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Saturday, December 20, 2008

LHNA's Almost Sixty pt 2

Sorry, you missed the mp3s (you got here either after the web sheriff passed by, or after the blogger people fucked up. In any case, AFTER.) Do check our top 30 songs of the year though. The web sheriff still hasn't visited that one.

31. The Pica Beats - Shallow Dive [E: Quoting ourselves - “I have almost no reservations in recommending the new Pica Beats album to anyone[...]. Granted there isn't anything truly New in it so if you're an innovative/experimental music geek then this probably won't satisfy you. But my God is 'Beating Back the Claws of the Cold' a beautiful thing! The melodies, the instruments, the lyrics, the harmonies... plus there's something very Fleet Foxy but not quite Fleet Foxy about them that I like”

32. The Streets – On the Flip of a Coin

[S] The first time I heard The Streets (aka Mike Skinner), I downloaded the same song again, as I thought I was sure I’d downloaded a fake. I couldn’t believe it was real, that he was serious. It just sounded like some English kid awkwardly speak-rapping over a stolen beat. I’m glad I let him grow on me.

33. Xiu Xiu - You Are Pregnant, You Are Dead

[Eliza, after having this song on repeat for a whole day and researching on the net to find more about the band: “'shoe shoe' are apparently named after the protagonist of Chinese film Tian Yu. I should see that. But I'm afraid of being disappointed. I mean, imagine a person Xiu Xiu! He should be one of the most interesting men on Earth, non?” That’s what the song sounds like. Like it was written by the most fascinating people in the universe.

34. Library Voices - Step Off the Map & Float

[E: The first Library Voices song I heard is called “Kundera on the Dancefloor”, which of course I downloaded because of its name. I’m a sucker for literary references and with a song title like that and a band name like “Library Voices” I was pretty hopeful that there would be plenty of them in the band’s repertory. That’s the reason I downloaded their songs. But the reason I loved them is quite a different matter. LHNA sat down this year and decided that our Songs of the Year list would be based purely on enjoyment. We said there would be no pretentiousness, that we would only have songs that we loved – no matter how silly some of them might be. That probably explains why Live Your Life is in our top ten, and why we’ve included bands like The Ting Tings and Mystery Jets, but no TV on the Radio or Vampire Weekend. That is also why Library Voices are here. For the pure and simple joy they’ve given us. This is a band that can make you dance and sing out loud and jump for joy, and if in doing so they happen to mention Kafka along the way, so much the better for us.]

35. The Accidental – Wolves

[E] I wrote about The Accidental back in June and, in my post, I expressed my worries that their magic would fail upon inspection. That they would not bear repeated listening. The truth is I never put on their album and let it play straight through because it tires me. But there are some songs on there that I never get bored of and it doesn’t look like I will anytime soon. Songs like this one.

36. Mount Eerie - Voice in Headphones ft Julie Doiron and Fred Squire

about "listening to music and being really into it". I get ya Phil, I get ya.

37. Orouni - A Greased and Golden Palm ft Mlie

Any band that can put "4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days" (aka one of the highest rated movies on metracritic) into song and making it sound so good has my respect.

38. Weezer – Pork and Beans

[S:] Wow. Who’da thunk, standing in a field at a Dutch festival some 12 years ago, the year their debut came out, I’d be writing about these guys a full 12 years later? Rivers has crossed many riv-… nah, I’ll spare you. He’s come a long way. It hasn’t all been great, but the fact that he can still shake songs like this from his sleeve, all these years later, well that’s pretty damn impressive.

39. Noah and the Whale - Second Lover

[E: Love story in the Internet age. What more do you want?]

40. Happy Hollows – Colors

[E] “Ever since I first listened to Tambourine I fell in love. Then I found out they're giving their EP for free and fell faster. Then I listened to it and was ready to sell my soul to them.” It builds slow but, when it peaks, it's absolutely infectious, this one.

41. Crystal CastlesCourtship Date

[S:] OK, so they sounded like fucking idiots in interviews - Crack, violence and squats, and BLOOD blood BLOOD (‘look look how Crazy® we are’) spattered photo sessions… But really guys, is all that self-mythologizing nonsense really necessary when the music more than speaks for itself? Whoever knew the sound of a Wii having a nervous breakdown (while being serenaded by a roller-skating powerpuff girl) would sound so damn good.

42. Department of Eagles - No One Does It like You

[E] There’s something about this song. I just can’t tell what. I was so sick of hearing everyone rave about it without quite putting their finger on what it was that made it special. But then here I go now, doing the same thing. I do know that the riff that breaks in at 2:16 is very important in solving the mystery... I just can’t tell how it is important.

43. The Notwist – Boneless

[S] Calm, quiet, unassuming and beautiful. Is it just me or does the German accent just make them all the more magnificent?

44. Pale Young Gentlemen – Kettle Drum (I Left a Note)

[E] I'll tell you what. You have to choose as to how you want to go about this song, because it's a pretty special one. In order for you to get to love it we can either: a) talk about it, if you want to. I can tell you all about how I was sitting on this red swing in a playground when I first heard it and try to describe the feelings and thoughts it evoked b) I can let you listen to the song on your own. I’ll give you this pair of headphones and I’ll just sit there in silence, looking at you, trying to guess from your expression how you feel about it. Whatever you want. We can talk for hours, or even not at all. I think we should choose not at all. It’s easier and, actually, a lot more convincing.

