I think those who are not familiar with Trevor Powers/Youth Lagoon are missing out. I remember the day I accidentally heard his music, it was like nothing even mattered in that moment. Of course things do not matter, but I’d rather shrug them off and listen to something like Youth Lagoon.
Quick to be lumped in the “Chillwave” category (has that died now or….?) Trevor Powers pretty much went against all of that. He didn’t (and doesn’t) sound like those he was compared to. His debut record was made in his bedroom, and when you listen to it you do get such a personal feel coming through. Hopefully this will happen again in his new record, Wondrous Bughouse which is set to be released on 5th March.
I was thinking about something earlier as I was leaving the house to go the gym. My days off are spent there in the hopes I can somehow change how I look and stop disliking myself as much as I do. Self-hate doesn’t leave you, does it? Or maybe it does. Maybe I am set to loath myself in my 20’s so I can learn to like myself from 30 onwards. I’ve got 4 years left of this, maybe I’ll go against this theory. Or maybe I’ll give in to it. It depends. I use my stubborn ways for the wrong thing. Always bad, never good.
So this thing about self-hate. I dislike it when people say things such as “I AM SO VILE. I AM SO FAT.” when they weigh next to nothing. The worst kind put this on certain websites. No one really cares about how much you hate yourself. You see, I dislike myself but I’m not going to announce it everywhere for attention. In a way, I’ve just “announced” it but no one I know or whatever reads this so it doesn’t matter. I’m not doing this for pity or for anyone to say “You’ve got a good face. You’re okay as you are.” I don’t want that. I don’t want any form of attention. Good or bad. If I get a hair cut, please don’t notice. Just don’t pick up on it. Go look at something else. Like a painting; that’s much more interesting.
I don’t dislike myself because I’m a miserable twat. I just do. There’s no explanation to it; but I constantly work on trying not to. I don’t dislike myself as much as I did when I was a teenager or going back a few years. You have to take baby steps with things like that. I don’t go to the gym because I want the body of a stick insect. Far from it. I have in my head, a goal. I’ve not told anyone nor will I ever. I know a person’s weight or appearance doesn’t define them, but we live in a judgemental world sadly. I get constantly told to stop wearing black all the time. Am I going to? Am I fuck. I’d go out in my superhero pjs if I could (one of the many brilliant presents my girlfriend got me for my birthday.) but they’re a bit long and I’d trip up.
I thought that, the older I get; the less dislike I’d have for myself. To an extent I’m right. I doubt myself a lot, especially with writing. I don’t do it because I want someone to say I’m any good. I do it because if I thought I was good, I’d stop. Self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it is the one thing that can make you carry on. It lasts longer than hope. I’ve never been good at much, and I don’t mean it in a bad way. Some part of me just doesn’t settle. Or maybe doesn’t want to. The thought of being in one place for the rest of my life makes me feel sick. Maybe this is because I’ve never really felt at home anywhere. Maybe I should work on that, or maybe it’s okay to carry on drifting through. I’m alright with being unnoticed. I don’t think my purpose in life is to be noticed. Why would I want that.
I think a lot of people think they’re not good enough, but surely if you surround yourself with people who make you feel inadequate then you are hanging around the wrong kind of people? I could be wrong. I could be right.
You’ll make friends and enemies on the way. You’ll have good days, you’ll have bad days. You’ll like yourself, you’ll dislike yourself. But NEVER any account must you let someone make you feel shit about yourself, ever. You can do that all by yourself, but it’s easier to understand and control. You don’t always have to walk with your head held high, sometimes the cracks in the pavement are much more interesting than your surroundings. You don’t stop learning. Time is a drag, and it seems like it is never on our side. Someone will love you even if you cannot stand yourself. You may not be able to understand how or why; but they do. It is there. They are there.
I have no direction in life. I know what I want, but the realist (or cynic) in me knows I’ll never get there. If I do, I’ll welcome the surprise and probably buy a bottle of Ribena to celebrate. If I expect nothing; I’m not left disappointed. They say this makes for a lonely existence. Maybe for them it does, but not for me. You can be alone even when surrounded by people who apparently like you. It’s hard to like people isn’t it. I used to think “oh everyone is lovely la la la.” It’s not the case. You grow up and you see what people are capable of. I’m not perfect. I’ve probably done more harm than good. But I’m not going to beg for forgiveness and waste my life doing things people approve of. I don’t understand people who need to seek the approval of others in order to be whole. I don’t get why you’d want to dumb yourself down to fit in. I don’t get a lot, it seems. Thing is, self-doubt carries me through. I spent an afternoon the other day at the beach, on my own. These thoughts came into my mind and poured out into the songs I was listening to. We all have bad days, we all have good days. My bad day was enough to make me think, “Is this rock bottom?” It wasn’t. I’ve not hit there in a long time. I put up a fight with myself to make sure I never feel so shit again. I can write this so freely and not care for it. I’ll write this and never look at it again. I never look back on what I have written. Whether it be the nonsense I put here, my songs or my poems. I never look back at them. I don’t know why. Maybe I just think as soon as it leaves me, I don’t need to bother with it. Maybe one day I’ll look back and be proud. As I stood looking at the sea last week, I felt at peace. I also felt like shit. But the wave of peace that came over me was something I’ve not really felt before. I stared blasting Coming Down by Dum Dum Girls in my ears. I felt a connection to that song I had never felt before.
