Top 200 Tracks of 2012 (51-100)
100. Fiona Apple – Hot Knife
“I’m a hot knife if he’s a pad of butter.
If I get a chance, I’m gonna show him that
he’s never gonna need- never need another.”
99. Fidlar – Cheap Beer
98. Plan B – Ill Manors
“Let’s all go on an urban safari
we might see some illegal migrants
Oi look there’s a chav,
that means council housed and violent” (lyrics)
97. Jim Noir – Tea
I looked up an old review and was shocked to find it’s over six years since I last saw Mr Noir live. An email from his management jokingly describes having to “massage the fragile ego of the man that once wrote the song you heard on an advert“.
The song was “My Patch” a joyful romp that could be heard everywhere for a summer but somehow failed to be a huge hit as the record company waited until the exact moment the buzz died to release it.
Thankfully the charm of Noir seems unchanged by the intervening years, and as someone who’s bodily fluids are 90% Tetley, dedicating a song to Tea was always a winner.
96. The Indelicates – Class
God bless our coalition government of millionaires, privately educated beyond their intelligence and preaching “we’re in this together” while systematically tearing up universal health care, education and scorching the last vestiges of social mobility still remaining after New Labour.
What better time for The Indelicates to emerge sneeringly into view with a mock vaudeville song dedicated to our “classless society“.
Admittedly it’s not all gone to plan, the unfortunate publicity surrounding the Murdoch empire hacking the answer machine messages of everyone from the families of bereaved serviceman to murdered children forced a postponement of the wholesale handover of UK media to James & Rupe and totally scuppered Gove’s plan to get them to run a few schools.
Meanwhile the middle classes bankrupt themselves to give their children a private education, undermining the state system in the process. Who can blame them though when faced with the undeniable fact that going private gives a child a better chance in life.
Anyway, frothing at the mouth is not an attractive look so please enjoy the first taste of The Indelicates three part “Diseases of England“ album while I have a little lay down.
95. Lone – Crystal Caverns 1991
94. Neal Morgan – Fathers Day
93. White Label – Roberta
92. Dexys – I’m Always Going To Love You
91. Débruit – Ata (LV Remix)
90. Flosstradamus – Rollup (Baauer Remix)
An absolutely barking Baauer remix of Flosstradamus “Rollup“. Over nuclear powered beats, sirens, triangles, and a coughing motif a robotic voice intones about Rolling up the grass. This has already blown more speaker stacks than most tunes this year.
Free download from Fool’s Gold Clubhouse Vol 2
89. Michael Nyman and David McAlmont – Secrets, Accusations and Charges (Max Cooper Reconstruction)
88. Mc Zulu – Talk Dutty
“Legs up with the back against the wall, Bedpost making all the pictures fall”
Partially making up for the disappointment of discovering ragga track “Pussy Mechanic” was notable only for its amusing title, MC Zulu arrived like the cavalry promising plenty of Dutty Talk.
Liondub are on the production dials and leaving aside the fact that “Talk Dutty” dates back to late 2011, they provide the perfect bashment backing for MC Zulu to expound on his capacity for broadminded ladies.
87. Konshens – A So Mi Tan
86. Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Spin
85. Doc Daneeka & Abigail Wyles – Tobyjug
84. Cham – Wine
Dancehall veteran Baby Cham continues to drop tunes of a quality no man named after a sparkling Perry originally marketed at women with a cartoon baby fawn has any right to. The singer O – apparently his wife – ably assists him with a “Wine Up Your Body” chorus line on my favourite of his recent smashes.
83. Cat Power – Manhattan
Chan Marshall aka Cat Power took her first tentative steps to stardom in the bars of Manhattan, both living and playing in the borough. There’s a dreamlike but wistful quality to her ode to the place where she began, with simple piano chords looping throughout and Chan’s voice at its most ethereal.
Cousin Cole also sprinkled some of his magic over “Manhattan” and promised a dub version if there was enough demand. Perhaps there’s still a chance so tell him how much you like it.
