As the half way point of 2008 rapidly approaches, it seems like as good a time as any to have a little retrospective on some of the best songs and albums of the year.
I could have so easily have done more songs, but muxtapes limit is 12 so there’s a lot of great stuff missing, such as the latest from Ladytron, EMC, Hot Chip, Goldfrapp, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Kills to name a few. But this will do. Enjoy! Below is a muxtape to stream 12 of the finest.
The tracklisting is as follows.
Beach House – Wedding Bell – Really lush dream pop with floaty reverbrating lyrics rising over thick keys and some summery surf guitar. Would be perfect for a nice hazy late summer evening, if only the weather would pickup.
Bon Iver – Skinny Love – Much hyped acoustic singer-songwriter, but don’t be alarmed, it’s not James Blunt or David Gray levels of trite banality. There’s some genuine heartfelt lyrics that don’t whip out the same cliches, nice minimal production too.
The Raconteurs – Salute Your Solution – I’m not sure why the Raconteurs exist, especially when they create tracks like this. Or perhaps Im not sure why the White Stripes exist. The album is a little bloated but there are plenty of all out heavy blues rock like this, think of the White Stripes bluesier, rawer numbers and you can probably guess what this sounds like.
Vampire Weekend – A-Punk – Some people have been angered by the amount of hype these fresh faced University grads have been getting, but the music remains great. As with Beach House this ‘Afrobeat’ inspired pop would be fantastic for a nice hot summer, nice and sweet without being too saccharine.
Los Campesinos! – Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks – Wonderful hyper literate guitar pop (indie pop if you must). This song is one of the albums many highlights, pure unashamed fun with a superb anthemic close.
The Long Blondes – Erin O’Connor – I really wish these guys were more popular than they are. One of the few genuinely good post punk guitar bands around at the moment. Like fellow Sheffieldians, The Arctic Monkeys and Pulp, thier lyrics are primarily concerned with kitchen sink dramas delivered through a idiosyncratic narrative style. Thier second album, “Couples” continues this trend but working with producer Erol Alkan has brought out a new Dance and Disco sensibility in the band, not at all evident in this song (opps). It’s a great song anyway!
Common ft Pharrel – Universal Mind Control – I’ve already gushed over this in one of my first posts. It’s still brilliant and I’m looking forward to whole album of old school Hip Hop like this.
The Roots – Criminal – The album is a bit of hard work like most of thier work, but this is quite a nice poppier affair. But still with all the biting social commentary and superb rhymes you come to expert from The Roots.
Portishead – Machine Gun – I think it was Paul Morley who described the album as one for “Marks and Spencer Goths” And I can see what he means, its unrelentingly dismal (and this coming from a huge Radiohead fan) but behind the sometimes cliched lyrics about broken hearts and depression there’s some great inventive music behind the lack of lyrical originality. For example the drums on this track are absolutely amazing and drive the whole song along.
M83 – Skin of the Night – The whole of “Saturdays=Youth” is a tribute to the music of the 80’s and this track is no different, imagine a mix of Kate Bush, Prince, but with thier own brand of shoegaze electrop stamped all over those big synths and tinny drums.
Hercules and Love Affair – Blind – Similarlly, Hercules and Love Affair is a love note to 70’s disco alongside more contemporary dance stylings. The disco influence is imparticuarlly evident on this track with a pulsing bass riff and Anthony Hegarty’s distinctive vocals reinventing the genre.
Cut Copy – Out There On The Ice – This is potentially my album of the year and this is one of the finest tracks. There’s a strong New Order vibe in this electropop track. Enjoy!