Not Elbow's new single. It is woeful and I find that demoralising at a time of year when things need to be good to make up for the shitness of the weather and the misery of the populace in general. I know there are people who do not self-medicate this way.
Here is a link to music discussed below, which will expire shortly. Download, and if you like, please buy more of the musicians' stuff.
I'll start with the last music I bought in 2013, which was Burial's Come Down to Us, a weird, woozy lullaby that reminds me a little of Massive Attack. There's a real slice of South London at about four minutes in, then a weird mutation at about seven minutes in where it turns into a different song that has the kind of super-sweet synthesisers that were ubiquitous on soul ballads of the 1980s, but overlaid with the scratchy, ambient sound that characterises Burial's work. It's strange and unexpected.
In The Dark Places by PJ Harvey was what I listened to over and over during the 'reading Code Name Verity and snivelling under the duvet' portion of last year. The entire album is brilliant but that's my favourite part of it.
Taro by Alt-J was my favourite track from An Awesome Wave, which was probably the album I liked best in 2013. It has tablas. I have a bulletproof kink for tablas. The lyrics concern Robert Capa and Gerda Taro and are a bit sixth-form poetry. Have a vid made using footage from Powaqqatsi
I also liked Tessellate and I am very disappointed at the lack of OT3 vids to this song. Fandom, you've let me down, you've let yourselves down…
Speaking of vids, I should've linked to Run Boy Run by Woodkid when I first got it and I would've looked all ahead of the curve and stuff, but now it's in every trailer in the world. Still. Great song.
Skip to the Good Bit by Rizzle Kicks. An unholy collision of EMF's Unbelievable and a mariachi band. If you don't like this, I pity your ears.
Default by Django Django is the world's best walking song. The eponymous album it comes from is pretty wonderful too.
The third great album I listened to in 2013 was AM by the Arctic Monkeys, which was scuzzy and heavy and drenched in lust and disappointment. I liked pretty much all of it, but you should wrap your ears around Sam Smith's live cover of Do I Wanna Know, which is fantastic. Most great cover versions are a great song given an unexpected treatment but Sam Smith's cover version is very similar to the Arctic Monkeys' one in terms of musical arrangement. He just sings the hell out of it.
Every Day Should Be a Holiday by the Dandy Warhols is a slice of pure adrenalised ridiculousness but I love it because it reminds me of one of my dearest friends in all the world, because the lyrics of the song are exactly the kind of thing he would say.
Junip is Jose Gonzalez (he of the cover of The Knife's Heartbeats that was on a Sony Bravia ad and thus everywhere about seven years ago) and his friends. Line of Fire was played at the end of an episode of Elementary and is forever the 'Holmes and Watson r besties' song of my heart
Sol Invictus by Thea Gilmore is appropriate for the time of year. Love Came Looking for Me is just a rollicker of a song. Bit like Fleetwood Mac.
Don't Hold Me Back by Alex Cornish. LOOK I DON'T KNOW WHY I'VE PLAYED IT MORE THAN A THOUSAND TIMES, I JUST HAVE, ALL RIGHT?
Original Love by Josephine. This is off-kilter and sounds a bit 80s.
Elephant by Tame Impala. Everything about this song is superb. It sounds like an elephant and then there's surprise choral YEAH! and wibbly synthesiser bits and it goes underwater for a bit then comes up stomping, then finishes with bonkers drums.
RECORD COMPANIES: LOOK HOW MUCH MONEY WE MADE OFFA FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE. LET'S DO THAT AGAIN, SHALL WE? PT 1
Strong by London Grammar. This is reminiscent of Coldplay's Trouble and also a bit of Donna Summer's State of Independence, which sounds like a horror show. Also their name is stupid. Nevertheless, cracking song.
PT2: I Call This Home by Saint Saviour could not try harder to be Florence and the Machine, but it sort of has a Kate Bush-ish vibe of its own.
Welcome Home by Radical Face. Otherwise known as 'what the hell is that folky song from the Nikon ad called?'
Almost Home by Moby and Damien Jurado. You see what I did there?
This is lovely, even though I think it might be about death. I don't know. I try not to read lyrics. They're mostly disappointing.
Shut Eye by Stealing Sheep. This is very weird. I have no idea what it's about. It's like a nursery rhyme, maybe about sleep? Or being dead? Anyway, it's like the Pipettes meet murder ballads and a bit fabulous. Don't go looking for the rest of their stuff, it's all sub-Camera Obscura, but this is great.
Machineries of Joy by British Sea Power. They missed a trick by not making ALL the Olympic montages to this. It's a driving, joyous rock song.
The Low Places by Jon Hopkins. I listen to a lot of instrumentals and my favourite artist making these at the moment is Jon Hopkins, whose album Immunity was a highlight this year. This is from Insides and what I love about it is that you can hear the magpies and the movement of the piano pedals. It's gentle and intimate.
Tiderays by Volcano Choir. Basically, I included this because including Holocene, which I listened to over and over and OVER again, is a cliche. This is what Bon Iver does with the rest of his time.
Vermillion by Guillemots. I vidded in my head to this song all summer.
Wildest Moments by Jessie Ware. Propelled by a giant kick drum sound, this is a pretty much perfect song about horribly incompatible people who can't help themselves.
Wolf by First Aid Kit. Someone's been listening to Fleet Foxes. Two sisters in Sweden have, in fact.
Reflektor by the Arcade Fire. How can you not at least chair dance to this?
Outro by M83. M83 are French. This is from their album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and is much used on film trailer because it's grandiose, orchestral and lush in a late 90s way and fairly shameless about both those things. You'll recognise it from the many trailers that use this, Brian Eno's An Ending (ascent), the music from Sunshine and Clint Mansell's thingie off the Mass Effect soundtrack (which is another post).
Two GORGEOUS songs that make me feel as though I am drunk and about to cry, and I mean that in a good way:
Your Spirit to Me by Big Country, which is a really simple, lovely ballad from their last album before Stuart Adamson took his own life. Eddi Reader sings backing vocals. I used to think Big Country were horrible tartan-covered soft rock bullshit but I've come to realise that this is a horribly wrongheaded opinion.
Sunshine on Leith by the Proclaimers, which is a gorgeous love song, despite referring to God as "the chief". (see above re: opinions about tartan-covered bullshit that turned out to be totally wrong)
Pompeii by Bastille. The single most fucking stupid song I heard all last year and yet I am helpless before its power chords.
And finally: "I wanted to change the world, but I could not even change my underwear". That's the opening line of Queen of Denmark by John Grant. I love John Grant, for even though he is a twisted cuss, he loves Abba. This is a fantastic cover version of the song by Sinead O'Connor, who starts quiet and then rips into the chorus like it's the best putdown song she's ever heard in her life.
This entry was originally posted at http://finisterre.dreamwidth.org/189953.html. All comments welcome anywhere. .