Monday, December 20, 2010

MP3 blog 2010/12/20

blog 2010/12/20 - HAPPY SOLCHANUKWANMAS/that cold annoying time!!!

We here at CPI's MP3 blog wish you all the neurosis and discombobulation that you have coming to you during this awkward period of:
 - shit not being open
 - seeing a year's worth of family in 1 week
 - binge drinking
 - people travelling too much and getting in accidents

To celebrate this odd cultural phenomenon (that you can avoid as easily as the dinosaurs could dodge the asteroid), we have compiled ANOTHER fabulous edition of our alternative holiday musics for you to get Blitzened to.

We also have links to our past xmas blogs, meaning you now have 6 CDs of holiday grooves to annoy friends and family with.

Once again we have it all for you!  Chanukah conspiracy classics!  70s and 80s novelty records!  The date-rapiest of all holiday songs sung by glorious homos!  James Brown shouting to his fans "I love you!  James Brown loves ya!  You lucky so-and-so!" and thanking them for attending his shows.  Instrumental funk classics and breakbeat reworks!  8-bit video game renditions!  Demented acid soaked freakouts!  Hiphop ghetto tales!  Depressed indie rockers getting drunk and breaking up with their partners again!


Atom and His Package - What WE Do on Christmas
Bing Crosby - White Christmas (Kaskade Remix)
Bosque Brown - Silent Night
Bright Eyes - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Charles Brown - Merry Christmas Baby (MNO Remix)
Chris Garneau - It's Almost Christmas
Culturcide - Depressed Christmas
Daz Dillinger - Christmas In the Hood
Doctor Octoroc - Icarus! the Angels Sing
Doctor Octoroc - Ryu, the Red Nosed Ninja
Dolly Parton & Cast - Hard Candy Christmas (The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas OST)
Electric Jungle - Funky Funky Christmas
Hybrid Kids - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
James Brown - Funky Christmas
Lee Perry and Sandra Robinson - Merry Christmas Happy New Year
Lisa Hannigan - Silent Night (Damien Rice hidden track)
Matisyahu - Miracle (youtube rip)
Nat King Cole - Chestnuts Roasting (V_VM Remix)
Parenthetical Girls - Carol Of The Season
Parenthetical Girls - Festive Friends (Forever)
Star Wars Christmas Album - Christmas in the Stars
Star Wars Christmas Album - What Can You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)
The Found Sound Orchestra - Holiday Jangle
The Residents - Jingle Bells
Vandals - Oi To The World
Vince Guaraldi Trio - Skating (A Charlie Brown Christmas OST)
Afrika Bambaataa - Deck the Halls
Annie Lennox - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Baron Zen - My Lovely Christmas
Byron Lee and the Dragonaires - Winter Wonderland
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Cold White Christmas
Crocodiles & Dum Dum Girls - Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don't Die)
Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
DYM - Little Drummer Boy
Glee Cast - Baby It's Cold Outside
Mavado, Flexxx & Savage - Gully Christmas
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - This Time
Sufjan Stevens - Do You See What I See
Sufjan Stevens - Put The Lights On The Tree
Swastika Girls - Tinseltown
Swastika Girls - When It's Time For Christmas
The Black On White Affair - Auld Lang Syne
The Cathedral Brass - Joy To The World (Mocean Worker Remix)
The Deer Tracks - Christmas Fire
The Jon Matthy Quartet - The World is Waiting for Misery and Suffering Forever
The Moog Machine - Deck the Halls
The Moog Machine - It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
William S. Burroughs & The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - The Junky's Christmas

It's all here.  Happy holidays people.  Get your groove on.
Yes, you are oh so welcome.

