Friday, February 27, 2009

Best Of: 100 Favourite All-Time Records

Two years ago I posted a first version of this list, but since then it has naturally evolved and changed. Tomorrow it will be 3 years since I first started this blog so, as to commemorate, it now seems a good time to re-upload this list in an updated version. I'm sure (and thankful) that there's still so much out there or to, as always, stay tuned and stick around.

Here is the updated list (in chronological order):

BEACH BOYS - Pet Sounds (1966)
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
DR JOHN - Gris Gris (1968)
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & HIS MAGIC BAND - Trout Mask Replica (1969)
MARVIN GAYE - What's Going On (1971)
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE - There's A Riot Goin'On (1971)
SERGE GAINSBOURG - Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971)
NEU! - Neu! (1972)
MILES DAVIS - On The Corner (1972)
FUNKADELIC - America Eats Its Young (1972)
CAN - Future Days (1973)
ROXY MUSIC - For Your Pleasure (1973)
DAVID BOWIE - Aladdin Sane (1973)
CURTIS MAYFIELD - There's No Place Like America Today (1975)
BRIAN ENO - Another Green World (1975)
DAVID BOWIE - Station To Station (1976)
SUICIDE - Suicide (1977)
KRAFTWERK - Trans-Europe Express (1977)
TELEVISION - Marquee Moon (1977)
DAVID BOWIE - Low (1977)
WIRE - Chairs Missing (1978)
GANG OF FOUR - Entertainment! (1979)
P.I.L. - Metal Box (1979)
DAVID BOWIE - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980)
YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS - Colossal Youth (1980)
TALKING HEADS - Remain In Light (1980)
JOY DIVISION - Closer (1980)
PRINCE - Dirty Mind (1980)
GRACE JONES - Nightclubbing (1981)
KRAFTWERK - Computer World (1981)
TOM TOM CLUB - Tom Tom Club (1981)
PRINCE - Controversy (1981)
WAS (NOT WAS) - WAS (NOT WAS) (1981)
A CERTAIN RATIO - Sextet (1982)
MICHAEL JACKSON - Thriller (1982)
PRINCE - 1999 (1982)
NEW ORDER - Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
ARVO PÄRT - Tabula Rasa (1984)
MADONNA - Like A Virgin (1984)
SONIC YOUTH - Evol (1986)
JANET JACKSON - Control (1986)
PRINCE - Sign'O'The Times (1987)
BIG BLACK - Songs About Fucking (1987)
SONIC YOUTH - Daydream Nation (1988)
PUBLIC ENEMY - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
PET SHOP BOYS - Introspective (1988)
NEW ORDER - Technique (1989)
DE LA SOUL - 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)
BEASTIE BOYS - Paul's Boutique (1989)
THE KLF - Chill Out (1990)
PET SHOP BOYS - Behaviour (1990)
PUBLIC ENEMY - Fear Of A Black Planet (1990)
THE KLF - The White Room (1991)
MY BLOODY VALENTINE - Loveless (1991)
MADONNA - Erotica (1992)
UNDERWORLD - Dubnobasswithmyheadman (1993)
NIRVANA - In Utero (1993)
SANDALS - Rite To Silence (1994)
PAVEMENT - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain (1994)
JON HASSELL AND BLUESCREEN - Dressing For Pleasure (1994)
BLUR - Parklife (1994)
TRICKY - Maxinquaye (1995)
GOLDIE - Timeless (1995)
PULP - Different Class (1995)
BJÖRK - Post (1995)
BECK - Odelay (1996)
MOTORBASS - Pansoul (1996)
BJÖRK - Homogenic (1997)
KELIS - Kaleidoscope (1999)
BECK - Midnight Vultures (1999)
D'ANGELO - Voodoo (2000)
SIGUR RÓS - Ágætis byrjun (2000)
MIRWAIS - Production (2000)
BJÖRK - Vespertine (2001)
THE STROKES - Is This It? (2001)
DAFT PUNK - Discovery (2001)
JAY-Z - The Blueprint (2001)
THE NOTWIST - Neon Golden (2002)
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE - Justified (2002)
OUTKAST - Speakerboxxx / The Love Below (2003)
BJÖRK - Medúlla (2004)
THE TOUGH ALLIANCE - The New School (2005)
KHONNOR - Handwriting (2005)
BLOC PARTY - Silent Alarm (2005)
GORILLAZ - Demon Days (2005)
THE KNIFE - Silent Shout (2006)
KODE9 + THE SPACEAPE - Memories Of The Future (2006)
BEYONCE - B'Day (2006)
CLIPSE - Hell Hath No Fury (2006)
JENS LEKMAN - Night Falls Over Kortedala (2007)
THE TOUGH ALLIANCE - A New Chance (2007)
STUDIO - Yearbook 1 (2007)
BURIAL - Untrue (2007)
BRITNEY SPEARS - Blackout (2007)
ROBYN - Robyn (2007)
PATRICK WOLF - The Magic Position (2007)
KANYE WEST - 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
LOS CAMPESINOS! - Hold On Now, Youngster... (2008)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (WZRDZ Remix)

