Great pop music. From the album Master of My Make-Believe.
Category Archives: Reviews
Hip Hop music has become as inventive and dangerous as a bag of pillows. I can go on and on about how great it was in the 90’s and how everything was better back in the…blah blah blah. The truth is that hip hop has moved beyond mainstream. It IS the stream. Black Eyed Peas have played the Super Bowl, World Series, Easter, Christmas morning at the Popes house and every other event America uses to peddle its wares. Hip Hop has become…Country Music! If you ever loved Hip Hop and you wanna bring her back into your life, get hip to these guys. Shabazz Palaces is compromised of two people. Tendai Maraire making broken spaced out skittery beats that at times sound like Boards of Canada in a drum circle jam. Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler of Digable Planets fame, handles the rhyming in an almost free association chant that touches on everything from civil rights to dolphins. It’s definitely not for everyone, but that’s what made Hip Hop so much fun to begin with.
i have stayed true to Chris Clark for a long time. even Totem’s Flare i thought was fantastic, particularly the 2nd half. the singles were, how would he say it, shite? the new album is tragically underwhelming. i listened once and will likely never listen again. he learned how to play guitar and he thinks that’s enough. nope.
LOTD is from his first ep.
here’s an actual album cut. you may recognize from the 15 second teaser live clip. will likely be taken down soon. enjoy. sorry about all the SP clips, but am happy to be excited about something new.
first single, likely, from upcoming album. Creator’s Project had posted it, then it was taken down. you can hear people in the crowd uncontrollably giggling.
an appropriately disorienting phone-cam bit of footage from SP’s recent websterhall show. one of the greatest things that has ever happened. people need to stop saying anything but niceties about this. yeah, he is not playing as ‘live’ as often does, but lord, give the man a break, lot of syncing going on here. and the new album is just what you likely want. return to song, many tracks had great hooks with long breakdowns. middle section became darker, then return to the more-pop. too bad the timing with the album release is so off. not coming out till May. could have made a lot more on this tour otherwise.
here we have j-blackmetal meets j-pop meets j-rave. the other side of the world is very far away. they use the ‘fox sign’, which is their own take on devil hand. embraced marketing through-and-through.
i must report that the current kid koala tour is heavy on filler and light on any actual uninterrupted music, sadly. however, he did perform his moon river remix live which is incredible and strange.
Nat’s 2011 best music.
Final Installment. Top Ten. Feedback pwease.
10. Sin Fang-Summer Echoes
Sindri is from Iceland. Sin Fang is all him. This and his previous full-length were so overlooked that it makes me angry. Clever songs, clever production and clever yada-yada… It’s really his everything-but-the-kitchen-sink instrumentation that makes him stand out for me. Meticulously constructed with love and care. Just damn good.
Stokin video of Sindri skateboarding around Iceland. This is a good place to be.
9. Prurient-Bermuda Drain
The first time I heard this album I wasn’t sure if it was the most pretentious thing I had ever heard or my new favorite thing. I’m still not sure how I feel, but this is genius. Bermuda Drain is a song-based, synth n’ drum machine album (as opposed to his normal noise) and is unlike anything else from him or anyone. Spoken word riddles, retro-upgrade noises, true songs, sexual, introspective, mesmerized, angst…all here. Very confident and brave and out-there.
Strong live footage of Fernow performing tracks from Bermuda. 2011 in LA. Did I miss an NYC show?!
8. Africa Hitech-99 Million Miles
I understand why some are not as devoted to Africa Hitech as myself. It’s dance music. Many site influences by super current movements (footstep and stuff) as an exciting element and I agree, this is futuristic as all get out. Seeing them live, it was a satisfying hybrid of live and DJ set and reminded me what music nerds these guys are. This is music by electronic music nerds for electronic music nerds, like me.
7. Oneohtrix Point Never-Replica
OPN is a one-man scene. Releasing a killer full-length as Oneohtrix every year on top of the Ford & Lopatin sideproject, the man is busy. An out-there critics favorite, he deserves it all. Midi sound bank love. This new one has a more sample and loop based process added to the synth wash of previous releases. Ancient and forward thinking like no other. Excellent live.
Super decent 2011 live footage.
6. Tim Hecker-Rave Death 1972
This album apparently started as tracks recorded in Iceland on a church organ, then put into a computer. Tim processes his sounds until they are digital rubble, then mosaics them back together into new patterns. He has stayed true to this process and his faith is paying off. Always fun when someone can have such a unique voice with such a currently overused palate.
Tim plays live in the dark. Yes, this dark.
5. Burial/Massive Attack ep
Two tracks released on 12”. $50 in the US. If I were to ever drop so much it could have been for this (internet, IOU $). I read these were two unreleased Massive Attack tracks that Burial reworked. I too haven’t enjoyed anything since Mezzanine, but that sounds like the era these tracks likely came from, or at least are harkening back to. Burial’s Street Halo ep slayed, but this is king. Best tracks of the year. Burial can compose with just record pops.
Four walls (track).
4. James Blake-s/t
If this were released later this year it would have gotten into more top tens. James also exhausted his fans a bit with a stream of mostly-decent small releases. His s/t still houses his strongest work (post his first two eps) and the most succinct examples of his clubkid-gone-gospel stylings. Kids got talent.
Live on some stupid UK show.
