Friday, 28 August 2009

Self Indulgent List Making

In response to the Pitchfork list, here's my top 100 tracks of the decade. 500 is overkill really and 50 is too little. So, yes, I could have gone for 250 say, but no, 100 will do me. Reading these lists always makes me wonder how much thought actually goes into them: why is the 465th best track of the decade better than the 466th etc. So in the spirit of this, I'm basically making the list up as I go along until I get to the top 30, which I will actually have thought about properly.

100. The Mountain Goats - The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton
99. Ludacris - Southern Hospitality
98. Broadcast - America's Boy
97. Gotye - Hearts A Mess (SuperMayer remix)
96. Joker - Gully Brook Lane
95. Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - Loop Duplicate My Heart
94. Wavves - So Bored
93. Safety Scissors - Sunlight's on the Other Side
92. Xiu Xiu - I Luv The Valley OH!
91. Three 6 Mafia - Stay Fly
90. Baby Cham ft Akon - Ghetto Story (Remix)

89. Neon Neon - I Lust U
88. The Tough Alliance - Silly Crimes
87. Plus Device - Body Heat
86. R Kelly ft T.I. and T. Pain - I'm A Flirt (Remix)
85. Pet Shop Boys - Love etc (Gui Boratto Remix)
84. Zombi - Sapphire
83. International Pony - Our House
82. Chromeo - Bonafide Lovin'
81. The Whitest Boy Alive - Courage
80. Junior Boys - More Than Real

79. T Pain ft MJG, 8 Ball, R Kelly et al - I'm In Luv Wit A Strippa
78. Ricardo Villalobos - Easy Lee
77. Dakar - I've Got That Feeling
76. Nelly - Hot in Herre
75. The Dismemberment Plan - A Life of Possibilities
74. Washed Out - Feel It All Around
73. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - New Years Kiss
72. Maps & Atlases - Witch
71. Sparks - Dick Around
70. Lindstrom - Another Station (Todd Terje remix)

69. Lil Wayne - 3peat
68. Cornelius - Drop
67. Broken Social Scene - (7/4) Shoreline
66. DJ Koze - I Want to Sleep
65. Sally Shapiro - Anorak Christmas
64. The Game - Dreams
63. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
62. Iron & Wine - The Trapeze Swinger
61. El Guincho - Palmitos Park
60. Pinback - Afk

59. Noze - Remember Love
58. Kings of Convenience - Toxic Girl
57. Justin Timberlake - My Love
56. Justice - Let There Be Light
55. Hot Chip - Boy from School
54. Electrelane - To the East
53. The Blow - Fists Up!
52. Midlake - Roscoe (Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve remix)
51. LCD Soundsystem - Get Innocuous #
50. Those Dancing Days - Hitten

49. Annie - Chewing Gum
48. The Research - Lonely Hearts Still Beat the Same
47. The Artful Dodger ft. Craig David - Re-Rewind
46. Belle and Sebastian - I'm A Cuckoo
45. Low - Just Like Christmas
44. Jay-Z - I Just Wanna Love U (Give it 2 Me)
43. Daft Punk - Digital Love
42. Jens Lekman - A Postcard to Nina
41. The Mountain Goats - San Bernardino
40. Herman Dune - This Will Never Happen

39. Missy Elliott ft Ludacris - One Minute Man
38. Kings of Convenience - Misread
37. Golden Boy and Miss Kittin - Rippin Kittin
36. Hekio Voss - I Think About You
35. Benga and Coki - Night
34. Rufus Wainwright - Tiergarten (SuperMayer remix)
33. Sweet Female Attitude - Flowers
32. Camera Obscura - Teenager
31. Closer Musik - Maria