Andy Williams - It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (A Shrift Remix)
Brak - 12 Days of Christmas
Bright Eyes - White Christmas
Coil - Christmas Is Now Drawing Near
David Hasselhoff - Joy to the World
Dean Martin - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
DJ BC - You Shook Me All Noel
Doctor Octoroc - Have Yourself a Final Little Fantasy
Duke Ellington - Jingle Bells (Robbie Hardkiss Remix)
Eazy-E - Merry Muthafuckin' Xmas
Frank Sinatra - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Frightened Rabbit - It's Xmas So We'll Stop
John Denver & The Muppets - Deck The Halls
Paddy Roberts - Merry Christmas You Suckers
Pizzicato Five - Silent Night
Ren and Stimpy - Cat Hairballs
Sex Pistols - Jingle Bells
Skindred - Jungle Bells
Stevie Wonder - The Little Drummer Boy
The Berlin Symphony Orchestra - The Nutcracker Suite (Baz Kuts Breaks Mix)
The Long Blondes - Christmas Is Cancelled
The Muppets - One More Sleep 'Til Christmas
The Simpsons - Jingle Bells
Tittsworth - Titts'mas Time (2007 Edit)
Weird Al Yankovic - The Night Santa Went Crazy
Atmosphere - If I Was Santa Claus
Bing Crosby - Happy Holidays (Beef Wellington Remix)
Circlesquare - Untitled (For Christmas)
Dean Martin - Jingle Bells (Dan The Automator Remix)
DJ John - The Christmas Massacre of Charlie Brown
Fats Waller & His Rhythm - Swingin' Them Jingle Bells
Frieder Butzmann - White Christmas
Hard Call Xmas - My Christmas Bells
In Memory - The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Jill Sobule - Jesus Was A Dreidel Spinner
John Denver & The Muppets - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
King Of Pants - Alala Falala Hasselhoff
Lou Rawls - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (awayTEAM Remix)
Michael Palmer - Happy Merry Christmas
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - This Time Of Year
Milly & Silly - Getting Down For Xmas
Rick Potts - Santa's Assasins
Sonic Youth - Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope
Stars - Fairytale Of New York
The Bloody Beetroots - Little Stars
The Harlem Children's Chorus - Black Christmas
The Nat King Cole Trio - All I Want For Christmas (MJ Cole Remix)
The Soul Saints Orchestra - Santa's Got A Bag Of Soul
The Walkmen - No Christmas While I'm Talkin
Ween - Silent Night
A Band Called Quinn - Its Christmas Time
A plus D - Give Da Jew Girl Toys
Big D and the Kids Table - A Wicked Hardcore Christmas
Bright Eyes - Little Drummer Boy
Dar Williams - The Christians And The Pagans
DJ Flack - Hanukkah In Dub
Frieder Butzmann - Stille Nacht Goes Disco
Hybrid Kids - Deck The Halls (excerpt)
John Denver & The Muppets - Twelve Days of Christmas
Ludacris - Ludacrismas
Mojochronic - Whoville (Won't Get Yuled Again)
Monty Python - Christmas in Heaven
nullsleep - silent night
Sam Flanagan - Frosty DMC
Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her - Here Comes Santa Claus
Secret Chiefs 3 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
The Jackson 5 - Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (Rock Steady Drew Happy Hollabass Mix)
The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
The Raveonettes - Christmas In Cleveland
Treacherous Three - Xmas Rap
Wham - Last Christmas
Calexico - Gift X-change
Cap'N Jazz - Winter Wonderland
David Bowie & Bing Crosby - Little Drummer Boy & Peace On Earth (Full Version)
God Is My Co-Pilot - Marshmallow World
John Denver - Noel, Christmas Eve, 1913
John Denver & The Muppets - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Melt-Banana - White Christmas
Merzbow - Silent Night
Poxy Boggards - Santa Dog (The Residents cover)
Run DMC - Christmas In Hollis
Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!
Sufjan Stevens - Only At Christmas Time
Tes La Rok - Santa Claus Is Lost
The Muppets - Christmas is Coming
The Residents - Seasoned Greetings
They Might Be Giants - Christmas Cards
They Might Be Giants - Feast Of Lights
William S. Burroughs & Kurt Cobain - The Priest They Called Him


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

[BEST OF 2010] TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2010

blog 2010/12/15 - [BEST OF 2010] MY 10 FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2010


After this I'll drop down some holiday music treats, and then I'm going to take a break until 2011, and there's nothing short of buying me a whole bunch of art books that can stop me! (because really, I couldn't say no then)

As everyone else on the internet cobbles their list together, I should remind you that my lists represent my tastes only. There are HUGE gaps in my top 50 versus anyone else's. But don't chalk it up to me just missing albums. Yes, I heard Ariel Pink and Deerhunter and I was bored and unengaged. etc etc. If you like that, cool!

But these are the 10 jewels in the crown that was 2010. They all tug at me in all sorts of squishy-special ways, and hopefully you can find a place for them in your life as well.
As always, if you have trouble finding a place that sells them, let me know and I'll link you up. Buy the albums, go see the live shows, buy their swag!


Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - Ali & Toumani
Bonobo - Black Sands
Four Tet - There Is Love In You
Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
The National - High Violet
Owen Pallett - Heartland
Sam Amidon - I See The Sign
Saycet - Through The Window
Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - Ali & Toumani

Songs written by Toure. Songs written by Diabate. Traditional works arranged by Toure. Traditional works arrange by Diabate. And of course a traditional work arranged by them together. It is pretty much the perfect balance. The final post-humous release from Toure, this is a document of 2 masters at the top of their game. I know you like your Dragonforce and your prog, but this here is mastery that is unparalled. I don't know what's in the water in Mali, but the quality of their musical superstars that cross the pond and find their way to my ears is huge.

Bonobo - Black Sands

We had great albums from Bernocchi, from Mount Kimbe and others, but Bonobo released the greatest album of breakbeats by far. This veteran exists comfortably in the post-dubstep world, flipping up contemporary shifting rhythms with modern compressor warfare, and then easily sliding back in to downtempo soul that seems fresh for 2010 somehow. Producers everywhere still have a lot to learn from this master of the beats bin. He makes it seem all so easy, but as the last few years of amateur beatmakers have demonstrated, it seldom is.

Four Tet - There Is Love In You

Kieran Hebden has a love-on for Steve Reich, and we are all better off for it. Taking the ecstasies of grinding minimalism to a funky dancefloor deepness, Four Tet has evolved in to an entirely unique sonic world. The remixes of the past few years have been flying out at a frantic rate, and they are unmistakabley Four Tet. Likewise, you'll never mistake this album for anyone else. Sure, you can mix it with minimal techy deep house whatever, but it rises above the genre aesthetics that dictate much of the morose Beatport genre pits.

Frightened Rabbit - The Winter Of Mixed Drinks

Am I a sucker for the accent? It's undeniably delicious, but it's stadium-sized guitars and impassioned song writing that gets me the most. Beautifully recorded, epicly presented, and fun to boot. Probably my favourite long-distance driving album of 2010.

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me

On her first album, Newsom was a pixie to me, weaving curious and playful spells. On her album Ys she was a prog god, letting thunder rain with extended compositions. With Have One On Me, I can't help but see her as a sorceress that has mastered her control over the universe as well as the cunning to manipulate and interact with the mortals and mundanes. The album is 2 full length CDs worht of material, but it is split across 3 discs to give you some breathing room and conceptual stop/start points. It's one of the few times where I'd argue such extra packaging is rather necessary. The sound is slowly woven, each song entirely purposeful and building. This album is a day lost to daydreaming and half-remembered mornings, and one of the most startling achievements in both fantastical incanctation and modern music.

