Saturday, December 19, 2009



Holidays are here, and as per is traditional around these parts, I've prepared a selection of alternative holiday songs.
What's that?  Holy shit... _2_ selections of holiday songs!

Who loves ya?
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

OK, well it's mostly xmas songs, but meh.  What are you going to do?

At the bottom of this post I am also going to point out the 2007 and 2008 edition as well.  If you're new here, that means 4 albums of the awesomest holiday music.  Guaranteed to make your holidays better.  Or at least, that much more surreal.

Genres range from no-wave, to traditional crooner, to 8-bit interpretations, to experimental, to funky breakbeat remixes, to parodies, to hipster mashups, to childhood classics, to hiphop excess, to funky soul, and to the invetiable deluge of indie-rock singers singing about their horrible relationships wrapped all in xmas sparkle because omg musicians are messed up and are always having emotional issues and man maybe they shouldn't drink so much at xmas if they know they can't hold their liquor and will just end up fighting with their mom and punching their boyfriend but really it has been building for a while and how could they just sit back and say nothing when they know damn well what they are doing and NO YOU ARE THE ONE WITH A PROBLEM???

We have the timeless pseudo-daterape classic "Baby, It's Cold Outside", where our protagonist refuses to take no for an answer and instead plies his xmas sweetheart with more booze and physical intimidation.
We have "Have Yourself a Final Little Fantasy" that will make any NES fan's heart melt.
There's Robert Goulet jazzing it up on the Simpsons and bopping Milhouse with the microphone.
There's Ween with the inexplicable pseudo-rasta accent doing Silent Night, which somehow goes well with Pizzicato Five's rendition.
King Of Pants mashes in some ALALALA goodness to your vomit-inducing pleasure sensors.
And what would xmas be with David Hasselhoff, really?


Andy Williams - It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (A Shrift Remix)
Brak - 12 Days of Christmas
Bright Eyes - White Christmas
Coil - Christmas Is Now Drawing Near
David Hasselhoff - Joy to the World
Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
DJ BC - You Shook Me All Noel
Doctor Octoroc - Have Yourself a Final Little Fantasy
Duke Ellington - Jingle Bells (Robbie Hardkiss Remix)
Eazy-E - Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas
Frank Sinatra - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Frightened Rabbit - It's Xmas So We'll Stop
John Denver & The Muppets - Deck The Halls
Paddy Roberts - Merry Christmas You Suckers
Pizzicato Five - Silent Night
Ren and Stimpy - Cat Hairballs
Sex Pistols - Jingle Bells
Skindred - Jungle Bells
Stevie Wonder - The Little Drummer Boy
The Berlin Symphony Orchestra - The Nutcracker Suite (Baz Kuts Breaks Mix)
The Long Blondes - Christmas Is Cancelled
The Muppets - One More Sleep 'Til Christmas
The Simpsons - Jingle Bells
Tittsworth - Titts'mas Time (2007 Edit)
Weird Al Yankovic - The Night Santa Went Crazy


Atmosphere - If I Was Santa Claus
Bing Crosby - Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington Remix)
Circlesquare - Untitled (For Christmas)
Dean Martin - Jingle Bells (Dan The Automator Remix)
DJ John - The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown
Fats Waller & His Rhythm - Swingin' Them Jingle Bells
Frieder Butzmann - White Christmas
Hard Call Xmas - My Christmas Bells
In Memory - The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Jill Sobule - Jesus Was A Dreidel Spinner
John Denver & The Muppets - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
King Of Pants - Alala Falala Hasselhoff
Lou Rawls - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (awayTEAM Remix)
Michael Palmer - Happy Merry Christmas
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - This Time Of Year
Milly & Silly - Getting Down For Xmas
Rick Potts - Santa's Assasins
Sonic Youth - Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope
Stars - Fairytale Of New York
The Bloody Beetroots - Little Stars
The Harlem Children's Chorus - Black Christmas
The Nat King Cole Trio - All I Want For Christmas (MJ Cole Remix)
The Soul Saints Orchestra - Santa's Got A Bag Of Soul
The Walkmen - No Christmas While I'm Talkin
Ween - Silent Night

So grab part 1 here!
And grab part 2 while you are at it!


Check out the 2007 and 2008 editions too...
A Band Called Quinn - Its Christmas Time
A plus D - Give Da Jew Girl Toys
Big D and the Kids Table - A Wicked Hardcore Christmas
Bright Eyes - Little Drummer Boy
Dar Williams - The Christians And The Pagans
DJ Flack - Hanukkah In Dub
Frieder Butzmann - Stille Nacht Goes Disco
Hybrid Kids - Deck The Halls (excerpt)
John Denver & The Muppets - Twelve Days of Christmas
Ludacris - Ludacrismas
Mojochronic - Whoville (Won't Get Yuled Again)
Monty Python - Christmas in Heaven
nullsleep - silent night
Sam Flanagan - Frosty DMC
Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her - Here Comes Santa Claus
Secret Chiefs 3 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
The Jackson 5 - Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (Rock Steady Drew Happy Hollabass Mix)
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
The Raveonettes - Christmas In Cleveland
Treacherous Three - Xmas Rap
Wham - Last Christmas
Calexico - Gift X-change
Cap'N Jazz - Winter Wonderland
David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy & Peace On Earth (Full Version)
God Is My Co-Pilot - Marshmallow World
John Denver - Noel, Christmas Eve, 1913
John Denver & The Muppets - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Melt-Banana - White Christmas
Merzbow - Silent Night
Poxy Boggards - Santa Dog (The Residents cover)
Run DMC - Christmas In Hollis
Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!
Sufjan Stevens - Only At Christmas Time
Tes La Rok - Santa Claus Is Lost
The Muppets - Christmas is Coming
The Residents - Seasoned Greetings
They Might Be Giants - Christmas Cards
They Might Be Giants - Feast Of Lights
William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain - The Priest They Called Him


Tune in next year, where we discover that Yeasayer and Beach House are already kicking some 2010 ass...

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Monday, December 14, 2009

[BEST OF 2009] The top 10 albums of 2009

blog 2009/12/14 - [BEST OF 2009] The top 10 albums of 2009

We're here!  Finally, the money shot.  The goods.  The blow-off.

And while this list doesn't have much in the way of hierarchical order, I just have to declare

Dirty Projecors - Bitte Orca

It really had to be declared.  Simply the bestest.

The top 10 albums of 2009

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Antony & The Johnsons - The Crying Light (& Another World EP)
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
The Antlers - Hospise
Brother Ali - Us
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Ohbijou - Beacons
The XX - st
VA - Dark Was The Night
And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

A master can take a genre and see all of its tropes, conventions, structures and cliches for what that they are.  They see to the core of the concepts at play, and with their insight can snip through them uniformly, leaving staggering patterns where once expectations were.  And with the master's strokes, the honeycombed remains congeal and have their own internal logic, bringing together a hole that builds on all of the component pieces and reveals a whole new way of doing things.
Bitte Orca is the most accessible pop album that the Dirty Projects have released, but it is tops for its ability to seduce even the fans of only the poppiest rock and the edge-sitting hipsters alike.  It has pop structures so clever they become avant, and has avant structures so delightful, they become pop.
There is no other album of 2009 that I can continually listen to and be startled and overjoyed towards.
It will continue to reveal itself to you, and it only gets better and better.

