Anticipation Station November 2013

Music has been pretty good this year. I’ve neglected my blog for a few months due to being uninspired and being busy with other things.
But I feel like I should at least right a little something before the year is out. I’m also compiling my best of list for the year soon – it’ll be much more detailed than last year. This is just a quick something to flex my writing muscle again.

Blood-Orange-Cupid-Deluxe-608x608Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe

Dev Hynes has come a long way since his indie rock beginnings. His producer chops have been flexed to max capacity lately with producing for interesting pop acts like Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, the original Sugababes; Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan. But Hynes is back with his second album from his side project Blood Orange. ‘Cupid Deluxe’ has a much more full and warmer sound than the debut Blood Orange record ‘Coastal Grooves’ drawing a more pop and r&b/80’s groove influence than a drone-y electronic one. It also features collaborators from bands like The Dirty Projectors, Chairlift and Friends, as well as electronic musicians Kindness, Clams Casino and Skepta – Interesting.
The album is currently being streamed on YouTube via Hynes personal account. You can listen to it here
The album is due out on November 12th worldwide and November 18th in the UK.

Grizzly-Bear-Shields-expanded-500x500Grizzly Bear – Shields: B-sides

Shields was one of the best albums of 2012, boasting a much more grandiose and fuller sound than Grizzly Bear’s previous records.
The b-side collection contains leftover tracks from the original sessions, plus demo versions of existing songs as well as a couple of remixes  by Liars, Nicolas Jaar and Swedish producer Linstrom.
The band has already released a teaser from the album which you can listen to here

The album is due out on November 10th (It’ll be released as both a deluxe version of Shields as well as a stand-alone album)

BEST OF 2012 – Singles

My favourite albums of 2012 is coming, it’s proved to be a little bit hard to compile – so much goodness last year. Ok, so these are my top 50 songs from 2012. Some of the songs on the list weren’t actually singles some are just stand out album cuts. Oh, and happy new year.

50. Florence + the Machine – Spectrum (Say My Name) (Calvin Harris Remix)

49. El-P – The Full Retard

48. Crystal Castles – Wrath of God

47. Moon Duo – Sleepwalker 

46. iamamiwhoami – drops

45. A$AP Rocky – Goldie 

44. Perfume Genius – Hood

43. Beach House – Troublemaker

42. Mount Eerie – Through the Trees pt. 2

41. Brandy – Wildest Dreams

40. CocoRosie – We Are On Fire

39. Killer Mike – Untitled

38. Haim – Forever

37. Angel Olsen – The Waiting

36. Andrew Bird – Lusitania

35. Death Grips – Get Got

34. Foals – Inhaler

33. PEACE – Bloodshake

32. Savages – Flying to Berlin

31. Bloc Party – 3×3

30. Lana Del Rey – Ride

29. Nas – The Don

28. Holy Other – Held

27. Dawn Richard – Change

26. Jens Lekman – The End of the World is Bigger Than Love

25. Macklemore – Same Love

24. Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless

23. Liane La Havas – Forget (LaBlogotheque version)

22. David Byrne & St. Vincent – Who

21. Hot Chip – Flutes

20. Alt-J – Breezeblocks

19. Here We Go Magic – Make Up Your Mind

18. The xx – Reunion

17. Sharon Van Etten – Serpents

16. Liars – No. 1 Against the Rush

15. First Aid Kit – Emmylou

14. Mac DeMarco – Freaking Out the Neighbourhood

13. Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing

12. Grimes – Oblivion

11. Jessie Ware – 110%

10. John Talabot – Destiny

9. Stars – Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

8. Bat for Lashes – All Your Gold

7. Frank Ocean – Pyramids

6. Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

5. oOoOO – NoWayBack

4. Fiona Apple – Anything We Want

3. Grizzly Bear – Yet Again

2. Miguel – Adorn/Arch & Point

1. Cat Power – Cherokee

Things I’m Liking – C-check It Out

1283430228_dungenDungen – Skit I Allt (2010)

I’ve been aware of the Swedish band for years but it was one of those bands that I’d just overlook – sometimes listening to new things is daunting, right?. Anyway, ‘Skit I Allt’ (which translates to Fuck It All) is one of those all-consuming psychedelic rock albums full of fuzzy and flourishing guitars and hazy sound scapes with a little 60’s folk rock thrown in there for good measure. It’s a solid album throughout and just basically needs to be listened to.