Very early Friday morning..Dee Dee Penny from the band had emailed me her over of Just Like Honey by The Jesus And Mary Chain that she recorded just for me. Quite frankly, it is the best thing I had been given. The tears of the day before were quickly taken over with happy tears. I’m not someone who cries a lot. I’m too sensitive, but I can stop myself. You shouldn’t be afraid to feel. You shouldn’t be scared of the bad days. You shouldn’t throw away the good days. We seem to be afraid to feel. To feel like shit, to love and to feel hurt. It all ties in, but you cannot ignore one side. You just can’t.
The more you hide from something; the worse it’ll be when it comes back around. Luckily, no one I am really close to will read this so I can just let all this out. Like I said earlier, self-doubt isn’t a bad thing. If I ever thought I was good at something; I wouldn’t try. If I thought I was even a decent writer, I’d stop. I’d rather be told “you write really well” rather than “you’ve got a good face.” I don’t believe any of these things, not because I want attention. If I wanted attention I’d get drunk and shout something from my bedroom window. Keep me in the background, part of the furniture. Let someone else shine. Let them over-take. I’m okay with moving slow and doing what I want rather than doing everything rushed and missing out the details. I’ll never be the love of someone’s life. I’ll never be able to play the drums. But I will do a Bob Dylan impression after a few glasses of whiskey if I feel it needs to be done. I found life lessons in the songs I played. I’ve never felt at home anywhere, maybe I’m one of those people who never is at home anywhere. I don’t like routine or structure. I don’t like plans. Everything around you can be beautiful, find an escape route. Or be the escape route. Maybe fate is something that doesn’t exist. The lack of control we have isn’t always a bad thing. I don’t get why you’d always want to be in control of everything. If it is unknown, keep it that way.
I live in a very judgmental place and I cannot wait to leave again. To leave for good. I left one place I hated for good. I’ll never go back. Leaving is easy when you let no one tell you what to do. Advice is alright, but you shouldn’t always do what is right for you. Put your OWN happiness first. Put yourself first. Don’t let anyone sway your heart. Go the beach, and listen to the songs that give you courage.
Have you ever felt, although you are surrounded by people you know- and these people may or may not care about you, that you just do not belong? Do you have a place you feel happy and secure with calling “home”? Do you ever look at Society and just think you were born in the wrong era? That your emotional attachment to it all is slowly fading. If so, I understand fully how you feel.
I’ve wandered through life not feeling part of anything. I’ve never made it my goal to make a difference in a person’s life- mainly because I know I never have, and I probably never will. I don’t mean it in a self-hating kind of way- far from it. You can feel you don’t belong but still maintain an ounce of self-worth. I feel like that most days. Anyway, I don’t need to go in depth with all of this. These are the songs that have stopped me from feeling like I have to be part of something, that I have to belong. We don’t have to. Create your own world.
Sometimes you get stuck in a place that you think you cannot get out of. Whether it is a state of mind or an actual place, sometimes it has this disgusting grip on you- and you just cannot escape. I guess that’s why music is one of the best ways to express how one feels. It says the things you cannot say. It says the things you wish you could say. The lyrics, the note changes, every major and minor detail in a piece of music can just sum up any and every feeling you carry around with you on a daily basis.
I live in a place I really cannot stand. I’ve got the guts to leave. I’m leaving on Friday. I’ve been trying to do it for some time now, but now I have a reason. Things did improve in September, but I guess….you just have to do what works for you and what makes you happy. You see, I’m moving back to my mum’s. For a while I was reluctant to do it because I thought I’d be a failure. I’m not. I’m doing something for ME. Something I rarely do. I spent too long thinking about others and what they wanted, I forgot about myself. So, I’m moving home for a bit. Save money from my job and after that, I have no idea. I don’t know where I will go. I’ve got some ideas- but I don’t know. I don’t like planning things. So, with this week’s mix I’m putting songs that can help you escape the dullness and chore of everyday life. Songs to lose yourself in and make you realise what you want- and how you are going to get it.
Don’t ever think you are not worthy of putting yourself first, because you are. You are worth more than you know. It’s totally okay to be happy and to be yourself first. I guess hitting 25 the other week has had a positive impact. Grow up and get out.
So far, I’ve not wanted to change my mind with the albums I have written down in my notebook. I’ve written them down because I’ll probably forget, or mention the same album 6 times. Old age, what a bitch you are to me!
