• Ghost Ornithology by TEXTBEAK and TNDROND

    21 Mar 2014, 17:05 by onetruetextbeak

    Ghost Ornithology
    Textbeak and Jason Adams - Watching Birds Fall 03:26
    Voctave - Fauxmotion 04:52
    Textbeak - Iris 03:11
    Bath - Foldre (Textbeak Version) 03:06
    Voctave - Inflect 04:48
    Bath - Fold (Voctave Remix) 05:51
    Bath - The Folded Grin (The Ceremonial Dagger Black Cat Remix) 09:45
    Textbeak - Iris (Peter Percept Remix) 04:10

    Ghost Ornithology is the second collaborative release as TEXTBEAK and TNDROND and is a follow up to 2012's The Spirit of Opposition (on I had An Accident Records). TNDROND is an acronym for the cult-like organization The New Deal Representatives of Northern Disco, which is an umbrella for Textbeak's musical collaborators including members of the 1954 crew and his band Bath. The name is a reference to the crew's usage of cold beats and atmospheres which are quite evident on this esoteric release that swims in icy waters between bass grooves and haunted skies. The title Ghost Ornithology is a nod to the arcane witch house warlock The Ceremonial Dagger and his Ghost Triangulations series of releases.

    Released by DARK DAZE Records

    Distributed by Sub Culture Records

    Mastered by Carlos Perón at

    Pre-mastered by Brant Showers of ∆AIMON

    Cover drawing by Carmen Incarnadine ART aka Coco ᴐaᴚᴃoᵯᴃ

    Ghost Ornithology is available at these fine sites:
    Urban Download:

    Ghost Ornithology opens with an unheard live in-studio one-take recording of "Watching Birds Fall" featuring deceased 1954 and Bath member Jason Adams (aka Agate) on synthesizers and Textbeak on vox. It also features two tracks from Voctave (aka Rob Ngy) in his cerebral funk style and three remixes of the Bath classic "The Folded Grin" (featuring Bath members Christie Elizabeth and Textbeak on vocals) by The Ceremonial Dagger (Black Bvs Records), Textbeak, and Voctave. Also included on this release is two versions of Textbeak's "Iris" including a chaotic glitch jazz edit by Andréas Marchal (of Vaatican Records France) in his Peter Percept guise.
  • 3 TEETH - NIHIL (Textbeak Remix)

    15 Jan 2014, 11:39 by onetruetextbeak


    6 Dec 2013, 09:49 by onetruetextbeak

    01. Textbeak – Conquered (Ƈȣηῦȣӄę Remix By ѦPѺLLYѺN’S ▼ISѦGE)
    02. Aesthetic Perfection – The Dark Half (AAIMON Remix)
    03. THAT WAS THEN THIS IS NOW – Broken Wing
    04. Aesthetic Perfection – The Dark Half (BITES Remix)
    05. STRAIGHT RAZOR – Whiskey & Ativan (Monsieur Monsieur Remix)
    06. DJ Hell + Klaus Nomi – Cold Song 2013 (DJ Hell Official Remix)
    07. The Mystic Underground – Those Evil Urges
    08. EMELKAY – Space Hopper (H3X3N Remix)
    10. TSTI – Match To Friendship (Roladex Remix)
    11. spf5Ø – ❐~❍~❏
    13. Attaque – Public Order
    14. Clauss La Morgue – Crazy Remake
    15. Mad Major Melvin – Sad Wife (Madden’s Saevajo Remix)
    16. Si Begg – Entry Level Portable Synthesizer
    17. Maelstrom – Hunger
    18. LORD OF THE FLYEZ – Loving You
    19. Ta-ku – Closet Drake Fans
    20. DJ Assault & Socalled – Sleepover (Sinjin Hawke Remix)
    21. NФΔH ஜ3 – §ℭΔЯŁ€†
    22. Crown Hutch – QUARTZ
    23. Le1f – Damn Son (produced by Shy Guy)
    24. Erick Arc Elliott – 25
    25. Dylan Ross – Zag Like A Witch (pro. Rob People)
    26. Gerard McMann – Cry, Little Sister (Theme From The Lost Boys) (Kiwi edit)
    28. V I O L E N C E – i love u
    29. D∆YDRE▼M – jodi
    31. Ceremonial Dagger – Bloodless
    33. Ghettoscraper – Ghettogoth
    34. Noisia & Evol Intent – The Liquid
    35. Deathface & Lil Internet – 6 Feet Deep (The Panacea VIP)
    36. Ulterior – The Locus of Control (Godmode Remix)
    37. Teams – Alchemy
    38. VALIS – Don’t Recall
    39. Re-Arbeiten – Brutemachine
    40. Astro Zu – Zillion Dollar Uh
    41. Jii-Music – Mourning The Wendigo

    10 Jul 2013, 08:47 by onetruetextbeak


    25 Jun 2013, 20:33 by onetruetextbeak

    SUBSTANCE Mixtape Series
    "DISFVNC" mixed by TEXTBEAK

    The tracklist:
    Talking Heads - The Great Curve // Remain in Light
    The Knife - Without You My Life Would Be Boring // Shaking The Habitual // Rabid
    µ-Ziq - Old Fun #1 // In Pine Effect // Astralwerks
    L.A.S.'s Crime - Pretty Face // Disphoria 1985-1989 LP // Mannequin Records
    THE COOMBE - Inbetween Doors // THE COOMBE // Mannequin Records
    µ -Ziq - Sick porter // Bluff Limbo // Rephlex Records
    Bestial Mouths - White Eyes // Bestial Mouths/Deathday Split 12" // Sweating Tapes
    Ferdinand Cärclash - No te detengas
    Don Jones - Morning Glory (ft. LE1F)
    Destiny's Child - Emotions (Noms "Cry 4 Me bb" Remix)
    NФΔH 23 - Tropical Fruit { Pictureplane } // Tropical Fruit
    Von Sudenfed - Serious Brainskin // Tromatic Reflexxions // Domino
    AIDS-3D - Chillax Cyprus
    Coil - Teenage Lightning 1 // Love's Secret Domain // Wax Trax!
    Meat Beat Manifesto - Hello Teenage America // 99% // Mute
    Joy Division - As You Said // Komakino flexi-disc // Factory Records
    Skinny Puppy - Sore In A Masterpiece/Dead Of Winter // Back And Forth Series Two // Nettwerk
    Antoni Maiovvi – Nesting
    Tannhäuser Gate – Obsession // Tannhäuser Gate (EP) // Function Operate
    Depeche Mode - All That's Mine // Delta Machine // Mute
    Xander Harris – Necronomiconjure // I Want More Than Just Blood // 100% Silk
    Phantom Love - PSYCHIC JUNE // Phantom Love // Mannequin Records
    Rolodex -_anthem for the microage
    Skin Town - RIDE // Time No Place
    Jimi After - Rachel's Theme // Exile In Data EP // Days of Being Wild
    Noblesse Oblige - Runaway (Lars Moston Remix) // Runaway EP // Repo Records
    Le Carousel - Lose Your Love (Andrew Weatherall RMX) // Lose Your Love EP // Phil Kieran Recordings
    Passarella Death Squad – Giant // Giant EP // Days of Being Wild
    µ -Ziq - Sick Porter // Bluff Limbo // Rephlex Records
    Memory Ghost - 24SEX black and blue

