“He’s going to Memphis, Memphis… Memphis Industries”
The new album from James Mathe aka Barbarossa moved that little bit closer with the announcement on Valentines Day that he’d signed to Memphis Industries.
The label say its due “later in 2013” and celebrated by releasing a new version of perennial Mathe favourite “The Load” as a free download. Simply head here and in return for a crisp email address they’ll hand over an audio treat.
I’ve always taken the lament, “Music’s just not as good as it was when I was young” to mean “I’m just not as interested in music as when I was young“. Over the eight years this blog has run a ‘best of’, styles have come and gone but there’s never a shortage of wonderful sounds.
These lists are always subjective, personal and far from definitive. Having witnessed pedestrians breaking out into horse riding inspired dance moves as I took a vaguely embarrassing cycle rickshaw journey up Oxford Street with Gangnam Style blasting out, I can safely say it is the song of 2012. It’s just not my song – not that I hate it – but i’m sure Psy will cope with a snub from an obscure music blog.
The rules are simple – if slightly malleable – one entry per artist, and a 2012 ‘release’ date (whatever that means in this digital age). Songs like Kishi Bashi’s “Manchester” & Late Night Tuff Guy’s Acid rework of 10cc missed out due to my own sloppiness as 2011 releases I pricked my ears up to in 2012. Similarly a few songs heavily featured in other end of year charts were in mine last year…because Im like so cutting edge, innit.
Other loves but still omissions were “Millionenspiel“ from CAN’s “Lost Tapes”, a 2012 release but recorded in 1969. Potential Kid’s hugely catchy “Yah Suh Nice“ disqualified on what I’ll call the “Buju Banton” rule, thanks to the line, “Before mi tun a battyman, mi wudda tun a raper”.
Anyway enough about who missed out, here are numbers 1-25 in the chart.
Womack & Womack – “Missin’ Persons Bureau (Folk Version)”[audio:http://www.emotionalpop.com/wp-content/uploads/tracks/WomackandWomackMissingPersonsBureau.mp3]
Cecil Womack – who has died aged 65 – was an accomplished producer and songwriter but is best known as one half of husband and wife pop soul duo Womack & Womack. Anyone growing up during their 80’s heyday will be familiar with “Teardrops” and “Love Wars”, in my case both the original and The Beautiful South’s take on the classic.
The penultimate positions, 26-50, in the perennially late but musically still great end of year chart – sample 51-100, 101-150 or 151-200 by doing the clicky thing.
Alternatively pick a playlist below for the full fat streamable Top 200. Whyd.com (197 Tracks) / Youtube (170+ tracks) / Spotify (Web / Player)
50. City Brat – Moves / Yeah It’s There
Brooklyn based ‘City Brat’ are Alex Fippinger on drums and Jason Grad on vocals, guitar, keyboards, video direction, and PR. If people still sent out physical promos, Jason would be at my front door CD in hand. This DIY attitude led to the slight hiccup of forgetting to blind CC the 400 music blogs the promo was sent to and accidentally sending it to my dad email at Music Like Dirt Publishing (yes I’ve no originality and stole the name).
The Song By Toad blog has a regular PR Hall Of Fail feature focusing on the failings of people paid to do such things. It’s entertaining enough to be spun off as a separate entity (Like, Frasier to the main site’s Cheers).
Fortunately my dad took a liking to lead single “Yeah Its There” and forwarded it on with the suggestion i’d appreciate its David Byrne/Talking Heads-esque sound. He was right, and you can add Vampire Weekend and The Strokes to Talking Heads to the list of obvious influences. It’s a very slick sound with jangling guitars, an infectious bassline and multi part harmonies which is impressive given it’s all (bar the drums) the work of one man.
Such is the songs maddeningly catchy nature I’m amazed it hasn’t featured on many more of those 400 or so blogs.
The New Orleans Bounce soundcloud page shared this previously unreleased track from Messy Mya, the NOLA rapper and comedian who was murdered in late 2010.
“New Orleans Houston Atlanta” is taken from the album “Shake Twerk & Wobble 3” which’ll be out for carnival 2013 and despite being aimed at the dancefloor is somehow simultaneously laid back and reflective.