This year the sub-genre of Chillwave took over. Well, it took over a few websites and blogs. I don’t think the outside world really cared about it to be honest. Unless you were aware of acts such as Teen Daze or Blackbird Blackbird- Chillwave probably went over your head and you didn’t care for it. A lot seem to also have ripped it apart and just dismissed it. I don’t get why or how they can do this. But, I guess some people think it is “cool” to rip an artist to pieces. Thing is, they just sound like a bitter twat and have nothing better to do but to be negative about others. Projecting their own insecurities I suppose. Brief rant out of the way, I’ll start blabbing on about some records. Two of which are probably labelled as Chillwave. Fuck labels. They are musicians, not a food.
Youth Lagoon-Year Of Hibernation: Year Of Hibernation is probably my favourite album title this year. It is also one of the year’s best debut albums. For me, I love music that makes me feel like I am in some kind of trance. Something that makes me feel like I am having an outer body experience. As someone who has never taken drugs (or even wanted t) the high that people talk about from taking acid or whatever- I get from music. Music puts me on some kind of high that nothing or no one could ever make me feel. Certain bands/singers just make my head spin and cause my body to just tremble, in a good way of course. Last year The Fool by Warpaint was THE album that made me constantly feel like I was in a different universe. I don’t know where I was. Every single time I listen to the record, I feel like I am floating on water towards something. Towards what? I honestly have no idea. With this record, Trevor Powers has created something that makes me feel exactly the same as Warpaint’s album does. That’s what I consntatly look for in the music I listen to. Music should make you feel something do deep and intense- good or bad; that’s how it should make you feel. Year Of Hibernation is just a beautifully put together record. Every single track just perfectly glides into the other, you have to listen to it in full with the lights out and our headphones in. It’s the kind of record you need to play by yourself with no interruptions. You don’t want anyone talking over this. I guess you could hold someone whilst listening to it if you feel the need. Do what you want, but give it your complete attention.
Washed Out-Within And Without: Ernest Greene, you beautiful bugger you! Within And Without has been a debut record that I’ve been waiting for over the past year and a bit since I first heard Washed Out. Everything I said above about Youth Lagoon is EXACTLY how I feel about Washed Out. His music just makes you want to sit on a beacj and let the waves gently wrap themselves around you and just causes you to drift off out into a different world. Probably a better one than this, I’m sure it exist. It has to. Eyes Be Closed is one of the most grand and ethereal songs I’ve heard all year, the build up in this track just blows you away. It’s a gentle album, and you immediately know it will be based on the cover artwork. There’s a couple on the front cover and most would just think “OH GOD THEY ARE EVIDENTLY HAVING SEX I AM NOT BUYING THIS RECORD! COVER MY EYES! SAVE MY CHILDREN!” Or something equally dramatic. If you have any ounce of common sense, you will see it is an intimate, gentle and loving front cover- you get this vibe on the record. It is a tender record that just eases your bones and tends to your soul. It is clearly one of the best things you will hear all year, there’s no doubt about it. If you want to call it Chillwave, go right ahead. Personally I’m calling it a euphoric piece of art.
Blood Orange-Coastal Grooves: I’ve been a MASSIVE fan of everything Dev Hynes has done ever since Test Icicles. I was so obsessed with that trio. I loved the unapologetic noise that they created, then they split up. Then Dev created Lightspeed Champion. Falling Off The Lavender Bridge was such a phenomenal record, Dry Lips still remains to be one of the most stunning songs I’ve ever heard. Midnight Surprise is basically 10 minutes of pure bliss- a total masterpiece. Life Is Sweet, Nice To Meet You! was so underrated- just as brilliant as his debut. Anyway, this is about his new project- Blood Orange. Coastal Grooves makes you think you are wandering around New York City in the 1980s. Now, this 80s feel to some music ia getting tiresome isn’t it. There are a few that can well and truly pull it off an make it look so effortless and natural to them. Summer Camp, Friend and Blood Orange are the 3 that do exactly that. Dev Hynes is a genius, there’s no denying that. He has this wonderful talent and I don’t know if he even realises it- I guess that it was makes you love him so much. He’s so unaware of how inspirational and amazing he is. When someone doesn’t realise how amazing they are, it’s an attractive quality to have. Coastal Grooves is a record I won’t ever get tired of, easily one of the stand out records of the year. The production is just brilliant. Dev is one of the best musicians around. Have you seen him live? I’ve seen him when he was performing as Lightspeed Champion, and every single time I saw him I was just in awe of this talented his possesed. He also came onto the stage to the Star Wars theme, then started a jam to it. Coastal Grooves shows just how thrilling his musicianship is, especially on tracks like Are You Sure You’re Really Busy? The riff at the end, my lord. Dev just bloody well KILLS it. It’s a stunning record and one that you need to own.
