la roux

2014 Songs of the Year: Part One - 60 through 51

It's that time of year and as always I'm a little late out of the gate (blame the fact that advertising, my day job, doesn't make compiling this sort of list in December particularly easy!)

I didn't do a songs list last year but as I've focused more on posting one off tracks in 2014 it felt much more relevant. I'm going with a top 60 format and will be posting ten every day or so, then I will look to cover the top ten albums of the year.

I won't comment on these early ones (I just don't have the time sadly!) but where possible I've included a free streaming link or video, otherwise I expect a Spotify player.

Finally before we dive in, I wanted to call out four songs that very nearly made it but just missed out. Stills by Panes, Restless by Oyinda (big hopes for 2015!), Levitation by Marz Léon and Everything We Touch by Say Lou Lou. And with that, on to the list...

Click the Prev post button at the bottom of this post to get to Part Two.

60. Mess On A Mission - Liars

 

59. Hold Me - JJ

 

58. Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck) - Run The Jewels feat. Zack De La Rocha

 

57. Summer Jorts (Some Cats Still Do) - Lockah

 

56. Origins - Max Cooper

 

55. Let Me Down Gently - La Roux

 

54. Heroine - The Night VI

 

53. Johnny and Mary - Todd Terje

 

52. Getaway - EBY feat. IIRIS

 

51. Oasis - Alpines

More to follow...

Comment: The Mercury Music Prize

For the most part BlackPlastic believes that music award ceremonies are for chumps. Like every good rule there is, however, an exception. And that exception is the Mercury Music Prize.

What makes the Mercury Music Prize transcend that crappy sycophantic lip-service of other award ceremonies is its simplicity: one album. That's it. By focusing on that at the expense of lifetime achievement awards, best newcomer, best use of women wearing gymwear in a music video and longest speech at last year's event it gets to the point and is much better placed to judge how has achieved greatness in the past year.

There are still obviously decisions BlackPlastic would disagree with. Particularly M People (1994), Talvin Singh (yawn, 1999) and Ms. Dynamite (WTF? 2002). But the discussion and the deliberation is half the point.

With the shortlist announced on 21 July here are our picks for who may / should get a nod (in no order of course):

The Horrors - Primary Colours
Art-y but relatively approachable and safe, Primary Colours was the shock-horror-it's-actually-alright album of the year when it was released. BlackPlastic loves it and tips it for the win.

Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
Noisy, unique, dark, mysterious - Late of the Pier's epic début had BlackPlastic gushing when it was released last year. It just sounds so fresh and new. In our opinion Fantasy Black Channel SHOULD win, but it probably won't.

Glasvegas - Glasvegas
Not BlackPlastic's cup of tea but they manage to come across as creative whilst still being a firm Dad favourite. It certainly did Elbow no harm.

Jack Peñate - Everything Is New
The other shock-horror-it's-actually-alright album for this year. To be fair, Jack's début was actually pretty enjoyable (certainly better than the Horrors' first effort) but this is clearly better. An album that drips in hot summer evenings, it took Jack from being an also-ran, coming in second place to Duffy and Adele, and gave him a genre all of his own.

Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
They're like a rowdy British version of Kings of Leon and from a judging point of view that can be no bad thing. Plus, you know, they're actually alright.

Metronomy - Nights Out
With added vocals and a pop sound offensive enough to irritate people on the next pod in your office Metronomy's sophomore effort feels like the Streets for the late 'noughties'. To deny then a place on the shortlist would seem churlish.

James Yorkston - When The Haar Rolls In
Beautiful and haunting and lapped up by the critics James is one of those chaps that most mere mortals have never heard of, let alone invested time and money in. Obviously if this was the late nineties, a time when you had to be unknown to even your mother if you wanted any real chance of winning, Yorkston would be a dead cert. It isn't, and he isn't, but it's still good enough that he could sneak a win.

Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Currently in vogue and universally loved so it seems a bit of a no-brainer for the shortlist, but BlackPlastic would be surprised if Lungs wins on the night.

Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires
Radio friendly and inventive, Friendly Fires make better house records than any other 'band' BlackPlastic has heard of, really challenging what people consider rock music to be. It's hard to find people that don't get at least a bit excited by their single 'Paris', and that has to mean something, right?

La Roux - La Roux
Total codswallop in BlackPlastic's opinion but since when did that matter? Bad edgy pop for the masses. She probably has enough attitude in her quiff to give her the edge over Little Boots and if they were both nominated it would be a bit boring, wouldn't it?

Bar for Lashes - Two Suns
Yawn. Loved by journos and students, probably. BlackPlastic doesn't care but she's bound to get nominated anyway.

Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
The pop princess it's okay to like, this will help justify press coverage but it would be as ridiculous as, ooh... Ms Dynamite or M People winning if this got the prize.

Okay, so we are clearly missing the random token jazz an classical albums but we just aren't knowledgeable about those genres.

You can check the BBC's coverage of last year's Mercury Music Prize for footage of the winning announcement as well as interviews and performances.

Did we mention we thought the year Dynamite won was stupid?

Any thoughts?

BP x

P.S. We'll be back to discuss the shortlisted albums and predict the winner once the list is confirmed.

Album Review: Kitsuné Maison Compilation 7 - Various Artists

If Kitsuné Maison 6 was the melodic one and 5 was Gold then this one may sadly go down as the phoned in one. It's true ladies and gents, the Maison series has jumped the shark.

It's hard to put your finger on but there is just a general lack of any sense of care and attention here. Maybe BlackPlastic has come to expect too much but, for the first time on a Kitsuné album, there is padding on the tracklisting.

Chateau Marmont's vocodered 'Beagle' is possibly the world's dullest 80s / French house hybrid - whoever picked this out of all the tracks in the world needs a slap. Similarly Renaissance Man's 'Rythym' seems content to deliver exactly 0.3 ideas across the length of the entire track. Worst of all is La Roux's return on Lifelike's mix of 'In For The Kill'. Fine, it's a catchy tune - we already admitted we liked it - and we know Kitsuné were there first, releasing 'Quicksand' last year. And Lifelike is ACE. But seriously - we all know La Roux isn't cool and will be over before her forth single.

However - when Kitsuné Maison Compilation 7 works, it really works. And it is on the laid back, sun drenched tracks this happens most. Two Door Cinema Club sound like Phoenix at the top of their game on 'Something Good Can Work' whilst Phoenix sound like, well, themselves at the top of their game on the blissful Classixx version of 'Lisztomania'. Even the Golden Filter almost manage to explain their hype on the slow and funky 'Favourite Things' whilst Autokratz finally deliver on the Yuksek mix of 'Always More'. The highlight though - Prins Thomas' mix of James Yuill's 'This Sweet Love' is not just good - it's a glorious summer's walk of a track, surpassing anything that's ever appeared on a Maison compilation in BlackPlastic's opinion.

Inconsistent then - some of the best tracks from the series combined with some of the worst. It's a shame - a little more QC and Kitsuné Maison 7 could have been the best yet.

BP x

Single Review: In For The Kill - La Roux

La Roux rose to fame recently following the appearance of the catchy 'Quicksand' on Kitsuné Maison Compilation 6 and since then they have been garnering significant attention, both of the blogger and mainstream variety.

Now on a major label (Polydor, part of Universal), 'In For The Kill' is the follow up to 'Quicksand' and, if we are brutally honest, it's kind of more of the same. It has the same simple Casio keyboard meets garage-beat sound only with a slightly catchier chorus. BlackPlastic hates to say it but the recent adulation heaped on this band smacks of a certain emperor's affection for nudey outfits in public... And yet they even seem to have made it onto the daytime radio playlists. An album full of this doesn't exactly excite.

What is worth checking out though is what Skream have done here on their 'Let's Get Ravey' mix. Giving the whole thing a dub-step rework gives that vocal more room to breath (even if the sound quality on said vocal seems off, at least on BlackPlastic's iTunes download) but what really takes this mix to the next level is the drum 'n' bass break that hits at the end. It's pure romanticism, a love letter to early nineties rave.

Available at Amazon.co.uk on CD or MP3

BP x