‘Above Duffle Farm’ sings with computer bleeps, horn sections, pianos, bleak, honest, distinctive vocals and unusual tales of the cold. Recorded in isolation at home in London, its creation was an experiment with an uncertain future.
“I knew that I could do my best work alone, uninhibited with total creative freedom. After ‘EPCOT Starfields’ came out I was on a lucky streak of commercials/ TV Shows using Windmill’s music. This gave me the chance to build a good home setup where I could make proper records, however and whenever I wanted. The album was practically finished by the end of summer 2011, but with label interest at an all time low and self doubt at an all time high, I became pretty introverted. Especially when it came to releasing music and I retreated to just making stuff for me again. As long as I feel my imagination is getting a good airing then I am motivated.”
With the album complete and without a home, it took until Christmas 2012 for the songs to make a public debut.
“I started, for the first time to think it was a shame that this set of songs was left to die. So, I started posting 1 or 2 a week to SoundCloud. People were instantly asking where they could get them and that the songs meant something to them. Which, I was really grateful for, probably more than people realise. It’s tricky because I’m always pretty fearful engaging people from social media stuff. I work hard to speak through the work and I always dread undermining that by getting too chatty. But, it’s a testament to the impact of seeing people’s reactions to these new songs, that they steered the direction of the songs seeing a release.”
As a thank you to the people that encouraged the album’s release, Windmill has pledged to create 50 handmade, personal CD’s for the first pre-orders of the album.
“I get angry when I hear that word “empire”; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised” Benjamin Zephaniah 2003
As anachronistic as the idea of an Empire is, it’s hard to begrudge Kate Bush her CBE for services to music. It’s also as good as excuse as any to share a couple of remixes of her classic “Running Up That Hill” single, and a 1979 Nationwide documentary featuring a transfixing Kate on her first tour.
The Blog Sound Poll is in no way meant as a criticism of the well established (and in my eyes well loved) BBC Sound Of list but rather as an alternative and complimentary selection. It is after all, all about shining a spotlight on exciting new music.
Over 170 acts were nominated, from major labels, indies, and the completely unsigned – with a huge number picking up just 1 or 2 votes – perhaps proving that music blogs are nothing if not independent.
Of my selections only MØ (live review) made the final 15 but sour grapes aside it offers a fascinating musical snapshot, with many acts I’d never heard before, some I love, some I’m totally indifferent to, and some (AlunaGeorge & Daughter) that I “tipped” last year so slightly daftly didn’t consider for this. For the record my five were Fabiana Palladino, Benin City, SOAK, James Mathe, and MØ.
To mark their third birthday, Ja Ja Ja, purveyors of the finest music from Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Denmark brought one of this years most tipped acts from Copenhagen to their adopted home, The Lexington.
Karen Marie Ørsted, better known as MØ was hailed as “the new Grimes“ by The Guardian, Grimes having previously been fated as “the new Bjork”, who in turn was “the new Kate Bush”. If you follow the hype trail back far enough there was probably a virtuoso Lute player in a 17th century English hamlet heralded as “the new Tobias the troubadour”.
MØ has a relaxed but focused look about her as she stands at the centre of a very stark stage, DJ on one side, Guitarist the other, a solitary burst of colour offered by her bumblebee striped top and blonde locks. There’s a slight pause before the surprisingly full sounding music kicks in, including a whole lot of MØ’s vocals…a thought briefly crosses my mind. Could someone raved about as much for her voice as her songs be about to mime? The answer thankfully is, if you make music consisting of artfully slicing up vocal samples and multi layered harmonies, then unless you were fortunate enough to be born with four larynxes, you’re gonna need a little backing.
Ørsted treats the beat like a sprinter does a gun and immediately throws her body and long legs into a dance thats half B-Boy and half Babushka era Kate Bush. If you’ve ever seen a breakdancer building momentum before launching into a windmill, thats what it reminds me of, the only shame being she didn’t end the show with a headspin.
The staccato rhythmed “Pilgrim” (video below) is MØ’s best known tune to date and it doesn’t disappoint, getting the crowd holla holla hollaring with its slow hand claps and those infectious bursts of filtered horns. Floating above the slick production is a fine voice, Ørsted occasionally stands still long enough to deliver a nuanced vocal, at times soft and gentle but properly letting rip at others.