Following on from part 1 – busking it, more great songs from last year.
Annie – Anthonio
So much to love about this. For starters, it’s Annie and she’s still as ace, different and lovely as ever. Her breathless, almost ethereal stacatto vocals undercut by a questioning echo are an utter delight and work really well against Richard X’s production which appears to have nicked a bassline from Popcorn. And there’s a 90s boy-band style key change at the end, though that’s not the only surprise.
Hafdis Huld – Kongulo
A song about the human spider, Alain Robert – almost a shame they didn’t get him to star in the video really. A simple song about a complex man, fun, breezy and joyous from start to finish. Why did I overlook Hafdis for so long, and why have I failed to see her live in London? And do I just have a weakness to icy voiced nordic maidens? Possibly.
The Whitest Boy Alive – Island
Enough of the effortlessly cool then, time for the nerdy and awkward getting to rock out. I was pleasantly surprised by the first Whitest Boy Alive album, Erlend Oye was always my favourite of the pair in the Kings of Convenience and only part of that was because he was so obviously the nerdy awkward one on their album covers. There’s a hesitance to the underlying beat of this song that fascinates me, and the way the instruments come in and build up play around and then slowly depart has the atmosphere of a 12inch mix but seems just to be there to allow the band to expand on their theme.
Royksopp – Vision One
I mentioned this track earlier in the year because I was so fascinated with the sound of it, especially when I found it was based on Royksopp’s remix of a rather decent Japanese orignal by Eri Nobuchika. Hearing this song was the moment that Junior clicked for me and I finally felt that I could forgive Royksopp for The Understanding which is, listenning to it now a good album ruined by a single song (49%). I guess the genius of this – and it rests back in the Japanese original too – is the combination of an aggresively modern sound with a lament for what we’ve lost.
Fever Ray – Triangle Walks
I’ve always been of the camp that preferred The Knife’s version of Heartbeats to Jose Gonzales’ cover (remember him?) but had never quite had an album by The Knife gel enough with me to make it a choice favourite. Karin from The Knife in her Fever Ray guise is somehow much easier on the ears without compromising on the sound. The kind of haunted lullaby I suspect you need when you’re close to the midnight sun.
Still to come: France!, ElectroygoodnSS and my innevitable devouring of American indie.
After much soul searching, some blog eating posting and a bit of prevarication here’s the first music of 2009 post. Yet again I’m going to go for a different format to before and so I’m just going to use youtube this time.
This first collection of tunes are all bands from these isles and like a lot of bands I like their names begin with M (see also Madness, Misty’s Big Adventure and Moondog) – somehow I’ve wound up with a loose theme which is that all of these videos show them busking or performing in a bandstand.
Micachu – Curly Teeth
Micachu’s debut got held up the other day as one of the albums that the mainstream missed last year. I’m a bit perplexed by that, Micachu are easily the best known of the acts I’ll mention here and only because they’re on a major label. I think anyone who believes that producing a decent album or song alone will get you noticed is ascribing magic powers to the works of critics and the internet. Both the great unwashed and washed alike will like what they like when they like and anyone who despairs at them for it misses the point. Maybe the BBC are just grumpy their own hype had no effect. <RANT OVER>
On the actual music, well it’s oddball instrumentation with wailing vocals and production from Herbert. Impressively it’s not all about the studio wizardry as this live performance shows that the songs are fed as much by musical efforts as those in production.
Meursault – William Henry Miller Pt.1
God I love Meursault. I saw them live twice in London, but must catch them back home in Edinburgh some time. Most of my experiences of their live shows have been akin to this performance, stripped back and haunting. This song is determinedly earnest but an absolute joy as they segue from handclaps to wailing vocals.
So it’s 2009, we’re just about to send a second mission to Jupiter to find out what happened to the Discovery and human progress marches on. I’m now 27, which feels unbelievably old and mature to be surrounded by so much stuff in my ever student like bedroom. And there’s $70 trillion in the giant pool of money [mp3 here] in the world so we’re building the future ever faster.
Why is it only figures involving cash money that have this nasty habit of going down as well as up?
Anyway, happy new year. I attempted to forecast my future using molten lead [video] and accidentally created Cthulu.
I also indulged in the many years German tradition of watching Dinner For One and drank a fair bit of gin.
Coming up next, my predictions of which bands don’t stand even a small chance of making it big but that I really like from 2008.