Best songs: Marken Låg Stilla (this song is fucking gorgeous), Min Enda Vän

Perfect+Prescription+spacemenSpacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription (1987)

I’ve always been a huge Justin Pierce fan, Spiritualized were such an eye opening band in my formative years. So, recently I’ve been listening to a lot of  psychedelic albums and this was one of them that really made me pay attention. There are quite a few genius moments with the Lou Reed-influenced “Ode to Street Hassle” and the Bob Dylan-borrowed  gospel-tinged “Walkin’ With Jesus”. This album does solidify just how talented Justin Pierce is.

Best songs: Ode to Street Hassle, Walkin’ With Jesus Take Me to the Other Side

187419_1_fVashti Bunyan – Lookaftering (2005)

This was the second full-length album of new material since Bunyan’s 1970 debut “Just Another Diamond Day” 35 years ago. With the influence of her contemporaries such as Devendra Banhart, Piano Magic and Joanna Newsom, Vashti relieved an album full of beautiful, pensive songs that are heartfelt and genuine. I mean, would you expect anything less from the dubbed “godmother of freak folk”?

Best Songs: If I Were, Hidden, Lately, Feet of Clay

“The Greatest” returns

With all this rain about London town, it’s kind of nice for something good to happen. For me, it was in the guise of my favourite musician Cat Power releasing her ninth album entitled “Sun” – the news has definitely brightened up my days that’s for sure.

In September “Sun” will be released through Matador (one of the best labels, but that’s just me). The 11-track album will be Chan Marshall’s first album of original material in 6 years. She took some time out to work on her personal life, which everyone has the right to do. A lot of the songs are actually quite old songs like “Cherokee” and “Silent Machine” have been played live quite a few times over the years, there are a few songs that she mentioned would be on ‘Sun’ a couple of years ago like “Oh Time”, “Leopard” and “Mountaintops” but these songs might have had their titles changed.

 

I’m really looking forward to hearing the new stuff, especially has Marshall has produced the album herself and has played all the instruments which I’m sure is an exhausting feat. Critics and journalists who have heard some of the record are deeming it as her best work yet. Marshall has released a song from the album called “Ruin” which it’s great (you can hear it below) and I’ve had it on repeat for the past two days, it’s fucking brilliant. Welcome back Chan.

Album Tracklisting

1. Cherokee

2. Sun

3. Ruin

4. 3,6,9

5. Always on my Own

6. Real Life

7. Human Being

8. Manhattan

9. Silent Machine

10. Nothin’ But Time

11. Peace and Love

Bonus Tracks

12. Fire

13. Back in the Days (iTunes pre-order track)

 

The Return of Fiona Apple

Now Ms Apple was a massive part of my teenage years. I lived and breathed “When the Pawn”. I feel that most, if not all teenagers need to be given that album – as well as a few others like Pixies “Doolittle”, Sonic Youth “Goo” and Nas “Illmatic”. Anyway, Fiona Apple is one of those artists who believes in quality over quantity and that’s why in her 16 year career she has only released 3 albums – albeit three incredible records of wordy, personal songs that seems to transcend gender and reduces us to wallowing, weeping children.

It seemed that maybe Fiona was done with music, as she has said several times that if she has nothing to write about why is she going to interrupt her life to go and sit at the piano and wait for something. Plus, she hasn’t released anything since her 2005 comeback record, the controversial “Extraordinary Machine” which was a welcome return to form.

And just when we thought she may never release anything again, Apple was booked to play the prestigious music showcase SXSW in Austin, Texas, which marked Fiona’s first  performance outside of Los Angeles in almost half a decade.

