Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Great When It's 2008, Yeah

Look! I made a list! My favourite songs of the year.

Happy Christmas y'all, and have a great new year. Meet you back here in 2009 - my New Year's Resolution is one post a week!


1. Bright Tomorrow - Fuck Buttons (ATP Records)

Back in Dorset in the early 1990s, a legendary story was doing the rounds; of a rave at Weymouth Pavillion where an unscrupulous drug dealer sold valium instead of pills and it ended up with hundreds of ravers lying around on the floor in a dribbling mess, while manic cartoon techno blasted out of the PA. This incredible Fuck Buttons song is the soundtrack to that night - slo-mo mogadon techno with church organs and a gigantic swarm of wasps attacking your ears to conclude.

Taken from the album Street Horrrsing - buy it from Norman Records
Fuck Buttons MySpace

2. Daniel Land & The Modern Painters - Within The Boundaries (Sonic Cathedral Records)

Magnificent, ethereal, wonderous - insert (positive) adjectives previously used to describe Slowdive in here. It's the aural equivalent waking up and drawing the curtains to find it's a beautifully sunny day. The gorgeous instrumental ebbs and flows for over two minutes before Daniel Land opens his lovely gob. Schnaussed up by Lord Ulrich for that authentic nu-wave of shoegaze feel.

Taken from a 7" on Sonic Cathedral - buy it from Norman Records
Norman Records
Daniel Land MySpace
Sonic Cathedral - celebrate here

3. Feedle - Half-Light (Ecke Records)

If the Blur reunion does lead to the band reconvening in the studio, they would do well to come up with anything better than this cracker from Graham Clarke aka Feedle, from his second album, 'All Your Days Are Weird'. I only say that because it reminds me of a cross between Blur's 'Tender' and Albarn's 2007 supergroup The Good, the Bad and the Queen. Plus there's something of the Bowie in Clarke's vocal. But do bear in mind that this was made by one man in his bedroom in Sheffield, rather than musical royalty in a multi-million pound studio in dat London. Or a shack in Morocco. I am biased though as I released the album, but still... 'Half-Light', with its woozy 3am guitars and fairground organs, is sublime, plus it twinkles enough to also make it a wee bit Christmassy.

Taken from All Your Days Are Weird - buy it from
Ecke Records
Feedle MySpace

4. Chris Moss Acid - Sub For You (Futonic Records)

Bournemouth's finest 303 mentalist Chris Moss Acid wrote three songs in the time it took me to type that sentence. Prolific he may be, but the quality control isn't always there. That's not the case with 'Sub 2', the eagerly awaited (by me) follow up to the marvellous 'Sub', a concept album about a submarine written almost entirely on Moss's beloved TB303. The 'Sub' recordings represent a more melancholic, tuneful side to his usual banging acid output and 'Sub 2' is more of the same. 'Sub for You' is three-minutes of lush chords, Pac Man noises and subtle beats. And his name - Chris Moss - is a bit Christmassy. Ha.

Taken from 'Sub 2' - download it for free from
Futonic Records
Chris Moss Acid MySpace

5. Minotaur Shock - Jason Forrest (4AD)

You can’t get much for 54p these days. I checked in my local supermarket and these were a few of the things on offer for that price - a can of chopped tomatoes, baking soda, a small bag of Kettle Chips, a 200ml carton of milk for a cat, a large box of Bryant & May long matches. All staple items, no doubt, but if you're really looking to get some bang for yer buck, howze about, in exchange for yer 54 pence you get a stonking slab of electro breaks. Dave Tipper would be proud to have those dancefloor-friendly metallic beats banging out of his car-cum-soundsystem. But this is Minotaur Shock country, so amidst the clank, klang and acid squelch you also get fruity trumpets and a chiming guitar coda to close.

For those of you who don't know why this excellent song costs a mere 54p, here you go - 4AD - for reasons best known to themselves - decided to release 'Amateur Dramatics', the third album from Minotaur Shock aka David Edwards, as a download only, leaving Edwards to come up with a unique and amusing track pricing system to entertain potential punters in the absence of a hard copy CD. The entire album (which is fantastic) is available to download for £6.41. Thankfully, Audio Dregs, a lovely label from the US, have done what 4AD should have done in the first place and released the album on CD. Nice one dudes.

Taken from 'Amateur Dramatics' - download it from
Minotaur Shock website or buy it on CD from Norman Records
Minotaur Shock MySpace

6. Max Tundra - Number Our Days (Domino Records)

Ben Jacobs is Trevor Horn for the 21st Century. A true wonky pop marvel. A surefire hit like 'Number Our Days' should be lording it up at the top end of the hit parade. Hot Chip know this and invited Ben on tour with them. I know this and now I am telling you. Definitely the only album this year to be made available as a can of kosher chicken soup.