Cities Aviv-Digital Lows: I love rap, the real kind, The kind that makes you think. The kind that’s raw but in a none brutal way. Cities Aviv is to rap what The Weeknd is to R&B right now. Both have created this sound that no one has ever heard before. They’re taking both genres to a different level. A level it should’ve been at ages ago, but is only just getting there. Hopefully Cities Aviv can keep this up and start a trend, make rappers approach music the way he does. He doesn’t need to degrade women or brag about what he has in order for you to listen to him. Coastin’ is my favourite rap song of the year, It’s so chilled out and relaxing. You listen to it, and all your worries just escape you. Nothing matters when you listen to his music, you just let yourself fall into his world. You take on his troubles and you see the world the way he does. This is one of the best rap records I’ve heard in a long long time. I want a rap record to make me feel the way Big L’s album, The Big Picture made me feel when I first heard it. They are entirely different, but the feeling I get is exactly the same. The words Citites Aviv uses and how he uses them are just so bloody magnificent. You just want to be part of what he is talking about. To me, this is what rap should be about. This is how it should be done. Is it the best rap record of the year? For sure. You’re not going to find anything else as stunning as this. Die Young is may favourite off the album. It sounds like something Afrika Bambaataa would’ve made or something. Electro meets rap in a way that doesn’t sound like over-produced and hyped up nonsense. I don’t care if you’re not a fan of rap, this record is vital. Get it in your collection.
One of the few albums I have been so excited about this year is the debut album by Trevor Powers aka Youth Lagoon.
If you’re a lazy being, you will be quick to label Youth Lagoon as Chillwave and not pay his music any attention. Shame on you really, you’d be missing out on something truly beautiful.
The Year Of Hibernation is released next week, and is probably the most heartbreaking yet relaxing album you will hear all year. It has a calming feel to it, but at the same time; just rips you apart.
Youth Lagoon’s debut album is the true essence of vulnerability and worry. Most tracks have that fear of losing someone about them. The uncertainty of if you are going to see the one you love again. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. Most of the time you just have to let it all go and give it all over to fate. If something can be controlled, it is not worth having.
This is an album to completely lose yourself in. You know how sometimes you look at a person and you forget everything because their presence is so beautiful and powerful? This is what I get from this album. It is like falling freely and staring at something beautiful whilst doing so. It is so honest, so painful and emotional.
Afternoon is probably my favourite off the album, I love the way it just lifts you up. Although the album is fragile and gentle, songs like Afternoon just lift you up and away. Youth Lagoon’s music is a more relaxed version of Spiritualized. I can say this because Spiritualized are in my top 5 favourite bands ever. What I’m getting at is, Youth Lagoon has the same innocence, uncertainty and hurt as Jason Pierce- but it isn’t as tense. Both are equally gorgeous. I’ve probably lost my point along the way here, I’m not sorry. This album is truly wonderful.
Most of the time we are taught to not say how we feel, because no one ever cares enough. It’s true, no one ever does. This is why Youth Lagoon is so necessary; he is saying everything you are told not to say. He feels all you are told not to feel. If you’re seen to be vulnerable and a bit fragile- you are immediately cast off as weak, and no one wants to know. Thing is, when you feel like that, you have the power to create something like this. The Year Of Hibernation is everything you are afraid to feel. The Year Of Hibernation says everything you wish you could say. My advice? Buy this album and tell those you wish you could tell certain things to, to listen to this album from start to finish. If they don’t get it, leave it alone. At least they’ve listened to something decent, right?
I know I’ve looked forward to a few albums this year, but this is one that has truly done something to my soul. It’s all well and good when an album steals your heart away, but when it takes your soul; you have truly found something special. Maybe the UK won’t love this album as much as they should. I won’t fill myself up with false hope that they will. Instead, I’m going to treasure this exquisite work of art with all I have. The only way I can describe how I feel about this album is how I feel towards The Fool by Warpaint. It is THAT amazing. In fact, amazing isn’t good enough. I cannot find the words. I’m just grateful that this album exists, that Youth Lagoon exists. My words cannot praise this wonderful creation enough; I’m just musically in love with it. Youth Lagoon, you are a credit to the music industry. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You honestly have NO idea how much this album means to me right now.
I know I’m doing this too early in the year, but if I do it now- maybe I won’t change my mind. I know I’ll change my mind as soon as I publish this. I’ll hear a song and think, “SHITTING HELL. THAT NEEDS TO GO ON MY LIST!” Hopefully I will gain some self control and not do that. I’m not doing this in any order, however the last song I mention is my song of the year. It’s pretty obvious what song it is. I’ve got a cool story to accompany it too, it’s just given it so much more meaning to me and I love it more than I did before.
Let’s begin :
Dirty Beaches- Lord Knows Best.– When I first heard this, I honestly didn’t think it was something from this year. I just thought it was an old old song being re-released. I was stupidly wrong. Lord Knows Best is taken from Alex’s album Badlands which was released in March this year, it’s such a beautiful album. What I love about this song is how old it feels, the sample on a loop and Alex’s vocals. His voice sounds so desperate, which is what drew me in straight away. I love anything that sounds dark, angry, frustrated and painful. This doesn’t mean I’m some morbid wanker, far from it. I’m just someone who is always drawn to the dark side of things- it just means more to me than hearing something cheerful. However, this is lyrically, not a dark song. It’s about loving one person and nothing/no one else matters. Just this one person. I guess you could call it a love song. Whatever it is, it’s one of the best things I’ve heard this year.
