This, you have to understand, is entirely random and dependent on my mood after a night with little sleep. All the following songs are drawn from my Song Of The Day series, here on Collapse Board. For simplicity, I’ve tried to include songs only released during 2011 (i.e. none of the gorgeous after-the-event discoveries, or even songs from 2010). I’ve also tried to showcase male artists where possible, to prove that I have no prejudice against the weaker sex. (It’s not easy. There just seems to be a complete lack of good male-fronted music. Why is this? Do men simply not enjoy making music?)
You can find the videos if you track back through the links to the original posts.
Cults photography: Greg Neate
1. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Chosen for its lightness of touch
Not a note wasted, not a note pointlessly repeated. Not least among its virtues, Let England Shake is a triumph in restraint
Or to put it more concisely: The new Radiohead album is 37 minutes long, but only contains 37 seconds of music. Let England Shake is 39.6 minutes and contains exactly 39.6 minutes of music. I can’t help feeling that sides me with the Jools Holland’s of this world. Fuck it. Another reason to feel conflicted over Polly. Her music is rooted in a certain tradition, even as she messes with that tradition and builds upon that tradition and moves that tradition onwards and upwards. Radiohead do nothing except be Radiohead.
2. Pris – Blu-Tack Baby
Chosen for its invigorating powers
One great way of judging music is thus: “Are the band having way more fun than me? Do I wanna go get stupid inebriated amnesiac with them? Do I want to fool-dance manically down the front and trip over BANG among the drum pedals?” Are they the anti-Daisy Lowe? The anti-Tori Amos? The anti-Kings OF FUCKING LEON? Do they perform in their underwear? ARE THEY HAVING MORE FUN THAN THE OTHER 50,000 PEOPLE IN THE ROOM COMBINED? Yes, yes yes!
3. Gyratory System – New Harmony
Chosen for its continued ability to surprise
All I know is I love this music and that if my 20-month-old son Daniel was here he’d love it too, and that it bounces and quirks like a wind-up set of chattering teeth, and that it might well depict London aurally but fits in real nice with the a/c surroundings of The Gap, and that I love the way you never know what to expect next from all these “steam-powered sequencers”, and that the NME‘s description of their first album as “Kraftwerk meets Looney Tunes” is right on the money, with a little Metronomy and 23 Skidoo thrown in, and that I could quite happily have this music on any hour of the day, any day of the week.
4. Karaocake – It Doesn’t Take A Whole Week
Chosen for its theatrical desolation
“1-2-3-4-5-6-7 days and it’s over/I fucked up big time/You screwed up everything/You screwed up everything/You screwed up everything,” the French girl intones dolefully over a jaunty, jittery Casio beat – like a phalanx of Gameboys left to run wild on the kitchen table in Gregory’s Girl. There’s something very Jane Bond And The Undercover Men about this, but way more intense and not playful at all, or a little bit George Pringle (only far more melancholy).
5. Shannon And The Clams – Sleep Talk
Chosen for its inflamed girl group hamonies
Imagine Etta James duking it out with the lady from The Detroit Cobras over reverb-drenched gorgeousness, plus a little punk manhandling that even YOU Mr Scared White Indie Boy In The Corner Tentatively Trying To Grow A Fleet Foxes Style Beard might well fall for if only you remembered what it was like to have fun. Sure it’s a little aggressive. So is life. So what the fuck are you waiting for?
6. Cults – Go Outside
Chosen for its shameless capture of the zeitgeist
This music is too precious to be left in the hands of the hipsters alone. Yes, I’ve come to it late. Yes, I’m way unhip. But you know what? You move out to Brisbane and come through the other side and you realise that much as there is an undeniable thrill to be had in discovering music first – and there is – this is only the very slightest of the pleasures to be derived when compared to that of actually listening to the music. Here. Maybe you too aren’t lucky enough to exist within the reach of the post-No Age kids, and aren’t a Vice editor. Don’t be worried. Come enjoy this. Music to make you swoon.
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