Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Well I've finally found a band that sounds similar to Bloc Party. And no, contrary to popular belief, it's not every fucking band you can think of from England. I mean christ, I feel like Jason Segel's character from How I Met Your Mother when he is looking for the perfect burger and morons consistently suggest the most obvious places to look.

Undeserved animosity aside, We Are Tokyo, an Indie band from Bristol certainly sound a whole lot like Bloc Party's early stuff, mixed with the sounds from A Weekend In The City. They currently have a few EPs out at the moment, and unfortunately, no, they aren't anywhere near as talented as Kele and the gang, but hey, Bloc Party's pre-Silent Alarm releases were rough around the edges too.

Possibly not as exciting to anyone else as they are to me, but We Are Tokyo are definitely going on my "To Watch" list.

A Victory, I - We Are Tokyo
Perfect Hands - We Are Tokyo



Here's a pretty chill track from an artist called Baxter, if you're a fan of Anoraak then definitely check this out. Like all good songs, Proof is about the slow decline of a relationship into collapse, with silky smooth vocals and spacey synth-work. Very difficult to find information on this guy, so apologies for not being able to provide a link to his website.

Proof - Baxter


Lo-Fi-Fnk are a Swedish Electro Duo who released an album; Boylife, in 2006 which was largely ignored by all but the most tenacious musical explorers. This is likely due to the lack of release in many countries, but don't let that stop you from ordering it online or searching yourself at any good record store. Considering the date of release, this stuff was pretty cutting edge back in 2006, these days Lo-Fi-Fnk will sound similar to a few bands kicking around at the moment, great Electro-Pop without a doubt.

Steppin' Out - Lo-Fi-Fnk
Change Channel - Lo-Fi-Fnk



Friendly Fires recently re-released their self-titled debut, and I would definitely recommend the purchase if you haven't already picked it up. For $19.99AUD I got the album, a CD of previously unreleased bonus songs and remixes and a DVD with four music videos and a live concert, Friendly Fires Live At The Forum. If you haven't heard Friendly Fires before, think of a mix between Klaxons and Metronomy; if you haven't heard Metronomy before; they are a combination of Friendly Fires and Klaxons. And if you haven't heard Klaxons before; kill yourself immediately.

Kiss Of Life - Friendly Fires
Bored Of Each Other - Friendly Fires



As always, go out and buy this music please, these songs are only for sample purposes, if you like what you hear, then buy the albums these artists slave over, if not, then delete them, the futile defence against music piracy begins with YOU!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TOP 100 SONGS OF THE 2000's (10-1)

The 2000's are really one of the best eras to be in musically
. Of course both the very wise and the very ignorant will argue against this statement, but no other point in time before this has it been both so easy to create music and share it with the world, and so possible to have it sound like whatever the hell takes your fancy.

I've always described the 2000's as an amalgamation of all of the best parts that have come before it. Whether it's fashion, design or music, all of it cuts and pastes from trends of the 60's, 70's, 80's and (thankfully least of all) the 90's. However due to the wonderful power of hindsight, we can trim off all those ugly fads that took the world by storm when we knew no better, and what we're left with is the best of the best.

And what better way to celebrate the versatility of this great time we live in (creatively at least), than to count down the top 100 songs of the 2000's.


100 - 90
89 - 80
79 - 70
69 - 60
59 - 50
49 - 40
39 - 30
29 - 20
19 - 11



An Honest Mistake - The Bravery

An Honest Mistake is easily the best song in The Bravery's re
pertoire, the indie-dance identity of the song is juxtaposed with a really distorted raw guitar presence that's reminiscent of the previously mentioned sentimentalities of Bloc Party's Banquet. The song itself is apparently about an accidental homosexual experience one of the band members had whilst drunk, and the fallout associated with the event. However the lyrics could be applied to any situation relationship-wise, and that's one of the best draws of it I think. The Bravery haven't really brought anything to the table as good as An Honest Mistake, which is a shame, but with the timeless appeal of this song I'm happy to forgive them.


Gravity's Rainbow - Klaxons

Champions of the emergence of the New Rave genre in 2006, Klaxons provide crazy eclectic sounds and lyrics, harmonised falsetto screaming, a whole lot of noise and most importantly, amazingly catchy party tracks to go wild to. Gravity's Rainbow was one of the best tracks on the incredibly strong 2007 debut, Myths Of The Near Future. Dirty and rough instrumental work provides the backdrop for a rapidly rising feeling of excitement as the verses start, reaching the point of saturation as the chorus kicks in, which sounds like it was specifically designed to be sung by everyone but the band. The completely wacky lyrical work in the verses is not only completely cancelled out, but overcome by the sheer accessibility of the chorus:

Come with me, come with me,
We'll travel to infinity,
Come with me, com
e with me,
We'll travel to infinity,
I'll always be there oh oh,
My Future Love,
I'll always be there for you,
My future love.

