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  • Stuff I liked in 2009 (part 3)

    Dez 26 2009, 5h51

    There were a bunch of other albums in 2009 that I thought were either good, very good or frickin' awesome and here they are in no particular order:

    The Orb - Baghdad Batteries
    For me this represents a decent return to form for The Orb, I'm really starting to feel the love that I used to have for them again, and I think it is predominantly because the tracks aren't all filled with guest vocalists. I don't know what it is about my favourite 90s dance bands but most of them turned shit when they started dragging in guest vocalists on every second track (I'm looking at YOU Chemical Brothers). Anyway, this is good stuff.



    Wilco - Wilco The Album
    Still doesn't eclipse YHF for me but this is a great album.



    Andrew Morgan - As Long As We're Together ep, Mine and Mine Alone ep, Victory In Passing ep
    I have waited a long, long time for Andrew Morgan to follow-up his genius Misadventures in Radiology album (again, one of those really special ones for me), and not only did he do that with a new album, he then followed it up with 3 brilliant EPs. These are just all phenomenally good and I'm still trying to listen to them all enough.

    Okay, gettin' sick of writing descriptions and finding youtubes so here's just a list.

    Yagya - Rigning
    Crayon Fields - All the Pleasures of the World
    Decoder Ring - They Blind the Stars, and the Wild Team
    Clint Mansell - Moon (Soundtrack)
    Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
    Hunz - Thoughts That Move
    Royksopp - Junior

    THINGS I DIDN'T GET A CHANCE TO CHECK OUT IN 2009
    So many things. This Phoenix album everyone's talking about. The new Air album, even though I have severe hesitations as every successive album since 10000hz Legend has just gotten progressively worse. David Sylvian's new album. HEALTH's debut album. Flaming Lips new album. ARGH so much new music so little time and/or money.

    STUFF TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2010
    There is so much new stuff coming.. definitely new Underworld, Goldfrapp, !!!, Four Tet, Caribou and Massive Attack all confirmed.

    The awesome-awesome-awesome Scenius concerts this year will be released on CD and DVD and I am tremendously thrilled and also scared because if there are any audience shots there is a high likelihood that I will be seen sitting there looking like an absolute mong with my fingers in my mouth as I stare at the stage in blissful awe.

    But what has me excited about that is a new Gil Scott-Heron album. Yes that is right, A NEW GIL SCOTT-HERON ALBUM. I am so excited about hearing this that I almost can't sleep at night, especially after it is starting to receive very high praise (The Guardian have already labelled it one of the best of the new decade).

    There may be a new Aphex Twin album, too? But then again, those rumours happen all the time. The last we heard was that Warp Records founder Steve Beckett would "go down on his knees and thank him" (ahem) once Afx delivered it. And that was in March.

    What probably won't arrive is a new Avalanches album. I'm so sick of waiting for a follow-up album I have given up. People talk so much about Duke Nukem Forever being the vaporware king, FUCK THAT, Avalanches sophomore album has been talked about and hyped by various quotes from the band since fucking 2002 and WHO THE FUCK KNOWS where it is. Dammit. FUCK. Now I'm in a bad mood.
  • Stuff I liked in 2009 (part 2)

    Dez 15 2009, 10h16

    A little diversion here, before I get on to mentioning the rest of my li'l 2009 summary, to talk about a few compilation albums that really stuck out for me this year.

    Underworld vs The Misterons - Athens
    Got into this only in the last couple of weeks (it was released in late November), but this is a very smooooth jazz compilation by Underworld, showing off some of their favourite and obscure records. Underworld have been doing several radio podcasts each year doing similar things and I'm always amazed at some of the stuff they play that I've never heard of, and this album is no exception. It even features a duet between Brian Eno and Karl Hyde at the very end. Below is the first track from the mix.



    Amorphous Androgynous - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind (part 2)
    Honestly can't remember if part 1 was released in 2009 as well, if it was then they both get my vote. Like the aforementioned Athens, the lads behind Future Sound of London get together to mix together some of their favourite psychedelic tracks from the 60s through to today. So much obscure goodness spread over 2 cds.



