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2011 As A Mixtape

December 30, 2011

Here we are then, here’s my 2011 end-of-the-year mixtape in just under the wire. I distrust people who write their top five end of year album lists and stuff at the end of November – I wouldn’t have heard a couple of these at that point, and I totally heart everything here. Plus we don’t live in a music press era tied so heavily to print deadlines any more, so it seems a bit silly still. Anyway.

You can listen to this mix here, if you want:

2011 As A Mixtape by Ttfb on Mixcloud

Or, if you were one of those people who likes downloading music, you could do that here. I mean, obviously I couldn’t possibly condone that sort of thing. But again, it’s here. That’s here, as I say.

So here’s what’s on it and, occasionally, why:

Introduction

‘Friday’ is a great song. I am completely sincere about that. I’m not even willing to argue about it. Ark did a good job there, although admittedly their song for Jon Ronson was pants.

Summer Camp – ‘Down’

Welcome To Condale is the only album that I’ve liked so much I’ve even wondered whether I might have a crush on it. Isn’t that ridiculous? I managed to gather together a fairly restrained review of it here, when I could just as easily have written a love letter. And I’ve never even seen a John Hughes film.

Also, my favourite music video of the year too. Well DONE to Condale, more like!!

EMA – ‘Milkman’

In order to look a bit more self-possessed after that last outburst, I’d like to point out that I’ve not especially fallen for Past Life Martyred Saints yet, but maybe it needs time. I do adore this though, and who would have thought she’d have been better than The Vaselines at the whole covering Nirvana thing?

Cornershop feat. Bubbley Kaur – ‘Supercomputed’

I’m sort of pleased that, when Cornershop released their beautiful single ‘Topknot’ back in 2004(!), there was no hint that they were considering making a whole album in collaboration with Bubbley Kaur, because frankly seven years is a long time to be impatient. I feel like I would have been emailing Wiiija HQ on a weekly basis pestering them to get on with it: “come on lads, stop faffing around with Rowetta! Let Jeffrey Lewis record himself! Put Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast on hold if you have to!

It was worth the wait though – Cornershop & The Double ‘O’ Groove Of… is wonderful (you can stream it in full here to verify this) and I expect their batch of Australian gigs early in 2012 will be delightful.

 

Misty’s Big Adventure – ‘Atonement’

One of the best things to happen to me musically this year is Grandmaster Gareth’s decision to start a mixcloud page, but the Misty’s album was good too. Great, even – their strongest since The Black Hole I’d say, and that’s high praise. The track with Patrick Moore is great, but I have been looking forward to this particular track since seeing them perform it on tour sometime in early 2009, as one sole note of it has been stuck in my head ever since (“Atoooooooooooone” etc.) That rarely happens. Looking forward to The Family Abusement Centre next year too!

 

Busdriver – ‘Man Baby’

Just found out this was released in 2010. I hate myself.

 

Brothers Hand Mirror – ‘p.s. to the moon’

I think this track is meant to make more sense after ‘Letter To The Sun’ in the EP of the same name which you can download here and read about here. Oscar made these drum beats himself, the clever bastard.

Los Campesinos! – ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’

I was slightly dumbfounded to read a few times since Hello Sadness came out that some people still consider Los Campesinos! as twee. Really? I know they still use the glockenspiel and everything, but what about the darkness and the epic songsweeps and the sexual politics and the grandiose hi-fi orchestration and the jealousy, oh the jealousy? I bet you still believe they’re all Welsh and everything.

Bearsuit – ‘Jim Henson’s Creature Workshop’

I bet your favourite band doesn’t write about how sinister it must be to make Muppets for a living. Unless it’s also Bearsuit I suppose. Uhm. Buy The Phantom Forest already.

 

Ace Bushy Striptease – ‘Enter Soundman’

Best song title of the year? With ‘Nightmare Before Christmas Featuring Sonic Youth And Shellac And Lightening Bolt Again’ a close second, I suppose.

Citizen Sex – ‘Chronic Of Narnia’

Considering I’ve lived here over two years now there’s comparatively very few Australian bands I’ve particularly got into. I really like Shallow, Church Of Hysteria and Colostomy Baguette?, but that’s only two or three people making music under different names. The last Australian album I really loved was Since I Left You and that’s a whole decade ago. Must remedy that. I’ve listened to this song a lot this year, if that counts, and now you can too:

Martin Creed – ‘Thinking / Not Thinking (Work No. 1090)’

Martin Creed’s band really rock for an essentially minimalist group, right? His Mothers exhibition this year looked good too.