Some have lauded her performance as perfection and a return to form wowing the audience with classic Apple material such as the fan favourites “Fast as You Can” and “Paper Bag” as well as showcasing new material from her upcoming album “The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do” another poem-titled album this time though, it’s a little shorter but catchier. A long wait but a welcomed return for Ms Apple. I for one am ridiculously excited, hopefully she’ll tour in the UK – it will make my life.

The Idler Wheel…

June 18th 

Beach House Return in Full ‘Bloom’

Since the release of the dream pop duo’s third and most critically acclaimed album “Teen Dream” in 2010 (they got somewhat pissed off with Katy Perry for releasing a similarly titled album the same year) they’ve been pretty quiet. Last week a tentative title “Bloom” and a 10-song track list was posted on Exclaim – A few hours later it was taken down. But at the beginning of the week saw these rumours actually hold some weight to them.

Beach House posted a new song on their website entitled “Myth”. Though the track list hasn’t been officially announced yet and “Bloom” may or may not be the title, Beach House fans get excited because the new song is brilliant. Admittedly, sonically it’s pretty standard Beach House fair with the woozy synth’s and Victoria Legrand’s dreamy vocals senerading your ears.

The good news is that the band are releasing new music. Will “Bloom” surpass the beauty of “Teen Dream”? we’ll just have to wait. “Bloom” is reportedly being released on 12th May through Sub Pop. Watch this space.

While you wait listen to the new song “Myth”

 

Best 20 Albums of 2011

OK. So it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted anything. Many reasons I suppose. Lack of motivation and inspiration probably being the main offenders. But as another year draws to a close the mandatory “best of” lists are abundant. So, on that note. Here is my top 20 albums of the year.

20. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & the Harvest

19. Metronomy – The English Riviera

18. Zola Jesus – Conatus 

17. SBTRKT – SBTRKT

16. Real Estate – Days

15. Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings for My Halo

14. James Blake – James Blake

13. Dirty Beaches – Badlands

12. Kendrick Lamar – Section.80

11. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam

10. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient

9. Little Dragon – Ritual Union

8. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse

7. Grouper – A I A: Dream Loss/Alien Observer

6. Drake – Take Care

5. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

4. Peggy Sue – Acrobats

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

2. The Antlers – Burst Apart

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

1. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

Anticipation Station II

I haven’t blogged for a while tumblr has lured me in like a siren to a ship. I guess I’ve sort of missed writing even though I don’t particularly see myself as one much these days, though with uni round the corner I really should get my arse into gear.

So, the first half of the year had some solid music releases from the likes of Patrick Wolf, Bon Iver and my new favourites And So I Watch You From Afar. As we are creeping nearer and nearer to the end of 2011 its only right to talk about the new stuff I am looking forward to.

 

Fionn Regan – 100 Acre of Sycamore

His debut  “The End of History” was perfect and was definitely worthy of the Mercury Prize it was a little Neil Young in places with its old soul approach in a lot of ways like the stuff Laura Marling does. Regan is gearing up to release the follow-up to the heavily slept on “The Shadow of the Empire” which I don’t think anyone listened to which was a shame. “100 Acre of Sycamore” is sounding very promising the title track is gorgeous with its sweeping string arrangements and Regan gives a great vocal performance. One to watch, definitely. August 15th

 

Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix

The London quartet have churned out an album a year since their 2009 debut “I Had the Blues but I Shook them Loose” which garnered them critical acclaim and a strong following. “A Different Kind of Fix” is a return to a more fuller sound and less folk-y than 2010’s “Flaws” which had a more than pleasing cover of Joanna Newsom’s ‘Swansea’. The Boys strap back on their electric guitars and get the crowd moving again. August 29th

