Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Albums of the Month: January 2009

The first cool releases of 2009 are finally here! C.M.C.'s top 3 album for January are the following:

1. Telepathe - Dance Mother

Brooklyn based dance-pop experimentalists Telepathe have just released their excellent debut “Dance Mother”, produced by the multi talented David Sitek of TV On The Radio. Last year’s brilliant singles, the playfully trip-hopin’ “Chrome’s on it” and the hauntingly beautiful “Devil’s trident”, showed the band progressing from the drone-pop experimentation of first efforts, 2006's “Farewell Forest” EP and 2007's “Sinister Militia” 12”, towards an elaborately structured, hook-laden, dark pop sound. Leftfield hip-hop beats, trip-hop atmospherics, tribal drumming and late ‘70s feminist punk aesthetics (“The Slits meet trip-hop experimentation” was my first impression of their sound upon my initial introduction to the band, seeing them live in New York last year supporting Foals – review here) are some of the elements that combine to create a truly unique sound and a genuinely inventive avant pop masterpiece that could easily find its way to the top of our “Albums of the Year” list, come the end of 2009.

Telepathe - So Fine

2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

If you’re in the mood for even more far-out noise pop experimentation, here’s the latest effort from mad sound-scientists Animal Collective. Beach Boys harmonies form the melodic core of their sound sculptures, where electronic noise envelops tribal off-kilter beats. "Merriwether Post Pavilion” is perhaps their most accessible work to date, with well-structured psychedelic pop gems emerging from the hazy post-modern soundscapes. See the sounds and hear their colors for yourself - here’s the video for "My Girls":

Animal Collective - My Girls

3. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand

And if, after all this unconventional sonic experimentations, you have a craving for some good old-fashioned, down and dirty indie pop shenanigans, here’s the much anticipated third effort from Scottish pop sensations Franz Ferdinand. Their ambition this time is to make an album for the dancefloor, the soundtrack to an epic night out, a mission which they accomplish successfully, with seemingly effortless cool. Get ready for the floor with first single “Ulysses”:

Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Killer Tracks: Prince Of Peace

School Of Seven Bells is the name of the band formed by former Secret Machines guitarist Benjamin Curtis and twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, who used to be in On!Air!Library!. Their excellent debut "Alpinisms" was one of the last albums we had the pleasure of listening to right at the end of last year and it was an instant addition to our list of the Best Albums of 2008. The ethereal voices of the Deheza sisters is the most striking element of their mesmerizing, harmonious sound, emerging from an ocean of psychedelic guitars and electronic atmospherics. Former singles "Half Asleep", "My Cabal" and "Face to Face on High Places", as well as "Connjur" (free mp3 here) and "Iamundernodisguise" are the highlights of the album, and dream-pop masterpiece "Prince of Peace" is my current obsession and the obvious choice for inclusion in our Killer Tracks Hall of Fame. Have a listen here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Best Albums Of 2008

Happy new year to everyone! We say hello to 2009 with the traditional selection of our favorite albums from last year and hope for an even better musical crop this year.

The element that stands out in the 2008 list is the percentage of debut albums in it - one-third of the Top 30 consists of first-time efforts, which means that there was a wealth of exciting new music around, waiting to be discovered. Bands like Foals, Crystal Castles, These New Puritans, Blood Red Shoes, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes, Santogold, School Of Seven Bells and several others offered a variety of fresh sounds and the promise for even more great music in the future. A promise that was given in the recent past and honored this year by the likes of The Duke Spirit, Cold War Kids, The Raconteurs, TV On The Radio, The Kills, Bloc Party who released excellent second or third albums proving their reliability and staying power.

The old school also did good in 2008. Several of our favorite artists from past decades returned triumphantly with new albums, more impressively Spiritualized, Portishead (their "Third" is perhaps their best work to date), Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan who joined forces as The Gutter Twins and, of course, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds who seem to be in one of the most prolific periods of a long and glorious career. "Dig, Lazarus, dig!!!" is not necessarily Nick Cave's best album ever, but the title of "Album Of The Year" is our way of giving him props for the consistent stream of mindblowingly great albums in recent years and some truly inspiring live performances, either with the Bad Seeds or the equally awesome Grinderman. Respect!

Top 50 Albums of 2008

1. Dig, Lazarus, dig!!! - NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS
2. Dear science - TV ON THE RADIO
3. Antidotes - FOALS
4. Neptune - THE DUKE SPIRIT
5. Crystal Castles - CRYSTAL CASTLES
6. Midnight boom - THE KILLS
7. Consolers of the lonely - THE RACONTEURS
8. Saturnalia - THE GUTTER TWINS
10. Beat pyramid - THESE NEW PURITANS
11. Oracular spectacular - MGMT
12. Songs in A&E - SPIRITUALIZED
13. Loyalty to loyalty - COLD WAR KIDS
14. Stay positive - THE HOLD STEADY
15. Box of secrets - BLOOD RED SHOES
16. Vampire Weekend - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
17. Conor Oberst - CONOR OBERST
18. Intimacy - BLOC PARTY
19. Santogold - SANTOGOLD
20. Velocifero - LADYTRON
21. Re-arrange us - MATES OF STATE
22. Imperial wax solvent - THE FALL
23. Beautiful future - PRIMAL SCREAM
24. Donkey - C.S.S.
25. Partie traumatic - BLACK KIDS
26. The bake sale - THE COOL KIDS
27. Saint Dymphna - GANG GANG DANCE
28. Narrow stairs - DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
29. Lookout mountain, lookout sea - SILVER JEWS
30. Fleet Foxes - FLEET FOXES
31. Only by the night - KINGS OF LEON
32. Accelerate - R.E.M.
33. Microcastle / Weird era continued - DEERHUNTER
36. Object 47 - WIRE
37. Walk it off - TAPES 'N TAPES
38. The chemistry of common life - FUCKED UP
39. In the future - BLACK MOUNTAIN
40. The lucky ones - MUDHONEY
41. Provisions - GIANT SAND
42. Keep your eyes ahead - THE HELIO SEQUENCE
43. The age of the understatement - THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS
44. Elephant shell - TOKYO POLICE CLUB
45. Lightbulbs - FUJIYA & MIYAGI
46. London zoo - THE BUG
47. Modern guilt - BECK
48. Real emotional trash - STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JICKS
49. Evil urges - MY MORNING JACKET
50. Skeletal lamping - OF MONTREAL

The complete list can be seen here. More albums are going to be added in the coming months as I'm sure there's much more great music to be discovered out there. This list, together with others from previous years, is going to be added in our other blog, Cool Music Database, which is currently under construction. The goal is to have there a reference for every great album released from the mid '70s to the present date.