Archive for December 2011
I first started compiling my picks of 2011 back in July and have intentionally not revisited the list, interested to see if the final list will be utterly and completely different given the multiple personalities that seem to tiptoe out of me through my music choices.
Twitter spoke when I asked how many tracks should make up this list, the majority said 50 so here they are (in no particular order as that would have been as painful as picking my favourite Rum)
|1||Slow Club – Beginners||2||Metronomy – She Wants|
|3||Little Scream – Boatman||4||Lykke Li – Sadness Is A Blessing|
|5||Ghostpoet – Us Against Whatever Ever||6||Brett Anderson – Brittle Heart|
|7||Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out||8||Sissy & The Blisters – Let Her Go|
|9||Hooray For Earth – True Loves||10||Beyonce – Countdown|
|11||Bjork – Cosmogony||12||Sleigh Bells – Riot Rhythm|
|13||Anna Calvi – Black Out||14||Josh T. Pearson – Country Dumb|
|15||Lana Del Rey – Videogames||16||Wye Oak – Civilian|
|17||Beirut – Santa Fe||18||Bombay Bicylce Club – Shuffle|
|19||I Break Horses – Winter Bears||20||The Horrors – Still Life|
|21||The Kills – The Last Goodbye||22||Michael Kiwanuka – I’m Getting Ready|
|23||Emmy The Great – Iris||24||Wild Beasts – Bed Of Nails|
|25||Friends – I’m His Girl||26||The Drums – Money|
|27||Theme Park – A Mountain We Love||28||Black Keys – Lonely Boy|
|29||Wu Lyf – We Bros||30||Zulu Winter – Let’s Move Back To Front|
|31||Summer Camp – Better Off Without You||32||Tom The Lion – Golden|
|33||Friendly Fires – Blue Cassette||34||PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder|
|35||St. Vincent – Cruel||36||Joy Formidable – Whirring|
|37||Gang Gang Dance – Mindkilla||38||Wild Flag – Boom|
|39||Battles – Ice Cream||40||R.E.M – Uberlin|
|41||Au Palais – Tender Mercy||42||Metronomy – The Look|
|43||Bon Iver – Holocene||44||SBTRKT – Hold On|
|45||Gil Scott-Heron – I’ll Take Care Of U||46||Black Lips – Family Tree|
|47||M83 – Midnight City||48||The Maccabees – Pelican|
|49||Field Music – (I Keep Thinking) A New Thing||50||Summer Camp – 1988|
Technically I can’t give the NME complete credit for inspiring me to compile my own cool list as I only agreed with one of their choices, but they were the drive for me to blog my own list. It’s not all about the music and it’s not in order, these are the people who have made me laugh, inspired and amazed me.
1. I’m not sure if there are any rules about recognising a fictional character for this but The Killing’s Sarah Lund makes the cut. She’s independent but fragile, highly intelligent and as a result of that is messed up socially and emotionally. Finally a female lead character that doesn’t resort to dumbing down and pouting at the men. Also because of her I’m now wearing thick knit jumpers.
2. This time last year, had you asked my opinion on Hugh Grant, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have had one. This year his dry humour, wit, intelligent, candid and frank talking in relation to the Leveson enquiry has turned him into a surprise hero. We need more sane and honest characters like Hugh Grant to speak up, he’s set the bar.
3. I’ve had Jarvis overdose this year and I’m craving more. Three Pulp gigs and a book signing at Rough Trade where I got to meet the man. From seeing him writhe and squirm his non-existent hips to This Is Hardcore to then watching him recite from his book accompanied by a geeky Powerpoint presentation has ensured he stays at the top of my “thinking woman’s crumpet” list.
4. Despite a recent realising that listening to some of her tracks make me irrationally angry with the boyfriend when he’s done nothing wrong she rocked my world at Glastonbury this year. The first female solo artist to headline in a long time turned a lot of doubters into fans (if anyone mentions Skunk Anansie I stress solo artist). You hear no massive diva strop stories, no photo’s falling out of nightclubs drunk, I love her ass and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Countdown (one of my 2011 tracks).
