I Prefer The Obscure Remix Blog

And now, the end is near…..

Due to the festive season it’s been pretty quiet of late over at the Obscure Remix HQ. But over the next few days I’ll try and squeeze out another few posts on my musical highlights of 2007 – as requested by Red (my favourite blog of the year), and a few others. I couldn’t possibly comment on the cinematic highlights of the year, I think I only made it to one movie this year – Control. Surprised?

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Zach Condon (Beirut) followed up his fantastic debut, The Gulag Orkester extremely fast, possibly too fast with The Flying Club Cup. Although great, it did not measure up to the emotional and musical high of Gulag. There was however one real gem on FCC, that arguably outshines anything Condon has done so far in his career – Nantes. It illustrates Condon’s talent for songwriting and arranging, and his ability to progress and experiment with new sounds and styles. Basically, it highlights what a precocious young talent Condon is for the future. You have a choice of three versions here. The latest is his performance on Jools Holland with a full band. Thankfully Jools restrained himself from joining in on his honkytonk piano. Wouldn’t you be gutted if you were in a band that got on to Later with Jools – surely a common milestone and dream for many a band – only to find that Jools had requested to play with you. How could you say no? It’s kinda like that time Morrissey and Bowie fell out. Morrissey was supporting Bowie on tour, but at the end of his set each night, Bowie would invite himself onstage and join Morrissey for his last song. Then Bowie would launch into his own set, thus depriving Morrissey of a final applause, and essentially steal Morrissey’s thunder. Morrissey eventually walked out on the tour, no surprise there. I wonder would Arcade Fire have the balls to do the same. Anyway, enjoy Nantes, one of my songs of the year.

Then you have a promo video shot in Brooklyn by the guys over at La Blogotheque. They filmed a different scene for each song off The Flying Club Cup, and it’s rather good.

And finally, my favourite. A street scene, and a seemingly impromptu performance, although it is actually for the Take Away Show. It’s not often you get to see established bands slumming it on the streets, and turning in engaging performances, but this works. I particularily like the drummer, and his use of the recycling bins.

Happy New Year to everybody that visited and commented over the last few months, and all the best for ’08.

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December 31, 2007 Posted by | Beirut, Jools Holland, Music, Nantes | 2 Comments

Lay Sah-vee Fahv

In a bid to elaborate on my end of year album/song charts, I’m going to highlight a few, erm….highlights from the year. First up was Matthew Dear. And now, another band that made it into both charts, Les Savy Fav. I have to admit, at the start of the year I knew little or nothing about these guys. I always heard people referring to them as a second rate Fugazi, but reports from an ATP festival earlier this year suggested they were alot more than this. Within a week of that festival their new album had landed on my desk, and I never looked back. Let’s Stay Friend’s is LSF’s 4th studio album, arriving unexpectedly as rumours circulated that the band had called it a day – the title obviously a dig at the conjecture and gossip surrounding the band’s future. Their American label, Frenchkiss Records was set up by LSF bassist Syd Butler to put out their own records initially, but the label has gone on to release work by bands such as The Hold Steady, The Apes, The Big Sleep, Thunderbirds Are Now!, and Tangiers, but the UK/Irish release of Let’s Stay Friend’s was handled by Wichita Recordings.

In my opinion, LSF will remain one of the most memorable bands of 2007 for many reasons. Their live show in Crawdaddy was without doubt one of the finest this year. Raucous, thrilling, energetic, euphoric, sweaty, unpretentious, and downright entertaining! I posted about it at the time, and there’s some footage on there too that sums up the night accurately. It took ten years off me, in a good way that is. Track 4 on Let’s Stay Friends, Patty Lee made it into my Top 10 of the year. The video is posted below, and I imagine it’ll make it into next year’s poll also, as it’s set for a February ’08 release. My patient friend and bandmate had to endure this song on constant repeat for a solid hour on a recent trip back from a very bizarre gig in a scout hall in Kilcoole. In my defence I’d had a few, it was my birthday, and I was stuck in the passenger seat of a car on the M50 heading in the wrong direction! It will be backed by The Sweat Descends, an older but amazing track that featured on the collection of singles released a few years ago, Inches.

Enjoy, check out the album, and definitely catch them live if you can.

December 12, 2007 Posted by | French Kiss Records, Les Savy Fav, Music, Patty Lee, Wichita Recordings | 2 Comments

OMG…OMM

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I remember a time when the most comforting antidote to a Sunday hangover was The Observer Music Monthly. But the standard/content has rapidly gone downhill over the year. Yes, once we get to December we can expect the usual charts and polls that we’re all guilty of, but I’m quite surprised by their choice of features/interviews. Is it just me, or has it turned into Smash Hits? An Arctic Monkey photo diary, a Radiohead interview by the fans, Miranda Sawyer’s gushing piece on Amy Winehouse, and Mika….MIKA, as Man of the Year?! Do i care for pictures of Alex Turner on the beach? No. Is it time we stopped talking about Amy Winehouse? Of course, stop looking for the new Pete Doherty. Letting a bunch of fan(atic)s interview their favourite band isn’t really gonna enlighten us any further on the subject, it’s downright boring. As for Mika, I’m just lost for words. I don’t understand how we can live in a world where 4 million people think this stuff passes for music, and are willing to part with the price of a CD for it – a far more baffling and larger statistic than the number of people who downloaded In Rainbows for free. Am I the only person who finds that ‘Big girl, you are beautiful’ song really patronizing and totally calculated? I could argue with the Album and Single charts but what’s the point, it’s all subjective, and as valid as the next chart or poll. But I did expect more from the rest of the mag. Even the quiz provided little respite, I was baffled most of the time.