A genre of sound created almost entirely for the teenage population (play it for your parents and you'll see what I mean), Gravity's Rainbow, and Klaxons, felt like the new Smashing Pumpkins of our time, an icon for all to rally under and celebrate the foolhardy experimentation of youth.


Mr. Brightside - The Killers

From the opening guitar riff, you're hooked. Mr. Brightside is the best song The Killers have written. The critics seem to think it's Read My Mind from the crime against humanity that was Sam's Town, but they're wrong. Play Mr. Brightside at a party, and everyone goes crazy; the people who listen to nothing but commercial radio, those who obsess about music and have extremely specific tastes, people who don't listen to any music at all and every point in between. The obsession of every single aspect of his ex-lover's new relationship is such a human and flawed quality that the lyrics connect with all listeners even if they haven't experienced it, it's written so plausibly, so honestly that it couldn't be anything less than true. You just can't hate this song, it's amazing in every aspect, it's accessible. memorable, emotional, intelligent and iconic. And I'd be lying if i hadn't acted out every line of the song in a drunken charades-inspired dance routine less than twice.


Pogo - Digitalism

Digitalism have always fought an uphill battle unfortunately. Always under the shadow of Justice's juggernaut of a debut album, Idealism's release, actually
a month before the release of , was never allowed the time to gestate and grow in popularity. Of course I say it worse than it is, Idealism proved to be extremely popular in the right circles, and the critics generally praised the album and band. But the similarities between the two bands, both part of the huge boom in European Indie-Dance music that occured in 2007 meant that hype governed which band was more at the forefront of people's minds. Sure, Digitalism were a great sidekick for Justice, they were a great support act, they had a similar sound and their album was pretty good, but was seen as the better album.

However there was one song that Digitalism had in its arsen
al that always made people sit up and pay attention, Pogo. Pogo always felt like Digitalism's track, separate from all else, incredibly catchy and with a more band-orientated feel, helped by the fact that vocal duties were taken up by one half of the duo. Because of Jens Moelle's decision to sing, rather than employ the talents of a guest musician, the act felt more like band than an electronic act like Justice or Simian Mobile Disco, the presence of a song heavily sampling The Cure's Fire In Cairo gave Digitalism an aesthetic that was more aligned to those who ordinarily wouldn't listen to Electronic music. Pogo was the figurehead of the ideology of indie-rock infused electro that Digitalism wanted to convey. Simple but strong lyrics, an obvious danceability, the all important X-Factor, impossible to describe but instantly recognisable, that lets you know these guys are for real. Pogo is all about partying hard and living life to the fullest, one of the best parts of the song being the simple repetition of the line "We could get so wasted" as the track fades out. The song has the perfect mix of uncomplicated lyrics and a more complex electronic instrumental presence, and this gives it its wide demographic of appeal.


Kelly - Van She

Van She have this incredible talent of spanning a whole plethora of sounds and genres in their music whilst still maintain both the feel of a Van She song, and m
ore importantly, the undeniable quality. Kelly sounds like the perfect mix of 80's New Wave tributes and modern day New Wave sensibilities. The best thing about Kelly is that it's perfect for any mood or time. It's got a heartfelt melody to it, but a driving force that keeps the tempo up and maintains an interesting and catchy feel for the whole song. The chorus' anthem-like lyrics and the poppy synths, the simple bass and guitar of the verses juxtaposed against, and the overall feel-good mentality of the track as a whole give it a great appeal. One of the most light and carefree tracks the band has created, and one of the most convincing reasons for the argument that they are really something special.


Face To Face - Daft Punk

One of the more obscure tracks from Daft Punk's second
album, Face To Face never really got the attention it deserved. The lengthy intro lures you into a false sense of security, sounding like Face To Face will be a capable instrumental track and nothing more. Then the vocals come in. To say Face To Face is well written would be an understatement. The vocals, sung by Todd Edwards rather than Romanthony or Robots From The Future, sound both fitting yet unique within the album. The lyrics perfectly summarise a failed relationship, and the reasons involved. It's clear Edwards' voice is perfect for the soul-infused electro identity of the track, and the way its sung, with such passion and vigor, that gives every line lasting meaning and impact. The jittery cut up backing vocals and instrumental work is really interesting, and again, quite unique against the rest of the album. It really feels like Daft Punk were saving best for last with Face To Face, being the second last track right before the epic closer Too Long. Face To Face is easily my favourite Daft Punk track to date.