3. Jamie XX/Gil Scott Heron
What’s up with these young people in the UK? Unlike so many previous UK music revolutions, this one seems straight sober. Focused lads on laptops. Jamie XX… thinking back to my initial passions for The XX, I was drawn to the voices and guitars, but quickly realized the beats were what make everything coalesce. One smart cookie. Impressive job maintaining such a singular voice and quality of output amidst the digital noise of electronic music these days. Some complain this album is more of a showcase for his talents than a collaboration… Whatever, this album is incredible.
Was bummed when Jamie had to cancel his LPR DJ set this year. Hoping to see a live set this year.
Live. I want to be a euro-raver.
2. Gang Gang Dance-Eye Contact
So relieved this album is so good. Saint Dyphnea was not a GGD favorite of mine. They seemed lost. Maybe it’s the fresh blood with their new drummer on this one… whatever it is, this is the strongest GGD release since their beyond-the-beyond debut God’s Money. Tighter, more exploratory, craftier songs. They brought these tracks to the live stage in a complex, confident celebration. Positive energy. I heart GGD.
Live in the studio. 4AD sessions. Mindkiller. So tight. So probing. Contender for track of the year.
1. Radiohead-King of Limbs
If this is not your album of the year you are dumb.
Staircase. Not even on the album. From the basement. In the youtube comments a father talks about Radiohead soothing his son’s autism.
“google mozart effect. very interesting. i believe radiohead has the same effect on my son. If you happen to have a child on the spectrum and they are accustomed to meltdowns, to have something that can truly calm and soothe your child….(and it not be some crappy barney show or wiggles, but something beautiful and intellegent)….how do you say thank you for that without it sounding weak and feeble?”
Best Releases # 20-11
I tried to find decent live footage when possible. Watch it like a music festival in your brain!
20. Andy Stott-Passed Me By/Stay Together
Andy Stott’s new ep’s came a bit out of nowhere for myself and, it seems, many others. I had been aware of his output for sometime, but it never fit my tastes. His new direction, like the ep cover art suggests, is treading into some deeper, roots territory. He owns the blown-out speaker dub genre. Layers overlap in hypnotic and clever ways. The idea of high production capabilities utilized for meticulously sculpting lo-fi textures is pretty rad. Go Andy.
We Stay Together (Part One)
19. Cold Cave-Cherish the Light Years
This here falls into the guilty pleasure bucket. Loved them from the start when they embraced updating the beloved joy division era template. They go for it on this one. More power to ’em. Even though it’s easy, don’t hate.
ColdCave-live-Life Magazine (off previous release)
18. Vladislav Delay-Vantaa
Awesome late contender this year. Been in love with this man since Mutila, andy stott style deep, damaged dub done right since a long time ago. Delay has had a couple of stylistic forays more recently that some might consider missteps (luomo, his house project, i hate), but the Delay project shelters his strongest statements. Dubbed out techno sounds warmly wrapped in intentional broken-ness.
Vladislav-live-2007. strong footage.
17. Salem-I’m Still In Tthe Night ep
This is awesome. Salem is awesome. They can do no wrong in my eyes. The single off this, first surfaced on a mix from a couple years ago. A club song, Better Off Alone, slowed down, that simple. Was lucky enough to see them live some months ago, and they played this strange slowed-down crap club track live. It was very good. Now, they’ve made a studio version, built off the live one. People love to hate on them, but they are dumb. Awesome damaged video for this single. Also, probably my favorite video of the year, a high-budget take on King Night from last years release.
Better Off Alone (video)
King Night (video)
Man, folks simply trashed this album, or completely ignored it. Pitchfork gave no mention. Not fair. Bjork is still Bjork, dammit. Give her the props she deserves. She’s old-ish. No, this is not a return to Vespertine heights. But, it’s a return to song. Around half of the tunes work. The other half just never get there. Whatever, homegirl is trying to incorporate some bizarro technologies. The live show of this should bring some deserved attention to this album.
Gondry video for Crystaline
Brooklyn hometown metal heroes. Saw them open for Wolves in the Throne Room and, while I love me some WITTR, but Krallice ruled the night. Great balance between pure metal riffage and slow burn long songs.
Krallice-live (dimensional bleedthrough)
14. Rustie-Glass Swords
Pure candy. Following the trend of super-young producers, Rustie has rocketed into the world arena, at least in the EU. His first two eps were derivative. On Glass Swords he creates a somewhat unique super-compressed neon future disco.
Brilliant on-the-floor live footage, Amsterdam. The lights are nuts. This makes me want to live in Europe.
13. Clams Casino-Rainforest ep
Big year for this dude. Yeah, his instrumentals release got a lot of nods, but far as i’m concerned, his triangle records release is where the love is. The American response to slowed down dubstep is a cool thread. Worst band name ever though.
track off rainforest ep (his live sets are just him on an i-pad… hopefully that will change)
12. Avey Tare-Down There ep
The polar opposite of Panda Bear’s Tomboy, Avey proves that he is Animal Collective’s pulsing psychedelic heart. So strange. Heavy doses of straight reckless abandon in his pop. Got to see him live recently and I was unable to recognize any tunes. He was using just samplers and a midi keyboard and a mic. Behind him was a human skeleton with a yoda head. All new material, blazing, futuristic idm psych-pop. Can’t wait for this to be released.
Avey live 2011. hi quality. sound is from the board. starts slow, increases in speed and stays there. song at 17mins is the new jam.
11. James Ferraro-Far Side Virtual
This dude is so strange. He was in the notorious noise group Skaters. Then he goes solo and releases bizarre tongue-in-cheek 80’s muzak. He releases a full-length work of material every couple months. He has a full-length ghetto sci-fi movie getting released.
strange live footage
third and final installment on da way.