Countdown: 2008: Tracks

In these mp3-based times, this isn’t necessarily a collection of singles, more the best individual tracks I’ve heard this year (and were released in the last twelve months since last year’s list).

Countdown: 2008/h3>

Playlists

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Number_10Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

Since a near-flawless “Best Of” about ten years ago, not a lot of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds material has really caught me like the old stuff did. Well, that is until this album, and the Grinderman album that preceeded it. This latter release is important here, as it has clearly acted as some form of catalyst to Cave since – Dig!!! is teeming with life and humour in a way that recent albums have lacked. The title track is for me the best thing on the album, too, a hilarious reimagining of Lazarus, transplanted to New York and not very happy about being resurrected…


Number_09Rabbit Junk
Black
This Life Is Where You Get Fucked

Previous Rabbit Junk albums, it now transpires, only hinted at the crazy lengths that JP Anderson was going to go to on his latest, much-delayed album. Split into three distinct sections, it was the middle section (subtitled “Ghetto Blasphemer”) that was the one that gained most attention, and with good reason. A stupendous clash of black metal and hip-hop, and it works best on Black, a brutal, roaring track that steamrollers the listener into submission.


Number_08Left Spine Down
U Can’t Stop The Bomb
Fighting For Voltage

By a country mile the best track on a generally strong compilation (Gears Gone Wild), and then the opening track on LSD’s opening album, this is a spectacular punk meets industrial track with a chorus that should be sung along by crowds in stadiums. It’s stop-start dynamics only heighten the effect, the only downfall being those same dynamics make it a bitch to DJ with (just try dancing to it…)!


Number_07The Mirimar Disaster
Control.Alter.Delete
Volumes

As I’ve noted recently, for me this year there has been a distinct lack of metal releases that have actually caught my attention, which is reflected in the make-up of this list. This, however, is a notable exception – TMD’s finest moment so far, and nicely timed as this EP got them a fair amount of attention in the UK metal press, too. It’s not so much “business as usual” as a more direct approach to their established, sludgy metal sound, and it’s all the better for it.


Number_06Lucidstatic
Blackout
Gravedigger

As an introduction to a previously unknown artist (and an album I made a blind purchase of, only having read the description of it on the Tympanik website), this was a hell of a way to do it. Four minutes of rampaging breakcore that constantly twists, turns and leaves you gasping for breath as it shudders to a halt.


Number_05Mercury Rev
People Are So Unpredictable
Snowflake Midnight

This album initially left me confused, a feeling quickly replaced by enchantment, particularly after I heard this track. A jaw-dropping, spaced-out epic that has me envisioning the massive sounding drums, reverbed vocals and twinkling electronic washes being played out across a starry night sky before fireworks explode across it as the song reaches it lengthy peak. Ten years ago Mercury Rev made an album in awe of the expanses of America. Now, they’ve proved their vision and scope was way, way bigger than just somewhere on the earth.


Number_04Cyanotic
Alt.Machine
prehab 25mg-ep

The pick of the new tracks on Cyanotic’s latest EP (a precursor to the forthcoming new album The Medication Generation, due in 2009), this is the kind of bruising dancefloor-industrial that most bands shy away from making nowadays. More’s the pity, really – this is awesome. A friend noted recently that this is a mix of Cubanate, Pitchshifter and Ministry, and I’d say his description isn’t far wrong. For those of you that know older Cyanotic material, this is Deface having spent a few months pushing weights.


Number_03Memmaker
Death Audio Blow Your Brains
How To Enlist In A Robot Uprising

From both a DJ and punter’s perspective, this was probably hands down the most fun dancefloor track released all year. Not a lot to it, really – the title sampled over and over, a stomping beat, and lots of effects swirling around. Sounds easy, right? Let’s just say the whole is considerably more than the sum of the parts.


Number_02Everything Goes Cold
I’ve Sold Your Organs on the Black Market
to Finance the Purchase of a Used Minivan
Prepare To Be Refrigerated

It’s all my friend Nigel’s fault that I heard this in the first place, on a Dark Assimilation show right back at the start of the year, and after it slowly got it’s hooks into my brain it was kinda obvious I was going to buy the EP (well, certainly value for money if not an EP – four new tracks, a short instrumental and eleven remixes). While the rest of the EP – including many of the remixes – are great, this track still sounds top of the pile. A fantastic sound, catchy hooks and some great, biting humour (and perhaps the best song-title ever).


Number_01Mind.In.A.Box
What Used To Be (Short Storm)
What Used To Be [CD Single]

Released right at the end of 2007 (i.e. after my 2007 lists, so it counts here), this track marks the point where this intriguing, unusual electronic act stepped out of the shadows and bathed their sound in a glittering light. The eight-minute full version of this track was the centrepiece of the band’s third album Crossroads last year – and this version was released on a promo CD and then also Advanced Electronics Vol. 6, and is a much snappier, more immediate track that leaps straight into the chorus and then hits height after euphoric height for over four minutes. Needless to say, it’s hands down the best thing Mind.In.A.Box have ever done, and also just happens to be everything that “Futurepop” ever promised to be but never quite delivered.

Finally, a quick mention of other tracks that were shortlisted but didn’t make the final ten (in alphabetical order):

65DaysofStatic | Dance Parties [Distant]
Ad·ver·sary | Waiting For Gira
Amanda Palmer | Astronaut: A Short History Of Nearly Nothing
Battery Cage | Crush & Spurn [Bone Crusher Mix]
Diskonnekted feat. Frank Spinath of Seabound | Storm
The Verve | Sit and Wonder
XP8 | Juggernaut

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