Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yer Mam!'s Top 50 Albums Of 2008: 45-41

45. Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Primary Colours (Goner)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring; remember the name. Their chosen moniker might not trip off the tongue, but there's nothing convoluted about the music of this Aussie four-piece. Favouring a stripped-down, raw power aesthetic approach to well-worn garage-punk tropes, Primary Colours might not be the most refined album released this year, but it's certainly one of the most primally thrilling.

ECSR throw unrestrained Stooges-esque proto-punk, Mission Of Burma-like fury and Gang Of Four's wit and way with rhythm into their admittedly derivative brew but the fact that all the elements are stolen doesn't detract from the massive replayability of songs like the menacing 'I Admit My Faults' or the stark, hypnotic 'Colour Television', whose "Switch on, switch off" refrain will stick in your head like an icepick. It may take a little while to get your head around that name but the 10 songs on Primary Colours will hit immediately.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Colour Television (mp3)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring - Memory Lane (mp3)

Bonus: Very amateur footage of 'I Admit My Faults' live in Sydney.

44. Dusk + Blackdown - Margins Music (Keysound Recordings)

There's no escaping from the fact that Margins Music is very much a London record. It's there in the artwork depicting a fruit and veg market stall, it's in the multifarious references to certain boroughs of the city, hell, even the album's catalogue number is LDN006. It's also in the atmosphere though, as Margins Music is a smoky, suffocating record that sounds as harsh and austere as the average London street at night.

That said, take away the obvious "This is London" shout-outs and Dusk + Blackdown's massively impressive debut album could have come from any bustling, multicultural metropolis. For all its frequent darkness however, Margins Music is also an album of rare, disarming beauty that expands the dubstep pallette to incorporate fragile Indian motifs such as alluring tablas and stirring sitars. D+B are also not afraid to bring a bit of forcefulness to proceedings as evidenced by the midsection one-two punch of 'Concrete Streets' (with Durrty Goodz) and 'The Bits' (with Trim). Margins Music is a marvellous, absorbing treatise on inner city life in the 21st Century, with a life and an appeal outside of the big smoke.

Dusk + Blackdown - Con/Fusion (feat. Farrah) (mp3)

Dusk + Blackdown - The Bits (feat. Trim) (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the great short promo vid for the album. See, advertising can still be artful.

43. Q-Tip - The Renaissance (Universal Motown)

2008 was the year of the comeback and there were fewer returns as emphatic and like-they've-never-been-away than the rebirth of Jonathan Davis aka Kamaal Fareed aka Q-Tip. From the opening treated guitar lick of 'Johnny Is Dead' and Tip's affirmation that "What good is an ear if a Q-Tip isn't in it", it was obvious that The Renaissance would be worth the nine year wait.

It really is all that and then some, arguably a better album than his last official solo effort, 1999's Amplified (which itself is a lot better than the lukewarm critical reception it received at the time suggests), The Renaissance is bright, effusive, hugely optimistic and nostalgic. It's also a very timely album, setting Tip up (if he can avoid anymore record company troubles) once again as an affable outsider alternative to the hip-hop mainstream. After all he works a Can sample better than Kanye did.

Q-Tip - Gettin' Up (mp3)

Q-Tip - Dance On Glass (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the brilliant video for 'Move'.

42. Clinic - Do It! (Domino)

Along with the rest of the music-following world, I'd written Clinic off as a one-trick pony who'd forgotten how to perform its one trick. Treading water doesn't really cover just how 'meh' Clinic's albums have been since the glorious debut, Internal Wrangler way back in 2000. Thankfully Do It! is their most confident release since that brilliant first shot across the boughs and one of 2008's most pleasant surprises.

Ade Blackburn and gang have been boning up on their songcraft lately as Do It! assays at a disarmingly frequent rate. They're charming and eloquent on 'Free Not Free' and 'Emotions', fractured and punky on 'Shopping Bag' and 'Tomorrow' and woozy and psychedelic on 'Mary and Eddie' and 'Memories'. If you've tuned out on Clinic since Internal Wrangler then Do It! is more than worth tuning back in.