82. Velvet Two Stripes – Cloud Seven
81. Lambchop – Gone Tomorrow
80. RDX – Jump (feat. Gappy Ranks, Natasja, O, Tony Matterhorn & Alison Hinds) (The Heatwave Refix)
Heatwave have an unnatural gift for adding that extra bit of magic to transform a track from good into an absolute dancefloor killer. In the case of the already fairly massive “Jump by RDX they mixed in the great and the good of Jamaican dancehall including Gappy Ranks and Cham & O, a snatch of Tony Matterhorn’s smash “Dutty Wine”, Natasja’s raver “Calabria” and soca favourite “Roll It Gal” by Alison Hinds.
As if that wasnt enough they created their refix while on a boat party in the Croatian ocean, taking inspiration from “the beautiful women and their amazing dancing“. Some people make you sick!
79. Dan Le Sac Feat. Sarah Williams White – Play Along
“You’re so fit I wish I could get it without the game”
Before the iPod and shuffle, the only option if you wanted to flit randomly between musical styles was a compilation CD or a multi CD changer, a machine that once stuffed with your favourite discs would seamlessly blend from one album to another with only a great clanking noise to hint at the switch.
The only other choice was the “producer” album or to give them their official name “faceless producers”. In the late eighties and early 90′s they were everywhere, Coldcut, Bomb The Bass, S’express, Beatmasters, and later Leftfield. The music critics hated them, sniffing that their albums weren’t cohesive and sounded like a collection of singles by various artists. Me, I couldn’t get enough…painting a Coldcut mural on my bedroom wall and lapped up Go-Go tracks, jumping to reggae, acid house, a bit of hiphop, Mark E Smith next, oh now Yazz. Life was sweet.
Le Sac’s LP won’t mark a return to the days when “featuring” was the most popular word on the charts or the comeback of the faceless producer (for a start I’ve met him and he definitely had a face).
The title “Space Between The Words” doffs its hat to Dan’s part as one half of “Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip” and the difficulty of going from the bloke behind the bloke with the beard to the bloke without the bloke with the beard.
People get very confused. When Scroobius came along to the Music Like Dirt Oxjam gig in 2011, a local Councillor came up to me and whispered “I think Dan Le Sac’s here“.
Thankfully Sarah Williams White who features on “Play” makes up for what I’m presuming she lacks in the beard department with a set of fine pop pipes (check out her Soundcloud page). As I seem to have got temporarily stuck in 1989 it brings to mind Kurtis Mantronix returning with “Got To Have Your Love” or the cheeky pop dance of Cathy Denis telling Dancin’ Danny D to “Come on and get my love“.
Pip & Le Sac can return with new material in 2013 safe in the knowledge they can actually exist without each other, although 2nd comment on the soundcloud page for this, Dan’s first major solo single without Pip was “Where’s Dan Le Sac!!!??”
78. Lamont Bailey Wall – A Going Concern
Lamont/Bailey/Wall used a little known route to get me to listen to their music… a Pet Shop Boys cover. Who can resist a new take on Tennant and Lowe, if only to recoil in horror. LBW’s version of the PSB & Dusty classic “What Have I Done To Deserve This?“ was part of the slightly questionably titled Irish Record Store day compilation “Record Store Gay“.
Despite enjoying that cover it still took some loud coughing from the band to remind me of their EP (via Soundcloud). Thankfully they avoid the pothole of great cover version shame about your own material with 4 minutes of perfectly judged pop soul. “A Going Concern” starts out sounding like John Peel playing Laurie Andersons “O Superman” (ie the wrong speed) but quickly turns into the kind of dream pop you’d imagine if Hall & Oates enlisted Hot Chip as their producers.
77. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
76. Deap Vally – Gonna Make My Own Money
75. Opossom – Blue Meanies
74. Diplo – Express Yourself
73. Stars – Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
72. Danny Brown – Grown Up
71. Soak – Sea Creatures
One of two selections in the chart introduced to me by one of the finest music blogs going, Nialler9.
Bridie Monds Watson, a 16 year old Derry teenager with the sweetest heartbreaking voice you can imagine. “Sea Creatures” is the pick of the songs so far and Belfast producers Ryan Vail and Unknown, have also turned the track on its head with their remix.
