Another week, another mix tape. If I’m completely honest, I think I’ve got a corker this week. I’ve put together some of the music I’ve been listening to over the past week. It’s pretty diverse with genres and sounds, but everything is great. From old hip-hop to ambient electronica, from Tropicála to 90s pop, it’s pretty wide ranging this week. But there should be something to like for every listener. The one piece of music I’ve been obsessing over for the past week is the new Arcade Fire. If you’ve not heard it yet, it is sublime, but is has taken me four listens to get to that opinion. It is a stylistic detour from their previous three albums but they’ve continued to sculpt immense sonic structures. Listening back to their previous albums, it would start to appear that we have a band that will stand the test of time, for their quality is second to none. One of the pleasures of bands like Arcade Fire is they make you aware that we live in an era of music that really is incredible. Enjoy your week, folks, and I hope this provides some of the soundtrack.
Have there been many finer hip-hop groups than A Tribe Called Quest? I think you’d be hard pushed to find more then a half dozen at best. Some of the most gifted rappers to recorded on top of the greatest aesthetics, in their day, Tribe are unsurpassable.
Although less schizophrenic than her other band the Pixies, The Breeder’s functioned as another superb outlet for Kim Deal to contort the structures and aesthetics of pop music. Taken from their second album, the immense ‘Last Splash’, ‘Do You Love Me Now?’ is a perfectly crafted pop song that could be easily transformed into an 80s synth hit, a Motown track or the college rock classic The Breeders created.
It’s taken me a few listens, but I’ve come to the conclusion that ‘Reflektor’, Arcade Fire’s new record, is one of the top records of the year. That may not sound like much but it has been an astonishing year for music and I wasn’t sure another album would arrive in the closing eight weeks that would bowl me over, but, lo and behold, Arcade Fire produced a master class in realisation of ambition. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy takes equal credit for the sound of this record but the tracks are still uniquely Arcade Fire’s.
Oneohtrix Point Never serves as an example of the incredible music we’ve had this year. The alias of Daniel Lopatin, Oneohtrix’s latest album, ‘R Plus Seven’ is a beautiful endeavour into electronic soundscapes. What really grabs the attention is his use of space and silence, where what is between the notes creates as much as the when the sounds are being omitted. Truly wonderful.
The highly influential Brazilian psychedlic Tropicália band Os Mutantes took me a long time to come to. Though I had heard about them for many years it was only a few weeks ago I listened to their self-titled debut album for the first time. An immensely fun, strange, carnival-esc ride of a record.
Under the moniker Glasser, singer songwriter Cameron Merisow crept on to the music scene three years ago with this brilliant track. Although she released a new album out this year, ‘Apply’ keeps on the play list. (A recommendation relative to Glasser: she is the daughter of Casey Cameron, founder of the horrendously overlooked 80s alternative band Human Sexual Response, who are worth looking in to.)
Although Spiritualized have written one of my favourite songs of all time it has taken a lot of time to get round to listening to their other records. On first listen to their debut ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’ this is one of the standout cuts from the album.