The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'lists'

2013/12/31

As 2013 draws to a close, it's once again time to look back on the records of the year, and so here is this year's list (ordered by artist name):

And this year's honourable mentions go to: Beachwood Sparks - Desert Skies (summery Californian retro guitar-pop; formulaic as all hell, but done decently; a stylish haze of displaced nostalgia), CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe (2013's hipster-friendly electro smash; like a more euphoric, less witchy Purity Ring), Crocodiles - Crimes of Passion (Crocodiles' most poppy record so far, produced by Sune Wagner of Danish rockabilly pop combo the Raveonettes), Day Ravies - Tussles (a promising début from a new Australian band in a lo-fi/shoegaze/skronk vein; this will take more listening), Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus (a worthy follow-up to Tarot Sport and their Olympic opening ceremony appearance, albeit in a darker vein), Mazzy Star, Seasons Of Your Day (another in 2013's crop of comeback records, this time from the pastoral dreampop combo), Momus, with two releases; the stripped-down almost bluesy Bambi and MOMUSMCCLYMONT, the funky self-titled début of his collaborative project with David McClymont, the now Melbourne-based bassist of Scottish indie legends Orange Juice, My Bloody Valentine - m b v (a worthy and intriguing follow-up to Loveless; now let's see what they do next), Neon Neon - Praxis Makes Perfect (a concept album about an Italian Communist book publisher during the upheavals of the Years of Lead, executed in electropop/yacht-rock style), OMD, English Electric, and Pet Shop Boys, Electric (two similarly titled albums from two veteran synthpop acts bring two different approaches; OMD bring the gravitas of High Modernist heritage to the genre, as evident in tracks like Metroland, while the Boys take it to the dancefloor with some hard grooves and their usual wry lyrics), The Paradise Motel, Oh Boy (the Motel's concept album about Australian masculinity sees them change into a band almost unrecognisable from the haunting Tasmanian Gothic of their early EPs; this record starts with a ballsy, bluesy growl and goes on from there), Pikelet, Calluses (loop-pedal wizard Evelyn's latest goes into loose-limbed mutant-disco territory than Pikelet's previous works, with funky basslines and coruscating synth arpeggios melding with the exotic tonalities one has grown to expect), Still Corners, Strange Pleasures (Still Corners' second album is a brighter affair, with more of a spacious 80s dream-haze thing going on), Yo La Tengo, Fade (YLT's latest is a warm, layered and subtly idiosyncratic affair, building on their legacy, and doesn't disappoint), various artists, I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America, 1950-1990 (forget the airbrushed dolphins-and-rainbows kitsch and cynically made cash-in attempts for sale in crystal shops, this is a compilation of original compositions by various inspired individuals and eccentric experimentalists, complete with biographical liner notes, and, musically, is a lot more interesting and nuanced).

Nothing immediately jumps out as a record of the year, though Samarís and Underground Lovers are strong contenders; had Black Hearted Brother come out earlier, it could well have given them a run for their money.

My gigs of the year would be:

  1. Loney Dear, Majornas Missionsyrka, Gothenburg, 5 October; Loney Dear performing a number of songs, including some classics and a few new ones, accompanied by a chamber orchestra, in a rather lågom church next to a Gothenburg tower block. The orchestral arrangements were exquisite, and the whole experience was worth the flight to Sweden.
  2. Kraftwerk, Harpa, Reykjavík, 4 November; not having managed to see them in London or New York, I jumped at the opportunity when they announced a show in Reykjavík, making my second trip to Iceland of they year. The show was spectacular; more about it here.
  3. Haiku Salut, St. John's, Bethnal Green, 12 October; Haiku Salut playing in a church, accompanied by several dozen electronically controlled lamps that lit up in time with the music. A great show and a somewhat twee spectacle.

For your listening pleasure, there's a streamable mix taken from the records of the year here.

