Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

Tag archive

Darkside

Photos of the year 2014

in Photos by
The Rolling Stones (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

It has been a busy year for Here Today. During 2014 our photographers and journalists covered Roskilde FestivalNorthside FestivalTrailerpark FestivalWasn’t Born To Follow (a mini festival by Smash! Bang! Pow!), as well as over 50 live shows with artists like St. VincentSwansAngel OlsenSharon Van EttenThe War On DrugsMac DemarcoCommunionsFirst HateLower, and many more.

We have put together a selection of the best photos of the year 2014. It has not been easy. Some stood out, though, like the picture below of Perfect Pussy; a picture that captures the raw energy of the show while still being very carefully composed and a perfect example of Henry Cartier Bresson’s concept of the decisive moment.

Perfect Pussy (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)Perfect Pussy | Wasn´t Born To Follow, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Another amazing photo is the one of Damon Albarn (by Tom Spray) spitting water at the audience at Roskilde Festival. The crowd, the big empty space and the solitary figure (Damon) at the edge of the stage in a defiant stance; it is a picture with allegorical qualities, one that can make you mind wander.

Damon Albarn (Photo by Tom Spray)

Damon Albarn | Roskilde Festival, Arena Stage (Photo by Tom Spray)

Then there is Morten Aagaard Krogh‘s photograph of the The Rolling Stones (at the top of this post) from when the band played the legendary Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival, a stage that has come to symbolize the festival. The Orange Stage was originally made for The Rolling Stones’s 1976 Summer tour, but in 1978 it was sold to Roskilde Festival. For the first time since 1976 The Rolling Stones where reunited with their old stage. It was also the first time they played Roskilde Festival. James Hjertholm’s photo of Hexis’s leadsinger Filip Andersen is also very powerful and last, but not least, there is a whole gallery of photos (at the bottom of the page) that are equally great.

Hexis (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Hexis | Roskilde Festival, Rising Stage (Photo by James Hjertholm)

See the gallery with Here Today’s photos of the year 2014 below.

The gallery features photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com), Tom Spray (tom-spray.com), James Hjertholm (jameshjertholm.com), Ivan Boll (ivanrb.dk) and Jonas Bang (jonasbang.com).

All images are copyright of the individual photographers.

Roskilde Festival 2014: Friday 4th July

in Live Reviews by

Photo by Tom Spray

Connan Mockasin

I can’t watch Connan Mockasin without thinking, ‘this guy is creepy as fuck’. Maybe it’s the haircut, or the glasses, or the weird pyjama waistcoat combo, or that smile, but I’m pretty sure it’s mostly because I keep having flashbacks to his video for ‘I’m The Man, That Will Find You’, where he stalks a woman around her house and then when they meet it’s all very uncomfortable, like a 70s soft porn. And although the Pavillion doesn’t have quite the same soft lighting scheme, it’s still an awkward experience to watch him. But at moments, I set my awareness of rape culture to one side, and appreciate the brilliant pop-psychedelia of Connan Mockasin’s echoing, twang guitar and overly vocoded falsetto over the bass on the track, and it’s suddenly a far more pleasureable watch. But it’s also massively repetitive, and combined with the unspeakably hot weather outside the tent, gives everyone a pounding headache. Connan Mockasin manages to compel the audience with his seductive tones, but wholly engaging them is a different prospect.

HT

Connan Mockasin (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Warpaint

Warpaint are cooler than you will ever be. With baggy t-shirts, pink hair and hotpants, they look like the poster girls for the Coachella look, which combined with their heavy dose of talent and skill, and desire to be sexy in sound and persona, puts them in control of their set like it’s a ball of putty. They pull you into a punch-drunk state of awe with dizzy, whirling melodies and effortless vocals that slip and slide through golden high pitched moments, and low, more brooding vocals. Frontwoman Theresa Wayman asks the Danes to party and clap, then tells her audience and band members that it was “the sexiest clap” she’d ever seen. They then move into the shiveringly good harmonies of ‘Undertow’, shredding on a single note, with the stage lights behind flashing up with a matching velocity. ‘Intro’ from their eponymous, sophomore album is played mid-way through the set rather than at the start, making the music feel continuous rather than disjointed. Wayman then starts making cat claws during the chorus of ‘Love is to Die’, then immediately laughs them off; she’s relaxed, comfortable, effortless, and hypnotisingly beautiful to watch and listen to.

(Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

(Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

HT

 

Haim

Haim are like the big sisters every ten year old girl dreams about, who want to teach you how to play the guitar and the drums and tell you to not care what other people think. Their live drummer plays a low, rumbling line in anticipation before Danielle, Alana and Este run and jump onto the stage like a group of excited puppies (probably a long haired breed. They shake their hair A LOT). After opening with ‘Falling’, the girls move into ‘If I could Change Your Mind’, shredding to the end. They then take a pause to ask permission to jam like they’re at home, as “Roskilde is our home now.” The crowd goes nuts. Este pulls the most fantastic bass faces throughout the set. For reference, see the Jenna Marbles video ‘How To Avoid Talking To People You Don’t Want To Talk To’, add some jerking chicken neck, and you get the idea. Alana ‘Baby’ Haim looks confused, potentially stoned, and when she does open her mouth, has a voice so squeeky it’s hard to decipher what she’s saying. But her skills as she rotates from drums, guitar and keyboard mid-way through tracks suggest that she knows exactly what she’s doing. As the set draws to an end with ‘Let Me Go’, each member bounds over to a large tom-tom and smashes it in time for a drumming trio. The stage explodes with silver confetti, the crowd cheers, and the chirpiest girls in California depart.

Haim (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Haim (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Haim (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

HT

Deftones

The only survivors of 90s “nu-metal”, and for good reason, Deftones have something of a split personality: on record they can be dark, introspective, full of subtleties to balance the heaviness of the guitars; live, subtlety goes flying off the stage. Frontman Chino Moreno bounces up and down as if the stage were a trampoline, simultaneously attempting autoerotic asphyxiation with his microphone cord.  This, combined with jaunty banter and Chino’s Beyoncé t-shirt, proves that Deftones have developed an effective, if rather blunt, formula for playing festivals. Songs like “My Own Summer (Shove It)” are made for places like this, full of exaggerated swagger. It might not be enough to fill the field in front of Orange Stage, but with the likes of Haim and Damon Albarn playing at Arena, it is significant.

CC

Deftones (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Deftones (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Deftones (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

 

Damon Albarn

There are two Damon Albarns: cheeky Damon and mopey Damon. You see the latter in interviews all the time, looking a bit wistful, a bit troubled, singing songs that largely reflect what Blur said in 1993: modern life is rubbish. I don’t know where that guy was on Friday, but he wasn’t in Denmark. Instead we got Damon the cockney lad, grinning so broadly you could see his gold tooth from half a mile away. Whatever you might think of Damon’s solo record, Everyday Robots, there is very little of that downbeat meditative quality to the set. Arena is jam-packed and Damon & co. are happy to oblige the mood of the crowd with a set that spans Damon’s career almost in its entirety: Blur, Gorillaz, The Good, the Bad and the Queen, even Rocket Juice & the Moon, his collaboration with Flea and Tony Allen.

By the time the band gets to “El Mañana” and “Out of Time”, this is already one of the great Roskilde gigs. Damon drenches photographers with water, discusses the differences between British and Danish princes, tells us of his Danish ancestry, and generally has a good time. But as the encore reveals, he has a few surprises in store. The band launches into “Clint Eastwood” as Damon introduces Kano, the London-based rapper who had a guest spot on Plastic Beach. It’s the moment when the set moves up a notch into proper crowd-pleasing frenzy. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a great closer for the set, but not so. Damon has another set of friends to play with. They’re in a little group called De La Soul, perhaps you’ve heard of them? It’s a moment of genuine surprise and excitement as the newly augmented band launch into “Feel Good Inc.” and from this moment on it is sealed: for today at least, this is the highlight.