Clinic - Shopping Bag (mp3)

Clinic - High Coin (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'Tomorrow'.

Another year, another Deerhoof album. While Offend Maggie doesn't quite match up to the audacity of Milk Man, the frenzied, hyper-kinetic charm of The Runners Four or the streamlined, odd-pop greatness of Friend Opportunity, it's still another fittingly barmy and fulfilling entry into the Deerhoof discography.

If there's something that marks Offend Maggie out from those that preceded it, it's that it sees Deerhoof edging closer towards a union between their more outre experimental sensibilities and their clear 'gift' for classic pop music. On songs like 'Chandelier Searchlight', the band showcase some of their brightest melodies to-date, whilst 'The Tears And Music Of Love', 'My Purple Past' and 'Buck And Judy' rock almost as hard as their heroes The Who. Offend Maggie isn't their best album, but the mere existence of each Deerhoof record is cause enough for celebration and this collection further marks them out as one of America's most pleasingly consistent and idiosyncratic indie-rock bands.

Deerhoof - The Tears And Music Of Love (mp3)

Deerhoof - Eaguru Guru (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the typically strange video for 'Chandelier Searchlight'.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Yer Mam!'s Top 100 Tunes Of 2008: 90-81

90. Wild Rumpus - Purple Somersault (Bitches Brew)

One of those you can file under 'shouldn't work, but it does', Wild Rumpus is a startlingly good collaboration between Bitches Brew head, DJ Cosmo and former Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band guitarist, Gary Lucas. Wild Rumpus make wonderful music, however, that touches on dub, country, surf and disco and 'Purple Somersault' is their outlandish zenith to-date. Essentially an ostentatious guitar freakout, complete with a drum solo (*fist pump*), 'Purple Somersault' eskimo-rolls onto the dancefloor with grace and effortless good-time verve. A balearic classic in the making. Um... gnarly, dude.

Wild Rumpus - Purple Somersault (mp3)

Bonus: Wild Rumpus - Purple Somersault (Prins Thomas Diskomiks) (mp3)

89. Kode9 Vs. LD - Bad (Hyperdub)

In which Kode9 drops The Spaceape, hooks up with LD from Transition and gets on the funky bandwagon. Well, that last part is maybe a little wide of the mark as this is still definably dubstep in nature, but there's no doubting that the soca-fied percussion is a nod to the year's most oddly successful mini-genre. This is a pretty big step outside of the comfort zone for Kode9 but upfront and clubby fits him like a glove. A bit different from his usual half-stepping darkness then but as a marker of the scene's healthy diversification these past twelve months, it's blinding.

Kode9 Vs LD - Bad (mp3)

Bonus: Kode9 & The Spaceape - Konfusion (Dub) (mp3)

88. The Dirtbombs - La Fin Du Monde (In The Red)

To be honest, I thought that We Have You Surrounded, Dirtbombs' latest full-length, was a little of a disappointment. A fun disappointment, but a letdown all the same. Every time they bring out a new album it seems, they get more polished and further away from what made them great in the first place (for the record, my favourite Dirtbombs album is their singles collection, If You Don't Already Have A Look, which probably speaks volumes). However, there are always one or two great moments on a Dirtbombs release and this French-sung closer is as bright and vivacious, yet rueful and apocalyptic as they've ever sounded. A full album of songs like 'La Fin Du Monde' every two years wouldn't be too much to ask would it?

The Dirtbombs - La Fin Du Monde (mp3)

Bonus: 'Wreck My Flow' live in Philly.

87. Fulgeance - Revenge Of The Nerd (All City)

Parisian beatmaster, Fulgeance has emerged, for me, as one of the most exciting purveyors of head-nod glitch around. His Low Club mini-album is on heavy, heavy, heavy rotation 'round these parts but the best track he's put out in 2008 is still this bumptious little beauty, which headed his installment in the magnificent All City beatstrumental 7" series. Skippy as fuck, with about eight different hooks all vying for headspace at the same time, this is attention-deficient future funk at its most fun and lively. Watch this guy take over your headphones in '09.