Flux - Bloc Party

Flux was Bloc Party trying to prove to the world that they were a band capable of anything. Born out of Kele Okereke's fear of being pigeonholed into any one sound or genre, Flux sounded like nothing Bloc Party had done before it. Casting away the introspective, overly emotional sentimentality of A Weekend In The City, and the raw angular identity of Silent Alarm, Flux took a decidedly electronic path. With Okereke's vocals auto-tuned and synths and drum machines replacing the traditional instrumental set up the band was used to, Bloc Party were determined to push themselves, kicking and screaming, into greatness. And in my opinion, that's entirely what they did. There are still nuances of the song I am still only picking up on now as i write this summary, all the layers and effects creating a perfect cacophony of electronic brilliance that seems so unlikely for a band that had never even attempted this type of sound before.

The best thing about Flux is that it has an emotional core that Bloc Party are so well known for, but the mindless enjoyment and club-suited sound of the song not only doesn't suffer, but compliments it perfectly. For me, Flux sounds like the painful realisation of a failed relationship occuring in the parallel universe of the night, on a chaotic dancefloor, surrounded by
people but never having felt more alone. It sounds like the sonic representation of laser shows and smoke machines, strobe lights and disco balls. Flux is the higher state of mind you reach when you have no clue where you are or what you're doing, when your brain is racing a hundred miles an hour and not functioning at all simultaneously. Flux is Bloc Party proving they are going places, and you're coming along for the ride.


Weak Become Heroes - The Streets

Weak Become Heroes was one of the first tracks I heard from The Streets and it still remains my all time favourite. With an effortless style that can only come from a perfect simplicity, Weak Become Heroes uses a simple piano loop over a electronic club beat that never seems to get old, and Mike Skinner's trademark speak-rapping, with observations and phrases so obvious a
nd genuine you wonder why nobody else had thought of them first. The lyrics themselves deal with Skinner's first experience with Ecstasy; the mindless euphoria and the blindly optimistic view of the world that comes with it. Everyone is your best friend, every plan is flawless and genius, every aspect of life, undiscovered until this moment, is beautiful in its inherent existence. I've never taken the drug and even I feel like I know exactly what its like from Skinner's methodical depiction. Weak Become Heroes has this chill lounge feel to it that is so hard to perfect but instantly amazing when conveyed correctly. Even if you think aren't a fan of The Streets' sound, Weak Become Heroes will prove you wrong.


Signs - Bloc Party

Signs is the most beautiful and serene song I have ever heard. I could describe why, but it wouldn't do it justice. Just listen to it.


All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem

All My Friends is the closest thing to a perfect song I hav
e heard in my life, not just this decade. The slowly building grandeur of the first 1:20 might be a turn off for some, but don't let it make you give up on the best song you will hear in a long time. All My Friends feels like the title track from the endless ups and downs of that is the album of your life. As cliche as that sounds, there really is no other way to describe it.

The repetition of the instrumental work throughout the track is a perfect metaphor for the passage of time, the lyrics deal with regret and mistakes, with the innocence and wonder lost as we get older. But most importantly, the importance of the person we are and the path we choose to get there.

People tend to associate different songs with heartbreak, love, parties and friendship, but All My Friends applies to all of them. I can think of a line from the song to relate to every important thing that has happened in my life recently. One that always sticks for me relates to the feelings i started to have when high school finally ended, like my life and friends were completely changed and there was no way back to those times in life when we didn't have the burden of responsibility.

You spend the first five years trying to get with the plan,
And the next five years trying to be with your friends again.

All My Friends is one of those songs that just sticks with you from the moment you hear it. Epic and timeless in its execution, genre defying, emotionally riveting and lengthy while still holding your interest. It feels like James Murphy wanted to create a song that would last and mean something for decades, not just months or years. I believe he succeeded in doing so.

Friday, September 18, 2009

TOP SONGS OF THE 2000's (19-11)

The 2000's are really one of the best eras to be in musically
. Of course both the very wise and the very ignorant will argue against this statement, but no other point in time before this has it been both so easy to create music and share it with the world, and so possible to have it sound like whatever the hell takes your fancy.

I've always described the 2000's as an amalgamation of all of the best parts that have come before it. Whether it's fashion, design or music, all of it cuts and pastes from trends of the 60's, 70's, 80's and (thankfully least of all) the 90's. However due to the wonderful power of hindsight, we can trim off all those ugly fads that took the world by storm when we knew no better, and what we're left with is the best of the best.

And what better way to celebrate the versatility of this great time we live in (creatively at least), than to count down the top 100 songs of the 2000's.


100 - 90
89 - 80
79 - 70
69 - 60
59 - 50
49 - 40
39 - 30
29 - 20



The Bucket - Kings Of Leon

The Bucket was one of the first songs I had he
ard from Kings Of Leon, and to be honest I thought it was really rubbish the first time round. Admittedly my tastes then weren't really aligned to appreciate anything that sounded different from what I was used to, and I really had a hang up with vocals that weren't perfect. I'm glad I gave the song, and the band, another chance, because it really is a great track. The guitar work is especially catchy, and now, the vocals, which I hated before, are one of my favourite aspects of the song. Kings always have this great quality to their songs that makes them the perfect soundtrack to the experiences of youth. For me especially, I'll always remember seeing them live on a summer's night to wrap up a festival that I go to see every year down south. It really is my favourite time of the year, and it's always something I look forward to for months. This song feels like a connection to those events.


