Year Highlights Part 1

Ok, so it's almost the end of another year.. time to look back on the great stuff the last 12 months has given us! Let's start with a top 5 records of the year...

Tunng - Mothers Daughter and other songs. Been playing since it first arrived in January. Definitely one of the freshest records I've heard in a while, weaving beautiful folk songs with gentle electronics, can't recommend this one highly enough. Still haven't managed to see them live (although I did briefly meet them a couple of times) so I have that to look forward to still. Stand out tracks for me on the album have to be Beautiful Light, Suprise Me 44, and Tale from Black, which I've been in love with since I got the 7" from Geoff @ Static Caravan in 2004 (Cheers Geoff!). Absolutely fantastic stuff, can't wait to hear more from them!

Fuck-Off Machete - If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold. Big and Loud, with the most seductive vocals you'll hear, Fuck-Off Machete are Fucking awesome. It makes me feel incredibly proud (and slightly inadequate) to say we are both on the same label too! Was lucky enough to see them at a gig in Birmingham a few months ago, and the impact they make live is equally incredible. The three outstanding tracks on this single have me eagerly anticipating next years album.. Have high hopes for that, and expect to see it on my top5 for 2006! (No pressure for them there then.. :)

13&God - Well, when you throw together this much talent how can it fail? The Notwist team up with Themselves, and the result is an organic electronic masterpeice. Doseones abstract raps, Consoles tight beats and programming, and Acher's tender vocals.. every aspect of this record is perfect and unique. Anticon once again proves that they are one of the most interesting labels in the world. Stand out tracks on this one has to be the opener Low Heaven (anyone know where that sample is from btw?) and Soft Atlas.

Exile - Pro Agonist. So drum'n'bass isn't dead then! Expertly programmed, this album has more ideas per track than most drum'n'bass artists manage in their lifetimes. Exile somehow manages to dive right inside every track and completely turn every component inside out... the most impressive thing about this is that at no point does this result in a great big mess of fancy effects. Throughout the whole album he still keeps the beats running, and delivers some proper braindance, music for heads and feet. Another fine Planet Mu release, who seem to be one of the few labels releasing genuinely fresh and interesting dancefloor music.

The Arcade Fire - Funeral. Ok, so I think this is technically 2004, but I only discovered in early this year.. The opening tracks just blew me away, full of raw energy and power, and that last track, In The Back Seat, just gets me everytime. The Arcade Fire have now earned their place on my 'bands I must see before I die' list. Only sad thing is that they blown up so much this year that the only chance I'll have to see them will be in some 10000 capacity stadium if I don't hurry up!

Oh, and an honourable mentions must also go to Ezekiel Honig and Morgan Packard, Virus Syndicate, Hood and Venetian Snares, who have also been spending a lot of time in my headphones. Back...

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