Archive for December, 2010
The Top 10 albums of the year. These are albums that were amazing from start to finish. Not just a couple of good songs with the rest being filler. You won’t need to use your skip ahead button for any of these. Truly the best ALBUMS of the year.
Note: Accompanied with each album is the song that I think best showcases the genius of the album, not necessarily the most popular single from the album.
Edging out quasi-albums from Daft Punk and Robyn, Chromeo’s new effort is just Chromeo being Chromeo. Consistent like Tim Duncan, Dave 1 and P-Thugg understand if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Their 80’s disco/pop influenced sound makes their third full-length album both familiar and fresh. It’s reminiscent of Cameo, Prince, and even earlier Chromeo, so if you’re not a fan of the 80’s, maybe Chromeo isn’t for you. But Business Casual proves to be a nice addition to Chromeo’s impressive discography that also includes a few mixes worth picking up, and which may be more influential than Chromeo’s original works.
9. Hot Chip – One Life Stand
The video for “I Feel Better” has Hot Chip being played by a UK looking version of boy band O-Town. Making fun of the fact that Hot Chip’s music is so accessible that it can be mistaken as bubblegum pop. But those of us who follow Hot Chip closely know the guys can crank out some funky electronica jams or some really experimental indie rock. Their latest album is in fact very upbeat and happy, but it just makes their live performance that much more of a party.
This is a little lower than Gorillaz’ usual position on the countdown. I love everything Damon Albarn touches, and nothing he has worked on has impressed me more than each of his Gorillaz full lengths. So for this to come in at #7 is almost like calling “Plastic Beach” a bad album. True it doesn’t have any immediate classics on it like “Clint Eastwood” or “Feel Good Inc.”, but it’s still a complete album with some concrete gems on it. The fact the Damon was wise enough to snag up Yukimi Nagano from Little Dragon for a couple tracks just shows how genius the dude really is. Once a lead singer of a Brit-Pop band, Damon is now the lead singer of the coolest revolving-door band on the planet.
Pharrell, Chad, and Shay always make something worth listening to as N*E*R*D. The fact that the Neptunes, the most famous Pop and Hip-Hop producers in the world, were making an alternative album with live instruments was a bit of breaking news on their first release In Search Of…, but almost 10 years later N*E*R*D is almost as well known as the Neptunes themselves. They blend Electronica, R&B, Electro, and Rock effortlessly and will always be relevant due to their very visual and popular frontman Pharrell Williams. Each of their albums has one or two OMG moments, where you realize Pharrell and the gang are so far ahead of the Pop game that they demand your respect. On this album it’s gotta be the Daft Punk produced “Hyptnotize U.” Although it’s a little less of a dance tune than you’d expect, it’s still DAFT PUNK AND N*E*R*D!!!
It was immediately evident upon first listen that this album was much less poppy than their debut. MGMT, who became the new face of indie rock over night after their radio friendly singles from Oracular Spectacular took off like a rocket, were ready to prove that they were unaffected by their success. They released the much anticipated follow up album Congratulations this year to mix reviews. Inspired by 70’s psychedelia, Brian Eno, and Joanna Newsom, Congratulations may not have been what mainstream radio was expecting from their 2008 indie darlings, but upon further investigation it was a pretty damn good album.
Like MGMT, M.I.A. was unaffected by her overwhelming fame. Her third album, Maya, was almost a middle finger to the masses. M.I.A. wanted to let it be known that she didn’t care what people expected from her, or if they preferred her radio friendly fare like “Paper Planes.” What she enjoys is doing whatever the fuck she wants. From dancehall, to electro, to indecipherable jungle noise, Maya was another case of an artist having unlimited freedom to make the music they wanted to. The new Indie stars have figured out something that pre-Napster, record label-controlled pop stars never figured out… You don’t make your money shipping millions of units of shitty generic albums, you make your money playing to sold out crowds around the world. The standout track is definitely XXXO, which ironically is probably Maya’s most radio-accessible song, and which also just missed my Top 30 countdown.