This Boy's In Love - The Presets

While Apocalypso took a more accessible, less outwardly stylish route than the debut album from The Presets, Beams; it also featured much more complex and well written songs. The songs felt more like expansive Industial Electro anthems rather than edgy club tracks, the sense of grandeur was especially clear in This Boy's In Love. The vocals always evoked amazing imagery in my mind, of futuristic skylines and star-filled skies. The repeating layered synth work felt like it was really taking you somewhere special, and Julian Hamilton hammered the feeling home with impassioned vocals. The closing lines really give the impression you're about to embark on an amazing journey to unknown places, with most of the album left to go, you'll soon find out that's entirely the case.

This town,
These streets,

Your friends,
We'll never,

This place,



Time To Pretend - MGMT

Time To Pretend is one of those tracks that I believe will help define the 2000's as a music era. Yes it was almost completely ruined by hype, ignorant thirteen year olds and record companies, but no other song has conveyed the ideology of living fast and dying young so perfectly. Filled with youthful optimism, the cliche things that everyone promises to each other in the throes of teenage existence, and a movie soundtrack sonic aesthetic, everything about this track brings forth strong feelings and memories. Time To Pretend deals with the realisation that life isn't exactly how you wanted it, and that you've lost sight of what you dreamed of when you were young. This epiphany invariably results in overcompensation, you want to feel alive to prove you're not wasting life. MGMT captured the fear of mortality in such an appealing package it's not wonder why they were everyone's favourite band for fifteen minutes.


Sunshine - Atmosphere

Atmosphere is one of those Hip-Hop acts that really stand out against the rest of what's out there. Sunshine is a perfect example of why. The simple piano/dru
ms approach gives this really peaceful summertime feel to the track that you can't ignore. Musically it's simple, lyrically it's uncomplicated and succinct, and the end result is a really appealing and accessible song for anyone, even if you don't like Hip-Hop. The lyrics themselves deal with recovering from a hangover after a big night out, and seeing the beauty in every day life; the simple things, weekends spent with families, times spent with friends and not having a care in the world. It's one of those tracks that would likely get hidden within the rest of Atmosphere's body of work, but it really is so well crafted that it deserves to be heard by all.


Naïve - The Kooks

The Kooks first album was one of my favourites of 2006, and i attached lots of great memories to every track. Naïve was always my favourite, the almost reggae quality to both the vocals, and the instrumental work, combined with a strong Indie focus created a really unique song. Naïve is about a cheating partner, and the heartache associated with infidelity. I'll always love The Kooks at this stage, knowing they had to prove themselves, they really released one hell of an album, the poppy melodies and sing-along lyrics were so simple and effective, and there's just thi
s earnest quality to every song. I really felt for the second album, Konk, the benefits of fame really went to their heads and that cocky demeanour really shone through in each track, the songs felt like they were completely in love with themselves. But at least we have Inside In / Inside Out to give us straight up love songs and Indie-Pop for simpler times.


Banquet - Bloc Party

Ok I have to say this now, I decided to limit myself to o
nly three Bloc Party songs in this countdown, If I had my way at least half the list would have been by the four-piece from London, but I showed restraint for the purposes of feigned objectivity. Furthermore, of all the songs on Silent Alarm, Banquet is not my favourite, but it earned this position for being the most iconic, the most reflective of Bloc Party's manifesto as a band. Banquet combined the best parts of Indie Rock with Electronic Dance, while only using traditional instruments (guitars, bass, drums). With Banquet, it was Kele Okereke's objective to create a rock song with the danceability of an electro track. And it's plain to see the band really did achieve this, there's something so catchy and enthralling to every aspect of the song. The alternating guitar work between Russel Lissack and Okereke, the always impressive drumming of Matt Tong, and the distinctly noticeable basswork of Gordon Moakes, just makes the whole thing sound like a band working together flawlessly. Banquet is the figurehead of an amazing debut album, the song that ties all of it's tracks together, regardless of tempo or experimentation, it's the perfect mid-point to sum up the band. If someone asked you what Bloc Party sound like, you'd play them Banquet and know you've explained them perfectly.