Wye Oak-Civilian.– You know when you hear a song, and you give all your attention to the lyrics? That’s what happened when I first heard Civilian by Wye Oak. The album is just stunning. This song means so much, “I am nothing without pretend. I know my faults, can’t live with them.” It just screams out fragility. The whole song does. It’s almost as if, you can use this song to admit to all your faults- you’re human, and it is how you feel. I adore the build up in the song. Their musicianship is so strong and so inspiring, it’s just so stunning. It’s one of the songs that make me wish I could write something as powerful as this. As far as duos in music go, Wye Oak are one of my favourites.
Widowspeak-Wicked Game.– I know it’s a cover, but it’s so good. I love how haunting they have made it, but at the same time still has the same feel as the original. I usually hate it when a song I love is covered, but this is just stunning from start to finish. The way, “This world is only gonna break your heart” is sung is damn hypnotising. The song makes you feel like you are in some kind of trance. It’s just perfect. If you’ve never listened to them before, start with this cover.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart- Heart In Your Heartbreak.– I know this came out late last year, however the track is taken from their second album which came out in March this year. So, I’m going with that. Their album came out at a time that I wish to never go through again. This song was my crutch for 2 months. I used to listen to it to stop myself from feeling like shit and realising…well, I don’t want to make it too personal. Basically, when you think you can’t get over having your heart broken- you actually can. And when you do, you becoming strong and nothing can touch you no more because you have felt so shit, you’ve experienced rock bottom and you will do anything to never feel that way away. I cannot pick out a lyric that I love, because I just adore it all. This song was around when I didn’t know what to do with myself or what to do with how I was feeling.
Novella-The Things You Do.– When you listen to Novella, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking you were listening to a band from LA. They have that gorgeous lo-fi/sufer pop feel to their music. They formed in Brighton and are now based in London. If you love Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast, you are truly going to fall in love with Novella. I hope next year beings them great success because they really do deserve it. This song causes your head to spin and your body to float. It’s so beautiful.
Zola Jesus-Vessel.– I am going to struggle putting this into words because the music Nika creates owns a large part of my heart. Her music is so enthralling and haunting. Everything about her music just makes my soul shake and my head swim. I am constantly in awe of her talent. She’s only 21 years old, she’s so bloody gifted. Hopefully I’m seeing her in November. I’m oretty sure it’s going to be like some kind of religious experience. I have every confidence that her album Conatus is going to be one of the best albums of the year. Her voice is so distinctive and powerful. I love the dark feel in her music. I love how her music can make everything better. I took a walk today and just played her music. It was like I was drifting off into another world. A dreamland. I honestly cannot praise Nika’s talents enough. I really don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like her music. She’s a massive credit to the music industry, I just hope they realise that instead of obsessing over pop stars that contribute nothing.
The Horrors- I Can See Through You.– I could pick any song of theirs, but I Can See Through You is my favourite off Skying lyrically. The album is beautiful, but more on that when I write about my favourite albums of 2011. Faris’ vocals on this song are so strong. The band sound as perfect as ever. So captivating and hypnotising. I know a lot of people are getting into The Horrors based on Still Life. What pisses me off is that they dismissed them during the Strange House era. That album will always be one of my favourites. The raw, brutal sound to it is amazing. The garage rock vibe it has is stunning. However, those that are only just getting into The Horrors have missed out on many years- their loss.
The Kills-The Last Goodbye.– It was close to impossible to pick which song by The Kills I wanted to include. I toyed with the idea of putting Satellite in because I love the reggae electro feel it has. Then I wanted Baby Says because I love it like someone would probably love their child. Then it was Nail In My Coffin. I went through the whole album, until I chose The Last Goodbye. Why did I choose The Last Goodbye? Well, it has the best and my favourite lyric from a song I’ve heard this year. This line describes me better than I could. This line owns my heart. This line makes me feel okay with being a sensitive bugger. The line is of course, “How can I rely on my heart if I break it, with my own two hands.” I read an article about the album before it was released, and they spoke about this song and mentioned the lyrics. When I read that line, I was instantly blown away by the honesty and vulnerabilty in the lyrics. Then I listened to the song. I cried. It was like finding the piece of you that you had missing for so long. I have no idea what will happen when I see this live. I’ll probably want to get on stage and hug Alison. When she sings this, you can see she puts all she has into it. It is so heartbreaking and so perfect. You can take what you want from this song, that’s what I love about The Kills- you can create your own meaning to their songs. If I could thank them personally for this song, I bloody well would.