Gruff Rhys – ‘Christopher Columbus’

I’ve maintained for a long time – since Love Kraft, in fact – that Super Furry Animals are not a band that benefit well from democracy. The more other band members have been allowed to sing lead vocals and write their own songs, their albums have got patchier, while Gruff’s side projects – even the one he tossed off in about an hour with Tony Da Gatorra – have consistently been wonderful. Hotel Shampoo is no exception – listen to it here if you want to pull me up on that – and the fact that there actually was a hotel made of shampoo to go with it makes it all the more marvellous.

 

Daniel Wakeford – ‘Everybody Likes A Rainbow, Everybody Loves The Rainbow’

I feel a bit like this collection of songs is worryingly ‘usual suspects’, not in the Keyser Soze sense of course, but just because a lot of these bands I’ve been listening to a long time anyway. Daniel Wakeford is one person, though, that I’ve only just found out about thanks to my good friend Lizzie at Carousel, and think is brilliant. Even though he has some problems with things like grammar, he lyrics are still really effective in articulating his enthusiasm for the things he writes about, be they falling in love or going to the cinema, or just looking at the sea. He’s got a great voice too, like Eddie Argos if he could actually sing. His album has rather generously been made available for free here.

Chris T-T – ‘Waiting At The Window’

In a process that began with singing the song ‘Disobedience’ on one of his Christmas EPs and ended with a run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Chris T-T did rather well in adding to his various personas (political columnist, writer of novelty songs, man who photographs toilets) the role of children’s entertainer. This is what his album of A.A. Milne poems set to music sounds like, see:

Incidentally, I remember playing the raindrop game in the car as a kid too, but didn’t have the imagination to give them names.

The Lovely Eggs – ‘Don’t Look At Me, I Don’t Like It’

Those faceless people I was berating up at ‘Songs About Your Girlfriend’ need to get a load of this lot. Check out who’s in the video too! (Whether that’s more impressive than Gruff’s appearance in the ‘Allergies’ video I’m yet to decide.)

Half Man Half Biscuit – ‘Left Lyrics In The Practice Room’

What can I say, they’re a reliable lot, and as such 90 Bisodol (Crimond) is worth your attention. I had to be told who Mart Poom was though.

Yelle – ‘S’eteint Le Soleil’

There weren’t quite any songs with the same smack-in-the-face quality as ‘Je Veux Te Voir’ or the same emotive magnetism as ‘Tristesse/Joie’, but Yelle’s Safari Disco Club was still génial, as they say in articles about French singers.

People Like Us– ‘Ever’

Obviously bloody-minded PLU completists will know that this track was on last year’s This Is Light Music album, but still, it’s a beautiful and bombastic moment in this year’s sublime Welcome Abroad LP so I’m sticking it in. How it’s supposed to work in a plunderphonic concept album about the eruption of Mount Eyjafjallajokull I’m not sure, but it does. It surely takes a collage queen to make Spectoral pop music sound even more intense without losing its melodic elegance or punch; it’s like she’s taken the wall of sound and stuck in an ATM that shoots out flowers.

Here’s the whole album, anyway:

PJ Harvey – ‘Written On The Forehead’

Let England Shake seems to have divided the (vaster than I realised) cloud of people around me that enjoy the work of PJ Harvey. Half seemed to think it was a disappointment, while some seemed to think it was quite good. I didn’t meet anyone for whom it was suddenly their favourite Polly album, like myself. Dorian Lynskey wrote a better piece about this album than I could (and Sweeping The Nation too), but I will say these three things: 1. This album makes me think Peej would make a great curator; 2. Easily the best sample of the year, and; 3. I believe this album to be the first worthy winner of the Mercury since Dizzee. Or, err, herself.

 

Keith Top Of The Pops & His Minor UK Indie All-Star Celebrity Backing Band – ‘Two Of The Beatles Are Dead’

I must admit that I do get a tingle of pride listening to this song, as I sort of helped create via this album (still available, kids!) but it’s a bit like saying the apple that fell on Newton’s head should be proud of working out the law of universal gravitation. If Newton drank plenty of snakebite and remembered Cud. Or something. Anyway, Fuck You I’m Keith Top Of The Pops is an album I’ve been anticipating excitedly ever since I heard that Mr The Pops was dragging anyone vaguely musical on stage with him at gigs and that some of them happened to be in, say, Art Brut, or Carter USM, or David Deviant & His Spirit Wife. The album to me sounds a bit like a more heartfelt and/or sarcastic version of Brakes’ Give Blood, except this track which sounds like it’s lifted from Brixton Windmill: The Musical.

 

Ergo Phizmiz – ‘Fast Lane To Jupiter’

Another busy year for Mr Phizmiz, then. Touring his opera based on The Third Policeman, wishing happy birthday to Beyonce, finding amazing instructional typewriter records in a bin, and deciding on a whim to release a load of disco EPs. Like the one this comes from, which features, as you will have heard, this guy.

And oh yeah happy new year and that.

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