Top 100 singles of all time: from Bjork to the Beach Boys

367px-Björk_Rock_en_Seine_2007_by Bertrand

It’s an almost sad feeling as I wrap up this list – bundling in the top 40 in one final swoop – before tomorrow’s grand finale. I don’t even know what was going through my mind as I wrote the original list, beyond how far I agreed (or disagreed) with the traditional entries on such charts. Perhaps what surprised me was how orthodox my tastes are – perhaps simply because those songs are undeniably good – though I hope my more detailed individual postings have entertained, imparted a bit of trivia on your favourite songs, and maybe introduced you to something you hadn’t heard before.

With that in mind, I’m going to skip over the ones you already know well – Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir (which always sounds oddly weedy compared to the bowel-shreddingly heavy version in my head); River Deep, Mountain High; House of the Rising Sun, etc. (my top 40 is dominated by songs from the 60s). I’ll pause to mention Higher Than The Sun, because however many accolades have been awarded to Screamadelica, it still does not have the recognition such an otherworldly, transcendental song deserves.  Continue reading

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Top 50 songs of 2012: 40-31

ultraista

In no particular order …

40. Conor Maynard – Can’t Say No

The pared-down bass riff weaves as indelible a spell as Azealia’s 212. Conor Maynard’s Timberlake-esque confection was one of the pop treats of the year.


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#musicmonday : Front Line Assembly – Pulse Charge

FLA-AirMech

Vancouver stalwarts Front Line Assembly provided the soundtrack to free-to-play real time strategy game AirMech. While the album sounds very much like a “video game soundtrack”, FLA manage to pull off fusing their classic brand of hard-edged-yet-dreamy electronica with post-dubstep wubs in a way that sounds unaffectedly modern.  Continue reading

#musicmonday : Delerium – Incantation

Today’s #musicmonday comes to you via a bit of a detour, since I was actually looking for something else. I was enthused after reading OMH’s review of the new Mediaeval Baebes album, and its description of their version of She Moved Through The Fayre as “tear-inducing”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything, but this is pretty good.

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Why artists shouldn’t stick to art

Salvador-Dali-NYWTS-1965-Roger-Higgins-public-domain-via-wikipedia

Written for Collapse Board

Everett True reckons that Artists Should Stick To Art instead of making mixtapes of obvious dad rock. If mixtapes made by artists are so disappointing in real life, I think we should invent some fantasy selections.

For example:  Continue reading

Taped crusader: my cluttered collection of cassettes

I’ve had a pile of cassette tapes gathering dust for maybe 15 years. I figured it was time to go through them. Sorting through some old belongings, I discovered an old walkman that still worked. Bingo! What would be on these dusty old tanglers? I was mostly hoping to find a phone interview I did with Nivek Ogre, or a face-to-face with Fear Factory, neither of which saw the light of day thanks to a mishap in a house move. They must have been in the other pile of tapes, which got damaged. Nope. On this one, I found …

TAPE 1

It’s in a Smashing Pumpkins sleeve, but is actually a bootleg of Ministry in 1994. I went through a brief phase of picking up dodgy tapes – cassettes and videos – from the Camden Market. The bloke on the stall claimed to be mates with Killing Joke, and said they let him onto the stage to stand at the side to get the best footage. I never bought one of his Killing Joke tapes, but I did walk away with Skinny Puppy’s 1986 Ain’t It Dead Yet and NIN in Dallas, 1990. I’m guessing this is from that market stall.

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Top 100 singles of all time: 88 – Front Line Assembly – Plasticity

I’m going to skip over number 89 – Madonna’s Nothing Really Matters – because we already covered it, and jump straight to 88. Plasticity was one of those singles that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. It was one of those songs that would instantly fill the dancefloor. The song you’d look forward to hearing. The song that would make you go clubbing so that you could hear it.

It was just so primal, that relentless synth bassline, the forbidding vocals. Cherish your hate.  Continue reading

The life and death of a genre

cybergoth

There were always old punks lurking at the local, or skulking in the nightclub, and we thought they were OK. Punk was old and dead, and the few wrinkly remainders trying to hit on women or men half their ages were smiled at like old WWII veterans. They might be a little out-of-place, perhaps a little embarrassing, but we wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for them, so there was a reverence there. We respected our elders. Nearly 20 years later, I see how young people today regard my own clubbing years. On Buzzfeed, a meme is going viral where fans are taking some footage of some terribly earnest-looking industrial fans dancing and overdubbing the music with ever more ridiculous novelty hits, with even more mischief to be found on Reddit. These fans are a laughing stock – and rightly so, because they are ridiculous.

What turns it from pathetic to outright upsetting is how little resemblance either the people or the music bears to the genre I loved with such a passion. It’s painful watching something you love die. Even when I was young, the old guard complained that Nine Inch Nails weren’t “real industrial”, and we smiled because things have to evolve and grow. But now there’s no trace of anything that ever made us love it in the first place. It hasn’t just evolved, it’s an entirely separate species, and it needs to be put out of its misery. Continue reading

30 day song challenge: day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event

Oooh, tricky one. OK, here’s one. I don’t remember “first hand” industrial music prior to the late 1980s – anything I heard that dates back further I heard many years later. There were many sub-categories, of course, but broadly if you asked me what “industrial music” sounded like I’d have said something like this: Continue reading

#trendingtopics – Music Shuffle

From Facebook:
Time for another one of these.
Write down the first 25 random songs that come up on your MP3 player, iPod etc. I used Last.fm set to My Library station.
No cheating!
No editing!

I thought I’d give it a go, using Last.fm, just to see what would happen. I found it interesting because it was forcing me to listen to things that I hadn’t heard in a while or given a particularly fair listen, and playing things out of the context of how I usually hear them. There’s some good songs here …

1. Foetus – Verklemmt

Bit of a no-brainer for me, considering how much I’ve been listening to this lately. I find the video hard-going (made by Alex Winter from Bill & Ted, it’s got literally thousands of cuts), but it’s a great song from the album GASH.

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2. The Kinks – Dead End Street

Ah, I never tire of this song. I used to play it a lot when I was unemployed and starving-broke, living in a miserable bedsit in one of the rougher parts of South London.

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