Hearts On Fire - Cut Copy

Hearts On Fire is Cut Copy nearing the zenith of their p
otential. With a perfect combination of emotion and danceability not seen since New Order, Hearts On Fire feels like a track straight out of the 80's. The smooth vocals and New-Wave guitar work, the rising synth and saxophone make everything sound so retro and iconic. Cut Copy make electronic music for people who appreciate thoughtful songwriting as well; more intelligent than Trance, Techno and House, more catchy than IDM, Hearts On Fire fits into a niche that was sorely absent before the 2000's and the Indie-Electro revolution came to pass. Hearts On Fire glides above the stratosphere, filling you with this elated feeling of nostalgia and longing.


When The Sun Goes Down - Arctic Monkeys

This was Arctic Monkeys utilising their strengths perfect
ly. When The Sun Goes Down features witty, punchy lyrics with raw indie rock, this was Arctic Monkeys when they were young, brash, rough around the edges and altogether amazing. The song starts slow, then immediately shatters the peace with heavy and loud guitar riffs, Alex Turner's voice picks up and the excitement builds, spinning the tale of the red light district after dark with complete abandon. At its loudest When The Sun Goes down feels like it's about to burst forth from your speakers and strangle the apathy out of you. I really wish Arctic Monkeys would venture back into the raw unrestrained realm that When The Sun Goes Down so perfectly conveyed.


Someday - The Strokes

The most catchy and breezy track from The Strokes. Someday has this careless relaxing feel to it that makes it one of the most popular songs by the New York band to date. The iconic catchy guitar and bass aspects of The Strokes are here as always, and the vocals sound both rough and distorted while being accessible and friendly at the same time. Someday really is a feel-good song at heart and it really comes across in overall sound very well.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TOP 100 SONGS OF THE 2000's (29-20)

The 2000's are really one of the best eras to be in musically
. Of course both the very wise and the very ignorant will argue against this statement, but no other point in time before this has it been both so easy to create music and share it with the world, and so possible to have it sound like whatever the hell takes your fancy.

I've always described the 2000's as an amalgamation of all of the best parts that have come before it. Whether it's fashion, design or music, all of it cuts and pastes from trends of the 60's, 70's, 80's and (thankfully least of all) the 90's. However due to the wonderful power of hindsight, we can trim off all those ugly fads that took the world by storm when we knew no better, and what we're left with is the best of the best.

And what better way to celebrate the versatility of this great time we live in (creatively at least), than to count down the top 100 songs of the 2000's.


100 - 90
89 - 80
79 - 70
69 - 60
59 - 50
49 - 40
39 - 30



You Only Live Once - The Strokes

With an opening bassline reminiscent of Queen and David Bowie's Under Pressure, You Only Live Once opened The Strokes' third album, First Impressions Of Earth, with a bang. Casablancas took a slightly different approach to the singing style with this one and it's a really nice change of pace from their previous work. Everything sounds so strongly produced and deliberate, every sound and instrument plays its part and the great lyrics tie it all together. Easily one of my favourite songs by The Strokes, It's one of those songs you never skip no matter how many times it comes on.


The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager (Part Two) - Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Sam Duckworth, who for all intents and purposes is Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly; combines a strong acoustic focus with electronic backdrops to create some really interesting Indie-Pop that doesn't sound like much else out there. Made to be played on perfect days with cloudless skies, Chronicles has this deeply calming quality to it that really makes the song. Dealing with lost opportunities and past mistakes, the rapid delivery of the lyrics is an interesting touch, while the writing itself is well thought-out and introspective.


Get Free - The Vines

Get Free was the song that started it all. The raw emotio
n and barely contained bad behaviour of Craig Nicholls took the world by storm and ensured The Vines' place on every critic's "To Watch" list. There was something so abrasive and violent about the rough Garage Rock approach, yet it was so marketable, so appreciable, especially to the waves of teenagers who were too young for the angsty grunge movement of the 90's. The Vines were going to be huge. And they were; for a while. The first two albums, Highly Evolved and Winning Days; were incredibly good; taking strong influences from both the 60's and the 90's, splicing them together and creating some truly amazing songs, with an equal distribution of the very loud and surprisingly, the disarmingly peaceful.

But Nicholls' self-destructive tendencies and ongoing battle with Asperger Syndrome eventually tore the band apart, and some serious downtime was necessary. When they did eventually come back for their third album, Vision Valley, it was a much more restrained affair, not without its quality, but it felt like the soul of the band had been ripped out. With the forth album, Melodia, it was dishearteningly clear that The Vines weren't the same band that we heard and fell in love with six years prior. It's true that the most fleeting stars burn brightest, and for a while, The Vines were blindingly good.

I read in NME a few years ago a review of a Vision Valley single, and it really disgusted me actually. They basically went on to say they were completely wrong when they heralded The Vines as an amazing band destined for great things, then proceeded to "admit" that the first two albums weren't that good in the first place. Now while this is obviously indicative of the backtracking NME are notorious for, it really grinds my gears to see two of my favourite albums of the 2000's being dragged through the mud because it's cool to hate the band now due to the awful tragedy of mental illness.

