Viewing Gum Listening Post #29

The long wait is now over. Here comes VGLP29! Yes, it does seem this blog has simply become a place to post my Spotify playlists – I do have some proper review and feature ideas (plus an annual return of my terrible jokes round-up come the end of October – check my Twitter for a preview). But it’s been a while since last time, and so I have amassed a bumper crop of great new music. It seems the past few weeks have seen an influx of much awaited albums after a bit of a drought over the summer. After a uncertain start, it looks like 2015 will be another fine year.

Stream below or click here to listen buddy!.

  1. De Lux – Oh Man The Future
  2. Battles – Dot Net
  3. SEXWITCH – Helelyos
  4. Foals – What Went Down
  5. Wavves – Way Too Much
  6. Darwin Deez – Right When It Rains
  7. Metric – For Kicks
  8. CHVRCHES – Clearest Blue
  9. RAC, Katie Herzig – 3am
  10. Lianne La Havas – Grow
  11. John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
  12. Beach House – Space Song
  13. Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm – W
  14. The Chemical Brothers – Radiate

Viewing Gum Listening Post #8

Ready those eardrums, for the Viewing Gum Listening Post is back! After a brief spell dipping into Best of Compilations for Music of 2012 and Soundtracks of 2012, normal service has resumed. Well, I say normal, but the January new release lull sees this edition more bolstered than usual by older tracks, as well as those that just plum slipped me by or haven’t found their way on to a playlist yet. So alongside new material from old hands Eels and David Bowie (!) and relative up-and-comers such as Darwin Deez and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, I’ve dropped in classics from Echo and the Bunnymen, Public Image Limited and even Shirley Bassey. Eclectic just don’t do it justice.

So here it is! Clicky to open or stream below. And it’s just in time too, as it seems like every band or musician I like has got an album landing imminently, so expect more Listening Posts throughout 2013, which is shaping up to be a real sonic doozy already.

 

  1. The Hickey Underworld – Blonde Fire
  2. Eels – New Alphabet
  3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – One At A Time
  4. Matthew E. White – Big Love
  5. Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen
  6. Echo and the Bunnymen – The Cutter
  7. Dutch Uncles – Flexxin
  8. Darwin Deez – Redshift
  9. Public Image Limited – The Order of Death
  10. Simian Ghost – Be My Wife
  11. David Bowie – Where Are We Now?
  12. Shirley Bassey – Excuse Me

2011: Albums of the Year

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST ALERT! Though I’ve picked out ten of my favourite albums of the year, there were plenty of other great albums and some damn fine singles released too, so I’ve put together a pretty great collection of 28 tracks into one super-duper playlist. Enjoy!


1. Darwin Deez – Wonky Beats

I’m probably as surprised as you that a concept rap album sampling Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from already accomplished none-more-hip singer-songwriter Darwin Deez would be my album of the year, but it’s just too much damn fun for it not to be. The lyrics are more like a bizarro geek stream of consciousness than anything, a 21st century pop culture time capsule, and few have other musical offerings this year have left me with quite as broad a grin on my faces as Wonky Beats. And the best thing of all? It’s free!

TOP TRACK: I Don’t Like The Look (Remix)


2. The Horrors – Skying

The Horrors expand on the successful formula they nailed with Primary Colours, with an even bigger and better sound than before. Not original by any stretch of the imagination, but by golly, it’s an album that truly soars.

TOP TRACK: Monica Gems

 


3. Matt Berry – Witchazel

Not just gifted with a smooth voice and comedy chops, Matt Berry is also a supremely talented musician, as is evident with this, his third album – a magical folk-infused journey into the English countryside, with a warm 70s telly incidental music sensibility.

TOP TRACK: Take My Hand

 


4. Metronomy – The English Riviera

The sound of the summer, Metronomy’s best album yet was stripped-back, stylish simplicity married with bona fide excellent tunes.

TOP TRACK: The Look

 

 


5. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

Another typically strong work from the TVOTR team, though tinged with inevitable sadness with the passing of bassist Gerard Smith shortly after its release.

TOP TRACK: Repetition

 


6. Battles – Gloss Drop

Battles return as a trio, but on fighting form with a sparky set of intricate tracks, buoyed by wonderful guest turns from the likes of Gary Numan, Matias Aguayo, and Yamantaka Eye.

TOP TRACK: Ice Cream

 


7. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Abstruse, for sure, bordering on the impenetrable, but given time, The King of Limbs unfolds into a fascinating and atmospheric listening experience.

TOP TRACK: Lotus Flower

 


8. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Few artists manage to conjure up quite so wonderful dreamy soundscapes as Anthony Gonzalez, and this double album is a fine example of what he does so well.