The National - High Violet

Part pall-bearer, part lullaby, part bar room crooner, the voice of The National is more haunting and poignant and rich than ever. With not a poor song on the album, High Violet is a snapshot of a band at a high watermark for both themselves and their genres. This album will romance you and buy you flowers and will hold your shoulders while you cry when you both know it won't work out. It is an intense friendship that will always be so much more. And it is without a doubt one of the greatest, if not the singularly greatest, album of the year.

Owen Pallett - Heartland

This complex virtuoso work is jaw-droppingly incredible. At first listen, there are many incredible songs that will weave a spell around you with their lush orchestral strings and fascinating narrative voice. But after loving the music to bits, you get to the lyrics, which after a few listens you should really open up and read along as you listen to it. When you start reading the songs as they are performed, you realize it's all a giant opera or musical about farmer Lewis and the God Owen, and then you just fall in love with it all over again. All of the epic trappings of the best of 70s prog are here, like the epic scope, the song structures, the love of apeggiators and massive string sections. This albums works both for it's fabulous singles, and as a successful whole work from a staggering musical imagination. Seriously, sit down with the lyrics and enjoy the show.

Sam Amidon - I See The Sign

If you took the hypnotic monotone folk of Bill Callahan and fused it with the Christian spiritual ballads of pre-"too much studio time" Sufjan Stevens, you'd be close to Sam Amidon. His voice is tender and distant simultaneously. His focus seems ethereal and when he sings of life and gods you feel as though he is tranced out and connected to a higher power. Far be it from me to listen to Jesusey music, you just can't resist the charm of Appalachian folk music. His theology bleeds like unconscious honesty, not like obligation or chore. You can't help but feel like you're getting sucked in to an alien cult as the music hypnotises you and pulls at your emotions without you realizing it, but you can't turn away and can't turn it off.

Saycet - Through The Window

Saycet blends all of the greatest bits of my nostalgia for late-90s/early-aughts IDM. The lush keys of Isan, the BOC atmospheres, the Ulrich chugging beats, and the so-delicate-they-might-shatter vocals of Mum. Like the Sharon Jones album, you hear this album and love it right away and exclaim, "my god, I'm so happy people are still making music like this!" And that doesn't mean it's derivative, it means they've been getter better while we haven't been paying attention.

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

The is so much adolescent affliction going on here, it oozes rage and hormones as much as the first Violent Femmes album. Loosely based off some Civil War (must be a USA thing, they always think they're the only ones with a Civil War), this album is an epic journey of pain and bile and rock n fuckin roll. The 5 best songs average 9 minutes in length each, but like a Joanna Newsom ballad, time just flies by and you are hanging on to each and every riff. The vocals are whined and spat and growled and puked and you can feel every saliva droplet of emotion, rage, frustration and despair. You wonder how unsanitary his beard is, but don't worry about it, you're not here to make out with him. The whole album is a rock storybook that will leave you exhausted, satisfied, and ready to rewind the whole thing and start again.


Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - Machengoidi
Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - Ruby
Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - Warbé
Bonobo - All In Forms
Bonobo - Eyesdown ft Andreya Triana
Bonobo - Kiara
Four Tet - Angel Echoes
Four Tet - Love Cry
Four Tet - This Unfolds
Frightened Rabbit - Nothing Like You
Frightened Rabbit - Skip The Youth
Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can't See Land
Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Joanna Newsom - Kingfisher
Owen Pallett - Oh Heartland, Up Yours!
Owen Pallett - The Great Elsewhere
Owen Pallett - Tryst With Mephistopheles
Sam Amidon - Pretty Fair Damsel
Sam Amidon - Relief
Sam Amidon - Way Go Lily
Saycet - Kien-Lang
Saycet - Opal
Saycet - Through The Window (2010)
Saycet - We Walk Fast
The National - Afraid of Everyone
The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
The National - Conversation 16
Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union; Titus Andronicus Forever
Titus Andronicus - Four Score And Seven
Titus Andronicus - To Old Friends And New


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

[BEST OF 2010] 15 amazing albums (albums 11-25)

blog 2010/12/14 - [BEST OF 2010] It's beginning to smell a lot like awesomesauce. (albums 11-25)

Almost there!  We've had some pretty joyous albums so far, and it just keeps getting better.
This batch here alone is enough to make my knees quiver a little bit.

15 AMAZING ALBUMS (BEST OF 2010 #11-25)

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Basia Bulat - Heart Of My Own
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son of Chico Dusty
Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle
Hot Chip - One Life Stand
The Morning Benders - Big Echo
Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers
Rae Spoon - Love Is A Hunter
The Roots - How I Got Over
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - I Learned The Hard Way
Sleigh Bells - Treats
The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
Yeasayer - Odd Blood
Zola Jesus - Stridulum II

Arcade Fire - The Suburbs

You really can't say anything bad about this band.  They are one of Canada's great exports, and rightly so.  Even if you didn't love Neon Bible as much as you hoped you would, they are back in top form here, with extended rock motifs that feel impassioned and honest, even when being mundane.  Except for the tragic Neil Young imitation on Month Of May, it's a pretty perfect record.  Even when the record gets synthy near the end, it always sounds perfect, and reminds you of the joys of Funeral.