5. Summer Camp used their talents for the greater good this year when they released their debut album through Pledge Music and by opting for this route they’ve supported the charity Shelter From The Storm UK. They’ve proved you don’t have to tread the traditional route to sell out gigs and shift record units. What’s more their creativity wasn’t stifled or controlled, they set the agenda. Their fanzine detailing the concept of Welcome To Condale was quirky, insightful and artistic. A refreshing approach to music.
6. This is a strange one for an Arsenal fan to be listing but my oh my do I adore Mario Balotelli. Even if the stories surrounding him are urban myth I will choose to believe them for their nutty charm. The latest of these tales (which would be unbelievable if his name wasn’t attached to them) being he was driving around Manchester dressed as Santa on Saturday night handing out money. He’s also been recognised in The Guardian’s 2011 style highlights. Genius
7. Covering Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song for Trent Reznor and then claiming she didn’t even know who they were made me laugh. Featuring on David Lynche’s, Pinky’s Dream, has me keeping fingers and toes crossed for future collaborations throwing up Twin Peaks meets glitter and gothic. The staging of her “psycho rock opera” made me want to run across the oceans to Brooklyn. Even away from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s this woman proved she’s a volcano of creativity. The stage notes to cast members of Stop The Virgens read “It embodies the collision of darkness and innocence. We skin our knees on the way to wisdom.”
8. I type this blog on my Macbook, I tweet (obsessively) on my iPhone, I get to walk around with a constant soundtrack to my life because of my iPod. This man changed the way I view media and technology and has given me the tools to do the things I love with ease and no stress. When he passed away I wrote a short piece on him which can be found here. He left his mark in this world and inspired so many.
9. Steve Lazarides The Minotaur exhibition at The Old Vic Tunnels this year wowed me more than any other artistic event I’ve been too in 2011. It was like Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman had secretly plotted a strange, dark fairytale and I left wanting to write more and more, take better photos, pick up charcoals and a sketch pad, create odd poems. His vision and eye for the strange gave me a creative cold shower this year when I needed it most.
10. Last but in no means least are the people across the UK that proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that community does still exist in cities. To everyone that picked up a broom, bunked off work to help local shopkeepers clear up their businesses, people who donated, worked selflessly to restore damaged areas, you restored faith at a dire time and for that you are the very coolest people in the universe. Of course, it was one mans initiative, quick thinking and kind brain that started the Riot Clean Up movement so for that we have Dan Thompson to thank from the bottom of our hearts to the tips of those fingers that leapt to action. To those I met, those I know contributed, those that are strangers; may karma kiss you all over for your good deeds. ♥
When I was a small child I used to decorate the house by unwrapping every Lil-let I could find in the house and hang them from the Christmas tree or sellotape them dangling from the window frames. I was too young to know what their real purpose in life was for. However, I must have known it was wrong as I would only ever Blue Peter the house up, using sanitary products, when my mums back was turned. I remember still feeling slightly perplexed as she frantically ran round the house tearing down all my hard work before guests arrived.
Inevitably one fluffy white icicle would always remain unspotted, which possibly spurred me on to keep repeating this action until I was old enough to know better.
Merry Christmas to everyone that’s ever supported, stumbled upon, shrugged off this blog. Hang an unused tampon from your doorbell this year if you want to scare away the carol singers. This tip (and the mixtape below) are my gift to you.
Click here to play the mixtape. I’m especially fond of Jarvis Cocker dancing in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds video, and if you have never heard Cyndi Lauper & The Hives, In A Christmas Duel, you will instantly want to dangle mistletoe over their heads and snog their faces off. ♥
- Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler – (Don’t Call Me) Mrs Christmas
- Saint Etienne – I Was Born On Christmas Day
- Cyndi Lauper & The Hives - In A Christmas Duel
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Fifteen Foot Of Pure White Snow
- Lynrd Skynrd – Santa’s Messin’ With The Kids
- Ike & Tina Turner – Merry Christmas Baby
- Summer Camp – All I Wonderful Christmas Is You
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – All I Want For Christmas
- Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas
- The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride
- The Pogues & Kirsty McColl – Fairytale Of New York
- Bob Dylan – Hark The Herald Angels Sing
- Kate Bush – December Will Be Magic Again
- Wham – Last Christmas
- Al Green – The Christmas Song
- Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
- She & Him – Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
- The Kills – Silent Night
- Elvis Presley & Martina McBride – Blue Christmas
- Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa
- Sufjan Stevens – Put The Lights On The Tree
- Slow Club – Christmas TV
- The Maccabees – Home Alone Medley
- Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Super crafter MagicMaggenPie commented this week about how amazing it is that music can give you an adrenaline rush of fake energy.