2013 cds lists music 1

2012/12/31

And now, as usual, here is my annual list of records of the year:

With honourable mentions to: Jherek Bischoff - Composed (a nice set of instrumentals from the other guy from Parenthetical Girls), Carter Tutti Void - Transverse (two former members of Throbbing Gristle and up-and-coming electronic ecstasist Nik Void reinvent the idea of “trance music” along similar lines to New Order's Video 5-8-6), Dead Can Dance - Anastasis (DCD pick up where they left off, with just a little more electronics), DIIV - Oshin (driving, motorik guitar/bass/drums workouts, with reverbed vocals floating above; just barely missed the top 10), Dntel - Aimlessness (Jimmy's latest effort, which sounds more like Life Is Full Of Surprises than Dumb Luck to me), Greeen Linez - Things That Fade (1980s Japanese City Pop-flavoured hauntology from two English blokes based in Cambridge and Osaka), Heligoland - Bethmale EP (five subtle, gently shifting soundscapes from the Paris-based, Robin Guthrie-connected Melburnian shoegazers), Memoryhouse - The Slideshow Effect (Memoryhouse return with a fuller lineup and an album more in a rock/pop idiom than their EPs), Milk Teddy - Zingers (languid yet slightly dishevelled and somewhat leftfield guitar-based rock by a new Melbourne band), Momus - Bibliotek (One of Mr. Currie's two contributions this year, this one without a collaborator, in the cut-and-pasted electronic chanson style he now favours), Peaking Lights - Lucifer (interestingly dubby arrangements of lo-fi electronics, home-organ beats, tape delays and sparse vocals), Saint Etienne, Words And Music By Saint Etienne (the thinking indiekid's Kylie contemplate the meaning of pop music and the passing of time), Sunbutler - Sun Butler (Momus and Joe Howe's second collaboration following Joemus), Swans - The Seer (a record of brutal, transcendent ecstasy which makes Grinderman sound like Michael Bublé by comparison), The 2 Bears - Be Strong (in two words: “Dad House”; in more words: late-thirtysomething blokes who know more about dance music and cratediggers' classics than most flex their production muscles and have fun doing it), Ultraísta - Ultraísta (the Radiohead producer's own effort, which sounds like late Radiohead minus all guitars and Thom Yorke's new-world-order weltschmerz but instead substituting motorik rhythms, layers of warmly detuned analogue synths, fuzzy drones and hypnotic female vocals), WeShowUpOnRadar - Sadness Defeated (somewhat more stripped back than the Nottingham project's previous EP).

Had I to choose an album of the year, it would be either Tigercats' Isle Of Dogs or The Wake's A Light Far Out; two very different records it would be very hard to choose between.

The rerelease of the year would have to be Clag - Pasted Youth, which is more of a retrospective compilation of the Australian twee-punk band's releases and live gigs, long unavailable except on badly digitised MP3s, now remastered and accompanied with liner notes. Were there to be a track of 2012, it would be Peaking Lights' Lo Hi.

For your listening pleasure, there is a mix here.

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2011/12/31

And now, here is my list of notable records of 2011:

With honourable mentions going to: Evan Abeele, Lineage EP (an understated instrumental album from one half of Memoryhouse; subtly lovely), Amor De Dias, Street of the Love of Days (Lupe from Pipas and Alasdair from The Clientele's new project; languid bossa-tinged pastoral pop), Apparat Organ Quartet, Pólyfónía (the Icelandic kraut-pop combo's first record in about six years sees them get less heavy and more chiptuneish), Bachelorette, Bachelorette (the New Zealand electronica artist's final album under that name is a more organic affair than the previous ones), Brave Irene, Brave Irene (Rose Melberg (of The Softies/Tiger Trap)'s latest project goes back to an upbeat garage-pop style; should fit well alongside All-Girl Summer Fun Band), Girls' Names, Girls' Names and Minks, Over The Hedge (two bands doing a slightly gothy, in a John Hughes way, 1980s-influenced guitar pop), Greeen Linez, Greeen Linez (a revival of 1980s boogie groove as instrumental electronica; look for it in a mixtape or DJ set near you), Help Stamp Out Loneliness, Help Stamp Out Loneliness (Dee from the Language Of Flowers' new band, in a new-wave-tinged pop direction), Jens Lekman, An Argument With Myself EP (Jens' first recorded work in some years reveals a more Afrobeat direction; the title song also recounts a drunken walk across the north of Melbourne, and the somewhat maudlin reflections on said walk), Loney, Dear, Hall Music (slightly less bleak and more organic than the predecessor; the closing track, What Have I Become? is particularly lovely), M83, Hurry Up We're Dreaming (the latest instalment in their journey sees them put aside the John Hughesisms of their last album and sound more like Toto or The Police, all yelped vocals and gated drums, only with more synths), Memoryhouse, The Years (technically disqualified as it's a rerelease of last year's EP, with a few new tracks, tough it bodes well for their upcoming album), Ringo Deathstarr, Colour Trip and Spotlight Kid, Disaster Tourist (two great contemporary takes on classic shoegaze; the first from Texas, the second from Wales), Xander Harris, Contamination (a Bandcamp-released EP of synthesised instrumentals, which borrows from electro-industrial, ambient and kosmische musik and does so well), Zola Jesus, Conatus (with her pop melodies, electro-industrial synthpop backings and dramatic voice, Zola shows us the middle ground between Lene Lovich and U2).

Were I to anoint one title as my record of the year, the accolade would probably go to My Sad Captains.

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2010/12/31

And as another year comes to an end, here is the obligatory list of records of 2010. Note that this time, the word "record" has been interpreted somewhat more liberally; as well as the usual CDs and occasional 7", some of the entries here are digital-only releases, and some were (and are) free to download. (The Null Device is not a rockist institution; we do not privilege traditional media or models of recorded music distribution for their own sake.) In any case, all of them were worthy of notice in 2010. And the records are, in alphabetical order:

With honourable mentions going to: Beat Connection, Surf Noir EP (a nice piece of Balearic pop, not too far from Air France), The Bedroom Philosopher, Songs From The 86 Tram (mainly for Northcote (So Hungover), the last word on Melbourne hipsterdom), Best Coast, Crazy For You (yes, she only does one thing, but she does it well; it's more solid than the kooky backstory suggests), Dean & Britta, 13 Most Beautiful: Songs For Andy Warhol's Screen Tests (the Velvet Underground influence is unsurprising, the use of Autotune, not so much), The Depreciation Guild, Spirit Youth (their second album; anthemic shoegaze-meets-chiptune; the version of Dream About Me manages to improve on the already superb single version), DOM, Sun-Bronzed Greek Gods (another EP that surfs the chillwave with its layers of knowingly anachronistic 80s synths, ringing guitars and oddly androgynous vocals, this time assembled into party-rocking anthems for the American Apparel set), Faux Pas, Noiseworks (it may share its name with an Australian mainstream band of the 1980s, but it's not a piece of ironic pastiche, but rather an album of solid electronica; somewhere off the ambient end of house, and leaning towards dubstep in places), Peter Peter Hughes, Fangio (a concept album about a racing driver's second career as an international assassin; it sounds like New Order meets Ennio Morricone and works better than one might expect), Momus, Hypnoprism (Momus' latest album is a combination of glitchy cut'n'paste, knowingly old-fashioned vocals, surreal imagery and apposite observation; the title track and the superb The Charm Song are highlights), The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Say No To Love 7" (between their first album and the singles from their upcoming second album, this is the Pains at their Field Mice-esque best; the Pains are the band people think The Drums are), The School, Loveless Unbeliever (the first full-length album from the Cardiff indiepop band; classic 1960s girl-group sound put together with Spectoresque precision; The School are the band people think The Pipettes are), Still Corners, Don't Fall In Love 7" (the A side is 60s-style pop with a Lynchian noir aesthetic, and the B-side, Wish, is a slice of sublimely æthereal dreampop not that far from Memoryhouse; judging by the band's live shows, their new album, coming out some time in 2011, is one to anticipate), Still Flyin', A Party In Motion (mostly for the two versions of Victory Walker, which may well be the last word on hipster-oriented yacht rock), Twin Sister, Color Your Life/Vampires With Dreaming Kids EPs (this intersection between chillwave and indie-pop is a grower; the euphoric All Around And Away We Go and the smooth-sailin' I Want A House are particularly notable). Not to mention this year's notable rereleases: Blueboy's three albums, rereleased with EP tracks and extensive liner notes on él Records (I imagine it's what Keith Girdler would have wanted), and The Bodines' much-underrated C86-era album Played, rereleased by Cherry Red.

