December 2012 playlist

AHsgjegfjhkeahenbaf! my first ever blog as a twenty year old.

Extremely scary/exciting times. I can’t post on time so apologies about that…my hands are usually red and freezing since I lost yet another pair of gloves.

Mundanity aside, since my last blog I’ve been listening to SO much music, ungodly amounts for someone who doesn’t even carry an iPod around anymore…and written a few cultural bits and bobs (this for The Guardian on Cuckoo, this on Womens Hour (radio show, not the band), again for The Guardian and also live music reviews for The Fly (Frank Turner at the O2 Academy in Newcastle) and Hooded Fang at The Cluny in Newcastle for NME!! (should scan this in soon)). Now all I need to do is write a list of my top tracks of 2012 …but before then…

I’ve stopped writing essays/reading Rookie for five minutes and opened my diary. This is my diary…I made it myself:

 

Inside you’ll find: workyperky, a list of potential train times for going home to London (picking.the.trains.that.don’t.stop.too.lazy.to.move), the spanish word for bruise, some pictures of slugs I drew in a café with the worst service ever (40 minutes for a coffee…jog on…no wait I’ll just stay and draw slugs in a passive-agressive fashion) and some notes on the new + nearly new music I’ve been listening to lately. If you want more new music I recommend the newly-launched new music blog http://thisbandthatband.tumblr.com/, Robbie over at  http://theflashpod.tumblr.com/ and of course BBC 6 Music on the radio… anyhow, here are the bits I’ve copied out of my diary:

Turnpike Glow – why.isn’t.it.summer.2013.already.

China Rats – this safe but punchy (yeah, I’m not sure how that works either)  foursome sound like they drink K Cider out of Cath Kidston mugs. In other words, incredible. Fellow Leeds boys The Sunshine Underground seem an obvious reference point.

PINS- another fourpiece. They like strobes. They like fringes. They like pillow fights. They shop at River Island for checked pants and ask boys on street corners for filters. PINS are the sort of band I’ve been waiting for an invitation to join since I found myself watching Girls and eating chinese takeaways on a regular basis. Building up an underground following, 2012 saw the release of the Manchester girls’ first EP – ‘LUVU4LYF’ – on Bella Union. A dark and rousing mix of abstract noise and punk riffs, its perfect for moments of emotional crisis or, erm, long bus journeys. File besides: The Kills, Siouxie and The Banshees circa Israel.

Cassius – This is the noughtie-tens. The noughtie-teens. The noughteens. A legendary French electro duo bring minimal house, electro house, tech house, deep house and probably some other varieties of house to this Boiler Room session at cool Parisian hotel W Opera. See http://www.theswitch.fr/ for more or just hop on a Eurostar, preferably juxtaposing Carven with Primark. Just don’t bob up and down like the kids in the vid.

Allah Las – The high production values and excessive ‘ahs’ are self aware nods to  ritual reinterpretation and their self-titled debut is a pleasure to listen to…but will enough listeners persevere with three minute chunks of the 70s that sound like they should be on your dad’s iTunes wishlist? If you can deal with Alabama Shakes and have a Magic Numbers CD hiding in a drawer somewhere then you’ll probably find yourself whistling rather than gritting your teeth.

OLD REVIEWS

‘cos everyone loves an old review that’s been sitting in the extension of my diary (read: Gmail drafts folder) for a few months. Plus Alunageorge are finally getting exposure if the BBC Sound Of polls still have any relevance…

Alunageorge – Put Up Your Hands (released Jul 2012)
Welcome to 2040. A cryogenic Bird and The Bee have been defrosted in Blighty, and pumped full of Pro Plus, Serato and Janet Jackson’s Number Ones. Oh wait, it’s just the new one from Alunageorge. Wholesome r’n’b grooves from George. Sugar-sweet vocals courtesy of Aluna. Even though the most salient point of the song is raising your hands à la Fedde Le Grand, Fat Man Scoop and, erm, S Club, this futureproof slice of garage-pop is achingly cool. For fans of Disclosure, (ironic) snapbacks and Nandos.
Cheatahs – The Swan Track Review Oct 2012
Two parts painfully constructed nineties vibe to one part sub-Pavement bassline equals something catchy…but unfortunately for Cheatahs the familiar quickly becomes the predictable. Why frontman Nathan Hewitt ignored his calling as an Elliott Smith-influenced strummer (Cheatahs started off as a lo-fi one-man project) to make such mediocre music is anyone’s guess, but now that he’s touring the UK with The Cribs  I hope he enjoys eating Skips with the Jarmans in a layby off the M4.
Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Album Review Oct 2012
The electronica has been turned up to 11, but even a romance with Skrillex didn’t jumpstart Ellie G’s career as a full-on dubstep artist. She reprises the folksy approach she took on “Your Song” for the title track amongst others, but for the most part this is rejected in favour of a polite brand of bassy, dark and tumultuous electropop. Her timorous lyricism about love spreading like fire through her veins is drowned out by complex synths on “Don’t Say a Word”. Likewise “Figure 8” is ruined by prosaic production…yet it seems that juxtaposing overdone and half-baked was the idea here. For every overly nasal forte into clubland there’s another forgettable chart-orientated Goulding classic, destined for a BBC 1 Christmas ident. Even appearances from Tinie Tempah and Calvin Harris can’t make this album into something special…it lacks definable soul for the most part, and pointless vocal meandering gets repetitive. Unfortunately, this messy mix makes occasionally profound ballads (“JOY”, “Dead In The Water”) feel turgid, and perfect pop gems (“Ritual”) calculatingly formulaic. Perhaps a dubstep career would help Goulding re-focus and work out exactly what message she’s conveying to her fans…”Anything Could Happen” she sings on the track of the same name…but, erm, does anything actually happen at all?
*
H
xx
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