2012 Music I
One of the things I started writing this year and didn't finish was a tracklist of best new music for 2012. I started writing that because, you know, I used to write music reviews a lot. It was even my crowning achievement for a while there.
I created a list of about eighteen songs and I had started on a few track reviews when I realised there was a common theme shared by all of the songs. Every single track was from a band or artist who I’d listened to before (or in some cases, spin off bands). I was surprised that could happen to me so quickly. That’s how losing touch starts. You find the bands you like, you slowly ignore bands you don’t recognise until you reach a point where all the bands you do know have broken up and the only thing you’re listening to is their greatest hits.
Admittedly I have pursued new music aggressively for half a decade, so there’s a large pool of bands who I can count as “listened to before.” There is a much larger pool of bands I haven’t listened to before, though! I knew things should change.
Lately I’ve been again listening to bands I don’t know or recognise. I collated about twenty “new” band’s songs and twenty “old” band’s songs. Whenever I have not much to Journal about in September I am going to put that mix on random and review five songs.
I've changed the way I review songs to be more scientific and less blogosphere-y. Here’s the first batch:
Plaster - Let it All Out
Album: Let It All Out[Vega]
Sounds Like: Pepe Deluxe, Ratatat
Why: Really funky and Montreal electro-rock. Is there any bad music that leaves that city? There’s rock guitar that dances with growly synths and chirpy, upbeat keyboard melodies intertwined among it all. It’s a simple, festive shake everything you’ve got tune.
DIIV - Human
Album: Oshin [Captured Tracks]
Sounds Like: The Cure, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Why: A highlight from a whole album of beautiful, gentle dream pop. Sounds like later-years Cure doing less singing and more guitar-noodling.
Norah Jones - Miriam
Album: Little Broken Hearts [Blue Note Records]
Sounds Like: Danger Mouse and Dolly Parton
Why: I couldn’t tell you any of Norah Jones’ earlier work, but I grabbed this because it was produced by Danger Mouse. Jones sings a bunch of soul/blues tunes over Danger Mouse’s slow burning RnB beats that feature a lot of gentle saloon piano and bass twangs. This one is not poppy, but it's catchy.
WHY? - Sod in the seed
Album: Sod In The Seed EP [Anticon]
Sounds Like: Subtle, Modest Mouse
Why: This is a weirdly colourful song from Yoni Wolf, who often explores the darker side of his life in his songs. It's a nice mix-up to hear a bouncy beat to underlie his new rhymes. Yoni also seems to enjoy singing more than rapping, and in this tune he sounds happy that he gets to do a lot of both.
The Royal Concept - D-D-Dance
Album: The Royal Concept [Universal Republic]
Sounds Like: Phoenix, The Strokes
Why: Very happy sounding Swedish Indie Pop. They list Phoenix as an influence, they may need to consider paying royalties. The lead singer’s voice is a dead ringer for Phoenix’s lead singer Thomas Mars. D-D-Dance features a pop guitar that floats in the clouds and then brings home every chorus.