Friday, 23 December 2011
Bagging Area End Of Year Annual Review #2
All the proper blogs have end of year reviews and lists and I did one last year so here goes again...
I really don't think I can offer any broad, balanced or authoritative review of new music. I read Drew's list and crumbled, voted in Song, By Toad's list and not for the right kind of artists, read other bloggers lists and realise how out of touch I am. This is partly financial- I just haven't had the money this year to buy loads of new records (albums, singles, e.p.s, vinyl, cds, shellac, any format). I don't have the time/concentration span to listen to new albums all the way through anymore and I don't want to just make a list of my favourite songs of the year because I fear it'd stop at around number 17. I'm going to try to sum up my 2011, the music I've listened to that's been released this year, in some spurious categories I've invented for this post. My favourites of the year rather than an objective 'best of'.
Best Andrew Weatherall Remix Of 2011
My favourite category and a fistful of career highlights from Mr Weatherall who has been on fire for two or three years now. The contenders include; DJ Harvey 'Gunship' (Weatherall Dub), Alice Gold 'Runaway Love' (Weatherall Dub)- one of the most popular tracks/posts here at Bagging Area this year-, The Shoes 'Cliche' (Weatherall Remix), and the recent Cut Copy 'Sun God' (Weatherall Remix). Recently Weatherall remixed Soft Rocks 'We Hunt Buffalo Now' turning it into a glam-rockabilly monster, but it's the runner up I'm afraid, as the winner has to be Toddla T and Roots Manuva's 'Watch Me Dance' (Weatherall Remix), a massive slice of dub disco, my song of the year and the song that soundtracked us driving around France this summer, while England burned. The 12" copies of this record burned also, in that factory. The moment when civil disobedience went way too far.
Best Album I Bought As A Result Of Listening To Andrew Weatherall On His BBC 6 Mix Radio Show
From the morass of stuff Weatherall plays on his irregular radio show I got two standout albums, completely different from each other and I love both. One is the synthy, krautesque, heady and melodic Here Come The Warm Digits by The Warm Digits which I thoroughly recommend, kind of like a less noisy, less headsplitting Fuck Buttons. The other was the 60s garage psyche of The People's Temple, again highly recommended.
Best Drone-Rock Kraut Inspired Fuzzed-up Guitar Album
Two way split between Moon Duo's Mazes and Wooden Shjips' West. Same album really. Same band (or very similar). Lovely. Repetitive but lovely.
Best 'What Do We Call This Music Cos I Don't Think You Can Dance To It?' Dance Music
Two winners here- the Massive Attack v Burial 12" was very good, especially the Paradise Circus side. Death In Vegas' Trans-Love Energies is dark, scary and very absorbing. Jamie Xx's single was good but I find his/their stuff easier to admire than to love.
Best Neo- Balearic Records
Thanks to Nolan Micron at Castles In Space I loved Free School's Lemon single, especially the Time And Space Remix. Back in the spring Gatto Fritto's full length debut album had me skipping around the house. Ace both. DJ Harvey's Locusolus was chock full of electronic delights as well.
Best British Guitar Stuff
I wasn't knocked out by the album but Arctic Monkeys recorded the best song this year that expertly spliced peak period Bunnymen with peak period New Order- That's Where You're Wrong, a great song. The Horrors Skying has been played a lot, and their song Still Life is a contender for something or other, although at times those early Simple Minds keyboards are a little too much (I know, I should like Simple Minds early stuff, but I don't OK?). Despite their generic, derivative, two chord indie fuzz album being generic and derivative I can't dislike The Vaccines debut album. It's good to singalong to in the car (sounds like a very Dad thing to say).
Best Half Man Half Biscuit Album
That would be 90 Bisodol (Crimond). A little underwhelming at first but it's wormed it's way in, what with Iceland, Tommy Walsh's eco house, the Gok Wan acolytes, the Duke of Westminster and his good lady wife, Razor Ruddock, so-called soccer sofas on so-called soccer Saturdays, the bands Curry Night and TBA (they do two sets and take requests, 'play one the drummer knows'), jigsaws of Nazi war criminals and much, much more. And you can phone up about the much, much more. Nigel did so and they lied to him on their poster.
Best Billy Childish Record
The Spartan Dreggs, which added some 60s whimsy to the mod/garage Childishness.
Best US Garage Rock Record
Kid Congo Powers and The Pink Monkey Birds album, Gorilla Rose, was good. The Black Keys El Camino is pretty rocking too, especially the album opener Lonely Boy, if you like that guitar-drums duo thing. Similarly, I loved much of Cults debut album not that it's garage rock. The Dirtbombs Party Store, guitar covers of Detroit techno was hit and miss but when it was good, it was very good.
Lykke Li's Wounded Rhymes, played a lot earlier in the year and again more recently. Jimmy Cliff's Sacred Fire e.p. with it's Guns Of Brixton cover version, available in green vinyl. I really liked Discodeine's collaboration with Jarvis Cocker Synchronise, though the rest of the album didn't grab me as much. And despite all the internet grumbles and gripes Lana Del Rey's Video Games got me in the end as well.
Best Records (Or More Likely Downloads) That People Who Don't Go On Music Blogs Bought
A while back daughter Eliza told me 'When I go in other peoples' cars their Mums and Dads play pop songs on the radio or Now albums. We just listen to old music by weird people'. Or was it weird music by old people? Either way she may have a point. For the record I have very much liked Beyonce's Countdown, the more recent Cher lloyd single (I know, I know) and eventually Rhianna's We Found Love. Eliza's gone for Professor Green's Read All About It and Jessie J's Pricetag (kerching, kerching). I think she likes Cher Lloyd too, so at least we agree on something.
I know I should've heard the PJ Harvey album. I haven't. Therefore I can't offer my opinion on it. Peaking Lights 936 is Piccadilly Records album of the year; their opinion is always worth bearing in mind, and I will go looking for this soon.
I think that's it for what it's worth. I may have forgotten something. I definitely missed things that other people have rated and raved about. This was the record of my year. It'll only be up for a little while seeing as the physical copies got melted and it was only available as a download.
Watch Me Dance (Andrew Weatherall Remix)