OMM…RIP

They also printed a current chart of UK bestselling albums for the year 2007, which is unlikely to change between now and Christmas.

1. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

2. Mika – Life In Cartoon Motion

3. Take That – Beautiful World

4. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

5. Leona Lewis – Spirit

6. Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly Angry Mob

7. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open

8. Nelly Furtado – Loose

9. Mark Ronson – Version

10. Justin Timberlake – Future Sex/Lovesounds

So what a year it was! Out of the 10 bestselling albums, 5 were actually released in 2006. Of the other 5, Ronson’s record is a collection of cover versions, Leona Lewis is an X-Factor contestant, Arctic Monkeys are the only band signed to an indie label, Kaiser Chiefs probably sold way less than their debut Employment did, and the other one is bloody Mika.

I despair, I really do. Music…RIP, or should that be rip music.

Actually, I own 3 of these albums, and they’re great!

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December 11, 2007 Posted by | Album Sales, Music, Observer Music Monthly | 5 Comments

Witness the fitness

So now that the dreaded poll is out of the way, I’ll get on with highlighting some rather excellent moments from the year 2007. Witness the complete transformation of Matthew Dear from darling of the minimal/techno fraternity to pure unadulterated pop star. I imagine he’s being fitted for leather pants right now as i type. In my opinion, Dear has been consistently brilliant for a number of years. Ever since I got my hands on his first album – also a classic – Leave Luck to Heaven, I’ve been hooked. His more minimal/experimental material crops up under his False moniker, and his tougher acid tinged techno can be found in the Audion or Jabberjaw section. The Audion singles on Spectral are a particular career highlight. Dear’s latest album, Asa Breed is truly splendid, and varied. It polarised his fanbase, as techie kids couldn’t really get their heads around it. “What?! Guitar?! On a dance record?!” But the beauty of Dear is that he always had bigger aspirations than most of his contemporaries. The vocal tracks on LLTH were all exceptional and an indication of where his sound was heading. At least he’s had the decency to split his different projects up with several names, so as not confuse the techie kids altogether.

My favourite track on Asa Breed – Don & Sherri – just happens to be one of my tunes of the year. This track really got inside my head, because my better half also took to this album as much as I did. It was one of the few things we managed to agree on this year musically, so it got some heavy rotation in our place. So in honour of her – and as I totally ruined her night last night -here’s the vid for Don and Sherri.

From what I’ve heard, this track also made it onto a commercial in the States or Canada.

December 7, 2007 Posted by | Albums of the Year, Audion, Don & Sherri, Matthew Dear, Music, Songs of the Year | 2 Comments

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice…

So, we’re coming to the end of another year and it’s time to get those charts in order. So what was 2007 like? Well, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Some amazing albums were released, but album sales dropped dramatically in general, and ticket prices went up more than we could ever have expected. But I’m not getting into any of that now. So I skipped through my iPod to have a look at everything I added for the entire year, and this is what I came up with. It’s by no means definitive, as there’s still a massive pile of albums I still haven’t put on my iTunes, and then there’s everything I bought on vinyl. I know I’ve forgotten a few things, but this will have to do for now.

Pop over to Pedro’s fabulous blog for his chart, and Matt Vinyl has just posted his favourite 7″ purchases for the year. I’m also looking forward to seeing what Nialler, Red, Jim, Billy Lyons, and Sinead deem worthy of inclusion on that all important Christmas list. Please leave some recommendations based on my choices, I’m sure there’s loads of albums I’ve missed out on this year that are essential. Happy reading!

Albums of the Year (in no particular order, but kind of really)

MIA – Kala

Matthew Dear – Asa Breed

Menomena – Friend and Foe

Cadence Weapon – Breaking Kayfabe

Le Loup – The Throne…

Beirut – The Flying Club Cup

Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends

Colleen – Les Ondes Silencieuses

Adrian Crowley – Long Distance Swimmer

Dan Deacon – Spiderman Of The Rings

Songs of the Year

MIA – Bamboo Banga

Battles – Atlas

Matthew Dear – Don & Sherri

Le Loup – Planes and Vultures

Les Savy Fav – Patty Lee

Beirut – Nantes

Menomena – Wet and Rusting

Dan Deacon – Wham City

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

MIA – Paper Planes

 

Special mention must also go to Pantha Du Prince, O’Death, Apparat, Taken By Trees, Adjagas, Panda Bear, Holy Fuck, Explosions in the Sky, Gui Boratto, Battles, Deerhunter, Amiina, Mice Parade, Bat for Lashes, Vector Lovers, Elektrons, The National, Fog, Malajube, LCD Soundsystem, Two Lone Swordsmen, Besnard Lakes, Arcade Fire, The Field, Murcof, Shape of Broad Minds, Silje Nes, Efterklang, Modeselektor, Nina Nastasia, Von Sudenfed, Ungdomskulen, Caribou, and Michael Fakesch.

2007, a rather fine vintage.

 

 

 

 

December 7, 2007 Posted by | Albums of the Year, Music, Songs of the Year | 10 Comments