50 songs from last year – #1 – Shamir – On The Regular

Downloading lists of songs without context (or even pictures) can lead to some odd things happening. I listened to this a good ten times on the subway and thought Shamir was (a) a girl and (b) English. It was only when I saw the video that I realised I was wrong.

As to why / how it’s at #1 here, that should be pretty self-evident. It was a bit of a lean year, good ideas were generally winding down. I’m not saying this is hugely original, but it stands out more than anything else.

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50 songs from last year – #2 – QT – Hey QT

I wrote this on The Singles Jukebox about Hey QT:

“Here’s what I love about “Hey QT”: the way that immense witch house drone has been cut and stretched into something that sounds almost like pop music, yet completely not. I love the pound-shop-toy cheapness of the sound effects, the cleanness of the clipped synth shots, the way the chorus builds up those different layers of melody and slots them together. I love the J-pop android cutesiness of the vocal, the barely-contained excitement of the estuary accent hiding underneath; that mix of human and alien, innocent and sexual, artificial and sincere. I love the complete lack of concern for coolness or authenticity. Best of all, though, is that build-up and drop into the rush of the chorus, the way that one synth line pulls you up, then twists into a thousand different directions at once. It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard. Here are some things I don’t care about: the silly energy drink concept, the live show, whether it’s pretentious/postmodern/ironic, whether Pitchfork likes it, whether it’s just playing at being pop, whether it’s allowed to join the pop club. These things all seem to have made some people angry for some reason. That’s their loss.”

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50 songs from last year – #3 – Rustie ft. Danny Brown – Attak

“imo this should be danny browns song
all rustie did was the music” <– Genuine Youtube comment

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50 songs from last year – #4 – Mr Twin Sister – Blush

So, just to repeat – self-released post-Domino-records LP from the buzz band of five years ago, what right does every note of this have to be so good?

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50 songs from last year – #5 – Hannah Diamond – Every Night

I think this one speaks for itself. Good piece in 20jazzfunkgreats on PC music here – would like to share the Wire piece but understandably it’s not online.

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50 songs from last year – #6 – Hammock – Holding Your Absence

I first found Hammock on my mp3 player while I was in Thailand in 2008. I still have no idea how it got there, but it was utterly perfect for the time and the place. I took them back to England and tried out the CD on a few people, but nobody seemed interested – one girl I met memorably described them as “massage parlour music” – but I’ve persisted. Hammock have only one idea really, but it’s a good idea. One of the best. Post-rock / ambient music with all the high-concept stripped away – nothing more ground-breaking than beauty. One day maybe they’ll accidently become fashionable, then they’ll be huge.

This CD came out at the tail-end of 2013, so I’m cheating again here. It’s not their best because someone sings on the last track and spoils the mood. This isn’t the last track.

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50 songs from last year – #7 – Galantis – Runaway (U & I)

I was going to say this was the best ever chart EDM but brief fact-checking reveals it hasn’t actually been in the charts, not in the UK at least. What are you doing, people?

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