    Various - Best of Bootie 2008
    Was this released in 2009? Don't know, but I discovered it early on. Most of the
    Best of Bootie albums are quite good but the 2008 one is especially nice. I am a sucker for mashups although for crying out loud people can we stop trying to mix Sandwiches by the Detroit Grand Pubahs into everything, thank you.

  • Stuff I liked in 2009 (part 1)

    Dez 12 2009, 7h11

    I liked a lot of music this year. And because I just love listing stuff in lists, here is the good stuff:

    Dan Deacon - "Bromst"
    Before the first listen was even over, I knew this would be one of my favourites of 2009. Bromst is one of the most joyous albums I think I've ever heard, and one I have listened to over and over without getting bored. You wouldn't know it to look at him - he's pretty much an overweight, balding and bespectacled nerd - but Dan Deacon's created one of the most exciting electronic albums in years and (from all reports that I've read) creates one of the craziest live shows you can hope to experience.



    The Necks - "Silverwater"
    2006's Chemist hinted at a new direction for the long-time Australian jazz trio -
    after a slew of single-track albums extending beyond the 60 minute mark, Chemist contained three separate and very distinct ~20 minute pieces, with the final track even featuring guitar work by percussionist Tony Buck. Silverwater continues the evolution of their sound, but manages to retain a familiarity that Necks fans will enjoy. Silverwater is one of their longest albums and contains a lot of different themes, but manages to interweave them throughout the 67-minute journey into one long, beautiful piece. They continue to be the band that never lets me down.

    Animal Collective - "Merriweather Post Pavilion"
    The album that has received megahype just about everywhere, to the point where it seems like it's almost 'uncool' to list it on Best-of-2009 lists. But I don't give a damn, because this album is fantastic, it chills me out and relaxes me in a way that only AC can. Haven't heard the EP that they released in December yet, but am looking forward to it.



    Ben Frost - "By the Throat"
    A new album by Australian electronic artist Ben Frost is always very exciting for me, ever since his 2003 album Steel Wound absolutely blew me away (and remains one of my favourites of all time). His latest, By The Throat, is menacing and beautiful at much the same time, an album that truly needs to be appreciated alongside its wonderful artwork. Definitely an album made for dark winter nights.



    D. Ramirez & Mark Knight feat. Karl Hyde - "Downpipe"
    Whilst there's several great concert bootlegs floating about of new tunes, there was no new material from studio Underworld this year. Downpipe, however, helped fill the void - a fantastic tune with those stream-of-consciousness style vocals that Underworld lyricist Karl Hyde is known for. Really a stellar song.



    More to come next week.
  • paddling ghost

    Ago 23 2009, 7h26

    One of my favourite tracks of 2009, from one of my favourite albums of 2009.. now one of my favourite film clips of 2009 as well! It is time to watch Dan Deacon's "Paddling Ghost".

  • music things

    Ago 10 2009, 10h22

    Three awesome music things happened last weekend.

    First up, The Necks announced that a new studio album "Silverwater" is coming in the next few months. That is awesome.

    More awesome is the fact that they announced that they're redoing their website which will allow them to sell recordings of past gigs online. As anyone who's seen them live knows, each live performance they do is a unique piece of music that'll never be played live again.. it's part of what makes them so special.. and in the fifteen-odd times I've seen them live, there's been some incredible sets that I wish I could hear again. This may very well be that wish come true.. but it'll probably also send me broke!

    The third awesome thing is that on Saturday afternoon (Friday evening in the US) Underworld broadcasted a stream of their San Fransico concert to the rest of world, live, as it was happening. The next best thing to basically being there itself! So I played it big and loud and had a grand old Saturday afternoon.

    The brilliant thing was that barely half an hour after the show finished, it was available to re-watch online. And you can still do it right now.