Basia Bulat - Heart Of My Own

Basia Bulat is a Canadian whirlwind of talent of charm.  Her two full lengths pull oh so deeply at my heartstrings and only get better with age.  Live, Basia is a remarkable talent who can pull off stuffing shows solo or with a band.  I consider it absolutely criminal that people South of the border have yet to start drinking in her catalogue.  While Canada has an army of musical exports like Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, you should all do yourselves a favour and add Basia Bulat to that list.  There are just no other multi-instrumentalists who makes such impassioned, tender and powerful folk music.

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot The Son of Chico Dusty

With all of the sticky repulsive charms of an early Snoop Dogg, Big Boi knocks out the competition and raises the funky hiphop bar.  Instead of just sampling George Clinton, he has learned from the master and features flashy organs and synth playing that give this record such an amazing groove.  When Janaelle Monae was coming out with her new album, I was really hoping it would be THIS record.  But the Monae was a bit to uneven beyond the hits, and all of the goodness is here.  Probably one of the greatest injustices of hiphop this year will be that Kanye will get all of the end-of-year attention, when I really think this album is far greater of an effort and achievement.

Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here

I feel kind of guilty posting tracks here because this album is so obviously structured as a whole experience, a singular performance of spoken word and funk that opens you up and connects you to a good chunk of Gil Scott-Heron's soul.  At only 28 minutes, you have no excuse to dedicate the extended moment to it, and you will be justly rewarded for it.  This is a genius of performance, self reflection, and emotive musical expression.

Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle

Gogol Bordello have always been buckets of fun.  That's never been in dispute.  But beyond that we have a solid album that shows us the value of a fabulous producer.  Rick Rubin is on board, and reportedly pressed them on the song writing, and it paid off in spades.  The album is frenetic and dense and sometimes exhausting, but it is also filled with touching moments of reflection interspersed with the political rabble-rousing.  And if songs like Immigraniada or My Companjera don't get you moving we might have to renegotiate our friendship.

Hot Chip - One Life Stand

Hot Chip really don't get enough love.  Maybe people are just taking them for granted?  But really they have made one of the best synth pop records of the year and have pushed themselves to new heights.  They have always been really good, and despite some of their production sounding like an Ableton Live preset, it is their seasoned pop songwriting prowess that makes them growl and croon their way in to your heart.  I can't believe people are all gaga for the (somewhat boring) new LCD Soundsystem, but totally overlook this gem.  Even the sentimental tracks on here like Slush and Alley Cats are gorgeous, and just set you up for the fun and epicness to come with We Have Love and Take It In, respectively.

The Morning Benders - Big Echo

Like the Beach House LP, you can easily get set adrift in the mere aesthetic of the production values alone.  Big Echo gives you Big Echo, but unlike the Beach House, it is the rustic rock n roll that wins out in the struggle.  Like a cross between Phoenix and Grizzly Bear, this is my choice for the radio-friendly pop indulgence that really everyone should be loving, regardless of music breadth.

Mount Kimbie - Crooks & Lovers

This album is all about the teeny squicks and squiggles.  There are really pleasant synths and ready-to-headnod samples, but it's the small iterations of the beat components that make it a real pleasure.  Of all the albums that came out this year that people toss "post-dubstep" on, this is by far the most completely successful.  What might be forgotten of course is how much this record owes to the last 15 years of the IDM scene, which paved the way for these kinds of percussion elements to take hold.   Dubstep is dead!  Long live the sexy-slinky-click-step.

Rae Spoon - Love Is A Hunter

While certainly this is his most dance-friendly album, Canadian singer/songwriter Rae Spoon will probably never escape that title just there: singer/songwriter.  It is the inescapable pull of the folk roots that show in songs that are crafted to show a story or an emotion or an event, by only revealing a few emotionally triggering shards of what's really going on.  The party tracks are fabulous and will certainly make it's way to the mixtapes of whomever you are trying to seduce, but even they can't help but hint at the depth of emotion revealed bethelightbethelightbethelight or Lighthouse.  Highly recommended for fans of both Hot Chip and/or roots folk.

The Roots - How I Got Over

People sometimes forget that musicians are professional.  They have families and need to eat and music is a job as much as an art form.  Some people hemmed and hawed when The Roots were taking on their light night TV gig.  Some people winced and cried when they said they weren't making any more albums.   But even with the ridiculous expectations that their back catalogue had set, and the rampant cynicism when dealing with aging hiphoppers, no one ever expected such a full and satisfying album to pop up.  This is the new template for the mid-life hiphop career.  This is how hiphop, now 31 years old, starts self-reflecting and deciding that yes, it is indeed mortal and aging.  While the music is on point, it is the rhymes that are the highlight here, at once showing clever wordplay and proper flow, but also showing off a deep refinement of their craft and constant resistance to falling in to lazy traps.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - I Learned The Hard Way

When I played this for a friend, his reaction was an enthused "They still make music like this?" and it's true, we often get lost in all of the new sounds and microgenres that we do indeed forget that there are masterful ensembles continuing the storied traditions of Motown.  The Dap Kings are a monstrous force to be contended with, and are a must-see live.  And Sharon Jones late-to-the-game success is as heartwarming as it is pleasurable.  Hipsters might skip over this because they dismiss is as adult-contemporary or too Jazz-Fest, but let your guard down and get down in to it, because it's a heaping plate of soulfood goodness.

Sleigh Bells - Treats

Imagine, if you will, if Le Tigre dropped the undergrad in-jokes and had a decent producer working their drums.  Take that, dial in some modern compression techniques, and you'll get Sleigh Bells.  Have yourself a sexy punk dance party!  Finally, your blog house friends and hipster punk friends can get drunk together!