"Entertain us"

This one will probably upset some of the most purist Nirvana fans out there, but I just love this remix that Brooklyn duo WZRDZ have made of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", all extreme lava synths, loud samples and heavy techno beats. Ghettotech it has been called, but mostly these are the no-rules sounds made by two dancefloor terrorists deconstructing whatever lays upon them, just like there's no tomorrow.

Official site
MySpace page

Monday, February 16, 2009

3 songs for the week

Ellie Goulding - Wish I Stayed (feat. Frankmusik)

"Simple ways getting played"

One of my female tips for 2009, Ellie Goulding has a touching vulnerable voice and great song-writing skills. In this song, her lovely introspective charms are joined together with the electro-pop midas-touch of Frankmusik, one never shy to add a bit of vocoder here and there. The result, marrying folk with electro, is nothing short of brilliant and one of the best songs I've heard in a while.

MySpace page

Giantess - Tuff 'n Stuff

"How do we get high when the sun gets low?"

A few more months and these guys will be everyone's favourite new band. Stick-in-your-head melodies, an absurd amount of involving keyboards and infectious synth-lines, and so much loud energy and intense exuberance that, when getting into the chorus, they have no choice but to slow it down and make a catchy-as-fuck love declaration.

MySpace page

US Royalty - Keep It Cool (Bo Flex Remix)

"Words slipping through my hands"

The original is just an average rock track, but Bo Flex (a.k.a. Ayad Al-Adhamy, a Passion Pit member that also doubles as producer of Giantess) takes it into a whole new level, immersing the melody into layers of icy synths and unashamedly dated keyboards and handclaps, creating a celebratory anthem to shout out loud.

MySpace page

Friday, February 13, 2009

Marina & The Diamonds - Obsessions (video)

"I want to wipe out all the sad ideas that come to me when I am holding you"

2009 is setting up to be a great year for girls. While the Swedish charms of Lykke Li pretty much ruled the whole 2008, we now have the likes of Little Boots, Ellie Goulding or La Roux as some of the new talents that have been blossoming lately, all of them with enough charisma and strong identity to make them do whatever they want. Marina & The Diamonds (or just Marina, plus an imaginary backing band) is one of the best newcomers to add to this list, and if you need some reasons right now to love her, just press the "play" buttom in the amazing video above, a brilliantly-shot piece based in a creative low-budget concept and her fierce presence. The song itself is a technicolor pop beast of its own, with haunting vocals, theatrical atmospheres, lavish orchestrations and an unique sense of raw eccentricity. It's actually for things like this that the word "irresistible" has been invented.

