Music list wankfest 2011: Non-albums

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15 déc. 2011, 12h55m

20. Bitch Prefect | Marilyn Monroe 7”

This was a confusing release that initially offered Sunday and Bad Decisions as free downloadable tracks under the banner of the Bitch Prefect EP. The physical 7” only carries Marilyn Monroe and Holiday In America. Actually getting all four tracks together in the same format, which would ostensibly be the true Bitch Prefect EP, is seemingly impossible. What is this I don’t even.

19. The Townhouses | Backyard (digital single)

Digitally released for a modest fee, this is a lovely pair of tracks from Melbourne act The Townhouses. The vocal sample used in Backyard is especially soothing.

18. Forest Swords | Fjree Feather EP

Six early Forest Sword tracks which were originally thrown on the extended second version of the Dagger Paths EP, which I don’t have. Though this isn’t as good as Dagger Paths, it’s still a pretty badass demonstration of Forest Swords’ unique, dub-oriented take on psych.

17. Inga Copeland | Inga Copeland EP

One half of the amazing Hype Williams, Inga Copeland’s debut solo EP is a logical extension of her Hype Williams work; the same kind of sparse arrangements, only here Copeland’s vocals give the songs more of a pop bent. Definitely an interesting appendix to what Hype Williams have put out this year.

16. James Ferraro | Condo Pets EP

This is an extension of Ferraro’s fascinating Far Side Virtual LP. If aliens came to earth and captured all the sounds of cities and shopping centres and late night television and the internet and mobile phones, then distilled everything they’d heard, it would sound like this.

15. Clams Casino | Rainforest EP

The Instrumentals mixtape from Clams Casino was quite good, but since it was mostly beats made for rappers, I was curious how he sounded purely on his own terms. The tracks here are just as slick as those on Instrumentals but even more focused and purposeful.

14. Dro Carey | Much Coke EP

Another budding producer type, this time an Australian. Dro Carey got my attention with his remix of Collarbones’ excellent single Don Juan, which led me to this release, as well as his later Candy Red single. There’s something unique about his style, awkward and stuttery on first listen, but the underlying logic gradually comes through, as if your ears just needed time to adjust to Dro Carey’s language.

13. Hype Williams | Kelly Price Weight Gain Vol. II EP

No, I don’t know what the title means and none of the tracks offer any clue. This is a brief 13-minute excursion into the same sonic territory covered by One Nation. These tracks seem to be simple offcuts that didn’t quite fit. They sit loosely but comfortably here, with the finest moment going to the literally poetic Badmind.

12. Massive Attack vs Burial | Four Walls 12”

Burial seems to be collaborating all over the place at the moment and Massive Attack prove to be a fine match here. The ten-minute title track is built slowly and ornately. It gradually spills over itself, new sounds replacing old sounds until you’re at a place quite different to where you started from.

11. Boomgates | Layman’s Terms 7”

The key to Brendan Huntley’s lyrics in Eddy Current Suppression Ring is his simplicity, honesty and total lack of pretence. Layman’s Terms is a manifestation of the well-meaning, self-deprecating persona he has built in that band, but more than that, it’s a brilliant pop song. When Steph Hughes chimes in with her vocals I melt a little bit. On the other side of the wax is Nothing, another great pop song that makes me ache for a Boomgates full-length.

10. Total Control | Pyre Island 7”

I ordered this on a whim after hearing a stream of the title track. Total Control already held appeal for me owing to the fact that they were made up of members of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The UV Race, but this turbulent little krautrocket of a song, sounding more like Holy Fuck than either of the bands aforementioned, sealed the deal.

09. Animal Collective | Keep [cs]

This is some sort of weird buy these shoes, get this cassette deal. It sports four solo songs from each member of the band, including the long-absent Deakin. His song Country Report is the best of the crop, its tinkling piano and Deakin’s soaring vocals fitting neatly into the Animal Collective aesthetic but also highlighting the void he left in the band. I’m glad he’s back.

08. Burial | Street Halo 12”

In the hype/backlash cycle which seems to be the main pivot of music’s relationship with the internet, I get the feeling that Burial’s turn is just around the corner. In the meantime though, this is another three very solid tracks. Burial isn’t really changing up his sound, just continuing to do what he does best: dark, moody beat-driven pieces perfect for a dark and stormy night.

07. Thee Oh Sees / Total Control | Thee Oh Sees / Total Control 12”

Thee Oh Sees are an old favourite of mine, and Total Control are rapidly becoming a new favourite. I believe the two bands toured together in the US this year, which is the raison d’etre for this fast-selling split vinyl release. It’s substantial too, with four tracks from each band. Two of Thee Oh Sees’ tracks are reworkings from Castlemania, everything else is shiny and new and oh so good.

06. Naked On The Vague | Clock Of Twelves 12”

We’re getting into the really good stuff now. Naked On The Vague’s gothic, guttural post-punk is at the peak of its powers here. This release has something to do with a short film project by the same name but the songs are already totally evocative on their own. All the tracks here are excellent but the moment the guitars come in on opener The Gift is positively thrilling.

05. Holy Other | With U EP

Electronic label Tri-Angle, who also put out Clams Casino’s Rainforest EP mentioned above, have had a very high strike-rate this year, and this is perhaps the pinnacle of their output. Slow, haunting and dense, there’s a whole miniature world to get lost in here.

04. Teams vs Star Slinger | Teams vs Star Slinger EP

This collaboration between Teams and Star Slinger was an extremely pleasant surprise, given that I’d never heard either artist before and had no idea what to expect. Their modus operandi here is reappropriating old soul tunes and putting them into a framework of slick beats and chipmunk-ised vocals. It’s incredibly effective.

03. Maria Minerva | Noble Savage 12”

I can’t remember how I got on to Maria Minerva, all I know is that I’m glad I did. Her warped disco sensibilities have something in common with LA Vampires (she's also on 100% Silk, the LA Vampires wing of Not Not Fun), as does her loose, delirious and detuned vocal style, but both women are carving their own distinct niches in seedy, fucked-up nighttime pop.

02. LA Vampires Goes Ital | Streetwise 12”

Speaking of which. This is a collaboration between LA Vampires and Ital (also on 100% Silk), but it feels thoroughly dominated by the former. There’s just such a rich atmosphere in these four tracks. The lurid, hazy distance of the aesthetic is like a black hole. Though the colossal, rough beat on a track like Tons Of Love sounds as if its rumbling from somewhere miles away, the song drags you into its unholy centre and seduces you.

01. Lana Del Rey | Video Games 7”

The only reason I ever listened to this song was because it was called Video Games (because I like video games, lolz). It turned out to be rather fantastic. I don’t care if Del Rey’s image is manufactured or if she had plastic surgery or used some clips for her video sans permission. I have no fucks to give thereto. This song is just a beautiful piece of work no matter which way you look at it. Any notion that it might be a fluke has been dispelled by flipside track Blue Jeans, and forthcoming album cut Born To Die. Both are excellent. The lady's got talent.

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