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Some music listened to in 2012 December 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Uncategorized.
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No This Weekend this weekened because EamonnCork’s piece on musicals from a few days ago fits the bill. But, quite a lot of bands I listened to this year in a way which I hadn’t for a while. I often wonder if as you get older you get a bit jaded in relation to new sounds, but this year I found myself not just liking but genuinely enjoying a large number of groups.

Toy: Colours Running Out

First up, the ones I liked best of all, UK political industrial/post punk outfit miserylab, Australian psychedelic revivalists the quite genius Pond and Tame Impala (who are so closely related they are practically but not quite the same group) and UK based new wave/psychedelic/post punk crew TOY (and I enjoyed their peers S.C.U.M. too – though that apparently is a minority opinion). What interested me a lot was that I was back listening to primarily guitar based music. Other groups that were on the radar were NYC by way of Boston (I think) outfit Minks and a real oddity for me, I genuinely liked Graham Coxon’s A+E. Not sure why, because I’m generally immune to all things Blur, but it had sticking power. Another crowd worth listening to are fascinating and experimental post-hardcore crowd Fucked Up. Even if the vocals get a bit much after a while there were times when they reached Husker Du levels of excellence. Soft Moon are great though there it’s a case of the guitars getting a bit much over an entire album. Admiral Radley, again from a couple of years back, comprising one part of Grandaddy, were pretty great.

Fucked Up: A Slanted Tone

Interestingly the Jesus and Mary Chain reappeared briefly releasing a single to no fanfare whatsoever on iTunes over the Summer. It’s a song they played on their last tour some years back and there’s hints – no more than that – that an album may be in the works.

Soft Moon: Circles

Dance and electronica? At first sight, or listen, I thought this was a weak year for same. But looking back in a bit more detail and there was some great moments.

Burial: Loner

RxRy produced perhaps his best work (and to judge from his website perhaps his last work) in the form of c.STRS. There’s no youtube video of it, but it is absolutely brilliant, based on stars, as in the lights in the sky, and much of the time eschewing entirely the ambient excursions that might imply. Nope. For him there’s rushing sounds, roars, calm areas and then more clicks, rushes and so on. There were the Errors who did something, as best as I can describe it, anthemic and sparkly. And VMCG, Vince Clarke and Martin Gore working together for the first time in three or four decades on a reprise of mid-1990s electronic/techno. It’s great, doing exactly what it says on the tin. Ulrich Schnauss popped up with German techno outfit Beroshima and produced a great great album which stuck with me throughout the year- but then again Schnauss appeared in numerous places with other collaborations, most more guitar based but all of them good. Minotaur Shock’s Orchard was pretty good. mind.in.a.box released yet another high quality futurepop album, the concluding part of a series they’ve now been working on for a decade or so.

John Talabot: El Oeste

John Talabot, Barcelona based House DJ, on the album Fin, did some amazing stuff. Burial’s Loner was superb, and Blackbird Blackbird’s All and Tear were the missing links between electronica and…er…what sometimes sounded like surf-rock (though I suspect he’d say it was post-punk).

I got around to listening to older names such as Orbital’s comeback album… which was good in places and the last Underworld album, two years old now but still pretty good – particularly ‘Between Stars’.

Quarkspace: Translight Limited

Other stuff that I enjoyed, Quarkspace – US based space rock outfit whose Drop album from the beginning of the 2000s is available for free on their website and is well worth a listen if you like Hawkwind etc… Rush’s latest album which has a particularly good track entitled The Anarchist on it. Turbonegro’s return with a new singer which was far better than it had any right to be. But I’ve drifted away from metal in recent years and see no need to return, at least at present.

Stuff I didn’t enjoy? The Cult’s latest album – the riff store called them to say it was empty for the moment. AraabMuzik – at first I thought it was clever. But then I didn’t. Jon Hopkin’s third album, released some years back but only getting to it now, replete with pointless additional crackles and effects. Noctorum, Marty Willson Piper’s current incarnation outside of the Church. I should like it, Lord knows I should, but I don’t. And Grimes. On paper Grimes should be just about perfect, but in practice, not so much. Peaking Lights… bits of their stuff I liked, but I never seem to find them when I go back to listen again. The Hundred in The Hands. Too polished. Peter Hook and the Light and their pedestrian run through of a hitherto ‘unknown’ Joy Division track which really wasn’t necessary. VNV Nation released a new album earlier in the year that saw them tip towards the formulaic – never good in a genre (futurepop/EBM) which is already formulaic in the extreme.

Old new stuff? IELB got me listening to the Police, something I hadn’t done since a kid and worse again got me liking it. I finally got the F.S.K. compilation from Anarchaeologist and it was well well worth the wait – filled with curious and unlikely earworms. Kudos to rockroots for digging up Irish prog outfit Supply & Demand Curve. Listened to a lot of Momus this year. And the Manics as well.

George Gershwin and also musical soundtracks, in part the fault of EamonnCork for inadvertently enabling my listening and prompting me to get more. Singing in the Rain, Easter Parade and an host of others. I was worried that these songs may be fading out of the culture, but let me assure anyone who by pointing to a small straw in the wind. In East Wall I happen to know that there’s a dance class for young kids where along with One Direction, Michael Jackson and so on and so forth Singing in the Rain figures highly on the list of songs that are used to dance to (by the way, the sheer number of Irish related actors in Singing in the Rain is something to behold. Not sure what that tells us, if anything).

Singing in the Rain

Somehow I find that comforting.

