Archive for December, 2012

#Roberawards Nominations 2012: Cover Version

Next category up in our nominations is best cover version. The selection of artists paying tribute to their musical references while adding some of their own personality to the original creations features Bill Fay’s stripping down the Wilco classic ‘Jesus etc.’; Sinead O’ Connor adding epic vocals to John Grant’s emotional ‘Queen Of Denmark’; Neneh Cherry’s new venture with The Thing jazzing Suicide’s ‘Dream Baby Dream’ up; Afghan Whigs’ lead singer Greg Dulli reinterpreting Leonard Cohen; Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti lo-fi rendition of vintage teen pop siblings Joe & Donny Emerson and Chomatics’ brave attempt to bring Neil Young’s iconic ‘Into the Black’ to the XXI century.

You can vote for the best music of the year here. And the nominess for best cover version are: Read the rest of this entry »

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#Roberawards Nominations 2012: Guilty Pleasure

The next category in our nominations is the one dedicated to highlight those who normally would have been rejected but somehow managed to pass our tight quality controls. Cheesy chart princesses and odd teen idols whose output tend to horrify us but by the hand of sly producers and songwriters managed to overcome their limitations and released the perfect pop tunes; global dance crazes and a couple of veteran stars who showed a brand new (and more satisfying) angle to their work. In the case above, Kylie surprised us with her appearance in Leos Carax’ ‘Holy Motors’, one of our favorite movies of the year, singing an original song written by Neil Hannon.

You can vote for the best music of the year here. And the nominess for guilty pleasure of 2012 are: Read the rest of this entry »

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#Roberawards Nominations 2012: Best Music Video

The XXXI Rober Awards Music Poll is now open. Julia Holter and Fiona Apple lead the nominations with five apiece and other favourite multiple nominees include Frank Ocean; Kendrick Lamar; Beach House; Chromatics and Swans. You can vote for the best music of the year here.

In the following days we are checking in detail some of the categories, beginning with the best music video. 2012 has been a notable year for the promo video enabling a lot of new directing talent to emerge or consolidate their careers. So much so that we had to add an extra slot and nominate seven different pieces. The common link among them was a reflection over the tough times we are living in, from the animated political denounce of Killer Mike’s ‘Reagan’ to the East-West cultural clash in M.I.A’s ‘Bad Girls’; the noir-tinted David Byrne collaboration with St. Vincent in ‘Who’ to the sleazy underground drug club scene of Mykki Blanco’s ‘Wavvy’. Other audiovisual works by Grizzly Bear; Spiritualized and Flying Lotus complete our selection.

Check all the nominees here. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012: Top 100 Tracks (25-01)

And finally we complete the songs of the year’s review with our 25 favourites, an eclectic selection that goes from churches to bad religion, among them we find two tracks from debut EP’s; four artists with two songs each; the hottest little sister in Today’s pop and a dead US president. Check our top songs of 2012 here. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012 : Top 100 Tracks (50-26)

The penultimate quarter in our 2012’s best songs countdown features tons of slick R&B; an experiment in classical; two teen pop starlettes and the band that after 30 years in music has released their career’s best. Find out who they are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012 : Top 100 Tracks (75-51)

In The second quarter of our best tracks of 2012 Fiona goes to Hollywood; Chilean rap meets Naomi Klein; hip-hop becomes gay; Hüsker Dü legendary lead man gets back and the DJ of the year remixes a track off the best mixtape.

Check it all out here Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012 : Top 100 Tracks (100-76)

Somebody That I Used To Know
(Samples ‘N’ Seconds)

We begin our favourite songs of 2012’s countdown following the tradition of showing the symbolic “number 101”, a place that in former years was reserved for guilty pleasures, but this time is occupied by Australian singer Gotye’s global smash “Somebody That I Used To Know’, which thanks to our Aussie connections we had already enjoyed during the summer of 2011, but didn’t reach our shores until the beginning of the current year.

Among the tracks included in our chart’s first quarter, stars of Britpop return; the best hispanic band of the year and members of US alt favourites Deerhunter and Akron/Family embarking in respective solo projects. Check them here. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012 : Top 50 Compilations; Reissues & Mixtapes

Next in our end of the year review is a look at the best compilations, reissues and mixes. In clear contrast with the bulk of the new product released, 2012 has been another vintage year for reissues as more record labels dug deeper in the vaults for lost recordings; deluxe editions keep on flooding the market trying to lure the few remaining physical product buyers and mixtapes, once the preferred promotional method for hip-hop DJs, have gone well beyond the boundaries of their original realm.

