20 tracks from 2012

And here we are, the end of another year. Let's get to some list making, shall we?

First up: singles. Well, mostly singles - some non-singles pop up along the way - and one may or may not have actually been from 2011 but given a proper single release in 2012, so we're counting that too.

20.) Alphabeat - Vacation
The album was a bit of a dud, but this one sat on just the right side of being too sicky sweet. (Barely.)

19.) Will Young - I Just Want A Lover (Extended Mix)
So it's from 2011, really, but this version didn't appear until 2012 so we're counting it. Again, Richard X should be in charge of everything.

18.) Mirrors - Blood Diamond (Home Demo)
Things seem to have gone silent in Camp Mirrors, but this one shows that if they ever get a shot an album #2, they've got a good starting point.

17.) Little Boots - Headphones (Dimitri From Paris Remix)
The original is "For Tomorrow" goes to the club, but DJ Dimitri wraps that up in straight-up "Into The Groove 2012". Can we please have an album already?

16.) The Joy Formidable - Cholla
The wall of sound returns with album 2 ready to go just as the campaign for 1 is wrapping up. That's the way to do it. It's no "Whirring", but then again what is?

15.) Van She - Idea of Happiness
On the flip side, Van She sure took their time with album 2 but it was ultimately worth the wait - especially when the lead single comes with such a fantastic GusGus-esque video.

14.) Moonlight Matters - Come For Me (feat. Gustaph)
I just became aware of this one a few days back but it instantly shot up my list. Good to see someone continuing the early-90's house/pop revival that Alphabeat started with 'The Beat Is...'. 

13.) The Ting Tings - Hit Me Down Sonny
'Sounds From Nowheresville' is the most fantastic career suicide attempt this side of Elastica's 'The Menace', and this is one of its many highlights.

12.) Pop Levi - Strawberry Shake
After sitting silent for a few years, Pop Levi returns out of nowhere with a single as funkily weird as anything in his discography. Huzzah!

11.) Pet Shop Boys - Leaving
"Being boring 2012"? Kindasortanotreally. The highlight of an uneven album? Absolutely.

10.) Imperial Teen - Runaway
We may only get new Imperial Teen every four or five years, but when they reconvene they do it in a big way.

09.) Sylver Tongue - Creatures
Charlotte Hatherley adopts a synth/art-pop loving persona and decides that indie-jungle is the way to go. And it works.

08.) Steve Mason - Fight Them Back
Another late entry, Mr. Mason gives us a preview of what he's been working on the past few years.

07.) Dragonette - Untouchable
I had my issues with 'Bodyparts' and ultimately I couldn't come around to it. That said, this is 100% classic Dragonette and sends chills up my spine every time. Also, lyric of the year in "your divinity only makes me feel dirty".
(Not available for streaming anywhere? Lame!)

05.) TIE: R. Ring - Fall Out & Fire / Kim Deal - Walking With A Killer
While I'd love a new Breeders album - we're getting the 'LSXX' tour next year so at least I'll get a live show - I'm equally excited about new projects from both of the Deal twins. Kelley paired up with Mike Montgomery to bring us a slightly less sloppy take on the incredibly messy guitar pop the Kelley Deal 6000 excelled at, and Kim remains impossibly genius with the fractured anti-pop of "Walking With A Killer". More, please!

04.) Robbie Williams - Candy
Robbie's biggest pop moment in ages.

03.) Ultrasound - Beautiful Sadness
The reunion that should not be continues, following up last year's as-good-as-they-ever-were "Welfare State" with something even better.

02.) Blur - The Puritan
Everything you ever loved about Blur in under 4 minutes. This should be getting wayyyyyy more attention than it is.

01.) Death Grips - I've Seen Footage
Duh. Too bad about everything else.


first thoughts: Dragonette - Bodyparts

As expected, 'Bodyparts' is a solid third album from Dragonette...but it's not the album I want at all. Good for all those Solveig collabs for pretty much allowing this album to exist, but his inspiration has leaked all over this thing and it's so...not not them, but a very bright, streamlined version of them.

That said, "Untouchable" and perhaps "My Legs" are fucking fantastic, so maybe there's still hope they'll outgrow this phase.


I'm sad a Frog just died last night

Places are reporting that Dennis Frog is missing and presumed dead.

Funny how things work - you go to bed one night having just listened to the first new Frogs albums in over a decade thinking how glad you are to have them, then you wake up and half of the band has pulled a Jeff Buckley in a Wisconsin lake. (He totally would have written a triple concept album about it before you accuse me of being insensitive.)

Rest in peace, Evil Jack.


slave to the hula hoop

Usually, if the internet can't shut up about something it's not worth your time. I'm struggling to think of a specific example right now - thanks, wine! - but generally if it is "trending on Facebook", it's something that was interesting at first but has long past its expiration date.


This has shown up countless times in the past few days and is worth every post and then some:

Grace Jones. Hula hooping through the whole of "Slave to the Rhythm". Wishing the Queen a "happy birthday!" for her Diamond Jubilee.


The bar has been raised for every performance ever, in the world.


Blur, boxed

Blur have gone and put this together.

For any sane fan, it's a wet dream of Blur goodness. OK, so we're re-buying 14 discs of material we already have to get three discs of new stuff plus a few DVDs we'll watch once, possibly rip the audio from and then shelve, but still. This turned out better than we had dared hope for...however, would it *really* have killed them to give us the complete Singles night? We get it, you hate "Bang", get over it.

(What, no tuning forks? What a rip off!)


i've seen footage



+ a little of


The rest of the album is nowhere near as amazeballs at this - there's a track near the end that's close - but this is the track to beat for 2012 so far.

Fan. Fucking. Tastic.


when I went to the burger stand

Let's briefly talk about how genius Klymaxx's "The Men All Pause" is.

So we start and we're at home, our nails done and hair fierce, feeling sleazy - we've all been there - so we're gonna head down to the local speakeasy. Good use of rhyme but I don't think our story takes place in 1920. Anyways, we turn some heads, probably get a few free beverages and we're on our way to verse two...

...when we walk in to the local burger joint to turn some more heads. Yes, we're cruisin' the In-n-Out or some shit like that. The men all put down their burgers and sodas and stare. Amazing.

But wait, this goes on for a bit, then about five minutes into our seven minute tale, we decide we have better things to do and peace out, leaving our ladies - and, presumably, Jimmy Jam - to finish things up for us.



suga from nowheresville

If - instead of recruiting Heidi, pairing up with Richard X to become the early 00's electro-pop-Princesses and signing with Island after being dropped from London and booting Siobahn to the curb - Keisha and Mutya had decided to go it as a duo and sign with a re-booted Grand Royal to become the next Brassy, the Sugababes may very well have made 'Songs From Nowheresville' some time around 2002.

That's a good thing.

Also, the artwork. It's doubtful anyone will be able to touch it the rest of the year.



farewell, Davy Jones

The Monkees were part of many musical firsts for me.

They were my first two concerts, both in 1986 on the 20th Anniversary Tour. At one, my cousin Stephanie was able to go back stage at meet Davy - or all three? I forget - and I remember sitting in the car BAWLING my eyes out because I didn't get to meet them. (I was six, give me a break.) Stephanie and I would later see them on the 1996 30th Anniversary Tour, and Todd and I attempted to go to last summer's 45th Anniversary Tour but were shocked to find out both nights in Niagara Falls had sold out. Damn!

Rhino LP reissues of the first few albums were amongst my first records and a series of three cassettes of dubs of the first six albums supplemented by "bonus tracks" recorded from the TV show that my cousin made for me started a tradition of "homemade deluxe editions" on cassette that I would continue well into the 90's. The cassettes are still around somewhere and the records - a bit battered and bruised from overuse at the hands of a six year old - are still on my shelf. A few years later, I'd have my first lesson different record pressings and the differences in stere/mono as I inherited a few Colgems original pressings from my babysitter, also pretty beat up but still on the shelf. The Rhino CD reissues from the mid-90's would be one of the first, if not the first times I rebought a band's discography for bonus tracks and remasterings. (Some of the albums I bought for the first time - I never even knew of the existence of 'Instant Replay' before that campaign. That said, I still have yet to bother with the reissue of 'Changes' because, well, obviously.)

Along with "Weird Al", they were my first favorite band.

Admittedly Davy was never my favorite - I was always a Peter or Mike type of boy - but I grew to appreciate what he brought to the table as I got older. Tracks like "Early Morning Blues and Greens" and "Hard To Believe" that I used to skip over to get to the "good stuff" resonated a bit more as the years went on and I came to see their place in the Monkees' discography. His death today was totally out of nowhere and has had lead me on a fantastic trip down Monkees memory lane. I'm even sadder that I missed the 45th Anniversary Tour now - which got rave reviews from pretty much all who saw it - as it also sadly turned out to be the last hurrah.

Had I to pick, this would be my favorite Davy song:

Thank you for the music.


low times

School of Seven Bells have a new album out soon.

You can stream it at The Hype Machine if you wish.

It's the worst kind of bad - it's (to be kind) boring.

Thanks for two amazing records guys, but I am out.



stfu mdna

That's the tracklist for the iTunes version of the new Madonna album, the questionably (at best, for many reasons) titled 'MDNA'.

Even beyond the terrible titles amongst the first fifteen tracks, you'll notice that track sixteen is a remix featuring - and I can't even believe I'm typing this - LMFAO.

Aaaaand, done.


smart phone

I was listening to my radio channel on Last.fm while driving around today and it started out promising with Kaiser Chiefs' "Modern Way" and then a track off the Gotye record. All of a sudden something from 'Biophilia' started - how'd that get there? - but before I could get to the fast forward and/or ban button, the stream froze and started to re-buffer. Instead of going back to the monstrosity already in progress, Roxy Music's "Remake/Remodel" started.

That's what I call a smart phone.

(Yes, the image and bitching is childish and petty but it makes me smile. So there.)


slight return

The Bluetones' 'Expecting To Fly' - from 1996 - on the left, Ani DiFranco's 'Which Side Are You On' - due out on Tuesday - on the right.

This is the same peacock, right?


love me or die, bitch

I realized recently that I chose the 'Notorious' and 'Big Thing' reissues as two of the best reissues of 2011, an honor I also gave them in 2010, the year they actually came out. Whoops.

So, in their place I nominate The Frogs - and, let's be honest, had I known about this before the end of 2011 they certainly would have been on the list in the first place. Five of their home made tapes have been released on iTunes - welcome back to print, 'Made-Up Cassette (A)' and 'Made-Up Cassette (B)', along with 'Made-Up Reels 1,6' 'Made-Up Reels 6,8' and 'Death Songs'. (I previously only had the last one so this is pretty exciting.)

I remember back around 2000 or 2001 they made a whole slew of these things available on CD through their website and at shows. I bought 'Death Songs' and 'CBGayB' from them at a show and always meant to get more - OK, the rest - but never got around to it, and then all of a sudden they were gone. Here's a start to fixing that, let's hope we get more.

In even more exciting Frogs news, their MySpace (!!) has been updated to note that there are not one, but TWO new albums coming out on Valentine's Day. 'Count Yer Blessingsz' and 'Squirrel Bunny Jupiter Deluxe' are less than a month away! They appear to be iTunes only for now, but maybe more later.

(In a bit of unintentional humor, the band are tagged as "Singer/Songwriter" on iTunes - which isn't wrong, I suppose - so when you buy one of these from the site you may get a Ping recommendation of, say, 'The Best of Simon & Garfunkel'. [See above.] Hilarity ensues.)


2011 according to last.fm


Thank you, reissues.