The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt

This guy has one of the most satisfying and rollicking songbooks since John Darnielle.  With production values slightly up from previous years, it still sounds like someone recording guitar and vocals in to a tape deck with all of the sincerity and energy of the universe behind it.  The Dylan references are unavoidable, but he transcends the aesthetic similarities and builds a roots-folk world all of his own.  It is totally engaging and romantic.

Yeasayer - Odd Blood

Another album on my list that I really think has not received the love and attention it deserves.  It is immensely creative and unapologetically addictive.  The main problem people have with it is that it is a grand departure from their prior album, but fuck the haters.  This is pop music for a new age, existing equally on the stage and in the studio, like Sufjan Stevens, Architecture In Helsinki and Hot Chip.

Zola Jesus - Stridulum II

Like the Wildbirds & Peacedrums album, this CD collects 2 Eps (Stridulum and Valusia) to form an album of incredible depth and potency.  And similarly as well it is the somewhat dark and morose vocals that stun the listener and draw them in to the ethereal world within.  There are synths and strings and beats, but it is all about the power of voice here.  I really think this album is a perfect treat for someone that loves Bat For Lashes, Diamanda Galas, and the previously mentioned Wilbirds and Peacedrums.


Arcade Fire - City With No Children
Arcade Fire - Ready To Start
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Basia Bulat - Gold Rush
Basia Bulat - If Only You
Basia Bulat - Once More, For The Dollhouse
Big Boi - Shutterbugg ft Cutty
Big Boi - Tangerine ft T.I. & Khujo Goodie
Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
Gil Scott-Heron - On Coming From A Broken Home (Part 1)
Gil Scott-Heron - Running
Gogol Bordello - Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)
Gogol Bordello - My Companjera
Gogol Bordello - Sun Is On My Side
Hot Chip - Alley Cats
Hot Chip - I Feel Better
Hot Chip - One Life Stand
Mount Kimbie - Carbonated
Mount Kimbie - Mayor
Mount Kimbie - Would Know
Rae Spoon - Lighthouse
Rae Spoon - We Can't Be Lovers With These Guns On Each Other
Rae Spoon - You Can Dance
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Better Things
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - I'll Still Be True
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Without A Heart
Sleigh Bells - Rill Rill
Sleigh Bells - Riot Rhythm
Sleigh Bells - Tell 'em
The Morning Benders - Cold War
The Morning Benders - Excuses
The Morning Benders - Wet Cement
The Roots - How I Got Over ft Dice Raw
The Roots - Right On ft Joanna Newsome, STS
The Roots - Walk Alone ft Truck North, P.O.R.N., Dice Raw
The Tallest Man on Earth - Burden of Tomorrow
The Tallest Man On Earth - King of Spain
The Tallest Man On Earth - You're Going Back
Yeasayer - Ambling Alp
Yeasayer - Grizelda
Yeasayer - ONE
Zola Jesus - I Can't Stand
Zola Jesus - Sea Talk

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Monday, December 13, 2010

[BEST OF 2010] 15 great albums (albums 26-40)

blog 2010/12/13 - [BEST OF 2010] 15 great albums

Now things are really heating up!

Last post we gave you 10 honourable mentions, albums 41 through 50 in the best of the best.
This time we are at 26 through 40, given in a respectable alphabetical order.  Can you taste the delicious organization of it all?

15 GREAT ALBUMS (BEST OF 2010 #26-40)

Beach House - Teen Dream
Das Racist - Sit Down, Man
Ellie Goulding - Lights
Eraldo Bernocchi & Blackfilm - Along The Corridors
Fang Island - Fang Island
The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Guido - Anidea
Jónsi - Go
Laurie Anderson - Homeland
Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds
School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire
Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz
Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Tokyo Police Club - Champ
Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rivers

Beach House - Teen Dream

A musical anti-depressant that comes with all of the side effects!  Being lethargic and unproductive has never felt so welcoming, but the sleepy shuffle rock of Beach House is the perfect soundtrack for just padding around in pajamas with feet.   The singing sounds almost as fuzzed out as the guitars, and the whole thing makes me feel like I took a bit too much medication so best not to get up to anything ambitious today.  It's like indie rock John Denver for the hipster age, and I'm OK with that.

Das Racist - Sit Down, Man

It's totally goofy fun, but if you don't need your hiphop laugh-free, it's one of the most refreshingly new things in hiphop for a while.  Taking on issues of race and pop culture from a new angle and building an unyieldingly amusing album in the process.  They've got an army of different producers contributing, appearances by Very Best, El-P, Despot and others, and will charm your pants off if you can just get the hell over yourself.  (no videos from album available)

Ellie Goulding - Lights

Last year I got to talk about La Roux as that year's Robyn (referring to the re-release of the eponymous album of awesome).  Well this year I am happy to say that is Ellie Goulding who is filling that La Roux shaped hole in my heart.  (note:  there will also be a good fit if you have a Florence and the Machine hole in your heart, too)  The production is super slick, so much that when I first heard the singles, I immediately thought they had already been remixed.  Can you blame me with the killer way that Under The Sheets opens???   If you like great pop music with beautiful vocals and slick beats, this album is a must.  And if you don't like that, do you hate puppies and kitties too?  You horrible monster.