Antony & The Johnsons - The Crying Light (& Another World EP)

There is a pastoral wisdom in Antony's voice, an ancient light that is evoked through the delicate inflections.  When this came out in January, it immediately inspired a prediction that it would be in the top, and it is a true testament to it's quality that 10 months later, it is still in regular rotation here.  This is not music for the immature.  This is music for the gloriously wounded, the optimists that are old beyond their years, and the poetic survivors.
I almost never couple in an EP, but really Antony has done EPs so perfectly over his career, that this one is no exception.  It is essential listening.  If you are a fan, you should track down all of the EP bonus material, since there are ample rewards.   But more specifically, how can one live without a song like Shake That Devil?  It is truly one of the most sublime singles of the year.
Antony is truly one of the greatest musical gifts the world has.

Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

Bat For Lashes have such a fully formed gem with Two Suns.  Building with what at a glance is a synthpop legacy, the composition itself actually owes more to mid-90s Sonic Youth and Mogwai than any Ladytron revival.  There are no toss-aways, and no pieces that don't work as part of the entire construct.
This album is an epic emotional adventure movie, with all of the grit and cynicism of adulthood recontextualizing what was once an innocent paradise.
I hereby declare you an emotionless automaton if this album doesn't spin you with a sense of wonder.  I'm throwing down that Moonchild gauntlet right now.
I only wish pop albums could all be constructed like this, but I'd be so terrified because so many would try... and so many would fail.
Why don't you do what you dream?

The Antlers - Hospise

The beauty of death can often startle us.  Beyond the juvenile gothic obsessions, death plays a foundational role in the artistic languages since the beginning of time.  But to not address death directly, to instead focus on the avenues and rituals of death, is to pay contemporary respects and deal with the modern day alienations head-on.
Most people don't have the happiest memories from hospitals, but the important emotions swirling around those institutions are vital to our experiences.  They evoke our most fragile emotions.  To call this album "brave" is to understate the success of it's execution.  This album is evocative genius.
It at times unfolds like a prayer, or a codeine induced haze on a gurney.
It sometimes reveals itself like a vivid recollection of past relationships.
But it always feels like the inevitability of our situation is upon us, and we quiver at that beautiful might.
Like the new Mountain Goats album, this record addresses the pain and confusion that our inevitable brushes with cancer will stir.  Through desire for transference, complex grief, and the transference that catches us unaware, a narrtive is built that perhaps could have passed by in an instant.
For me, this album is 2009's Black Sheep Boy, by Okkervil River, another masterful encapsulation of a focused thread of our human condition.  This album stays confined within hard walls instead of being free travelling, but the achievement is similar.

Brother Ali - Us

Brother Ali is going to save hiphop or destroy it, depending on what your perspective is.  Here the bar has been raised to such an extreme that naysayers will dismiss it entirely, and fans will just not be able to bother with the bullshit anymore.
Brother Ali throws it down:  Fuck you and your shitty politics.  No wait, not just fuck you, I'm going to rhyme circles around your unschooled ass, too.
The beats are tight, with masterful production of in-studio musicians, all looped up and tightly controlled.  There isn't an less-than-masterful moment behind the boards.
But the magic of the music also perfectly matches Ali's near-perfect cadence mastery.  His voice is still rich and buttery, and the years of road-wear only weaken his voice when he's reaching for the most heart-felt sentiments.
Heart-felt?  Yeah, there's another part of it.  He continues his inner explorations, and finds new ways to express the beauty and complexity of our interactions in this world.  Everyone's going blah blah blah Raekwon this year, but fuck Raekwon pretending to be all ghetto-games and revelling in misogynistic characters.  I can't be bothered with a rapper that is voer 30 year olds that still wants to rhyme like a 17 year-old.
Instead, Ali flips lyrics about the joys in working hard and finally buying a home for his family.  Of mourning lost friends.  Of  woman who is dealing with sexual assaults.  Of the intersections of alienation between children of divorced parents, immigrant children, and a young gay man in a religious household.  Of loving so much, you are ready to let them leave you.
And of course, there is ample braggadocio and ample exhibition to validate it.
Brother Ali makes so much of the 2000s rapper facades just plain embarassing.  But the bar has been raised so high, most lesser rappers will probably just ignore it.

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

You just can't deny this album, and you will be listening to it 5 years from now.  There's the Fleet Foxes charm, the Brian Wilson writing, and even that Animal Collective shamble-tinge that just makes it a total package.
But Grizzly Bear aren't some new band out to prove themselves to the world, this just cements their accolades.
Pop music will owe much to this album for years to come.

Ohbijou - Beacons

Epic folk.  Does that exist as a term?  Because here it is as an album.  Swells of sound and immensity of vision that far outstretch what might at first glance only seem like a normal folk record.
There are incredible depths of sound to be plumbed here, and epic indeed is the brilliance and emotion of this fine fine record.  Preciousness of voice is measured with waves of strings.  The seduction of the lyrics is matched perfectly in time and mood.
2007 gave us Acorn's wonderful Glory Hope Mountain.
2008 gave us Rae Spoon's perfect SuperiorYouAreInferior.
2009 it is Ohbijou as the best band Canada has to offer.
People of the world:  take notice.

The XX - The XX

People attend concerts by The XX and huddle forward, straining to hear it all, like the story I heard of a Glenn Branca show where they played with maximal intensity, but without any amps plugged in.  There is intensity in that strain.
Channeling a smokey 60s Nico and a demeanour like we just peeked in to their diaries, The XX just astound with their simple songs, subtle delivery and altogether infectious aural experience.
This is Kim Gordon on a good day, the 60s with better production values, and pretty much the best possible result of an aimles and angsty post-college world.

VA - Dark Was The Night

I'm going to start this just by listing who is involved.  If the person is more famous for a band they lead, I will list that band instead of their name.
Dirty Projectors, Talking Heads, The Books, Jose Gonzalez, Feist, The Postal Service, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, The National, Yeasayer, My Brightest Diamond, Kronos Quartet, Antony & The Johnsons, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, Arcade Fire, Beirut, Sharon Jones, Buck 65, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, Andrew Bird, Blonde Redhead, Broken Social Scene, Bright Eyes.
How's that for a lineup?  Pretty much the best thing ever, that's how.  And it's good, too.  This collection is a marvel of curation, with so few toss-offs, as you would expect from a comp like this.   Almost every brings their A-game here.  There are only 3 real duds, like Iron & Wine's tragically stunted entry, Sufjan's far-too-long epic (that is wonderfully remixed by Buck65 later in the set) and Spoon's odd surf-pop, but that's 3 out of 31 tracks!
And if axe those three, and then you are arrange the playlist and put the instrumental tracks at  the end, like the Kronos Quartet and Riceboy Sleeps, you pretty much have a perfect snapshot of all that is perfectly right about indie music in 2009.

And So I Watch You From Afar - And So I Watch You From Afar

There are oh so many "post-rock" albums released each year, and often without a voice to distinguish them, they get lumped together and are half-forgotten.
It takes so serious chops to get to the top of the pile.  It takes fight!  It takes vigour, valour, and something else related to norse vikings, I am sure of it.
Whatever it takes, And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA, uggh) have it.  There is an equal amount of drive, guitar bravado, pulsing drums and sheer momentum at play here that it just kind of seduces you.  You sift through my post-rock collection and you say "ahhh, yes, this is the one."
There's the mathematical ingenuity of The Battles, the tribal prog of Fuck Buttons, and a sense of scope that would equally entrance a fan of the Kranky label as well as a fan of Dragonforce.