    25 Jun 2013, 20:34 by onetruetextbeak

    SUBSTANCE Mixtape Series
    "DISFVNC" mixed by TEXTBEAK

    The tracklist:
    Talking Heads - The Great Curve // Remain in Light
    The Knife - Without You My Life Would Be Boring // Shaking The Habitual // Rabid
    µ-Ziq - Old Fun #1 // In Pine Effect // Astralwerks
    L.A.S.'s Crime - Pretty Face // Disphoria 1985-1989 LP // Mannequin Records
    THE COOMBE - Inbetween Doors // THE COOMBE // Mannequin Records
    µ -Ziq - Sick porter // Bluff Limbo // Rephlex Records
    Bestial Mouths - White Eyes // Bestial Mouths/Deathday Split 12" // Sweating Tapes
    Ferdinand Cärclash - No te detengas
    Don Jones - Morning Glory (ft. LE1F)
    Destiny's Child - Emotions (Noms "Cry 4 Me bb" Remix)
    NФΔH 23 - Tropical Fruit { Pictureplane } // Tropical Fruit
    Von Sudenfed - Serious Brainskin // Tromatic Reflexxions // Domino
    AIDS-3D - Chillax Cyprus
    Coil - Teenage Lightning 1 // Love's Secret Domain // Wax Trax!
    Meat Beat Manifesto - Hello Teenage America // 99% // Mute
    Joy Division - As You Said // Komakino flexi-disc // Factory Records
    Skinny Puppy - Sore In A Masterpiece/Dead Of Winter // Back And Forth Series Two // Nettwerk
    Antoni Maiovvi – Nesting
    Tannhäuser Gate – Obsession // Tannhäuser Gate (EP) // Function Operate
    Depeche Mode - All That's Mine // Delta Machine // Mute
    Xander Harris – Necronomiconjure // I Want More Than Just Blood // 100% Silk
    Phantom Love - PSYCHIC JUNE // Phantom Love // Mannequin Records
    Rolodex -_anthem for the microage
    Skin Town - RIDE // Time No Place
    Jimi After - Rachel's Theme // Exile In Data EP // Days of Being Wild
    Noblesse Oblige - Runaway (Lars Moston Remix) // Runaway EP // Repo Records
    Le Carousel - Lose Your Love (Andrew Weatherall RMX) // Lose Your Love EP // Phil Kieran Recordings
    Passarella Death Squad – Giant // Giant EP // Days of Being Wild
    µ -Ziq - Sick Porter // Bluff Limbo // Rephlex Records
    Memory Ghost - 24SEX black and blue
  • 200 Tracks from 2011

    15 Jun 2012, 11:40 by weejay

    At the start of 2011 I decided that it would be a good idea to get up to date with music by listening to every new release I could find for the year. It did genuinely seem like a good idea, even though I knew a baby was coming and I’d be working 50-hour-plus weeks. Now the year is over, and the top hundred is compiled, the feeling of relief almost makes the whole project worth it. I am positive that these are the best* tracks released in the last twelve months, in the correct order, though it’s pretty unlikely that anyone else is going to have more than a passing interest in my opinions. At least I hope this is a chance for a handful of people to discover some great songs I’ve dug out, and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to the playlist quite often, after a bit of a break from music.
    My method for putting the list together went like this – first I got hold of as many new releases as I could from about ten websites – generally mp3 blogs and singles reviews sites. Then I graded them from 1-10, and deleted anything under a ’6′. Later I came back and graded the 8s 9s and 10s into new folders by percentage points. Then there was another stage where I put the songs into an exact order, and finally I listened to the list in order a few times and shuffled the songs about. If this is tedious to read then you can imagine what it was like to do – a time-consuming technique which took up a year’s commutes and left me with folders full of around 3000 mp3s (plus 1500+ that were deleted) and notebooks full of now meaningless lists of tracks and numbers. It also left me with a list of 250+ ranked tracks, mainly due to the 87% folder having over 120 tracks in it.

    200 Tinie TempahWonderman ft. Ellie Goulding (Jacob Plant remix)
    199 Alina SimoneYou Fade Away
    198 ElephantActors
    197 IFEEL STUDIOWatching Stars Over The Rubicon Beltway
    196 Cloud ControlThis Is What I Said
    195 High ContrastFearful Symmetry
    194 Blackwater JukeboxThat Voodoo Shit
    193 KorallrevenAs Young As Yesterday
    192 The KillsPots and Pans
    191 Kunt and the GangAmy (it’s a terrible shamey)
    190 BlawanPeaches
    189 The MenNight Landing
    188 Xander HarrisBloodremixXHVocoder
    187 Steve Reich / Kronos Quartet9/11/01
    186 Thomas TantrumSleep
    185 Toddla T & Roots ManuvaWatch Me Dance
    184 Estelle ft Rick RossBreak My Heart
    183 Other LivesFor 12
    182 MondkopfThe Song of Shadows
    181 Peaking LightsAll The Sun That Shines
    180 Lethal Bizzle ft. Grime AllstarsPow 2011
    179 TimariwenTenere Taqqim Tossam (Four Tet Remix)
    178 Lumpen NoblemanScaling the Yablonois
    177 K-X-P18 Hours (Of Love) – An Optimo (Espacio) mix
    176 Katy BWitches Brew
    175 Future IslandsBalance
    174 Kode9Time Patrol Dub
    173 Jay-Z & Kanye WestOtis
    172 PBNFitteh Moo
    171 Kurt VileJesus Fever
    170 Vagina VangiLocked Forever
    169 LapaluxTime Spike Jamz
    168 Ghosting SeasonFar End Of The Graveyard
    167 Holy Ghost!Some Children
    166 The Oh SeesCarrion Crawler
    165 Cloud NothingsNo Future / No Past
    164 Time WharpCuspcake (LORD BOYD Remix)
    163 Crookers / Savage SkullsBust ‘Em Up
    162 Ding Dongbadman forward badman pull up (the bug remix)
    161 The CaretakerThe sublime is disappointingly elusive
    160 The Count & SindenFuture
    159 Vagina VangiGoatghosts
    158 DestroyerSuicide Demo for Kara Walker
    157 K-X-P18 Hours (Of Love)
    156 ReginaJos et sä soita
    155 Peter Bjorn and JohnSecond Chance
    154 The RaptureHow Deep Is Your Love?
    153 SeahawksTramadol Beach
    152 BeyoncéLove on Top
    151 Twin SisterBad Street
    150 BorisSpoon
    149 Future of the LeftPolymers Are Forever
    148 GhostpoetLiiines
    147 The Advisory CircleNow Ends The Beginning
    146 How to Dress Wellsuicide dream 2 (elite gymnastics baptism)
    145 Lil Wayne6 Foot 7 Foot (feat. Cory Gunz)
    144 Wye OakHoly Holy
    143 Forest FireThe News
    142 The Joy FormidableWhirring
    141 The ChainLostwithiel
    140 Liz GreenDisplacement Song
    139 M83Intro (ft Zola Jesus)
    138 Chains Of LoveBreaking My Heart
    137 FeistHow Come You Never Go There?
    136 현아Bubble Pop!
    135 JontiTwirligig
    134 SkrillexFirst of the Year (Equinox)
    133 Jay-Z & Kanye WestMurder to Excellence
    132 The NorthRISE (extended demo)
    131 MogwaiWhite Noise
    130 Washed OutSoft
    129 The Advisory CircleBeyond The Wychelm
    128 Mr. Muthafuckin’ ExquireHuzzah! (Remix feat. Despot, Das Racist, Danny Brown & El-P)
    127 OrbitalNever
    126 Steve HauschildtAlready Replaced
    125 Todd TerjeSnooze 4 Love
    124 Holy Ghost!I Wanted To Tell Her
    123 Joris JStand Alone Complex
    122 Oh LandSun of a Gun
    121 Ray & the PrismsAstrograph
    120 I Break HorsesHearts
    119 IceageIIIIIIII
    118 Death GripsGuillotine
    117 65daysofstaticCome To Me (ft Robert Smith)
    116 Real EstateGreen Aisles
    115 Oneohtrix Point NeverSleep Dealer
    114 PhantogramDon’t Move
    113 The Chemical BrothersEscape Wavefold
    112 MetronomyThe Look
    111 Renaissance ManWhat Do You Do When You Do What You Do (Vocal Version)
    110 CeliaD D Down
    109 Tom WaitsHell Broke Luce
    108 DauwdWhat’s There?
    107 Russian CirclesMladek
    106 KingdomStalker Ha
    105 EntrepreneursFuck Tactics (Feat. FOE & Ghostpoet)
    104 DJ Shadow ft African BoyI’m Excited
    103 rRoxymoreLonelyritournelle
    102 Cygnet WingsLark
    101 KingdomTake Me (ft Naomi Allen)

    --------------------------------------------- Top 100 ----------------------------------------------

    #100 Laura J MartinSpy (The Simonsound Remix)

    Very talented young Liverpudlian flutes & loops artiste remixed by retro space synth act The Simonsound. I love the drum samples.

    #99 Katy BLights On (Ft Miss Dynamite)

    If 2011 was the year when pop met dubstep, then Katy B’s ‘On A Mission’ was the album that made the phenomenon seem like the most natural thing in the world. “Lights On” is at heart just a decent pop song about enjoying clubbing so much that you don’t want to stop dancing even when they’re closing up, but the beats, the production and the guest rap from Miss Dynamite come from an altogether different world.

    #98 Spank RockNasty (feat. Big Freedia)

    Spank Rock’s 2011 album “Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking Liar” generally seemed to get panned for being pervy, coarse and weird, which is a bit like criticizing a table for being made of wood and having four legs. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly. This track is, yes, nasty.

