I woke up last Saturday, the 1st, and knew I was missing something. I couldn’t figure it out all day, then it dawned on me… fuck! I didn’t make a top track list for 2010. Whatever, I shamefully didn’t post enough this year anyways which my new years resolution is to post more. I’ve at least gotten back into the habit of things towards the end of last year. Let’s do this!
Starting the new year off with tracks from… last year! First off is the Fred Falke remix of Robyn Dancing On My Own which is from mid-2010, another polished track coming from Mr. Falke. I’m sure you’ll love it. Second is the Calvin Harris remix of Kelis 4th of July (Fireworks) which I found actually quite dynamic, as in it’s not the same damn thing the whole track. You know, the stuff you hear at cookie-cutter clubs where they’ve played 20 songs but you thought it was just one song all along? “When are they going to change the damn song?!” Well, dynamic within one track which I have to say is pretty hard to do in electro. And lastly, cleaning up something I should have a long time ago, the Justice remix of MGMT Electric Feel which I posted the radio rip of it back in mid-2008. I was reminded of it recently from Hype Machine and decided why not post the actual track? Sounds different from the radio rip, I think they may have cut the track short before.
It’s not surprising that you’ll find lovers and haters for MGMT‘s sophomore album Congratulations. MGMT made it a point to stray away from the hits of their last album Kids, Time to Pretend, and Electric Feel stating in their interview with NME, “We’ve been talking about ways to make sure people hear the album as an album in order and not just figure out what are the best three tracks, download those and not listen to the rest of it.” They definitely succeeded in that aspect, there weren’t any singles in this album. For a lot of people, those were the three songs they loved and MGMT definitely took notice of that. Unfortunately, taking away the staple styles of your fans’ favorite tracks has a dangerous risk; they might not like your music anymore. Essentially, this album is the middle finger to the fans who wanted more of Kids.
For those of you who enjoyed the second part of Ocular Spectacular, maybe specifically 4th Dimensional Transition, this is the album for you. The album isn’t terrible, actually it’s far from despite what others say, but it isn’t very spectacular either. It has an overall tone of strangeness masked in psychedelic rock and ambiance vocals with little diversity between tracks, although they did include various genres like the Beach Boys surf rock, the “Magical Mystery Tour” or psychedelic era of The Beatles and the Flaming Lips which they only touched on in Ocular Spectacular. The problem with avoiding singles is that your album will be like driving through the prairies, it’s fun for a bit but it gets boring pretty quick. I made it a point not to post a premature review of this album, having listened to it on and off over the last month since they released it on their website. At first I was simply surprised as to how different the album was and how impartial I was to it. Unfortunately the album didn’t grow on me as much as I’d hoped, it’s not one I would put on a top 10 list of 2010 which is a swift change from my 2008 list.
The album starts off with It’s Working sounding something like the Beach Boys surf rock meets shoegazing, an interesting start as it is somewhat of a the new sound coming from MGMT, if not new, it’s refined at least. I actually enjoyed this track but it felt disjointed from the rest of the album. They had fun making Song For Dan Treacy, I could tell, but I wasn’t amused. Like an inside joke I’m neither indie or old enough to understand, I’ve never even heard of Television Personalities before and my bets on you didn’t either before you heard this song. The track sounding like what The Count’s theme song actually should have been, rather than the Eastern European sounding song he always has; it’s just not for me. I was quite torn about Something’s Missing because I liked the track, the last forty seconds of it. If the whole song was that I definitely would’ve placed it as one of my favorites from the album which unfortunately isn’t the case. Flash Delirium is one of the stranger ones from this album, it actually sounded like a sing-along from Sesame Street with the strange background group vocals, I can even see the puppets in my head dancing along. Were they watching Sesame Street when they made this album? I wasn’t the first one to noticed this either.