Fulgeance - Revenge Of The Nerd (mp3)

Bonus: Fulgeance - Absolute Belta (mp3)

86. The Night Marchers - In Dead Sleep (I Snore ZZZZ) (Vagrant)

One of the more unfettered joys of rock 'n' roll is John 'Speedo' Reis Jr. in full flow and this turbocharged rocker from his new band, The Night Marchers finds him in full-on, petrol-gargling, knife-fighting mood. The guitars sound as murderous as ever, while cascading, hard-hitting drums batter away in the background. It's not got a hell of a lot to say but music like this doesn't have to. It's bludgeoning, careening, violent punk-rock at its thrilling best.

The Night Marchers - In Dead Sleep (I Snore ZZZZ) (mp3)

Bonus: 'In Dead Sleep' live in a parking lot.

85. Rustie - Zig-Zag (Wireblock)

Russel Whyte, aka Rustie, has already coined a rather apt term for the music he creates, with 'aquacrunk', as 'Zig-Zag' is a slathering, submerged future-funk beast. This is the kind of music Timbaland would be making if he wasn't to busy manning the boards for AOR dross-peddlers like One Republic. It's about time someone picked up the torch and ran with it and the lusty, frenzied synths and acid lines, coupled with tempo-changing r'n'b beats of 'Zig-Zag' show that it's safe in Rustie's hands.

Rustie - Zig-Zag (mp3)

Bonus: Pivot - In The Blood (Rustie Remix) (mp3)

84. Cheap Time - People Talk (In The Red)

A gloriously scruffy cover of The End's classic bubblegum-punk anthem from Tennessee's Cheap Time here. I try not to put cover versions on this list but this good-time thrill ride is too good not to include. The sound of young, alcohol-fuelled misadventures in little over two minutes. So mood-elevating, they should sell it in pill form, 'People Talk' is a fuckin' riot.

Cheap Time - People Talk (mp3)

Bonus: 'People Talk' live in Arizona.

83. L.S.B. - Loco Motion (Eskimo)

Ah, piano house. Earlier in the year, I tipped the black-and-whites to make an allcomer-smashing return to the genre. It didn't really happen, but a few hardy souls decided to bring the ebony and ivory back in play in the field of four-to-the-floor. L.S.B.'s Pete Herbert and BabyG Fernandez weld a maddeningly upfront piano lick to one of the toughest kick and snare combinations this year. Add in the lairy horns and it's a White Island tour de force. Bring back the summer of love.

L.S.B. - Loco Motion (mp3)

Bonus: Chic - NY Attitude (L.S.B. Edit) (mp3)

82. Killer Mike - God In The Building (SMC Recordings/Grind Time Official)

Killer Mike doesn't do subtle. 'God In The Building' is a powerhouse slab of prime braggadocio (the 'God' of the title is Mike, himself, of course) with choral moans, explosive Dirty South beats and some of the finest MC-ing of 2008 that make Mike's messianic boasts seem not too far off the mark. The top dog in (righteously) independent rap today just got that little bit more fierce.

Killer Mike - God In The Building (mp3)

Bonus: Read a fantastic interview with the man himself over at Hip Hop DX.

81. Linkwood - R.I.P. (Prime Numbers)

From Scotland, via Detroit comes this Moodymann-like piece of modern deep house. Prime Numbers have released some of the classiest, most soulful house music of the last year and this ecstatic little groover is the best thing they've put out yet. Much like their label head and kindred spirit, Trus'me, Linkwood breathe life into a genre that's been missing, presumed done for the most part recently. Deep, but not at all stupor-inducing, house music is in good health north of the border.

Linkwood - R.I.P. (mp3)

Bonus: Linkwood - Hear The Sun (mp3)

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Metro Area tonight @ Cutloose!

Something really very cool is happening in Manchester tonight. The guys at Cutloose have managed to persuade New York disco dons, Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani, aka Metro Area to come out and play some of their favourite bits of black plastic for the delectation of punters at Spektrum (the new-ish, modish club above Sankey's). For those of you familiar with MA's output, especially their recent, amazing Fabric mix, this is very exciting news indeed.

