Arthur Russell, "You Did It Yourself"


Arthur Russell"You Did It Yourself"Iowa Dream (out 11.15 on Audika)There's something very fitting about a new project of recordings by the late, great Arthur Russell dropping 6 weeks before the end of the decade. In many ways, the multi-instrumentalist's sound feels at home along the wildly experimental, genre-fluid music Read more

Images & Words: The 1975, "People"


The 1975"People"Notes on a Conditional Form (out 02.22.20 on Dirty Hit)The Used, Head Automatica/Glassjaw, Primal Scream, Marilyn Manson, Blur, The Refused. And that's only six of the roughly 600 random bands that the new 1975 track brings to mind. And somehow, just like mother-fucking always, they pull it off. Read more

Caroline Polachek, "Ocean of Tears" & "Parachute"


Caroline Polachek"Ocean of Tears" / "Parachute"Pang (out this fall on Columbia)Ok, now I'm getting really excited about the ex-Chairlift vocalist/composer's first album under her real name. Following up on her wonderful first single "Door," these two new tracks highlight Polachek's spellbinding voice and evocative, powerful songwriting. Though you can Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Albums of the 2nd Quarter


Ana Roxanne~~~Leaving RecordsThe Oakland bedroom artist’s debut project is a staggering slice of ambient music that pulls subtly from the R&B and pop vocalists that she grew up on. Her voice sounds far away but pulls you in close (think: Grouper’s “Ruin”) and is ready to tell you its Read more

The Round-Up: The Best Songs of 2019, So Far (Honorable Mention)


As promised, here is the rest of my favorite tracks of the year that didn't quite make the cut for my main list. Songs are in no particular order. Chromatics “Time Rider”bahahahahah (Italians Do It Better) “Dear Tommy” is obviously never coming out. But I did get to hear this Read more

Columns

The Best 51 Tracks of 2011

Posted on by TP1.COM in Columns, Featured | 1 Comment

So here it goes. Better late than never, these are my favorite 51 songs of 2011. If you’ve read my previous work, you’ll know how this works. It’s basically a countdown from 51 to 1. Here’s a link to a Spotify playlist that will allow you to get all of the songs in one place. As always, I am incredibly grateful for anybody who reads my tiny corner of the interwebz, and hopefully there will be something new and interesting for everybody.

And without further ado…

51. Drake
“Look What You’ve Done”
Take Care (Young Money)

It feels fitting to start this list off with a track from the biggest commercial album of the year. I went back and forth a lot about what track to choose, but I settled on this one because it highlights Young Angel’s underrated storytelling and the disc’s dreamy, sublime production mostly courtesy of Noah “40” Shebib (the real star of Take Care), though this isn’t one of his tracks. Drake is at his best over these type of airy beats, as he has the rare ability to be easy to relate to, even though he lives a life we could never imagine. Remember, this is a dude who made having sex “four times this week” into a point of vulnerability, even though many of his listeners haven’t had sex four times in the past four years.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29801200″ iframe=”true” /]

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Hot Jams of the Day(s) (03.27/8.12): Air France, “Collapsing Outside Your Doorstep” & “No Excuses”

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Air France
“Collapsing Outside Your Doorstep” & “No Excuses”
No Way Down (Sincerely Yours, 2008) 

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/10455212″ iframe=”true” /]

“It’s like a dream, isn’t it?”
“No, better.”

I can’t think of a better way to describe Swedish duo’s seminal (yeah, I said it) second EP than by borrowing the cherubic sample that permeates the song that made me fall in love with the group in the first place. Though it sounds strange to call an album influential only four years after its release, this is this Internet age and this is what’s happening now. Along with criminally underrated fellow Swedes, Boat Club, nobody was more responsible for the rise of today’s hugely popular airy, Balaeric-twinged pop — and its red-headed bastard child, Chillwave — than Air France. While they weren’t the first, they were certainly the best at marrying the blissed-out Ibizan dancefloor sound with a strong pop sensibilities.

For that reason, there was a staggering outpouring of praise and disappointment when the group announced they would be splitting on Monday. The group’s members — Joel Karlsson and Henrik Markstedt — stated an inability to match the quality of the devastating No Way Down, and while that is ostensibly understandable, it’s also surprising because their brilliant, undulating 2011 single, “It Feels Good To Be Around You” suggested huge things for the group in 2012.

While it’s tough to say goodbye, we’ll always have the memories, and in Air France’s case, they’re particularly spectacular (so fitting for a group that made music dripping with nostalgia). Besides helping shape the sound of countless breakout artists (Toro y Moi, Washed Out, jj, etc) and launching the most interesting record label of the last five years, No Way Down is truly special because of its wide-eyed, unbelievably lush six tracks. It’s the perfect collection — an incredible set of anthemic, blissful Balearic pop earworms, ready to wriggle their way into your heart and get your head dreaming of “wamer climes” (sorry, had to). For someone who grew up over 5,000 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, it opened me up into an entirely new sound.