Florence And The Machine-What The Water Gave Me.– I guess anyone else would pick Shake It Out, but I like to be difficult don’t I. I’m choosing What The Water Gave Me because I love the darkness around it. Shake It Out is beautiful, and it feels like Flo is taking you to Church. The lyrics are haunting and gorgeous. Much like What The Water Gave Me. I love how the song builds and builds, when she sings “Let the only sound be the overflow. Pockets full of stones” it sounds and feels so enchanting and euphoric. All her songs are euphoric. Her music makes you feel free and weightless. That’s why I love her. I cannot express it in a way that you will understand, but that’s as close as I can get right now. Pretty sure Ceremonials will be the best album of the year. October 31st cannot come quick enough.
It’s honestly no surprise what I’ve picked as my favourite song of the year is it? I said it in February and pretty much every other day since. You ready?!
SUMMER CAMP-I WANT YOU. – This is the only song that I have heard this year to have such a grip over me. It’s done something to my brain. I have to listen to it every single day. If I don’t, I get the shakes (I don’t really….) Elizabeth and Jeremy have created the best song of the year EASILY. I know I love Flo and The Kills but this is honestly the greatest thing I have heard this year. No other song has had this hold over me. The lyrics, oh jesus, the lyrics. So true! It states exactly being in love is like- cruel, intense, dark and grand. Being love can turn you into a dickhead sometimes can’t it. However, if you listen to I Want You, you can see it isn’t always the case. Some have said it’s the stalker anthem of 2011. I don’t think it is. I think it’s quite simply, intensely liking/loving and wanting someone; and you just want them to feel the same. You believe you can make them feel the same. The synths, the guitar and the drums…oh lord. When it drops and kicks in it is like a glorious kick in the face. I’ve only been in love for real once. It’s more than enough isn’t it? If I was to ever feel that way again, I’d use this song to clarify how I felt. I’d play it and think “Does this person make me feel like this?” And if the answer was yes, it’d be love. If the answer was no, then I’d go back to my books and records to save myself disappointment. If any of you listened to BBC 6Music yesterday morning, on Lauren Laverne’s show. They played Better Off Without You and I Want You. I tweeted them saying it was amazing, and Elizabeth replied with, “I was thinking of you when we played I Want You. Not in a weird way.” HOW AMAZING IS THAT? Seriously, so fucking cool. It made my year, no doubt. I’ve decided, if I ever decided to inflict my presence upon a girl and start a relationship, when we split up- I’m going to play Better Off Without You to drag me through it. Oh, I’ve not heard Summer Camp’s album yet but I can tell you it’s the best album of the year. It’s right up there. Trust me. Now, get your ears around my favourite song of the year. If it doesn’t cause your bones to move, heart to skip several beats, your head to spin and your soul to feel reignited- then I think you have no braincells left. Cheers Summer Camp, for making the best song of the year!
I do feel bad for leaving out some songs that I fell in love with this year, so have a few more :
I’ve only cared about two sub-genres of music ; Shoegaze and Riot Grrrl. The latter isn’t really a sub-genre is it? More of a movement. One that was much needed, and it still needed. I still hope a wave of it takes over once again booting out all the shit in the music industry. Until then, I’ll just scream along with Kathleen Hanna in the comfort of my own home. It’s frowned upon whilst on a bus or train….apparently.
Over the past year and a bit a sub-genre has emerged. Some have dismissed it without listening, some claim it doesn’t exist and some actually love it. Now, those that are a fan of this sub-genre are frequently called “hipsters” and no feck all. I’m not a hipster and I’m pretty intelligent. So HA! In your FACE dumb music critics who slag things off just to look “cool.” I may rant, stick with me. I’ll try to keep on topic.
Chillwave. Where does one begin when talking about Chillwave. Yeah, the start would probably be wise. It all began a few years ago in America. As America has legit Summers- they can probably capture the Summer vibe, sunshine and beaches feel to their music better than an English band. Summer was a lovely day in England. Chillwave has a very 80s feel to it. Synths, electro, slightly distorted sound. I love it. I’m not sure why. I do think it could be that when I hear a GOOD Chillwave based act, I feel like I am sitting on a beach staring out at the sea- thinking about nothing and everything at the same time. Trust me, this happens about 5 times a day. Real life, you truly bore me.
I’m going to give you some artists that I love that fall into the Chillwave category. They should make you feel like you are floating and that nothing can touch you. I want you to listen to these songs and think about nothing and no one. The last thing/person you thought of- forget it/them. From now until you’ve listened to these songs- nothing matters.
I’ll start with one act that is probably one of the best Chilwave acts. Even those who dislike Chillwave love this guy.
Ernest Greene aka Washed Out has put out one of the best albums of the year. Within And Without is a close to perfection album, and he’s one of the stand-out acts in the Chillwave scene. His atmospheric tone just eases your soul. It’s pissing down with rain outside, but as I listen to his music- it just sends me off to some place beautiful. If you come to dislike Chillave music, I do hope you reserve some love for Washed Out as he’s truly wonderful.
