2009 was a creative year for musicians like City Center who has the perfect voice and a natural sense for lo-fi singer songwriter material, if you’ve worn the groove out of your Panda Bear record then look no further and pick up his self titled LP. We saw Dubstep take over in the US and UK clubs with unique takes on albums from Martyn, 2562, and many others. Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear showed the top 40 charts that indie rock has a big say in what people want to own and even Jay-Z thought so. Lo-fi is back on all different levels like surf, folk, and a fusion of a ton of different genres which really had a big impact on my daily listening.
I’m not going to ignore that some people didn’t like my #1 song and #1 album of the year and I kind of want to share why I liked it so much. At first they were a band that i wanted to sign but after seeing a few shows of them playing live I was hooked, soo much energy, passion and catchy parts plus the band is just fun to watch, the tambourine player even was more hyper than any musician I saw all year. The songs all have this mash of a lot of music that I grew up on and still to this day listen to frequently. I see them as a band that can jump into the top 40 and get a budget to be a great band to see live and I guess the live show did it for me this year and I loved sharing the bands songs with friends, so I guess those are some of the reasons why I loved The Drums release.
*Please note I did not include any releases by Ghostly International, Moodgadget, remixes, Tycho songs and ISO50 exclusives just to make this a fair collection. If you like this list then take a second and check out ISO50′s 2008 list.
…and the list gets longer, after listening to few of these songs in the 30′s I feel like some of them should be in the Top 10 but then I look the Top 10 and understand why its like this. Hopefully some of you are clicking the links and checking a few older posts out, we posted a ton of music this year, its blowing my mind.
Maybe only a hand full of you have this release marked on your calendar, maybe even less than that but I doubt it, this release no matter how good it sounds musically to anyone its a piece of electronic music history and one of the most thought out gestures you could ever give to your fans. As a record label owner this project is the pinnacle of all releases and especially during a time where digital sales have almost equaled the same amount as physical sales. The Warp20 (Box Set) contains:
- Warp20 (1989-2009) The Complete Catalogue (192 page book)
- Warp20 (Chosen): Double CD album (Ten songs chosen by you (Warp20.net), ten songs chosen by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett)
- Warp20 (Recreated): Double CD album (Twenty brand new cover versions of Warp songs by Warp artists past and present)
- Warp20 (Unheard): Triple 10” Vinyl (Completely unheard tracks by Boards of Canada, Autechre and Broadcast)
- Warp20 (Elemental): CD album (re-edits from Osymyso, made from sections, samples, & fragments of Warp music from the last 20 years)
- Warp20 (Infinite): Double 10” Vinyl (hand-picked locked-groove loops from Warp tracks)
One song that i’ve waiting to hear was Bibio’s cover of Boards of Canada, wow okay just say that out loud, now that just makes my ears smile. The man can do no wrong in my mind, he grabs the melodies from the original and I can tell from the start he has heard this song more than 100 times before, I can hear how this song is probably really close to his heart, its such a confident cover with such contrast in style and small amounts of unique character sprinkled lightly all the way thru it.
This piano piece by Leila covering Aphex Twin to me rips away at the original and gets to the core of it all, almost like a psycho analytical reinterpretation of how Richard D. James felt when he made the basic parts for the original song. One thing Leila did which is hard to match it that the tensity is almost matched to the original which would make any drill n’ bass fan fall to their knees and it was all done here by only piano.
Pivot was one of the highlights for me during the Warp 20 year show, their live show was consistently innovative and kept my attention. They picked a hard cover to mess up, its Grizzly Bear’s Colorado which has a great vocals in it, the synths they added at the 3 min mark are a complete treat and really takes this song to a new level compared to the original.
My boss/friend Sam Valenti IV is a big supporter of Gravenhurst and turned me onto them back when I worked in the actual Ghostly Office years ago, I think he’d fully support this cover of Broadcast, it has all the signature Gravenhurst elements of guitar picking accompanied by a soft voice.
Mayer Hawthorne has been rocking it everywhere recently, both Justin Timberlake and John Mayer have said over twitter that they love the record. The funny thing is that its on Stones Throw and I think it was just suppose to be a fun/joke record at the beginning. All the smaller hype started when he released a clear red 7 inch heart shaped record that was a great unique merch piece that definitely caught my eye then the major hype hit when iTunes picked him up as the free single of the week and then everything just spun out of control for him in a good way. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and I love this “Maybe So, Maybe No” song, its so catchy and I can probably sing it after only hearing it 3 times, just such a ballsy record to make, I can’t even imagine making a whole motown record today, definitely takes some guts and Hawthorne couldn’t of done a better job in my opinion.