    #97 BretonEdward the Confessor

    (A late replacement here for Vampilia, who I’ve suddenly decided I can’t stand)
    This is one of those tracks that just seems to arrive on the internet with no context whatsoever – just a video and a few unhelpfully surreal press releases. There’s a rumour that this is Tom Vek working under a pseudonym. Anyway, it’s pretty decent, that’s the important thing.

    #96 Peaking LightsTiger Eyes (Laid Back)

    The description on says “floating electronic pulses, controlled feedback, tape loops, organ, synth, guitar, and vocal harmonies layered into waves of four track noise pop goodness.” But what does it for me is the bassline. What a bassline!

    #95 London ElektricityThe Plan That Cannot Fail

    Simple D&B track, with euphoric early-90s house piano. Sometime the simplest ingredients are what you need.

    #94 New BuildFinding Reasons

    Hot Chip / LCD Soundsystem side project, a bit like both, but with elements of 80s indie electro.

    #93 MetronomyThe Bay

    Repetitive disco-pop song about Torquay. I wasn’t really into it until I heard it at a party. That’s where it should be heard. Best use of slap-bass all year. The extended version is even better – it just cuts to the chase and then stays there for as long as you want it to, which is quite a long time.

    #92 濱崎あゆみBRILLANTE

    Mainstream Japanese pop music – even my wife has heard of her, and she’s hardly a J-pop fangirl. Ayumi piles on the melodrama and overproduction and instead of it being cheesy and soulless it ends up being as epic as she presumable meant it to be. Just seen the video for the first time and, well, it’s very very gay.

    #91 Lady GagaJudas

    THE big hit of the year. Well, in my house it was, at least. Easily my favourite thing she’s ever done, the techno breakdown is the best bit.

    #90 The Advisory CircleThe Patchwork Explains

    If this were a list of albums, The Advisory Circle’s “As The Crow Flies” would be right up there near the top. I’ve always loved the creepy, burbling synth sounds of 1970s public information films and documentaries, and it’s great to hear them being reclaimed and used for something strange, dark and witchy. Unfortunately there’s no one real standout track, though, so take this as a sample rather than a highlight.

    #89 The Cabin FeverUntimely Loss

    The only track by someone I actually know on this list, a song my friend Dan wrote and recorded about Trish from Broadcast, who died early in 2011.

    #88 The AntlersParentheses

    The people at Drowned In Sound are crazy about this group. This track is here on the strength of a single riff. It’s a very good riff and is repeated a lot.

    #87 Lana Del RayVideo Games

    Witty, insightful and convincing, a pitch-perfect satire on submissive women with asshole boyfriends which takes all the tropes of fashion and lifestyle journalism and plays them with utter conviction – and everyone seems to love it.

    #86 Chris BrownLook at me now (feat. Busta Rhymes & Lil Wayne)

    A bit conflicted over this one. On one hand it’s Chris Brown boasting to Rihanna that he’s got lots of money now, a couple of years after he beat her up. Which is obviously not very nice. On the other hand it’s one of the strongest rap tracks of the year, and contain’s Busta Rhymes best performance for the best part of a decade. Which is obviously brilliant. The truth is that some of the greatest music of the last century has been produced by some morally fairly reprehensible people, and whatever crap Busta Rhymes lends himself to it’s always worth a listen.

    #85 The War on DrugsBaby Missiles

    So there’s this band that sound exactly like mid-seventies Springsteen and they’ve written this song and somehow it’s amazing. Don’t ask me how this happened.

    #84 Ritualz (†‡†) – Ghetto Ass Witch Ft. Gvcci Hvcci (Vagina Vangi Remix)

    Easily the most annoying song title / band name combo to write in 2011. Anyway, witch house, will it coalesce into a single sound? If so it could sound something like this. Please.

    #83 La FemmeSur la planche

    Jagged, angular, fast-paced French indie-pop song all about surfing.

    #82 RaffertieVisual Acuity

    Just his usual filthy genre-blending IDM, a highlight of 2011 for those who happen to like that sort of thing.

    #81 RaidenBarbican

    From Beton Arme, a D&B concept album about Britain’s brutalist architecture. That might sound unbelievably, ludicrously pretentious to lots of people, but just judge it on the results. I’m not sure who this is for, or who if anyone will buy it, but I can safely say the world is a richer place just for its existence.

    #80 Rainbo VideoUltraviolet

    There is pretty much no information whatsoever available on this band, so I’ll just quote the 20jazzfunkgreats entry that led me to this in the first place –
    “Ultraviolet takes that disconcertingly (and contradictory) modernist baroque that Steve Reich popularised and harnesses it to a almost pastoral melody that suggests not golden fields and ancient trees, but nebula and gas giants and impossible distances and the aeons old gravitational dance of galaxies. It is the sound of giddy excitement at fantastic detail. An orgy of data driving the rapidity of the notes; a clear drone binding in place the looping and falling of the rest of the track.”

    #79 Julianna BarwickPrizewinning

    An astonishing voice, looped and layered until it sounds like a Cathedral full of hymn-singing ghosts. It’s the kind of thing that people describe as “ethereal” and “transcendent” which seems like grasping at words for something fundamentally wordless.

    #78 ZombyDigital Rain

    Perfectly named – cascades of casiotone raindrops from this year’s most compelling electronic minimalist.

    #77 Eleanor FriedbergerMy Mistakes

    Her from the Fiery Furnaces. I wouldn’t usually say that I liked something because it’s “catchy” but this seems a good place to start.

    #76 BelongKeep Still

    Sad, choral ambient, beautifully descending to a terrible place, like the realisation of some unpleasant truth.

    #75 The HorrorsStill Life

    In which The Horrors say “fuck it, why not turn into Simple Minds” and play it straight enough that it works.

    #74 Rizzle KicksDown With The Trumpets

    The kids are alright.

    #73 Thurston MooreCirculation

    2011:Thurston Moore breaks up Sonic Youth after 30 years, breaks up with Kim Gordon, then releases this muffled acoustic baroque pop delight.

    #72 Azari & IIIManic

    From Toronto, two Detroit-style techno engineers and two camp black soul singers with a dark, funky track about manic depression… somehow this is completely successful in every way.

    #71 Moon Wiring ClubKindly Cavort

    I don’t really know anything about this except that it’s really, really weird and makes me feel very odd indeed. There’s a facetious and unhelpful biography here – – did I mention how much I like weird music and facetious and unhelpful biographies? Sinister.

    #70 Nicola RobertsBeat of My Drum

    Pop star releases commercial pop song, critics praise it, the public entirely fail to buy it, then half a year later it’s in all the best-of lists. Including this one. Sorry, I could try to be different, but I do actually like it. Better without the terrible video of course.

    #69 TeebsCook, Clean, Pay the Rent (New House Version)

    Floating, dreamy, airborne hammond-organ space instrumental

    #68 The AntlersNo Widows

    I was a bit suspicious of anything being touted as the “saviour of indie music” this year. Indie doesn’t need saving, it needs putting out of its misery at this stage. But who cares what other people say? This song won me over completely.

    #67 Pale SketcherWash It All Away (King Midas Sound Remix)

    Apparently Pale Sketcher is Jesu and King Midas Sound is The Bug. I hope that clears things up. This takes something dark and sad and adds HARD to the mix, with terrific results.

    #66 Jazzsteppa And Foreign BeggarsRaising The Bar (Stray Remix)

    This is exactly like a dark and dirty D&B remix of something off Squarepusher’s ‘Go Plastic’ album – so not really breaking new ground, but smashing up old ground pretty effectively.

    #65 Buraka Som SistemaHangover (Bababa)

    BabababababababababababababababaBABA NyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehnyehNYEHNYEH DoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodooDOODOO BabaBABA BababababaBABA

    #64 Factory FloorTwo Different Ways (Original)

    Hypnotic, spiralling krautrock techno, like Neu! set free on FL Studio.

    #63 Solar BearsTwin Stars

    Swooshy sci-fi electronica from Ireland with creepy scattered drums.

    #62 Body LanguageSocial Studies

    A simply lovely little indie-electro-pop song from the summer which somehow slipped under the radar of even the music blogs. There must be millions out there who’d love this.

    #61 The Oh SeesThe Dream

    Heavy, propulsive garage punk. The pitchfork review of their album says “Dwyer’s guitar playing is best described in terms usually reserved for feral cats”. That’s about right.

    #60 Toddla TStreets So Warm feat. Wayne Marshall & Skream

    This year’s best politically-minded 8-bit dancehall reggae track. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about though – has the government covertly installed under-floor heated roads? The public must be told.

    #59 Mutated FormsDoubts

    Reckless, dirty, out-of-control D&B from Estonia.