CC

Damon Albarn (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Damon Albarn (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Damon Albarn (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Darkside

No one really sees Darkside. Appropriately to their name, the duo spend their entire set in the shadows, only emerging as silhouettes when the lights behind them flare up. Avalon is packed with people awkwardly swaying along to a ten minute simmering overture. I suppose this is the one set that I was most curious about on this day. Having enjoyed their debut’s brooding, low-key menace, full of muted vocals and Chris Rea-style (ask your parents about him, they’ll know) slide guitar, it wasn’t immediately apparent how Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington were going to translate this into a festival setting. The answer is by emphasising a very basic, heavy, four-on-the-floor drum beat. The crowd was certainly jumping, but the effect was to turn these wrought soundscapes into dance tracks that bordered at times on the formulaic.

CC

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Future Islands

Respect to those lucky people who managed to get into the Avalon tent to see Future Islands. Those of us who calmly strolled in fifteen minutes before the beginning were confronted with an ocean of people in the field outside of the tent, trying to peer in. Everyone wants to catch a glimpse of Samuel T. Herring’s already semi-legendary dance moves. If Future Islands are overwhelmed by all this, it certainly doesn’t hinder their playing. Herring invites people to crowd-surf, although we cannot confirm that anyone took him up on the offer. Instead he likes telling us what the songs are about, which would be a mark of awful pretension if it weren’t done with such openness. The great quality of the band is to sound unaffected and completely theatrical at the same time. Songs like “A Dream of You and Me”, “A Song for Our Grandfathers”, “Doves”, are instant synth-pop classics, full of bounce, poise and precision. But if we are going to be honest with each other, it is obvious that most people are at the gig for one song, and one song only. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” is not a fast song, but it comes on like a rush. Herring growls and wails does his dad-dance and mimes the song in sweeping gestures. Though at the back, you had to imagine this more than you could watch it.

CC

Future Islands (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Future Islands (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Future Islands (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Future Islands (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

CC = Charlie Cassarino
HT = Helen Thomas

Darkside | Roskilde Festival, 04.07.2014

in Photos by

Photos by Tom Spray (www.tom-spray.com)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Roskilde Festival 2014 | Bands to catch

in Blog by

Thursday 3rd July

Who: Earl Sweatshirt
Where: Avalon Stage
When: 17:30

Who: Outkast
Where: Orange Stage
When: 18:30

Who: Chance The Rapper
Where: Avalon Stage
When: 21:00

Who: The Rolling Stones
Where: Orange Stage
When: 22:00

 

Friday 4th July

Who: Connan Mockasin
Where: Pavilion Stage
When: 14:00

Who: Damon Albarn
Where: Arena Stage
When: 20:30

Who: Darkside
Where: Avalon Stage
When: 23:00

Who: Trentemøller
Where: Orange Stage
When: 01:00

Saturday 5th July

Who: Omar Souleyman
Where: Apollo Stage
When: 17:30

Who: Manu Chao
Where: Orange Stage
When: 19:30

Who: Arctic Monkeys
Where: Orange Stage
When: 22:30

Who: Interpol
Where: Arena
When: 00:00

Sunday 6th July

Who: A$AP Ferg
Where: Avalon Stage
When: 16:00

Who: Julia Holter
Where: Gloria Stage
When: 17:00

Who: Stevie Wonder
Where: Orange Stage
When: 20:30

Who: Forest Swords
Where: Gloria Stage
When: 21:00

LIVE REVIEW: Darkside, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 06.03.2014

in Live Reviews by
Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

In the vast world of electronic music Nicolas Jaar has always stood out from the pack. His early releases were a strange take on house and techno, most of them more suited for headphones than the dance floor. When it became time to create a live show for his debut album, ‘Space is Only Noise’, Jaar needed solid musicians to back him. He asked his childhood friend Will Epstein to name the best musician that he knew. The answer, without hesitation, was Dave Harrington. Together the three of them worked to bring Jaar’s songs to rapturous crowds around the globe. The results were legendary – the group have been named the best live performance by Resident Advisor for three years in a row.