And So I Watch You From Afar - I Capture Castles
And So I Watch You From Afar - These Riots are Just the Beginning
And So I Watch You From Afar - Tip of the Hat, Punch in the Face
Antony & the Johnsons - Another World
Antony & the Johnsons - Epilepsy Is Dancing
Antony & the Johnsons - Shake That Devil
Bat For Lashes - Glass
Bat For Lashes - Pearl's Dream
Bat For Lashes - Siren Song
Brother Ali - Babygirl
Brother Ali - Breakin Dawn
Brother Ali - Fresh Air
Dirty Projectors - Cannibal Resource
Dirty Projectors - No Intention
Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move
Grizzly Bear - Cheerleader
Grizzly Bear - Fine For Now
Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
Ohbijou - Black Ice
Ohbijou - Cannon March
Ohbijou - Intro To Season
The Antlers - Bear
The Antlers - Shiva
The Antlers - Wake
The XX - Islands
The XX - Shelter
The XX - Teardrops
Antony and Bryce Dessner - I Was Young When I Left Home
Dirty Projectors and David Byrne - Knotty Pine
Buck 65, Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti - Blood, Pt 2
The Decemberists - Sleepless
The National - So Far Around The Bend

That's it, that's all!  THIS IS THE BEST OF THE BEST!  Get grooving.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

[BEST OF 2009] 15 Amazing albums of 2009 (#s 25 -> 11)

blog 2009/12/09 - [BEST OF 2009] 15 Amazing albums of 2009 (#s 25 -> 11)

Oh we are getting oh so close! oh!
oh! oh!

If you're on a budget, the cutoff line starts just before this post. The top 25 albums are ones you simply must buy.
The quality level is so high, so refined in it's utter awesomeness, that you just need these records.

Are you ready? I'm ready, are you sure you're ready? Because it just gets better.

15 Amazing albums of 2009 (#s 25 -> 11), in random order

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
Japandroids - Post Nothing
The Decemberists - The Hazards Of Love
Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Passion Pit - Manners
Fever Ray - Fever Ray
The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead
Beirut - March Of The Zapotec & Holland
Gossip - Music for Men
Metric - Fantasies (& Plug In, Plug Out EP)
The Very Best - Warm Heart Of Africa
The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
Pantyraid - The Sauce
Mos Def - The Ecstatic

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career:
The intro riffs of any song on this album somehow conjures Jean Luc Goddard directing a 50s go-go beach flick. The pop kitsch is irrefutable and irresistible, but oh there is a master's hand at work, leaving a trace of temperance and critical decision-making throughout.
The world of radio-friendly indie pop is a large one indeed, and while sometimes I am surprised by what surfaces at the top of the heap, this is the kind of album that you knew from the start would just persevere and find it's way here. A critically good pop pleasure.

Japandroids - Post Nothing:
Not since first discovering The Jesus Lizard have I felt such joy in not understanding lyrics! More “buried between aggro fuzz” production than just gruffly chomping, the lyrics reveal themselves in subsequent listens and evoke a bar-band sinaglong mantra.
They sometimes dip in to adolescent-cum-adult angst (I Quit Girls), but also do a fine job of capturing the post-rave worldview.
Young Hearts Spark Fire captures the horror and angst of youthful dreamers at the end of their extended childhood with "we used to dream, but now we worry about dying". It acts as a perfect consequence to the candy-covered destructive lyrics of MGMT's Time To Pretend. We tried living fast and hard, and lo and behold we survived. We never planned on being adults, but here we are. The dreams are still there, but now our emerging mortality sets in.
This is not your bullshit lofi garage rock that plagues us all, this is the real deal. There is so much drama and joyousness to be found beneath the distorted fuzz washes.
Highly recommended for fans of The Jesus Lizard, The Hold Steady, or 90s Sonic Youth, despite sounding rather drastically different that all 3.
I listen to this album and I feel pre-emptive nostalgia. This album sounds like it could be having the exact same effect on me as if I was listening to my favourite Fugazi songs. If you know anyone who is a teenager, please buy them this album. When they turn 30, this rock gem will bring them waves of memories.

The Decemberists - The Hazards Of Love:
When this album first came out, it was criminally overlooked and dismissed. People whined: "Oh, it's not the Decemberists I remember! Where are my short narratives? Waaahhhh!"
Suck it up, quasi-critical populace, because this album is amazing. There's nothing wrong with this album, there's something wrong with you. But on paper, it all made sense to you. Extendeded rock opera? Mythical figures? A single about a man who kills his children? Oh foolish you!
First step: Listen to this in a car. Listen to it on a long trip. And listen all of the way through. This release defies the Ipod generation with their shuffle and playlist curating. This album is a whole and demands proper listening.
I grew up on listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall and Phantom of The Opera on long road trips that would last days. Over and over again. I know what I am talking about. Extended works demand extended audiences. Oh, and I suppose you skip the Knee Plays in Einstein On The Beach? uggh.
You know those people that would just listen to Another Brick In The Wall (part 2) and Comfortably Numb? You know what we call those people? Jerks. That's right, jerks. The Wall wasn't meant to be reduced to a single, and neither is this album. That is why I've edited some tracks together for your sample. Sure, it starts abrupt, but that's because we're being a tad jerky coming in part way.
The vocalist from My Brightest Diamond makes a perfectly cast appearance as the queen, and Colin McCoy plays both the adopted shape-shifting lovelorn son, and as well the disposable rake character. Margaret is the final character in this act, the kindly damsel who is oh so distressed due to her supernatural encounter.
This is an album that is just calling for Tim Burton to create it in to a full length musical movie.
This is an album with the gaul to refute the short attention spans of the internet kids.
This is a masterful work that is both brave and successful, for those who can be bothered to listen to an album all the way through.

Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport:
Y2K came and went and the world didn't stop, but lo' there was an eclipse of the sun at the end of the millennium and woosh, The Boredoms became godfigures, and entered their second career phase as masterminds of tranced-out excess. Sure, if wasn't all that surprising for those of us that had been following them for a while, but that's when they really had hit it big and only then did the press really take notice.
The sounds that were unleashed at the start of the millennium have 9 years later given way to another high water mark on the map of psychedelic blissouts, and Tarot Sport sits nicely as the successor to Vision Creation Newsun, ready to undoubtedly influence a whole new decade.
But with great power comes great responsibility! Like The Boredoms much-discussed outing, Fuck Buttons will as well spawn a flurry of half-baked inspirational tributes. Let us all proceed with as much caution and critique as possible, a new era of hypno-psych-sludge is upon us.

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix:
Generally when asked, I'd just describe this album as this year's Vampire Weekend. Same instant catchy pop goodness, same potential for irritability, same one song that after listening 10 times you just HAVE TO SKIP OR IT MAKES YOUR BRAIN HURT. etc.
Sure, it's radio friendly pop for the college set, but the charms are undeniable. If you watch TV, enjoy this as much as you can now, as it's bound to end up on numerous show and commercial soundtracks. You have been warned.

Passion Pit - Manners:
Sometimes pop can be so overwrought, but sometimes the heavens open up and just make it perfect. An Excalibur of self indulgent joy. Passion Pit cross so many lines in the sand of acceptable exuberance and trounce them with MDMA-riddled smiles and woah this shit's kind catchy.
There is no shame hear, no worried self awareness or cautioned restraint.
This is indie pop bliss jacked up on whatever kids these days are high on (life? pills? post-irony?), and it feels oh so right.

Fever Ray - Fever Ray:
Do you remember the movie Ringu? Or the American remake The Ring? Remember that cute little girl that lives in a well and occasionally hangs out in living rooms?
Well if that spring chicken ever climbed through a TV set with a Nord Synth and a microphone, she would sound like Fever Ray.
And you'd stare at her dumbfounded and terrified, and wiggle your ass in minutiae jiggles, hypnotized and in a cold sweat, laughing and crying at the same time.
Make no mistake, this isn't the summer beach soundtrack you're looking for, but a rabbit-hole trip deep in to a unique sonic world. The sister of The Knife duo heads off on her own and brings her vocal processors with her. In the same way that no other albums came close to sounding like The Knife, no other album sounds like Fever Ray.
The beats are often cold, some songs demand entranced attention, the lyrics tease between cryptically juvenile and solemnly opaque, but like a seductive hell it becomes a comfort and a new dialect that only you two share.
Sure, you find the girl crawling out of the TV kind of creepy at first, but did you know she has an awesome record collection and good ketamine?
Recommended for fans of The Knife, Ellen Allien and Laurie Anderson.