    Few other bands are as kind to their fanbase as Underworld are. I'm looking forward to their new Riverrun EPs and album in 2010 and maybe.. just maybe.. they'll return to play some non-festival shows in Aus? It's been about seven years, and their Sydney concert at the Hordern was one of the best nights of my life.. I want to relive it again. :)
  • dan deacon rocks

    Jun 28 2009, 8h33

    I'm in a food-poisoning dizzy haze this weekend but one album has really helped me get through it, Dan Deacon's Bromst. At this point I think unless something truly spectacular comes out in the later half of this year, it's without doubt my favourite album of 2009.

    However I'm none-too-pleased at emusic (whom I bought the album from), who completely fucked up the track labelling of the album so that what I thought was my favourite track on the album was called Snookered and not Of the Mountains.. dammit emusic!

    I love Bromst because it has reminded me of how fun and joyous music can be, and given me hope that there is still new and exciting things being written out there. The last couple of years I've resorted more to discovering old albums from decades past rather than exploring recent music, and this album has been a pleasant change. If someone had told me two years ago I'd be absolutely adoring an album strewn with chipmunk-voiced vocals I'd have told them they're crazy. (the fact that Dan behaves and looks like a total socially-outcast nerd, the very antithesis of the "rockstar", is also awesome. )

    I do really like this youtube clip which features an interview with Dan, where he talks about the infamous (and much-beloved-by-me) NBC "Good Morning" appearance from 2004. Also shows how he accomplished the amazing pianowork on Build Voice, you will not fucking believe it 'til you see it in action.

  • andy hughes

    Jun 25 2009, 9h49

    It's been reported that Andy Hughes passed away at the age of 44 a couple of weeks back.

    He helped The Orb to mix and produce Orblivionand my personal favourite Orb album, Orbus Terrarum (which would easily be on my list of landmark albums in the all-encompassing "electronic" genre)

    Thanks for the music Andy. I'm playing Orblivion tonight in your memory.
  • my hottest 100

    Jun 23 2009, 10h47

    So, JJJ is running the Hottest 100 Of All Time. I figured I'd submit my entry for the top 10, and whilst I was at it, come up with my own top 100 (with no two songs by the same artist). Harder than I thought. The songs picked weren't necessarily the best songs the artists have ever done, but they're the ones that I would want to listen to over and over.

    The top #20 are ordered/numbered thus because I think they are fucking phenomenal pieces of music, the rest don't really have or need an order (if anything they're vaguely alphabetical 'cause that's the order I scanned my album library in).

