Sunday, December 12, 2010

Listening Habits 11-12.10

Just before we start our review of 2010, let’s take a look at the latest batch of records that got our attention in the last couple of months of the year.

Two debut LPs, Salem’s "King Night" and Warpaint’s "The Fool", sit at the top of the album pile, sharing Cool Music Central’s "Obsessive Listening" badge. Salem is spearheading the burgeoning Witch House scene which so far relied on limited edition singles and obscure digital releases. The band started making waves a couple of years ago with a handful of under-the-radar singles and EPs, featuring dark, menacing electro tracks, steeped in gothic atmospherics, blood-freezing industrial noise and slowed-down hip hop beats - the blueprint of the sound which we now know as Witch House or Drag. With its first LP, Salem has stepped up its paranormal activities, launching a haunting sonic assault which threatens to possess our ears and turntables for many months to come. Have your exorcist on standby before attempting to listen to this record!

The modern witches' sicko electronica dance is not represented only by Salem's album in our Top 20. The brand new compilation "ISVOLT" is a first rate chance to get acquainted with several other Witch House practitioners, including Modern Witch (obviously), Mater Suspiria Vision (brilliant name), †‡† (Ritualzz) and White Ring. The latter's limited Disaro EP "Black Earth That Made Me" along with the oOoOO’s self-titled EP and Lake R▲dio's download-only LP "Planet Earth About To Be Recycled" (get it here) also took part in the haunting of Cool Music Central in these last few weeks.

Warpaint first got our attention with last year’s mini-LP "Exquisite Corpse". With its debut full-length "The Fool", the all-girl LA quartet explores further the possibilities of its expansive, psychedelic pop sound, delivering dense, multilayered songs where the rhythm section takes the driving seat and the guitars meander around creating a canvas upon which the soaring vocals deliver captivating melodies. Exquisite foolishness, indeed!

Other goodies we've enjoyed lately include Crocodiles' shoegazing, psychedelic stomp, Corin Tucker's return to music with her fine first solo effort that triggered this nostalgic Sleater-Kinney "Vintage Tracks" post, Deerhunter's demanding but rewarding idiosyncratic pop, Pantha Du Prince's minimal dance beats, Twin Shadow's imaginative '80s nostalgia, Tame Impala's trippy psych-rock, Giant Sand's unique mix of desert rock and alt-folk, The Walkmen's staggering, ruff melodies, Sufjan Stevens' latest, synth-saturated epic, the majestic, goth splendor of Zola Jesus, Berlin Bride's twisted "Athenien" electropop, It Sound's DIY lo-fi "hard pop" (read our interview here), the experimental prog-rock of Menomena and the unashamedly mainstream, lighters-in-the-air, epic rock of Kings Of Leon. Here’s the complete Top 20 list with something for everybody:

Top 20 Albums

1.   King night - SALEM
2.   The fool - WARPAINT
3.   Sleep forever - CROCODILES
4.   1000 years - THE CORIN TUCKER BAND
5.   Halcyon digest - DEERHUNTER
6.   Black noise - PANTHA DU PRINCE
7.   Forget - TWIN SHADOW
8.   Innerspeaker - TAME IMPALA
9.   Blurry blue mountain - GIANT SAND
10. Lisbon - THE WALKMEN
11. The age of adz - SUFJAN STEVENS
12. Stridulum II - ZOLA JESUS
13. Mines - MENOMENA
14. Come around sundown - KINGS OF LEON
15. Modern celibacy - BERLIN BRIDES
16. Planet Earth about to be recycled - LAKE R▲DIO
18. Black earth that made me EP - WHITE RING
19. oOoOO EP - oOoOO
20. Hard pop for blue trees - IT SOUND

Top 25 Tracks

1.   Not in love - CRYSTAL CASTLES feat. ROBERT SMITH

2.   IxC999 - WHITE RING
3.   King night - SALEM
4.   Undertow - WARPAINT
5.   Semi-precious stone - WOLF PARADE
7.   Heavenward grand prix - JAPANDROIDS
8.   Stoned to death - CROCODILES
9.   Hey cool kid - CLOUD NOTHINGS
10. Golden haze - WILD NOTHING
11. Revival - DEERHUNTER
12. Get some - LYKKE LI
13. Let them - JJ
14. Hit 'n' run - BERLIN BRIDES
15. Castles in the snow - TWIN SHADOW
16. Solitude is bliss - TAME IMPALA
17. Angela surf city - THE WALKMEN
18. Taos - MENOMENA
19. Fields of green - GIANT SAND
20. Jezebel - ANNA CALVI
21. Sea talk - ZOLA JESUS
22. The splendor - PANTHA DU PRINCE
23. Lights - LAKE R▲DIO
24. Walking (on a tall fence) - IT SOUND
25. I did crimes behind your eyelids - DEERHOOF feat. BUSDRIVER

(mp3s via pitchfork)

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