The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead:
Oh joy of joys, more of the Twilight Sad! I wasn't in to their live album, but oh I am SO in to their new full length here.
The grounds haven't shifted much since the prior studio album, but the goods are all there. Epic wails of guitar, a driving rhythm, and an enchanting lyrical sense that would make Alan Moore proud.

Beirut - March Of The Zapotec & Holland:
Oh what a dreamboat. This here is a musical dandy that can even be swooned more than Final Fantasy. And what a shock his album is! Having done so many amazing things in his short career and at his young age, he hits 2009 with an album like a pack of Nerds: 2 flavours, 100% yum.
What is a young musical prodigy to do? How about go grab a Mexican brass band to accompany you! Perfect! The first half of the album is full of oompahpah delights.
The second part of the album, he retreats in to the bedroom, gets down with some drum machine riffs, and outshines the past few years of starkly beautiful electro pop in just a few short tracks.
There is criticism that can be lobbied towards the album as a cohesive whole because of the varying sounds, but oh his voice and songwriting carries it through. The brave experiment in styles is a triumph that is perhaps too unique to be even attempted by other musicians.

Gossip - Music for Men:
Beth Ditto is probably the best female rock vocalist out there. With the shortest of words she can convey so much pure... rock? It's not brooding and melancholy, it's not stuck in it's own anger, it's not a cliched coo, Ditto has a set of vocal inflections that are all her own, and it all holds together a killer rock album.
The Gossip were never about fancy riffs, complex songs structures or intellectual and obscure lyrics. It is their straightforward kick-all-asses gusto that just charms the pants right off of us (literally and figuratively).
But while somewhat simple, the songs are near perfect: nothing extraneous, not a note out of place or off-beat.
To me, this is the ultimate in festival rock.

Metric - Fantasies (& Plug In, Plug Out EP):
You are going to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs so much and on so many best of lists. I almost put them on this list, I really did. I had them up there for a while. Then I listened to this Metric album again. Hmmm, somewhat similar, some comparisons... Then after a few listens, I realized it: The Metric album is way better than the YYYs album. I know I know, I'll take flack, but face it. The songwriting is just so much better. The performances slightly more provocative.
The YYYs album has deluxe edition with a bonus CD with acoustic versions. That had me swooning for a bit. But then Metric put out their Plug In, Plug Out EP with acoustic versions of the songs, and the songwriting just has that much more longevity and charm.
Dare to compare, Internet. I double dares you.
And hey, really, we all win. Seriously, if you like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, give this album a spin.

The Very Best - Warm Heart Of Africa:
After their 2008 bootleg tape of amazing jacked beats tweaked by Radioclit, Esau Mwamwaya is back with a full length of originals and it is as good as you were hoping for.
On the last release, they ironically jacked Vampire Weekend's afropop beat, and to return the meta-ness of it all, Ezra Koenig (of VM) appears! That's some fine networking their, boys.
This album is just a joy. And yes, I have no idea what he is saying.

The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come:
Aww shit, who died? You can tell me, it's ok. Because someone obviously did, and it has somewhat shattered John Darnielle.
This album rarely lifts it's mope, rarely allows any frustrations to boil over. It is contained by mourning, contained by the ritual of suffering alongside a loved one, then burying them, and then facing the rest of your life without them.
For those uninitiated with The Mountain Goats, this perhaps is not your best jumping on point. But if you've been through the ups and downs of past albums, you'll be stunned at the solemnity. You'll know something's up.
"And I won't get better, and some day I'll be free // Because I am not this body that imprisons me"
Amen, and strength.

Pantyraid - The Sauce:
If you look at my list of top 50 albums, you'd almost never guess I was a DJ. And fuck, a good DJ at that! So why so few electronic albums? Well, most electronic albums suck.. as albums. Very few can maintain interest all the way through. Very few can come across as anything more than a few hot singles with a pile of weak singles buffering it all.
So with that preface, I am just as surprised as you are to showcase this fantastic album. The name of the game is breakbeats, the frames of reference are Bassnectar and Machine Drum and Prefuse 73, but woah there is nary a misstep on the album. There is something to love in every track, and even a number of tracks that you just have to throw down on the dance floor. This as good as eDIT's Certified Airraid Material, just not quite as varied, and there are no guest MCs.
But it works as an album. I like to sit down and listen to this, end to end. I don't get bored, wishing it was all mixed. The production is meaty. The beats are hot. The traditions are honored. The bar is raised.

Mos Def - The Ecstatic:
OK, I have to admit I liked this album even more before I heard the Oh No disc with all of the beats on it, because DAMN, the Oh No beats are some hot hot shit. But even if Mos Def didn't get involved in the tracks and just paid for them from an instrumental album, whatevs, at least he chose well.
The album has some great wordplay, but often gets bogged down with his love of Islam. This happens a lot. A rapper finds Allah, or anal sex, or Jesus, or Sauron, then releases an inspired an album bogged down with their newfound obsession. The subsequent albums tones down the love-in, thankfully, so def looking to his next release. :)
And I am oh so happy for a quality verse from Slick Rick. As much as I hate the fucker, he brings a smile to my face sometimes.
If you haven't seen it yet, do go check out the videos of Mos performing Quiet Dog Bite Hard on Letterman, with him on drums... HOT.

Here you are, 2 tracks from each. 2 hours and 15 minutes of quality.


Beirut - La Llorona
Beirut - My Night With The Prostitute From Marseille
Camera Obscura - French Navy
Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
Fever Ray - If I Had A Heart
Fever Ray - Triangle Walks
Fuck Buttons - Phantom Limb
Fuck Buttons - Surf Solar
Gossip - 8th Wonder
Gossip - Heavy Cross
Japandriods - Heart Sweats
Japandriods - Young Hearts Spark Fire
Metric - Satellite Mind (acoustic)
Metric - Stadium
Mos Def - Auditiorium ft Slick Rick
Mos Def - Quiet Dog Bite Hard
Pantyraid - Crunkalicious
Pantyraid - Worship The Sun
Passion Pit - Little Secrets
Passion Pit - The Reeling
Phoenix - 1901
Phoenix - Lasso
The Decemberists - The Queens Rebuke, The Crossing, Annan Water
The Mountain Goats - Genesis 3:23
The Mountain Goats - Isaiah 45:23
The Twilight Sad - I Became a Prostitute
The Twilight Sad - That Birthday Present
The Very Best - Angonde
The Very Best - Warm Heart Of Africa ft Ezra Koenig

OMG getting so close! Take off your pants!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

VA - No Music Festival 1998 (6 CD)

No Music Festival 1998 (6 CD box set)

encoded at 192 kbps by CPI.
512 MB

discogs entry

CD 1:  Van's Peppy Syncopators
CD 2:  Knurl
CD 3:  Thurston Moore
CD 4:  Jojo Hiroshige
CD 5:  Alan Licht
CD 6:  Nihilist Spasm Band

Each disc also contains Friday/Saturday jam sessions with different configuations of all of the performers.


Can someone please send me (or link me to posts of,) the 1999 and 2000 box sets?