Darkside was allegedly born out of a bored hotel room jam, between Jaar and Harrington, during a stopover in Berlin. The two continued to develop their early ideas, finally delivering their album ‘Psychic’, one of the most exciting releases of 2013. When the two walked onto the stage on Saturday night, the room had been full for over an hour, the show had been sold out for months. With all the hype surround this act, it’s quite safe to say that expectations were high. 

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Jaar and Harrington remained in darkness for a long while, quietly forming an ambient soundscape which sounded like a space ship about to land. On the record, Harrington and Jaar cover an incredible spectrum of sounds, and it was exciting to see them try to translate this live. For their live set-up, Harrington plays electric guitar, hooked up to a small army of loop pedals and effects. He also controls a massive mixing deck and samplers. Jaar mans the keyboards, vocals and one of the biggest MIDI controllers ever seen. It’s exciting to see all of this equipment on stage. In a world where electronic “performers” can get away with staring at a 12-inch screen for an hour, Jaar and Harrington function on a much more improvisational and intuitive level, taking full advantage of the unique musical chemistry which they’ve formed over the last three years. Throughout the set, the crowd was receptive to the freedom of the set, revelling in the opportunity to witness a unique performance. 

‘Paper Trails’ was a crowd favourite. Perhaps as a reaction to the crowd’s energy, Jaar and Harrington turned the soulful driving energy of the five minute album cut into an extended jam lasting over ten minutes. In fact, most of the songs on the night were doubled in length and often flowed seamlessly into each other to sustain the energy of the tracks. This was not just a dance party though. For every release of the kick drum, there was an equal share of tripped-out experimentation. The sound system at Pumpehuset did a great job of maximizing the energy of the heavier moments, while still amplifying the nuances of the quieter breakdowns.

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

The final moments of the 15 minute encore was an aggressive sonic assault. The crowd was bathed in a blinding light while Harrington’s screaming guitar tested the limits of our eardrums. Jaar pushed the beats to a dizzying speed and laced everything in a thick reverb. If anyone hadn’t felt anything by that point, the density and volume of this finale would correct that. 

After the duo left the stage, most of the crowd filtered out, rushing to the official after party at KB3. Anyone who did, would be greeted by an hour’s wait out in the cold, an uncomfortably packed dance floor, and a very underwhelming sound system in the club. Nico spun techno and house for two hours, playing some of his own unreleased productions and remixes. Unfortunately most of the crowd was too busy with Vodka or Instagram to ever really get into the vibe. 

VIEW THE FULL PHOTO GALLERY HERE

Darkside | Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 08.03.2014

in Photos by
Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photos by Tom Spray (www.tom-spray.com)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Darkside (Photo by Tom Spray)

Albums of the year 2013

in Blog by

AutreNeVeutAnxiety_1024_1024_90

1. Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety

Arthur Ashin’s second album oozes emotional intensity throughout, with the album title perfectly summing up Ashin’s emotions while writing this album. Whether its about the anxiety of calling his grandmother for fear of her death (“Counting”), dealing with hitting his 30’s (“Gonna Die”) or going through a break-up (“World War”). Starting off with “Play By Play”/“Counting”/“Promises”/“Ego Free, Sex Free”, Anxiety has to be one of the strongest back-to-back hit filled albums released for a while. From start to finish this is an album to you can listen to whether its a Friday night ready to go out on the town or on a relaxing Sunday morning nursing a hangover as Ashin soothes you with his alt-R’n’B.