About an hour ago I was literally weeping in exhaustion after having a few nights out on the trot, inevitable this time of year as we feel the pressure to share mulled wine with neglected friends, obliged to attend dinners with colleagues. I was speculating how suddenly I have to sit down to pull my tights on, that I’m not immune to hangovers, that hair dye for the most part does cover grey hairs except for those really visible two I have lurking under my fringe. That I am getting older.
Then this video popped up from Arcade Fire and, even though I know this feeling is a fraudster, a final burst of energy may well just see me out of the door tonight, it’s fixed my woeful mood entirely. J’adore Regine. ♥
You can find the interactive version of this video here
This mixtape is for someone on Twitter who gave me the challenge of compiling tracks that were;
“heartbreaking but redemptive. A journey from the end of things to the start of something new”.
My life has a constant soundtrack, it keeps step with me when I’m dancing, whispers at my shoulder when I’m at a loss, brings forgotten memories to the forefront of my mind, a companion when I’m alone. I usually write about the tracks I pick but felt this would take something away from the songs I’ve chosen. I want the person I made this for to find their own meaning in the lyrics. Enjoy.
- Blur – No Distance Left To Run
- Antony & The Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone
- Peggy Lee – It Never Entered My Mind
- James Taylor – Fire & Rain
- LCD Soundsystem – Someone Great
- The Kills – The Last Goodbye
- Walker Brothers – No Regrets
- Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come
- Foals – Spanish Sahara
- Mercury Rev – The Dark Is Rising
One category I most definitely will never belong to is being part of “the in crowd”. I grew up in Devon where you gained your social status during your teenage years by the success of your beach party. I threw my first and last beach party when I was around 13. I say threw…
First step: Invite people to make the seven mile trek via a one bus only option that takes hours.
Second step: Lie to parents and make out you’re staying at a friend’s house for the night, conveniently a friend that has no landline and lives the opposite end of aforementioned seven mile trek
Third step: Wait at bus station patiently for people to arrive clutching a mixtape of Shakespear’s Sister and Snap.
Fourth step is where it all fell down. I have the patience of a saint (although my Cousin would claim its mild autism) as I waited for one hour… two hours… three, for no one to arrive. At the same moment the dawning realisation crept over me that I was indeed a painfully awkward, slightly odd teenager my parents car came round the corner. I hid. Behind a bottle bank.
I was found crouching behind it with some grapes and a bottle of Evian water. During the inevitable lecture I received once I was dragged back home my Dad quipped “What were you hoping to do with those anyway. Make wine?” My big sister campaigned for me not to be grounded due to the tragedy that I wasn’t even caught with a can of White Lightning. She felt that sorry for me (rightly so)
It doesn’t run in my family, this crippling crapness. My Dad was very much the leader of the pack. Dobie Gray’s track – The In Crowd was his anthem in 1965 when he scampered from London to Devon with his best mates to bunk into *The Dolphin, a Pontins Holiday camp, for the summer.
This blog post is for Dobie Gray, My Dad, all the people who are effortlessly cool. Long may I live in your shadows clutching my wine ingredients. ♥
*It was during this summer my Dad met Mum, his very own version of “You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar”, except it was a holiday camp. Many years later it would be where I learnt to swim, whistle, sit really still when a bee landed on me and the dance routines to Agadoo and Superman.
Monday night we stood stomping our feet on the cobbles in an attempt to stay warm outside Rough Trade East waiting for Jarvis Cocker to present his book Mother, Brother, Lover published recently by Faber and Faber. It was decided straight from the start that the very worst thing we could do on meeting him would be to crack a joke, (it would be the faux pas music equivalent of daring to high-five the Queen).