Metro Area's Fabric 43 is one hell of a mix, seamlessly blending disco, electro, boogie, house and the odd pop oddity (Heaven 17's 'Penthouse And Pavement'! Devo's 'Freedom Of Choice'!) in a showstopping, yet effortless manner. In fact, it kind of acts as an antithesis to their recorded output, which is generally more genteel, yet no less glorious.
Anyways, in case you haven't heard that, or you're just turking for more Metro Area, you can stream a mini-mix, courtesy of Fairtilizer below.
If you're in the area though, you should pop down to Spektrum on Radium Street tonight for all the disco thrills you can handle and then some.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not Chaff, Not Quite Wheat: Sol-Angel And The Hadley St. Dreams

Carrying on my look at some of the records which didn't make my top 50 of the year now with this little gem from the sibling of someone rather famous and that...

I had the pleasure of seeing Solange Knowles live last month in Manchester and (I say this, fully aware that it's going to sound like an X-Factor-style epithet) for the first few songs, I thought she was miming. Oh no, she wasn't, she's just that good at singing. Even better at singing than that sister of hers, in my opinion. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that she's really, really, really... good at singing. She can also write a bit, having penned various tunes for big sis in the past, amongst others, and the best songs here are some of the finest pop moments of 2008.

There's a mid album lull on Sol-Angel And The Whatser-street Thingummies that just about prevents it from being, like, really, really, really, really... good and that, with songs like '6 O'clock Blues' and 'Valentines Day', just being merely good and stopping short of really, really, really good. She even samples Boards Of Canada (whoever they are, some kind of electro group from Scotland apparently) on 'This Bird' and goes all mad and trancey at the end of 'Cosmic Journey' and still manages to make a really, really, really... well, good fist at this whole album lark. Much better than Beyonce who normally just sticks three really, really, really good songs on each album and fills the rest of the time up with crap.

Solange then: really, really, really, really good, mostly.

Solange - Would've Been The One (mp3)

Solange - This Bird (mp3)

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Yer Mam!'s Top 50 Albums Of 2008: 50-46

Okay, it's the turn of the albums now, starting the countdown with numbers 50 through 46. In addition, there'll be the occasional little post about albums that didn't make the list, as a kind of added bonus. Let's get it started...

50. 2562 - Aerial (Tectonic)

The austere cover is no red herring, what lies inside is stark and forbidding. It's also one of the most thoroughly listenable 'head music' albums of the year. Dave Huismans doesn't take us for an easy ride through Aerial's ten tracks, but it's as enjoyable as it is bumpy. Huismans' heady debut full-length appropriates Rhythm & Sound's dub techno ('Redux'), skippy Seiji-like broken beat ('Enforcers') and the unrefined bass pressure of Pinch ('Techno Dread') to make for an intoxicating, suffocating listen.

If it frequently comes off as scrappy, jumping from one stylistic quirk to the next from track to track, that's part of the charm. Huismans is really trying something here and Aerial's been integral to the dubstep genre's forward motion this past year. It's a cavernous, surprising record that manages to be both texturally harsh and inviting in its make-up.

2562 - Morvern (mp3)

2562 - Greyscale (mp3)

Bonus: Pattie Blingh And The Akebulan 5 - Brother: The Point (2562 Remix) (mp3)

49. Bun B - II Trill (Rap-A-Lot)

Anyone expecting the southern rap version of a candlelit vigil for Bun's late UGK counterpart, Pimp C will be disappointed by the fiery II Trill. Maybe it's because he's missing Pimp's clownish flow as a counterpoint, but Bun B has never sounded as filled with ire as he does here, due in part to the ear-buzzing, coked-up production from the likes of CHOPS, J. Rotem, Scott Storch and Mr Lee, amongst others, that sets Bun's stentorian bark in a suitably forthright context, but mostly because of B's clear anger at his sidekick's passing.