Sunday, December 6, 2009

[BEST OF 2009] (# 50-26) 25 good albums from 2009

blog 2009/12/06 - [BEST OF 2009]  (# 50-26)  25 good albums from 2009

And it begins!  CPI here, counting down the best 50 albums of the year... finally!
We covered other good albums from 2008,
We covered the best in comps, collections, mixes and live,
We covered the ebst in experimental music,
And we even looked at awesome beats with a recent mix of mine,

But now we're down to SERIOUS BIZNESS!

As I mentioned in the first introductory post, I'm going to avoid full rankings and just spread love the way it is supposed to be spread:  Through ill-defined hierarchies that create homogeny despite the intricate needs of the component parts!  Hierarchies of love... tra la la la!

So here we have the first 25 albums, basically 50 through 26 on the top 50 list.  Next post will be 25 thorugh 11.  Then the best 10 as it's own post.  The albums here have been placed in random order, thanks to my fling with Excel.
To appeal to your desire for something, anything, tangible to connect with, I have included 2 songs from each album.  That's right, 50 songs here, 3 hours and 19 minutes of primo 2009 ish.

25 GOOD albums of 2009 in RANDOM order (# 50 -> 26)

Taken by Trees - East of Eden
Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
DJ Cam Quartet - Diggin'
Mastodon - Crack The Skye
Amy Milan - Masters Of The Burial
They Might Be Giants - Here Comes Science
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - Moon Colony Bloodbath
K'Naan - Troubadour
Roll Deep - Street Anthems
Shackleton & Applebim - Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals (2 CD)
Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain Is A Mouth
Talk Normal - Sugarland
Alela Diane - To Be Still
La Roux - La Roux
Zu - Carboniferous
Aceyalone - Lonely Ones
Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
Why? - Eskimo Snow
OST - Where The Wild Things Are (Karen O and the Kids)
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Know Better Learn Faster
Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Healamonster & Tarsier - Cupcake Cave
Samantha Crain - Songs in the Night
Belleruche - The Express

A few words from our sponsors...

Taken by Trees - East of Eden:  The whispy-voiced singer of The Concretes is back with this fabulous new project.  She mixes a variety of interesting percussion patterns to her traditional folk song stylings.

Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers:  Like the best of indie folk, like Iron & Wine or Jose Gonzalez, Califone have the game locked down.  Impeccabley paced albums, heart-felt lyrics, and a surefire entry on to your next love-filled mixtape.

DJ Cam Quartet - Diggin':  A lot of old-timer downtempo producers (remember the 90s?  Way back when?) fell in to a pit of rehashed mediocrity, but up comes DJ Cam with some new ish that is truly worthwhile.  He gets in on the bigger-band trend ala Bonobo, and it works to smooth effect.  Cam knows his place and this is assuredly marketed towards that adult contemporary chill groove market, but have no shame folks, as it is smooth sipping goodness.

Mastodon - Crack The Skye:  As one who doesn't listen to much metal, it would take this unholy fusion of the 1990s (Ozzy Osbourne meets Soundgarden meets Alice In Chains) to get me totally hooked.  An epic hardrock/metal masterpiece.

Amy Milan - Masters Of The Burial:  This Canadiana gem grew on me steadily.  A smokey festival side-stage affair, there is a quiet intimacy throughout that will make this album the perfect after-dinner remorse soundtrack.

They Might Be Giants - Here Comes Science:  Context is everything, and to have a children's album this good sets it far and above the "you must be this awesome to ride" filter.  I am at the age where I need to by the wee-ones some awesome music, and the trio of TMBG "Meet..." series are essential for kid gifting.  And on top of that it's about SCIENCE.  And science is awesome.  Bonus points for introducing concepts of alternative energy, the scientific method, how science discards disproven knowledge, how evolution works, and so many other great topics.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion:  A decent album.  Not the best album of the year, but a good album.  Fuck you and the hipster you rode in on.  You know who you are.

The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - Moon Colony Bloodbath:  This EP was a bit more obscure than the amazing Mountain Goats LP, but it is worth seeking out for any and all fans.  The Vanderslice tracks are pretty awesome too, and definitely my favourite things in his entire catalouge.  A must for any Mountains Goats fan.  Everything we love above them is there to squish and savour.

K'Naan - Troubadour:  K'Naan's sophemore album is as smooth and sexy as his first, but just with some more big-budget production finnesse.  The same kind of content, but he puts enoughs twists on the same-ol-same-ol, and does it in such a classy way that you just don't care and groove along.

Roll Deep - Street Anthems:  Retrospective of the grime supergroup, this album hits in all of the ways the average grime album can't.  The weakness is sliced away leaving a stream of classics.    OK, I guess this should have been in with the reissue best of list, but ah fuckit, I'm not perfect.

Shackleton & Applebim - Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated By Vandals (2 CD):  2009 was a solid year for Skull Disco, but there ethereal take on dubstep still gets the cold shoulder from most of the world.  For those of us that grew up on Scorn and Badawi, this collection of tracks and remixes is an unmissable sonic world.

Bruce Peninsula - A Mountain Is A Mouth:  If you're ever locked in a scary cabin in the woods with robed culty farmers, I bet they're playing this record.  It's haunting and engaging, and the call-and-response chorusing has an eery chill-inducing effect.

Talk Normal - Sugarland:  I feel weird at how I just couldn't get in to the new Sonic Youth or the Horros LP, but then Sugarland came along and WOW, THIS IS WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR.  It reminds me of Sonic Youth and Lydia Lunch's Death Valley 69, but extended to a full album of totally awesome.  If Sonic Youth bores you these days, Talk Normal will fill that static-shaped hole in yr heart.

Alela Diane - To Be Still:  This woman has an old nashville voice aged in wisdom far beyond her actual years.  The whole album brims with the confidence and skill of her voice, but also doesn't overshadow the classic folk songwriting.  With a touch of twang for good measure.

La Roux - La Roux:  Ruling the year in the world of electro-pop, no one did it quite like La Roux.  This album is this year's ROBYN.  The songs are undeniabley genius, and the sheer mass of incredible remixes by a who's who of the underground has propelled her difficult hooks to hipster-cachet bliss.

Zu - Carboniferous:  Italian progressive metal.  On Mike Patton's Ipecac label.  And it sounds exactly like that description would imply.  If you're like me, and you probably are, that gets your heart racing and makes your palm sweaty.

Aceyalone - Lonely Ones:  Acey takes on doo-wop and produces a ridiculously fun mini-album.  Only a pothole or two to be found, but you ignore it because it's just squeal-good fun.

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm:  This album is a miraculous miracle of miracluloid proportions.  Like:  holy shit.  You'd expect some rockers that semi-retire, age a bunch, and then come back during their mid-life to not quite be as good... BUT NO!  THIS ALBUM ROCKS!  It is a stellar entry in to Dinosaur Jr discography and a testament to how awesomely we all should age.

Why? - Eskimo Snow:  At first I had dismissed this album, but it was in the changer in the car and came on a few times.  After a while, the wall of words sunk in to me and there was a joyous moment of listening through and not hearing the cacophony, but the interwoven sweat and joy and pain that was all running amok.

OST - Where The Wild Things Are (Karen O and the Kids):  I haven't even seen the movie, but this had to make it on to the list somewhere.  Sometimes things get here thanks to their context, and my god, if this is a movie soundtrack, kudos to the producer for letting it be so.  A freak folk accomplishment of vigour and innocence.

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Know Better Learn Faster:  Just check the cover out:  This gal's not fucking around, she does PINATA PARTIES.  That's my kind of party.  And I'm oh so glad I was invited.  This album weeves between a twee pop makeup session and a Team Dresch rockout and a hipster kid pose-off.  An accomplished balancing act at that, and more fun than a carcass of candies.