45. Mystery Jets ft Laura Marling – Young Love

[S] Yes, the past few years have been particularly accepting to generic UK indie schmindie ‘rock’ bands; NME churns them out at an almost frightening speed. Occasionally something special slips through though, and this is one of them.

46. Stereolab – Neon Beanbag

[S]I must admit, I’d almost forgotten the majesty that is Stereolab at their peak, at their Matterhornesque best. This song reminded me; bringing out everything I once felt for this truly special band. I also challenge you not to bounce to this track.

47. Meursault - A Few Kind Words

[E] Meursault had a good last couple of months on the blogosphere. Everyone seemed to be writing about them. And, as much my snobbish soul and blogger’s pride want me to go against the hype and completely ignore them, I can’t because they’re too damn good. Thank Song by Toad for giving these guys a home.

48. Ladytron – Versus

[S] This track contains the lyrics ‘like a kitten versus rain’. Which one can only deduce is about a kitten, eager to go outside to get some air, and being hindered by unexpected rainfall. Strange, yes. Silly? Perhaps, but Interpol have been getting away with this type of lyrics for years, so we’ll let it slide.

49. M83 - Kim & Jessie

[E] I don’t think I got the feeling of this song until I saw the video. Then it was suddenly magical. Listening to it again and again it started to feel like it could have been written anytime in history. It seemed able to evoke eras of the past, to completely belong to the future, and yet to possess the ability to move me, here and now, in the present. I believe that might just be the definition of "timeless" right there.

50. Antarctica Takes It! – Antarctica

[E] Let’s see... I love bands whose name ends in an exclamation mark. I love bands that sound like Page France were totally broke and had to record their songs in someone’s basement using some crappy sound system. And, most of all, I love bands that fall in love with things and then write songs about them. This band fell in love with Antarctica, named itself after it, and sang songs about it. Songs that are sweet and honest and make you smile. “Antarctica” must be the loveliest piece of music anyone’s written about a place this year, and I’m including Mykonos here, which is a big compliment. The simple and repetitious chorus seems to suggest that the only thing you need to know about them is compressed in those five words: “Antarctica, it stole our hearts”. That’s it. That’s them. A band in love with an icy continent.

51. Love Is All - Wishing Well

[E] When A Hundred Things That Keep Me Up At Night came out last month I wanted to do a review of it, but I literally couldn't stop listening to Wishing Well so I just wrote about that one song instead of the whole album. A month and a half later I still haven’t gotten round to listening to the rest of the songs. I’m just thinking there’s no way in hell they’ll be as good as this, so I keep putting it on repeat. Anyone that has managed to pull himself/herself away from “Wishing Well” for long enough so as to manage to hear the rest of the album please let me know if I’m missing out on anything.

52. The Dodos – Fools

oooo oooo oooo

53. No Age – Teen Creeps

[S:]No Age make me want to mix up several large bags of sugar, pure alcohol, food dye and cookie dough and subsequently down it all in a sequence of shots. Bounce off the walls. Smash windows and uhm, be a teenager.

54. Descartes a Kant – Dolce

[E: “Help! Someone just caught the Happy Tree Friends, shoved them in a pot, put them on fire and melt them into songs! ... I feel dizzy. Switch switch switch switch. To punk to jazz to indie to swing. To garage to screams to caramelized notes. To sheer noise to a whispered word to no more fucking breath.”]

55. Wiley – Wearing My Rolex

[S:] Grime? This is Wiley saying fuck it, I want a H.I.T. And a hit he got. Quite catchy it was, too. Guys, we’ve surely all been there. One minute you’re promising your love to a brand new girl you don’t even know yet, next thing she’s wearing your Rolex. I’m just glad someone finally wrote a song about it.

56. Fredrik - Black Fur

[E:] When I posted the song I said: “I know this curse has been uttered ad nauseam by every indie kid on the planet but here goes: Damn you Swedish people. Now and forever. Amen.” I meant that in a good way.

57. Mates of State - Great Dane

[E]: I must admit I wasn’t very impressed with Mates of State’s latest effort. I was pissed off that the organ was missing; I thought the instrumentation was too weak, that they were getting too minimalistic; that the addictive choruses and infectious drumbeats that defined their sound were lacking in strength this time. However, this is my favourite on the album, and it only serves to prove that no matter what they do, as long as Kori and Jason’s harmonies are still there, I will keep on listening.

58. Santogold – L.E.S. Artistes

[S:] Named track of the week by the NME in a rare moment of lucidity at the beginning of the year, Santogold could be found puking up golden glitter on the cover of her self-titled album. What few people know however is that if you scoop it up, said glitter can be used to decorate Christmas cards, used as a pretty glittery facial decoration and baked into the sweetest cupcakes you ever tasted! Yup!

59. Y’all is Fantasy Island – With Handclaps

[S:] Yes it has a few handclaps. It also contains a tambourine and one of the catchiest guitar lines of 2008.


Alex said...

antarctica takes it is from like 2006 or 2007.. He actually has been writing new songs this year, i played a show with him (his first in a long time) back in march.

Steven B. said...

yeah i know Alex, but their album (the Penguin League) was only released this year, so I took advantage of that to include the song. Love love love it!