Saturday, January 14, 2017

Feel good hits of the 14th January

1. 'Before We Run' - Yo La Tengo
Recently revisiting 2013's Fade, I was a little disappointed to feel that it starts to, well, fade out after the sublime 'Cornelia & Jane'. Nevertheless, the subdued and perhaps sub-par quality of both 'Two Trains' and 'The Point Of It' helps to throw Georgia-led album closer 'Before We Run' into relief: a gorgeous, beautifully woven tapestry of a song that surely ranks among the very best of a sizeable back catalogue.

2. 'Drone Logic' - Daniel Avery
The fact that this intense, sonically sumptuous techno track was thrown up by YouTube following on from some Factory Floor tracks (no doubt because Avery has remixed 'How You Say') suggests that I should maybe place more faith in algorithms - and that, at the age of nearly 40, I might finally be properly getting into dance music.

3. 'Nobody Speak' - DJ Shadow feat. Run The Jewels
This track's cartoonish aggressive rap battle would be enjoyable enough on its own, but Sam Pilling's video turns it into a hip-hop reboot of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Two Tribes', a critique of playground politics. Run The Jewels' third LP, out yesterday, is definitely on my radar - and, much as I like to think I have wide-ranging tastes, there aren't too many rap albums you can say that about.

4. 'Crystal Gypsy' - Sebadoh
Some time before Christmas, thanks to a great post on Dukla Prague Away Kit, I dug out Bakesale, reacquainting myself with its joys. From there, I moved to its successor Harmacy - and before long was of the opinion that an album I've always liked but never really loved is actually superior. The ragged, raw punk of Jason Loewenstein's 'Crystal Gypsy' certainly helped to tip the balance.

5. 'Breathing' - Kate Bush
Kate Bush has adopted a lot of personas in her time, but probably none quite so striking as the foetus of 'Breathing', temporarily cocooned within the womb but about to be exposed to the horrors of nuclear fallout. It reached #16 in the charts, incredibly. They don't make 'em like that anymore - though they might start to do so again given the new resident of the White House and the increased nuclear threat...

6. 'Babes Never Die' - Honeyblood
Like Savages at the start of 2016, Honeyblood had a rallying cry and this was it. 'Babes Never Die' sets the tone for the album of the same name: punchy, hooky, Best-Coasty, vintage 90s indie rock.

7. 'Sunshine Smile' - Adorable
I've got fellow Sounding Bored founder and shoegaze enthusiast Rob to thank for introducing me to this, which steers the right side of the Britpop divide courtesy of those guitars and the satisfyingly noisy climax.

8. 'Engrams' - Three Trapped Tigers
I may have left Nightshift and Oxford behind, but I can still thank Ronan for first alerting me to the existence of Three Trapped Tigers, who had somehow hitherto completely passed me by. 'Engrams', from last year's Silent Earthling LP, is stunning, exemplifying the sort of frenetic percussive energy and proggy tendencies that position them as a British answer to Battles. Their November gig at the Academy is just one of many that will, hopefully, one day be written up...

9. 'Ignorecam' - Pissed Jeans
Given that ignorance, sex workers and the obsession with being the centre of attention are all hot topics at the moment (*cough* Trump), this song - which imagines if men paid camgirls to ignore them rather than lavish sexual attention on them - could be considered rather timely.

10. 'Creepin' - Moon Duo
I'm reviewing Moon Duo's Occult Architecture Vol I (as the title implies, there'll be a second installment out later this year) as my first assignment for Buzz. To be honest, if you've heard any of their previous records, you'll know what to expect. Not that continuing to plow the propulsive psych-garage furrow is at all a bad thing, mind.

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