mbv

 2. My Bloody Valentinem b v

If you say you’ve been waiting 22 years for this record, you’re lying. Even the most faithful of My Bloody Valentine fans gave up hope of ever seeing another release from the band long ago. When this album was released in February with little ceremony and an ordering process that temporarily broke the internet, there should have been no shock that it wasn’t another Loveless. Instead we’ve been treated to unexpected guitar solos, unexpected guitar-free compositions, more of Bilinda Butcher’s beautiful voice, and a few genuine what-the-fuck-is-that-sound moments. If you say this album wasn’t worth a two-decade period of absence, you’re lying.

iceage (1)

3. IceageYou’re Nothing

Still pissed off, still drawing heavily on post-punk angularity and tinny black metal bleakness, Denmark’s finest return with a more diverse album than their debut. The fast tracks still explode with spit and bile (“Ecstasy”,“Coalition”), but interspersed are moments of slow, muddy thuds (“Morals”), and even the odd Hüsker Du-influenced riff (“In Haze”).  Iceage are lads of impeccable taste, whose energy elevates them out of the mire of influences that so often burdens hardcore bands. The “New Way of Danish Fuck You” might not be so new any more, but with any luck, it is far from over.

 

 –

Vampire Weekend

4. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires Of The City

With this album, Ezra Koenig and his gang have progressed from the afro-pop elements of earlier days to a more diverse soundscape. Evident in the infectious pop tune ‘Step’, the playful ‘Ya Hey’ with manipulated chipmunk-voices and the beautiful vocal harmonies on ‘Obvious Bicycle’. The different textures are quite seductive and ‘MVotC’ has been a recurrent visitor on my record player. On top of that Ezra Koenig has a way with lyrics that really enthrals me: ”The harpsichord is broken/The television’s fried/The city’s getting hotter than a country in decline” from ‘Finger Snap’ is a line you don’t hear everyday. A great album that showcases a great band’s development.

 

 –

factory floor

5. Factory FloorFactory Floor

“Turn it up”. Take their advice: Factory Floor’s first album is a commanding blend of instinct and control, the human and mechanical. The trio’s double LP draws as much on minimalist, New York disco as it does on Throbbing Gristle, resulting in tracks whose power lies in the combination of cold synth lines, ghostly voices, and infectious beats (drummer Gabe respects, as we should all do, the mythical cowbell).

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Push The Sky Away

6. Nick Cave and The Bad SeedsPush The Sky Away

Push The Sky Away is Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 15th studio album. The first album, where Nick Cave is the only remaining member of the original line-up, and also a masterful example of the growing collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis and Nick Cave. After the end of the loud and noisy Grinderman, which in large parts consists of the same people as The Bad Seeds, Push The Sky Away can be seen as return to a more quiet expression that makes you recall albums like The Boatmans Call. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds was formed thirty years ago; Push The Sky Away is a promise of many more years of great music to come.

juliaholterlcs

7. Julia HolterLoud City Song

Loud City Song is the third album in as many years by LA-based Julia Holter. As with her earlier albums, the classically trained artists has found inspiration in artworks from the past – this time the 1958 musical Gigi. The album is diverse, yet very coherent, and Julia Holter manages to breed new life and sounds into a classical instrumentation of horns, strings, piano and drums. Loud City Song is atmospheric; it feels more accessible than her earlier albums (that are also great) without losing the playfulness and experimentation.

As she explains Loud City Song began with the end of her second album Ekstasis; more precisely the song Maxim’s III. The song need it’s own album, she thought, and what an album it got!

national-trouble-will-find-me

8. The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

High Violet was always going to be a tough album to follow up for the Cincinnati quintet, however, I had the same thought with some of their previous albums Alligator and Boxer, they seem to effortlessly write albums start to finish that are hard hitting and grab you in a way no other band can. Trouble Will Find Me gives us an insight into the life Matt Berninger has settled into in his more mature years having admitting “…I didn’t care what the songs were going to be about, or if they were going to seem depressing, or cool, or whatever”, even so, they still manage to roll out the hits with tracks such as, “Don’t Swallow The Cap”, “Sea Of Love” and “Graceless”. 

