Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Search Of Arcadia: Best Of 2008

Well this is a little impromptu... but as things have been going lately I'll be coming BACK to finish this post a little later. Right now Hype Machine wants my URL :)

EDIT: I'm almost done as the year is ending... BUT DON'T BE SURPRISED if it keeps changing right up until NYE lol!

I initially wrote that I wasn't pleased with music this year. Then I realized I was just in a god awful mood and remembered the boat loads of albums and singles that I loved this year! Suddenly there were more and more albums I was remembering and stuff I forgot about... so instead of being bitchy and writing about how lame things were, I'm perking up and trying to remind both you and myself how dope 2008 was...

British best of...
EDIT: Ok, I wasn't sure about this... but... I thought Radiohead didn't count because the digital version of "In Rainbows" came out like September last year. Then the boxed set came out in December 2007. Then I suddenly realized that the physical release actually came after the beginning of 2008! So if you recognize "In Rainbows" as being a 2008 release then that's my number one. If not then the list stays the same...
1. Portishead- "Third"
2. Hot Chip- "Made In The Dark" (download Hot Chip- "Sensual Seduction (Snoop Dogg Cover)")
3. The Black Ghosts- "S/t" (download Black Ghosts July 2007 Mini Mix)
4. Bloc Party- "Intimacy"
5. The Streets- "Everything Is Borrowed"
6. Foals- "Antidotes"
7. The Last Shadow Puppets- "Age Of Understatement"
8. Metronomy- "Nights Out" (download Metronomy - "A Thing For Me (Sinden Remix)" from the single of the same name)
9. Dizzee Rascal- "Maths & English" (came out in the U.S. this year which is fair play)
10. Benga- "Diaries Of An Afro Warrior"

Honourable Mentions:
The Chap- "Mega Breakfast"
Friendly Fires: "S/t"
The Whip- "X Marks Destination" (download The Whip- "Trash (South Central Remix)")
Supergrass- "Diamond Hoo Ha Man"
Late of the Pier- "Fantasy Black Channel" (not out in the U.S. til 2009; download Late of the Pier- "Space And the Woods (South Central Remix)")

Best Single:

Bloc Party's "Mercury" was my favourite single of the year. Not just because of awesome remixes from CSS and Flosstradamus but the mesmerizing b-side "Idea For A Story" (which was included on the 'indie retail' version of "Intimacy" in the U.S)... the song's tense anxious strings, it's menacing chorus, and perfect production made it stand out amongst a lot of good tracks this year. What really made it my fav though was the verse...
"When I saw you last night, I wanted to say,
`Run away with me, away from the cynics
That this could be the start of something truly real`
But all that I could say was, `hey`,
Was, `hey`, was, `hey`, was, `hey`"

...which is totally fucking brilliant in my opinion. Fantastic stuff. Now if only I could get my Bloc Party Pioneers account to present the right profile info lol...

Best Compilations: This is very difficult because pretty much everything that Fabric released was really really good. Perhaps... I'm gonna go with Fabriclive 42: FreQ Nasty and Stanton Warriors: Sessions Volume 3. There isn't a way to say one is better than the other because they were both phenomenal.
Here's a taste of that Stanton Warriors...

Best 'Best Of': Chemical Brothers: "Brotherhood" album (which came with the amazing 'Electronic Battle Weapon' tracks they've been releasing on vinyl for the last few years) was really awesome. I think I'm giving import copies of this away for Xmas lol... (download The Chemical Brothers- "Electronic Battle Weapon 8")

Best British labels: Hyperdub for sure. They haven't had one release that was anything less than bangin'... Fabric of course makes the list because they're outdoing what they did last year and keep expanding the scope of what they're doing.

Best U.S. label of the year: Ghostly International/Spectral Sound

Ghostly International/Spectral Sound for having released Michna, Osborne, Kate Simko, Tycho, School Of Seven Bells, JDSY, The Chap, and just about every other electronic or avant-pop record that you should have listened to at home or in the club.

