40. Manic Street Preachers ‘I Am Just A Patsy‘
Taken from the Welsh trio’s eighth studio album Send Away The Tigers this rocky little song helped signal a return to the sound of previous albums, not a bad thing after the dirge of Lifeblood. Almost light enough to be a throwaway track, it’s heavy riffs and synth-strings make it a catchy bugger. According to the genius of Wikipedia, the title is a direct quote from JFK assasinator Lee Harvey Oswald.
39. Justice ‘Waters of Nazareth‘
Daft Punk didn’t have to release a note this year to be one of the year’s most influential artists. Apart from the Kanye cut ‘Stronger‘, this French duo are so alike their Gallic brethren they are almost a tribute act. ‘Waters of Nazareth‘ first saw the light of day in 2005, getting a release on this years Cross LP. A driving number in ‘Da Funk‘ fashion, the breakdown lifts this from standard electro pounding to dancefloor-shaker extraordinaire. Class.
38. Björk ‘Innocence‘
This track recalls ‘Big Time Sensuality‘, a huge bass-thunking beast of a tune, unseen on a Björk album since Post. The knob-twiddler responsible here is Timbaland, who also laid down the bones of Volta’sother belter, ‘Earth Intruders‘, one of the year’s best collaborations. Inspired use of strange off-kiltery bit towards the start. Björk ran a competition to create the video for this, and it is a belter!
37. Bishop Allen ‘Rain‘
Taken from their sophomore LP The Broken String(essentially their studio debut) which contains tracks originally released as a series of EPs released through 2006. ‘Rain‘ is the highlight for me, a wistful, jagged indie-pop strum-a-long in a Shins vein. Could well have been the soundtrack to the washout that constituted this year’s British summer, but thus far this has stayed out of the clutches of ad-land.
Download here (to follow) / Buy here
36. Calvin Harris ‘Acceptable in the 80s‘
As ubiquitous in 2007 as Black Death was in the late 1340s, Calvin Harris’ stomping singles were all over the charts earlier this year. Fortunately, ‘Acceptable in the 80s‘ is a fine pop song, bleeping and stabbing over an ode to the most-lambasted decade in popular music. Thankfully the song manages to avoid the retro-cliche style of the video: Deely Boppers and leg warmers belong squarely in the past!
35. Client – ‘Zerox Machine‘
An absolute blast from Rotherham’s Client. A cover of an Adam Ant track, this is much heavier than Client’s usual colder-than-thou sound. More accustomed to chill than chilli this track signalled great hope for the band who had been recently dropped by Mute. Attendent LP, Heartland is a disappointment though; chock full of limp fuzz, a polar opposite to this stompfest. Recently they have become a duo once more: more of this, less of Heartland please!
34. Kings of Leon ‘Black Thumbnail‘
I was never too sure about Kings of Leon. All the fuss that surrounded their first album was a bit much, for me Youth and Young Manhood never really cut it. For sure, there was a couple of great tracks off the first two LPs, but nothing really sprang out. Because of the Times is different. A great, windswept collection of down-at-heel bluesy songs, punctuated by sublime harder moments like this.
Download here / Buy here
33. Ash ‘Twilight of the Innocents‘
With this release came Ash’s decision to quit the traditional music market; Twilight of the Innocents would be their last album. Strange, then, that it contains possibly the greatest track the band have yet produced, a swirling, crashing epic: more Holst’s The Planets than ‘Jack Names The Planets‘. In the ten years or so Ash have been around, they’ve built their reputation on sparky 3 minute pop-punk blasts. This stakes out entirely new terrain for the band; an album track of sheer brilliance.
Download here / Buy here / Live Video
32. PJ Harvey ‘When Under Ether‘
‘When Under Ether‘ is a haunting song, as far removed from tracks like ‘50ft Queenie‘ or ‘Long Snake Moan‘ as you could possibly imagine. A lithe piano line, breathed vocals and a feeling that the song is there, in the ether. The track, and album, show a distinct lack of guitars, it is said that Harvey had to re-learn the guitar following the making of White Chalk. Does this point to a new road for her, or merely an interesting turn?
31. Gruff Rhys ‘Ffrwydriad Yn Y Ffurfafen‘
Candylion, Rhys’ second album away from the communal warmth of the Super Furry Animals is a real triumph. Sung in Welsh, English and Spanish, it robs some of it’s listeners of the meaning of the songs, whilst still putting across the songs feeling well. I tried an online translation service for this song, and it came up with ‘The Firmanent Exploded Crookedly’, which is about as obtuse as you’d expect from Rhys. Either way, this is a sweet, lolloping song, a little softer than the Furries, but just as well, Welsh.
Download here / Buy here
Filed under: Rave | Tagged: Acceptable in the 80s, Ash, Bishop Allen, Björk, Black Thumbnail, Calvin Harris, Client, Ffrwydriad Yn Y Ffurfafen, Gruff Rhys, I Am Just A Patsy, Innocence, Justice, Kings of Leon, Manic Street Preachers, PJ Harvey, Rain, Twilight of the Innocents, Waters of Nazareth, When Under Ether, Zerox Machine | 1 Comment »