Florence and the Machine - Lungs:  The lineage of British singers that is being followed here is a staggering one:  Annie Lennox most certainly leads it, as well.  This work honours those roots and mixes in a modern songwriting flair that just puts a smile on my face.

Healamonster & Tarsier - Cupcake Cave:  Who likes Cupcakes?  Everyone, right?  Can you imagine a CAVE FULL OF CUPCAKES?  Well, that's how delish this album is.  What initially came off as a general electronica-pop album revealed itself to be a clever pop album that reminded me of the early days of Bjork.

Samantha Crain - Songs in the Night:  she borrows from that traditional nashville sound, but rocks it oh so hard.  I want nothing more than to go to a bar and drink heavily while this bands rock me all night.  The slower folk is amazing slower folk.  The rockier stuff rocks my pants off.  Can't go wrong.

Belleruche - The Express:  She doesn't stray too far from her winning formula, but knocks out another banger of a soulful downtempo LP.  In the age of the glamorous soul chanteuses, Bellereuche shows them how maximal soul can be packed in to a tight bit of funk, without biting Celine Dion pop chops.


Aceyalone - Lonely Ones ft Bionik
Aceyalone - What It Wuz ft Bionik
Alela Diane - Every Path
Alela Diane - Take Us Back
Amy Millan - Bruised Ghosts
Amy Millan - Day To Day
Animal Collective - No More Runnin'
Animal Collective - Summertime Clothes
Appleblim & Peverelist - Circling
Belleruche - Backyard
Belleruche - The Duck
Bruce Peninsula - Drinking All Day
Bruce Peninsula - Shutters
Califone - Funeral Singers
Califone - Giving Away the Bride
Dinosaur Jr. - Over It
Dinosaur Jr. - Pieces
DJ Cam Quartet - Everybody Loves The Sunshine ft Inlove
DJ Cam Quartet - Quincy
Florence And The Machine - Between Two Lungs
Florence And The Machine - My Boy Builds Coffins
Healamonster & Tarsier - Cupcake Cave
Healamonster & Tarsier - Daxmosphere
K'Naan - Somalia
K'Naan - T.I.A
Karen O and the Kids - Animal
Karen O and the Kids - Rumpus
La Roux - Fascination
La Roux - Quicksand
Mastodon - Divinations
Mastodon - Oblivion
Roll Deep - Eskimo Vocal
Roll Deep - Remember The Days
Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers - Bullfight (Change Your Mind)
Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers - Devils In Boston
Shackleton - The Branch Is Weak (Geiomix)
Taken By Trees - Greyest Love Of All
Taken By Trees - My Boys
Talk Normal - Transmission Lost
Talk Normal - Uniforms
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Body
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Cool Yourself
The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - Lucifer Rising
The Mountain Goats & John Vanderslice - Sudden Oak Death
They Might Be Giants - Electric Car
They Might Be Giants - Meet the Elements
Why_ - January Twenty Something
Why_ - This Blackest Purse
Zu - Axion
Zu - Ostia

Ohhhhh shit!  Grab some extra panties, we're just getting started!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

CPI - live at Soulselecta, 2009-11-28

Last Saturday I was invited to drop a set for the Ottawa bass party Soulselecta, and I recorded the 90 minute affair.

It's pretty approprite that I had this gig and that I post this now, right here in between the BEST OF 2009 frenzy.  While not being exclusively 2009, far from it actually, this mix can in some ways offer up a BEST OF 2009: BASS kind of angle.

Performers like La Roux and Ellie Goulding were shining stars of the year, with their gems of songs resulting in some of the most amazing remixes.
Beth Ditto of The Gossip shows up, and she's always been reliable for dope source material.
Producers B. Rich, Bassnectar, Nero and Babylon Systems have been super hot.
Also dope, but just not in this mix, are producers like Eskmo, Bounce Camp, DZ, Twocker and Starkey.

This mix here is all about bass-heavy dancing.  Crank this way up, and make sure your subwoofer is tweaked.  We're going from house to deep to dubstep to jungle.

CPI - live at Soulselecta, 2009-11-28

01) La Roux - In for the Kill (Skream vs Foamo Remix)
02) Detboi - La La La
03) Twista - Give It Up ft Pharrell Williams
04) Major Lazer - When You Hear The Bassline ft Ms. Thing
05) B. Rich - It'll Be Alright ft Domonique
06) Mastiksoul - Jacobino
07) Weekend Players - Hype The Funk (Audio Jacker Mix)
08) Claude Vonstroke - Chimps
09) Solo - Afreaka
10) The Martin Brothers - Full Moon
11) Christian Martin - Elephant Fight (Justin Martin Remix)
12) Mr Miyagi - We Gonna Give You The Lesson
13) DJ Deekline & Red Polo - Tambo
14) DJ Mujava - Township Funk (Ashley Beedle Re-Edit)
15) Bassnectar - Art of Revolution
16) Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed (Jakwob Remix)
17) Bassnectar - Cozza Frenzy (Z-Trip Hellrazor Remix)
18) Trillbass & Solace - Stackin
19) La Roux - Bulletproof (Foamo Dubstep Remix)
20) Babylon System - Dancin Shoes
21) Buraka Som Sistema - Kalemba (Reso's Aguardente Remix)
22) Simian Mobile Disco - Cruel Intentions ft Beth Ditto (Joker Remix)
23) 6blocc - Legalize It (East Coast Mix)
24) AC Slater - Hello
25) B. Rich - Killin It
26) Nero - Bad Trip (Rob Sparx Remix)
27) Babylon System & Noah D - Examination Of Time
28) Boy Crisis - Dressed To Digress (Nero Remix)
29) Neophyte - Braincrackin' (DJ Paul's Forze Mix)
30) Marcus Visionary - Long Long Time
31) Lion Of Judah - Exodus
32) Danny Byrd - Shock Out
33) Bagga Worries + Jooxie Nice - Legalize (Remarc Remix)
34) DJ Nut Nut - Special Dedication (Ladies Mix)
35) Prisoners Of Technology - Trick Of Technology (Remix)
36) Aphrodite & Mickey Finn - Bad Ass
37) Sniper - Dub Plate Pressure ft MC GQ
38) Rude And Deadly - Mash'em Down,_2009-11-28.mp3

[BEST OF 2009] My year of experimental music

blog 2009/12/03 - [BEST OF 2009]  My year of experimental music

Only a handful of you listen to more experimental music, so I took all of those albums and lumped them together here.

Ambient drone, noise, contemporary sound art, minimal IDM, contemporary piano, the goodness is overflowing for those in the right frame of mind.

And oh yes, I am even ranking the albums, just to be that much more of a pretentious fuck.


1) Lustmord - The Dark Places of the Earth
2) Klimek - Movies Is Magic
3) Tarek Mansur - Hidden Sounds EP
4) Andrea Belfi & Machinefabriek - Pulses & Places
5) Gregg Kowalsky - Tape Chants
6) Kenji Siratori - Parasite Noise
7) Clorinde - The Creative Listener
8) Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto with Ensemble Modern - utp_
9) Danny Saul - Harsh, Final
10) Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
11) Kylie Minoise - Live in Japan
12) Sam Hamilton - Sooty Symposium
13) Thomas Koner - La Barca
14) Ethan Rose - Oaks
15) Vargr - Maria Orsic Trilogy (3 CD)
16) Rachel Grimes - Book of Leaves
17) Merzbow - 13 Japanese Birds series
18) OST - La Sangre Iluminada (Enlightened Blood) (Murcof)
19) Taylor Deupree - Live 1 Mapping
20) John Zorn - Femina
21) Pummeler - The Sewage Riot
22) I.U.D. - The Proper Sex

The playlist is assembled for listening ease!  It is not formatted to match the order of the albums as listed here.
I front-loaded it with all of the relaxing delicate stuff.
Then it gets a bit more abstract, yet still pretty easily accessible.
Then it goes a bit darker and more minimal.
Then it heads to sound-art territory.
And the comes the noise!