30. Cut Copy - Saturdays

29. Wayne Wonder - No Letting Go
28. Dr Dre ft. Snoop Dogg - The Next Episode
27. Aeroplane ft Kathy Diamond - Whispers
26. Gui Boratto - Beautiful Life
25. Larry Heard and Mr White - The Sun Can't Compare
24. The Strokes - Hard to Explain
23. Of Montreal - Nonpareil of Favour
22. Ada - Each and Everyone (Blindhouse)
21. Mlle Caro and Franck Garcia - Always You (Ewan Pearson Remix)
20. Animal Collective - Fireworks

19. Phoenix - If I Ever Feel Better
18. Belle and Sebastian - Wrapped Up In Books
17. 50 Cent - In Da Club
16. Jonathan Richman - Springtime in New York
15. Ada and Erlend Oye - Luckycharm/Intuition
14. Kanye West - Love Lockdown
13. The Walkmen - The Rat
12. Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves
11. The Mountain Goats - No Children

10. Dntel - (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Superpitcher's Kompakt Remix)
9. Hercules and Love Affair - Blind
8. Animal Collective - My Girls
7. R. Kelly - Ignition (Remix)
6. Daft Punk - One More Time
5. UGK ft Outkast - International Players Anthem (I Choose You)
4. The Avalanches - Since I Left You
3. Jurgen Paape - So Wiet Wie Noch Nie
2. Of Montreal - The Past is a Grotesque Animal
1. Panda Bear - Bros

Thursday, 27 August 2009


This photo is eerily depressing.

Villalobos - The Movie

Shamelessly stealing this from another blog, but woah I'm pumped. Everyone's favourite Chilean techno producer/DJ/weirdo has had a documentary made about him. I highly doubt it'll be shown over here, so I guess I'll just have to learn how to use torrents. Or wait till he plays Fabric again, buy a phone capable of taking video, film snippets of his set here and there and edit them together.


"Producer and DJ Ricardo Villalobos will be the subject of Romuald Karmakar’s upcoming documentary, based around the Chilean bred tech house counselor. Ricardo Villalobos has been a central figure in the electronic music scene during the past decade. Releasing some major tracks under labels Cocoon, Cadenza and Perlon, has allowed Villalobos to take center stage in the worlds top electronic music clubs. He has played festivals like Time Warp, Mysteryland, Sonar, Mutek and many more notable global gatherings. His long resume proves to be one of the best in the business, and this documentary will bring us closer to the mystery man that refuses to play in the USA. Hopefully one day he gives in! Filmmaker Romuald Karmakar captures some of the bright moments of Villalobos’ career and packages them into this documentary, which is scheduled to make it’s premiere at the 66th Venice International Film Festival on September 12th, 2009."

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ok, this song sounds like someone trying really hard to remember the bassline to Rip It Up by Orange Juic, then going "oooh" and looping that for 4 minutes, then playing some fuzzy chords on a synth and then putting the tape in a puddle for a bit, THEN covering it in grit, then playing the tape in a church (on a day when sunshine is seeping through the stained glasses windows) through a reverb pedal. It's good.

Washed Out - Feel It All Around

Monday, 24 August 2009

The Pitchfork Top 500 List

Hmmmm. Let's start with the major talking point from the list: B.O.B. at number one. Now, I'm a big Outkast fan and I guess Pitchfork didn't want to put some American indie in the top spot, but seriously? B.O.B. isn't even the fourth best song on Stankonia. They justify it by comparing it to the 'world's first twitter feed' as if this is a good thing. A lot of people have claimed that the choice is tokenistic and that it was almost as if Pitchfork felt they HAD to choose a hip hop tune. This is obviously untrue: Pitchfork has always loved hip hop (check all the end of year singles/albums lists etc, the amount of rap albums they review each week etc) and I praise them for it, but there have been far, far better hip hop tracks this decade (in fairness many of them made the upper echelons of the list anyway).

Pitchfork bashing has become the norm over the last few years, and whilst I will readily admit that the quality of writing has dropped massively recently and the prominence of folky American indie on the site is off putting, I still check it daily. The guest columnists are usually great (Philip Sherburne's Month in Techno is always fantastic) and the track reviews chuck up some bonzer stuff. Oh, and the Pitchfork TV stuff is pretty golden too.