It's clear their latest work isn't up to the quality of their first LPs, but that in no way cancels out that previous quality, those albums are as good today as they were back then. Buy them now.


Cut Here - The Cure

Cut Here is a great example of what makes The Cure great. So
unding both refreshingly new, yet appealingly retro, Cut Here would sound completely at home back in the 80's, but it blends perfectly into the 2000's thanks to the huge New-Wave revival that's taking place. Cut Here is a return to the great songwriting of the "In Between Days" period, and covers the always popular topic of love-lost and regret. The chorus may throw you at first, it certainly took a while to grow on me, but as an overall package this is one of the best songs by The Cure you will hear post-2000.


The Devil's Crayon - Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts have a very unique sound and approach that fra
nkly, you will either love, or hate. The Devil's Crayon is an Avant Garde masterpiece that has a strong sense of nostalgia, drawing forth memories you haven't even had yet and feeling all at once new and familiar. The song alternates vocal duties between the more accessible, though still confronting voice of Tom Fleming and the androgynous, high pitched shrieks of Hayden Thorpe. I can say with great confidence that you won't like this song based on one listen. But if given a chance, something will keep drawing you back to it, again and again, until you can recognise and appreciate all the nuances of its genius.


Sleepyhead - Passion Pit

Sleepyhead is the closest Passion Pit have come to the greatness they have been touted as. Every critic, professional or otherwise, will put Manners as one of the be
st albums of 2009, a move which has perplexed me from day one. There are at most, three standout songs from the self titled debut that are worth having, the rest all blend together into an annoying, campy, overly sentimental mush that rarely breaks rank to try something interesting or different. Sleepyhead is definitely the exception to the rule.

This is an example of Michael Angelakos' shrill vocal qualities perfectly executed, and used in the best way possible. The synthline that comes in after the first verse is in a word, genius and really adds something to the track you just can't find anywhere else on the album. The chimpmunk-skewed backing vocals, while initially reminiscent of an awful Hip-Hop track, really do combine into the overall cacophony very well and drive home the high energy output of the relatively short track. Sleepyhead has an indie credibility that isn't present in the rest of Passion Pit's songs, It's not overtly romantic and sappy (although it actually is) like the rest of their songs, and the electronic elements are far more at the forefront than most of their other work. Sleepyhead made me fall in love with what Passion Pit could have been, Manners brought my lofty expectations crashing down to earth.


Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine - The Killers

Hot Fuss was the best The Killers will ever get. Almost every track on it was of the highest quality, It wore its 80's influences on its sleeve and it didn't try to be or say anything more than it was. It was The Killers unencumbered by the burden and ego-warping
qualities of fame, it was simple well written songs with both mainstream appeal and Indie sentimentalities. Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine opens with a Morning Glory-esque helicopter flyover, the bass and synth enter, and then the impassioned vocal work of Brandon Flowers kicks in and you just know this is going to be an amazing song. The song itself deals with the murder of a girl and presumably the suspect's interrogation by the authorities. Of course, read into it deeper it could be a metaphor for the death of a relationship, rather than the death of an individual, and a rather interesting spin on it I must say. A great opener for a great album, Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine shows us what made The Killers so great in the first place.


Growing On Me - The Darkness

Channeling the awful/awesome Glam-Rock modus operandi of every rubbish band in the 70's and 80's, The Darkness create truly amazing anthems while taking the piss out of everything their sound stands for at the same time. It's this self referencing parody that makes it all the more surprising that Growing On Me is such a good song, I'll admit it took me a while to actually give it the chance it deserves, but once I did it found itself on high rotation in my music library. I
t's one of those songs you initially laugh at, perhaps expressing ironic jubilation in much the same way you would with a Cindi Lauper or Bon Jovi track, but at the same time, there's a quality to this, and many other songs by The Darkness, that pulls you in and leads to you genuinely loving it, singing along, and missing it when it's gone. There's something in that I think.


Someone Great - LCD Soundsystem

Someone Great is a track that really displays James Murphy's versat
ility in spades. Although the whole of his second album, Sound Of Silver, is an overall much more mature affair, Someone Great has a melancholy to it that isn't shared by any other song LCD Soundsystem has released so far. The simple synth and percussion work creates a moody atmospheric feel, but still retains this warmth that permeates throughout the song. For me, the song reminds me of early winter mornings, when the sun has only just come up and the chill is almost numbing, but there's a feeling of approaching change that is impossible to ignore. There's an interesting synergy there, as the song itself is about the surreal nothingness associated with sudden unexpected death. Nothing changes, but nothing feels the same. When people pass away, unimportant things are never altered but the way we see the world is distinctly different, and that in turn changes everything. It's that hollow emptiness that is conveyed so well in Someone Great. I still find it hard to imagine something this evocative and human coming from the man who created Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.