I don’t understand why Kelis still doesn’t get any respect. Most people only know Kelis from her hit singles “Bossy”,”Milkshake” and/or “Caught Out There” (the “I hate you so much right now” song), but most don’t credit Kelis for the concentration and effort she puts into creating great full length albums. I’ll admit her last album, Kelis Was Here, was her least impressive outing, but she made up for that this year with Fleshtone. Officially separating herself from her old collaborators the Neptunes, Kelis gathered a slew of Big Time producers for this album, including David Guetta, Boys Noize, and Benny Benassi. She’s always been ahead of her time and this album is just another reminder that Beyonce, Ciara, Rihanna, et. al. ain’t got shit on Kelis.
I’m not sure what the story is behind the shelving of this album, but we were promised a Big Boi solo album for a long time. I don’t know if the finished product released in 2010 was the same album Big Boi originally recorded, but goddamn this was a great album. This is one of only 3 albums this year I can feel comfortable using the word GREAT to describe. For those of you who thought Big Boi was bringing Andre 3000 down, SHAME ON YOU! This album proves Big Boi is just as important to Outkast as Mr. 3000. Great for the clubs, radio, and even the most hipsteriest of parties. Listening to this album just made me upset that 99.9% of other popular rappers don’t put this much care into every track on their albums.
Go listen to it, it’s Kanye. I could have linked a handful of tracks to show how genius of this album, including “Power” (which probably should have made the Top Songs of 2010) or the newest track “Monster,” but the album grabs you from second one because of the amazing intro on Dark Fantasy. What a build up. Kanye lets his listener in on the plan that he is going to construct a Hip-HOpera for the next hour from the very beginning of “Dark Fantasy.” An opera filled with a slew of supporting characters included the listed Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and more and a secret unlisted group of artists including Drake, Kid Cudi, Alicia Keys, La Roux, and much, much more.
This album is perfect. Super producer Mark Ronson (Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, etc.) outsmarted Kanye with his own impressive list of guest vocalists. including some of the best rappers in the game; Q-Tip, Spank Rock, and Ghostface Killah. His most impressive guest had to be the formerly M.I.A .soul crooner D’Angelo. Mark is the only producer, besides J Dilla, who has been able to get D’Angelo out of his cave since 2000’s Voodoo. The best song “Somebody to Love” was #5 on our Top Songs of 2010. The single “Bang Bang Bang” which featured Q-Tip and MNDR, may have been one of the best singles of the year, but when heard as part of the album it is simply just a another amazing track by Mark Ronson.
Hope you enjoyed the countdown. Have a Merry Christmas!
And here is the Top 10!
10. Stromae – Alors on Dance
During my Golden Bloggen Eurotrip earlier this summer I visited Sweden. While watching their VH-1 Top 10 Countdown I noticed their #2 song was Beyonce & Lady Gaga, and the #1 song was this French Jam by this dude named Stromae… they don’t even speak French in Sweden. I had never heard of this cat. Then I went to France the next week and noticed Stromae was #1 there too. Dude is from Beligium. By the end of my month long Eurotrip I had been singing the tune for weeks, had 2 remixes on my computer and wrote a post on GB about it. A few months later Kanye rapped over it for the U.S. version. Just a monster track this year.
9. Chemical Brothers – Swoon
I got to see Chem Bros. twice this year, and surprisingly their two sets were COMPLETELY different. They toured the world in support of their new album Further, which was pretty decent, but the song “Swoon” is such a ridiculous stand-out track. It’s really dancey and doesn’t sound like anything else out right now. Chem Bros. always produce high-quality dance music. They are in their own world. Second only to DP.
8. Big Boi – Shutterbug
Big Boi, one half of Outkast, is a pretty underrated rapper. He doesn’t get as much love from music-heads as Andre, but he can hold it down on his own. Shutterbug is an original sounding Hip-Hop track that mixes grimey Southern sound with an upbeat, club-friendly tempo. Just a good song to get fools dancing, and it also just so happened to be the first track on the “Entourage” season-opener this year.
The last folk rock track of the countdown, and thus the best folk rock track of the year. This Australian brother and sister team really made their mark on the States this year. They had everyone jumping on their bandwagon, myself included. I love female vocals, so it’s pretty odd that I chose a track where Angus sings, considering Julia has such a great voice and is such a great musician, but this may be the best written song of the year. I just gets inside you. The Stones are another great band I was fortunate enough to cover in person this year.