Beirut – The Rip Tide

Zach Condon is definitely one of my favourite musicians. I love Balkan folk music and his seminal revival made me appreciate (and want) an accordion. Under the guise of Beirut, Condon has churned out two brilliant albums and a handful of equally enjoyable EPs. “The Rip Tide” from the outset doesn’t really try anything different, but rather than just makes you feel happy. The song ‘East Harlem’ is the teaser track to get the hipsters buzzing and its worked, a much more slower, melodic song which will keep you hooked until the eventual release of the album. August 30th

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

She is my favourite girl, I just thought I’d put that out there. Anyway, Annie Clark is a monster, in the sense that to look at her you think shes lovely and sweet and makes twee music about flowers and hearts and blah blah blah… and then you hear her belting out Tom Waits ‘Big Black Mariah’ and it really stops you in your tracks. Strange Mercy is Clark’s 3rd album the follow-up to the massively acclaimed 2009 album ‘Actor’ steering away from the DIY-GarageBand style of  ‘Actor’ brings a more band-esque sound and even more passion than ever before the teaser ‘Surgeon’ is fantastic excepting big things from this. September 12th

Peggy Sue – Acrobats

This 3-piece London band are probably music’s best kept secret. It’s a massive shame that not more people know about their genius. I recently interviewed them post-production of this upcoming album and they explained that they were moving away from their folky roots and opting to produce a more fuller sound and they were right. Steering the ship is PJ Harvey producer John Parish who has helped them tap into an early, mid-90’s sound much like Sleater-Kinney. Two teaser songs are on their website “Song & Dance” and “Cut My Teeth” have a listen. September 12th

The Return of Electrelane?

Since 2004 the all-female Brighton-based band have been a steady favourite of mine. I heard ‘On Parade’ on MTV2 and was totally hooked, I spent alot of time listening to them and absorbing everything especially ‘The Power Out‘ which was produced by one of their best record producers out there, Steve Albini. They have released a slew of records and EPs since 2001, but after the release of their fourth record ‘No Shouts, No Calls’ they decided to part ways to persue other ventures. Needless to say I was extremely disappointed. But early this year they announced that they would be reforming for a few festival dates in England and continental Europe. This is exciting news although they have said they have no plans to make any new records at this time, but hopefully once they start playing again they’ll miss being Electrelane. So watch this space.

Things I’m Liking – Music VI

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

I always get kind of mad when people release self-titled albums, It’s a bit lazy and unimaginative. Anyway, the follow-up to everyone’s love hangover ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ has finally been released, and to critical acclaim I mean Pitchfork gave it a 9.5 which personally is a bit too high but I mean it IS Pitchfork. The album is a lot more ambitious than the stark debut, the side projects with Volcano Choir and Gayngs have a definite influence on the sound of this one. Holocene is fucking heartbreaking, I must mention that, if you need that ‘make you feel like shit’ factor this song is definitely one to listen to. A welcome return for sure.

 

Drake – Take Care-era songs

I’ve said before I wasn’t a fan at first and even now I don’t like his debut record all that much. But there’s something about this new songs that I’m really liking. To me he’s a much better singer than he is a rapper. The new songs are a lot more R&B but in this weird, moody confessional way that’s more like some sort of singer songwriter. ‘Marvins Room’ just hit me like a tonne of bricks, and everyone can relate – drunk calling someone who screwed you over and that isolated loneliness you do stupid things in that head space, right?. The other song is ‘Trust Issues’ deals with just that he brings something to these songs that wasn’t there before and I really like that if his next album tentatively titled ‘Take Care’ is anything like these songs I’m going to be happy, hopefully a lot less Lil’ Wayne too.

Vetiver – The Errant Charm

They have always been a band that I’ve admired, I love indie folk music and they were definitely a band that made me love the genre (along with Devendra Banhart, Jana Hunter, Six Organs of admittance and Joanna Newsom of course). And while their 2009 album ‘Tight Knit’ wasn’t as pleasurable as their self-titled debut and ‘To Find Me Gone’ Vetiver really return to form with ‘The Errant Charm’ its beautiful, honest and just an all round enjoyable experience. Plus, I really like the album art, very 70s.