TOP TRACK: OK Pal

 


9. Justice – Audio, Video, Disco

Topping their debut was always going to be a tall ask, but Justice come pretty close with another batch of hard-to-beat beats that mainline into whichever part of the brain responds to awesomeness.

TOP TRACK: Civilization

 


10. The Leisure Society – Into The Murky Water

A musical voyage of pure unabashed loveliness that gently rocks you into submission. Something special.

TOP TRACK: Into The Murky Water

 

 


Honourable Mentions:

Cults – Cults
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi – Rome
The Dø – Both Ways Open Jaws
Flashman – To the Victor the Spoils!
Fruit Bats – Tripper
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Ladytron – Gravity the Seducer
Russian Circles – Empros

BONUS: Music Video of the Year

Is Tropical – The Greeks (Dir: Megaforce)

2011: Gigs of the Year

And so beginneth the first in a series of top 2011 lists, starting with my favourite live performances of the year. All images were taken at the Glastonbury Festival by me, and you can see all my other festy snaps here, and I’ve also thrown in some YouTube links – I mean, all those guys with their cameraphones out at gigs weren’t just recording their crummy footage for nothing, right?

1. Janelle Monáe (Glastonbury)

Though on sparkling form at her Roundhouse show earlier on in the year, that was marred by overcooked sound levels. No such problem here, in easily the slickest and downright most entertaining performance I’ve seen this year. With the ArchOrchestra on top form, Monáe, polished but still filled with soul and bundles of energy, effortlessly rattled through her set with a bonus note-perfect cover of ‘I Want You Back’ to boot. My crowd-surf super-lucky photo-op (which was exhibited at The Guardian offices in London, dontcha know) was just the icing on the cake.

2. Guitar Wolf (Islington Academy)

Legendary leather-clad riotous rockers Guitar Wolf touched their space battleship down in London for a non-stop tour de force leading to puddles of sweat, an audience member attempting a guitar solo, a human pyramid and, when the lights came on and the power was pulled by venue management, an acoustic finale out of necessity as Guitar Wolf battled on regardless. Factor in support from London-based psychedelic noise merchants Bo Ningen and you have one hell of a show.

3. Pulp (Wireless)

For their first announced comeback show, tickets for Pulp’s headlining day at the Wireless festival were rather bafflingly not sold out. But other people’s loss I guess, as Cocker and chums delivered a stonking set filled with their biggest hits and plenty of fan favourites. And Pulp are arguably even more necessary today than at the height of their Britpop popularity.

4. Foo Fighters (Roundhouse)

I am no great Foo Fighters fan, more a casual appreciator, but there was no question that their iTunes festival gig was something almighty. From Dave Grohl appearing behind the audience on top of the bar for a guitar battle, and then later getting an unruly attendee thrown out for picking a fight, to special guest appearances from Lemmy and Queen’s Roger Taylor and Brian May, it was two-and-a-half hours plus of rock excellence.

5. Darwin Deez (Glastonbury)

Darwin and his fellow Deezers know how to put a performance together. Not content with playing their already wonderful tunes, they drop instruments for impeccably choreographed dance interludes to a jukebox jamboree. Not to mention a side order of sweet rapping. Fun fun fun.

6. Mono and Holy Ground Orchestra (Koko)

First time I saw Japanese epic rock instrumental group Mono, they were supported by the astonishing World’s End Girlfriend who somewhat stole the show. But in the European debut of their orchestral accompaniment set, they really came into their own. A beautiful and memorable evening.

7. DeVotchKa (Glastonbury, Wireless)

Perhaps best known for their big Little Miss Sunshine-featured themes, live DeVotchKa have no problem rocking with the best of them, with pounding gypsy-infused stomps amongst the more sensitive sections. Plus, a bit of theremin action, a great big horn, and even a banana maraca.

8. Portishead (ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror)

Though ATP’s inaugural I’ll Be Your Mirror festival was hardly without teething problems, they sure had a doozy of a curator for their first effort. If Beth Gibbons’ voice sounds hauntingly flawless on record, live it’s astonishing. So glad to have finally seen them live.

9. Grinderman (ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror)

For snarling sweaty rock that’s raw, ready and rough around the edges, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds side project deliver in buckets. Shame to hear they may be pulling the plug on Grinderman for the time being, but great to see them run riot in Alexandra Palace.

10. Grace Jones (Wireless)

With multiple hat-and-accessory changes on top of an already revealing outfit (for 63 years old, she still cuts a striking figure), Grace Jones is also a great entertainer. Witness her closing number as she rocks a hula hoop for the whole of ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ and then continues to keep it spinning as she introduces all the band members and still keeps it going as she leaves the stage. Very not bad.