Viewing Gum Listening Post #31

It’s been two months, but the first Viewing Gum Listening Post for 2016 (and the thirty-first overall) is ready for you to listen to right here, or just stream below. Various factors delayed its collation, but perhaps of most significant relevance was the passing of David Bowie, which prompted a fairly typical response from his devoted followers worldwide of absorbing as much of his incredibly vast and varied work for a goodly time. There are few artists who could very easily fill days of radioplay but thanks to Bowie’s ability to inspire as well as be inspired, to collaborate, to produce, to write, to make guest appearances, to follow music as well as be followed by other musicians, to cross genres – well, there was much material to savour during my hefty Bowie binge.  I updated my 21st Century Bowie playlist recently, which can be listened to here.

I’m still not over it, and it will colour the rest of the year – and years – to come. But seeking out new interesting music was something he championed, and so the Listening Posts must go on!

 

 

  1. Yeasayer – I Am Chemistry
  2. The Crookes – The World Is Waiting
  3. RAT BOY – MOVE
  4. Field Music – Disappointed
  5. Sunflower Bean – Easier Said
  6. Fruit Bats – From a Soon-to-Be Ghost Town
  7. The Besnard Lakes – The Bray Road Beast
  8. Daughter – Doing the Right Thing
  9. Animal Collective – FloriDada
  10. The Last Shadow Puppets – Bad Habits
  11. Shlomo – Druid Caravan of Smoke

 

Viewing Gum Listening Post #5

Viewing Gum Listening Post reaches its fifth iteration, and it is a reet good’un.  There’s music for cool kids, uncool kids, ladies and gentlemen, cats and dogs, and even ghosts and guardian angels! Thrill at new tracks from Passion Pit, Animal Collective and Yeasayer! Spill at past tracks from Kate Bush, Ruth and The Roches! Chill with The Antlers and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti! Plus literally 5 other songs! What was that number again? Yes, FIVE. Stream below or load it up on your Spotify here.

  1. Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) [2012 Remix]
  2. A Place To Bury Strangers – Onwards To The Wall
  3. O. Children – PT Cruiser
  4. Yuksek – Break Ya
  5. Passion Pit – I’ll Be Alright
  6. Animal Collective – Honeycomb
  7. Yeasayer – Reagan’s Skeleton
  8. Opossom – Getaway Tonight
  9. Ruth – Polaroid/Roman/Photo
  10. Fang Island – Kindergarten
  11. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Only In My Dreams
  12. The Antlers – Zelda
  13. The Roches – Hammond Song

Viewing Gum Listening Post #4

Sure, it’s been just a little over a month since the last one, but it’s not like I’ve been posting a lot else since, so here’s another Viewing Gum Listening Post for you! Stream it right now below…


…or you can open it right in your Spotify by clicking here! Tracklist below! Lots of good stuff, especially the new Dirty Projectors album. Plus new Yeasayer, new Grizzly Bear, new Flaming Lips, new Blur! Exclamation marks!

  1. Patti Smith – Amerigo
  2. Jherek Bischoff with David Byrne – Eyes
  3. Dirty Projectors – Offspring Are Blank
  4. Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute
  5. Bahamas – Caught Me Thinkin
  6. Yeasayer – Longevity
  7. The Flaming Lips with Ke$ha, Biz Markie, and Hour Of The Time Majesty 12 – 2012 (You Must Be Upgraded)
  8. John Talabot – Last Land
  9. Electric Guest – Awake
  10. Blur – Under the Westway
  11. Public Service Broadcasting – Dig For Victory
  12. Port St. Willow – Hollow

 

2010: Music of the Year

I spent every one of the preceding three hundred and sixty five days, now lost to the annals of history and all things intangible, filling my earholes with someone else’s made-up words and noises, and now I present to you ten such collections over that course of time that particularly tweaked the part of my brain that responds favourably to music.

10. The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards

Little Jack White has so many thumbs in musical pies at any one time, it seems like everyone forgets to bat an eyelid his way when he unleashes yet another rock glob on the populous even if it is still royally deserved. So, with a quick turnaround second album from the other band that isn’t The Raconteurs, it was like Consolers of the Lonely all over again. Which is a shame, as it is rollicking good fun from start to finish, with piss and vinegar seeping from its wet black jeans. Not a pretty image, but an image nonetheless.

> > > Hustle and Cuss

9. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

I’m pretty late to the LCD Soundsystem party (a great oversight on my part), but thankfully rectified with Mr James Murphy’s third (and final?) outing of liquid crystal disco. It sounds effortlessly cool, but there’s so much going on, it’s just plain fun to listen to, dance to and do just about anything to – be it the washing up, filling out an application form or being attacked by PANDUHS!