Another mellow track I Found A Whistle, I’m not the biggest fan of these kind of tracks from any artist, so I won’t go on about this track. The 12 minute Siberian Breaks probably could have been separated into four tracks. It’s almost as bad as the ever-so-popular in the 90’s five minutes of silence on the last track before a hidden track comes up. The ballade starts and ends a couple times, I enjoyed day dreaming while I listened to it. I’m not particularly sure if that’s a good thing or not, but there is a nice buildup in the third part of this track at around eight minutes until the end of the track which might actually be the peak of the whole album. Take note, I actually really loved this! Brian Eno was Flash Delirium Pt. 2, they should have put the two tracks one after each other or would have that been way too cliché? The fully instrumental track Lady Dada’s Nightmare was another inside joke I don’t think I understood. Yes, Lady Gaga’s nightmare of soft keyboard and melodies like something from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? I think I thought too much about that. And lastly, Congratulations was a track I actually really liked. Slow normal guitars with clear voices and a touch of original MGMT, after an album of psychedelic synth filled tracks with inaudible vocals, it’s just what I needed.
As much trash talk as I and many others did on this album, I have to say that MGMT is brave for going their own way. Despite the fact that they gave the cold shoulder to the majority of their fans, they need to explore styles to figure out their own unique one and if that means losing fans who only liked them because of Kids, then so be it. The only thing I hope MGMT does is further develop their style and not simply fall back to Kids, that would ultimately be the worst thing to do. To sum up Congratulations, it’s strange and different, but there’s nothing that will throw you off your seat like their first album. I’m still looking forward to album #3.
MGMT – Siberian Breaks
MGMT – Congratulations
Okay, so not exactly news because this happened on the 20th, but it seems that MGMT’s upcoming album Congratulations leaked. In response to that, they’ve released the album onto their website streaming for free. Make sure you check it out and if you love it, buy the thing! It comes out April 16th.
Getting a The Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ vibe from the thing as well as a touch of Beach Boys and the Flaming Lips. If not influences, possibly just skimming similar genres. In an interview with NME, Ben Goldwasser said “There definitely isn’t a ‘Time To Pretend’ or a ‘Kids’ on the album. We’ve been talking about ways to make sure people hear the album as an album in order and not just figure out what are the best three tracks, download those and not listen to the rest of it.” If that was one of their goals, they definitely succeeded. Did not hear anything even remotely like Time To Pretend or Kids.
The album is quite interesting though, yet very strange. Review coming up soon.
MGMT has released a new track which will be in their upcoming album Congratulations which is set to come out April 13, 2010. Sounding a little bit like David Bowie, I’m curious as to how this album will turn out.
MGMT – Flash Delirium
[download/click on the image]
So these three tracks I thought had weird sounds, in a good way of course. First one is totally an interesting mash-up, from a tune we all obviously love Soulwax‘s remix of MGMT mashed up with David Bowie‘s Lady Stardust by A Plus D. Always loved mash-ups by A Plus D simply because you never hear it done like that, I think I posted one by them a while ago that blew my mind as well. Second was suggested to me, The Teenagers remix of Lo-Fi-Fnk which was different to say the least. Merci Aja, it was very rock remix which is nice coming from The Teenagers. And lastly, I have absolutely no idea how this track ended up on my desktop, I’m pretty sure it was from my inbox, but the Datarock track Give It Up. It was very chill-out club, if there’s such thing, but it bounced around genres which I love.
I decided to stick with the same theme as last year’s top list. Basically from the tracks I’ve posted, mostly the remixes. So don’t cry that I didn’t post about some random group or band I’ve never heard of or I’ve heard way too much on the radio cause that isn’t the point! I stuck with a vague criteria as how much the tracks influenced this year’s scene (both electro and blogosphere), how well they were accepted by listeners and how much I liked it myself. One thing that I thought I missed but just couldn’t put it in was Justice’s Planisphere which was amazing when it came out. It’ll have to do without being in this list. I did get some great suggestions from you guys about which tracks to choose, thanks for that. Was really hoping that Hype Machine wouldn’t re-aggregate the tracks, oh well.
I must’ve listened to this track a million times this year, completely different from what you’re used to if you listen to any of the music in this blog. Au Revoir Simone has a completely different personality when they’re in remixes, this one by Aeroplane of Friendly Fires. I’m not sure how they did it, just call Au Revoir Simone and ask them if they want to do a remix with you? Fantastic track, this one is for me.
The guilty pleasure is back, it was definitely my summer song thanks to MR GASPAR. Otherwise I would’ve completely ignored Katy Perry like I would’ve any other “top 20″ radio hit list. Not for any pretentious means, but man those top 20 pop lists are addictive and definitely shameful. I recently heard Katy Perry’s Hot N’ Cold and well, let’s just say I didn’t not like it. A tad glad that my full out Katy Perry phase is over with and long gone… I think.