Check our Top 50 favourite compilations of the year after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012 : Top 50 Albums

Last year, PJ Harvey’s classic ‘Let England Shake’ topped our favourite albums chart. Who would it be this year?

Check our 2012 Top 50 Albums Of The Year here. Read the rest of this entry »

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#BestOf2012 : Disappointments Of The Year

And the moment arrived to look back at the past twelve months and try to highlight our favourite moments. 2012 has been the year where pop nearly conquered all; everybody tried to go viral through countless renditions of ‘Gangnam Style’; indie icons almost collectively suffered a drop in creative standards and the blogosphere was in panic trying to look for new best things to replace them; the attempt to rescue metal as the alternative genre of choice seems to have tanked too.

Not everything was bad, though, hip-hop and to a lesser extent R&B have proven themselves resilient to the crisis, offering one of the most interesting collection of records in many years; a few surprising comebacks by some legendary acts went beyond the most optimistic expectations, but overall the quality of the musical output has been so average that we are cutting our normal sections to the very basic Top 50 best albums and Top 100 tracks. No room for honourable mentions this time.

And to kick-start 2012’s music review, the quite crammed disappointments of the year section, packed with the typical range of difficult second albums; acclaimed songwriters whose muses have gone on strike; fatigue inducing avant-gardists stagnated on a sonic dead-end; big rap egos who didn’t deliver; unsuccessful reunions; ill-fated super groups and, above all, the follow-up of the most influential album of last decade, which saw our favourite freak-folk collective giving up and having a laugh as they probably realized they weren’t even going to reach the shadow of their illustrious precedessor.

Check our top 10 musical disappointments of the year, here. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Sightseers’ Is Our Film Of The Week

After a week’s gap we return to our recommended film chart just to find more new releases lined up and a Top 10 that has been nearly replaced in full. Last week an ecclectic mix of Oscar contenders (Silver Linings Playbook); award winning documentaries (The House I Live In); a ground breaking cop drama (End Of Watch) and a superb restored classic (Lawrence Of Arabia) arrived to our theatres.

This week’s offering is not any less impressive with such treats as the gripping Dutch drama ‘The Hunt’★★★★; hailed as Thomas Vinterberg’s return to form. The director of ‘Festen’ (Celebration), one of the original members of the Dogma movement, tells the story of a small community descending into a witch hunt against a nursery teacher who is falsely accused of paedophilia after an innocent lie told by his best friend’s little daughter. The nursery’s manager confused initial reaction quickly expands among the neighbours and prompts his life into a downward spiral. Mads Mikkelsen, recently seen as the King’s advisor in the excellent period drama ‘A Royal Affair’, won best actor at Cannes for his terrific portrait of a man who powerlessly watches his whole life disintegrating.

Also new this week is ‘Yossi’★★★½, Eytan Fox’s notable follow-up to ‘Yossi & Jagger’, the film that a decade ago became notorious for depicting a gay relationship within the secretive ranks of the Israeli army. But if we have to choose a film of the week, the one we genuinely enjoyed the most was the darkly comic road movie ‘Sightseers’★★★★. Described as a cross between Mike Leigh’s ‘Nuts In May’ and ‘Badlands’; Ben Wheatley’s new opus after his acclaimed second feature ‘Kill List’ is a radical change of genre. This time he goes for the laughter, but keeping a great deal of horror in the mix, through the story of an ordinary middle age couple who embarks on an apparently dull caravan holiday to explore the tourist delights around the Lake District, leaving a trail of death and museum leaflets behind. Comedians Alice Lowe and Steve Oram star and penned the script, whereas Wheatley perfectly manages the required tone changes between well-observed naturalist comedy and the gory killing spree, British way, the lovers indulge in as a wide range of annoying people get in their way. Perhaps the best comedy the UK industry has produced in years, ‘Sightseers’ is superb.

Check our Recommended Top 10 Films of the week here. Read the rest of this entry »

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