Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Albums of 2011: Peaking Lights, Clams Casino, Tokyo Bloodworm

Clams Casino Instrumental Mixtape [Type Records] [Self-Released digital]

Clams Casino really blew up in 2011 and he did it the best way possible: by playing by his own rules. It started with this, his self-released FREE mixtape, then he followed up with a release for Tri Angle and then appeared all over one of the best hip hop mixtapes of 2011. Clams has this sound that sometimes plays out like TV on the Radio turned into DJs; it's big, it's dirty, it's evocative. This is one for anybody who likes music at all ever.

Download for FREE

Peaking Lights - 936 [Not Not Fun]

Now this is an ALBUM. You have to play it from beginning to end and once it's over you'll hard pressed to find a world like it to immerse yourself in. Dub, pop, lo-fi experiments, radiophonic weirdness; it all comes together to form one of the hookiest records of recent years.

Tokyo Bloodworm - Palestine & Palestine Remixes [Moteer]

I reviewed this album for Fluid Radio earlier this year here. Of all my selections this takes the most time to grow, but when you get

Honourable Mentions:
E and I - An Indescribable Brightness Shone (Nathan Thomas's review for Fluid Radio here)
Hakbune- I Discover I'm missing (my review for Fluid Radio here)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Best of 2011: Holy Other - With U (12" EP)

When Holy Other dropped his 7"single via Transparent in 2010 it sort of felt out of place. Transparent has their finger on the pulse but due to the diversity of their roster it was hard to really locate Holy Other's music on any continuum. And the single itself was half greatness with Yr Love and half unassured exploration with We Over. However, if Transparent was an odd birthing place, Tri Angle seemed a perfect homebase to unleash With U on the world. Somehow, an artist who seemed mysterious, got even more mysterious... but his sound had evolved too; he sounded much more assured as he was getting bolder, which is a rare balance to strike.

Every song on With U is totally different, however they fit thematically. With U is the sort of musical introduction by an artist that suggests they are drawing from this rich palette, and just by combining elements in different increments they arrive at very different results. I'm thinking of, say, Seasons (Pre-Din) who blends drone, modern classical and out and out experimentation, but by combining them in different ways he creates works that are all unique. Holy Other has a similar ability, whether it's RnB, techno, ambient his ability to blend chopped vocal samples or a deep sub-bass synth lines with skittish beats in different increments seems to create not only very different songs, but songs that almost seem like they are in totally different genres. It almost seems an injustice to label With U as anything other than simply an 'electronic' album because any other genre or even sub-genre name just seems too limiting. With U is the sort of rare musical moment where an artist seems to be offering a brief of history of electronic music up until now combined with elements that hint at a bold future for a myriad of genres and electronic experimentation in general. Either way, this is the sort of confident songwriting that few artists have the capability of, especially when they are seamlessly blending genres like this. How does he do it? With U is the sort of album that wins over people that don't like this 'type' of music and leaves those that do love it in awe of the slight miracle of its existence.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best songs of 2011: Danny Brown - Monopoly

It's been a minute (read: almost a decade) since a Hip Hop Artist really caught my ear. There have been songs but not artists that really grabbed me. Genres fluctuate. This year I'd be hard-pressed to name an indie rock outfit that even edged on to my radar. However, Hip Hop got really interesting. And for me that began with Danny Brown. When I first saw the cover to DB's XXX mixtape I was intrigued. When I saw it was on A-Trak's label, Fools' Gold, I was further intrigued. Then I head Monopoly. Honestly, I probably played this song more than any other this year.

Danny Brown's flow plays like a Jekyll and Hyde routine with DB playing both parts. Honestly, the man sounds crazed. His voice has this menacing high pitched thing going on that just furthers that mad-man mystique. And his flow is just bizarre. BUT the man knows what he's doing. His lyrics often blend the mundane (check the"Hoes-Toes" line), the profane ( check the "Doritoes" line) and the profound ("Fiends on their menstrual" line). And half the time you have to stop yourself just to process how the ideas connect.

Add in the weird haircut, missing front teeth, and skinny jeans and this guy is just plain interesting. And the beats and samples on this track by Quelle are unbelievable - seriously, this guy deserves more recognition. In a recent P4K post Brown said he keeps his ear to the ground for UK producers because they are ahead of the game. That says something about how serious this guy takes his craft. Enough chatter. Hit play. Then hit Repeat.

Download the FREE mixtape via Fool's Gold:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Owen - The Armoire (Nervous Energies session)

Mike Kinsella (AKA Owen, that dude form American Football, etc) is one of my favourite musicians of all time. I'm pretty picky when it comes to the whole 'just a guy/gal and an acoustic guitar' thing but Kinsella's sense of melody is just ...well, sublime is about as good of a word to describe it as I can come up with.

As for this video, I've been playing it on repeat for days; its just mesmerizing. Owen's new album Ghost Town is out now on Polyvinyl Enjoy this over and over and over again.

** Be warned: Mike's dog starts barking at about the 3 minute mark and it scared the crap out of me and MY dog the first time I heard this.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Demdike Stare- Irrational Advice Mix

Just like a Christmas gift (that arrives so late you cant afford it!) Demdike Stare released part 1 & 2 of Elemental, a new 4 part album set to complete in 2012. With that same giving spirit in mind, and thankfully-so for those of us who already blew our 'me' fund for the holidays, they now bring us 'Irrational Advice', a new and FREE 51-minute mix. Not many bands are fitted to dust off 50+ minute mixes without a sweat but Demdike was designed for this sort of thing, hence the loooong/multi-part albums. Enjoy. And Seriously, don't be scared of that duration; it flies by...
Demdike Stare - Irrational Advice
Demdike Stare - Irrational Advice by modernlove

Friday, December 2, 2011

Peaking Lights - Hey Sparrow (official video)

Definitely one of my favourite albums of 2011. Check it, if you haven't.