Saturday, December 31, 2011

Songs for Cineastes: 2011 Edition



Click here for the 2010 edition.

To clear up
any confu-
sion: This
isn't a list
of film
scores or
soundtracks. It's a list of music recommended for movie lovers
such as myself. Some independent film fans prefer mainstream
movie fare. Similarly, some art house aficionados prefer major-la-
bel music. There's nothing wrong with that; I just can't relate to it
(and try to avoid giving the Man my money whenever possible).

If you share my taste in movies, there's a good chance you might
share my taste in music. And to further clarify matters, I've drop-
ped Swingin' from the title of these posts, i.e. Songs for Swing-
in' Cineastes. I thought it was funny, and I can't resist a Frank
Sinatra
reference, but I think I'm gonna make 2012 about par-
ing things down and eliminating some of the gobbledegook.

Links lead to my reviews for AndMoreAgain and Line Out.



The Tops:
1. Total Control - Henge Beat (Iron Lung)
2. Moon Duo - Mazes (Sacred Bones)
3. The Dirtbombs - Party Store (In the Red)
4. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up (Sub Pop)
5. Tie: Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread (Drag
City) and Singles 2007-2010 (Goner)
6. Soft Moon - Total Decay EP (Captured Tracks)
7. Psychic Ills - Hazed Dream (Sacred Bones)
8. Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls (Slumberland)
9. Widowspeak - Widowspeak (Captured Tracks)
10. Meg Baird - Seasons on Earth (Drag City)

Note: I review Total Control live here.



Runners-up:
1. Girls Names - Dead to Me (Tough Love/Slumberland)
2. La Sera - La Sera (Hardly Art)
3. Sonny & the Sunsets - Hit After Hit (Fat Possum)
4. AM & Shawn Lee - Celestial Electric
(Eighteenth Street Lounge/Fontana)
5. Keren Ann - 101 (Blue Note/EMI)
6. Still Corners - Creatures of an Hour (Sub Pop)
7. Thee Oh Sees - Carrion Crawler/Dream (In the Red)
8. Swiftumz - Don't Trip (Holy Mountain)
9. Cave - Neverendless (Drag City)
10. The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Beyond This
World
(History Always Favours the Winners)

Note: listen to the entirety of An Empty Bliss here.



Worthy of note: Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams (Sub Pop),
the Fresh & Onlys - Secret Walls (Sacred Bones), Iceage - New
Brigade
(What's Your Rupture), Jacuzzi Boys - Glazin' (Hardly
Art), Jeffrey Lewis - A Turn in the Dream-Songs (Rough Trade),
Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (Sub Pop),
James Pants - self-titled (Stones Throw), The Strange Boys - Live Music (Rough Trade), Times New Viking - Dancer Equired (Merge),
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador), Vivian Girls -
Share the Joy (Polyvinyl Record Co.), Rusty Willoughby - Cobirds Unite (Local 638), and Wooden Shjips - West (Thrill Jockey).



Love what I heard (need to hear more): Alvarius B - Baroque Primitiva (Abduction), Charles Bradley - I Believe in Your Love (Daptone), Dirty Beaches - Badlands (Zoo Music), Kaleidoscope - self-titled (Shadoks), King Midas Sound - Without You (Hyperdub), The Men - Leave Home (Sacred Bones), Moon Wiring Club - A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding (Gecophonic), Nouvelle Vague - Couleurs Sur Paris (Kwaidan), Peaking Lights - 936 (Not Not Fun), Roll the Dice - In Dust (Leaf), Sea Pinks - Dead Seas (CF/Recs), Various Artists - Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 19-
70-1978
(Now-Again), Various Artists - Fac. Dance: Factory Records 12" Mixes & Rarities 1980-87 (Strut), and Various Ar-
tists - Wallahi Le Zein! Wezin Jakwar & Guitar (Latitudes).



Top reissues:
1. El Rego - El Rego (Daptone)
2. Various Artists - C'est Chic: French
Girl Singers of the 1960s
(Ace International)
3. The Fabulous Three - Best of... (Truth & Soul)
4. Melvin Davis - Detroit Soul Ambassador (Vampi Soul)
5. Index - Black Album + Red Album + Yesterday & Today (Lion)



On my list: Can - Tago Mago: 40th Anniversary (Mute), The
Fall
- This Nation's Saving Grace: Omnibus Edition (Beggars Ban-
quet), Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou - The 1st Album (Ana-
log Africa), Brenda Ray - Walatta (EM Japan), The Red Crayola -
God Bless the Red Krayola
and Parable of Arable Land (Snapper-
Charly), ROB - Funky Rob Way (Analog Africa), Talk Talk -
Laughing Stock
(Ba Da Bing), Vagrants - I Can't Make a Friend
(LitA), and Willie Wright - Telling the Truth (Numero Group).



Top singles (I like pop, too):
1. Adele - "Rolling in the Deep" (Columbia)
2. Lady Gaga - "Born This Way" (Interscope)
3. James Blake - Tie: "A Limit to Your Love"
and "The Wilhelm Scream" (Atlas/A&M)
4. The Horrors - "Still Life" (XL Recordings)
5. TV on the Radio - "Caffeinated Consciousness" (Interscope)
6. Tie: Spoek Mathambo - "She's Lost Control" (Sub
Pop) and Luis & the Wildfires - "Digital" (Wild/Norton)
7. The Pack a.d. - "Haunt You" (Mint)
8. Radiohead - “Lotus Flower” (TBD)
9. Bill Callahan - "America" (Drag City)
10. Cate Le Bon - "It Puts Me to Work" (The Control Group)



Worthy of note: Black Bananas with Kurt Vile - "Before They
Make Me Run" (Drag City), Field Music - "(I Keep Thinking about)
A New Thing" (Memphis Industries), Lykke Li - "Youth Knows No
Pain" (Atlantic), Neverever - "Wedding Day" (Slumberland), and
Young Magic - Tie: "Sparkly" and "Slip Time" (Carpark Records).

Labels of the year: Sacred Bones, Slumberland, and Sub Pop.

Bonus: Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad (paperback edition). Some of the music biz details ring true, some don't, but Egan is a brilliant structuralist, who ties all the disparate stories and eras together in an ingenious manner.

Rest in peace: Trish Keenan of Broadcast. Too fucking soon.



Endnote: The usual disclaimer applies. This list doesn't represent
the best music of the year, but the best of the music I heard (I'm
primarily a film writer, and my movie list provides a more accur-
ate snapshot of my taste). Given unlimited time, financial resour-
ces, and industry connections--which I have in the smallest of
quantities--it might look different. Except for Henge Beat.

Image: My pic of Total Control's Dan Stewart at the Crocodile.

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