Lay Bac’s music feels like a carnival, it’s just so joyful. Out of all the Chillwave artists I’ve been listening to for the past year or so, this guy is probably my number one. There’s something slightly different to his sound compared to others. His music feels like waves crashing as you watch from a cliff. It’s got this euphoric feel to it, I just love his sound a hell of a lot.
Blackbird Blackbird were another musical discovery at around 3am a while ago. That’s when I usually find new music to fall in love with. In under 3 minutes, this song defines Summer. The bass-line in this song is just simply gorgeous. It doesnt ripple through your chest, it just rocks your heart ever so gently. The music that Blackbird Blackbird create is so soothing and gentle. You just get this warm feeling inside when you listen to it.
If Beach House made a Chillave record, it would sound like this. Youth Lagoon’s take on Chillwave is much more emotional. That’s just what I take from it. I love the lyrics to July, “If I had never let go, then only God knows where I would be now. I made a bridge between us then I slowly burned it.” Aside from The Last Goodbye by The Kills, this song has my favourite lyric this year. It’s just a wonderfully haunting song, and his music is beautiful.
Okay, so Soft Powers isn’t Chillwave but I just wanted an excuse to include him. Who would’ve thought someone that was once in a Post-Hardcore band could create something like this? That’ll teach you to judge! If you like MGMT and Empire Of The Sun, you’ll love this.
I was reluctant to mention Teen Daze as I personally don’t regard them as Chillwave, but after going further into their career- they do have some aspects of it. For Paulina is their most Chillwave-type of song I think, it’s also one of my favourites. Saviour is a beautiful track, but For Paulina- the first time I heard it, I fell in love. For those less curious to explore Chillwave, listen to Teen Daze.
As somone is slowly growing tired of seeing people stand on a stage with an acoustic guitar singing awful love songs, I’m accepting Chillwave with open arms. The feel in the music is more haunting and distorting- the only person who could make an acoustic song sound haunting was Townes Van Zandt. Those NOW that stand about with an acoustic guitar just sing the same whiney songs, I don’t want to hear it anymore. With the dark nights coming early, I want to hear something that doesn’t make my bones feel cold and my soul tired. I’ll stick with Chillwave and Lo-Fi/Surfer-Pop. Oh, and I can’t be called one of those “Hipsters.” I don’t buy my clothes from charity shops- I think I’d feel uncomfortable knowing someone had died in what I was wearing. Oh, and just because it has a rip in it- doesn’t mean it is vintage. Stop wearing those MASSIVE glasses, you have 20/20 vision. Stop pouting in your photographs, you look like a dick.
I know it’s only August, but I feel I need to write this down now. Was 2011 awful? For music? No. For other things? More than likely. Yes this year was shit due to Gaga putting an album out, Amy Winehouse’s tragic death and ITV still allowing X-Factor to exist. Why it exists, I have no idea. But it is does, for those who don’t know any better.
I’m going to attempt to think of 10 reasons (in NO order because I will want to change my mind if I do that) as to why music this year was not shit. I may rant, I may not be able to think of 10 reasons.
-The Kills : Finally my favourite duo EVER released the flow-up to Midnight Boom. Blood Pressures is probably my favourite album of the year. However, come 7th November and I will say Florence’s album is. The Kills are a band that I will always love. They could (I know they won’t) make the most wankiest record ever, and I would still find something to love about it. Blood Pressures has a bluesy feel to it but still has the same raw vibe No Wow and Keep On Your Mean Side have. The Last Goodbye is the saddest song I’ve heard this year. If a song could break your heart, that would be it. The lyrics to Baby Says are stunning. I just ove how Jamie and Alison’s voices fit together. I think their bond is one of the greatest things ever. Everyone needs a friendship like that. “Send your love on a rampage, give her everything you’ve got. And when you come to hate her, show her more than just a spark” is one of the best lines off the album. However, not just from The Kills but my favourite line from a song that I have heard this year is easily, “How can I rely on my heart if I break it, with my own two hands.” The way Alison’s voice sounds on this is so beautiful but it just tears you up so much. I’m just happy to have another record by The Kills in my collection.
-The Horrors: I still want to slap people who dismiss The Horrors. Just like I want to slap those that think Skying sounds like Simple Minds. I think those that are saying these things are actually deaf. Or just extremely fucking stupid. Skying is the best album put out this year by an English group. I am still in love with the sound they had wth Strange House. But, I love how they have developed with each album. You cannot deny how much of a masterpiece Primary Colours was and still is. They’re just everything a band should be. They don’t justify what they do to anyone. They make music for them. That’s how it should be. They haven’t bought into a gimmick and gotten famous based on that. They are ALL fantastic musicians. Joshua is genius on that guitar. There aren’t enough words for me to describe my love for The Horrors.