 

Ed Harcourt

9. Ed HarcourtBack Into The Woods

In the 12 years since Ed Harcourt released his Mercury Prize-nominated debut, he’s explored all complexities for the conveyance of his baroque pop style. So if he decides to strip things back, he must be certain of himself. Recorded in just six hours at Abbey Road Studios in London, Back Into the Woods is the kind of natural, unadorned performance you can only get away with if the songs are really that strong.

At its core, most of the album is just Harcourt at his piano or guitar, and a natural warmth that emanates from the instruments, in lovely contrast to the husky timbre of his voice.

queens-of-the-stone-age-like-clockwork

10. Queens Of The Stone Age….Like Clockwork

Frontman Josh Homme was sidelined for months after complications from a routine surgery, and …Like Clockwork is the manifestation of him literally getting back on his feet. If a little strife provides good inspiration, then it’s no wonder this is QOTSA’s strongest album in years. It’s equal parts brutal and creepy, with tracks like “If I Had a Tail” marking Homme as heir apparent to Scott Walker. Dave Grohl plays a bulk of the drums, and there are guest spots from Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan, and Elton John. If you haven’t paid much attention to QOTSA in recent years, …Like Clockwork will make you regret ever counting them out.

kanyewestyeezus

11. Kanye WestYeezus

Yeezus‘ bookends feel like a follow on from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a time when he was going through darker periods of his life after the death of his mother and a break up, to his current life with Kim Kardashian with “Bound 2”. If this is anything to go by we can expect the follow-up to Yeezus to be an R’n’B love album…….yeah right! The album contains unmatched production qualities with tracks that will make Kanye’s live set for years to come as he rolls out the albums other hits, “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves”.

Sigur Ros

12. Sigur RósKveikur

In tribute to Jonsi’s made up language, “hopelandic”, I have retranslated my review in six different languages, resulting in some nonsense they can be proud of:

“Finally ROS Sigur dark, interesting bass lines and shiny surfaces with just the ignition Mogwai album in Iceland felt a huge area, sounds more and more electronic sound plan. Browse all Vacuum guitar violin, or Jónsi is much better able to withstand it.”

In English, Sigur Rós have returned with a power that had largely dispersed in their later recordings. The tweeness has been replaced by darker and heavier electronic sounds, undercut by Jonsi’s distinctive vocal style.

 –

09-18-Discs-Trentemoller-Lost-1024x1024

13. TrentemøllerLost

Trentemøller has gradually shifted away from the more overt, techno style of electronica towards grander, more cinematic compositions. Lost is a sweeping, sometimes broody, cinematic work that prioritizes subtlety. It’s definitely an album made more for headphones than stereos, and maybe it’s most conducive to quiet moments of reflection, but ultimately, it is beautiful. And with appearances from Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, Low’s Mimi Parker, and the Drum’s Jonny Pierce, Lost might prove to be one of those gateway albums that lures unsuspecting rockists into the dark underbelly of electronic music.

Blood Orange

14. Blood OrangeCupid Deluxe

There is a good reason why Devonté Hynes is the producer in quest these days. The Englishman’s musical sensibilities are as sophisticated as a cat walking through a dollhouse, knowing exactly where to place the paws without compromising the arrangements, that is perfectly balanced between the cheesy and the chic – just as if the aesthetic of the 80’s was taken to contemporary society. Exactly the 80’s are along with New York the main point of reference for the album, which combines the best of the decade (New Romanticism, Golden Age Hip-Hop and New Jack Swing) with a who’s who of Brooklyn-socialites such as David Longstreith (Dirty Projectors) and his fiancé Samantha Urbani (Friends). Cupid Deluxe is in many ways the preliminary redemption of Hynes’ vast talent.