6. Doctor P – Sweet Shop
Yes some dubstep made the list. Dubstep is mostly ran by a few cats from the UK; Caspa, Rusko, Skream, Benga, and a few others. All of those guys and every other Dubstep DJ I saw play this year played this fucking track. Hell, almost every DJ dropped this track this year at some point. I remember going to Audiotistic this year and hearing it 3 different times. I have no idea who Doctor P is but I FUCKING love this song.
5. Mark Ronson – Somebody to Love Me
Let’s just say this is a preview of what’s to come on the Top 10 Albums of the Year. Mark Ronson is known for his versatility, but this song shows of the dude’s songwriting chops. The album version credits Rose and Andrew for the vocals, but somehow Boy George got on the single version or something. I’m not sure who’s actually singing on this Mark production, but this is a remarkable song, and a very relate-able topic for me.
4. Sunday Girl – Four Floors (Diplo Remix)
Wow I must’ve played this song more than any other song this year. Both in the privacy of my own home and when spinning at the club. The reason it wasn’t hire is because it was a remix. If Sunday Girl actually made this herself, she would have a new stalker. But Diplo puts some dark, dubsteppy touches on the sappy teen anthem to make it so damn infectious and sexy.
3. Best Coast – When I’m With You
Best Coast again mofo. This was the first single off their debut LP Crazy For You. The first time I heard this song I knew that I heard to know more about this band. I started looking for new articles on the band, pictures, tour dates, whatever I could my hands on. Needless to say they had a huge year and made fans of all of us. Also doesn’t hurt that their from LA.
2. The Roots ft. Jim James – Dear God 2.0
This is kind of cheating, though not technically a remix, it might as well be. The Roots took a Monsters of Folk song that was one of my top songs of 2009, and on the MOF album that was #2 on our Top 10 Albums of 2009, and made it better. Hip-Hop is my first love, and I’m loving the indie folk rock scene right now, so nothing makes me happier than when two opposite world’s collide. I wouldn’t think in a million years that Monsters of Folk would get a Hip-Hop reworking, but I guess I should never underestimate The Roots. There’s also a re-working of Joanna Newsom’s “The Book of Right On” on the same album. Mind blowing!
1. Major Lazer – Pon de Floor
Yes I know, this is from Major Lazer’s 2009 LP Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do, but this had to be the anthem of 2010. I know what you’re saying, “Get of Diplo’s nuts already,” but this track was played to death at every dance festival and at every local dance club for good reason. “Americano” may have been the crossover dance hit of the year, but this was hands down the most played dance song of 2010, and the best. Add Skerrit Bwoy’s ladder climbing, floor ponning antics during Major Lazer’s stage shows and it is a lethal combination. I have to admit that I gave a little extra nod to tracks that were also very successful, what can I say, popularity counts when you’re ranking singles. Trust me, playing a hit at a club definitely gets the crowd moving more than an unknown track, and if it’s good it usual becomes popular anyway.
It’s that time of the year. The holidays are among us, Christmas and New Years, and that must mean one thing…. Best of the Year lists! If you are new to GB, let me tell you how we do. I am pleased to say this is our 3rd annual Best of the Year Countdown. I countdown my favorite 30 Songs of the Year and the Best 10 Albums of the Year. Today we will be starting off with numbers 11-30. Tomorrow will follow with the Top 10 Songs, and on Christmas you can unwrap your present of the the Top 10 Albums of the Year.
This year I am trying something a little different. If you are a DJ or small time musician, then I’m sure you are aware of the genius that is Soundcloud. So every track I list, I will attach the Soundcloud stream (when available). I will attempt to find a stream that has downloading enabled. If there is no DL available I will upload it myself. Just right-click on the song title to save. Enjoy! And if you agree/disagree with the countdown please comment.
3o. Chief – Night and Day
I’ve known a few members of this band since high school, over 10 years. But that’s not why they made the list. Chief had a pretty darn good 2010. They got their video played on MTV, played Sunset Junction Music Festival, and toured all over the place. This was just a really well-written folk rock song. You’re gonna see a lot of those on this countdown.
