Tag Archives: Best

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

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100 Best Singles of the Decade

17 Dec

Below is a list of my favourite singles released in the last 10 years. It was a difficult list to compile as I wanted to represent all the genres I listen to and tried to include a variety of artists and styles. I’ve kept the number of singles per artist to a bare minimum as it was possible Arctic Monkeys or The Strokes could have made up the top 100 by themselves! Coming soon will be my albums of the decade, and album and singles of 2009.

Click on song to hear

100. Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap

99. Ignition Remix – R Kelly

98.Danger! – Electric Six

97. Teenage Dirtbag – Wheetus

96. Life Is A Song – Patrick Park

95. Love Steals Us From Lonliness – Idlewild

94. Standing in the way of control – The gossip

93. Crimewave – Crystal Castles

92. Shelia – Jamie T

91. Milkshake – Kelis

90. Twilight – Elliot Smith

89. Muzzle of Bees – Wilco

88. The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

87. I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness

86. Shine – Take That

85. Funny Little Frog – Belle and Sebastian

84. Us – Regina Specktor

83. Off The Record – My Morning Jacket

82. Lets go Surfing – The Drums

81. Cannonball – Damien Rice

80. First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes

79. Fix up look sharp- Dizzie Rascal

78. That Boy That Girl – Hadouken

77. Stronger – Kanye West

76. Over and Over – Hot chip

75. LDN – Lilly Allen

74. An Honest Mistake – The Bravery

73. California – Phantom Planet

72. Love Machine – Girls Aloud

71. Lust For Life – Girls

70. Fluorescent Adolescent – Arctic Monkeys

69. Two Doors Down – Mystery Jets

68. Molly’s Chambers – Kings of Leon

67. Buck Rodgers – Feeder

66. Umbrella – Rihanna

65. Forever Lost – The Magic Numbers

64. Nude – Radiohead

63. My Doorbell – White Stripes

62. Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

61. Young Folks – Peter Bjorn and John

60. Ms Jackson – Outkast

59. Burn – Usher

58. The First of the gang to die – Morrissey

57. Knights of cydonia – Muse

56. Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros

55. Somewhere only We Know – Keane

54. Kissing The Lipless – The Shins

53. Jesus Of Suburbia – Green day

52. GrooveJet – Spiller

51. Kids – MGMT

50. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

49. Clint Eastwood – Gorrilaz

48. Idioteque – Radiohead

47. Valerie – The Zutons

46. Rock Your Body – Justin Timberlake

45. By The Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers

44. Trains To Brazil – Guilemots

43. Apply Some Pressure – Maximo Park

42. Golden Touch – Razorlight

41. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head – Kylie Minouge

40. All my friends – Lcd soundsystem

39. Yellow – Coldplay

38. Time for Heroes – The Libertines

37. 99 Problems – Jay Z

36. Mansard Roof – Vampire Weekend

35. Time is Running Out – Muse

34. Someday – The Strokes

33. Pull Shapes – The Pippettes

32. Hounds of Love – The Futureheads

31. Once and Never Again – The Long Blondes

30. Digital Love – Daft Punk

29. Thou shalt always kill – Dan Le sac and Scrobius pip

28. Loose Yourself – Eminem

27. Daddy’s Gone – Glasvegas

26. Atlantis to Interzone – Klaxons

25. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

24. Diamonds from Sierra Leone – Kanye West

23. Dance – Justice

22. Sea Within a Sea – The Horrors

21. Dry Your Eyes – The Streets

20. So Here We Are – Bloc Party

19. Ch Ch Check It Out – Beastie Boys

18. Hate To Say I Told You So – The Hives

17. Mr Brightside – The Killers

16. Paper Planes – MIA

15. Hurt – Johnny Cash

14. Dreamin Of You – The Coral

13. Run – Snow Patrol

12. All These Things that I’ve done – The Killers

11. Rock my World – Michael Jackson

10. Crazy In Love – Beyonce

9. Time to pretend – MGMT

8. Tunnels – The Arcade Fire

7. Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

6. Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem

5. Hey Ya – Outkast

4. Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand

3. Can’t Stand Me Now – The Libertines

2. Hope There’s Someone – Anthony And The Johnsons

1. The Modern Age  – The Strokes

Christmas albums

14 Dec

It’s that time of year when we get out our favourite christmas records that fill our hearts with festive cheer, so I thought I would compile a list of the most essential Xmas records.

A Christmas Gif For You by Phil Spector and Artists

Perhaps the most essential of all Christmas albums, this transcends the time of year and is a classic in pop production. This Is also Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s favourite ever album, and the one that inspired Pet Sounds.

Elvis’s Christmas album / Elvis sings the Wonderful World of Christmas

However strange this might seem, Elvis’s first Christmas record is arguably his best studio album. It captures the rock and roll zest that made his early singles so great, the gospel songs that still ring as his most sincere and the ott ballads that would dominate his later career. He really rocks out on classic songs such as ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me.’ The 70’s follow up is nowhere near as good but there are still a few must listens that you won’t find anywhere else such as ‘Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees’.