Taken from the album 'Parallax Error Beheads You' - buy it from Norman Records
Max Tundra MySpace

7. Gang Gang Dance - First Communion (Warp Records)

Gang Gang Dance exist in the space between the decimal point and the second number on all Pitchfork reviews. From Brooklyn, NYC - are they a band? Or are they a sixth form art project? On 'First Communion', world music-tinged guitars collide with acid house, tribal beats and a female vocal reminiscent of MC Kinki doing battle with Bjork. I like it.

Taken from the album 'Saint Dymphna' - buy it from Norman Records
Gang Gang Dance MySpace

8. Factory Floor - Taxidermist (One of One Records)

Drums of the year. A chilling tribal onslaught from the Floor, with a monotous intoning vocal about an animal stuffer and some detached, ice-cold new wave synths that sound like they're coming from the cellar of the house next door. The production is incredible, and this one is super, super LOUD. Watch yer eardrums, I'm tellin ya. Can't wait for them to do an album.

Taken from the 12" 'Planning Application EP' - buy it from Norman Records
Factory Floor MySpace

9. Portishead - The Rip (Island Records)

'The Rip' is 0.2mm away from being the most perfect song ever written. Who would have thought Portishead could have sounded so essential in 2008? Not me that's for sure, but I was happy to be proved completely and utterly wrong by the brilliant 'Third' - their finest album yet.

Taken from the album 'Third' - buy it from Norman Records
Portishead MySpace

10. Televise - Flood Out (Distant Noise)

Televise is Simon Scott, formerly of Slowdive, and this sounds pretty much like an outtake from the archive of his former employers. An instrumental soundscape of textured ambience, 'Flood Out' broods and builds into a shiting, organic wall of sound - a bit like watching a drop of ink in a glass of water. Proper mood music for a Sunday morning chill out sesh.

Taken from the album 'Secret Valentine' - you could have bought it from Norman Records but it's sold out! eBay's your best best.
Televise MySpace

11. Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez - A Magic (Carpark)

If you're going to be a singer-songwriter, having a tremendous name like Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez helps to set you apart from the plethora of lone guitar-wielding troubadours. Born in Cuba and now residing in Baltimore, Alvarez's debut album 'Why is Bear Billowing?' is a reminder of what one man and his guitar can do - this is whimsical, earnest and downright lovely. Extra kudos for the ace interpretation of Edward Lear's 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.

Taken from the album 'Why is Bear Billowing?' - buy it from
Norman Records
Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez MySpace

12. The Travelling Band - Lonely Day To Take A Train (Sideways Saloon)

Sometimes it's not about haircuts or trousers. Songwriting is a craft and the Travelling Band are master craftsmen. I'd have missed this one if it wasn't for my wife. She hasn't stopped playing their debut album, 'Under the Pavement' since it dropped unannounced through our letterbox back in September. I found it hard to pick one song out as this is a proper album, in that every single song is essential, but in the end I settled for this heartbreakingly glorious moment with a husky, battered vocal that is still as sweet as a nightingale. The album has echoes of everyone from Dylan, Crosy, Stills & Nash and Neil Young to The La's and The Coral. While everyone else is waxing lyrical about the Fleet Foxes album, 'Under the Pavement' is the one that I keep on coming back to.

Taken from the album 'Under the Pavement' - buy it from
The Travelling Band MySpace

13. The Ruby Suns - Remember (Memphis Industries)

Tender horns, lethargic beats, sighing vocals and a general mood of monged out reverie - 'Remember' is like a poppier Panda Bear, capturing that "Beach Boys playing in a faraway field after you've eaten four hash cakes" vibe that Noah Lennox does so well, but adding their own sunny, Polynesian-influenced psychedelic pop twist to the mix. Lysergic-drenched magnificence, all the way from New Zealand.

Taken from the album 'Sea Lion' - buy it from
Norman Records
The Ruby Suns MySpace

14. M83 - Couleurs (Mute Records)

Like a Francois Kervorkian remix of a long-lost Depeche Mode track, 'Couleurs' is perfect for closing an epic seven-hour DJ set in a sweaty Ibizan nightclub. Hardly surprising as remix master Ewan Pearson was on tweak control, assisting Anthony Gonzalez with this blissful moment of euphoric balearic brilliance.

Taken from 'Saturday = Youth" - buy it from Norman Records
M83 MySpace