March 30, 2013

Q1: Slow nights, fast nights

image by santinojrivera

In no order, my Top Songs for the first quarter of 2013. I put on just one song by each artist, which was a serious task in some cases. Still, this has been a slow season. Not a lot of great records out. You can hear/see these tunes by clicking on the title...

Röyksopp (with Susanne Sundfør) Running To The Sea
Like a great novel, the first line draws you in...  "I could hear them howling from afar / I saw them rushing to your car." 

New Order Californian Grass
Everything I wanted from New Order on this EP. Shimmering.

Gold Fields Happy Boy 
A surprise mid tempo twist from their debut LP. I love the mix of resignation and defiance in the lyric - and the violin laced into the end.

Little Boots Motorway 
Literally perfect. Like a sleek bullet. Night driving music.

Young Galaxy Pretty Boy 
This one immediately hits you with that rhythm that loops into your brain. And vocalist Catherine McCandless singing "You're my pretty boy, always" is the sweet spot.

Haim Falling 
The LA hipster sisters do it again. Except for the fact their show fucked up my ear LOL

Tegan and Sara Shock To Your System 
How to choose a song from such a perfect pop album. This slayer gets it for the way the pounding "what you are is lonely" conclusion winds down to a lonesome piano.

Rhye Major Minor Love 
Unknowns deliver fingersnap-beat smooth fuck music.

Johnny Marr New Town Velocity
As a friend said, it's like a lost Electronic song. A captured-in-amber memory of youth.

Fryars In My Arms
Swooning midtempo from an English dude. This song is a total earworm.  Fans of Jamie Woon may dig his sound.

Frida Sundemo Indigo (Strings Version)
Her EP has several new tunes, but I keep sticking on this pure beauty (the studio version was in my Top Songs of 2012).

The Good Natured Lovers 
Produced by Richard X, this is a serious blast of pop. Love the bitchy "shut up and fuck me" lyrics. 

King Need a Woman by Friday (feat. Trombone Shorty) 
Swaggering. Worthy of an 80's Brit group like Blow Monkeys.

Belinda Carlisle Sun
BC's first proper pop single in fifteen years. And it shines. Give her the right song and she knocks it the fuck out. More please.

Jessie Ware Imagine It Was Us
A perfect, seductive dance track. Jessie's imperial moment continues; she never gilds the lily, does she? She just is.

KING In The Meantime
The chorus! It reminds me of the heyday of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Justin Timberlake Strawberry BubblegumThe great songs on 20/20 are sublime, but it's just a bit overindulgent. I had a hard time picking between this, Blue Ocean Floor and Don't Hold The Wall. Ignore these lyrics and just vibe on it.

Slow Knights I Got It That Bad
Del Marquis gathers a collective of vocalists on his new LP, in this case Chrissi Poland on a sleek 80's rock/soul ballad. On the link above, play 1:45 - 2:15.

Active Child Evening Ceremony
Not an official single. The first new music we've heard since his debut doesn't alter the template much, but the result is nonetheless beautiful.


Worthy recent albums: Tegan And Sara (perfect), New Order, Slow Knights, Gold Fields, Frida Sundemo, Suede, Rhye

What's coming: Pet Shop Boys, Alison Moyet, AVAN LAVA, St Lucia, Haim, Little Boots, Young Galaxy, Autoheart, OMD

Disappointments: Hurts, Depeche Mode, Hurts. Ra Ra Riot, Hurts, 


Anonymous said...

I really don't get the love for the new Little Boots track, just don't connect with it for some reason.

Don't get the Hurts hate that's going around. Maybe since so many people are hating it, my expectations were low and when tracks play during shuffle. I've stopped a few times to see which one was playing.

xolondon said...

So what do you LIKE? :)

Anonymous said...

My favorite album of the first quarter of 2013 is the new Kate Nash album, Girl Talk. It's kind of a different sound for her, more rock and punk oriented but still with great pop hooks. Check it out if you like Hole and the Breeders. It also has some softer ballads like Are you there Sweetheart? It hasn't been promoted that much in the US, but I love it.
I liked the new Depeche Mode album. Why didn't you like it?

xolondon said...

I think it's just too dirgey. Not enough melody, same old dark lyrics. It just seems like it lacks something special.

countpopula said...

I thought the Depeche was OK--not their best, but OK. What I DO like about it is that some of the tracks actually remind me of stuff from WAY back--Broken sounds more like Leave in Silence than Behind the Wheel to me. Also, I like that Dave & Martin are singing more TOGETHER these days, as opposed to being one or the other. They feel more collaborative (even if Martin deserves a better song than The Child Inside).

Thanks for the Belinda tip! I had no idea about that song. Will have to buy. Even if a bit plastic, her vocal sounds great.

I AM surprised none of these made your list in song form: Suede, Shout Out Louds, Mary Onettes, John Grant, Laura Mvula, and Alison Moyet. Thought one or more of these would have been right up your music alley. Glad to see Young Galaxy, Little Boots, and Tegan & Sara on your list though. However, I do NOT understand the love/hype over the JT record. It's OK, but no classic. Prince needs to try harder.

Poor Hurts. I haven't even bothered hearing it as so many have slagged it off, and the clips sounded so safe and boring. What happened there? You would think they would get tired of ballad mode after a bit.

Anonymous said...

But isn't Depeche Mode always morose and dark? Complaining about that is like complaining water is wet or Madonna is too sexy. That's who they are and their appeal to some people.
I must be out of it, because I've never heard of the Hurts. I certainly wasn't waiting for that one! Are they one of those typical overhyped NME UK bands who only make one good record never to be heard from again?

Roland said...

HURTS have made such a terrible bad album that is so correct, but Depeche Mode have made a terrible good album, there are you not right


auditory love said...

I actually really like the new Ra Ra Riot. Especially 'When I Dream' -it's gorgeous! So excited for Little Boots :) So let down by Hurts :(

V said...

I actually love the new Depeche Mode. A heck of a lot better than their last two albums. I'll have to fire up the ole bloggy and talk about it more there.

xolondon said...

I am v picky this year!