Whether or not this is really the end remains to be seen, but whatever happens, I’ll continue to be grateful to Karlsson and Markstedt — not only for forming one of my three favorite bands of the last five years — but for all the music they turned me on to and all the excellent (and not-so-excellent) bands they influenced.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/555111″ iframe=”true” /]

A Track for the Weekend: Beach Fossils, “Shallow”

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Something light and breezy for the weekend, check out this sumptuous new-ish single from Brooklyn dreamers Beach Fossils.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/35427375″ iframe=”true” /]

Hot Jam of the Day (03.19.12): Sean Blackthorn, “The Spirits”

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Sean Blackthorn
“The Spirits”
Unreleased

While nobody’s going to confuse it with Motown, there’s something special going on in Toronto. We all know about Drizzy, the Weeknd (and all his cronies), and Melanie Fiona, but not many have been talking about Sean Blackthorn — partially because there isn’t a hell of a lot of info about him kicking around online. One thing’s for sure though, his lead single is a beautiful, arresting bedroom R&B ballad that shows off Blackthorn’s haunting, emotive tenor. Stunning.

One for the weekend: Jubilants, “Spain”

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A little something Balearic to brighten up your St. Patty’s Day weekend. I promise it’s not the Dropkick Murphys.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/39483474″ iframe=”true” /]

The Best Tracks of 2011 (10-1)

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10. WU LYF
“Dirt”
Go Tell Fire To The Mountain (LYF)

The weight of expectation can be difficult to bear, especially for a bunch of kids in their early twenties. After a couple majestic 2010 singles (“Heavy Pop” and “Spitting It Concrete like the Golden Sun God”) and a few equally frenetic small shows, many (myself included) listed the shadowy Mancunian collective’s debut as one of the most highly anticipated of the year. Though, admittedly, I was ready to be let down, the quartet shattered my expectations by both sticking to their sonic guns and building on their burgeoning, expansive sound.

Through ten cathartic, relentlessly earnest tracks, the group unleashes the true scope of their sonic palette: two parts art-rock, one-part hardcore, a few pinches of psychedelia, and that fucking organ. The group’s sense of dynamics is their biggest strength. The celestial, reverb drenched guitar and organ lines beautifully frame vocalist Ellery Roberts’ feral howls, simultaneously abrasive and melodic (a good microcausim for the groups incredibly unique sound). Sometimes a band can be crushed by the weight of expectation. Other times, expectation is just a goddamn great way to get the word out about a special group. Lucky for us, it’s the latter in this case.

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New Video Alert: Danny Brown, “Radio Song”

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Only in Danny Brown’s world does the line, “bitches wanna scoop us, their pussy’s like lupus,” qualify as a boast. Of all the rising Detroit MC’s many talents, his ability to make having sex sound like a legitimately disgusting proposition is truly unparalleled. If this video proves anything, it’s that there’s only one Danny, even when there’s a bunch of them.

Hot Jam of the Day (03.06.12) Rustie (f/ Nightwave): “SURPH”

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Rustie (f/ Nightwave)
“SURPH”
Unreleased

Fresh off his fantastic breakthrough LP, Glass Swords (Warp), Scottish beatsmith Russell Whyte returns with a reworked version of one of the disc’s most fascinating tracks. Featuring a hyped up vocal from UK Katy B wannabe, Nightwave, “SURPH” is the kind of swirling, frenetic, synthy stew that we’ve come to expect from the prolific young producer. Rustie’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach is most effective when balanced by a vocal line, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come .

HJ of the Day (2.27.12): memoryhouse, “Little Expressionless Animals”

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memoryhouse
“Little Expressionless Animals”
The Slideshow Effect (SubPop, 2012)

Our first Hot Jam of the Day comes from one of my favorite new bands of the last 18 months. This, the leadoff track from the Canadian-duo’s debut long player (due out tomorrow), finds the group at their subtly stunning best with vocalist Denise Nouvon’s gentle coo gliding over an ethereal soundscape from partner in crime Evan Abeele. The group has a rare knack of building to quietly devastating climaxes (see: “Lately” and “Bonfire“), and this is no different. Before I heard the record, I had a hunch that it was going to land near the top of my 2012 year-end list, and after hearing the The Slideshow Effect all the way through, that hunch hasn’t been anything but strengthened.

The Best Tracks of 2011 (20-11)

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20. Holy Other
“With U”
With U (Tri Angle)

In lieu of waxing lyrical about the ghostly, undulating debut from this masked Mancunian, I’ll let my buddy AJ — a man who doesn’t give a shit about music — explain it. In response to a Facebook status update of mine that claimed With U was my favorite EP of the year, Apple Jack posted simply and succinctly “Yeah, maybe of [sic] you want to meditate.” Replace “meditate” with “fuck,” and I think AJ’s in business. The sexiest indie record since The XX’s debut.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/15628329″ iframe=”true” /]

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