Looking at the list as a whole is pretty interesting. Obviously it's full of p4k approved indie but the techno choices in particular are decent. There's the odd curveball (Rachel Stevens anyone?) and I was massively surprised by how low down the list Panda Bear's Bros and The Past is a Grotesque Animal were as well.

Anyway, I can't think of any more commentary on the list for a bit, so have my top 5 songs of the decade instead.

5. UGK and Outkast - International Players Anthem

Everything about this just sounds triumphant. That Willie Hutch sample makes me want to go around high fiving people in the least wanky way possible. Every verse is chock full of quotable lines ("then I'd CC every girl that I'd see round town", "pullin' Bentleys off the lot, smashed up the grey one bought me a reeeeeeed", "I'm a million dollar mack, need a billion dollar bitch" etc) and that moment when the beat drops just before Pimp C's verse gets me every time.

4. The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Back when I was 11, I walked into the Virgin Megastore in Norwich armed with £25s worth of vouchers. Having read a few issues of NME, including the Christmas issue with those all important end of year lists, I ended up buying Since I Left You by Australian samplemasters The Avalanches and Is This It by The Strokes. Both still sound perfect to me today. I put this down to a combination of nostalgia and the fact that both are really good albums. Ok, so The Strokes never did anything again and beside the odd remix The Avalanches have been pretty quiet for the last eight years, they both put out some of the best music of the decade. The title track of Since... is one of those songs that gets better every time you hear it. Over the last of the eight years, each of the samples that makes up the track has, at some point, been my favourite component, but, like the guy who wrote the review of it for the Pitchfork list, it's the vocal that gets me. Oh and the Spanish guitar intro, the drums, the flute melody, the backing vocals, the cowbell, the chugging synth chords, the guy offering you a drink at the start, that keyboard line that sounds like a bird swooping into the sea...

3. Jurgen Paape - So Weit Wie Noch Nie

I've mentioned it on this blog before, but Erlend Oye's DJ Kicks mix is one of the most important records in my life. He used a slightly slowed down version of Paape's (one of the founder's of Kompakt records, a label I became obssessed with after hearing this song) five and a half minutes of blissed out glory to open the compilation. Having been raised on NME approved indie I wasn't really sure what to make of it. It was slow. It was repetitive. It had some operatic sounding German woman blathering on about "moonshine in zarum haan" or something over the top. But persistence paid off. I began to like the song more and more with each listen. It's hands down the best techno record of the decade and a song that I've yet to tire of. Kompakt, still going strong to this day, never really hit the highs of this song again. Hell, Pitchfork even included it in an article about how some sounds just sound perfect. They were right.

2. Of Montreal - The Past is a Grotesque Animal


1. Panda Bear - Bros

So good that I didn't want to use a youtube video to indicate it's greatness. I'm not really sure if I can describe why this song is so good. No, I can't. Just listen.


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Two Bangers

It's a sunday, I'm in a fairly upbeat mood so here's some music for you.

Noel - The Night They Invented Love

Noel was Ron and Russell Mael's disco protege. Ron and Russ make up Sparks, one of the most interesting and original bands of all time. I'm sure you've all heard their biggest hit, This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both of Us and probably know that Ron used to rock the toothbrush/Chaplin/Hitler tache. Anyway, in the late 70s, Sparks worked with the legendary Giorgio Moroder on the fanfuckingtastic No.1 In Heaven album (my favourite Sparks record by some distance) and then carried on the disco theme by writing and producing these tracks for Noel. There's barely any information on the net about her but, cliched as it may be, this track speaks for itself: pumping bassline, classic disco hi-hats and THAT intensely great, borderline-cheesy, sax riff and Noel's faux-seductive vocals (seriously, that first line is too hot. Just the way she sings the word 'liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiarrrrrrrs'). She put out an album 'Is There More To Life Than Dancing?' (which includes her other 'hit', Dancing is Dangerous, which sounds Sparksy as hell, mianly because Russell Mael provides backing vocals) and I'm hunting down a 12" of it. Nice cover, too.