The man behind Midwest Product and PostPrior has kept the torch lit for us instrumental electronic indie rock fans by making music under the name Ben Benjamin. The sound of his song Sideways Cerebus is pretty fascinating to me because the beginning sounds like Midwest Product or an electronic version Mercury Program to me busting thru the ceiling of what they use to do and taking it to another level when the piano comes in, it almost has this Telefon Tel Aviv feel after awhile but without the huge lovely whale sized synths surrounding you, just for the record “huge lovely whale sized synths” are a good thing I just couldn’t think of a bigger sized object, i’ve already used Ocean liner recently.
I probably will never stop posting IDM on this blog, it always takes me to a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing place in my head. One of the guys that I do keep posting about is o9, he was a pretty big unsung hero even among the IDM followers, probably because he never released on a netlabel which was a pretty popular thing to do for an IDM producer back then which was just a label giving your music away for free on their site. Notice the precisely placed static in this song, is that intentional?
What a name to pick Porn Sword Tobacco, its like he was choosing his name out of a hat that contained key words from an old Monty Python script, if you like this song collaboration of piano and guitar than check out older Bibio or Canyon Country.
I know i’m not the person that should be writing this since some of you who follow the blog sometimes have to snowshoe/pull your hair/wade through my odd writing style, but I just need to get all this off my chest. It started off with this Facebook post I wrote because I was just so bothered after putting on MTV for the first time in I don’t know how long:
“Took a peek at the MTV’s music video awards tonight to see if pop music has stepped it up but still no luck at all especially instrumentally, christ! What do they do with their money? Big time creativity/musicianship/entertainment fail. Let’s just hope people like Fever Ray, Matthew Dear, Atlas Sound, SVIIB, Erlend Oye, and Benoit Pioulard keep pushing forward because that was embarrassing to watch.”
The latest playlist is live, just click the cover above to load or click “play” in the Player (top of middle column — RSS readers must visit site). Listen in as Jakub waves goodbye to summer with this gauzy collection of slow burners. Enjoy.
Track Listing: Casino Versus Japan – It’s Very Sunny
Bullion – Caroline, No
Ducktails – Landrunner
Atlas Sound – Walkabout
THE DRUMS – Submarine
The xx – Shelter
Washed Out – Feel It All Around
Dam Funk – Sunset
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams (Mingus Rude edit)
Gold Panda – Quitters Raga
Fever Ray – Triangle Walks
Kings Of Convenience – Mrs Cold
The Radio Dept. – David
The Canyons – Apples and Pears
Bibio – Fire Ant
Burial & Four Tet – Wolf Cub
Manuel Tur – Stay Feat. Larissa Kapp
Adelaide – Bombardiers
Sorcerer – Distort Yourself
Lindsey Buckingham – Trouble
STL – Silent State
Broker/Dealer – To Hear the Fires
Coma – Sum
Lo-fi rock is coming strong recently, how long will it hold its place as the spotlight in the young hearts of vinyl loving rockers? well with acts like these i’m hoping forever. My true and very fresh caring for music like this is definitely Ducktails, met him twice this weekend and he was such a nice guy he reminded me of people in the U.P. in Michigan like the U.S. backwoods version of UK’s Bibio but maybe spends alil more time in the garage playing with pedals. I didn’t get to see him perform as Ducktails but he does a good amount of the music in Real Estate who I saw perform at Insound’s 10 yr. anniversary at Brooklyn Bowl with The Drums. Landrunner is very loopy just the way I like it, so honest and uncorrupted by much that is going on right now in indie rock.
Beach FossilsDaydream gets me thinking about how much simpler live could be, the gentle hooky guitar work meets guys that seem to have have it easy. I picture it being made by guys that don’t have many problems and their youth summers we’re or still are filled with trips to cabins, a ton a waterskiing or tubing, and just relaxing in the tall grass by some sand dunes. It’s a nice visual to have when you live on a cement island, makes me want to plan vacations better.
Tallahassee’s Holiday Shores comes to me by Brooklyn’s Twosyllable Records, the label that also put out New Villager’s 7 inch vinyl earlier this year that I love. Holiday Shores has a bit more pep in its step compared to the other songs but still in same vein, alot of catchy vocals and the drumming in a few of their songs accompanied by keys has some real unique parts that make me keep coming back and listening.
Tom Croose our semi resident DJ here on the ISO50 blog turned me onto Real Estate, he told me he loved the “guitar noodling” and the lyrics “Budweiser Sprite, Do you feel alright?”, to me its laid back feel makes me want to bust out the Yo La Tengo’s Summer Sun LP but i’m too busy chillin’ in my kids pool filled with hose water that is being warmed by the sun and I have grass blades stuck all over me that i’m trying to pick off, so lets just keep the Real Estate CD in.