If I had to choose a record of the year, it'd probably be Betty And The Werewolves.

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2009/12/30

Another year is drawing to an end, and once again, it's time to look back on the past year in music. So here's my list of the top records of 2009, in alphabetical order.

With honourable mentions going to: Aleks & The Ramps, Midnight Believer (it's good to hear a new album from them, though a bit more understated than Pisces vs. Aquarius), Atlas Sound, Logos (nice summery ambient pop; the guest appearances by Panda Bear and Lætitia Sadier are particularly good), The Brunettes, Paper Dolls (the New Zealanders move further from their doo-wop retro-pop roots, in style if not in themes; they're still the band who sing about boys and girls holding hands and feeding ducks, but it sounds like they've been listening to a lot of Architecture In Helsinki), Decoder Ring, They Blind The Stars, And The Wild Team (the project, always hovering in the spaces between electronica and post-rock, moves further into post-rock territory), The Depreciation Guild, Dream About Me (only a 7", and sold out except in MP3 form, but a damn fine song for the shoegazers out there, with the same sort of dreamy romanticism as Slowdive's "Alison"), The Horrors, Primary Colours (though only Sea Within A Sea really grabbed me), Loney, Dear, Dear John (a darker record from Emil; where I could hear unrequited longing in the predecessors, in this one, time has run on, the flame has sputtered out and the cold shadow of death looms all too near; or at least that's what it says to me), Misty Roses, Villainess (more genre-movie-quoting loungecore from the transatlantic duo), Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (immaculately assembled pop from Paris), various artists, Dark Was The Night (a collaboration between 4AD and the AIDS charity Red Hot, consisting of indie bands doing folk standards and their own pieces; there's a thread of the longing for human intimacy running through the record, and perhaps an echo of This Mortal Coil in places). Not to mention three rereleases from significant artists: Another Sunny Day's London Weekend (on Cherry Red, with bonus tracks, including an entirely unexpected OMD cover), Spearmint's extended edition of A Week Away (weighing in at almost twice the original's length, thanks to the generous helping of bonus tracks) and, of course, Kraftwerk's magisterial box set, The Catalogue.

Were there a gong for the record of the year, it'd have to go to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

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2008/12/31

And here are my gig highlights of 2008:

2008 lists music 1

And now, here come the lists of things of the year. Starting with the top 10 records of 2008 (in alphabetical order of artist's name, as usual):

With honourable mentions going to Pelle Carlberg - The Lilac Time (with some great songs, such as the transparently B&S-esque 1983 and a song about how crap Ryanair is, how can you go wrong?), I'm From Barcelona - Who Killed Harry Houdini (their second album, which is not quite as exuberant as their debut, though still good for a fix), Los Campesinos - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (the limited-edition second album from the Welsh tweexcore combo; good, but next to The Deirdres, sounds a bit too shambolic in places), The Motifs - Cross Paths (most of the tracks on this came out last year, which is why it's not in the top 10; otherwise, it's excellent), Slow Down Tallahassee - The Beautiful Light (girl-group indiepop with attitude from Sheffield). I'd probably have added Fleet Foxes to one of these two lists, had I ordered their CD earlier. As for things which didn't make it: well, the new Hot Chip album didn't grab me as much as the previous one did, and 2008 was the year Of Montreal disappeared into a vortex of self-parody. Their live shows should still be good, though.