    1. UNDERWORLD - Dirty Epic
    2. GIL SCOTT-HERON - B Movie
    3. KATE BUSH - Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
    4. GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPORER - BBF3
    5. YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA - Cue
    6. ORBITAL - Belfast
    7. TOM WAITS - Alice
    8. ANDREW MORGAN - Aligned On The Steps
    9. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - Bees
    10. VANGELIS - Memories of Green
    11. RADIOHEAD - Let Down
    12. BECK - Brother
    13. BATTLES - Atlas
    14. THE BEATLES - A Day in the Life
    15. APHEX TWIN - Blue CalX
    16. THE NECKS - He Led Them Into the World
    17. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE - Lover's Spit
    18. JUDEE SILL - The Kiss
    19. THE FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON - Divinity
    20. BOOM BIP feat. NINA NASTASIA - The Matter (Of Our Discussion)
    JEFF BUCKLEY - Dream Brother
    WEEN - Voodoo Lady
    YOUTH GROUP - Shadowland
    AIR - Ce Matin La
    U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name
    THE ZOMBIES - She's Not There
    BOARDS OF CANADA - Aquarius
    SIMON & GARFUNKLE - April Come She Will
    BRIAN ENO - An Ending (Ascent)
    CAT STEVENS - Father and Son
    CHEMICAL BROTHERS - The Sunshine Underground
    CORNELIUS - Another View Point
    DEEP PURPLE - Smoke on the Water
    DEVENDRA BANHART - Little Yellow Spider
    DAFT PUNK - Digital Love
    DJ SHADOW - Stem/Long Stem
    ELLIOTT SMITH - I Didn't Understand
    ERIK SATIE - Gymnopedie no. 1
    FLUKE - Absurd
    FLEET FOXES - Oliver James
    GERLING - Ghost Patrol
    GOLDFRAPP - Utopia
    GUNS N' ROSES - November Rain
    MANITOBA/CARIBOU - Jacknuggeted
    HUNZ - Draw the Line
    LEFTFIELD - Melt
    LEMON JELLY - Space Walk
    LED ZEPPELIN - Black Dog
    MASSIVE ATTACK - Risingson
    MAX RICHTER - On the Nature of Daylight
    METALLICA - One
    KINGS OF CONVENIENCE - Winning a Battle, Losing the War
    KING CRIMSON - The Court of the Crimson King
    KRAFTWERK - Computer Love
    NINE INCH NAILS - The Wretched
    NIGHTMARES ON WAX - Les Nuits
    PINK FLOYD - Dogs
    PUBLIC IMAGE LTD - Order of Death
    QUEEN - Another One Bites the Dust
    RIZ ORTOLANI - Cannibal Holocaust (Main Theme)
    ROD STEWART - The Killing of Georgie (Part One)
    ROYKSOPP - Poor Leno
    RYUICHI SAKAMOTO - Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence
    SEEFEEL - Climatic Phase 3
    CLINT MANSELL - Together We Will Live Forever
    TALK TALK - Today
    THE ALBUM LEAF - The MP
    THE AVALANCHES - Electricity
    JOY DIVISION - Love Will Tear Us Apart
    THE EARLIES - One of Us Is Dead
    THE FLAMING LIPS - Do You Realize
    THE ORB - Little Fluffy Clouds
    THE SMITHS - I Won't Share You
    THOM YORKE - Atoms For Peace
    BADLY DRAWN BOY - The Shining
    GOLDENBOY - Wild Was The Night
    CLOUDDEAD - Dead Dogs Two
    DAMIEN RICE - The Blower's Daughter
    !!! - Me and Guiliani Down By The Schoolyard
    AUTECHRE - Bike
    NEW ORDER - Blue Monday
    ORGONE - A WOT?
    OUT HUD - It's For You
    PEARL JAM - Daughter
    PORTISHEAD - Sour Times
    AMON TOBIN - Verbal
    BEN FOLDS FIVE - Narcolepsy
    BEN FOLDS - The Luckiest
    FROST - I Lay My Ear to Furious Latin
    FOUR TET - Smile Around the Face
    I AM KLOOT - Avenue of Hope
    NEIL YOUNG - Heart of Gold
    NICK DRAKE - Pink Moon
    T-REX - Cosmic Dancer
    TYPE O NEGATIVE - Love You To Death
    WILCO - I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
    ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS - You Are My Sister
    BJORK - Cocoon
    CUT COPY - That was just a dream
    DAN DEACON - Of The Mountains

    One day when I'm on holidays I might write a program to go through my mp3 library, find these songs, and create one long mp3 featuring snippets of each track.

    (I would also add last.fm links to each artist but don't want to spam 100 different artist pages saying that I wrote a journal on them)
  • pure scenius

    Jun 15 2009, 9h48

    I wrote this originally in the forums of Underworld's website, because a lot of members were keen to find out what went down last night. And rather than rewrite it all in different words, I'm just gonna copy and paste.

    These are thoughts on pure scenius, the 14/06/09 concert at the Sydney opera house featuring over four hours of improvised music by Brian Eno, Karl Hyde (of Underworld), The Necks, Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins.

    Pretty much it was the best thing I've ever seen/heard in my life.

    And now the journal follows:

    Well I'm home now so I can write a little more.

    The night was split into three shows of around 90 minutes in length. In attendence were Eno, Karl, The Necks (piano/bass/drums trio and amazing improvists), Leo Abrahams on guitar and Jon Hopkins on piano and electronics. Peter Chilvers was also in attendence and helping Eno out.

    The shows had a strong emphasis on improvisation. Eno acted as the coordinator (or ringmaster, as you will), occasionally giving the guys vague little 4-5 word directives on how to progress the sound (he'd write them on slips of paper which - I'm guessing here - got displayed on the 2 screens facing the members). Occasionally the audience was privvy to these messages as well, as they'd come up on the video screens (I'd like to quote some but I'd be going off very bad memory at this point).

