Tag Archives: 2009

Singles of 2009!

30 Dec

Below is a list of my top 50 favourite singles, a better list than I thought it would be, turns out 2009 was a good year for singles. I particuarly liked the lo-fi pop coming out of America (Girls, Wavves, Surfer Blood etc). Links to videos are provided for the top 20 and stay tuned for top 50 albums of the year coming soon…

50. Uprising – Muse

49. So Bored – Wavves

48. The Fixer – Pearl Jam

47. Omen – The Prodigy

46. We Are The People – Empire Of The Sun

45. Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

44. Stillness is the move – Dirty Projectors

43. Velvet – The Big Pink

42. Hooting and Howling – Wild Beasts

41. Bulletproof – La Roux

40. In For The Kill – La Roux

39. The Captain – Biffy Clyro

38. While You Wait For The Others – Grizzly Bear

37. Cousins – Vampire Weekend

36. That Golden Rule – Biffy Clyro

35. Fire – Kasabian

34. Crystallised – The XX

33. 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day

32. Orange Shirt – Discovery

31. One Week of Danger – The Virgins

30. 11th Dimension – Julian Casablancas

29. Empire State of Mind – Jay Z

28. Feel It All Around – Washed Out

27. No You Girls – Franz Ferdinand

26. Warriors Dance – The Prodigy

25. The Fear – Lilly Allen

24. Dominos – The Big Pink

23. Walking on a dream – Empire Of The Sun

22. Love You Better – The Maccabees

21. Pokerface – Lady Gaga

20. Daniel – Bats For Lashes

19. Crying Lightning – Arctic Monkeys

18. Brightside – The Soft Pack

17. Who Can Say – The Horrors

16. Sticks and Stones – Jamie T

15. Laura – Girls

14. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear

13. My Girls – Animal Collective

12. Never Forget You – The Noisettes

11. Sun Was High and So Was I – Best Coast

10. Hyph Mngo – Joy Orbison

9. Swim to reach The End – Surfer Blood

8. Rich Girls – The Virgins

7. Bonkers – Dizzie Rascal

6. Remedy – Little Boots

5. Song Away – Hockey

4. Lets go Surfing – The Drums

3. Cornerstone – Arctic Monkeys

2. Lust For Life – Girls

1. Sea Within A Sea – The Horrors

Jack Penate, ‘Everything is New’ – Review

15 Jun

Poor Jack Penate was given somewhat of a hard time when he released his (by most accounts) underwhelming debut album ‘Matinee’ in 2007. The publications that had praised his early exuberant singles turned around and gave him a cold and harsh slap across the face, pairing him up with fellow pop lightweight Kate Nash. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone as unashamedly hip and annoying as Jack Penate though, whose upbeat melodies and bizarre dancing have made him an intriguing live act. Truth be told ‘Matinee’ was a decent pop album, held back by the brilliant singles and weighed down by expectations. Most thought he was a one hit wonder, few thought he could better the album – all the best songs were years old – he had had lifetime to write a few classic tunes and some mediocre ones, how could he possibly better it in a couple of years?

Well his first step was to hire influential producer Paul Epsworth, the man who more than any other was at the helm of the indie bandwagon of 2004/2005, and responsible for the likes of Bloc Party, The Rakes, The Futureheads and Maximo Park. Epsworth always manages to create a polished and contempory sounds whilst layering songs in an intresting way, I don’t think hes produced a dud yet and he certainly ranks as one of today’s most influential producers. Here Epsworth’s job was to get Penate to diversify, he had crafted the perfect pop song on Matinee and it was obvious any attempt to repeat old ground would be the end of the road. Thankfully he has done exactly the right thing and the second album is an eclectic bunch of well chosen songs, glimmering with sounds from far of places – Particularly sunny  beaches.