The unlikely indie girls heart-throb took to stage with slides to accompany his reading of selected lyrics and words. (I say words because despite the cadence and flow similar to poetry I heard Jarvis correct someone ahead of me at the signing taking place afterwards when she said she enjoyed his poetry. “It’s not poetry. They’re words” he firmly stated). He read from his school days, Pulp, Relaxed Muscle, (I was the sole person that whooped at the mere mention of his not so secret project with Jason Buckle. Anyone else there remember Darren Spooner?). Slides were littered with grainy Sheffield car parks, Space, Newcastle Brown Ale and sunbeams streaming in through net curtains. All used to litter his “words” with nostalgia, irony and wit. This is the stuff geeks could only dream about on a full moon.
I always live under the happy illusion that I would exude a calm, ”do this every day” persona when it comes to meeting people I admire. Not for me the comical swooning and knee knocking. The mere fact that I am writing about this makes me painfully tragic, of this I am all too aware.
The sound of my patella’s meeting like a clacker toy was possibly audible.
He made me eat some grapes, I told him I felt like he was forcing me to eat my 5-a-day (I broke the joke rule but the trapdoor did not open below my feet thankfully). He then told me this meant I had to eat 5 grapes. I dutifully popped 5 in my mouth just to stop me saying anything else idiotic. My mere minutes in his presence, *chatting while he signed my book, has to be the most memorable Monday I’ve ever encountered. ♥
* For the record, we didn’t just talk about grapes.
Normal mixtape duties resume after I’ve returned from a week working in Istanbul. I especially relished, loved, metaphorically rolled around in the tracks below. I’ve had a week of 2 Unlimited, Haddaway and Simply Red from my Italian colleagues. It’s like they stopped taping the top 40 in 1992. Either their tape deck stopped working or they were content that music couldn’t mutate into anything better so stopped listening at that point. My ears needed healing. The tracks below made them happy again.
1. The Duke Spirit – Procession (The Duke Spirit are one of those bands that have been steadily slogging away for 8 years, Liela Moss goes filthier than ever before on this years album, Bruiser).
2. Metric – Monster Hospital (Listening to The Duke Spirit reminded me of this track immediately. Gritty, eerie. This track always makes me think of Prozac Nation, in one of those unexplainable links your brain sometimes makes when you hear a song).
3. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy (In love with this band and giddy excited to be seeing them live next year. The video to this track at the bottom of this blog will warm your cockles! They made audition tapes for five people but this chap stole the show and they used him for the entire video. El Camino could be a late contender for my album of the year).
4. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Spellbound (I always used to view Siouxsie as Chrissie Hyndes evil twin, alter ego, nemesis. Perhaps one of the more commercial, well-known tracks but it still raises my spirits whenever I hear it).
5. Slow Club – Where I’m Waking (Lolita picked this track. We’ll be seeing in the New Year with Slow Club. The more I listen to the album the more I adore them, such lighthearted indie. Good Monday morning soundtrack).
6. Bow Wow Wow – Go Wild In The Country (Blinding track, unique, quirky, no one could possibly imitate or plagiarise what Bow Wow Wow had. Fact).
7. Field Music – (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing (A welcome return for an underrated band that seem to be getting a lot of air play with this track. Every time it comes on the radio I let out a barely audible, but very content little sigh).
8. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Senator (When an artist can convey witty, dry humour through music without being tacky they have my attention. Stephen Malkmus achieves this on Senator, adore how he haves me merrily sing along to the word blow job like I’m singing about innocent spring mornings. So upbeat and jolly!).
9. Belle & Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane (I recently went to see John Osborne’s John Peel’s Shed. In it he briefly mentioned it is an unwritten rule that ALL girls like Belle & Sebastian. If you are female and don’t follow this rule listen to this track and you will be onside).
10. Clarence “Frogman” Henry – Ain’t Got No Home (For those of you of a certain age of course you’ll instantly link this song to The Lost Boys. Life was simpler when Vampire movies involved the two Corey’s)