    #58 IceageBroken Bone

    Frenetic indie-punk from Copenhagen, where traditional indie-punk handcrafting skills have been handed down to a new generation. Their album ‘New Brigade’ is great from start to finish – if this is your kind of thing then I’d seriously advise you to give it a listen.

    #57 RedLightSource 16

    Future! Work!

    #56 Washed OutYou and I

    Not one of the more popular tracks from Washed Out’s ‘Within and Without’, and not exactly one of the best either, but I kept coming back to it for the vocals from Caroline Polachek of Chairlift – they are really something very special. They don’t start until 3.20. Until just now I thought she sung “I forget all of your favourite tenses” but it’s really “I forget all of your vain pretenses” which is not quite as special.

    #55 MakotoBubbles

    Euphoric amen-breaky effervescent goodness.

    #54 FriendsI’m His Girl

    Right-on gender politics + sexiness + funky bassline. I challenge anyone to listen to this and not love it.

    #53 Solar BearsCub (Keep Shelley In Athens Mix)

    No song this year seemed to be without a Keep Shelley In Athens remix, but as good as they are they seemed to peak with this dark soft rock / house dream / nightmare from last January. There are lots of very familiar things here, but this may be the first time they’ve all been jumbled up in this wonderful way.

    #52 tUnE-yArDsPowa

    This is probably not the best way to get anyone into tUnE-yArDs, but it’s the song that finally got me hooked. An exercise in simplicity and waiting, it shows exactly what she’s capable of.

    #51 Vortex RikersCollapsed

    Dark ambient grave wave post-dubstep witch house from Germany. Apparently. Moody, clangy programmed atmospherics.

    #50 Bill Ryder-JonesA Leave Taking

    The guy from The Coral with a simple but breathtaking piano and strings piece. The video is equally beautiful, but very NSFW.

    #49 Mord FustangLick The Rainbow

    Dubby commercial electro. Every time I listen to it, it goes something like this – “Why did I pick this?” “Hm, it’s not very good, is it?” “Oh, this bit’s ok” “Hold on, bit rubbish again” “Yeah, bit better again” “OH! THAT’S WHY!” (NB – His other tracks all sound EXACTLY the same, don’t bother investigating)

    #48 Eddy Current Suppression RingWalking in Unison

    From Australia, garage punk krautrock. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Ten minutes isn’t enough.

    #47 きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅPONPONPON

    There’s no point in even trying to write about this. Just watch the video. Watch it now.

    #46 Toddla TTake It Back (Dillon Francis Remix)
    Toddla T and Shola Ama get a moombahton remix. Best after it kicks in, as these things usually are.

    #45 The CaretakerAll you are going to want to do is get back there

    “You were the caretaker here, Mr. Grady.”
    “No sir, you are the caretaker. You’ve always been the caretaker. I ought to know: I’ve always been here.”

    #44 RöyksoppShores of Easy

    I’d completely forgotten about Röyksopp. Maybe you had too. Well, apparently they’re still around and still as good as ever. Technically this hasn’t been released yet – I expect it to be in next year’s lists.

    #43 Patrick WolfThe City

    Incandescent, joyful pop song.

    #42 AlunaGeorgeYou Know You Like It

    Unsigned sultry R&B singer Aluna Francis and electro producer George Reid. God, this is brilliant. Why is it only at number 42? Should’ve put it higher.

    #41 A Winged Victory For The SullenSteep Hills of Vicodin Tears
    According to the AV Club “one of the top 10 all-time worst names we’ve encountered“. Yeah, it’s not a great name, but it’s not really important when the music is as exquisite as this.

    #40 SiriusmoEinmal in der Woche schreien

    What is this? Weird German electro, very odd and very fun.

    #39 ▼▲▼vagina vangiOf Chaos And Hell

    Russian Hardcore New Romantic Witch House. This could be massive. Doesn’t really kick in until about three minutes in, so be patient, I promise it’s worth it.

    #38 Katy BKaty on a Mission

    Yes, yes, I know it was out in 2010, but the album was released in 2011, so it’s here. Another evocation of a great night out, and the best of a brace of great singles.

    #37 Blanck MassLand Disasters

    The best wall of noise since Surgeon’s remix of Mogwai Fear Satan. In the distant future all music will sound like this.

    #36 GhostpoetSurvive It

    Though my view is a long distance one, 2011 seemed like a pretty depressing time for some people in the UK. Ghostpoet is one of only a few to work with this mood so far, and easily the best I’ve heard.

    #35 ThundercatFor Love I Come

    Bob James style 1970s Jazz-Funk, but sounding fresh and new.

    #34 FlorrieBegging Me

    What’s going on with pop music? In a logical world this would’ve been number one all summer, instead it’s an independent release listened to by a handful of music bloggers. 2011 is weird.

    #33 Boys Noize & Erol Alkan ft Jarvis CockerAvalanche (Terminal Velocity)

    Slow-building, propulsive, mechanical electro, with Jarvis’s best vocal for the best part of a decade. Another one that seemed to slip out un-noticed.

    #32 Death GripsI Want It I Need It (Death Heated)

    Californian experimental hip-hop group with this year’s best use of a great sample. One of those “why didn’t anyone think of doing that before?” moments.

    #31 Wolfgang GartnerCognitive Dissonance

    Just a very high quality electro-house track, bafflingly not included on his album this year.

    #30 Timber TimbreBlack Water

    Dusty, smokey, swampy, Deep-South-Americana, although apparently they are a folk band from Canada. Love that little rising middle-eight.

    #29 MisanthropLatitude

    Relentlessly dark high-BPM German drum & bass. Good stuff.

    #28 Washed OutBefore

    What is she saying? It used to sound like “ahee” to me, but people seem to think it’s “Paris” spoken with a French accent.

    #27 The Greg Foat GroupYeah You Are


    #26 I Break HorsesLoad Your Eyes

    Difficult to pick one track off an excellent album, but this one sums up what’s special about this band pretty well.

    #25 Patrick WolfTogether

    Yep, more Patrick Wolf.
    Lupercalia didn’t receive great reviews – a pop LP about the joys of domesticity was never going to. Perhaps in a few years people will pick it up again and recognise it for what it is – some the best pop music of the year.
    I played this to the wife and she didn’t like it. Which made me :(
    The video is a bit odd, not really in a good way either. What are the taxidermied foxes doing there?

    #24 Buggsy & JokerMusic (4am)

    Slipped out on Joker’s twitter in June, seemingly un-noticed. Better than anything on his album.

    #23 The StepkidsShadows On Behalf

    Melodic, soulful psych-rock, somewhere between ’67 and ’68. Guitar music this year seems much better when it’s looking backwards. That can’t be a particularly healthy sign.

    #22 London ElektricityInvisible Worlds (featuring Elsa Esmeralda)

    Fairly good drum & bass album ‘Yikes’ ends with this epic climax. It seems like if you’re making good music in a non-new genre you’ll be completely ignored if and when you produce something incredible. Not that the album was a flop, but there’s a lot of people out there who should’ve heard this but didn’t. I’d like to hear him try a whole album along these lines.

    #21 Bill Wells & Aidan MoffatThe Copper Top

    Sombre, graceful song about mortality. With some artists you worry that they’ll run out of steam before they hit 30, but with Aiden getting older seems to just give him a greater level of insight.

    #20 Ga’anArms They Speak

    Magma-like drone-prog, hypnotic drums and organs, very promising stuff.

    #19 Azealia Banks212

    Every month or so a music video by a previously unknown artist goes viral. Sometimes it’s mainly about the visuals, and the song itself is fairly incidental. Some inspire brief fevered debate and are then quickly forgotten. Some are just enough of a novelty to get noticed, due to being strange or offensive. It’s quite telling that nobody seems to have accused Azealia Banks of the last of these despite the incredible rudeness of the song. Even after a few months of watching this video it still seems fresh and exciting – the birth of a brilliant raw talent. She’s got a lot of expectations to live up to.

    #18 Feed MeStrange Behaviour

    Melancholy commercial-sounding dubstep. It’s so hard to put this singer, these words, these sounds, these beats together and make it work so well. This really shouldn’t work. Why does it work?

    #17 Dillon Francis & Diplo feat. MalucaQue Que

    The “moombahton banger.” I’m still not sure what the defining characteristics of moombahton are. There seems to be a single production technique (take reggaeton records and slow them down a house BPM, then add extra production), but the results are all very different. This song (especially with the video) is fairly disorientating.

    #16 LindstrømDe Javu

    Bubbling, whirling, stuttering death-disco. If I had a club I’d play this last thing every night.