“The percussion is replaced with a beat that sounds like a downtrodden heart. There’s still a positive spirit in the piano chords but Monds-Watson’s voice has been covered in an echoey spectral film and pitched-shifted like some half-remembered lover’s advice“.
70. Beenie Man – Dweet again
The Mercury Riddim has had dancehall artists from Spragga Benz, Assassin and Lady Saw doing versions but for these ears it’s Beenie Man – a veteran of 30 years in the business – that delivers the so far definitive take with his “Dweet Again“. There’s also a special version recorded as a tribute to the Jamaican Olympic team.
69. Julio Bashmore – Au Seve (Original Mix)
68. Koreless – Lost in Tokyo (Original Mix)
67. The Trash Company – I Don’t Mind
The Trash Company released its first single in 1979, the follow up arrived in 2012. The Funky Virginia blog has a fascinating look back at what happened to singer and songwriter Max Monroe in between. Peoples Potential Unlimited and Steady Sounds will be releasing an album of unreleased material spanning the late 70′s through the early 90′s soon.
“I Don’t Mind” has a lo-fi looped-up almost hip hop beatbox rhythm as the distorted fractured vocal intones that “its party time and we’re out to have some fun“. In the mid 80′s Monroe sent some songwriting demo’s into Capitol Records and received the stark reply, “Some music was never meant to be heard.” They were wrong.
66. Solange – Losing You
65. Jai Paul – Jasmine
64. Michael Tilson Thomas: San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Short Ride In A Fast Machine
63. Avec Sans – The Answer (Bill & Will Remix)
62. Titus Andronicus – Tried To Quit Smoking
61. Gudrun Gut – Simply the Best (Thomas Fehlmann’s Version RR)
“Speak a language of love like you know what it means…”
Gudrun Gut is not the name you’d first dream up when imaging a retake on Tina Turner’s overblown 80′s power ballad. To say they operate in different spheres is an understatement, while Turner was all legs and hair on MTV, Gut was part of German all female art rock band Malaria.
But Gut is nothing if not unconventional and with the help of Thomas Fehlmann’s repetitive groove, twists Turner’s love song into a sparse breathy Grace Jones-esque delight.
The first 100 eps also come/came with grass stalks from Gut’s garden! Order here.
60. Mac DeMarco – One More Tear To Cry
59. Quantic and Alice Russel With THE Combo Barbaro – Look Around The Corner
The two titans of the Tru-Thoughts record label, Alice Russell & Quantic finally bowed to pressure and hooked up for a full collaborative album.
“Look Around The Corner” was the lead single and had fans of both artists counting the days before the LP (Buy: UK /US).
Just listen to that big string section, gorgeous production, and of course Alice’s soulful vocals. Recorded at Quantic’s Sonido del Valle studio in Cali, Colombia.
Tru-Thoughts report that Chicago’s Chess label was a big influence on the production aesthetic, and a mutual love of Minnie Riperton fed into the vocal melodies.
58. S O H N – The Wheel
The video for “The Wheel” creates a collage of found footage exploring “the interplay between industry and nature” that somehow manages to match the beauty of Sohn’s song.
Originally from London but now dwelling amongst the “mountainous landscapes” of Vienna, Sohn twists and manipulates his own voice, layering it on a minimalistic electronic backing.
57. Nina Kraviz – Taxi Talk
56. Lorn – Diamond
55. Hot Natured – Benediction (Feat. Ali Love)
54. BRKF$T CLUB – The Fellowship
53. Dirty Dubsters – Girls Pon Mi Mind (Liondub Remix)
The Dirty Dubsters are made up of Dublin based duo DJ OBese and Jay Sharp. Most of their tracks take old Reggae tunes or samples and give them a modern refit.
The Dubsters team up with Champion Deejay Top Cat for “Girls On My Mind” which is available in both more traditional ska JA style or LionDub’s version which goes all Jungalist style.
52. Jeremih – Fuck U All The Time Featuring Natasha Mosley
51. Leonard Cohen – Going Home