This track is mustard… ketchup nigga. That’s a variation of my favorite line from this track. You may remember The Pack from their mild breakout hit “Vans.” Well this year they quietly released another album. Though none of the songs may have received any significant radio play, “Make Me Cum” was too damn hot to leave off this list. It’s such a party jam and those dirty lyrics get me every time.
Nightriders released a 3 track EP earlier this year, and every track was fire. The EP was one of the year’s best Nu-disco efforts, filled with groovy ass vocal samples. It was tough choosing which track to put on the countdown, but I think this was their most complete song. The vocals are smooth and soulful and the beat is still pretty damn dancey.
This tracks is great. I first heard this song when I saw the wild video on MTV2’s “Subterranean,” and it just stayed in my head for weeks after that. This was a great year for indie folk rock. There could have been even more folk rock on this countdown. This song just edged out Mumford and Sons “Little Lion Man.”
Come on now. Swedish House Mafia killed it in 2010. Playing a sold-out arena everywhere they went. And this was one of the biggest dance anthems of the year. On 3, hand clap everyone. 1…2…3… (Clap Clap).
Super poppy Mike Posner gets a fresh remix. Call him Jon B reincarnated. This remix is kinda reminiscent of Nero’s Remix for Plan B’s “Recluse,” but that track didn’t do anywhere near what this one did on the radio, and doesn’t get the party started as hard as Mike Posner either. What can I say? The ladies love him.
Mark this one up as the stoney jam of the year. Just light up a J and sit back and listen to this 10-minute Epic track. I got this sent directly from Catcall’s people, a new young female out of New Zealand. So call it a GB exclusive. You might not be able to find this one anywhere else.
23. Everest – Let Go
Another great 2010 folk rock track. I’m saying. The only other genre more on fire than indie folk rock this year was electro. But electro has been steadily growing for the past 3 years or so. This folk shit jumped on the scene real tough and is probably here to stay. After all Lilith Fair had it’s big come back over the summer.
22. Boris Dlugosch – Bangkok
Thanks to 2 Many DJ’s for playing this song in their electrofying set. I got to see 2 Many DJ’s twice this year and this track was definitely one of the highlights of their set. It’s such an obscene production. It sounds like going to the circus on E. LOVE IT! Party starter!
21. Aloe Blacc – I Need a Dollar
This song was beloved by a lot of people this year. KCRW played the shit out of this one. I first heard it on the intro to HBO’s undeniably canceled “How to Make It In America.” Though the show wasn’t very good, this track was excellent. A real soul gem from Stones Throw’s Aloe Blacc.
20. Breakbot ft. Irfane – I’m Yours
Another genre making it’s comeback in 2010 was disco. Electro had been ruled by hard dance tracks from the likes of Justice, Boys Noize, et. al., but soulful disco really had a big year. I love disco. 70’s disco is really the primary building block for Hip-Hop. Breakbot, now label mates with Justice on Ed Banger, really brought it with this one. Can’t wait for a full-length from this dude in 2011.
19. Grum – I Can’t Shake This Feeling
A very similar track to the previous one by Breakbot, Grum brings the heat with this Nu-Disco track. Unlike most dance artists, Grum actually released a full-length album in 2010 and 2 official music videos. All were amazing. That’s the sign of a legit producer, the ability to keep up the genius for a whole album.
18. Gyptian – Hold Yuh (Major Lazer Remix)
Hmm, what to say about this song? If you’ve heard it, you love it. Period. It’s in between dancey and loungey. In between dancehall and house. Kind of something for everyone. Also Diplo’s first appearance in the countdown, but definitely not his last.
17. Washed Out – I Feel It All Around
My boy Jeremy hipped me to some Washed Out last year or so and though I really liked it, it wasn’t until this song that I could really give dude his much needed respect. His lo-fi, chillwave electronica was really the highlight at FYF Fest earlier this year. Not many artist have this sound, and those that dom don’t sound this good.
16. Caribou – Odessa
This may sound like some more chill out electronica, but Caribou actually play with more instruments than you would assume. Caribou is the brain child of Canadian mathematician Daniel Snaith. “Odessa” is the standout track from his impressive LP Swim. It has such a clean sound, it’s hard not to fall in love with this song and listen to it incessantly.
