The idea of setting in stone 200 tracks as the undisputed greatest works of music in a given year is slightly daft (especially in February the following year). What is...
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Every year there seems a danger that Carnival – an ever-present on London’s streets since 1965 – might not actually happen. Thankfully, despite “the riots“, miniscule funding and a Mayor who thinks “cultural diversity” is something he saw on the side of a yogurt pot in the Harrods food hall, the Carnival somehow not only survives but thrives.
The floats, the dancers and almost 40 sound systems shaking the ground and perforating eardrums with everything from soca to dub, reggae, jazz, house and calypso.
What will those mighty speaker stacks be blasting out this year? My selections follow but what are your picks for 2012’s best Carnival tunes?
To listen to a Music Like Dirt Carnival playlist visit the new music sharing site Whyd.com (recommended) or for those that like to kid themselves they’re supporting artists via Spotify and its 0.0001p per stream visit here:
There are loads more carnival sounds below, but first three mixes from some far more esteemed selectors.
Unsurprisingly as a total fanboy my favourite Notting Hill mix this year comes courtesy of Jon More from the mighty Coldcut with a 30 minute classic carnival mix (for Mixmag) that’s very much in Coldcut’s grand genre busting tradition. Ninjatune are hosting their first carnival party on Sunday night.
Heatwave’s Bashment re-fix of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” got more than a few spins last year and their 2012 mix is sure to keep them up at the top of current carnival kings.
Diplo and Switch brought bashment to the masses with their Major Lazer moniker, and their mix is chock full of the current crop of stars including Vybz Kartel, Mr Vegas and Popcaan. They’re playing a sold out party with Sean Paul on Monday.
While generally attempting to steer clear of the old school Carnival classics i’ll make an exception for Chaka Demus And Pliers “Murder She Wrote” on the grounds that Radio 1Xtra got Zed Bias to provide a remix for the 50 years of Jamaican independence celebrations.
Hudson Mohawke and Lunice will be under the Westway on Monday, and their latest collaboration “Higher Ground” should just about bring down the whole flyover. It contains the most ridiculously large brass stabs, like Timbaland remixing the Inception soundtrack.
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. Their tribute to Sugar Minott takes in Jungle and Reggae.
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 (below) which goes all Jungalist stylee.
LionDub have previous when it comes to strapping beats to reggae standards, with their Soundcloud page being a plunderers delight of dancehall standards given a nitro boost.
Long time MLD readers will remember my brother Ryan’s regular “TEN4SEVEN” series. Each and every week for a year he hunted high and low to find the 10 finest songs, until finally bowing out a spent husk of a man back in April 2010.
Now he’s resurrecting his blog “Stop Me If You Think Youve Heard This One Before“ with a broader focus on popular culture. So if you’re going to return why not do it with a bang and declare the 50 best songs of all time?
Why not? Because its a ridiculous task and just the thought of trying to boil down all the songs bouncing around my tiny mind is enough to push me closer to the funny farm.
I’m filled with a mixture of admiration at the enormity of the task and incredulity over some of the chosen tracks. Older brothers are meant to act as some kind of fount of musical inspiration for their impressionable siblings but I can only claim influence over Billy Bragg, the Pet Shop Boys and Coldcut’s go-go/reggae/hiphop classic “Stop This Crazy Thing“. My obsession with that track extended to painting a mural of the sleeve across the entire length of my bedroom wall.
StopMe: I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a top 100/top 50 list of my most cherished songs for about a year now. As my thirtieth birthday is weeks away I’ve decided nows the time to sit back and reflect on m musical life. For a bit of “Fun” I analysed my Top 50 and found out my tastes are 22% Pop-Rock and 18% Folk and that 2005 was the best ever year for music (Who’d have guessed).
I’ve included a selection of the best video clips below but you can watch all the available videos on my youtube channel by clicking here. It was tough going whittling it down to only 50 tunes and even harder to put them in order.
1. Bruce Springsteen – Jungleland
Born To Run LP – 1975
“Barefoot girl sitting on the hood of a dodge, drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain”
Nine and a half minutes of shear epic Rock grandeur. Most full novels don’t contain this much beauty and narrative power. It also features Clarence Clemons delivering the greatest Sax-Solo in history building to an almost unbearably emotional climax across 2 minutes. I could listen to this every day for the rest of my life and never tire it out.
2. The Magnetic Fields – Papa Was A Rodeo
69 Love Songs LP – 1999
“Home was anywhere with diesel gas, love was a trucker’s hand, never stuck around long enough for a one night stand”
A story of lonesome one night stands and fleeting affairs. When the cathartic duet kicks in at my heart at 4.11 once breaks and yet rejoices. Over the years Stephen Merrit has written at least 50 of the greatest love songs ever written and this is his best.
3. The Indelicates – Savages
Songs For Swinging Lovers LP – 2010
“We are ash, we are books, coffee stained and overlooked, We are ornamental swords, forged for the peace after the war”
The lyrics to this song read like beautiful poetry. It’s a searing celebration of the outsider spirit. This says everything I ever wanted to say about great music.
4. Luxembourg – (I Need) A Little Bit More (Than You Give Me)
[audio:http://www.musiclikedirt.com/wp-content/MP3/top50/ALittleBitMore.mp3]Best Kept Secret: Demos & Rarities 2001-2004 Compilation – 2004
“I guess that when i told you I would leave you if you cheated, you took it as a promise, not a threat”
It takes a man of David Shah’s calibre to write a lyric this funny and yet sing it with so much power it’s like he’s tearing out his soul for your listening pleasure.
5. Ed Harcourt – Apple Of My Eye
Here Be Monsters LP – 2001
“I drink a lot of wine when I am alone, I lose my track of time, my ideas turn to stone”
I can’t fully describe why I love this song so much. There is something hidden in the giddy mix of handclaps, Hip-Hop percussion, woozy Jazz orchestration and raw Soul vocals that enthrals me everytime.
6. Richie Havens – Going Back To My Roots
Connections LP – 1980
“Not talkin’ ’bout the roots in the land, I’m talkin’ ’bout the roots in the man”
Roaring Soul vocals, Funk instrumentation, proto House Pianos and Disco beats building to a level where you just have to move your body.
7. The Pogues – Rainy Night In Soho
Poguetry In Motion EP – 1986
“We watched our friends grow up together, and we saw them as they fell, some of them fell into Heaven, some of them fell into Hell”
Simply one of the most beautiful things ever created by the hand of man. Shane MacGowan was in his late twenties when he wrote it but it reads like a death bed revelation.