    #15 The CaretakerCamaraderie at arms length

    Is it fair to credit this to The Caretaker? Is this from 2011 or 1925? Not sure on either count. Certainly he’s done some outstanding curation and production here. Absolutely magical.

    #14 High ContrastThe First Note Is Silent (feat Tiesto & Underworld)

    Do these three things go together? Yes, apparently they do. It’s the little backwards string sample at the end of the chorus that gets me. How can something so strange still sound so commercial? I was sure this was going to be a massive hit, then it limped into the charts in the mid 50s. Poor show, Britain.

    #13 ResoWar Machine

    Heavy, complex, intense drumstep. Not really cool enough to win any prizes, but nothing beats listening to this when you’re cycling around Beijing.

    #12 Michael KiwanukaTell Me a Tale

    Very hard to believe this is from 2011 – the kind of soulful, lovingly orchestrated performance you never seem to hear these days. In a sense it feels wrong to just look backwards, but when there’s a song and a voice like this involved I don’t care…. and what a voice!

    #11 Ga’anServant Eye

    More drone-prog. Found this at the Altered Zones blog where it’s available for free download – they say

    “Ga’an strikes us immediately with its immense, visceral energy, its totalizing vision and sound. For a “prog” record, however, it reveals a strong minimalist ethic, and very little in the way of virtuosity or unnecessary fanfare. Like the operatic prog-rockers Magma, Ga’an know how to be ambitious without falling back on the self-indulgence of the elongated instrumental solo. Instead of distracting digressions or dead-ends, they channel their energy into dynamics, levels, and texture. In standout passages “I of Infinite Forms Pt. II” and “Vultures of the Horn,” it takes only the most nuanced of key changes— like the sly introduction of a keyboard line over some stumbling drums— to shift the sound from a haunting death march to a wash of spaced-out textures. In this, Ga’an are similar to Isis, using subtle shifts in dynamics to pummeling and entrancing effect.”

    Love the drumming on this one!

    #10 Feed MePink Lady

    Nasty electro-dubstep with a magnificently contorted bassline. There’s been a lot of silly talk this year about “brostep,” much of which seems to be of the “I don’t like this music because [people I don't like] listen to it” – always a pretty suspicious argument. I’d rather listen to Skrillex than James Blake, sorry if that offends anyone.

    #9 Clock OperaLesson No. 7

    What’s this, a proper indie rock band in the top ten? And with a singer whose voice I don’t really like? Surely some mistake!

    #8 DJ FreshLouder (ft. Sian Evans) (Flux Pavillion And Doctor P Remix)

    A remix of the first ever drum & bass number one (just ok, and not really drum & bass for the most part) rips it up and starts again. No more to say about this really, just watch the video.

    #7 Washed OutEyes Be Closed

    It’s strange listening to such a summer song in the depths of winter, but you can always just dream about next year.

    #6 Future IslandsBefore the Bridge

    At first it was hard to take Samuel Herring’s voice seriously. I still suspect he’s a character from The Mighty Boosh. But this song transcends its ridiculousness – they take it so seriously that I can’t help but belive them. I suspect that as the 2012 goes by I’ll get more and more into this band.

    #5 NeroAngst

    1867 – Mussorgsky writes ‘Night On Bald Mountain’
    1886 – Rimsky-Korsakov arranges a new “fantasy for orchestra” version
    1940 – Stokowski creates a new arrangement based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s which becomes well-known after it features in the Disney film ‘Fantasia’.
    1977 – David Shire makes a disco version for the film ‘Saturday Night Fever’ – ‘Night on Disco Mountain’
    2007 – French electro duo Justice sample ‘Night on Disco Mountain’ for a track called ‘Stress’
    2011 – Stadium dubstep act Nero remix ‘Stress’, retitle it ‘Angst’ and hide it away on the bonus disc on their number one album. It’s the nastiest, darkest, heaviest dubstep track of the year. Chilling. Magnificent.

    #4 Food PyramidE-Harmony

    This was recorded in 2009, but only released at the time on an extremely obscure limited edition cassette. 2011 saw it given the proper CD release it deserves. Shimmering, psychadelic krautrock – builds and builds and builds and builds….

    #3 KelpeSame New Era

    Every sound here twists an stutters in perfect chaos. No matter how many times I listen to it, the moment two minutes into this track when it all kicks in still has some strange magical power.

    #2 John MausBeliever

    Speaking of magical powers, what strange wizardry has John Maus happened upon here? There’s noting organic about this song, but it feels utterly alive. Placed near the end of “We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, it’s the moment when a patchy album somehow explodes into messy perfection. Ecstatic.

    #1 Toro y MoiStill Sound

    So, finally we reach number one, and it’s a personal choice, as perhaps it had to be. In February 2011 my son was born, one week late. He was over four kilos, and my wife is quite petite, so we were quite worried about the birth. Just before delivery we had a huge scare when the baby’s heart started slowing down as he couldn’t get enough oxygen, and an emergency caesarean had to be performed. And then everything suddenly went from panic to joy – both the baby and my wife were absolutely fine. The next few days I took the local bus backwards and forwards between the house and the hospital, and listened to Toro Y Moi’s “Underneath The Pine”. It was the one part of the day I had nothing else to do, so I’d just close my eyes and feel happy. Outside a barren winter had finished and a blanket of fresh snow lay on the ground. The sky was clear and blue.
    Listening later in the year I had to admit the album was a little patchy. Large parts of the second half are little more than unfocused jazzy noodling. But this song will always remind me of those days. If it didn’t have these connections then I suspect it would still be up here in the top ten.

    This is all also to be found at - with youtube videos and all that.
  • Last of the FM Heartbreakers

    12 Feb 2012, 12:42 by Meatbreak

    01. John Talabot - 105
    02. Ectoplasm Girls - 44
    03. Turbowolf - 40
    04. Run DMT - 33
    05. Clams Casino - 32
    06. Pop. 1280 - 30
    07. Total Control - 27
    09. Cobalt - 15
    09. Lanterns on the Lake - 15
    09. Wild Nothing - 15

    1 – Deep-house techno noise
    2 – Swedish sister noise
    3 – Hairy Bristol noise
    4 – Waking dream noise
    5 – Untouchable intangible noise
    6 – Grey dystopian noise
    7a – Australian superband noise
    7b – Can't crowbar Noise into here
    9a – Relentlessly charred noise
    9b – Pretty sleeptime anti-noise
    9c – Habitual listening ends up in the top 10. noise..

    Talabot brings the distortion
  • Top 50 Albums of 2011

    24 Jan 2012, 09:20 by Meatbreak

    Here for the blog:

    or here:

    50. Civil Civic – Rules
    Fan-funded debut release from London based duo that dropped a slew of incessantly addictive rock instrumentals from the abrasive to the euphoric with a playfulness that belied the serious talents behind the song-writing and musicianship. The tracks tended to cavort rather than progress across their brief lengths, with no piece out-playing its own enthusiasm, conveying infectious attitude in the spirit of people like The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Andrew Wk and even a dash of The Smiths.

    49.Tree of Sores - Tree of Sores
    Trio from Leeds make epic ep of crushing shapeshifting doom. The production might need a bit of beefing to add some more weight, but it's not so necessary. The gnarly grunting basslines and sheer walls of guitar screed morph between solemn chugging and cyclones of kinetic fury with an intrinsically momentous sense of composition. No aimless drift between segments, just pure atmospheric build and howling release.

    48. The Rosebuds - Louds Planes Fly Low
    After a decade of writing albums reflecting their developing relationship, The Rosebuds latest comes to some kind of conclusion in documenting their divorce. It's a beautiful, painful listen with the ex-couple swapping vocals over soulful guitar music and occasional flight into disco fancy as they unpack their relationship out of their hearts and minds and onto a soberly platonic plane.

    47. Barghest – Barghest
    Gilead Media
    From one of the most consistently excellent labels of the year comes the debut from Baton Rogue four-piece Barghest. An unswervingly bleak and fast storm of metal that whips Death and Thrash into a domineering eye of Blackness choking the air from the speakers as its torrid mass of aggressively writhing riffs pours forth across six relentless tracks.

    46. Gkfoes vjgoaf - The Joy of Awakening / Healing / Nature Eternal Striving (Inner Islands) / Spirit Dance (Full of Nothing) / Glacial Ways (Self-Released)
    Rustic, naturalistic and for the most part, humid, except the album devoted to icy water, this Californian born globe-wanderer has found himself addicted to the myriad faunal landscapes of New Zealand and has stopped there for over a year now. Four of these five albums were his own solo work, one with his partner but all follow the same languid path of collaged tapestries of nature recordings, ambient sounds, ethnic instruments and guitar playing into states of organic trance. There's no greatest among them, they all have distinct characters indebted to the changing landscapes around him and the landmarks he picks out of them.