One More Time - Daft Punk

One More Time was the herald of a new era for Daft Punk. Gone were the House and Techno sounds that heavily featured in their debut album; Homework, replaced instead by Synth-Pop 70's and 80's tributes, Space Disco anthems and robotic auto-tuned vocal work. Matching their new sound, the duo were transformed into robots in a freak accident when a sampler exploded at 9:09am on the 9th of September 1999. What resulted is one of the most highly regarded Electronic albums released in the 2000's.

One More Time is a party track through and through, it utilises Daft Punk's unique skill of repetitious lyrics that surprisingly never get old, vocoded singing and a sonic identity that always reminded me of the space concert in Jetsons: The Movie. One More Time, and Discovery, are examples what Daft Punk should sound like all the time, instead of the mostly average Homework and the truly awful Human After All.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TOP 100 SONGS OF THE 2000's (39-30)

The 2000's are really one of the best eras to be in musically
. Of course both the very wise and the very ignorant will argue against this statement, but no other point in time before this has it been both so easy to create music and share it with the world, and so possible to have it sound like whatever the hell takes your fancy.

I've always described the 2000's as an amalgamation of all of the best parts that have come before it. Whether it's fashion, design or music, all of it cuts and pastes from trends of the 60's, 70's, 80's and (thankfully least of all) the 90's. However due to the wonderful power of hindsight, we can trim off all those ugly fads that took the world by storm when we knew no better, and what we're left with is the best of the best.

And what better way to celebrate the versatility of this great time we live in (creatively at least), than to count down the top 100 songs of the 2000's.


100 - 90
89 - 80
79 - 70
69 - 60
59 - 50
49 - 40



King Without A Crown - Matisyahu

Matisyahu is really quite an interesting character in a era of
music where it's quite difficult to stand out against the pack. Of course, the initial novelty of being an American Jewish Reggae musician will draw a crowd, but it's his talent and unique sound that really keep people interested. King Without A Crown is a perfect example of his sound just working almost flawlessly. Uplifting sentimentalities, the almost universal appeal that Reggae seems to possess and strong songwriting make this a great track that anyone can enjoy. There's a relaxing demeanor to it that is just impossible to escape, it really draws you in and makes you feel pretty alright.


Hounds Of Love - The Futureheads

Now I know for some reason we're all supposed to pretend Kate Bush actually sounds good, but the fact of the matter is, cover versions of her songs are just infinitely more appealing. Classic examples of this fact include Running Up That Hill covered by Placebo and Hounds Of Love by The Futureheads. Hounds Of Love was definitely a stand out track of 2004, and, I believe, the strongest song The Futureheads have ever released. The layered vocals are a definite stand out of this track, give it a listen and you'll see what I mean.


Dirty Business - The Dresden Dolls

Ok, The Dresden Dolls are weirdos, I don't think an
yone is debating it either. Frontwoman Amanda Palmer's tattooed on eyebrows are evidence enough to prove the fact. However, despite eccentric methodologies and a decidedly left of center genre choice (dubbed "Dark Cabaret"), The Dresden Dolls are very capable of writing enthralling Pop songs. Well, maybe "Pop" isn't the best term for what Dirty Business is; you definitely wouldn't hear it on mainstream radio, but still, it's hard to ignore its inherent accessibility. Something about the song just stays with you. The lyrics are dark, cynical, sarcastic and ultimately, damn catchy. It sounds like the sort of sound you would be repulsed by but there is more than one example, especially on the 2006 album; Yes, Virginia... where you find yourself singing along to melancholic stories viewed through a sort of "freakish carnival of doom" lens. Dirty Business is a great track, you may dislike it at first but soon enough you'll have it on repeat.


Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz

I remember seeing the Clint Eastwood music video for the firs
t time on a Saturday morning on some Pepsi music countdown show. I had never heard anything like it before, and I haven't heard anything like it since. This was back in 2001, I was eleven, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was obsessed with 5ive (massive contenders for the pole position in the countdown by the way), so for me; Gorillaz just came out of nowhere with this freaky sound and awesome video clip that blew me away. I had no clue who Damon Albarn was, I didn't much care, at that age I was able to suspend disbelief, and saw each of the cartoon band members more as real individuals rather than a well crafted and gimmicky guise for a risky supergroup collaboration effort. Who would have thought merging Hip-Hop and Rap with Blur would have worked so well. The eclectic instrumental work, and the abstract lyrics didn't alienate, they didn't even confuse you, they were just taken for what they were, another character in the rich tapestry of back story Gorillaz were creating.