    But ultimately, each artist fed off and spurred on one-another to progress and evolve the sound they were creating. It was wonderful to see the surprised smiles on their faces, especially Karl's (he seemed to really be having the most fun out of all of them, seriously, he looked absolutely thrilled), when someone would throw something new and surprising into the sonic mix.. encouraging the rest of them to adapt and contribute in their own ways.

    There were repeated themes which evolved from show to show. In roughly the middle part of each show, the music gradually led towards a beautiful "duet" of sorts between Chris Abrahams (from The Necks) and Jon Hopkins.. both sitting at their respective pianos on opposing sides of the stage. Chris would play one chord, then Jon would play. By the third show, this had evolved into something so indescribably beautiful I can barely give it enough praise. I have no shame in saying that it just about brought me to tears.

    For those wondering about Karl's input.. well, the man came prepared with his notebooks of lyrical musings (what I'd give to take a look through them..!), sample CDs, and other electronic kit. He recited some of this poetry, sung, spoke, played, did many wonderful things. It would not have been the same without his presence. Underworld fans would've spotted the occasional line they recognized.. indeed, in the early parts of the third show, he pretty much sung the whole lyrics to "Headset" whilst The Necks improv'd in the background ('I'll live in a cardboard box, but I'll have my fountain pens..'.. I still remember that moment)

    There were so many highlights and I've already written far too much, so I'll just list some of my favourite bits:
    - The start to the second show.. 1-2-3-NOISE!!!!!!! I think just about everyone jumped out of their seat.
    - The many moments when Eno and Hyde would sing or recount poems together. I especially loved the bit where Eno would keep saying "what if?", and Karl would follow with a lyric of his own.

    "What if?"
    "The waitress spoke in French.."
    "What if?"

    - The duets between Abrahams and Hopkins.
    - The encore to the third show. It was MASSIVE and got the whole opera house moving. Holy shit.
    - Pink Moon!!
    - The Necks getting a new, wider audience. I've always felt these guys are one of the most under-appeciated bands.. stuff like this is gonna get them noticed in a big way.
    Edit: thought of some more highlights
    - The coffee table and couches out the front of the stage, where the various members of the ensemble could chill, chat and listen whilst their musical companions continued the show. Sounds a bit gimmicky but wasn't.
    - Karl and Eno kicking off the third set just by themselves.
    - Karl getting up and painting the words "HOME" on the tent up the back, towards the end of the third show.
    - I loved that Brian let The Necks just play by themselves for 10-15 minutes in each of the shows, after which the other members would gradually get back up off the couch and join them in progressing the music.

    Regarding "Pink Moon".. in each of the three shows they played a song which wasn't improvised, called "Pink Moon", again evolving it over each of the 3 shows. Karl sang the lyrics, and it was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL song. Wasn't a cover of Nick Drake's song as far as I know. If anyone knows more info about what/who wrote this song, I'd love to know. It sounded very familiar to me but I've no other songs called "Pink Moon" in my library..
  • and another thing

    Jun 6 2009, 22h28

    Never before have I agreed so strongly with something in a Pitchfork Media review. This time, for the recent Jeff Buckley money-grabber, Grace Around The World:

    I don't remember exactly when I reached the Buckley threshold. Perhaps during a rom-com trailer that used "Hallelujah" a bit too liberally. Or maybe the mystique just turned into frustration and then slowly fizzled into nothingness. But I bet that for every person turned on to Jeff Buckley by the endless stream of rehashes and barrel-scraping releases, there's probably a one-time die hard fan losing their religion. The person who has embarrassingly belted the Live at Sin-é version of "The Way Young Lovers Do"-- all 10 minutes of it-- while cruising between states doesn't need Grace Around the World. The person who has spent hours listening to My Sweetheart the Drunk and daydreaming about the kind of fucked up and beautiful sophomore album Buckley would have made doesn't need it. And neither does the person completely unfamiliar with Jeff-- there are dozens of superior entry points. I don't need Grace Around the World; you don't need Grace Around the World.

    amen!!