Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Q#81 - December 2011 - January 2012

Please note the zip file has a password: Q81
Download link - http://www.mediafire.com/?fk28aqculjr8731

Q’s Compilations
Volume #81 – December 2011 – January 2012

Hello! Well this is my first compilation since moving to the New York and as usual with this time of year it’s a “best of” from the last 12 months. I haven’t really had a lot of time to comb through various sources to scout out albums and artists who I missed during the year, so this may seem a slightly obvious selection. I hope it’s an enjoyable compilation nonetheless, music didn’t take a backseat in 2011 but it occupied a bit less time overall with everything else going. I hope everyone had a good time over christmas and new year, I had a 4-week holiday which was quite nice! It was a shame that one of our greatest intellectuals, Christopher Hitchens, passed away in December, he will be missed for many reasons (and my inadequate tribute is here - http://someothersuckersparade.blogspot.com/2011/12/christopher-hitchens-1949-2011.html).

Now, on to the music…

1)    The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong: The “difficult second album” syndrome seems to have skipped this band, Belong (this is the title track) is different enough from the first album to keep things interesting but is still full of sugar-sweet hooks.

2)    R.E.M. – All the Best: Unfortunately this fine band called it quits shortly after Collapse Into Now was released, I’m a bit of an REM fanboi and I certainly hope that we hear new music from them all in the future in some form (I suspect Peter Buck will keep himself the most busy of the three). The record continued the good form they had returned to along with Accelerate.

3)    Kurt Vile – Puppet to the Main: Smoke Ring For My Halo was one of those often talked about records over the course of the year (it was released in March) but I only got round to checking it out a couple of months ago. It’s a very good record and I’ll have to check out more of his stuff.

4)    Wilco – I Might: After a string of great records culminating with their best, A Ghost Is Born in 2004, Wilco have stalled a little bit for my tastes, but The Whole Love seems to be a record with a bit more to it than the previous couple. I probably should have used the opening track from the record, perhaps it will make an appearance on a future comp (though it wouldn’t have fit for time reasons, anyway).

5)    Jeffrey Lewis – Try It Again: I used Mosquito Rap last time out and wasn’t entirely sure what to use for this mix, I plumped for this simple, slightly uptempo tune which sees Jeffrey sing about one of his usual topics! A Turn in the Dream Songs may not have the immediate affect of previous album, ‘Em Are I but Jeffrey is consistently good, at worst!

6)    Tinariwen – Tenere Taqqim Tossam: I used Assouf back on my August 2010 compilation, and current album Tassili features guest performances on a few songs from Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe from TV On the Radio, which just about guarantees my business.

7)    PJ Harvey – The Words that Maketh Murder: Let England Shake netted Polly a Mercury Prize this year (I’d have given it to Anna Calvi, personally) and it’s certainly a fine album, though I don’t think it’s her best, but it’s great that she is still putting out fabulously different albums. It’s an album that requires multiple listens as many of the songs have layers that need to be taken in before you appreciate a lot of the songs.

8)    Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise: Perhaps the obvious choice from Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2 but it really is a stonking tune.

9)    Puscifer – Telling Ghosts: I used The Weaver on the last comp, which I hope you liked, this song is a bit heavier and perhaps the two songs I’ve used don’t paint the whole picture of Conditions of My Parole, but they are fine songs indeed.

10) TV On the Radio – Repetition: Of course a TVotR album is going to make any “best of” that I put together, Nine Types of Light sees the band in great form though the year has been marred by the loss of Gerard Smith shortly after the record was released. I think of him as their 5th Beatle.

11) Vivian Girls – Vanishing of Time: Recorded at the end of 2010 but released in April 2011, Share the Joy is a slightly more polished record than previous efforts, with some real bubblegum pop sprinkled in amongst the regular feisty and punky efforts.

12) The Decemberists – This Is Why We Fight: The King Is Dead is a bit more of a low-key album than previous effort, The Hazards of Love, it has been criticised as being a bit too much like an R.E.M. album, which is not overly surprising since Peter Buck guests on 6 (I think) of the tracks. It’s a fine album, however.

13) Richmond Fontaine – The Escape: RF’s sprawling, story-album The High Country is certainly one of the highlights of the year, as with the last time I used a track from this album it may not work as well out of context but I’d certainly recommend it.

14) Yuck – Suck: Probably the alternative-media darlings of the year it would seem, Yuck’s self-titled debut was released early in the year and it’s always easy to forget about those once it comes to the end. Yes the record wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, but there’s still something about it that seems relevant and enjoyable today.

15) Okkervil River – We Need a Myth: While Arcade Fire continue to win the plaudits, Okkervil River continue to make better records, I Am Very Far is more layered than previous efforts and holds together remarkably well for a record that was recorded in multiple locations.  

16) Mogwai – George Square Thatcher Death Party: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will continues to see the band doing what they do very well. This must win the honour of “best song title of the year”!

17) Anna Calvi – The Devil: The best album of the year was Anna’s self-titled debut album, a really stunning record that I felt compelled to review on my blog (http://someothersuckersparade.blogspot.com/2011/07/anna-calvi-artist-and-album-review.html).

18) Radiohead – Separator: King of Limbs may seem a bit Radiohead-by-numbers these days, but that’s still no bad thing! The record takes a while to get going but the second half of the album is very strong.

19) A Winged Victory for the Sullen – All Farewells Are Sudden: I used the leading track from this self-titled album on the last compilation and it just a wonderful, wonderful record. For fans of ambient or classical music it’s a real treat.

And that’s your lot! Rushed notes, dodgy artwork and all the usual things I’m guilty of with recent compilations. Please let me know what you think, good or bad. I’m adjusting to life here a bit more quickly than I thought I would, though we haven’t been to any gigs yet! There are a bunch of interesting ones come up so I’m sure we’ll get to some soon.

Until next time
Peace and love