Fax Yourself - Sunshine

80s house music is one of the greatest cultural achievements in human history. This is a fact. If you want to make me happy, just give me a massive kick drum, jackin' hi-hats, big diva vocals and choppy synths. This track (as featured on Hercules and Love Affair's sublime Sidetracked mix) has all that and more. Fax Yourself were a Belgian house act back when the country was producing some of the best dance music ever made (Joey Beltram et al) and this was arguably their best song. Yeah, it sounds like Good Life and Big Fun by Inner City but that's a good thing in my book. Also, I'm pretty sure it samples The Clash and there's a bit that rips off House Nation by The House Master Boys and the Rude Boy of House. Put it on, take your shirt off and then come round mine so we can talk about how house is going to unite every one in the world.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

On Football

At quarter past three this afternoon, I realised that I don't really care about football that much any more. Grant Holt had just scored for Norwich and unlike the other 23,000 Norwich fans at Carrow Road, I didn't cheer like we'd just won the Champions League. I stood up, clapped a few times and sat down again. There was a time when seeing the ball hit the back of the net (I apologise in advance for the numerous clich├ęs that will appear in this post; football, like love, is something that can only really be talked about using them.) would have made me feel something. Four more Norwich goals followed. Each one was met by me with the same reception the first got.

Football is something I get passionate about in fits and spurts. Sometimes I think it's one of the most wonderful things that the human race has ever invented; I look up statistics and marvel at Brazilian wunderkids scoring 30+ goals in a season despite only having worn shoes since the start of the year, play Championship Manager 01/02 for hours on end etc. Then I think about people like John "JT" Terry, Frank "Lamps" Lampard and Steven "Stevie G" Gerrard and remember that most footballers are complete and utter cunts. The point that footballers earn an obscene amount of money is one that has been made time after time, and whilst it is true, my gripe with the majority of players is that they are so boring. The average interview with a footballer can literally induce tears of boredom in the reader. The player in question will at some point talk about the "banter" with the "lads" being great, the manager being great, the fans being great and so on. Now, I understand that players are ambassadors for their club and as a result do not wish to say things that will reflect badly on themselves and their employers but come on, these are young men accumulating a vast wealth before they reach 25 purely because they can kick a ball quite well. DO something interesting with the money guys. Take some risks.

Another thing that annoys me about footballers is their taste. A few years back, the Chelsea squad were asked to list their favourite songs. The resulting list was released as an album:

Shawn Wright Phillips -Kellis Milkshake
John Terry - Luther Vandross - So Amazing
Ricardo Carvalho - Stone Roses - Fools gold
Michael Essien - Hard Knock Life
[Ghetton Anthem]
Paulo Ferreira - Mylo - In my arms
Joe Cole - Spandau Ballet - Gold
Huth - Marvin Gaye - Let's get it on
Lenny Pidgley - Usher - You Make me wanna
Gudjohnsen - KC & Jo Jo - All my life
Cudicini - Groove Armada - I see you baby [Fatboy Slim Radio Edit]
Drogba - Aaiyah -Back and forth
Cech - R kelly - I believe I can Fly
Lampard - Lione Richie - Stuck on you
Duff - Christy Moore - Joxter Goes to Stuggart
Crespo - Jamiroqual - Seven days in Sunny June
Asier Del Horno - Kings of Leon - California waiting
Geremi - Toni Braxton - Youre making me high
Diarra - Blu Cantrell - Breathe -Feature Sean Paul
Robben - Europe - the final countdown
Mourinho - Bryan Adams - Run to you


Now, I'm not expecting footballers to like obscure post-punk or glitchy techno. Well, actually, I do. I want my favourite player to listen to Ellen Allien, read books by Philip Roth and watch films by Pedro Almodovar. I imagine most footballers never read and enjoy the cinematic genius that is Ben Stiller.

