The Year That Was: 2012, A Delayed Album list (Part One)

wiggoFor those of you who listened, you’ll be aware that my album list of the year does exist and was broadcast on Mixlr before the new year. The writeup for this never existed due to a mix of procrastination, university and going to work; but for those of you still interested, today is your lucky day. If you’d like to listen to the audible version, please click the image to the right and if you’d like to listen to an overarching “tracks of the year” show that features a heck of a lot of awesome tracks that may not neccessarily be on fantastic records, click HERE. I promise it’s not boring and it’ll take your afternoon into the most recent-nostalgia possible.


20. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
As someone who can only listen to the music of FlyLo when in a certain moodset, this record was never going to be an absolute highlight of the year for me. It is nonetheless, a record full of swirling sounds that are strong without ever being in your face and relaxing without forcing you to sleep. This balance then, is commendable and one that warrants Stephen Ellison’s moniker a place opening the list.
Watch a gorgeous short film for the record here.


19. Calvin Harris – 18Months
To put it simply, Calvin Harris continues to appeal to me in a club setting that tends not to. From We Found Love featuring Rihanna through to Sweet Nothing with Florence Welch, 18 Months is impressive and away from the collaborations, it’s the devotion he’s put into the likes of School and summer 2011 hit Feel So Close that really draw me in. Harris just knows how to get you going whilst not being David Guetta or Deadmau5 and for that, he earns a place in the list.

18. Bloc Party – Four
Think anything about the past, say what you like about Kele Okereke and company’s break and expect what ever from Bloc Party; they don’t mind. Post-hiatus, Four is unapologetically what Bloc Party wanted to do and regardless of discussion, was always going to be. From Octopus’ release through to what could be a defining moment for Bloc next month at Earl’s Court, Four is a record that whilst, at times lacks definition has its own honesty and makes sure that the act still stand out of their own accord.

17. Passion Pit – Gossamer
If you’ve written one of the standout records of the last decade and said album was your debut, the follow up is always going to be difficult, but what Passion Pit achieved in following up Manners with Gossamer was at times difficult to appreciate. The “hits” lack, but what you have in their place is, in my opinion a record built on a more solid structure. Take a Walk and I’ll Be Alright (below) lead onto a record that has a narrative and creates a full live show that takes you on a journey. In that respect, job done.

16. Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe
The Womack has had a recent resurgence in popularity thanks in some part to Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. In The Bravest Man however, he proves that he never needed it. At 68, Womack’s career has spanned 6 decades and continues to grow with his time. Take his booming voice in this record and add a production value that’s second to almost none and you’ve got an album that may well prove timeless.

15. Mr Fogg – Eleven
I’ll be honest; I know very little about Mr.Fogg. His music, up until this album has eluded me and my negligence to gain more knowledge since its release is a bit foolish. That said, this record has been the soundtrack to every night bus I’ve needed to take in London all year. It’s got the quiet buzz that calms whilst pulsing with a sound that keeps you awake. It’s the perfect accompaniment to so much of the night from start to finish and for that, it makes this list.

14. Jessie Ware – Devotion
I first encountered Jessie Ware at my time at Toast Press earlier in the year and instantly fell for her sound. It’s capacity to be remixed, toyed with and adapted is seemingly endless whilst as a standalone record it’s soulful and transcendant. Ware has achieved Mercury nominations and plaudits across the board and has been part of what was, in my opinion, the best mix of the year from Julio Bashmore and Annie Mac (below). Kudos Jessie.

13.  Crystal Castles – III
Alice Glass and Ethan Kath are insane. This is a generally accepted fact and yet, within that insanity they’ve managed to create three records that hit the boundaries of their genres and have made them one of the most successful “dance” acts of the last years. In III, they did some serious growing up, toned down on the agrression and cemented their place in the hearts of 21st century youth.

12. Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
Cloud Nothings started this year in relative obscurity and ended it at the forefront of modern rock. This was in no small part due to the expansive sound of  their third record, Attack on Memory. From the catchy power of Stay Useless (below) through to the elongated 9minutes of Wasted Days, it’s huge and from a group of relative nerds, that’s fantastic.

11. Purity Ring – Shrines
Electronic music is taking step after step these days and in Purity Ring’s debut album, those steps appear to be in the right direction to encapsulate music. The comments on standout track, Fineshrine mostly scream “hipster” and “mainstream”, but what does that matter and since when has YouTube not brought out the worst in human nature? Screw it, the 1.2million views seem to think that both could live in harmony some day and Shrines will be one of those records that can say “they were there”.


Take care of each other


2012 In Fireworks: An Awesome Year, The Radio Show

Last night was the first of two 2012 end-of-year radio shows. It featured the advance countdown of my top 20 records of the year and a bonus half hour at the end of some great little Sunday tracks.
So, without further ado, here’s my top 20 recorded live on Mixlr radio last night.
Click the artwork, and yes, that is Bradley Sports Personality of the Year Wiggins with a fag because he’s punk rock.

The writeups and more will be online this week!
Take care of each other

Today in Fireworks: Bastille – Other People’s Heartache Pt.2

bastilYes, its one of our favourite up and coming popsters, Bastille again. Dan and co have been busy creating their second mixtape of covers. Their first edition of Other People’s Heartache saw them gain their first large chunks of popularity whilst Flaws has now rocketed them up radio waves twice in the year.
This second mix features the likes of wordsmith Kate Tempest and recent number one hit scorer Gabrielle Aplin (on a gorgeous Fleetwood Mac cover) as well as samples from The XX and Frank Ocean.

Other People’s Heartache Pt.2 is now available to download by clicking the red artwork below. The purple is part one; incase you didn’t already have it.


Take care of each other


Today in Fireworks: Ben Gibbard, Screaming Maldini, Embers and Death at Sea

Sunday evening should be bringing a radio show on Mixlr from me but as two deadlines loom from my university (I shouldn’t mention their incompitancy at departmental communication, nor my lack of productivity) it seems like a wise idea to skip two hours of radio with an hour of work on it either side.
To compensate, here’s a post full of top new music!

Before that though, I should probably mention that my friend and yours Hairy Mouth has posted some quality music from the Bronx, Sport and Run Forever this week and that’s filled my ears quite a bit.

Now; I reviewed the new Benjamin Gibbard album (HERE). I wouldn’t say I was upset at the result, more disappointed. Still, every cloud has a silver lining and at least the introductory track is enjoyable. Teardrop Windows, whilst predictable is an all right imitation of a third person track as well.

On brighter notes, the next two tracks have very quickly become two of my favourite tracks not released by the1975 or Tall Ships this year. The first is the newest single from Sheffield five piece Screaming Maldini. Its got the kind of sound to pick anyone up from a winter lull and the video’s not half bad either. This is Summer, Somewhere.

Thirdly comes a band hotly tipped by the 405’s new music section and rightly so. The atmospheric build up of this new Embers track is like few other pieces of music I’ve heard in a while. It’s ominous and powerful and all recorded live. Enjoy

Lastly, a track I’ve played a few times on the Mixlr. Taking from shoegaze with a modern twist, Death at Sea have been supporting HAIM on tour and this, their debut single is a standout. This is Drag.

Take care of each other

SI Album Review: Crystal Castles – iii

Toronto duo Crystal Castles are back again for another swing at the action with their third record. They’ve done a lot of growing up since their last record and I reviewed it for the lovely folk over at Sound Influx.
See what I had to say about it by clicking here or on the artwork and if you haven’t already join 92,000 who’ve downloaded Plague from the Soundcloud below.

Take care of each other