01 January 2009


so, for the past few weeks, i've been going over this list and trying not to miss anything, and then i realised it's getting pretty damn close to the end of the year, so i better get a move on! be warned: this is like the total antithesis of a hipster Pitchfork countdown (no offense)...meaning, you will find no Lil' Wayne or Kanye on here, even though you will find M83 and TV on the Radio.

with my apologies (esp. to WaDi), i present to you (with further ado) in alphabetical order, by name of band/artist:

ALL THE SAINTS: Fire on Corridor X on Touch and Go - yeah. i really like this one. sounds like the Jesus and Marychain collided with a groove and then was possessed by a grunge band. can't really make out all the words, but the production sounds awesome and is everything i like about analogue recording...riffs + noise + distortion = good.

BLOC PARTY: Intimacy on Atlantic - with the exception of 'Mercury', Bloc Party put out an album with all the stuff you'd expect from a band that now has a little more time and cash to release records. hmm, that doesn't sound like the most glowing review, does it? they still sound like that familiar post-80s city-dwelling band you didn't listen to in high school.

CATZ 'N DOGZ: Stars of Zoo on Mothership - awwwwwyeeeeaaaah!!! tech-house music at its finest, from the Claude von Stroke-related (via Dirtybird) Mothership label. these guys are dance masters straight out of Poland, and they'll make you want to moooooove.

EAT STATIC: Back to Earth on Interchill - one of my dance music hero groups. they released a lot of b-sides and now have compiled them into this full-length record, which is a masterpiece...except for two songs. they tread everywhere from house to spacey sci-fi to ambient, with Eat Static precision and production.

ROY HARGROVE QUINTET: Earfood on Decca - i mean, seriously. this record is f*&^ing fantastic. Decca Records' offshoot EmArcy has truly released relevant, modern, cool jazz records all year. trumpeter Hargrove hasn't updated his MySpace since summer, but i don't care, if it was because he was working on this record. and, if you even remotely like jazz, you must hear this! every single song is strong, and it just may lure people from the outside in to the room, wherever you have this on.

JUNO REACTOR: Gods & Monsters on Metropolis - psytrance and then some, juno reactor's drum sounds are still like no one else's. there's a little less tribal stuff and a little more spacey stuff on this album, but it's a solid release that unfortunately didn't get much attention. they blew through L.A. with their live show at the start of November, which we missed for one reason or another...but i am SO glad they're making music still!

JAPANESE POPSTARS: We Just Are on Gung Ho! Recordings - i'm sick of asian-sounding record labels, like Dim Mak, Ace Fu, and now Gung Ho...but i'll overlook it for now. this album is part Prodigy, part Justice, part Chemical Brothers and part name-your-favourite-electronic-band-here. In the scene in Ireland, they've been around for a while now. Listen to Total Distorted Mayhem! and you'll see what i mean. jump in jump in, jump...jump in jump in, jump...

JOZI: Title Unknown on African Swim - there were some promos that ran for a brief while, during the commercial breaks on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programmes, and they showcased some pretty incredible hip-hop/rap crews i've never seen or heard of before. once you find the AFRICAN SWIM section of the Adult Swim site, there are mp3s and videos of a group called Jozi who sound like Zulu music "mixed with the crunk". the result is something so much more exciting and original than any of that tired, homogenous crap rap out there.

KING KHAN & THE SHRINES: The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines on Vice Records - this is punk-soul mixed with a little psychobilly, featuring a full band complete with horn section and organ. It's like a gospel revival meeting coming out of a garage band.

LADY DOTTIE & THE DIAMONDS: self -titled on Hi-Speed Soul - many thanks to my friend and indie music radio promoter Liz Koch for this one! it's a young band with modern sounds, and not at all lacking the life/pain/experience/soul that goes into the blues. Lady Dottie has the energy and ferocity of only the best singers, and in person she is far-out, man!

JAMIE LIDELL: Jim on Warp Records - if you don't like R&B vocal sounds coming out of the mouth of a 30 year-old through a processor, or if you don't like the sounds of yesteryear coming through a 20th century filter, you might not like this...but, since i still have a lot to catch up on in terms of classic soul, i am excited about hearing a sound like this. Jamie Lidell is one my most favourite contemporary singers, for sure. this album didn't have the electronic quirkiness of the (Multiply) that made me fall in love with him, but that's ok, because this time, he was backed up with a very talented live band who also toured with him.

M83: Saturdays = Youth on Mute

N*E*R*D: Seeing Sounds on Star Trak

POP LEVI: Never Never Love on Counter/Ninja Tune - the first time i ever heard Pop Levi's 'Sugar Assault Me Now' i was completely annoyed and in love at the same time. that song's full album, last year's The Return to Form Black Magick's Party, was fantastic, as is this new album. this guy just has so many freaking melodies in his head! apparently, he used to be in Ladytron, but i won't hold that against him. how a person can be so prolific and catchy at the same time is beyond me. plus, he plays all the instruments on the album...and i love how it all sounds like a giant, freaky folk rock and pop music collision in a manic phase on helium. i'd love to see him live, but i don't want to be disappointed if he doesn't pull it off. i say listen to the first five songs on the album. and then listen to the rest of it.

THE RACONTEURS: Consolers of the Lonely on Warner Brothers - this came out in March, and i almost forgot how much i love it. there is nothing to not like about the record...unless you don't like Jack White's voice, i suppose... the songwriting is different; it sounds simple but has a lot going on, and nearly every song has a memorable riff or melody. the instrumentations and arrangements are clever and unusual. and, a true test of catchiness is that i still wake up in the morning with one of their songs stuck in my head.

TV ON THE RADIO: Dear Science on Interscope - this album made it onto a lot of people's favourite lists this year, so i probably don't need to write about it. all i can say, tho, after you've read everyone else's description of it, is: listen to the album all the way through.

an honourable mention goes to...
BRYN CHRISTOPHER: My World (on ? as an import) - here's a singer who didn't seem to get too much attention in the States, but he got quite a bit of chart recognition in the UK. this guy can sing! He has a powerful, soulful facility with his instrument that sounds feminine at times... the song 'Smilin' ' sounds like Gnarls Barkley 2.0 and is just as accessible as 'Crazy' and just might get stuck in your head on your first listen. i hope this guy gets the recognition he deserves.

and out last year, is an album i loved this year...
CHRISTIAN SCOTT: Anthem on Concord Records - remember that Miles Davis album, Doo-Bop? i fear it was too acid jazz/trip hop for the jazz purists, and too jazz for the electronica heads, but it was a great record, nonetheless. Anthem has all these great horn lines set solidly on a hella groovy rhythm foundation. good stuff.

SeeqPod - Playable Search

1 comment:

jazzylover59 said...

Roy Hargrove's MySpace page is not run by Roy. It is run by a fan.

Thanks for sharing your take on his album. I think it is a shame that it was overlooked by the Grammy people.

Kandie Webster in Washington State ~~ jazzylover59

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...