MySpace page

Monday, February 09, 2009

Theophilus London - This Charming Mixtape

A great medium for an artist to expose his work without any constraints like copyright rules or sales pressure, free mixtapes do tell a lot about their author. Judging from what you can hear in "This Charming Mixtape" (download it here), Theophilus London will be huge. Featuring some of his own original work, along with covers, remixes and instrumentals from the likes of Kraftwerk, Amadou & Mariam, obscure post-punk bands and also wicked versions of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" or Crazy Cousins' "Bongo Jam", there's just too much happening in here to put this Brooklyn guy in just one shell, so calling it hip-hop would actually be kind of limited. Truth is, the closest thing that we get to more classic hip-hop sounds is a cover version of Lauryn Hill’s “Take My Eyes Off Of You”, because the rest... the rest is a kaleidoscopic journey that includes electro, soul, techno, breakbeat, african pop, new-wave and ends up with a gospel-inspired song, while Theo does some of his clever rhymes on top, rapping and singing with his smooth and confident posture. Touching so many things and with radical shifts from one track to another, everything still flows so naturally and gracefully that it's inevitable to see the "charming" of the title as more of a deserved auto-compliment than just a nod to an old The Smiths song. Oh, and if you think you've seen the above cover somewhere before, you're right, it was this one:

Yes, too many cool references but who cares when this sounds so fresh and original? (8/10)

UPDATE: Theophilus London - Always Love You clip

MySpace page

Friday, February 06, 2009

Move D & Benjamin Brunn - Songs From The Beehive

Coming from Heidelberg in Germany, David Moufang (a.k.a. Move D) is already a veteran in electronic music, with more than 15 years of releases in inumerous projects like the ambient-jazz technologic adventures of the Conjoint collective or the hybrid fusions of Studio Pankow. Recently re-discovered by a new clubbers generation, his latest album is a collaboration with ambient techno producer Benjamin Brunn and, even if not starting new paths to electronic music, it does contain some truly addictive sounds. With only 7 tracks, most of which with more than 10 minutes long, each piece takes its time to evolve, unfolding and unravelling new dimensions with each new listen. The basis in these songs may be those profound minimal beats that seem designed for more sophisticated and underground dancefloors but what comes around them is much more than that, containing inventive and ulta-deep sounds rarely associated with techno music, a bit like melting liquid atmospheres and solid beats together to create a new geometric world that exhales an unparalleled ellegance. Subliminally, a sensual and mysterious ambience sets in and we end up being directed towards the unknown. (8/10)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Telepathe - Dance Mother

With so many things raising that always-dubious coolness/hipster factor (girl/girl duo, coming from Brooklyn, produced by TV On The Radio man David Sitek, etc.), there was real danger of all this actually working against Telepathe, in case their music didn't meet expectations. But one song in, and those Moroder synths and pop hooks beneath all the reverb and echoed effects that can be heard in "So Fine" leave all fears behind: this stuff has the ability to conquer even the most cynical ears. The rest of "Dance Mother" never lets the guard down, with a grandiose sound full of the most amazing details that really seem like the future, just as their MySpace page promises. So, David Sitek doing wonders once again at the production helm. But the best thing is that, for all the modern technology and computer-processed elements they use (arcade games glitches, techno/r&b beats, filtered vocals and samples, processed keyboards and treated percussive sounds) there's also a bit of an old-school rock band feeling, one not shy to use their guitars with layers of reverb, adding up tribal drums and, above all, cristalline-pop melodic vocals. Behind all the machinery, one always needs a human touch to add emotions to it, and each song in "Dance Mother" has more than enough drama to prove this theory right. (7/10)

Telepathe - So Fine (video)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Fever Ray - If I Had A Heart (video)

"This will never end 'cause I want more"

Remember The Knife? It was in 2006 that this Swedish duo took the world by storm with their third album "Silent Shout" and its spooky atmospheres that didn't sound like anything else at that time (hell, 3 years on and they still don't). To complete the unique ambience of their music, there were also jaw-dropping videos and shows with the most amazing visuals, as seen in "Silent Shout - An Audio Visual Experience". Well then, good news: even if they are not officially back, their female half, Karin Dreijer Andersson, has a new album coming out soon and judging by this first song and video, the creativity is bloody intact. Darker and scarier than ever, "If I Had A Heart" is a little cinematographic piece of art that slowly and patiently builds a fascinating universe, with an extremely creepy video directed by long-time The Knife collaborator Andreas Nilsson, that includes a wolf passing by, dead corpses, cold house interiors, a singer with a skull face paint and two little children lost and terrified, looking at something they can't understand.

Official site
MySpace page