Mark Zip Poop 08

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Portishead – “Third” (Mercury/Island)
What’s that? How long did you say they’d been away? 10 years? And to come back so strong? Ooooofff!

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Santogold – “Santogold” (Downtown / Atlantic)
Diplo featuring Santogold – “Top Ranking” – A Diplo Dub mix tape (find it on the torrent sites)
With Santogold vocals over a few choice tracks. Bouncy mix all the way through.

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Franco – “Francophonic: A Retrospective Vol. 1 1953-1980” (Sterns)
Two CD set, well chosen, good notes, decent sound. Second set, from later eras, arrives 2009.

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This Is Ivy League – “This Is Ivy League” (TwentySeven Records)
2 guys who have day jobs in Cobra Starship make the summer album of 2008. Pure pop with Aztec Camera / Prefab Sprout

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Vampire Weekend – “Vampire Weekend” (XL)
The year started strong with this one, and for me this one outlasted the indignant backlash.

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Orchestra Baobab – “Made in Dakar” (Nonesuch)

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Lyrics Born – “Everywhere At Once” (Anti)

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Steiski – “What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective” (Illegal Art)
Career-spanning survey (and business-ruining betrayal*). A must-have for completists because it includes all the key tracks (except, perhaps, the 4th & Broadway release about advertising, “We’ll Be Right Back”, which he didn’t try to get the rights to) and at least one track which I haven’t heard until now. “Number Three on Flight Eleven” is the last track on the retrospective proper and is an abstract meditation on the post 9/11 world. Using samples from that day. Not in the least exploitative, and affecting every time. The second disc of the set is the impossible to find “Nothing to Fear” mix previously released on Soul Ting. See my PoOP 2002 list for details on that one. * Business-ruining in that those of us who like to charge an arm and a leg for rare original Steinski vinyl will have a harder time now! Now I guess we’ll have to charge more for the 4th & Broadway one)

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Randy Newman – “Harps And Angels”
10 songs, 34 minutes. Outrage and advancing age are a fine tonic, apparently.

Dubstep / Breaks / That Bastard Groove/ WTF:

Generation Bass – (BBC Radio 1) In 2006 Mary Ann Hobbs gave us “Dubstep Wars”, which took the Dubstep scene by the scruff of the neck and hauled it up for all to see. Since then the scene has gone worldwide and seemd to be in danger of succumbing to the “harder/faster” demons. Here the Radio 1 presenter gets the guys who did that session to introduce they guys they think will make the next great noises. Remarkable depth, breadth and DJing so precise it disappears.
Benga – “Diary Of An Afro Warrior” (Tempa)
Ital Tek – “Cyclical” (Planet Mu)
Flying Lotus – “Los Angeles” (Warp)
How many others on this list were featured in the New Yorker magazine. And while it may be the weakest of his releases, it is easier to find.
Various Artists – “Dubstep Allstars, Vol. 6” (Tempa)
Various Artists presented by Mary-Anne Hobbs – “Evangeline” (Planet Mu)
Another well chosen snapshot of the scene.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – “Angles” (Strange Famous)
UK electro/hip hop. With that accent, who needs talent. And they have that too.
The Bug – “London Zoo” (Ninja Tune)
Kevin Martin is a producer involved in a ton of different projects (Techno Animal, King Midas Sound, etc.) and The Bug is his latest collabotrative errort on the dub-step tip. Here he works with a number of different vocalists, lending each track a different feel. Some more reggaefied, some more banging. A fine musical voyage.
Various Artists – “Deep Covers 2 – Mas Profundo!” (O-Dub)
A compilation of cover versions by bands from around the world. Polish version of “Use Me” (Bill Withers)! French version of “Never Can Say Goodbye” (Jackson 5)! Meters’ song done by steel band! O-Dub is run by Oliver Wang, a pretty good journo and blogger (

Bubbling Under:

The Mighty Underdogs – “Droppin’ Science Fiction” ||| CSS – “Donkey” ||| Dr. John – “The City that Care Forgot” ||| Was (Not Was) – “Boo!” ||| Robert Forster – “The Evangelist” ||| REM – “Accelerator” ||| Quantic – “Death of the Revolution” ||| Holly Yarbrough – “Sings the Fred Rogers Songbook – Mister Rogers Swings!” ||| The Waybacks – “Loaded” ||| Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – “Dirt Don’t Hurt” ||| Robyn – “Robyn” ||| Magnetic Fields – “Distortion” ||| Elvis Costello & The Impostors – “Momofuku” ||| Nick Cave + Bad Seeds – “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!” ||| People Under The Stairs – “Fun DMC” ||| Ra Ra Riot – “The Rhumb Line” ||| Jayme Stone & Mansa Sissoko – “Africa to Appalachia” ||| Q-Tip – “Renaissance”

Remix of the Year:

Original Crookers Rmx

Kid Cudi – “Day and Night” (Crookers remix)
A year ago a mix tape came out with an odd little track on it, the first I’d heard of Kid Cudi. The track featured an arresting combination of drop kick, occasional claps, Rick James like synths, and a little bit of Cameo. It was spare and unlike anything else. Then a couple of remixers got a hold of it and turned it into a huge jam by making you completely disoriented.

The remix starts fairly obviously with a 4 to the floor kick on top of the synth bubble from the original, so far so bad. Then at 1:01 they insert a really noisy breakdown. Now normally a breakdown like this is just a place for the DJ to dump the outro of the song he was playing and get you into the meat of the new song, and that meat is invariably a 4 to the floor kick on top of the synth bit from the original, but here is where Crookers get busy, a massive MASSIVE wibbly wobbly bit comes in just as you think you have the track figured out and kicks the whole thing off into hyperspace. It’s one of the great payoffs to an intro ever. Like ZZ Top’s “La Grange” or The Jacksons “Shake Your Body Down to The Ground”.

Check the original here and the Crookers remix here When you get to the remix, check for the wibbly-wobbly bit at 1:15 and turn it up loud. It seems that the marketplace agrees with me, the Crookers remix got to #2 in the UK. The regular single got to 102 un the US. Here’s hoping that Cudi will produce similarly interesting stuff when Kanye releases his debut LP in ’09

Mash-up of the Year:

Holy Ghost VS Andy C & MC GQ – Baptazia NYE 2007 – part 3
What do you get when you take audio from a great sounding D ‘n B set and put it over extremely artfully edited video of holy rollers in church getting the spirit? You get one of the most awesome, funny and oddly uplifting all-round musical experience of the year. The guy who put it together is called airloaf. Check more of his stuff at his YouTube page

Could go either way:

Girl Talk – “Feed the Animals”
The problem is that he uses samples in an interesting way. and they remind you of tracks you’d much rather be listening to like The Cure, Underworld, M.I.A., Veruca Salt, (so help me, The Cranberries) and some you wish you never had to hear ever again (ELO, Queen) And in a year which had the Steinski career retrospective, this one did suffer by comparison. And they were both released by the same label.

Best Gig:

Diplo DJ set – USA Election Night
Diplo plays a bangin’ set for an election-eve party hosted by Digg, Twitter and Current airs the whole thing, with tweets flying across the screen and updates from the wires. Dance out the old!

Obligatory Slept-on Item from previous year:

Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out of This Country” (2006)
Opens with “Hey Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken”, as wondrous a slice of pop about pop as there has ever been. Fortunately, the new record is already in the can and should be out in 2009.

Goodbye and Good Riddance:

The obvious (of course).
And also, hopefully, Auto-Tune.
If you saw Kanye West on SNL, you were struck by the fact that he appeared to be using auto tune to DE-tune his voice. That is, to make him sing off key. Now, if this was a clever, self reflexive joke about pop and hip-hop, then that would be one thing. I don’t know what, but something. If not, if the guy twiddling the auto tune knob needs to be fired. Now that we’ve been through this, can we please move on.

Hasta la proxima, Zip

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