Christmas with the Beach Boys

Perhaps The Beach Boys Christmas album is not the masterpiece it could have been, there is nothing to match Little Saint Nick or anything to rival Phil Spector’s work. Nonetheless this contains some real gems that ar given the BB treatment.

The Jackson Five Christmas Album

The obvious songs were given the bubblegum treatment by Michael and his brothers which produced mixed results. When it worked it worked well though as demonstrated by this fantastic version of Frosty The Snowman,

A Merry Christmas with Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters

Bing arguably sung the greatest christmas song (White Christmas) and his voice is complimented perfectly by that of the Andrew Sisters.  A traditional classic.

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole had one of the all time best voices, and with The Christmas Song he had one of the best songs. The album of the same name features Nat doing all the standards in his silky sweet manner.

Songs for Christmas by Sufjan Stevens

This collection of five eps was a great present as it came with some brilliant gifts. As well as the brilliantly packaged cds it came with a booklet of lyrics, chords, a comic, a poster a music video and all packaged in a wonderful box. The songs were just as festive and fun, a mixture of his own humourous material and classic hymns.

A Christmas Album By Bright Eyes

Unlike Sufjan Bright Eyes kept entirely to the standards but he gave them his own unique spin and a modern upgrade. His voice brilliantly complimented the traditional material.

A Snowflake Fell and It Felt Like A Kiss by Glasvegas

an attempt to recreate past glories of Phil Spector, this was a noble album that aimed to create something atmospheric and fresh. Miserable, yes, but stirring at the same time.

Christmas In the Heart By Bob Dylan

Critics have been strangely cynical about Dylan’s most recent album, forgetting perhaps that this is a born against christian that presents an oldies radio show. They may have been expecting something more radical or mote traditional Bob, but what they got was even better. I can’t remember anyone treating the classics so lovingly in recent times.

A Muppets Christmas Carol Soundtrack

The best adaptation of A Christmas Carol had a brilliant soundtrack. It may be the muppets and Sir Michael Cane but the songs are so catchy and christmasy that anyone could be singing them and it would still be brilliant.

Santa Claus The Movie Soundtrack

One of my favourite ever albums, this is hard to track down as it was never issued on cd but the movie is available everywhere and the songs are youtube. So atmospheric, so christmasy and so joyous, this is a christmas album for the entire family that provides a unique listening experience.

Now Thats What I Call XMAS!

If like me you will never get bored of the many songs that are constantly played at this time of year, then this collection is the best place to start. It collects all the obvious christmas number ones, and it is great for parties. Slade, Wham, Shakin Stevens, Wizzard, The Darkness – They’re all here.

The XX ‘XX’ – Review

15 Aug

The XX is a cool name for a band. Unfortunately their name makes them very difficult to find on-line. Therefore very little is known about the band, which makes them even more of a bolt out of the blue because their debut album is stunning.

Their sound is simple, dynamic, restrained and classic. It’s the post Kid A album we have been waiting for, the pop interpretation of dubstep (it’s even more brilliant than Burial’s ‘Untrue’). One thing known about the band is that this is self produced by their leader and multi instrumentalist Jamie Smith. Smith inhabits a dark dream scape, yet to his credit he holds back from the nightmarish vision that would be easier to shape with the sound. It is pretty at times and hopefull throughout. The bass may be low and heavy but it is melodic like the Cure whilst the drums share a lot in common with Timbalands beats, especially on the fabulous ‘Intro’ which sets up the album perfectly.

The singing is shared between two members, one female, one male. It’s a breathtaking mix here, especially when combined with the restrained beats and melting guitars. Tracks such as ‘VCR’ and ‘Basic Space’ in particular sound great with the breathy vocals and catchy lyrics. It’s an album from the streets of London and it is obvious throughout, I can imagine hearing it on the underground at night passing the buildings – it’s no coincidence that Smith is from the same suburb as Four Tet and Burial.

The album rarely diverts from it’s winning formula but this is not to complain about when it is done so well. Like Kid A and even Pet Sounds before it, XX is a concept album about the heart from the heart – through both lyrics and through feel. The conviction of this band is extraordinary and a breath of fresh air in this Myspace culture. It’s hard to knock, especially as you suspect it is exactly how they wanted it to be. What can be criticised? Well nothing really. It may not be everyones cup of tea, but it’s hard to fault an album as perfectly conceived as this. I suspect if this is your thing you will love it. The combination of pretty melodies, sophisticated harmonies, dubstep and hip hop is a delight through out, and an unexpected one. ‘Crystalised’ and ‘Islands’ sound like the best things you will hear this year and they probably will be. It sounds like a real contender for debut album of the year.

9/10

TOP 25 ALBUMS of 2008

10 Jun

I’ve been doing top 50 albums and tracks every year since 2004, and have them stored away under lock and key somewhere! I may put them up, I may not – depends on if I can be bothered, doesn’t seem that important. But I think 2008’s is important because it’s still pretty fresh, so with no further babble here is the top 25 (I decided to condense it down) albums and tracks of 2008 as decided by moi.