Eraldo Bernocchi & Blackfilm - Along The Corridors

In the 90s I a young basshead and drone junky and was exposed to Eraldo Bernocchi in his pairings with my then-deity Mick Harris.  (for the record, I am now an OLDER basshead and drone junky, and still make occasional offerings to lord Harris.)  Blackfilm won my heart in 2008 with their stormy self titled album.  When I saw their names on the same CD, my heart skipped a beat.  I was setting myself up for crushing disappointment!  How could this ever live up to the promise that those 2 names offered?  I took a leap of faith, put the CD in, and was rewarded blissfully for my loyalty to the bass.  Bass crafting is a fine art where the subtleties earned with experience are easily detected.  (For example, see the amateur hour synthesis of most dubstep and jungle basslines)  Just do yourself a favour and listen to this on a big system.  Well, you should listen to all of the albums on this list on a big system, but this one especially is not about the catchy hooks and hand claps, it is made to be felt and submitted to.

Fang Island - Fang Island

Clocking in at around 31 minutes, this album is shorter than some EPs I recently posted about, but luckily their tight playing and precision-point pop crams a huge amount of flavour in to the relatively small temporal space.  The songs have lots of sing-a-long catch phrases and gibberish, but it's all about the pep rally arena rock glee that never leaves you for the duration.   There are equal dabs of stadium guitar-god and math rock nerdiness at work here, and even though it's over before you know it, you can't help but describe it as 'epic'.

The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

Like the new Antony and the Johnsons record, the main problem here is that it is not their last record.  No, it's not as perfect as "The 59 Sound" was.  But if that record hadn't existed, people would be crazy for this one.  Unlike Antony however, this isn't an emotional deviation from the prior album.  Here they continue the Springsteen infused pop rock goodness that nestled them in to the part of our hearts that is ever 17 years-old.  It is an echo of greatness, sure, but still greater than most everyone else doing anything similar.  They even manage to finish things off with what I assume to be a perfect homage to Archers Of Loaf's most epic moments.

Guido - Anidea

Probably one of the smoothest beat records of the year, the synths on here are just fabulous and the pacing is perfect.  Guido takes the best aspects of the Hyperdub blip and reworks them with a love towards post-dubstep and downtempo.  The bass all has a great sense of funk that would pair oh so well with the likes of Jamie Lidell.  The vocal tracks are fabulous surprises as well, making this whole record not only super slick, but incredibly enjoyable.  Ultimate dinner party music for the ex-ravers of the world?

Jónsi - Go

Dear Internet:  There is not enough fan faction about Jónsi getting it on with Owen Pallett.  This needs to be rectified.  Now.  Jónsi is a magical musical fairy who creates shiny worlds of ecstatic glory that I can really boogy down to.  OK, now kiss each other.

Laurie Anderson - Homeland

Oh I *heart* Laurie Anderson oh so much.  Her work with audio and video is a huge part of growth as an adolescent.  And now thanks to youtube, you can find so many fabulous snippets of hers from when video art was still a young and vibrant genre.   And so yeah, she stayed awesome, married Lou Reed, and now returns with one of her greatest albums ever.  Except for the clever and dancey Only An Expert, the album is mostly dark and acts as a meditation on the decay of America The World Leader.  The soundscapes are gorgeous, with occasional vocals from Antony Hegarty buried in the mix, sax from John Zorn, violin from Eyvind Kang, and even her hubby gets on board at times.  This won't be an album to dance around with while making cookies, but I trust you do find the perfect moment to experience this:  "What are days for?  To wake us up.  To put between the endless nights..." does a good job of summing up the disillusioned wit.  But even more poignantly... "And you know the reason I really love the stars?  It's that we cannot hunt them.  We can't burn them or melt them or make them overflow.  We can't flood them or blow them up or turn them out.  But we are reaching for them."

Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

There is something so dreamy and early morning sweepy about this folk music.  In the 90s there was a band called Orange Cake Mix and every song had a feel of their LP title, Fluffy Pillow.  And the Mimicking Birds have a similar sort of aesthetic blanket, meaning that while this album isn't full of big bold surprises, it is absolutely heartwarming, comforting and reliably consistent.  It's like an evening on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea.   The use of occasional samples suggests they are fans of The Books, but the song writing hovers more around Iron & Wine and Damien Rice than anything else.  Either way, it's perfect to snuggle up to.

School Of Seven Bells - Disconnect From Desire

Remember when you were a young romantic, addicted to the syrupy vocals of that old Sterolab mixtape your friend had made you?  I can return to that magic with this album.  The beautiful layered vocals are ecstasy, especially over the shiny-happy-people beats that purposely never reference melancholy, like on a children's TV show.  This is top-level electro pop from a band at the height of their game.

Sufjan Stevens - The Age Of Adz

Simultaneously a shocking album and also pretty much exactly what we were expecting.  After Michigan and Illinois, a bunch of toss-offs, and then a contemporary classical tribute to an expressway, Sufjan kinda sorta finds himself again.  Long gone is the innocent folkster documenting the history of the land, now he's like a mecha cyborg version of himself, doing wonderous things but also trashing buildings by accident on occassion.  Shades of the folkster peek out in in glorious pop songs, but classical musings of Angelo Badalamenti and Stravinsky still weigh heavy, and his affection for his laser-guided flute trills is still obvious.  There's something for everyone here, and there's enough to potentially alienate anyone, and Sufjan wouldn't have it any other way.  He's emerged through a tumultuous time as a 21st century song-writer who is now firmly constructing uncompromising music that bleeds genius, love and carnage.

Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky

No historical context here.  I didn't really listen to The Swans before this, so I won't expound upon the lineup, back catalouge, and all that shiznit.  But what we do have here is a devilishly good album of post-industrial freak folk that has all of the impact of baroque horror.  Underpinned with blues riffs and distortions, the dark vocals rail against all of the spirits of the earth in a voice akin to Nick Cave's.  This is bad feelings music that should appeal to all of the corpgoths and angsty witchhousers alike.

