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


Today: Music Films – Arcade Fire & Noah and the Whale

Over the last decade, there’s been an increase in acts taking the series of singles from their albums and turning them into four-six part short films. Some acts go further; for example Bon Iver made a short film for each track on their self titled record (HERE) and some go frankly strange like the Maccabees did with their 8:20 short film for Given to the Wild which featured sparse backing tracks and minute snippets of well shot yet seemingly random clips of film (HERE).
Sometimes though, bands get it completely and perfectly right. If you discount the likes of Sigur RosHeima and Inni which are documentaries just as much as they are live recordings; the two that stick out for me from the last few years are Arcade Fire‘s Spike Jonze directed Scenes from the Suburbs and Noah and the Whale‘s First Days of Spring.
Conveniently, both are below for your enjoyment.

Arcade Fire – Scenes from the Suburbs

Noah and the Whale – The First Day OF Spring

What are your favourite album based films? You may remember the Beatles film links I posted earlier in the year; personally, A Hard Day’s Night is definitely up there for me.

Take care of each other

Today in Fireworks: Daughter and Yukon

Good evening all, I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday’s.
First of all, a quick reminder that my Mixlr Radio show will be live from 9-11pm tonight and followed by an album stream and requests through to midnight. I hope you can join me.

Anyone who’s had the pleasure of listening to and seeing Daughter over the last year will know what an enjoyable and borderline coma-inducing experience it is. The trio, led by the hugely talented Elena Tonra have been snapped up by indie-label 4AD and are preparing for the release of their debut record off the back of two gorgeous EPs (Here and Here.)
They played a short show at the CMJ in America last week and that show is now available to watch, so enjoy.

Now it wouldn’t be right to mention this without mentioning the artist who informed me that this show was now available online. The lovely Alec, also known as Yukon (Bandcamp here for a large amount of lovely music) is a NE Coast American artist who’s really very handy with an array of musical instruments. His song Lungs recently got a video created by the equally talented Patty Rentschler, who many of you will know for her array of work for and with Johnny Foreigner (especially this). My favourite track is below this short video and is called Bones.

Take care of each other

TodayinFireworks: Bloc Party Live at Terminal 5 – HD Stream

EDIT: This video will only be online until tomorrow, at which point I will replace it with a different Bloc Party stream. Bowery Presents have only uploaded this for 24 hours

Until Four charts in a few weeks time, its going to be hard to say what the return of Bloc Party actually means to the indie-rock crossover world, but with the hype selling out their UK tour in October, only a lucky few will get to see the result. As such, the lovely folk at Bowery Presents have uploaded a full high definition stream of the London band’s show at New York’s Terminal 5 venue. Here it is in all its glory.

Personally, I think it’s the weakest setlist from the three shows they did (other two here and here) but its still shows that Bloc have a lot up their sleeves.

Take care of each other

TodayInFireworks: Blur – Live at Hyde Park (July ’09)

Blur at T in the Park 2009: Image by Danny North

With the Olympics coming to an end at the end of this week; Blur, New Order, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Specials are all taking to the BT London Live stage in Hyde Park for one last fling in London. The last time Blur did a show like this was just over three years ago at their huge Hyde Park reformation gigs. It was one reformation that seemed to spark a lot more down the line and for The Stone Roses regrouping, I guess they can only apologise.
Anyway, here’s the full video of that show, let’s hope it’s as good this time round.

Take care of each other