Best E.P.s both U.S. and U.K...
Frankmusik- "3 Little Words EP"

JDSY- "Understander EP"
CTZN Machine - JDSY
The Cool Kids- "Bake Sale EP"
The Bake Sale EP

Best of the rest... of the world...
Kanye West- "808s & Heartbreak"
Osborne- "Osborne"
JDSY- "Adage Of Known"
S├ębastien Tellier- "Sexuality"
The Presets- "Apocalypso"
Flying Lotus- "Los Angeles"
Lil Wayne- "Tha Carter III"
T.I.- "Paper Trail"
Cut Copy- "In Ghost Colours"
Crystal Castles- "S/t"
Satnogold- "S/t"

Albums I'm still waiting on (that I wish would have come out this year lol)...
Kid Sister- "Dream Date", The BPA album, and of course the Frankmusik's debut full length...

And even though we only JUST saw and EP this year out of him... ARTIST OF THE YEAR (and probably next year) easily goes to Frankmusik!

Vincent Frank is the summation of everything I've hoped I'd see in an electronic pop artist in my lifetime. His favourite film is Blade Runner (which obviously informs his aesthetic and his songs)... he does his own take on streetwear culture looking like an accessible dude you'd hang out with at Fabric... and at the same time can turn around and look, not just respectable in a gray wool coat, but enigmatic and distant. He can put out a cheerfully frustrated song like "Confusion Girl" and within months give us the wistful longing of "Done Done". With Stuart Price (aka Jaques Lu Cont/Les Rythmes Digitales) working with him on his full length album, after being at the helm for grip of very successful Madonna tunes, it's obvious that he will not just be 'one to watch' but he very well may be one to change the course of crossover pop music as we know it. Unlike some of his peers (if you can even call them that) who will only be remembered for one song, Vincent Frank will endure, and by my estimation end up being one of the most important and successful songwriters of our generation. So while his output was relegated to remixes, and freebies, this year he still outperformed nearly every new British artist in every way. From how he handled the press, to how you can't pin down what he's doing next, to the fact that I haven't met a person who didn't enjoy his music, he's without question the artist of the year. This typically enthusiastic review isn't because Frankmusik is a friend of Arcadia but because he is a much needed breath of fresh air in a sometimes dismal musical landscape. Check him out at The Heaths Of Thornton. So hats off you to Vincent...

Here's Frankmusik's remix of Teef...
Teef- "Take Em Out (Frankmusik Remix)"

Best Festival Of The Year: Is very obviously Lollapalooza.

I mean... how could it not be? We got to see Radiohead and KanYe rock the pants off insanely huge crowds, saw Spank Rock get like 10,000 college ho'bags nearly dropping their pants, Flosstradamus (on Curt's birthday none the less) and Franki Chan (and our once upon a time friend? Dani Deahl) wreck the dance tent, see Foals play to a group of people so large it was most likely unsafe and then have a chat afterwards about Ghostly International, and so many more awesome moments I can't even try to write about them. Believe it or not the only thing that sucked about it was that I was ripped on Morphine (due to a tooth infection, don't get it twisted) and some of the intensity of how cool it was disappeared before my tiny pupils could transmit the info to my brain. Even then we still had a ball! Veronica of Cream Team fame put the wife and I up for the weekend, which lead to going to Todd Kane's b-day party, watching an insane show with Hollywood Holt, Mic Terror, GLC, Skyler, and then chatting with the above people... we also got to avoid the velvet rope all weekend, even finding our way in to the sold out Battles/Foals show (for an interview that never materialized). And the only bad bits were that we were 3 feet away from my ex and her best friend at the entry gate on the first day (yeah, close one, as far as I can tell she didn't notice), that interview never happened, and I got a $100 parking ticket. But all things considered it doesn't get better than that. And I got to drink for once lol...

Best Concert: Bloc Party

Apparently Bloc Pary did well this year as far as this blog is concerned lol. Bloc Party in Royal Oak (around Detroit) was amazing. It was the first official show to tour in North America for 'Intimacy' and it was blazing. Charles (of 'The Spirit Of Albion' fame) and I stood really close to the stage and got to see all the kids mobbing Kele when we jumped into the crowd. Much different than their Lollapalooza gig but in a good way. The band were at their very best and of the three times I've seen them this was the one that proved they had their live show perfected. Runner Up: Hot Chip at The Metro.

Keep your eye on this page... I'm not quite done with this 'best of' thing... but I'm working on it!

1 comment:

homan said...

hey, could you post 'wassailing song' by blur again? it would be much appreciated.