The guest list is massively impressive, with most of Southern Rap's major players popping up throughout. Lil' Wayne makes his obligatory guest spot on the superb 'Damn I'm Cold' and serves as a remarkably able Pimp C replacement, whilst David Banner puts in a verse better than anything on The Greatest Story Ever Told on elegy to the South, 'You're Everything'. Lupe Fiasco also proves himself a perfect fit to the Southern style on 'Swang On 'Em', while Chamillionaire actually doesn't sound too bad on 'Underground Thang'. Overall though, it's Bun B himself who shines through and it's a great start to his death-enforced solo career.

Bun B - You're Everything (feat. Rick Ross, David Banner and 8Ball & MJG) (mp3)

Bun B - Get Cha Issue (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'You're Everything' on youtube.

48. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals (Illegal Art)

It's absolutely futile reviewing a Girl Talk album, when the only real way to experience them is first-hand, where you're bombarded at first by the sheer outrageousness of the samples. The more you listen, the more difficult it becomes to separate these songs that you've known for so long from the new context that Greg Gillis sets them in. Hearing 'Paranoid Android' now, for instance, you can't help but think of Jay-Z spitting 'Roc Boys' over the top and, for me at least, Faith No More's 'Epic' will forever be twinned with 'Drop And Gimme 50'.

Feed The Animals is more proof of just how smart Gillis is. He's got a magnificent ear for the best bits of pop songs, but the joy of the album doesn't just lie in the thrill of acknowledgement, it's in the way Gillis constructs new perfect pop songs entirely from old ones. Each track here has a life of its own outside of the mix-y nature of the album. That said, Feed The Animals is best served whole, preferably at a party and that's what's really great about it.

Girl Talk - What It's All About (mp3)

Girl Talk - In Step (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the rather good fan-made video mash-up for 'Still Here'. You can link to videos for the rest of the album from there.
47. The Kills - Midnight Boom (Domino)

I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to pair The Kills with producer, Armani XXXchange, but thank the gods they did, as the Spank Rock-er injects the primal boogie of VV and Hotel's previous albums with a renewed rhythmic focus and an ear for odd percussive noises. Midnight Boom is all about the rhythm and bounce of great pop music, but it's never at the expense of a good hook. The Kills' latest has memorability by the pound and some of their best songs to date.

'Cheap and Cheerful' is all bubblegum, brain-dead sexuality and all the better for it, the metronomic kraut-pop of 'What New York Used To Be' sounds both vacant and heartfelt in equal measure, whilst 'Tape Song' smoulders and struts better than anything on their previous two full-lengths. The real highlight though is the stunning 'Last Day Of Magic', one of the best rock songs of the year. Midnight Boom is a stylistic leap-forward from a band that needed it most. More please.

The Kills - What New York Used To Be (mp3)

The Kills - M.E.X.I.C.O. (mp3)

46. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (XL)

Amidst all the backlash against Vampire Weekend, a lot of people forgot what made them sit up and take notice in the first place. VW are a pretty great pop band, despite the vaguely trustafarian air about them and their none-more-white appropriation of African highlife music. Nobody sniffed, however, when Talking Heads did it. Not that I'm comparing Vampire Weekend to that band in the slightest, but you can't ignore David Byrne's influence on this almost pitch-perfect, breezy indie-world-pop record that never outstays its welcome and always tickles the ear in ways that very few other high profile debuts did this year.

Familiarity may have bred a little contempt, as tracks like 'A-Punk', 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' and 'I Stand Corrected' were damned inescapable this past summer, but Vampire Weekend still stands up as a brilliant pop record in a sea of mediocrity. That's all albums like this need to be really and this was the best of its kind in 2008.

Vampire Weekend - M79 (mp3)

Vampire Weekend - Walcott (mp3)

Bonus: 'Oxford Comma' live at this year's Glastonbury.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Yer Mam!'s Top 100 Tunes Of 2008: 100-91

It's time...

Has it really been a year? I, for one, have been enjoying myself far too much to notice a whole twelve months passing before my eyes, I don't know about you. This year's ton of tunes was hell of difficult to whittle down. In fact, I think I could have easily stretched it to 200. Maybe next year. Anyway, 2008 has been characterised by a lot of cracking one-off singles, great songs from not-so-great albums and fantastic songs from fantastic albums. I suppose you could say that about any year really, but you know what I mean. Right, on with the show. Enjoy!