Yes and yes. This track was fantastic, definitely a late contender against the other tracks from this year. Was a tiny bit strange though not completely unexpected that they used beats from the original track as the additional beats. Didn’t hear too much from DiscoTech, more that I didn’t really find out about them until very late, but a great mix of Kanye West. The chorus could’ve been longer, but I thoroughly enjoyed this track.
Amazing track. Can leave this year without mentioning Little Boots or Fake Blood. Though I’ve been reading a lot of comparisons between her and Kylie, I don’t hear it. Love the contribution Fake Blood made to this track, very surprised no one else opted to remix this track. Anyways, it was a great mix though their genres weren’t too different. It works well.
One of my favorite underrated remixes from this year. It didn’t get much attention around, but that retro sound is perfect. Fred Falke and Miami Horror know how to please my ears. None of them are small names, not sure what happened. After listening to Ladyhawke, I could understand how she was quite the influence in this track intensified by Fred Falke and Miami Horror. Haven’t paid much attention to Pnau though, I’m definitely giving them some in the new year to come.
Alright, you’re probably thinking to yourself why the hell did he choose this track? I’ve never even heard of it! Do you know how hard I laugh when I listen to this track? Especially when I rediscover this track at least once a month at 4am. Moulinex has that unique retro electro sound which I can’t get enough of, on top of that hilarious lyrics from Ben Mono. So yes, this is definitely one of those “influenced me” tracks.
4. MSTRKRFT – Bounce feat. NORE
It would’ve been pretty hard going out and not hearing this song being played at a club or electro hipster bar. Dirty, club, ghetto. Everything I don’t post on this blog, but this is for sure an exception. MSTRKRFT outdid themselves this time, is this the path they’re taking now? I had a hard time choosing between the original track and The Bloody Beetroots remix of it, but I decided to stick with the first one.
Alright, initially I put the Soulwax remix of Justice but someone brought it to my attention that it was actually from 2007! I was going to leave it but noticed that it was definitely at #3 on the list so it couldn’t stay. Luckily, I had another track to replace it at the same number, another Soulwax remix this year which was their remix of The Chemical Brothers Hey Boy, Hey Girl. Old track, new remix. This remix actually refreshed my love for The Chemical Brothers, whom I haven’t really listened to in a long time. Was huge towards the end of the summer and I definitely heard it a lot on the radio. Really couldn’t get enough of this track, reminded me of… Europe.
Oh Soulwax, what would we have done without you? I actually had a very hard time choosing which Soulwax remixes I liked from this year, they made so many, but their remix of MGMT‘s Kids wins. This one was pretty big back when it first came up, it was totally sampled for other remixes and mash-ups as well. The Twelves and Soulwax are pretty similar at least in the way they make and play their remixes live. They bring electro shows up from a DJ standing infront of two turntables or a laptop to an actual performance. They released a documentary POTWND a couple months ago, I think it just helps solidify how big they really are.
If I had to define the electro scene in 2008, it’d have to be with this track. The twitchy synth sounds matches perfectly to the Black Kids, though sadly I can’t particularly say that the Black Kids made it as big as this track. The Black Kids kind of got the shaft, but The Twelves definitely gained more popularity this year, I heard this track almost too many times on electronic radio stations and mixes. You couldn’t go through this year without hearing them. But seriously, leave Brazil for a bit cause we could really use those retro sounding synth beats up here. Muchos love.
I love my neighbors, but I love this picture more. Three big names and I somehow completely missed it even though it was completely overposted on Hype Machine. Regardless, it was a great track and I thought I wouldn’t be doing anybody a favor not posting it. So here you go, N.A.S.A. featuring Kanye West, Santogold, and Lykke Li with Gifted. I heard solos from Kanye West and Santogold, I think Lykke Li did the back vocals and the chorus. Great producing though, love the beat. Next track is the Moulinex remix of Sebastian Tellier‘s Kilometer. Very Moulinex. And lastly, the Dskotek remix of MGMT. No, not Discotech, these guys are different. Was a bit iffy about the beat at first, but it really grows on you.