ALBUMS

1. Day and Age – The Killers

2008 was the year some of 2004’s greatest hopes – Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, Bloc Party, The Zutons and Razorlight – came back with third albums that simply wouldn’t do. None fell flat on their faces (OK maybe Razorlight) but none have lived up to the promise of thier debuts and this showed in both reviews and chart performance. Bands that once had a shot of being the next big stadium group were reduced back to playing small venues, a stark reminder of the way our society love to build a band up only to knock them down.

One band stood out however, by coming out with not only their strongest album yet but one that sold well, was well received, produced a hit single and showed they are perhaps the real stadium band of the future. The group were The Killers and the album was ‘Day and Age’.

Rarely do a band come back with a third album as self assured, confident and versatile as ‘Day and Age’. The Killers were unafraid to try their hand at anything, whether it be the 80’s pop gleam of loosing touch, the overblown ELO-esque grandeur of Spaceman, the calypso tinged ‘I Can’t Stay’ or the melancholy howl of ‘Goodnight, travel well’. Over Ten tracks The Killers produced a spectacular pop album of all killer no filler, it really sounded like it could have easily produced 8 or 9 hits. At the same time it works as a coherent album, they swerve from genre to genre whilst at the same time managing to keep it  recognisably The Killers. It reminds me of Thriller, in the way it borrows from differnt styles and twists them into the shape it wants – and still comes out intact, as a solid 10 track piece of art.

‘Day and Age’ is top of my list because it sounds like a classic album, an album that 2009 will be remembered for, the album The Killers (one of the decade’s most consistent bands) will be remembered for. It’s also the one I keep coming back to.

2. Do You Like Rock Music – British Sea Power

British Sea Power’s third album is as wonderful as could have been hoped. Their debut has revealed itself over time to be perhaps the defining British, Indie debut of the decade and ‘Do you Like Rock Music’ is a magnificent leap forward. Arcade Fire and Godspeed you Black Emperor loom over the album, BSP wear their influences on their sleeve, but this is at the same time an eccentric British record in the grand tradition of Echo and The Bunnymen, Joy Division and David Bowie. Non traditional influences are less easy to spot but clearly there, from the verse of John Betjeman to the drunken hymns of The Wurzels. ‘Do you like Rock Music’ is a fantastic British record, and everyone should own a copy.

3. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

The perfect summer band, the perfect summer record. I was impressed when I heard the early Vampire Weekend demos and wasn’t let down when the debut album proper landed in early 2008. I seriously haven’t stopped listening to it since, it’s as fresh as the morning I brought it. Spiky and twisted pop music with African influences to set them apart from the crowd. Ultimately the strength is in the songs – ‘Oxford Comma’, ‘A-Punk’ and ‘I Stand Corrected’ for starters.

4. Oracular Spectacular – Mgmt

There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said about this great debut album from one of the more eccentric acts of 2008. Wild, eclectic and deranged are three ways of describing ‘Oracular Spectacular’ and whether you hear it on the dancefloor, on the radio or stereo system this album will find a way into your hearts.

5. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

An album of staggering beauty and simplicity, this is a loud hurrah for melody and harmony. The vocals are touching, the playing is rustic and steeped in Americana, folk and pop history. You can smell deep America just from listening too ‘Oliver James’. It’s not haunting as Bon Iver’s record is, but is wonderful in an equally earthy and essential way. Top Marks for a debut of extraordinary promise.

6. The Age Of The Understatement – The Last Shadow Puppets
7. Glasvegas – Glasvegas
8. 21 – Mystery Jets
9. Only By The Night – Kings Of Leon
10. For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
11. Man In The Mirror – Rhymefest
12. All Hour Cymbals – Yeasayer
13. 808’s and Heartbreaks – Kanye West
14. Volume One – She and Him
15. Fantasy Black Channel – Late of the Pier
16. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
17. Death magnetic – Metallica
18. Perfect Symmetry – Keane
19. That Lucky Old Sun – Brian Wilson
20. Falling off Lavender Bridge – Lightspeed Champion
21. Intimacy – Bloc Party
22. Saturdays = Youth – M83
23. Reality Check – The Teenagers
24. Angles – Dan Le Sac Vs Scrobius Pip
25. Primary Transmission – Broadcaster

TRACKS

1. Time To Pretend – Mgmt
2. Two Doors Down – Mystery Jets
3. A-Punk – Vampire Weekend
4. Paper Planes – M.I.A
5. Kids – MGMT
6. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
7. Crimewave – Crystal Castles
8. Geraldine – Glasvegas
9. Death – White lies
10. Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon
11. Standing Next To Me – Last Shadow Puppets
12. The Bears are coming – Late of the Pier
13. No Lucifer – British Sea Power
14. Its My Own Cheating heart that makes me cry – Glasvegas
15. In This City – Iglu and Hartly
16. Electric Feel – MGMT
17. Ulysees – Franz Ferdinand
18. Ready For the Floor – Hot Chip
19. Spiralling – Keane
20. No Sex For Ben – The Rapture
21. DNVO – Justice
22. Age Of The Understatement – The Last Shadow Puppets
23. How to Dance – Black kids
24. Human – The Killers
25. Always where I need to Be – The Kooks