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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tracks of the Year (Alex)

Through sheer saturation and ubiquity, it’s hard not to declare 2008 the year of Sex On Fire and just be done with it. But too much good music came out this year that got lost in the fury that was the KoL, MGMT, etc explosion. What follows are my personal faves, to tessellate with the heat
Nat dropped below. All are linked to individual zshares.

Bishop Lamont – Grow Up
Dre produces one of the hottest beats of the summer, in classic restrained Dre mode, and Bishop Lamont furthers his claim on being the new saviour of West Coast rap. So fresh.

Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
Hands-down banger of the year. The most exhilarating and life-affirming sub-three-minute experience since bungee jumping.

MGMT vs Notorious B.I.G vs Justice – Nasty Feel (DDPesh rework)
When someone gets a mash-up right, something like this happens and it’s so epic. Brooklyn's DDPesh come through with another rework that's so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Horse Feathers – Albina
It’s so mesmerizingly pretty, and then you listen to the lyrics and go “oh - woah. That is so bleak,” but the song is made all the more beautiful for its honesty and discordance.

Lykke Li – Little Bit (AutoErotique Bootleg Remix)
I posted a whole album worth of Lykke Li mash-ups in my Best Albums list, but this remix is so much fire it can’t be skipped for that reason. It takes a sparse, delicate song and turns it into a total banger, without losing the tenderness of the original track. (thanks to the good folk of creamteam)

Grouper – Heavy Water / I’d Rather Be Sleeping
Their album was super close to making my top five for the year. It would've made a top ten Although it’s only short, this is a song to get lost in.

Arthur Russell – I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face
I’m totally with P4K on this one. What is it with Arthur Russell? A track that should be mundane by any other standards is siphoned through Russell’s vulnerable sincerity and accomplished structuring, and so it talks to somewhere deep inside.

Puts bop in your stride and gets your smile out. Catchiest song of the year?

My favourite song off one of my aforementioned favourite albums of the year.

The forceful passion of this song, and the damage in it, makes the idea of spending a period of alcoholism in the wilderness seem compelling. This would have been available from Nat Albums of the Year list, had it not been quietly assassinated by the fire Nazis.

Happy 2k9 all: may it be as fruitful as 2k8 was.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tracks of the Year (Nat)

As promised in my now MIA Best Albums post I now present my top tracks of the year. Lets hope this one survives the blog wilderness. Please note that I'm feeling a little lazy and I have put all the tracks in one easy access ZIP file.

Tracks of the Year (Nat)

Young Love - Mystery Jets featuring Laura Marling

A quaint little English ditty about love made all that much sweeter with a cameo from Laura Marling and an inventive film clip.

Mr Carter - Lil' Wayne featuring Jay-Z

From an album full of standouts this one rises above the rest. Just Blaze lays down the best chipmunk soul since The College Dropout while Jay-Z pretends to pass the torch too his fiercest rival.

Hold On - Holy Ghost!

Nu/new/neu disco, or what ever the hell you want call it, exploded this year. Holy Ghost! were at the forefront with this pop space synth workout.

My Turn - Basement Jaxx

While the Jaxx have been knocking out interesting LP's for years now nothing has ever come close to their debut. Until now. My Turn captures is a more restrained side of the pair and uses the considerable talents of Devonte Hynes aka Lightspeed Champion to craft a tasty slice of emo electro.

Tear You Down - Brookes Brothers

Until recently High Contrast was the king of drum and bass single and remix. New comers Brookes Brothers have been kicking around for a while but it was this soul sampling banger which put them on the map and threatened to turn BW member Alex into a bonafide candy raver.

Pjanoo - Eric Prydz

Pjanoo was everywhere this year. With a huge showing at both Miami and Ibiza as well as remixes from Fred Falke and BW favourite High Contrast. All white noise, huge build ups and THAT piano line shit was guaranteed to get you reaching for the lasers.

Frayed - Hermitude/ Don't Mind - Calibre

These songs sit together as tracks that emit a certain mood. They both use dusty piano lines and muffled soul vocal to create beautiful emotive music. Deep.

Golden Cage - The Whitest Boy Alive (Fred Falke Remix)

Hands down my track of the year. Shimmering synths, clean drums and dash of french touch mixed with naked vocals of Erlend Oye. Audio bliss. Enjoy the amazing film clip for the original above.

Tracks of the Year (Nat)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Albums Of The Year (Alex)

To be honest, we here at BW didn't really discuss the logistics of posting individual Best Of lists in a year that saw us agree firmly on the releases of a certain few bands. Which is rarer than you might think. To avoid redundancy, see Nat's post for two albums which will probably make a heap of Best Of lists worldwideweb-wide, with mine no exception:

Passion Pit - Chunk Of Change EP

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

There were albums this year that had moments of sheer individual brilliance, from people as diverse as T.I and Bob Dylan, but it only seems fair to include the albums which got the most overall burn. So, as dictated by my iTunes play count, I present you the other 3 best albums of 2008 :

Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak
Kanye's decision to move beyond his comfortable, highly successful mould as a hip-hop producer is demonstration of a commendable ambition, and largely unsurprising for someone with an ego as healthy as his. Like him or hate him for his bold claims about being 'the voice of a generation', with 808's, Kanye has managed that rare feat that is sporadically achieved in pop music: the ability to craft an album that will influence the sound of pop music for the immediate, and perhaps lasting future.

(On a sidenote, anyone unconvinced by the new material should try to catch a live show, as some of the BW family did last night. Moments of earnest indulgence from Mr West did nothing to stymie a concert that at times reached obscene levels of fun.)

The Hood Internet - Lykke Li minimix

I thought Lykke Li's album was amazing in and of itself. But it seems to have been the most fertile ground for people wanting to do mash-ups or remixes since Paper Planes. The Hood Internet's signature approach pairs her transcendent vocals with a range of sweetly tessellated beats, from the beautiful ambience of The Field and Gui Boratto to dancefloor bangers with Hercules & Love Affair and Booka Shade. When quite often mash-ups can be merely "oh that's kinda clever," these six little gems leave you more "oh woah that's better."

The Hood Internet vs Lykke Li - minimix (via The Hood Internet)

Air France – No Way Down EP

This was my go-to ‘in transit’ choice. It works equally well as background music to a book on the train, or when I’m skating somewhere, or when I’m just walking. Which is not to say it’s a white noise thing: the songs all just have a way of being present and feeling so appropriate to being in motion. Sort of like when a song sounds right at the beach, and you zen out a little.

Air France – Collapsing At Your Doorstep

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Electric stimulus to face

What do you do for fun? This guy attaches electrodes to his face and makes compositions for his face to wig out to. Could easily be an Aphex Twin video. Bless the Japanese.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Obama bama

It may be a little late and barely musical but at BW we love ourselves a bit of Randy Marsh. Like Homer Simpson said, 'Its funny cause it's true'.

We say party - you say die!

As you know we here at BW are a big fan of the beats from the Blue Mountains. Cloud Control and Hermitude are two top acts to come from the region. Must be cause they don't have a mall or something.

Add to that list the psypop stylings of we say bamboulée who have recently come to attention of local Sydney station FBi and now myself. Peep their Klaxon's style lyrics and Passion Pit influenced beats below. Props to them for letting a little Aussie twang steal into the vocals. Refreshing.

I heart Mark Ronson

Fuck yes Mark Ronson killed it yesterday at Global Gathering in Sydney. Along with an incredible list of supporting acts, are you listening Gorillaz? This is how you do a show, none of this 'soundsystem' bullshit.

There ain't much on YouTube yet but here is a little taste of set closer/encore 'Stop Me'. More as it develops.