    45. Dark Castle - Surrender To All Life Beyond Form
    Profound Lore
    Two-piece boy-girl doom band bring in a whole load of friends including members of Nachtmystium, YOB and [artist]US Christmas, to expand their already huge sound into a progressively constructed record with a scope the same size as their riffs. The core guitar/drum interplay is the intuitive lead to follow through a course of blackened sludge, caustic noise and flights of melody, but the almost telepathic communion between the beats and riffs expanding and contracting , clashing and complementing makes for a truly great doom record.

    Dirtbombs – Party Store
    In The Red
    A garage rock band – one of THE garage rock bands you should be paying attention to - covers Detroit Techno classics, including Sharevari, purportedly the first ever Detroit Techno track produced. Having previously released an album of Soul covers, they're no strangers to either conceptualisation or recontextualisation and the result is no gimmick, coming from Detroit themselves the Dirtbombs already own the honours to both sounds and restructure the icy electronics through amps and drum skins like they own them.

    43. Village of Spaces – Alchemy and Trust
    Turned World/Corleone
    Incredible psychedelic devotional acid-folk album from Maine based collective that laced its psychotropic spirituality with a haunting revenant atmosphere that recalls Fairport Convention and Incredible String Band. Sounds like both sides of the pond, both sides of the 60's and beyond.

    42. Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion
    I get the sense that In Love With Oblivion is the album The Horrors tried to make with Skying. They tried too hard and overbaked it, but Crystal Stilts drive their psychedelic rock through a narrower stretch of darkness and come out with a set of songs that, as edgy and uncomfortable as they are, sit fluently together. The vocals are pitched perfectly with a melancholic distance that suits the reverbed bass jangle of the guitars, the retro stylings of the music flow out of the songs themselves, and it's got a grinding Velvets rip-off that must utterly destroy on stage. Nothing forced or cynically reproduced here.

    41. Matthewdavid – Outmind
    Matthew McQueen runs the psyclobin-soaked Leaving Records but for his own album his friend FlyLo put it out on Brainfeeder, which tells you a lot about the musical territory of this album. A propulsive post-club world, drawn up from the ground with a bass-heavy bed of warped and foggy drones punctuated by shafts and shards of lighter electronic glitch and melodic throbbing.

    40. Run DMT – Dreams
    Culture Dealer
    Released on his own Culture Dealer cassette imprint after floating about between prospective labels, Michael Collins' Dreams is a very aptly titled tape as it contains his most lucid stream-of-conscious psychedelia to date. Doped out into another dimension it unravels longer episodes of faded-bliss garagey-pop with almost glitch like vignettes of loops that cut in and out of the deeper tracts like the jumps in your hypnogogic states.

    39. The Men – Leave Home
    Sacred Bones
    In taking their loosely locked down starting points from both Spacemen 3 and MC5 The Men kicked out some pensively drawn out noise-rock, swapping between roaring kinetic riffs and taut threads of tense repetition with a deadly penchant for unleashing killer climaxes out of them both.

    38. Wild Beasts – Smother
    The UK's most sensitive mountain men makes their third progressive foray into their own unique underworld of literate, erotically charged ambient indie. With barely any hooks throughout its reflective textures it was almost the antithesis to the practically danceable debauched revelry of Two Dancers, but that was the key to its greatness. It was that close, slow, intimately swooning shuffle at the end of the night.

    37. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This World / Leyland Kirby – Eager to Tear the Stars Apart
    History Always Favours The Winners
    The master butcher eclipses all his previous work to date by developing his soft and sensitive sides with two albums; The Caretaker's unsettling waltz of warped tea-dance with its poignant reflection on the amnesiac loop, and Leyland Kirby's less (or ambiguously) conceptual suite of degraded neo-classical ambience. Both utterly mesmerising.

    36.Holy Other – With U
    The preturnaturally sensual slo-motion cosmic vapours of With U cemented Triangle's reputation as a label and the mysterious Manchester/Berlin born/based artist transcended Witch House to produce a record that effected everyone it touched beyond the internet meme-machine.

    35. Craft Spells - Idle Labor
    Captured Tracks
    Beauty Above All says it all. Another wonderful album from a label that can do no wrong, this one as clear and sharp as cut diamond. No haze, no fog, no dirt, just beautifully clean pop songs loaded with gorgeous melodies and heart-fluttering hooks.

    34. Everyone to the Anderson - The Man Born From Inside Of A Horse
    Brighton rock band destroys the scene with their long-anticipated full length that bridges post rock and hardcore with a twitchy sense of danger and subtlety that sounds as unlike anything else as much as it does Shellac or Fugazi. Spiky shards of guitar break low-slung bass rhythms, the beats keep their own wild signatures locked down and over it all Ben Gregory unravels dysphoria and wry observation in graceful and invigorating union.

    33. Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
    Southern Lord
    The final album from this incarnation of WITTR, the closing chapter to a trilogy of albums is also their finest, and a fitting way to go out, disappearing back into the ground that bore them, waiting to be reincarnated in another form when the moment arises. Majestically invoking the feral, harsh, beautiful and feminine spirit of nature, Celestial Lineage Many Black Metal albums strive for this ecological, environmental connectivity but fall way short of what this band can convey.

    32. Pure X – Pleasure
    Summer Sun soaked harmonic pop smothered with tape noise and dredged towards the unlistenable is my kind of Pop Music. Evoking a sense of claustrophobia in wide open spaces through the combination of it's propulsively dank rhythm section and umbral take of surf riffing, the sunshine is clouded over, the joy occluded as it was with the Paisly Underground psych bands who tinged their technicolour acid trips with a dark paranoia. Recorded with no overdubs and a raw vocal performance, this is a brutally naked feeling album.

    31. Vatican Shadow - Kneel Before Religious Icons
    Hospital Productions
    Dominik Fernow has had a good year as Prurient, in Cold Cave and as Vatican Shadow (and probably a whole load more). It's in the latter incarnation that he produced his most awesome work, right at the start of 2011, and it came impressively presented too – 8 tracks across 4 tapes in a reel to reel box, in no order, just there for random assignation to your tape player. Playing games like that has me eating out of your hand, but then when you start flipping the switches down on them and a grimy minimal pulse starts oozing out the speakers, caked in the dust of collapsed industry, burning with the dystopian glow of mechanical failure, things really start to get fetishistic.

    30. The Antlers - Burst Apart
    French Kiss
    Brooklyn's Antlers second album could never hope to continue or better the crushing heartbreak of their debut Hospice, so instead they have greated an almost-equal parallel, an inverted version of that swaps the hopelessness of Mortality for that of Relationship. It's a highly sexualised record, that chokes the throat of any optimistic romanticism with bitter folly and cold-light of day realities in similar fashion to Wild Beasts' Smother, with whom it also shares a similar sense of the ambient though it eschews electronics in favour of the standard indie-rock kit.

    29. Turbowolf – Turbowolf
    For nearly five years I have been waiting for this band to be one of the biggest in the country, now all those demos and singles that have been keeping me alive for so long finally get underlined with a full album proper from Bristol's Turbowolf. The punk/rock/metal hybrid jams this band kick out are all impossibly infectious stadium-sized cock-rock anthems in waiting, as deadly serious as they are faintly ridiculous. 14 tracks whip past with barely a dip in the adrenaline pumping quality across them, lifted with some great song-writing twists and winding trails there is more to this album than just satisfyingly sharp riffs.

    28. Total Control – Henge Beat
    Iron Lung
    Featuring members of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and The UV Race this Melbourne based super-group of sorts has ample pedigree to be able to deliver a good record, but this is goes beyond the sum of its parts. Surfing a wave of distorted electronics and feral guitar lines as its base, the tracks blend in elements of cold-wave, post-punk and garage rock across their course resulting in a stone-cold classic in waiting.

    27. Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand + Aluk Todolo – A Collaboration
    Leave it to a cave dwelling black metal band and an industrial folk outfit to produce the best industrial cave dwelling black drone album of the year. Unclear which band takes the lead in these four grimly tense torch-lit forays into cavernous netherworld of sound, as the eerily foreboding clanging, chanting and dissolving rhythmic patterns could belong to either act's main works, contorting and igniting ideas planted by each other in a hypnotic procession of dark trance.

