Monthly Archives: December 2012

Best of 2012: Jessie Ware – Devotion

jessie-ware
The cover art of her debut album kinda casts Jessie Ware as a modern-day lady in satin, and Devotion backed that perception rather nicely. No other album in 2012 sounded as poised or as stylishly rendered as Devotion, and the smoldering sophistication Ware projects is wonderfully distilled through her songs. Mid-tempo soul balladry mesh seamlessly with flutters of dreamy electronic music made for the floor, as Ware and her musical collaborators put the finishing touches to an entrancing pop album full of smoky restraint and subtle inventions. - Keith.


mp3: Jessie Ware – 110%

Devotion is out now on PMR.

Best of 2012: Raime – Quarter Turns Over a Living Line

Raime
While I waited for The xx’s Coexist to match the minimalist thrills of their debut album, and as I pondered why I still lifted my skinny fists to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend despite its (glorious) predictableness, I discovered an album that struck a darker and colder atmosphere than the former, with all the devastating inclinations of the latter: Raime’s anticipated debut LP Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is a tense, terrifying excursion of brutal ardour, casting a post-industrial gloom over much of anything I’ve been listening to this year. - Dan.


mp3: Raime – Your Cast Will Tire

Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is out now on Blackest Ever Black.

Best of 2012: Wild Nothing – Nocturne

wild nothing
Perhaps Nocturne is the atmospheric pop opus that Wild Nothing has been building up to ever since Jack Tatum’s winsome debut Gemini turned up in 2010. For his sophomore album, Tatum taps into an echo chamber of dark, subterranean pop nostalgia that lulls the listener into false paradises without ever losing grip of the songs’ melodic vitality. Nocturne thrives on that sort of ephemera and obscure objects of memory that are miraculously transmitted — only in dreams. - Keith.


mp3: Wild Nothing – Paradise

Nocturne is out now on Captured Tracks and Bella Union.

Best of 2012: Bob Dylan – Tempest

bob dylan
Philosophers, pimps and pale kings may argue for the better angels of our nature, but riled-up septuagenarian Bob Dylan is having none of that shit. His 35th studio album Tempest drips with tales of carnage, Shakespearean vengeance and unrequited desires — not to mention a winding 14-minute title track that deconstructs the Titanic sinking in surreal details. The death-obsessed landscapes Dylan paints are no country for old men, yet Tempest bears the true grit of a grizzled survivor’s defiance in the face of mortality: The more I die, the more I live. - Keith.


mp3: Bob Dylan – Long And Wasted Years

Tempest is out now on Columbia.

Best of 2012: Dan Deacon – America

dan deacon
Under the overwhelming weight of an audacious album title like America, Dan Deacon has found an inexplicable spontaneity in a most exuberantly arranged pop record. The diverse connotations that America conjures is merely a foil for Deacon’s free-ranging creation of a world of density, expansiveness and childlike joy. The pace is blisteringly ADHD, with surprises at each corner flowing comfortably into each other. It’s addictive fun – just don’t read too much into it, and enjoy the ride for what it is. - Dan.


mp3: Dan Deacon – Crash Jam

America is out now on Domino.

Best of 2012: Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

jens-lekman
Arriving five years since his last full-length record, I Know What Love Isn’t from Jens Lekman is certainly well worth the wait, an enchanting breakup album so good it deserves its own manic pixie dream girl. In his songs, Lekman has seldom shied away from self-deprecation and lightheaded moments of vulnerability. I Know What Love Isn’t takes it a few steps further in revealing all the hallmarks of a hopeless romantic, brimming over with its rumination on heartbreak and love’s memories — or as Jens sings it, it’s all a bit like learning to carry along a broken heart gracefully. - Keith.


mp3: Jens Lekman – I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots

I Know What Love Isn’t is out now on Secretly Canadian.

Music Alliance Pact – December 2012 Issue

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SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
.gifDiatribe
.gif embodies the illusion of data passing off as real-life moving images by giving us an electronic amalgamation of observatory life with shades of melancholy, hope and resolution. While usually accompanied by ukulele, Weish finds the embrace of warm textures courtesy of Din, with synthesizers and beat arrangements assembling base emotions into the soul of a machine. - Brian.

To download all 39 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world.

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Best of 2012: Patrick Watson – Adventures in Your Own Backyard

Patrick Watson
Adventures in Your Own Backyard, the homespun fourth album by Patrick Watson, finds the Canadian singer-songwriter and his bandmates expanding their joint creative discipline in the confines of their home studio. The result is a set of handcrafted songs that manage to sound intimate in spite of the somewhat mercurial quality of the musical arrangements. The waltzing grandeur of Adventures in Your Own Backyard bears the distinctive traits of Watson’s songwriting, yet the languorous song material chugs along with a confidence that infuses the album with a sense of discovery in every melodic detail. - Keith.


mp3: Patrick Watson – Words In the Fire

Adventures in Your Own Backyard is out now on Domino Records.

Best of 2012: Actress – R.I.P

I know we haven’t been the most regular in writing this year. But the year-end review is something we’d never let go, so look out for our take on the best releases this year. Thanks for sticking with us.
Actress
The appended artwork for ActressR.I.P is an an evocative accompaniment to the album, with Eve Ackroyd’s charcoal rendition of a hand feeling for yet blending into the textured painting serving as an apt interpretation of how Darren Cunningham immerses himself into the multifarious layers that make up his music. This is dark stuff that’s full of life, meaning, and context: Cunningham’s rave roots still occupy a shadowy presence, but with R.I.P it is but one part of a larger ensemble that slips in and out of your consciousness and remains in my opinion the most deeply affecting release of the year. - Dan.


mp3: Actress – Shadow from Tartarus

R.I.P is available on Honest Jon’s Records.