The epic finale in the now legendary Electrofied! mixtape from Kool Ethan, Robyn gives the biggest build up of the year, with great pay off. The lyrics are great, “My Penis is Killing Me” and so on and so on. I love this song. I’ve loved Robyn since the 90’s and got to see her live for the first time this year. She killed it.
14. Wiz Khalifa – Black and Yellow
My boy played me Wiz Khalifa’s “Say Yeah” a couple years back and I was immediately impressed by Wiz’s sample of Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone.” This time he returns with an original track that has killed the radio charts and dancefloors all year. Wiz was also named The Source’s ‘Rookie of the Year.’ Not that The Source is relevant anymore, but good job Mr. Khalifa.
You know the song. John Wall helped make it famous, Wolf Blitzer Dougie-ing at the Soul Train Awards may have killed it. But possibly the biggest track of the year, and definitely the biggest dance movement of the year. Cali Swag District picked up where the Jerkin’ New Boyz left off last year. Let’s keep it going Cali.
12. Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP – We Speak No Americano
“Dougie” might have been the biggest song of the year, but this might come in at a close second, at least for the second part of the year. I have no idea what Yolanda Be Cool or DCUP look like, not sure most people do, but they brought one of the biggest dance jams mainstream radio has heard since Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam.” You don’t believe me? Go ask your mom, I’m sure she’s heard the song before.
11. Best Coast – Boyfriend
Oh Best Coast. Winner of GB’s unofficial ‘New Band of the Year.’ Their second single, “Boyfriend,” caught on quickly, but only after Best Coast had become media darlings. They had the most crowded photo pit at FYF Fest, lead singer Bethany joined Kid Cudi and Vampire Weekend for a Converse gimmick, and every publication featured them at least once this year. Is the more Best Coast in the countdown you ask? Tune in tomorrow and find out.
You know we love us some Futurecop! at GB, and it looks like Futurecop! loves my city as much as I do. Their newest single, “Venice Beach,” is named after the beach community with the most famous boardwalk on the West Coast. “Venice Beach” has that patented Futurecop! synth-pop party sound that is reminiscent of 80’s cartoon intros like Jem and the Holograms and Ninja Turtles as well as new electro from the likes of Miami Horror and the Twelves. They actually have a really cool video for their track “Starworshipper” that incorporates a ton of cool retro clips that you would love if you were a fan of my own “Electrofied!” music video. This is the perfect track if you’re missing the summer and trapped in this crazy rainstorm that is flooding my beloved, normally sunny LA.
The moment everyone “Around the World” has been waiting for is almost among us. Tron: Legacy will be released tomorrow! And unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you are aware the Daft Punk scored the film. Also if you read this blog, you know I hold DP in the highest of esteem. The greatest living, touring legends. I’ve been working with S.X. Rosenstock from the Huffington Post on the Top 10 Daft Punk tracks ever. It was hard deconstructing their genius and putting a number next to each track, but we did our best. We took into consideration familiarity, danceability, and just what sounded like the hardest goddamn Daft Punk tracks ever. If you disagree with the list or think we forgot to include something, please comment.
And CLICK HERE to read the full story on Huffington Post.
TOP 10 DAFT PUNK TRACKS:
9. One More Time (Discovery)
8. Rollin’ and Scratchin’ (Homework)
And here is a bonus track from the Daft Club remix album. It’s a Neptunes remix of our #1 pick “Harder, Better, Faster Stronger.”
Yet another party at Bar Lubitsch. Call it an early Christmas Party. Call it an early birthday party (for me). But I want to see all of you down at Lubitsch shaking a tail feather this Thursday night. It is gonna be bonkers to say the least. Some new shit you never heard, some old shit that will make you cream your panties. In the mean time check out my latest mix below, “Discotronic.”
Kool Ethan – Discotronic
1. Spacek – How Do I Move
2. N*E*R*D – Hypnotize U
3. Chic – I Want Your Love (Todd Terje Edit)
4. Evelyn Champagne King – Love Come Down
5. Chromeo – Don’t Turn the Lights On
6. Breakbot ft. Irfane – Baby I’m Yours
7. Teena Marie – Lovergirl
8. Nightriders – A Love Feeling
9. Grum – Can’t Shake This Feeling
10. Mark Ronson and the Business – Somebody to Love Me