If I were to choose a record of the year, 2008's would be Moscow Olympics' Cut The World.

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2008/2/8

Heritage-rock bible Mojo Magazine has published its list of the 50 greatest UK indie records of all time. For the most part, it's quite solid, being a melange of Glasgow-school new-optimists, C86-era janglepop and the odd bit of arty post-punk. The only concessions to recent commercial/populist Carling-indie are The Libertines and The Arctic Monkeys, inexplicably placed at #26 and #7 respectively. The Sarah Records roster is represented by one track, The Sea Urchins' Pristine Christine. (I would have expected that a label that defined a big chunk of what British indiepop was for a stretch of the late 80s and early 90s would have had more; perhaps Heavenly's Hearts and Crosses or The Field Mice's Emma's House?)

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2005/12/31

And here are my records of 2005, in no particular order:

* these are Australian releases with no overseas releases; you can buy them from here or here.

Honourable mentions go to Architecture In Helsinki, In Case We Die, Broken Social Scene's self-titled album (which I received only in the last days of the year, too late to fully get into, though I get the feeling it may be a grower), LCD Soundsystem's self-titled album, The Magic Numbers' self-titled debut (which has some strong guitar-pop tracks, though is a bit bland in places, and may not be a proper CD in all territories), Momus, Otto Spooky, Francis Plagne, Idle Bones (which has a few good songs and a lot of meandering ambient field recordings; were the ratio reversed, it'd be quite impressive), and Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, #3.

It was also a good year for rereleases, with the entire Field Mice back-catalogue seeing the light of day again, in the form of new releases of Snowball, Skywriting and For Keeps, all extended with non-album tracks, and all three Slowdive albums (Just For A Day, Souvlaki and the exquisite Pygmalion) being rereleased—the first two with bonus discs full of EP and live tracks—through Sanctuary; meanwhile, neo-shoegazer Ulrich Schnauss's first album, Far Away Trains Passing By, is seeing the light of day again (good to see that Domino are using their NMECarlingnuwaveartrock windfall for good).

My gigs of 2005:

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100 things we didn't know this time last year:

8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it's possibly because religious people have less fear of death.
59. Oliver Twist is very popular in China, where its title is translated as Foggy City Orphan.
74. It takes a gallon of oil to make three fake fur coats.
81. George Bernard Shaw named his shed after the UK capital so that when visitors called they could be told he was away in London.
99. The Japanese word "chokuegambo" describes the wish that there were more designer-brand shops on a given street.
100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".

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2005/7/1

As usual, here is my purely subjective roundup of albums/EPs of the past six months. Some are new, some are older, but all are things I obtained in the past six months and (in the case of things a few years old), by bands I only recently discovered. This list is, of course, completely subjective; you may disagree, but to paraphrase a Lush lyric, maybe you're right but this is my blog.

Honourable mentions: Momus, Otto Spooky (a bit of a mixed bag, though has a few exceptional tracks on it); Belle and Sebastian, Push Barman To Open Old Wounds (it's a retrospective compilation and not a new work in its own right, though a good place to go for their many classic single tracks); Doves, Lost Cities (more atmospheric than most of the recent British pop bands, almost going into shoegazing territory in places; whether it's worth importing if your EMI subsidiary corrupts its CDs is another matter, though)

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2004/12/31

Recordings of 2004

And a few other mentions, honourable and otherwise. The new Stereolab album, Margerine Eclipse was good, though no track leapt out at me in quite the way that various tracks from previous releases have done. The long-awaited New Buffalo album was, to be honest, a bit disappointing; in building her home studio, Sally seems to have mislaid her analogue drum machine, and gone away from the layered glitchiness which made About Last Night (and early live versions of many of the songs) such a delight. Meanwhile, Björk's Medulla didn't grab me; making tracks entirely out of voice samples is an interesting experiment, though the result I'm not sure about. And then there were all the calculatedly commercial post-Interpol/Franz Ferdinand bands like The Killers.