    26. Hateful Abandon – Move
    Ex-Basilisk man Vin's post black metal band went through another significant shift in sonic direction leaving little trace of black metal at all, even any Metal of any kind except in the vengeful and aggressive vocals. Mixing post-punk and cold-wave together into a bleak treatise against the mentally corrosive materialist and corporate ownership of modern existence, the relentless procession of ideas that unfold out of each track result in one of the year's most overwhelming experiences.

    25. The Advisory Circle - As The Crow Flies
    Ghost Box
    Radiophonic experimentalism from the renowned Ghost Box label didn't get better than Jon Brook's second album for the imprint. A record of two halves, with the more propulsive explorations taking up a first half combining wyrd folk electronics, Delia Derbyshire hauntology and abstracted kosmiche, with a divergent set of shadowy, very English sounding ambient sci-fi soundtracking on the second, there was a lot to absorb from this – not least the fact that, public information services being core to a lot of Ghost Boxes artists, a Tawny Owl's legendary 'Twit Too-Woo' sound is in fact a Shakespearian concatenation of both its alarm and territorial calls and thus, a falsehood.

    24.A$AP Rocky – LIVELOVEA$AP
    Blog-loved instant hit crew A$AP deserve all the attention their leader A$AP Rocky is clamouring for. His changeable rap-styles bear the imprints of his influences pretty heavily but that doesn't stop this album from having a character all of its own, be it from the Clams Casino instrumentals or his in-house producer Ty Beats's own seething drones and beats over which he lays down his high-living braggadocio. The other vocalists in the outfit – the awesomely named SpaceGhostPurrrp serve as foils for him to bounce off, and even though he maintains A$AP is foremost a group, the attitude all pretty much revolves around him as the main guy. The opening track is one of the biggest tunes of the year in my ears, with Brand New Guy coming up close behind it.

    23. Aosoth – III
    Subterranean Satanic Black Metal from France. A nation so well versed in the most ferocious forms of devotional ritual it should require little further explanation to beset the horrors upon you. Whilst including passages of misty industrial ambience and space, both those elements only serve to enhance the extremely violent and unrelentingly claustrophobic atmosphere, which is again reinforced through a murky production – progressing from the drier sounding first and cleaner sounding second albums. By taking their third full length down an even darker more airless avenue they have found a voice and style that demands attention.

    22. Petrels – Haeligewielle
    Processed strings and disfigured electronics were the raw materials used to build this retelling and homage to the story of William Walker – a man who, from 1905, spent the best part of five years swimming through the black waters surrounding Winchester Cathedral, single-handedly replacing peat with cement in order to buttress the foundations to prevent it sinking into the Earth. The near-mythological heroism of the undertaking, coupled with its futility (the sinking cannot ever be stopped) all infuse the epic tone waves ebbing and flowing throughout this album, directing their course through murky passages, shafts of lightness and cruel eddies of distortion with an ever present sense of optimism.

    21. The Field - Looping State Of Mind
    Axel Willner's third album beautifully eclipses the previous two by gently widening the palette of sounds that make up his already mesmeric meditative minimal techno trance, resulting in an even deeper and more rewarding experience. Expanding the lush throbbing base of loops with the sunset atmospheres of Balearic house and gospel-tinged soul harmonies Willner's organic melding of elements has resulted in an album interwoven with a textural subtlety and density that allows the initial eye-widening impact of the tracks to slowly dilate into an even greater all consuming masterpiece.

    20. [artist]Ssalvia - Thought Has Wings
    A treacly nostalgic psychedelic blur of woozy, smoked-up, 70's h-pop hallucinogens blowing your third eye right out, glitter-bomb style into the cosmos, taped to VHS, converted to 8-bit rpg soundtrack. Released on the label run by Matthewdavid producer Matthew McQueen, solo Belgian artist François Boulanger's Thought Has Wings has kept me totally zoned out all year, sounding like Ferraro or Matrix Metals on a tight leash, this dropped an essential high of a loop, shimmered you briefly in the haze until you were cooked then passed you on to the next trip, nothing ever staying too long to lose its sheen. Absolutely perfect Summer album, pretty much essential at all other times.

    19. Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler/The Dream
    In The Red
    Possibly John Dwyer's greatest ever Oh Sees album, this just drips Cool out of every sweat soaked pore. Everything that sounds wild-eyed and flailing is also the sound of a composed and measured creator – the looseness and spontaneity of it all belies the studied hand from which every note is dealt. Whether Dwyer conceived this set of songs during the same epiphany or held on to them over time to load into a succinctly killer album is almost not worth contemplating. Almost. Here's a guy who's totally in control even when he seems to be about to lose his shit entirely.

    18. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2. Judges
    Distended, warped surrealist poly-timbral/rhythmic/textural/tonal jazz, Colin Stetson's second solo saxophone record blurs musical boundaries, limitations and expectations as much as the physical senses, and apparently the physical realm in which it is performed. Featuring Godspeed's Efrim Menuck on engineering duties and Ben Frost at the mixing desk, as well a Stetson's own inspired set up – microphones across multiple amps, on the body of the saxophone for percussion and on the keys to produce beats, on the mouthpiece to produce vocals multiplied by his circular breathing technique – the result is a constant stream of sound that totally confounds the one-man one-take live set up of this album.

    17. Wreck and Reference - Black Cassette
    Old NFR indie-rock favourites Bison disbanded with one member forming this remarkable doomy black metal duo creating one of the most bleakly euphoric albums of the year, eschewing guitars to produce these jaw-dropping results with just synths and electronics. You might have to be told that the wall of roaring static pouring from the speakers comes from key-tones rather than steel string abuse so stylistically textural is the sound, yet in a similar way to how Servile Sect suck up Metal and Atmosphere and produce something alien sounding out of the familiar, Wreck and Reference also produce a parallel take on metal and subvert the pre-requisite set-up creating a thick, tense and tangible threatening presence all of their own.

    16. High Wolf – Atlas Nation (Holy Mountain) / Annapurna Illusion – Life Is An Illusion (Rocket)
    Mono-monikered Max releases his two greatest moments of the year across two projects, the former deepening his exotic explorations into equatorial trance, the latter transcending the realms of hypnagogic pop, both of which were firsts for each guise: Atlas Nation is his first relatively major release after a long string of obscuro label and self-releases, while Life Is An Illusion is his first major Annapurna album. Both records resonate with a sense of mysticism, both very heavy in their own styles. The synths from LIAI have a tangible physical presence, driven by a kosmische momentum, that make most other nu-age projects sound like pathetic hokum, and the tribal ritualism of the beat patterns circling the High Wolf guitar loops are as oppressive as jungle humidity. The true beginnings of a magical mystical tour start here.

    15. Cold Cave - Cherish The Light Years
    There's barely one black-clad band that has not exerted some kind of influence on this album. Its heavy with the scent of kohl-stained eyes, dry ice and hairspray but it's even heavier when throwing imposing silhouettes against the walls of beautifully wrought synth tones and enormous beats. This is a huge sounding album, compressed to the max, even the subtleties forced into your face. They want you to be intimidated by even the smallest details, confronting you right in the face with their angst and disillusionment, emphasising every excess of Wes Eisold’s anthemically bleak new wave romanticism.

    14. Altar of Plagues – Mammal
    Profound Lore
    The Irish black doom combo's second album developed their sound way beyond all expectations and the output of most other bands. A heaving mass of shadowy atmospherics that includes a passage of haunting Celtic folksong that grounds the record in a human and naturalistic setting of craggy fog and bleak inhospitable landscapes. Perfectly produced with each instrument sounding unlike any in either the Black or Doom metal genres, this straddled both and went further beyond as magisterial passages peaked into raging torrents of ferocious noise. A bass tone that was warm and earthy whilst retaining a dirty grittiness for the drums to pound off – which they did with exceptional speed and ferocity, double kicking themselves into a textural blur for the guitars to tear out shades of caustic drone over the top of.

    13. The Psychic Paramount – II
    No Quarter
    The New York trio hone their instrumental mayhem into an unbridled beast of blown out psychedelic rock that starts of hard and harsh then spirals outwards and upwards in a kaleidoscope of pedal abusive riffing and pell-metal drumming. As frenetic as it is, the build of the tracks follow intuitive paths, loaded with pay-offs like landmarks amongst the dense textures that you can cling on to and hold out for when the noise is threatening to swallow you; each release hovering on the edge of climax for the time-suspended eternity of a moment and then you're in it, swallowed up and consumed in thrall to it and at the mercy of it.