100. Toddla T - Soundtape Killin' (feat. Serocee) (1965)

Pure ruffneck business from the Steel City's new darling. Is it niche? Bassline? Grime? Bashment? Or just pure soundsystem-wrecking greatness? It's the last one, obviously, as music this fun just laughs at pigeonholes. Serocee gives it some ragga-chat over squishy bass drops and a skippy house-y beat, and a gospel vocal bit chips in for added value towards the end. It's become something of a regular fixture at mine and jonthebeef's night, Dig For Victory!, partly because it winds Jon up no end when I leave him to mix out of it, but mostly because it never fails to put a smile on people's faces. Good times.

Toddla T - Soundtape Killin' (feat. Serocee) (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the cheap and cheerful video on youtube.

99. Nas - Hero (feat. Keri Hilson) (Def Jam)

Let's have it right, Untitled, Nas' 'controversial' 2008 full-length is an almost irredeemable dog. Nasir Jones has been better served by guest spots on other people's records and the DJ Green Lantern hook-up mixtape, The Nigger Tape this past 12 months than his own album. For someone with so much political ire and fire in his belly, most of Untitled felt colourless and phoned-in, coupled with some pretty shit production jobs from the likes of Stargate, Mark Ronson and DJ Toomp. There was one bright, shining beacon amidst the dreck and that was the cacophonous, ridiculously raging midrange of single, 'Hero'. Producer du jour, Polow Da Don is the man behind the desk and his superbly massive backing eggs Nas on to be as in-your-face as he can be. The result is nigh-on spectacular and the only real flash we had this year of Jones being a force to be reckoned with once again.

Nas - Hero (feat. Keri Hilson) (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video on youtube.

98. POLLYester - You Are Amen (Love In C-Minor)

A luxurious, slow-burning cosmic disco vamp, 'You Are Amen' takes a listen or two before it really gets under your skin. It's almost minimal in design but full-bodied (mainly thanks to the harsh thwack of the live snare) in texture and gets ever more forceful as it creeps towards its deliciously malevolent denouement. Polly's stern, eurotrashy vocals may put some more lily-livered listeners off but underneath the harsh exterior lies an innate warmth that really comes through as 'You Are Amen' builds more and more with each bar. Exquisite stuff.

POLLYester - You Are Amen (mp3)

Bonus: Watch Polly and some other dude covering '24 Hour Party People'. This is how they have fun in Dusseldorf.

97. Invisible Conga People - Cable Dazed (Italians Do It Better)

It's been a bit of a quiet year for Italians Do It Better. Mike Simonetti's label haven't exactly capitalised on the success of 2007 in the way most people would have expected (although something tells me that was never the plan in the first place), but they have unearthed a little gem in Invisible Conga People. The duo of Justin Simon and Eric Tsai make music as hushed as their name suggests, but 'Cable Dazed' is anything but unassuming. A poised, delicately-crafted slice of wintry kraut-disco, 'Cable Dazed' pulses and throbs gently for six minutes but it's only once you reach for the repeat button that you realise how damned addictive it is. ICP are future masters of insidious icy electronics.

Invisible Conga People - Cable Dazed (mp3)

Bonus: Learn more about ICP over at Dusted.

96. Telepathe - Chrome's On It (IAmSound)

When a band is made up of hipster fucks like the ones pictured above I have a hard time warming to them. I mean, look at the cunts. Read any Telepathe interview too and it's all "Yeah, we love avant-garde shit and everything, but we also love Mannie Fresh and Three Six Mafia, so we wanted to combine them both" (not an actual quote), so even before I'd heard one second of Telepathe's music I wanted to punch them both in the face. Not a great first impression. That these two insufferable muso pricks make music as glorious and fulfilling as 'Chrome's On It', makes me feel all dirty inside, as if I'm masturbating to something I, y'know, shouldn't be cracking one off to. Not that I do that a lot, you understand. I'm basically a monk. So yeah, 'Chrome's On It'; a bit like wanking.