There are a few recordings released in 2004 which I didn't get to check out properly before the end of the year, such as Minimum Chips' Sound Asleep, the Arcade Fire's Funeral and the new Styrofoam. Or, indeed, the new Interpol album. My excuse is that a lot of the money which would have gone on CDs was instead squandered on food and rent in one of the world's most expensive cities; I'll probably catch up on them in the first half of 2005.

Some other bands I discovered this year: GirlsAreShort (a Canadian electropop act), Remington Super 60/Nice System (a Norwegian lounge-pop/bossa-pop outfit), a wealth of British indie from the late 1980s and 1990s, including parts of the Sarah Records back-catalogue I hadn't heard (of) before (key bands being The Wake, The Bodines, and various bands from the Sound of Leamington Spa compilation series) and Azure Ray (an all-female indie duo from Nebraska). Not to mention an appreciation of Electric Six's, Fire (they're like the Scissor Sisters with balls or something; tacky but fun).

Top gigs of 2004 (in alphabetical order):

Not to mention multiple gigs by various excellent Melbourne bands, including The Rumours, Season and City City City, not to mention the aforementioned BAM BAM and Talkshow Boy.

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2004/8/21

And now, The Null Device's list of up-and-coming Melbourne bands and musical artists you may not have heard of but should check out:

As this is a list of new bands people may not have heard of, I've omitted from this list many bands worth checking out which people probably know about.

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2003/12/31

The Null Device's top 8 records of 2003:

(A number of albums were disqualified for not being available to the public in non-defective CD format; being available on import from the United States or similar was sufficient. These include albums by David Bridie, The Thrills and Client.)

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2003/8/26

Things I have been listening to over the past few days:

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2003/5/12

After the BBC's 100 Greatest Britons series (in which Winston Churchill barely pipped Princess Diana for #1, and genuinely deserving candidates like Charles Darwin were left in the dust), bolshy TV broadcaster Channel 4 have compiled a list of the 100 Worst Britons. Tony Blair is #1 (though if these were voted on by the Guardian-reader types who watch C4, it's hartly surprising), followed by Jordan (she's some kind of model or something, right?) and Margaret Thatcher. Other notable figures: The Queen is #10 (one behind Geri Halliwell), Liam Gallagher is at #11 (though you'd think his ex-wife Patsy Kensit would get a mention on the strength of her complete inability to act), Prince Charles at #24 (Diana is apparently still too much of a national saint to merit the list), Harry Potter is at #35, Tracy Eminem at #41, Pete Waterman at #45, and Loony Left Red Ken at #50. (via VM)

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2003/1/24

Also via The Fix, an online poll for the top 10 albums of all time. It appears to be mostly voted for by angsty teenagers, judging by the selection of alternative there is there, and the fact that The Cure are seriously overrepresented in the top 100. Anyway, of my votes, only 1 got in the top 100 (The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead), or indeed the top 1000 (though Lush's Split and New Order's Power, Corruption and Lies are just under the top 1000. (My #1 choice, The Field Mice's Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way? is in the 1,690th place.)

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2002/12/31

4 1/2 hours remaining: Favourite CDs of 2002:

Honourable mentions: Sigur Rós, (), Letraset, Snowy Room, Architecture in Helsinki, Like a Call (single) (especially Jeremy Dower's remix), Qua, Forgetabout (the title track is great, though much of the rest is a bit too generically laptop for my tastes), Season, 2,551,446 seconds, Pipas, A Cat Escaped, The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

CDs I meant to get but didn't manage in time for this list: Happy Supply, Crucial Cuts, GY!BE, Yanqui U.X.O., Ivy, Guestroom, some local spoken-word/electronica thing titled Every Third Breath.

