Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Top 50 Songs of 2006 (15-11)

15. Shit Robot - Wrong Galaxy (DFA/EMI)

DFA in 2006 has all been about the drip-drip-drip of anticipation and tantalising glimpses of what lies ahead. There has been the curveball of minimal punks Prinzhorn Dance School, LCD Soundsystem's disco workout, '45:33' (not to mention the early leak of their forthcoming sophomore album) and Tim Goldsworthy has been branching out on his own, turning shit into shine-o-la for Wolfmother, Radio 4 and The Rakes as The Loving Hand. The most exciting new thing to come from their stable this year has been in the everyman shape of Marcus Lambkin, a.k.a. Shit Robot, who at the start of the year, turned in a fabulous 12" which hinted at him being as equally adept at turning his hand to different shades of dance music as James and Tim themselves.

On the flip to this, 'Triumph' takes a more disco-not-disco approach, throwing in guitar and cowbell, but the real banger on this particular slab of vinyl is this, 'Wrong Galaxy', which while it isn't straight-up techno, it's as close as the DFA have come to Detroit thus far. The shuffly, crisp beat and synth burbles bring to mind Carl Craig's recent adventures (see below), but the breakdown, that comes in surprisingly early, is a damn sight more crowdpleasing and immediate than he would ever stoop to. That'd be too crass or cheesy, but as far as crass cheese goes, 'Wrong Galaxy' is as classy as it comes. Bring on the album.

Shit Robot - Wrong Galaxy (mp3)

14. The Long Blondes - You Could Have Both (Rough Trade)

You could cut the tension here with a knife. The only band with two songs on this list weigh in with their best tune yet, this alluring slice of high drama. It starts out pretty standardly with Kate Jackson spinning a tale of wishful polygamy, as per the title. It's when that spoken breakdown, with the male vocal coming in to issue a counterpoint that 'You Could Have Both' really takes flight though.

Cast as adversaries, Jackson and her male complement argue the toss over whether having your cake and eating it is as easy or as rosy as it seems. The conflict winds up unresolved, but the song is all the better for it, detailing the seedy side of life and love by highlighting its attractions. This plays out over the top of The Long Blondes' most polished production thus far, lending further weight to the Pulp comparisons as the synths buzz and the guitars chop. One of the few upcoming Brit bands of recent years to justify the hype.

The Long Blondes - You Could Have Both (mp3)

13. Hot Chip - Boy From School (EMI)

For a band who style themselves as geeky pranksters, 'Boy From School' saw Hot Chip step into the realm of honesty for five minutes. On other songs, Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard carp on about monkeys with miniature cymbals and blazing out Yo La Tengo, but Taylor's winsome vocal on 'Boy From School' speaks of detachment and isolation, with the keening, "We tried but we don't belong" refrain owning the power to soothe and break hearts from twenty paces.

Musically, the crunchy, rippling filter-disco beat that seems lifted straight from the Daft Punk copybook (at least from back when they were worth ripping off), with the sprinkling of twinkly wind-chime effects proved to be as winning and addictive as most other things released this year. Also, for the record, 'Over And Over' was out last year originally. I prefer this anyway.

Hot Chip - Boy From School (mp3)

12. The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health (Rabid/Brille)

It surprises me just how popular The Knife have become in the past twelve months. Maybe Jose Gonzalez has something to do with it, but even at their most prosaic, like on 'We Share Our Mother's Health', they're pretty fucking weird. Perhaps that's the attraction, along with the vulture's beaks (above), that the stranger and more evil The Knife sound, the more interesting they become.

'We Share Our Mother's Health' set's a ping-ponging, distorted synth line against pulverising, ragga bass and Karin Dreijer-Andersson's incrementally, increasingly insane vocal and lets the mayhem play out. It's completely, utterly danceable though, despite the obvious quirks and the fact that it's slayed dancefloors the world over in 2006, just goes to show how sick some people can be.

The Knife - We Share Our Mother's Health (mp3)

11. Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - Relevee (Carl Craig Remix) (DFA/EMI)

Although I'm compiling another mini-list solely for remixes, I deemed it appropriate that this track should make the big list. Carl Craig's do-over of Delia & Gavin's somnambulant epic was something approaching a phenomenon. As soon as Tim Sweeney dropped it on Beats In Space, internet message boards were alive with chatter, with some techno heads going as far as to proclaim it as one of the best tunes of all time. In particular, the now-defunct YSI thread on ILM was rife for months with requests from noobs and vets alike, prompting one wag to post the theme to The Benny Hill Show, under the pretence that it was 'Relevee'.

Too much hype and anticipation can completely kill a song's impact, but this just plain refused to roll over and die. It's just too damn good for that. Okay, it's not world-endingly brilliant, but Craig's pulsating, menacing, physical take on the original's melody was one of the most insistent, hypnotic, freight trains of a tune that was delivered in 2006. I'll let you all find that out for yourselves though. YSI?

Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - Relevee (Carl Craig Remix) (mp3)


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