I’m splitting up my posts on the past years listening this year, in an attempt to make them more readable (unlike last year). So to kick off, here’s some EPs I thought were rather good. Including links to youtube and myspace as necessary to let you enjoy in vision and sound, as Bowie would say if he got confused and put the lyrics the wrong way round.
- Vitalic – Bells [myspace] [wikipedia] [official site]
Having originally made his name via a number of EPs it seems only fit that Vitalic return to releasing stonking EPs and Bells is almost good enough to put everything that came before in the shade. Almost a mini album given that it runs to six tracks the linda Lamb voiced title track is an addictive and pacy number. For me though the real highlight is Candy which takes a very disjointed beat played on a fuzzed up guitar, some very distorted lyrics and just lets rip.
- Misty’s Big Adventure – Fashion Parade [youtube] [myspace] [wikipedia] [official website]
How I hadn’t come across the wonder of Misty’s Big Adventure until this EP started to get hyped by their fans is beyond me. Clearly I don’t dig deep enough, or indeed much at all. The title track is a brilliant tongue in cheek dig at a number of modern bands (but chiefly Franz Ferdinand, see the video). Fortunately Misty’s themselves are a brilliantly inspired band who do great gigs (Featuring your man with the hands above dancing through the crowd lots). The EP sadly lacks the amazing song they played when I saw them at the 100 Club (Something about taking the time back), but it does have the excellent Kids Are Radioactive which is clearly the best song about kids turning into zombies due to inappropriate mobile phone mast placement ever.
- Menomena – Wet & Rusting [youtube] [myspace] [wikipedia] [official site]
I was kind of doomed to fall in love with this EP. Menomena constantly sit high in my list of bands that seem weirdly under-rated beyond certain blogs on the internet (perhaps because they’ve never played a gig in the UK). Anyway, we only got three tracks out of them in 2005 so to get a whole EP was a treat and a nice prelude for their difficult proper second album. And it has awesome Craig Thompson cover art. Anyway, enough fanboy-ish-ness and on with the praise. Wet And Rusting itself is a wonderful Menomena track developing their sound nicely and again showcasing their oddball sound expertly (especially with the remix and plain versions of the title track). At some point I’ll tire of their multi-layered voices, drums and guitars with plinky piano production, but there’s a good album of this worth pursuing first.
- Devotchka – Curse Your Little Heart [myspace] [wikipedia] [youtube] [official website]
An interesting alternative American band doing soft but sweet covers of classics? No, it’s not Cake. Devotchka I stumbled across thanks to Beirut and though their albums are all some years old this EP of covers is fascinatingly fresh and beautiful. To describe Devotchka’s sound is tricky so just go to myspace and save me the hassle! It’s hard to pick a favourite track but their version of The Last Beat Of My Heart is really quite moving, but then they also bring something fresh to Somethin’ Stupid which takes talent. Oh, and as youtube proves that Venus in Furs cover live is something else. On the topic of youtube I really dig how incongruous the sousaphone looks on stage in this clip.
- Matson Jones – A Four Song EP [myspace]
Matson Jones don’t exist on Wikipedia (at the moment), only sit on myspace thanks to fans and last I checked didn’t take being a band too seriously but just wanted to make good music. On this count they succeed marvellously and I’d kill for them to record another album. In the meantime this EP shall suffice and their particular brand of cello indie makes me very annoyed I gave up the instrument myself.
- Fog – Loss Leader EP [myspace] [official site]
Fog’s in a year of transition, and has finally packed away the turntables and other tools of his earlier sound. His final excursions on this EP showcase these changes. The EP is pretty good but doesn’t come close to capturing the live sound and how rocking Fog now is (no endless sparse birdsong). His myspace is now chock full of stuff that makes me very excited indeed about his next album, Your Beef Is Mine especially.
Now, don’t ask me to pick a favourite.
Vitalic – continues to win; ‘Candy’ is, however, two or three songs struggling to get out, one of which is almost impossible to listen to without taking ecstacy
Misty’s Big Adventure – this is the kind of thing that you like and i do not (would you murder me if i said Talking Heads vs The Divine Comedy?), but i guess they’re doing what they’re trying to do, so that’s okay
Menomena – that’s okay; reminds me of another one of the Pitchfork-type efforts, but i can’t put my finger on who – maybe The Walkmen, a bit, but maybe not
DeVotchKa – it’s crazy, but when i listen to this, i kind of just hear silence; not literally, but i can’t concentrate on it, like it’s an deaf spot; therefore i have no substantive opinion
Matson Jones – that’s nice, i like that
Fog – this is one of those things i will have to listen to several more times before i can form an opinion
I will give Fog and Menomena more listening.
I would do a best of 2006 of my own, but it would basically be dance music and weird stuff.
Damn it, i’m going to do a best of 2006.
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