    12. The Skull Defects – Peer Amid
    The four-piece Gothenburg noise-rock combo's latest release adds Lungfish vocalist Daniel Higgs to their line-up and his presence hangs a heavy air of Current 93 over this – providing a sense of umbral religiosity, Higg's parables come intoned from a cosmic pulpit, a preacher-man citing from the Rock vernacular. From there the music bursts into whichever direction the volcanic eruptions take it as free flowing buzzsaw riffs underscore unsettling passages of tribal voodoo, hand drums beat circles round tar-thick guitar tones, showers of fiery noise rain down from sky and amongst it all the growling, snarling roaring voice of exultant euphoria channels it and glories amongst the carnage.

    11. deathgrips – Exmilitary
    “I am the beast I worship” So starts Exmilitary, with a presence that stamps its authority like Eugene Oxbow with just as much boiling violence. This is the essence of Metal burned through the back catalogue of righteous hip hop and out into the blasted wastelands of a dystopian future. Fists into the face of modernity, fighting against the slow erosion of values and integrities. But again; “Fuck where you're from! Fuck where you're going!! It's all about where you're at!!!”, and where Deathgrips are at is constantly up in yours, sonically the juggernaut beats and textures tear hot air from the speakers as they exit, stuttering for space among the airless glitches and steel-crushing gravitas of inhaled silences, sucking vacuums of power into the voids between the noise.

    10. Low – C'Mon
    There's an enormity to the sound in C'Mon, a vastness of space surrounding the sounds and harmonics between instruments and voice that makes the fact this was recorded in a church seem entirely natural. The haunting reverence of Especially Me, the Old Testament style vengeance of Witches, the consoling opener Try To Sleep, the choral coda to Nothing But Heart; all have a sense of hushed veneration about them despite the size to which the acoustics grow. Though they have an ecclesiatical background, the strength of this record lies not in the Heavenly, but the Earthly. It's an intimate paean to the travails of human relationships, of dark and beautiful moments and serves as Alan Sparhawk's grandest gesture not only to the listener, but to his wife.

    09. The Weeknd – House of Balloons / Thursday
    When compared to House of Ballons and Thursday, The Weeknd may have overplayed his hand with his relatively featureless third album at the end of the year, but that doesn't take any of the street-grimed glamorous shine off either of these two. I see House of Balloons in a lot of charts with no mention of Thursday, but for me they are pretty much parallel in atmosphere, lyrics and hooks: That stuttering haunted euphoria of Lonely Star, the hollow-eyed metallic grind of Life of the Party, both parts of The Birds and the incredible Cocteau Twins cover. All that needs to be said about House of Balloons is that drop into Glass Table Girls. Musical moment of 2011. Ugh. Like the bass went down on itself.

    08. A Winged Victory For The Sullen - A Winged Victory For The Sullen
    Erased Tapes
    Pianist Dustin O'Halloran and Stars of the Lid's Adam Wiltzie meld their individual production skills together into a hauntingly elegant album of string tones synthesis. A blurred, slow-motion elegy to the Greek goddess of victory, it is characterised by a triumphant sadness, leading the melancholic toward a state of euphoric, enchanted drone.

    07. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath 1972
    Another church recorded album in my top twenty. The sonic results of Hecker's musings on decay, detritus, waste and decomposition – physically rather than musically – found their form through his recordings of church pipe organ, taken back to the studio for a secular styled celestial wash of synth tone and ambient flicker with collaborator Ben Frost. Ravedeath is anything but decomposed though it carries the fertile cloudy murk of silt heavy waters through its tantalisingly paced deliberate progression, it moves beyond beauteous drone and texture, weaving rhythm and melody into the mass of sound which, due to the core elements - the church organ being an instrument of God to instil a sense of holy awe amongst the pews – produces a genuinely awe inspiring record in the truest sense of the word.

    06. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
    Sub Pop
    Still relevant after all these years of slow refinement, Mogwai's latest is their greatest since Come On Die Young and is the sound of a band heeding nothing but their own instincts. It feels so good to have a Mogwai album back in my top ten and this record has smashed them back into the front of my listening experiences with a hunger and power that has been somewhat lacking from their albums (yet which their live show consistently presents). Slow burning emotional tremors and seismic tectonic rock laced with vocals that are finally beginning to hold a presence all of their own, Hardcore Will Never Die is the sound of a band hitting a glorious new plane of existence.

    05. Pete Swanson – Man With Potential
    Minimal techno infused noise from one half of the disbanded Yellow Swans, Pete Swanson continues to make challenging and engrossing music that ensnares your entire being within its hallucinatory presence. Mixing ethereal, unnerving electronic elements with cables of earthy noise there's a paradoxically dreamlike and harsh reality to this record that inspires images of long deserted subterranean Eastern block clubs – faint traces of digitised euphoria pulsing inside mildewed analogue shackles. A space haunted the ghastly remnants of beautiful creatures that once writhed hot-blooded reanimated in discoloured organic hues, howling from their dislocated corporeal plane.

    04. Liturgy – Aesthethica
    Thrill Jockey
    As loose and free as it is rigid and constrained by its own dogma, Aesthetica is an album that lived up to its own hyperbole – a concept and mindset which underwent an amazingly high-profile degree of scrutiny and bore extreme negativity for their leader's positivity-laced polemic. He doesn;t need to be sat down to explain himself, he has this album as definitive proof that his musings, however incoherent in the flesh, are peerlessly visionary when pressed to wax. Challenging and non-conformist, two of the highest held values in a scene which has slowly forgotten itself, Liturgy are the brightest white light to ever blaze out of Black Metal.

    03. Austra – Feel it Break
    This album is too long by two songs, although I am never sure which two should have got the cut – all I know is it has two endings, so the final or penultimate pair of tracks could have gone and it would have been absolutely perfect. That's my negative preamble, the rest of the record deserves nothing but exultant high-praise. A fantasia of darkly intoned psycho-analytical, psycho-sensual erotica, an 80's evoking synth-fest that sounds as futuristic as it does retro, as psychologically exploratory as it is physically inspiring, eliciting shivers of tension or elation, often simultaneously; I have to bite down hard when The Beat and The Pulse kicks in. The unsettlingly gorgeous voice of Katie Stelmanis just finishes it off.

    02. Ash Borer - Ash Borer
    Psychic Violence
    Black metal has been on another level this year, and I seem to find myself saying that every single year. It's the most rewarding addiction I've ever initiated. Epic in scale and grandeur, cinematic in scope and narrative, misanthropically violent and naturalistically meditative, this is a record that achieves and conveys so much without once concerning itself with the composed achievement of any such things. Ash Borer are a band that play outside of themselves, that creates a sound that seems just that much further from the limits of human potential than any group limited by the boundaries of physical existence could create. That's always the critical essence inherent in a truly great album, when you can drop the needle onto a record and immediately struggle to understand where any of it could have come from and how those energies could have coalesced into the form in front of you. Ash Borer is that kind of album.

    01. Peaking Lights – 936
    Not Not Fun
    It doesn't always happen, but this year my top album is also the one I have listened to the most, far more than anything else released this year. It's impossible to put this record on and get nothing out of it, it is always compelling and always affecting. No album this year could compete with the warm intimacy and exotic otherworldliness the duo produce. Snatches of circuit bent sound burst apart and melt back into a mix of beautiful analogue psychedelic successions, interwoven through each track's euphorically soporific spacial dub, with fading ripples of delay, echo heavy guitar vibrations nuancing an intimate tapestry of muted arpeggios and descending melody lines that cross each other like intertwined lovers. In 2011, this album was the divinity of sensual sonic experimentation.
  • DOWNLOAD & VIDEO: Regal Safari - Only, Triumph and Light

    18 Jul 2011, 18:58 by Meatbreak

    full links, streams and video on the BLOG

    Here's one of the most intriguing and exciting propositions to have emerged from my Brighton city in a while: Regal Safari. One pay through the three tracks on their Bandcamp will have you besieged by contemporary comparisons; the first ones that struck me were Balam Acab (or indeed, one side to the TRIANGLE sound that isn't shaded the colour of ), Solar Bears, Caribou, Blondes, Worriedaboutsatan / Ghosting Season - lot's of dreamy and spacey artists who evoke elusive and somewhat intangible landscapes built of disembodied vocals, drifting cosmic ambience; sensuality, euphoria.

    They're playing the Green Door Store in October and supporting Gazelle Twin in November. Stalk them on Facebook too.

    Here's a brand new synapse frazzling remix of similarly awesome category-evading artist Seams' Hung Markets from their Soundcloud, stream three of their own tracks - Only, Triumph and Light - and/or download them all from Bandcamp.