedelic Pill on the Upcoming Releases page.