Older CDs I listened to a lot in 2002:

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2002/12/14

The time is nigh upon us for the obligatory "top 10 albums of the year" lists (Graham already has his, for example). I'm not going to post my best CDs of 2002 just yet (for one, I'm still not through with all of this year's releases, and am still awaiting a particular consignment from Twee Kitten); however, I am going to do something related, that is, look at the lists for 2001 I wrote up a year ago, here and here, and see how they hold up a year later; which of my picks of the year have stood the test of time, which have fallen by the wayside, and which discs have emerged subsequently as favourites of that particular year. So please allow me this exercise in self-indulgent omphaloskepsis.

Firstly, the RAN list:

(Of the honourable mentions, I've listened to the Angels of the Universe soundtrack and the Sealifepark album since. The Zero 7 album sort of got shelved, as I really only liked one track of it. Jan Jelinek's Loop Finding Jazz Records suffered a similar fate, having failed to hold my interest with its ultimately less than satisfying combination of deep-house-like rhythms and chords and Max/MSP laptop glitchery; and TISM's De Rigeurmortis lasted about one and a half listens. Oh, and as for the Field Mice best-of, that's still one of my favourites and is usually not far from the CD player.)

And now for the unsung favourites; the CDs that didn't make the list, but ended up redeeming themselves after further listening:

So there it is. Watch this space for the best of 2002.

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2002/12/13

And now, a few quick mini-reviews of CDs I've listened to recently:

I also picked up Sigur Rós' (); I haven't listened to it in its entirety yet, but it certainly doesn't seem like they're going for the mass audience, what with the near-complete lack of text in the packaging; not to mention with cheerful tracks like the 13-minute Death Song. So far, it sounds a bit more lush than Agætis Byrjun.

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2002/11/24

A brief review of a few of the CDs I picked up in the UK (well, the ones I've had a chance to at least partially digest), in alphabetical order by artist:

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2002/8/22

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, is #12 on a list of 100 greatest Britons ever, created by the BBC by polling over 30,000 people. Though, for some reason, Julie Andrews is #2 (behind only Alfred the Great) and David Beckham is at #9 (ahead of such luminaries as Chaucer, Dickens and Shakespeare). Ah, I get it.. it's in alphabetical order. Which makes the claim of Berners-Lee being in 12th place sound a bit daft.

Other odd entries include Aleister Crowley (didn't know he had that much of a following), Paul "Bono" Hewson (hang on, isn't he Irish?), and the "Unknown Soldier". And I'm not sure if people like Robbie Williams (wasn't he a former boy-band dancer or something?) belong on a list of "greatest Britons of all time". Ah well, at least they didn't accept Ayn Rand, L. Ron Hubbard or Jesus Christ as "Britons".

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2002/7/13

I hadn't been going out much, or blogging much for that matter, lately due to work having been rather insane. However, I have been listening to CDs, so here's a list of what I've been listening to lately:

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2001/12/31

31/12, ~-9 hours: It will soon be 2002; 2001 will be over; like the years before it, no longer the present, but consigned to the fading, receding past. So here is the obligatory :

High points: For me, getting my remix on the FourPlay Digital Manipulations CD, and played on Radio National, was one notable high point. Getting a PowerBook with MacOS X at work was also pretty doovy. Other than that, can't really say much.

Low points: Too many. There were the obvious ones; the terrorist attacks, with the subsequent reversion of the corporate-consumerist world to an authoritarian siege mentality, the reelection of the Liberals (see above), and Microsoft getting all but off the hook thanks to having bought a friendly administration. Other than all that, a few others stand out: the sudden and premature death of Charlotte Coleman (who? never mind) came as quite a blow (I was depressed for a week or so), and the news that the Punters Club is closing early next year (and with it, Brunswick St. moves closer to being a mere shopping centre for suburbanites seeking purchased "bohemian" experiences and/or a hangout for moneyed, soulless yuppie pinks like St Kilda or Beacon Cove or somesuch) has also put a pall on things. And the usual personal things.