Anyhow, over to you, what was good, bad and – as interesting – terrible?

Comments»

1. EamonnCork - December 29, 2012

I love the Burial track. Actually I love Burial full stop, this is my favourite track of his which isn’t on his albums or EPs far as I know but is on a fabulous Hyperdub compilation from a couple of years back. The beauty of it.

In a similar vein this song, also from a few years ago, proved wonderfully cathartic when contemplating the blasted economic and political landscape. Great album too

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WorldbyStorm - December 29, 2012

I like that last one. Never heard it before.

Burial is great. Loner sounds a bit like that track from Photek last year, Closer, there’s a sort of similarity – deep wobbly basslines.

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eamonncork - December 29, 2012

Have you heard this album. Joyous stuff, played it a lot over the past 12 months.

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2. EamonnCork - December 29, 2012

Found this guy fascinating as well.

Electronica sometimes seems like the logical extension to post-punk. I suspect the Fanning loving kid I was back in the early to mid eighties would be listening to this kind of stuff now rather than guitar bands.

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WorldbyStorm - December 30, 2012

Electronica sometimes seems like the logical extension to post-punk

+1

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3. eamonncork - December 29, 2012

Other good stuff.
I thought this and the other Hauntological stuff would be more fun to read about than listen to. I was wrong.

Hipsters rule.

On a more traditional note.

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WorldbyStorm - December 29, 2012

This is great. I’d vaguely heard about hauntology, but thought it might be a bit of an elaborate joke.

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EamonnCork - December 29, 2012

Belbury Poly, Moon Wiring Club and the album the Focus Group made with Broadcast before Trish Keenan died are all wonderful too\\\\. I’m not sure how viable Hauntology is as a concept but there have been several excellent albums made under, or in and around its banner. You’ve always struck me as a member of its ideal audience for some reason. The As The Crow Flies album is probably the best of the lot of them. Brainy guys with an interesting musical take on things.

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WorldbyStorm - December 29, 2012

Thanks a million. Appreciate that. I’ll check it out.

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4. sonofstan - December 30, 2012

As usual, I probably heard more ‘new’ (to me) music from 1972 than I did from this year, this year. I tried – couldn’t get with Weeknd, need to try again with Frank Ocean, but the idea of indie Rn’B seems a little bogus. I liked this though:

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5. eamonncork - December 30, 2012

Worth mentioning too Once, with songs by Glen Hansard of The Frames and Marketa Irglova, winning the best musical award in the Tonys. It’s coming to the Gaiety in a couple of months. Fair play.

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6. eamonncork - December 30, 2012

Elsewhere in musicals, he said evangelistically.
Basing a musical on the murder of women in Ipswich between 2006 and 2008 might have sounded like a terrible idea. But London Road, which ran at the National Theatre in London, was in fact an astoundingly moving theatrical experience which relied heavily on testimony from people of the area.It reminded me of some of the Ken Loach/Tony Garnett work from the sixties. Inspiring.

The big new musical of the year on Broadway was Newsies, which is of left wing interest in that it tells the story of the 1899 newsboys strike in New York which saw a bunch of kids take on the newspaper empires of William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Music was by Alan Menken, whose work you’ll probably be familiar with if you’ve brought kids to cartoons anytime in the past couple of decades given that he wrote the songs for the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Tangled, Pocahontas and Enchanted.

OK this isn’t Ken Loach but to see a pro-union message anywhere these days, especially in the US, is so rare it’s worth mentioning.
And speaking of cartoons, having three young daughters means I spend a lot of time every year listening to songs from animated movies. And it was cool that the best one I heard this year, in the best animated film Brave which gave the girls great joy not least because it had a female protagonist, was sung by Julie Fowlis, a traditional singer from the Hebrides who gigs regularly in this country (I saw her give a brilliant concert in Galway a couple of years back).

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7. DJ John Spart - December 30, 2012

End of year lists are sociological proof that music is mostly about the accumulation and exchange of social capital. Anyway…

#10 Legowelt – ‘Elements of Houz’ [Clone Jack for Daze Series]

#09 Dam Mantle – Spirit [NOTOWN]

#08 Vatican Shadow – ‘Cairo is a Hunted City’ [Blackest Ever Black]

#07 Camea – ‘Only the Shadow Knows’ [BPitch Control]

#06 Carter Tutti Void – ‘V2′ [Mute]

#05 Nathan Fake – ‘Paean’ [Border Community]

#04 Swans – ‘The Seer’ [Young God]

#03 Silent Servant – Utopian Disaster (End) [Hospital Productions]

#02 Daniel Avery – Need Electric [Phantasy]

#01 Barker & Baumecker – Spur [Ostgun Ton]

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WorldbyStorm - December 31, 2012

Thanks for that. I like the Camea and Vatican Shadow tracks a lot. Likewise with Barker & Baumecker and Daniel Avery. The Nathan Fake track is pretty great. Always good to see a bit of Swans in there. And interesting to see the Factory Floor connection in Carter Tutti Void, (R E a L L O V E) was brilliant. I wonder whether that’s completely true about exchanges of social capital. I’d think that half the This Weekend’s I’ve written this year haven’t got one comment. The sight of tumbleweed on a Saturday morning drifting through the CLR doesn’t suggest that my capital is very high. Perhaps its an evangelical thing, which brings it right back to the individual.

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8. ejh - December 30, 2012

Have been listening to this a lot recently. Yes, everybody knows the Adagio, but check out the fourth part. What’s going on with the rhythms there?

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