16 May 2012

Class of 2011

A long time coming - but my summary of 2011. Lets pretend that I was careful and wanted a full three months to pass before I passed judgement on anything from 2011.

I will, however, be brief. As you may know - 2011 for me was not "Everything released in 2011" but everything I heard, or rather added to my library in 2011.

There-fore I have no problem saying that my top Album of that year was Guided by Voices Greatest Hits. I even reviewed them earlier - here.

Sure they broke up, reformed a number of times, disliked quality recording methods, drank too much and reformed this year after a really long break, but boy, can they write songs.... Catchy, tuneful, intelligent yet simple.
 Go and buy it - I know some of you did.

What about Chune of the year? If you read anything from last year, I was probably most blown away by Deerhoof live at Alexandra Palace. They really were bloody amazing, especially their drummer. Read about that here. The song - Milk Man. So odd, with it's bizzare mismatch of rhythm, melody, loud guitars, jazz drums and child-like vocals, it has to be a hit...
Seriously the best song of the year....

But not the Oddest song of the year.
That title this year goes to the wonderful King Missile. OJR stalwart Mr Les Bell played the second track here on air, and I hunted them down for more - and came across this, frankly worrying tune.
Poetic and amusing yet delivered in a very dry manner. The whole guitar sound reminds me of early 90's noise merchants Mindfunk, with that overhammered reverb. Does that mean all their tracks are such pre-grunge noise-fests? Nope - as you can hear from this....
If there was an award for Why didn't I like this when it came out? then The White Stripes would win it.
When they were first around I couldn't stand them. Can't really explain why either - too simplistic? I remember disliking the fact they spent a lot of money recording an album using 1960's studio equipment - needlessly hipster, in my book.
Too popular amongst the type of people I disliked - trendy, genre skipping wastes who would move onto the next hip thing as soon as it turned up.
Of course I was wrong. Looking past the deconstructionist and simplistic sounding songs, there is art. The last bastion of music as art is songwriting. And unfortunately for my pride, Jack White can write a good one...
As for my favourite Jazz track of the year, one I thought was an original and an instrumental by the cinematic orchestra.  It turned out not to be.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago did it originally in 1970 and it evokes all the 10 years of the sixties coming to a close alongside the promise of a new decade. But this version with it's soulful singing and image laden lyrics just makes me feel happy.
Just starting off so peacefully with bass - not feeling the need to emote much and the drummer slowly building up alongside the brass to an explosion that goes so far it falls apart. Only to begin again.
The rather well known vocalist Fontella Bass just rips it up, more subdued than the alto sax break, but summed together a near perfect musical moment.

What about dance music? Well I don't listen to the radio, because it has turned into crap, but the next track by Battles was used in a Honda advert in the cinema and luckily my Soundhound application worked out who it was. A fantastic Aphex Twin, glitch style track with real instruments, supplemented by computer effects, without sounding like half of each genre, they manage to really work them together.
All I know about them: British, signed to Warp, play guitars as well as a prominence of electronic tomfoolery in order to shape a rather individual sound. I like them, but the album only had really 2 tracks I would bother listening to again.

And finally - my Re-release of the year - the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band. If you don't know about them, hit Wikipedia. They are essential listening if you like any two of the following; Comedy, Trad Jazz, Self depreciation, musicianship, silliness, and well... Dadaism. Their first ever release, a cover....
From the album "By Jingo, it's rubbish" - 1966 brought to the light the type of humor Pete Cook and Dudley Moore were promoting, along with experimenting with noises, multi-track recordings and Jazz. I can't imagine what it would have been like then, as even by todays standards, it's pretty darn weird.

14 May 2012

Back once again.

Evening, I'm back.

Sorry and all that but everything has been getting in the way.

Musically, we said goodbye to Etta James and MCA, which is a shame.

Todays update is already there above this - "How to "Rip" CD's".

Yes, the first thing I probably should have written about, but it is there now - my view and opinion on how to do it. It's the way I do it.

And I am awesome.

If you can't be bothered to click that box, click this one..... Click me hard.

No idea if I can manage to write daily, but I will attempt at least weekly updates. I have a new job and I am all over the world, or rather the country. More time for more music. Less time for writing though.

Let's see what happens.
I'll leave you with 3 MC's and One DJ....