Major events: changing jobs (at the start of the year), moving out of a shared house to a 1br flat (again), various personal entanglements, and that kitten I got for Xmas (which, incidentally, I'm thinking of naming Fantod, because of its boisterous temperament).

Minor events: working, seeing bands/movies/shows, learning the guitar (I'm still not brilliant at it though), making a demo CD-R (as Gurnin Spacecase) and sending it out to various places, writing various spoken-word pieces and reading them out, not joining in NaNoWriMo (maybe next year, or maybe not), and the usual things.

Best films seen in 2001: Angels of the Universe, He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, Late Night Shopping, Amélie, Run Lola Run (on DVD). I haven't yet seen Lord of the Rings 1, though from what I've heard, it'd probably be on this list had I done so.

Best live shows seen: a lot of shows were good, though the ones that stand out are: Harmon Leon and Otis Lee Crenshaw's respective shows at the Comedy Festival, Henry Rollins' evening of rant, Swirl at the Espy, Prop, at any of their Melbourne gigs (though if pressed to name one, I'd probably name the one at Pony), the production of Anorak of Fire at the Fringe Festival, FourPlay at Revolver and Down Town Brown at the Evelyn (the show with the giant robot)

Top musical finds:

Best books read:

With honourable mentions going to Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair, Neil Gaiman, American Gods, Nick Hornby, How To Be Good, K.W. Jeter, Noir, Craig Mathieson, The Sell-In, Chuck Palahniuk, Choke, Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Nury Vittachi, The Feng Shui Detective, Jeanette Winterson, Art & Lies.

2001 lists 0

2000/12/31

31/12; 7 hours remaining (cont.):
Favourite CDs of 2000:

Cocteau Twins - Stars and Topsoil
A collection of some of the Cocteau Twins' best material from 1982 to 1990. Has some great songs, like Aikea-Guinea and Heaven or Las Vegas
Radiohead - Kid A
Yes, it was over-hyped; the press wouldn't shut up about it and your local Sanity/HMV had stacks of it. And yes, others said it was a load of wank. But once you get past that, you have an interesting album. Some have compared it to The Cure's Pornography, perhaps fairly, only with more of a Warp influence and some odd time signatures. Favourite track: probably How To Disappear Completely.
Minimum Chips - Freckles
An EP from a local act, in a sort of Stereolabish vein; hope they do a full album soon.
Baxendale - You Will Have Your Revenge
Electronic pop (though not synthpop) with tongue firmly in cheek. Some of the songs get boring after a while, but I Love the Sound of Dance Music is a classic.
Stone Roses - The Remixes
Some great reworkings of the Stone Roses, ranging from Rabbit in the Moon's acid-rave remix of I Wanna Be Adored (which sounds as if they could have done most of it with ReBirth) to Kinobe's mellow reworking of Elizabeth My Dear.
FourPlay String Quartet, The Joy Of
Their second album, with some great tracks, including a dub/klezmer two-part and a vicious-sounding PWEI remake. Their remix CD, slated for early 2001, will be something to look out for.
Piano Magic, Artists' Rifles
Arty and understated and hard to describe, though something I've been listening to a lot.

With honourable mentions going to Broadcast, Extended Play Two, Björk, SelmaSongs, Beulah, When Your Heartstrings Break, Deepchild, Hymns from Babylon, LTJ Bukem, Journey Inwards, Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out and Black Box Recorder's various EPs (mostly for the B-sides), (Note: this is counting only CDs I acquired this year.)

2000 baxendale broadcast cocteau twins fourplay string quartet lists minimum chips piano magic radiohead stone roses 0

2000/8/11

NME have published a list of the 10 most depressing albums of all time. Not surprisingly, both Joy Division albums are on this list; oddly enough, the Smiths don't feature even once.

depression joy division lists nme 0

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