daft punk

2013 Albums Of The Year: Part Two

Following on from last week's post covering my albums of the year here are my favourite five albums of 2013. Don't forget the Spotify playlist of all of my favourite tracks from the year too.

 

5. Modern Vampires Of The City - Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend's third album feels a little older and wiser than the previous efforts, still ramshackle and chaotic as it tumbles out of the speakers on tracks like Diane Young but also a little more worldly-wise and heart-breaking. You can hear a growing maturity on tracks such as Hannah Hunt, a song that sounds like the conclusion to Springsteen's Born To Run (or, more likely, Vampire Weekend's own similarly optimistic Run). There was a gritty Gatsby-esque glamour to Modern Vampires Of The City, and it was hard not to be charmed by it's sparkle.

Purchase on Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3 [affiliate links]. Listen on Spotify:

 

4. Random Access Memories - Daft Punk [review]

Daft Punk

Random Access Memories was album almost too big to view up close, better for having a little distance and hype dulled perhaps, though an element of the thrill has innevitably gone. It is deserving of a place on this list, if not at the top, for sheer ambition. Daft Punk blew away all their imitators by making real music and delivering what feels like the last ever conventional 'event record' - something Beyoncé has just rendered all the more obsolete by creating the first real 'event album' of the future. Her staggering eponymous video release dropped with none of the hype or fanfare Columbia threw at Random Access Memories. Both are a pleasure to behold, true widescreen artist visions.

Purchase on Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3 [affiliate links]. Listen on Spotify:

 

3. Field Of Reeds - These New Puritans [review]

These New Puritans, image copyright: Dean Chalkley

In Field Of Reeds, These New Puritans emerged a considerable musical force, shaking free the shackles of their post-punk revival birth to become one of Britain's most intriguing bands since Radiohead. Field of Reeds sounds like the onset of paranoia or manic depression, and you can forget aggression - as Homeland's Carrie knows, feel psychological anguish doesn't get much scarier than when it is soundtracked by dischordent jazz and classical music.

These New Puritans are at their best when beguiling with approachable yet malicious moments - the delirious cover of Herb Alpert's This Guy's In Love With You, or the ghoulish screaches set against Organ Eternal's spiralling melodies.

Purchase on Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3 [affiliate links]. Listen on Spotify:

 

2. Immunity - Jon Hopkins [review]

Jon Hopkins

Whether it is whilst it is in the midst of kicking your ass on its more electronic and intense first-half or stoking your heart on the slower, more contemplative latter Jon Hopkins' Immunity was 2013's dance album non-dance fans could dig.

Those stark melodic moments certainly helped - Abandon Window is cinematic and heart-breaking and the closing title track feels like a healing experience. But the album achieves much through structure and pacing, building in intensity from the taught opener We Disappear to the strung out and reeling Collider. In his work with Brian Eno, Hopkins has learnt from the best, and here he shows what you can do when 'the best' makes up your foundations.

Purchase on Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3 [affiliate links]. Listen on Spotify:

 

1. Cupid Deluxe - Blood Orange [review]

Dev Hynes

No other album released this years captured the imagination in the way Dev Hynes' second album as Blood Orange did. From the opening sultry come hither eyes of Caroline Polachek's turn on Chamakay (keep watching for her forthcoming rise to R&B mega-stardom... She was last heard providing Beyoncé with her jams) to the empathetic band-aid of a record that is album closer Time Will Tell this is an album that wears its heart and sexuality on its sleeve. And I can't help but love the honesty. Hynes drops heartbreaker after heartbreaker whilst also honing his production style to near-perfection.

The result is an album that never suffers a dull moment. Cupid Deluxe is a gorgeously approachable record, packed with creativity and surprises yet also chock-full of hooks. Full of intelligent self-referential nods to Hynes' own work, there is enough on Cupid Deluxe to keep attentive listeners fascinated.

Yet it is the songs themselves that I will remember. The slow moving balladry of Chosen, a song floating on skipped heartbeats and heavenly sax. The jazzy breaks and 90s raps of Clipped On. The tears that On The Line's relationship difficulties inspires. No other album in 2013 felt so human, and no other album felt so good.

 Purchase on Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3 [affiliate links]. Listen on Spotify:

That's it for 2013... Let me know what I missed or what you agree or disagree with, otherwise I'll be back all fresh and excited in 2014.

Anticipation: Random Access Memories - Daft Punk

Human After All left me cold but the sheer hype of the Alive 2007 tour (effectively a gigantic mashup and a greatest hits album on wheels) got me back on the Daft Punk gravy train...

The internet is now seriously hype for the forthcoming fourth DP album on Columbia. Everyone is concentrating on a collection suspension of disbelief at this point. It's practically impossible for everyone to come out happy, but we may as well sit happy for a few weeks in the belief that the new album Random Access Memories may save music.

Two things for you to chew on whilst you wait. Firstly, this excellent article from the Verge on whether Daft Punk can make albums (fuck it, music?) actually matter again. Secondly the below interviews with Giorgio Moroder and Todd Edwards for the Creators Project, both of whom collaborated with Daft Punk on the new album.

By the sounds of things the album sounds perfect - a focus on real instrumentation avoids those moments when you suddenly realise 75% of the groove existed for decades. And let's face it, with Spotify spot the sample takes days rather than months. The vibe also sounds perfect - less novelty hard rock, more silky soul and disco updated for the now.

Download: If It Isn't Digital Love - Gamble & Burke

This dropped into the inbox a little while back but I've only just grabbed a minute to post it. Gamble & Burke have previously released material on Kitsune Noir ('Let's Go Together' - check it out on their Soundcloud) and they recently put together this mashup of New Edition's 'If It Isn't Love' together with Daft Punk's 'Digital Love'.

I've not previously ever really checked out New Edition but did after hearing Gamble & Burke's mashup. This version is actually not particularly close to either of the records it draws from and that is actually a good thing - it takes the ideas from the two and goes to a whole new place. The result is an incredibly laid back, slick summer soul record. Apparently this week is due to be a heat wave in Britain so you just might need something like this to cool you down!

Download 'If It Isn't Digital Love' by Gamble & Burke here [right click, save as].

If you are on this site I'll trust you know Daft Punk's work already but check out the New Edition original below for some 80s boy band funk genius:

BP x

Video: MTBig Planet

This is freaking awesome.  BlackPlastic loves the sackboys in Little Big Planet (there is a sentence we wouldn't have predicted a few years ago) and Danteneverdies has put together a video montage / parody of a series of well known dance music videos using Little Big Planet.

The take on the Prodigy complete with graphiti in the form of a LBP sticker is BlackPlastic's personal favourite.

Tracklist:

Flatbeat - Mr Oizo
Sing it Back - Moloko
Satisfaction - Benny Bennasi
Destination Calabria - Alex Gaudino
Right Here Right Now - FatboySlim
Who’s Your Daddy - Benny Bennassi
Starlight - Supermen Lovers
DANCE - Justice
My Boobs are Ok - Lene Alexandre
Hey Boy Hey Girl - The Chemical Brothers
Call on me - Eric Prydz
Invaders Must Die - The Prodigy
One More Time - DAFT PUNK

Source: Danteneverdies / Via: Rubbishcorp & @misstwinkle.

BP x