Tokyo Police Club - Champ

There's something to be said about straight-up infectious pop rock.   This is like a cross between all of the best that Canadian rock does well.  From the unique vocal stylings that seemingly drip out in a way that would appeal to Weakerthans fans, to ridiculously catchy riffs that rival Metric or the poppier Arcade Fire.  If they have a fraction of the energy live as they do on the CD, I am extremely hyped to see them tour.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rivers

When you think FOLK DUO, you think…  what?  Dueling banjos?  Voice and guitar?  Voice and ukulele?  Piano and voice?  Banjo and washboard?    How about just voice and percussion?  No, of course not, that'd be silly.  And that is why Wildbirds & Peacedrums kinda sorta melt all expectations you might have for a folk duo 1 minute in to their first song on their new album.  It's seriously all just percussion and voice.  This album has two movements, as it collects 2 EPs that took different angles at the arrangement, but the whole comes off as a complete work in two acts.  You might need a few listens to understand what they are doing, but the vocals will suck you in.  I haven't been swayed by such understated-yet-emotional singing since Elizabeth Anka Vajagic.  In the 2nd half the steel drums offer a taste of melodic accompaniment that will refresh after the darker rewards of the start.  A stunning album of gothic moods and command performances that makes it a truly iconoclastic release.  No one else is doing anything close.  Stay with it, there are some many ecstasies hidden within.


Beach House - Silver Soul
Beach House - Used To Be
Das Racist - All Tan Everything
Das Racist - People Are Strange
Das Racist - Rooftop ft Despot
Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed
Ellie Goulding - This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
Ellie Goulding - Under The Sheets
Eraldo Bernocchi & Blackfilm - Bethnal Green
Eraldo Bernocchi & Blackfilm - Mistakes Pt. 2
Eraldo Bernocchi & Blackfilm - Where We Stand
Fang Island - Daisy
Fang Island - Davey Crockett
Guido - Beautiful Complication
Guido - Woke Up Early
Jónsi - Around Us
Jónsi - Boy Lilikoi
Jónsi - Sinking Friendships
Laurie Anderson - Another Day In America
Laurie Anderson - Thinking Of You
Mimicking Birds - Burning Stars
Mimicking Birds - The Loop
School Of Seven Bells - ILU
School Of Seven Bells - Windstorm
Sufjan Stevens - I Walked
Sufjan Stevens - Too Much
Swans - Jim
Swans - No Words, No Thoughts
The Gaslight Anthem - Bring It On
The Gaslight Anthem - We Did It When We Were Young
Tokyo Police Club - Bambi
Tokyo Police Club - Big Difference
Tokyo Police Club - Favourite Food
Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Fight For Me
Wildbirds & Peacedrums - The Course
Wildbirds & Peacedrums - The Wave

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

deleting old blog files

Just a quick note to warn you of the upcoming deletions!
Once we hit 2011 I will be deleting all of the 2007 and 2008 blog entry files from my server.  I've decided to only ever keep 2 years of blog archives available.

I will probably be keeping some special posts, like the year-end summaries and the xmas ones, but all others will vanish Jan 1st, 2011.

All of the archives are currently at

~Caitlyn / CPI

PS:  The rest of the BEST OF 2011 will be posted on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

[BEST OF 2010] honourable mentions (albums 41-50)

blog 2010/12/09 - [BEST OF 2010] 10 honourable mentions

Instead of a top 50 countdown, we're doing this:
10 best albums
15 amazing albums
15 good albums
10 honourable mentions

So let's get started!  There has been so much amazing music this year.  This I guess kind of counts as entries 41-50, but as usual, I am just listing them in alphabetical order.


Antony and the Johnsons - Swanlights
B. Dolan - Fallen House Sunken City
Bobby Mcferrin - Vocabularies
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)
Grinderman - Grinderman 2
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Lisa Bozikovic - Lost August
Slow Six - Tomorrow Becomes You
The Extra Lens - Undercard
Vampire Weekend - Contra

Antony and the Johnsons - Swanlights

The tragedy of this album is that it follows The Crying Light and I Am A Bird Now.  If this was Antony's first album, it'd upend the music industry with it's radically creative structure and entirely unique sound.  But as salivating fans, we are listening to it as though it were itself a god.  Antony's found love, and the ecstasy of it sometimes makes you pine for the ruminations on death and existentialism that permeated the most heartfelt songs of the back catalouge.  But that's our problem, and we need to get over, fast.  Because when we can share in Antony's ecstasy, we can share in the rapture and delight.  Bravely, the standout song only has Antony in the background supporting Bjork with her most stunning performance in recent memory.  Antony's happy, and we should be happy as well.

B. Dolan - Fallen House Sunken City

When you start an album with frantic soundbites from the 9/11 strike at the Pentagon, you can pretty much assume you're in for something heavy.  There is no letting up here.  No slow jams, sexy ballads, or low-key jams about the small things in life that make us smile.   It's hardcore Alias beats with B. Dolan giving his concise and charismatic flow non-stop for the whole journey.  With a flow that owes equally to El-P, Sage Francis and Kool Keith, this album will be easily entered for anyone at all familiar with the "backpacker" hiphop of the early aughts.  But all that aside, there is a tonne of greatness on this album.  So much that you might not even mind fast-forwarding the mid-album transgressions that wear on a bit.  But, to his credit, he probably pulls off a dark vampire hiphop tale with more grace and drama than anyone else could ever.  If you love crazy dense beats and dystopic anti-authoritarian rhymes, you have to get this.

Bobby Mcferrin - Vocabularies

Acapella has always been there, just outside of the mainstream.  With the occassional wave rising it to prominence, like beatboxing, or The Nylons, or Bjork's Medulla, it always sinks in to the background again, underappreciated.  Bobby Mcferrin (yes, that guy. sheesh.) has rweorked the medium far beyond Bjork with this new album that employs an insane amount of overdubbing.  At 9 minutes as the average song length, these are not little pop songs.  These are extended jazz meditations on themes and emotions that are stunning for their technical acheivement as they are for their spiritual.

Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)

If you loved the 8-bit crushing beats of the Celestica EP b-sides, the album itself is much more poppy and smooth, but I assure you you'll love it all the same.  They have really got their synth-pop roots down, and their production is still as glorious as it is (sometimes) brutal.  The wall-of-pop sound makes you take noice, but never forget this album is still all about the dance floor, so listen to it loud.  At high enough volume, the ending piece I Am Made Of Chalk will sound so perfectly appropriate to close off the experience.

Grinderman - Grinderman 2

I really thought I was done hearing about Nick Cave's penis.  I was so sick of Nick Cave's penis.  He wrote a novel all about his penis.  A friend gave it to me ("because it seemed weird, like you") and I couldn't finish it.  Too much Nick Cave penis.  But here I am, wishing I could hate Grinderman 2, wish I could stop Nick Cave's penis, but damnit, there's just no escaping this man's penis.   This is a good album, despite the prominent role Nick Cave's penis has in it.

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The beats are sick and the mastering is shit (yes, in a bad way), that much is obvious from the get-go.  You need to buy this album for 4 reasons:  POWER, All Of The Lights, Monster and Lost In The World.  Those tracks alone are worth $20, or $9.99, or whatever you end up paying for them.  And if an instrumental version ever comes out, whatever it costs will be worth it for the So Appalled beat, which is just sick (yes, in a good way).  The rest of the album is mildly listenable, but will only have any lasting appeal for people that are interested in Kanye as much as Kanye is interested in Kanye.  It's a psychological profile that could only happen in the age of Jersey Shore and reality TV, and the strongest argument yet that humanity is past it's prime and ready for the next asteroid impact.  But fuuuuuuuck, those 4 tracks are hot.  Nikki Minaj and Bon Iver FTW.

Lisa Bozikovic - Lost August

Armed with a whirling organ and as much creaking emotional fragility as an early Cat Power record, Lisa Bozikovic has been making quite an impact in Toronto.  Her new album captures her open-hearted playing very well, with her lush instruments playing duet with her sometimes emotionally strained voice.  Like the early Cat Power records, this is the kind of album you will need to develop a personal and intimate relationship with.  It's odd to say, but sometimes there are albums where they are even better when enjoyed alone.

Slow Six - Tomorrow Becomes You

Post-rock has long been over.  The ascending cascades of guitars hasn't given us much new over the years, and the moniker has faded from our vocabulary like "acid jazz" and "alternative".  But the combination of musicians crafting devastating instrumental  music with rock implements will never leave, it has only evolved and branched.  Branches to jazz improv, classical composition, operatic metal, avant electronics and soundtrack pop have morphed the genre in new ways that demand our attention on occassion.  Slow Six manage to tug at the nostalgie of what was once glorious in the genre without dwelling in its corniness.  They put forth a refinement of a chamber pop group, but with the power a post-Sunn O))) world demands.

The Extra Lens - Undercard

What is the difference between this and a Mountain Goats album?  I don't know, maybe an extra guitar track on the songs?  But for those that don't know this John Darnielle side project, it might fly under your radar and leave you jonesing for the next Mountain Goats outing.  But it's all here, so step write up.  Emotionally shellshocked songs that tell stories of people and towns and life.  And like all Darnielle, it trully takes two or three listens to properly parse what's going on, but it's all the goodness you'd expect.

Vampire Weekend - Contra

The price of admission here is high.  The first lines of the album rhyme "horchata" with "balaclava" and you might be done with it at that point, succumbing to the internet bully squads that tried really hard to never like Vampire Weekend.  But song 2 is meh and 3 and 4 are kind of terrible and I was ready to give up then.  But if you get over that hump, the album is filled with pop genius.  When you hit the trio of "Cousins", "Giving Up the Gun" and "Diplomat's Son" you forget any blips from earlier on.  You forgive and you succumb.  This is why god gave you mp3s.  Play producer.  Delete the 2-4 tracks you don't like and get on with your life.  Don't let the nagging knowledge that you have a partial album in your collection weigh you down.  No, let it set you free.  Because you need this album in your pop music folder, regardless of what steps you have to take to make it happen.


Antony & The Johnsons - Fletta
Antony & The Johnsons - The Great White Ocean
B. Dolan - Economy Of Words (Bail It Out)
B. Dolan - Leaving New York
Bobby Mcferrin - Messages
Bobby Mcferrin - Say Ladeo
Crystal Castles - Celestica
Crystal Castles - Year of Silence
Grinderman - Bellringer Blues
Grinderman - Heathen Child
Kanye West - Lost In The World ft Bon Iver; Who Will Survive In America
Kanye West - Monster ft Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver
Lisa Bozikovic - Phone Cord
Lisa Bozikovic - Take and Take
Lisa Bozikovic - The Letting Go
Slow Six - Sympathetic Response System (Part Two)
Slow Six - The Night You Left New York
The Extra Lens - Adultery
The Extra Lens - Communicating Doors
The Extra Lens - Cruiserweights
The Extra Lens - How I Left the Ministry
Vampire Weekend - Cousins
Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun

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