So yeah, footballers are cunts. I've gone off the game. At the end of the day, that's it.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Home Sweet Home

North Walsham has been my home since I was 7. Like most teenagers, I grew to hate the place I lived. I thought it was small minded, lacking in ambition, shoddy. It is. A large swathe of the 10,000 inhabitants will never leave. People are, if not happy to be there, unwilling to move out, to change things. This was one of the major reasons why I wanted to go to university in London; when you grow up in a town where people are literally surprised to see a non-white person, moving to one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world makes sense.

So, this afternoon I went out armed with my digital camera to document the place that, until I move into my new house in Deptford, is home. My abilities with a camera are somewhat limited so don't think that I'm in any way proud of these shots artistically.

This is an alley on the street I live on, Norwich Road. It leads you to some of the nicer council estates in town. These estates surround my old primary school. I sometimes bike through them on nice summer evenings trying to recapture my youth. Invariably I just end up remembering that I find cycling horribly strenuous, come home, collapse on the sofa and feel faint.

Further up Norwich Road, you come to the old baked bean factory. I'm not entirely sure how long beans were produced here, but I remember the place being abandoned in about 2002. Since then it's just become a place for people to practice their brick throwing. I think the council want to turn the site into another housing estate. I always hoped it would become a really good nightclub. In hindsight this was somewhat naive of me. Still, it looks really 'gritty' now and I'm sure lots of teens in skinny jeans studying photography have taken dead good photos of it. I just took rubbish ones of the door:

I always wanted to get out of North Walsham. The train was the easiest way to get to Norwich. Growing up in North Norfolk leaves you believing that Norwich is a cosmopolitan wonderland rather than simply a nice, quiet little city. I couldn't resist taking this photo though:

The credit crunch hit my hometown hard. On my first visit home after moving to New Cross, I was shocked to see how many of the shops had gone out of business. Half the high street was closed. Even on a Thursday afternoon, the busiest day in town due to the weekly market, you can see the effect the current economic crisis has had.

Not even the Jolly Swagman could beat the recession.

Credit crunch lunches don't stretch to fresh fish.

Not everywhere is doing badly though. The bookmakers next to the fishmonger's was packed. So much so that one bloke was stood outside, peering into the window. I watched him for several minutes. He was trying to communicate with two women who were playing one of the fruit machines. Either they genuinely couldn't see him, or they were pretending not to notice him frantically tapping away at the window. I hope he eventually plucked up the courage to go in.

Another place that has been doing well is the factory on the edge of town. It used to be owned by my grandfather. A few years back, he retired and sold the factory to 'The Mattress Man'.

I mentioned the market earlier and it does have a big impact on the place. It's the only day of the week when you'll see the high street full of people, rather than the odd single mother pushing a pram down the road. Have some photos of the market in full swing.

Fruit and puzzle books. That's all we got.

Pop down to the precinct for some rad clobber, then pop to Connexions: the home of outcasted youngsters who like Green Day and Pokemon (s0 random blatez lmao!) and shaven headed hardnuts alike!

As a younger man, I was convinced that there was nothing to do in North Walsham. I was wrong. It took the town 30 years, but we finally got a swimming pool. Finally we had a place where lads called Shayne, who drive souped up 106's, can finger 14 year olds in public. And just look at this set of cracking gigs the town's got lined up:

Walking round the place, I was reminded that everyone my age hates their hometown. But small town Britain isn't that bad a place. Earlier in the year, I went to Bexlyheath with my ex-girlfriend to meet her family. On the train there she'd told me how awful the place was. And initially I agreed. When we disembarked, the first thing we saw was an alcoholic in a pink shellsuit puke up bile. But apart from that it was fine. A little boring, yes. But awful? No, not really. Everywhere's the same. Even North Walsham.