-Zola Jesus: Quite simply one of my favourite female musicians ever. Her voice is so haunting. It takes over you and before you know it, you have been thrown into a world that you never thought existed. I love how dark and eerie her music is. I have every faith that her new album, Conatus is going to be nothing short of amazing. I love that her music just blows me away with every listen. I listen to songs such as Trust Me and Run Me Out, and this wave of amazement just takes over me. She has this force within her music that I’ve never heard in anyone before, she’s only 21 years old! I love the build-up in all her songs. It’s like this intense and euphoric takeover. Why didn’t this year suck because of Nika? Well, just listen to Vessel.
-The Weeknd: Of all the artists I found at stupid o’clock in the morning due to not being able to sleep, The Weeknd is hands down, the best thing I have discovered this year on the internet. I love his voice so much. So soulful. I love that he’s sampled Aaliyah’s voice on one of his songs and he’s also sampled Siouxise & The Banshees too. His Mixtapes are utterly mind-blowing. Trust me, you need this guy in your life. Head over to his wesite and get his Mixtapes. You’ll here amazing songs such as THIS TRACK!
-Cults: Okay, so I heard about this duo last year but their debut album came out this year so it’s allowed. What I love about this duo is their 1960s feel they have to their music. Never Saw The Point means so much to me, “I never saw the point in trying, ’cause I would only let you down. And I just couldn’t take you down there with me, I couldn’t stand to see you drown.” It’s just such a gorgeous and fragile song, I suppose that is why I adore it so much. Since its release lat year, Best Coast’s debut album has been played every day- I’m clearly going to do the same with Cults. I love that it doesn’t sound like anything around now. A fantastic debut album.
-Seapony: Seapony make me want to leave everything and everyone behind and just go live on a beach. I can’t swim, so I guess it’d be boring after a day or so. However, there is nothing more peaceful than looking out to a strectch of water listening to your favourite music. I’d love to do that to Seapony. I love the summer vibe they feel. Is it chillwave? I don’t know, I reckon they fit under the dream-pop genre. They remind me of The Drums mixed with Beach House and a hint of The Raveonettes. I just adore the whole sound and the gentle vocals. Especially on ongs such as Dreaming and Late Summer.
-Blood Orange: This year Dev Hynes released the first album of his current project, Blood Orange. I love everything he does. Whether it’s for others (Solange Knowles), as Lightspeed Champion or Blood Orange. Coastal Grooves is a MUST-HAVE in your collection. It’s such a strong album. It feels like New York City must have felt in the 1980s. It has a brilliant feel to it. It’s music you can just relax to and walk round the park in the sun to. There is no denying the genius that Dev is. He kills the guitar, he’s got such a distinctive voice. I just love love love him. Anything he does is just perfect.
-Summer Camp: Another duo that have won my heart over this year. I love everything about their music, however it is one song in particular that since first hearing it in February this year I have played every day. Not a day has gone by where I haven’t played it since. The synths kick in during this song and it is is SO good. Elizabeth’s voice is stunning. The lyrics to I Want You are so dark, and slightly brutal. But hey, all comes with liking someone, right? I don’t know. I like to think I don’t know. “You’re so smart, you break my heart” if someone said that to me, I’d be so flattered. It’s probably my favourite song of this year. If I was a DJ I’d play this all the time, and if no one danced to it- I’d bar them from the club.
-Morrissey: I could write an essay on this man until my hands were numb from typing. I’ve probably done it before to be honest. This year on Janice Long’s show, she played three new songs by my god, Morrissey. Every single song was perfect. For me, I fell more in love with Action Is My Middle Name. The lyrics are typical Morrissey- witty and oh so bloody charming. People Are The Same Everywhere- well, the title speaks for itself really. So true. What I love about Moz is that he has always done what is real and honest to him, he’s never answered to anyone. It’s something I admire and love about him. It’s why I love him. We should ALWAYS do things for us, that makes us happy- because the day you let others rule you, you are no longer a person. I saw him twice this year- and yes as soon as he walked on stage, I bawled. I’ve seen him 4 times so far, and each time I have gone with my mum. She loves him as much as I do. I could never ever go to a Moz gig with anyone but my mum, it’d be wrong. I told her this, and she agrees. Hopefully he wil release his new album soon. “Biting my initials into your neck. You are my possession, you don’t realise yet. Am I moving too fast for you? Am I begining to confuse you?” Only Morrissey could say such a thing. Hero. Absolute hero.
-Florence & The Machine: I really couldn’t make this list without mentioning Florence could I. After hearing What The Water Gave Me (studio version) I cannot ait for 7th November. I just know that her second album will blow my mind. My last article on Florence just sums up my love for her, so I won’t bore you with another essay. Her album is out in time for my birthday (HI MUM!!!!) and I am hoping there’s a tour. The sound has a more soulful and gospel feel to it which I love so much. I’m beyond happy that the album is out this year, some said that it would be out the start of 2012, I guess it’s too good to make us wait. Besides, she’s worked with Paul Epworth on it- you just know it is going to be THE album of the year.
As I feel like I have missed so much out, here are some tracks by artists that have made 2011 less shittier than it was: