Tags: music


November Top Ten

One of my friends posted his top ten for November on Facebook and since I've been listening to a lot of music this month, I felt like following suit.

1 The Killers (148)
2 CHVRCHES (105)
3 Shihad (78)
4 Frightened Rabbit (63)
5 Bloc Party (34)
6 Evanescence (31)
7 Fear Factory (22)
8 The Cars (17)
9 The Dresden Dolls (16)
9 Amanda Palmer (16)
9 Mumford & Sons (16)

Pretty top heavy, but there you go.

Overthinking it. Plus ça change.

You've probably seen the Facebook meme where you are given a band and have to answer a few questions about them.

I was given The Killers, who are among my favourite bands, but whom I have never seen in concert and had not listened to in a while. In fact, I missed their last album and just heard about the recently released greatest hits collection. The question of my favourite Killers song was tricky and prompted several rotations of the albums I have (Hot Fuss, Sam's Town, Sawdust, and Day and Age) as well as this post.

I quickly worked it down to a "shortlist" of 18 from which I arbitrarily eliminated the covers (although I love their covers of Romeo and Juliet and Shadowplay), then after several more listens, whittled it down to my favourites from each of those albums.

I was a little surprised that Somebody Told Me was still one of my favourites after almost a decade of life as an at-least-occasionally overplayed pop hit. Mr Brightside is my second favourite from that album, which is similarly surprising. I think what appeals about these is the blend of emotion and danceability.

With albums covering a decade of my life, there's plenty of opportunity for songs to be personally resonant and mnemonic. Hot Fuzz evokes nostalgia for bittersweet moments, Sam's Town evokes bittersweet memories of happy moments. It's hard for me to choose between Bones and When You Were Young, but it's probably in that order. The latter always reminds me of Rock Band though. My List is close to the conversation.

Bones may also have my favourite Killers video; and not just for Brandon Flowers' badass moustache.

So I disqualified Shadowplay from the running on the grounds that it was a cover, but I couldn't find a decent video for Move Away, so the video makes an appearance at least. Shamefully, I still haven't seen Control (2007). A couple of other favourites from Sawdust are Tranquilize and All The Pretty Faces.

I really like Day and Age. Sometimes it's the little things that distinguish a song for me, and for Spaceman it's the staccato drumbeats between lines in the chorus and their variations. Joy Ride, Neon Tiger and Losing Touch are my next favourites, but I love the entire first half of this album.

I guess I'll be picking up Battle Born in the near future.

And keeping my eye out for a gig.

My 2012 Music Charts, aka, I still haven't bought Manslaughterer.

Less tardy than last year.

My top 10 listened artists with (2012 playcount) and [overall ranking since 2005]
  1. Shihad (230) [2]
  2. The Prodigy (175) [10]
  3. Fear Factory (146) [14]
  4. The Sisters of Mercy (136) [1]
  5. Garbage (117) [28]
  6. Pendulum (96) [92]
  7. Electric Six (88) [14]
  8. Joy Division (80) [5]
  9. Scooter (73) [89]
  10. Flunk (67) [165]

This is a surprising list for two, probably related reasons. I would not have expected to see artists like Pendulum, Scooter and Flunk in there (Flunk in particular, I think I decided weren't to my taste). This most likely reflects more listening to playlists of electronic music while I work, as well as a continuation of last year's trend of working more on campus than at home. Last year the 10th ranked artist was VNV Nation with 136 scrobbles (this year they had 12 [12]), then six more artists were over 100 scrobbles each. This year only another three artists received over 50 scrobbles.
  • 2010: 14 over 100 and 48 over 50.
  • 2011: 16 over 100 and 39 over 50.
  • 2012: 5 over 100 and 8 over 50.

Artists featuring in my overall top 10 not appearing here are The Killers [3], Rammstein [4] Carter USM [6], Lordi [7], Oomph! [8], The Nova Echo [9].

My top 10 listened albums with (2012 playcount) and [overall ranking since 2005]:
  1. Shihad – Ignite (70) [14]
  2. Garbage - Version 2.0 (54) [54]
  3. Pendulum - Immersion (51) [223]
  4. Scooter - Jumping All Over The World [CD2] (47) [302]
  5. Garbage - Garbage (46) [39]
  6. Shihad - Beautiful Machine [Limited 2 Disc] Disc 1 (44) [22]
  7. Midnight Youth - World Comes Calling (38) [355]
  8. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight (36) [7]
  9. The Cars – Just What I Needed: The Cars Anthology (2 of 2) (36) [26]
  10. The Nova Echo – The Nova Echo (36) [1]

The only continuity between 2011 and 2010 was The Nova Echo; this year Shihad, The Cars and Frightened Rabbit join them. Counts are down here as well. All ten scrobble counts from last year's list would have beaten all ten of this year's. Once again, the big change here is an increase in electronic music as working background music.

My list of top tracks is comprises multiple tracks from Shihad, Frightened Rabbit, The Sisters of Mercy, Death Cab for Cutie, The Nova Echo and Garbage, as well as individual tracks from Allison Weiss, The Prodigy, Moby, Scooter, Midnight Youth, a couple of other electronic tracks and a few from The Sixty One. Given I haven't used The Sixty One much this year, it's another testament to the low entry bar this year that anything from that source made it near the top 25 (there was a fifteen-way tie for 11th place with 7 listens).

So, 2012 was a year of largely lyricless rhythm here at my place. Will it be repeated? I'd say probably not, as I sit here listening to Basshunter...

Are you the teachers of the heart?

Inspired by a twitter discussion with Gina, who I recently discovered is my LA Sisters sister. I should have guessed actually... At any rate, here's my pick of essential non-album* Sisters tracks.

First 2:30, most important Sisters song not on an album (Teachers); remaining time, a slowed down version of one of the best Sisters songs full stop (Adrenochrome):

Best Sisters song not on an album:

Best Reason to buy Temple of Rarities Vol 2:

(Or, Some Boys Wander By Mistake apparently; an album I don't own. Anyone know where I can get it?)

And, just so there's an actual video in this lot:

I hear the dive bombers and empire down.

*Not including bootlegs here, of which there are a ton.

My 2011 Music Charts

It's late, but I'm going to do it anyway, in no small part because I'll enjoy reading it again next year. Even if it will be a bugger to find on my LJ calendar... Here's what I had to say last year; the same caveats apply to 2011.

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I don't think there are any purchases on the immediate horizon, but I note that I haven't yet bought Manslaughterer.

Tour de Morrissey

There was some debate last night about the best Morrissey song. Unsurprisingly, all of the contenders were actually by The Smiths.

My contention was 'How Soon is Now', one of my favourite songs of all time, here in a fantastic live version that really demonstrates the power of the song, for me.

The cover that introduced me to How Soon is now, and quite possibly to The Smiths, was that of Love Split Love (Richard Butler's post-Psychedelic Furs outfit) from the fantastic soundtrack to The Craft (1996):

Rob suggested 'There is a Light that never Goes Out', to my mind, one of the most romantic songs ever written; certainly a worthy challenger deserving of serious consideration:

(In this Jools Holland recording, Morrissey demonstrates the hipster mic-drop. This Death Cab version is pretty good too.)

Afrodite objected the most strenuously to my proposal. First she brought up 'Bigmouth Strikes Again', undoubtedly a classic.

I particularly love the Placebo version:

I wish this was more widely available.

She also suggested a song I hadn't heard before, at least, not that I could remember: 'A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours'. A great name and, for it to mentioned in the same context as what are probably my favourite three Smiths songs, I knew it was going to be good:

But I don't think listening to all these songs again has changed my ranking of 'How Soon is Now' at the top of The Smith's oeuvre. Here's a full album version:

My dislike of long instrumentals is pretty well known (hi Pink Floyd!), but the brilliance of this track overcomes that. Damn.

Did we overlook any?

A Mashup

Musical snippets don't get much play here anymore. Instead, I tend to post videos and links on Facebook. However I have are a few links floating around the deserves a less ephemeral treatment.

From the forthcoming American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo comes Trent Reznor's latest piece of brilliance, a cover of Led Zepplin's 'Immigrant Song' that once again makes me hate that Zepplin wrote that song so fricking short!

I thought I'd blogged about being an extra in this video when it was shot in mid-July, but I can't find the post if I did. Sadly, none of my shots made the video, but it was a fun morning and a great Hollywood experience, something I'm more conscious of as I can see the end of my time here approaching. My camera jostling skills are on display from 1:27 to 1:29; working out and pointing out that fact? So Hollywood.

There's a high res version on Frontalot's site.

As the end of 2011 approaches, so the urges of internet creatives turn to annual retroscpectives. In that vein comes Ben Stiller's (Mashup Germany) annual Top of the Pops mashup compilation of the year's biggest pop songs. I'm always quite proud that this is the first time I've heard most of these tracks. Because I'm an elitist fuck, yes.

I have neglected my mashup feeds for a while, so the next couple of hours are musical catchup.