Think of it is as a trial of your (awesomeness) might.
See how long you can last!  A 3 and half hour test of your hipstercred.

Lustmord - The Dark Places of the Earth:  #1 on the list!  BEST OF THE YEAR!  OMG how dare I?  How is this one album the best of the best of the experimental?  Purity.  There has been no album true to it's vision.  Not even Lustmord's other quality release this year ("[ B E Y O N D ]") caputres the simple majesty of dark drone like this album.  I will fall asleep to this album more than any other album released this year.  It will fill my rooms and my headphones.

Klimek - Movies Is Magic:  Instead of doing the regular thing of producing a sweeping album that is breathlessly described as "cinematic", Klimek goes one further, producing an album of intricate soundscapes that beg for a movie to be constructed around them.  These are pieces that demand visual creation, not audio that merely implies it.

Tarek Mansur - Hidden Sounds EP:  This EP reminds me of the greatest times of record collecting.  You find a 12" from an unknown name with intriguing album artwork.  You put it on the turntable.  It's dark, swirling, mysterious.  One side pulses abstract IDM soundscapes, and the other side nearly abandons structure altogether and instead creates a delightful sound world that just sucks you in.  So wonderful.

Andrea Belfi & Machinefabriek - Pulses & Places:  There is a world of texture going on here, and boy is it a dreamy place to be.  There is this wonderful tradition here of naming albums exactly how the record sounds, and this keeps that going nicely.  For fans of modern improv, deep click and glitch music, sound art, microsound, and good old fashion experimental improv.

Gregg Kowalsky - Tape Chants:  There's a lot of love in my heart for well-executed lofi drone.  People are all googoogaga for Grouper, but this is the true essence of it all right here.  Reverential.  This is truly lofi drone for the soul.

Kenji Siratori - Parasite Noise:  Awww fuck yeah, here goes the good shit.  Such deliciously textured noise!  Check the sample, this mostly goes on for like 40 minutes of super satisfying yum.

Clorinde - The Creative Listener:  A bunch of pixies rail some pixie dust, pull out their lutes and thumb pianos, and wait, someone brought a Nord Lead as well?  Awesome.  Let's get moody.

Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto with Ensemble Modern - utp_:  Mr. Noto is a personal hero of mine.  His works with Sakamoto have been incredibly beautiful, and here he's taking his hum and click techniques one step further, bringing in a string ensemble to fill in some midrange.  A gorgeous album of metered patience.

Danny Saul - Harsh, Final:  This caught me by surprise.  What started as wonderful textural drone guitar morphed in to a psych folk masterpiece.  This album is highly recommended, and one of my favourite surprises of the year.

Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions:  Explanation required?  Probably not.  But easily has the most "pleasant" moments of any Sunn O))) release preceding.

Kylie Minoise - Live in Japan:  Obviously (and lovingly) modelled after the Hanatarash live albums from Mom N Pop in the 90s, it is a fitting tribure.  NOISE!  YEAH!

Sam Hamilton - Sooty Symposium:  This work falls in to an area of visceral sound art that reminds me of the late Maryanne Amacher.    The pulses (of course) have greatest effect at high volume, but even at quieter times, you can't escape how much sheer attention the pieces demand of you.  Certainly not wallpaper music, this is sound to experience.

Thomas Koner - La Barca:  Koner takes on new sound avenues, incporating city field recordings in to signature sways of the drones.  His tones are oceans lapping up, and the ghost of cities long consumed rises up with the tide and then dissipate, only to be taken by the next churn.

Ethan Rose - Oaks:  Subtle acousticey sounds, lovingly processed in to tracks that imply a rhythmic underpinning, but are beatless and pulsing.

Vargr - Maria Orsic Trilogy (3 CD):  Some noise takes itself way too seriously, but at least these guys have released such a quality set, that you forget that you can't tell if they are laughing. 

Rachel Grimes - Book of Leaves:  It says something about the times we live in when it's a shock to find an album of straight-up acoustic piano.  No buzzes, no whirs, no droney post-processing, no 808s.  Her hands weave magic.

Merzbow - 13 Japanese Birds series:  He's a bit of a running joke in the 21st century, but damn, I do really like these albums.  As of writing only 11 of the 13 have been released, but really, isn't that enough to go off of?  Masami Akita gets his prog-drumming jollies out, and the results are far more textural than many recent works, and even sometimes have your head bobbing in that odd way when you try and act like you're super in to abstract improv jazz.

OST - La Sangre Iluminada (Enlightened Blood) (Murcof):  I haven't seen this movie yet, but you should totally google and watch the trailer.  It looks amazing.  And with classical glitch/idm producer Murcof at the boards, it might just be one of the best soundtrack matchups of the year, up there with Karen O and Where The Wild Things Are.

Taylor Deupree - Live 1 Mapping:  A veteran of the digital sound worlds, Deupree is the kind of master that can still crush Markus Popp with just the thought of going nearing his MacBook.  So very accessible with it's looping structure, this album collects some fantastic live works, and makes me very excited to one day experience this live in a big dark dark room, with just him staring deeply into his LCD monitor...

John Zorn - Femina:  I don't really understand the thematic underpinnings at work here, but Zorn's lovely little release Femina covers many of his contemporary compositional whims.  There's nary a squeal on the whole album, but instead it reveals a number of his fascinations (females speaking, cinematic framing) in a playful and almost wholly accessible manner.  Recommended for fans of contemporary classical, as well as stalwarts of the Tzadik/Zorn scenes.

Pummeler - The Sewage Riot:  This tape is just sexy.  Noise that washes over you a raging drone.  This makes me happy.

I.U.D. - The Proper Sex:  The review site Pitchfork Music is pretty much the stupidest site out there when it comes to experimental music.  They continually post "token" reviews and they always fall in the same derivative 7.1-7.7 range.  Every once in a while they take a rather mediocre work and put it on a pedestal like OMG aren't we so edgy and with it.  When they gave this album a bad review, I knew I had to check it out, and it was very much worth it.  Take that Gang Gang Dance glee and toss out the silly song structures and what you're left with is a remarkably listenable work of primitive musical adventure.


Ethan Rose - On Wheels Rotating
Ethan Rose - Scenes From When
Rachel Grimes - Every Morning
Rachel Grimes - Far Light
Clorinde - Leaf
Clorinde - Cecile
Murcof - Como Quisiera Decirte (Remix) (La Sangre Iluminada OST)
Murcof - Eugenio I (La Sangre Iluminada OST)
Murcof - Sangre (La Sangre Iluminada OST)
Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto with Ensemble Modern - Broken Line 2
Danny Saul - Your Death
John Zorn - Femina  Part One
Andrea Belfi , Machinefabriek - Pulses & Places 3
Gregg Kowalsky - Tape Chants VI-VII
Klimek - Exploding Unbearable Desires
Klimek - Exposed to Life In It's Brutal Meaninglessness
Taylor Deupree - Live in Bern (Sept 9, 2005)
Lustmord - Atom
Thomas  Koner - 33° 31' N  36° 19' E (Hour Six)
Thomas  Koner - 43° 42' N  7° 16' E (Hour Two)
Tarek Mansur - Hidden Sounds
Sam Hamilton - Old Gravel Roads Winding Out into the Dark Night of the Countryside
I.U.D. - Monk Hummer
Sunn O))) - Alice
Pummeler - The Sewage Riot side A
Kenji Siratori - Parasite Noise Part 1 (excerpt)
Kylie Minoise - Live Aktion 68 (Happy Noise Sunday! Vol. 15) (excerpt)
Vargr - First transmission from A
Merzbow - Requiem For The 259,000 Quails (excerpt)
Merzbow - Variation No. 1 (excerpt)

It's amazing how many ways I can pretty much say nothing:

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Monday, November 30, 2009

[BEST OF 2009] My favourite mixes, collections, reissues and live albums

blog 2009/11/30 - [BEST OF 2009]  My favourite mixes, collections, reissues and live albums

This is a bit of a catch-all category, but there can be so many blurred lines involved here.
The definition of a DJ mixtape is far different than a hiphop posse mixtape.
A mix of adult contemporary chill is far different than a hyper-edited digital dance mix.
A massive box of British pop stars is only somewhat comparable to a massive box of Japaese noise stars.  Close, though.