Telepathe - Chrome's On It (mp3)

Bonus: Try not to punch your monitor while you watch Telepathe live somewhere in Brooklyn.

95. Thriller - BBQ (Thriller)

Every year, you get the odd 12" that comes out of nowhere, gets a bunch of hype from the right people and then you find out that it's the work of someone already established under a pseudonym. Then, the internet seekers simply must find out who really is behind said 12". 'BBQ' is one of those. It's clear from the outset that it's the work of someone in the blooming wonky subgenre, seeing as it's an awkwardly funky disco cut-up lollop, with bass for days. Turns out it's the work of Luke Blair aka Lukid of Werk Discs. Makes sense as Lukid's 2007 album, Onandon is full of stuff like this. It'd have been nice if it had kept its mystery, but now we know who did it, maybe we can pester him to put out some more shadowy one-offs.

Thriller - BBQ (mp3)

Bonus: Lukid - The Now (mp3)

94. The Long Blondes - Here Comes The Serious Bit (Rough Trade)

The Long Blondes' premature break-up was one of the downers of the year. I don't think we've heard the last from Kate Jackson and the gang and on the evidence of this highlight from this year's sophomore effort, "Couples", hopefully it'll be sooner rather than later. Producer, Erol Alkan is the secret weapon here, as he adds a dance-pop dynamic to their spiky new wave. All the other elements sound so full; rubber band bass, burbling synths and jacknifing lead guitar, plus Jackson sounds as alluring and tart as ever. They'll be missed.

The Long Blondes - Here Comes The Serious Bit (mp3)

Bonus: 'Here Comes The Serious Bit' live at the Bowery Ballroom in May.

93. Tiedye - Nothing Else Matters (Italians Do It Better)

The words 'balearic cover of the Metallica power ballad' shouldn't, by rights, go together. Indeed they don't really, as Tiedye don't so much cover the song as reinterpret its bare rhythmic bones and stretch it out over 7 minutes or so. It's vocal-free, so no-one gets to growl like Hetfield over slo-mo disco (that would not work at all), but there's a bassline that Jason Newsted would be proud of and guitar work that The Het himself would probably proclaim "decidedly un-faggotty" or something. The end result is a sunkissed, scorching discoid groover, the kind of thing maybe Lars Ulrich plays when he's out on his yacht. Probably.

Tiedye - Nothing Else Matters (mp3)

Bonus: Rubies - I Feel Electric (Tiedye Remix) (mp3)

92. Ikonika - Please (Hyperdub)

It's been a pretty monumental year for dubstep. It's as though every mover and shaker in the genre just decided to take a massive step forward this past twelve months. Dubstep has finally pulled its head out of its collective arse and become the thrillingly inventive, fun genre everyone knew it could be. Most of this maturation has come as a product of cross-pollination with numerous like-minded subgenres. We had The Bug crossing dubstep with dancehall, whilst the likes of Quarta 330 melded dark bass with garish 8-bit and Martyn fusing the sound with Detroit techno. Hyperdub's rising star Ikonika looked to the wonky side of things by pushing up the synths and throwing in the odd hip-hop ref. 'Please' was her first shot across the boughs and signalled her as a talent to watch. I, for one, can't wait for a full album of this stuff.

Ikonika - Please (mp3)

Bonus: Check out this Ikonika mini-mix over at the Mad Decent blog.

91. Schwarz, Ame, Dixon - D.p.o.m.b. Part 1 (Innervisions)

Dad-house is such a horrible term, often bandied about when referring to slick, retro house music from scene veterans. Schwarz, Ame and Dixon have been around long enough to land them this tag, but there's nothing pipe-and-slippers about this raw slab of conga-driven, funky diva-sampling insanity. It's a tough, sprightly number that keeps you grooving for its full ten minutes and while some might complain that it doesn't live up to most of what the three principals are capable of, it still beat most other younger house artists' output in '08 into a cocked hat.

Schwarz, Ame, Dixon - D.p.o.m.b. Part 1 (mp3)

Bonus: Henrik Schwarz, Ame & Dixon feat. Derrick Carter - Where We At Version 1 (mp3)

Back soon with the first lot of albums,


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