Losing My Edge - LCD Soundsystem

James Murphy's declaration of cool to the world, Losing My Edge is a song close to my heart. I'll be the first to admit it's a major vice of mine to claim "I was there" before everyone else when it comes to music, and that's essentially what this song is about. Of course, James Murphy's allegations may have slightly more weight to them, and delivery is certainly better; with a more appealing nonchalant witty drawl over a relatively simplistic music background to place all the focus on the lyrics. Clocking in at almost eight minutes, LCD Soundsystem have packed the song, from the self-titled debut album, with classic lines such as:

I'm losing my edge,
To the art-school Brooklynites,
In little jackets,
And borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.

Incredibly cool, timelessly stylish, side-splittingly witty (if you're a wanker like me) and increasingly relevant in the horrible throw-away culture we now all live in.


Rebellion (Lies) - The Arcade Fire

Note to all pretentious self-proclaimed Indie girls and boys: the following bands will not appear in this list; Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Architecture In Helsinki, Jeff Buckley and any other song by The Arcade Fire bar this one. So don't sit there waiting, sure of the the fact that they haven't been seen in the list yet is because it would be an insult to place them anywhere below the top ten; rather; it would be an insult to the bands that have made it into the my top 100 to place them next to these these hype driven Pitchfork Media lapdogs. Rebellion (Lies) was the only track worth hearing on the universally lauded drink-coaster that is The Arcade Fire's debut album; Funeral. But seriously, what a track it is. With an epic and timeless sound that's perfect for long drives and sing-along sessions, it radiates qualities that make it a track to have your best memories to. The Arcade Fire are a big band, and it certainly sounds like a big band song. It'd be amazing to see live I'd wager, however probably not amazing enough to suffer through a whole set of these guys to see.


Paint The Silence - South

Man oh man, what can say about Paint The Silence...

Well for several years, I would listen to it every night before i went to bed without fail, until I literally broke my CD player from playing it on repeat too much. I subsequently broke two more for the same reason. Some songs will always have memories and times attached to them, and this is ultimately a deeply personal experience that is different from person to person. For me, Paint The Silence will always remind me of late summer afternoons, when the sun begins to set, just as it's starting to drop to a barely tolerable temperature and the breeze picks up. You're almost filled with a sense of hope like "Hey, maybe tonight i won't lie in a pool of my own sweat as i shift back and forth in my bed, sleep evading me with every turn!" of course, that was never the case, but for 5:54 I couldn't care less because Summer made Paint The Silence. The two matched each other perfectly and listening to the song in any other season just didn't do it justice. The acoustic guitar, strings and high pitched echoing feedback compliment the swirling drums and simple, almost childlike piano-work while the atmospheric vocals add to the overall soundscape rather than dominate it. It really is the perfect length, and while it serves some songs better to be fleeting affairs, if Paint The Silence was any shorter you'd feel disappointed that it was all over too soon.


The Great Escape - We Are Scientists

We Are Scientists are a triple threat, they have the brains, they have the musical ability, and they have the looks. Capable of driving the chicks crazy, writing perfect three minute Indie-Rock songs, and having the comic timing akin to some of the funniest TV shows you have ever seen (think Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, 30 Rock, etc.). We Are Scientists are everywhere you wanna be. The Great Escape is a punchy, angular, rapid and catchy track which effectively reflects the mood and tone of the rest of their body of work. Accessible songs about the most
relate-able subject matters around; girls, parties and disfunctionality, We Are Scientists are one of those rare bands that never takes themselves too seriously while still delivering the goods. Often, in fact, they err on the side of self deprecation to achieve humorous results, and their website, youtube channel and blogs are all indicative of a couple of guys fucking around and having a good time, not sucked into political Bush-hating bangwagonisms or melancholic suffering artist introspective pieces, We Are Scientists make catchy and intelligent music to dance to.


Taper Jean Girl - Kings Of Leon

Taper Jean Girl is Kings Of Leon doing what they do best, S
outhern Rock influenced Indie anthems with great instrumental work with wide demographic appeal.


Blinded By The Lights - The Streets

Blinded By The Lights is a perfect example of what makes Mike Skinner unique. Lazily tossed into the "UK Grime/Hip-Hop" genre, The Streets at their best sound anything but. From his concept album, A Grand Don't Come For Free, Skinner conveys his incredible talent for identifying the nuances of everyday life and converting it into song format with Blinded By The Lights. While more often than not his songs simply involve talking over the top of instrumental work, it's the delivery that makes it so appealing. The electronic repeating synth and the thumping bass drum create a simple backing for the story of unfaithful lovers on a drugged up weekend in a club. Simply discussing the act of waiting for his girlfriend to arrive and the drugs to kick in, Skinner creates a mental image of the situation so vividly in your mind simply by applying it to everyman, summarising in succinct statements the events of the story. There's a unique sadness to Blinded By The Lights that I've yet to find conveyed by any other artist.