Due to the nature of the categories, there are no rankings.
For the mixes, I will give you a taste of the first 10 minutes of each.  For the posse tapes and collections, I'll give choice selections.
Please note that again, the weird and more experimental stuff is loaded at the end of the playlist.  But quite frankly, every random party playlist needs a 20-minute Hijokaiden track on it.
If you disagree, I highly recommend deleting the last 6 tracks ASAP, lest they surprise you some day...

Let's start with a summary:


DJ Rupture & Matt Shadetek - Solar Life Raft
DJ Yoda - How To Cut & Paste: The Thirties Edition
Henrik Schwarz, Ame, Dixon - The Grandfather Paradox
J.Period & K'Naan - The Messengers (Trilogy)
Osymyso - Warp20 (Elemental)
Peter Kruder - Private Collection
Themselves - theFREEhoudini


Nirvana - Live At Reading
Tom Waits - Glitter And Doom Live


The Beatles - Mono Box (13 CD)
Bernard Parmegiani - L’Oeuvre Musicale (12 CD)
Eluvium - Life Through Bombardment (7 LP)
Hijokaidan - The Noise (30 CD)
Incapacitants - Box Is Stupid (10 CD)
Modest Mouse - No One's First And You're Next
The Jesus Lizard - Inch

I should also mention that Miles Davis received a 170 CD box set this year...  I mean... holy shit.  That's intense.

And now let's get in to the thick of it...


DJ Rupture & Matt Shadetek - Solar Life Raft:  Rupture has a refreshing "and the kitchen sink too" approach to mixes, sliding in a bunch of things that are more about attitude than they are about musical coherence.

DJ Yoda - How To Cut & Paste: The Thirties Edition:  I love 30s big band and had spent a good chunk of the year listening to compilations of 30s big band music.  I was so damn happ to find this mix for DJ Yoda, which includes many of my old timey favourites.  Such a fun time.

Henrik Schwarz, Ame, Dixon - The Grandfather Paradox:  Take a tour on the history of minimalism in many of its incarnations.  This is no Hawtin edit job, this mix stays true to the source material and sucks you in with it's organic chug and eclectic selections.

Osymyso - Warp20 (Elemental):  I hated Osymyso for his bullshit intros mix, but this jaunt through the Warp Records back catalouge redeems him in a big way. 

Peter Kruder - Private Collection:  Another interesting take on the mix, this is more a curated selection that a DJ mix, but it flows quite nice.  For all the DJs that are all growned up now and have babies.  Adult contemporary dinner party hipster music.

J.Period & K'Naan - The Messengers (Trilogy):  K'Naan shares rhymes and beats and thoughts on three influencial musicians in his life:  Fela Kuta, Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan.  He expertly fuses his storytelling with reworked tracks, covers, and tributes.  Works as well as radio art as it does a generally engrossing mixtape.

Themselves - theFREEhoudini:   Dose One and crew are back with the free ish, inviting a whole host of superstars to load up on quaaludes and drop their rhymes and beats.  You can't beat the price, and certainly is one of the most exciting hiphop records to come out in a while.


Nirvana - Live At Reading:  What can really be said?  the biggest band of the 90s, rocking out at their peak.

Tom Waits - Glitter And Doom Live:  Not the ultimate jumping on point for those that don't know, but really, if you don't know Waits, why are you reading this blog???  It includes an entire disc of Tom's Tales, just stories he told on the stage.  Utterly essential for any Tom Waits fan.


The Beatles - Mono Box (13 CD):  Like the Nirvana disc, what else can be said?  I hate it when record companies try and get people to buy the same releases multiple times, but damn, it's so awesome that it is worth it.

The Jesus Lizard - Inch:  Collecting the series of 7"s, this collection captures some of my favourite JL songs of all time.  Gruff, and flamboyant so. 

Modest Mouse - No One's First And You're Next:  This is a collection of B-sides and such, and is almost as awesome as a new album would be.  So many top-notch goodies, all collected in to one place.

Eluvium - Life Through Bombardment (7 LP):  Drone ambient, sludge, and contemporary piano.  The Eluvium box set is far more gorgeous of a journey that I was expecting, and a must for ambient fans.

Bernard Parmegiani - L’Oeuvre Musicale (12 CD):  OK, this is rfom 2008, but it took a year to listen to.  It's pretty much everything ever done by this musique concrete pioneer.  One of the most important innovators of modern experimental music and contemporary sound design methods.

Hijokaidan - The Noise (30 CD):  Like the Beatles, like Nirvana, there's no much more that can be said.  Except this:  30 CDS OF JOJO!!!!!  WOOOOOT.

Incapacitants - Box Is Stupid (10 CD):  Oh right.  Stupid is Stupid.  Box Is Stupid.  Noise Is Stupid.  Awesome.  The only thing I love better than drunk Japanese bankers making noise is...  wait, no.  There is nothing I love more than drunk Japanese bankers making noise.  That is the epitome of love.

OK sue me, I love me my noise.

That's it!  My hands are hurtin' from prepping like 2 hours and 43 minutes of music for you, so no fancy pants descriptions, just the goods.
Stay tuned for the next update:  best of experimental music 2009!


DJ Rupture & Matt Shadetek - Solar Life Raft (excerpt)
DJ Yoda - How To Cut & Paste, The Thirties Edition (excerpt)
Henrik Schwarz, Ame, Dixon - The Grandfather Paradox (excerpt)
Osymyso - Warp20 (Elemental) (excerpt)
Peter Kruder - Private Collection (excerpt)
J.Period & K'Naan - Africa (Fela Kuti Tribute)
J.Period & K'Naan - Don't Think Twice (Dylan Tribute)
Themselves - Back2burn (Feat. Pedestrian)
Themselves - Keys to Ignition (Feat. Serengeti)
Themselves - Long Time Coming (Feat. Lionesque)
Nirvana - Stay Away (live)
Nirvana - Spank Thru (live)
Nirvana - The Money Will Roll Right in (live)
Nirvana - D-7 (live)
Tom Waits - Dirt In The Ground (live)
Tom Waits - Falling Down (live)
Tom Waits - Live Circus (live)
Jesus Lizard - Mouth breather
Jesus Lizard - Puss
Modest Mouse - Autumn beds
Modest Mouse - King rat
Eluvium - All The Sails
Eluvium - Under The Water It Glowed
Bernard Parmegiani - Métamorphose du vide, Lumière
Hijokaidan - Live 2005.10.15 at ???????·??????05 (excerpt)
Hijokaidan - Live 2009.4.25 at ??·??????? ???1 (excerpt)
Hijokaidan - ??????? _ ??? (Kuruwa)
Incapacitants - I, Residuum Part 2 (excerpt)
Incapacitants - Stupid Is Stupid (excerpt)

Oh fun!  OMG the fun!  Why does fun bleed so much?

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