World music has certainly played a part here, most tracks feature complex rhythms, spiky guitars, echo, and at least a couple of unusual instruments. Dancehall and Brazilian music are clear influences, the album has a party vibe that runs throughout all nine tracks, even the slower ones. Late 80’s, Early 90s soul and britpop also has been largely influential, as was obvious on the debut. Simply Red and The Stone Roses are two unexpected acts I’m reminded of throughout. That it’s all been crafted into a sound that is still recognizably Jack Penate, is largely down to the producer who helped develop the songs on the album from an early stage. The tracks have been well ordered and well selected, the fact that they chose to include only nine songs should be applauded as too few modern acts appreciate the phrase ‘all killer no filler’ and whilst I wouldn’t say this is all killer, it’s hard to signal out a bad track.

Highlights include new single ‘Be the One’ and ‘Give yourself away’, both have a high tempo, dance feel whilst sounding pure pop at heart. First single ‘Tonight’s today’ is another stand out although it never really caught anyone’s attention in the way singles from matinee did. I think that is one problem with ‘Everything is new’, it doesn’t feel as immediate as Penate’s debut did, there aren’t any classic songs on here, rather the album as a whole is more important than any of the individual tracks that make it up, which is perhaps no bad thing. But at the same time this doesn’t sound like the classic album Penate clearly is desperate for it to be – from the classy album art to the intelligent tracklisting – Jack is trying and it shows.Even over nine tracks the album feels a little samey, the sounds are varied enough and the differing influences are obvious, but ‘Lets all die’ doesn’t really sound any different to ‘Everything’s new’, in fact it all kind of blurs into one.

Overall this is a well thought out and brilliantly crafted album (and album is the important word, this is an album in the traditional sense of the word). Penate has clearly proved any doubters wrong with ‘Everything is new’ and now I am truely excited to see where he goes next.


Mojo Honours List 2009

11 Jun

Well, It was the Mojo awards last night and as usual the recipients were a varied but deserving lot. I’m particularly pleased The Zombies ‘Oddesey and Oracle’ got an award, whilst it was no surprise to see Fleet Foxes, Elbow and White Lies take awards home. Below is a complete list of winners.

The MOJO Breakthrough Award
Presenter: New Order
Winner: White Lies

The MOJO Inspiration Award (sponsored by HMV)
Presenter: Terry Hall
Winner: Blur

The MOJO Best Album (sponsored by Ford Transit)
Presenter: Sir Peter Blake
Winner: Paul Weller

The MOJO Classic Album Award
Presenter: Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys
Winner: The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle

MOJO Vision Award
Presenter: Buzzcocks
Winner: Joy Division (documentary by Grant Gee/Jon Savage)

The MOJO Maverick Award
Presenter: Duff McKagan
Winner: Manic Street Preachers

The MOJO Hero Award
Presenter: The Bad Seeds
Winner: The Pretty Things

The MOJO Icon Award (sponsored by EMI Music Catalogue Marketing)
Winner: Phil Lynott – collected by Scott Gorham

The MOJO Outstanding Contribution To Music Award
Presenter: Mark Knopfler
Winner: Joe Brown

The MOJO Roots Award
Presenter: Judy Collins
Winner: Topic Records, celebrating 70 years
Collected by: Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy and Tony Engle

MOJO Catalogue Release Of The Year (presented by HMV)
Presenter: Tony Allen
Winner: Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue 50th Anniversary Edition collected by Erin Davis (Miles’ son)

MOJO Medal
Presenter: Yusuf Islam
Winner: Chris Blackwell/Island Records

The MOJO Best Compilation Award
Presenter: Corinne Bailey Rae
Winner: Take Me To The River – The Southern Soul Story (Kent)
Collected by: Stax/Atlantic legend William Bell

The MOJO Best Live Act (sponsored by José Cuervo)
Presenter: Bert Jansch
Winner: Fleet Foxes

The MOJO Song Of The Year
Presenter: John Cale
Winner: Elbow – One Day Like This

MOJO Classic Songwriter
Presenter: Bernard Butler
Winner: Johnny Marr

The MOJO Hall Of Fame (sponsored by Universal Catalogue Marketing)
Presenter: Joe Elliott
Winner: Mott The Hoople

The MOJO Les Paul Award (sponsored by Gibson Guitars)
Presenter: Jeff Beck
Winner: Billy Gibbons

The MOJO Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Sony Music)
Winner: Yoko Ono