 –

These-New-Puritans-Field-of-Reeds

15. These New Puritans – Fields Of Reeds

Taking inspiration from classical and experimental composers of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten foremost among them, These New Puritans may not be the most light-hearted or humorous of bands, but Fields of Reeds is the culmination of the band’s unique and exacting approach to music. Singling out songs from this tightly woven work may be counterproductive, but “Organ Eternal” signals the power TNP can generate from a simple, “Tubular Bells”-like riff. Don’t think progressive, Fields of Reeds has the best claim this year on the title of “timeless”.

 

overgrown

16. James Blake – Overgrown

Last year, when I told people James Blake was Dubstep, they refused to accept the fact. Whilst ‘Overgrown’ is hardly at Skrillex’s level on the ‘drop the beat’ scale (yuck), it’s a lot closer than the artist’s debut. Blake’s talent means one can never tire of ‘Overgrown”s multiple layers; it has an extraordinary power to be at once very personal, whilst the electronic framework makes it like the grown up echo of a dance album. It’s about when the songs bite, just like a “Digital Lion”. See “Retrograde” for reference. What that boy does with a piano, a vocal warble and a computer is just insane. No wonder that Mercury Prize ended up in his hands.

 –

Arcade Fire (2013) Reflektor LP Vinyl Record Album 1

17. Arcade FireReflektor

Alongside countless other fans, I was impatiently awaiting the release of the fourth album by the Canadian seven-piece. A release that consolidates Arcade Fire’s position as one of the greatest indie bands on the planet. ‘Reflektor’ shows a more up-beat side to the band, in the disco-tinged title track, ‘We Exist’ and ‘It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)’, alongside rock anthems like ‘Normal Person’ and ‘Joan of Arc’. Utter magnificence that keeps growing on me, fuelled by Win Butler’s intense vocal delivery.

With a playing span of 75 minutes the band’s typical epic scope remains constant and this album is another brilliant addition to an awe-inspiring catalogue.

 –

Darkside Psychic

(18) DarksidePsychic 

Described as “rock’s cosmic outer edges through the immersive, body-moving framework of 21st-century house and techno”, upon the release of Psychic, Nicolas Jarr and Dave Harrington’s debut album brought a breath of fresh air to the electronic music scene in 2013, just as Jarr has previously done with his solo venture. Post-rock riffs and downbeat electronica dominates Psychic. Tracks such as “Paper Trails” has glimpses of Jarr’s solo work vocally, although admittedly containing a denser and more textured sound. Darkside have left us hungry for more as they continue to take the album on the road in 2014.

cate le bon

19. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum

The always-evolving Cate Le Bon found sunshine in California and a more stripped-back sound for her third full length. The Velvet Underground influence on Mug Museum should smack anyone over the head, even if s/he hasn’t gone on a Lou Reed listening binge following his death. Le Bon’s sparse, minimally-produced album has easy sing alongs, a few moments of total chaos, a duet with Perfume Genius, and stays just on the right side of that vaguely surfy vibe to distinguish her from every other band that has hit the reverb a little too hard. Mug Museum is 2013’s best palate cleanser.

arcticam

20. Arctic Monkeys – AM

“Who the F*ck are the Arctic Monkeys?” Only kidding! Perhaps you didn’t see enough of the Arctic Monkeys on every music magazine’s front page and website this summer? Never fear, they’re gonna be on every end of year list. With very good reason. The Sheffield band’s fifth studio album was an absolute masterpiece from those first two drum whacks of “Do I Wanna Know?”, (a song which also possesses one of the best rock riffs of all time), to the dreamy, track twelve cover of John Cooper Clark’s poem, “I Wanna Be Yours”. The pace is sickingly fluctuating, but the adrenaline is never wavering. It also produced a video of Alex Turner wandering around London pretending to be drunk and hallucinating about kebab salesmen humping, so who can complain?

Go to Top