> > > Drunk Girls

8. Fukurouzu – Loop Suru

A pure punt of a purchase based on hours spent in HMV and Tower Records in Shinjuku and Shibuya at their countless listening posts sampling as much as was currently riding the Japan-o-charts, and it’s only really a mini-album, comprising seven tracks from this new indie group. But every track is superb, each different but just as good as the last. I look forward to whatever they do next.

> > > Dekinai

7. PVT – Church With No Magic

An interesting departure from 2008’s brilliant O Soundtrack My Heart (under their then-name of Pivot), with a darker moodier synth-led atmosphere and added lyrics, though ultimately the singing is just another layer of sound than making their output any more conventional. In fact, it’s probably a harder sell than their instrumental-only work. Still, despite the decidedly iffy title track, Church With No Magic (the album) is an overall success from a band that won’t let expectations get in the way of invention.

> > > Window

6. Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM

Sure, she’s not the greatest singer, but, aware that her personality and heritage are integral to her success, she clearly knows who will best utilise these to create terrific tracks. 5:55 saw her collaborate with Air, Neil Hannon and Jarvis Cocker. But this time around it was Beck on songsmith duties (a role repeated as principal penner for Sex Bob-omb in the year’s third best movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World), and such a creative union brought about this rather fine selection of ditties.

> > > Heaven Can Wait

5. MGMT – Congratulations

With many a semi-psychedelic catchy-riff festival anthem under their belts (despite still being a disappointing live act) from Oracular Spectacular, follow-up Congratulations could have easily been more of the same. Instead, they went and did something even better, creating a spiralling dizzy mix of magic and wonder that harked back to decades gone by with both joy and sadness. A surprising and mature album that defies the flash-in-the-pan success I expected from them. Congratulations.

> > > Congratulations

4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Blah-blah-blah, not as good as Funeral. Blah-blah-blah, no-one liked Neon Bible anyway. Well, The Suburbs, on its own terms, is a plenty good album. Sure, it could probably lose a few tracks around the middle, but it manages to capture a different feel to their previous offerings, yet still remains distinctively Arcade Firey. There are obvious highlights (Ready to Start, Rococo, Empty Room, Sprawl II) from the get-go, but as a whole, it’s a definite grower and one I’m looking forward to returning to in the months and years to come.

> > > The Suburbs

3. World’s End Girlfriend – Seven Idiots

Is there no end to this man’s mind-boggling talent? A release on his new Virgin Babylon Records label and a late entry into my top ten, it’s also my favourite Japanese release I’ve heard this year. A throwback to the electro-scrambling of his earlier work but still retaining the classical beauty and dark atmosphere of Hurtbreak Wonderland, Seven Idiots is hard to pin down, but an irresistible treat for WEG acolytes, and probably as good as any place to begin for the freshman.

> > > Les Enfants du Paradis

2. Yeasayer – ODD BLOOD

If I still had albums on cassettes, Yesayer’s latest would be one worn-out tape this year, which would have required a lot of unspooling and respooling when not jammed into my chunky old walkman. Luckily, the digital age avoids such wear and tear, so I was free to enjoy every one of the wonderful songs in ODD BLOOD on heavy rotation. Refreshingly upbeat and positive, it’s stirring stargazing stuff.

> > > Ambling Alp

1. Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

My new favourite lady of song and dance, and while I would usually do that terrible thing one does about things they love by secretly hoping it’s never popular so it can be your own special thing, I wish Ms Monae every success that comes her way. In this day and age of Lady Gaga left right and centre, here’s an artist with style AND substance. And some killer moves to boot.

The ArchAndroid represents Suites II and III of her Metropolis saga (begun with the equally wonderful The Chase EP), featuring a time-travelling plot of forbidden love, the suppression of robotkind, and t-t-tipping on a tightrope. But what really marks The ArchAndroid out from the pack is the diverse range of musical showmanship and craft throughout the album, hopping from genre to genre with every track, yet all tied together by the narrative through-line and Monae’s incredible range. Rock, jazz, classical, folk, funk, soul, electronica…all bases covered, all boxes ticked, all with relish and fun, but with surprising depth and meaning.

It’s wonderful to have an artist so resolute in breaking down boundaries, avoiding categorisation and celebrating differences rather than conforming to mainstream expectations or whatever is ‘hip’ or ‘cool’ in any given week. What the world needs now is a little bit of Janelle Monae.

> > > Tightrope

If the list and YouTube links were not enough to satisfy, I’ve also knocked up a playlist featuring tracks from some of the albums above, as well as a bunch of my other tip-top tracks of the year, in a handy one-size-fits-all Spotify playlist.

LISTEN NOW: 20×2010