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Monday, 27 December 2010

Track of the Week: 2010 #52

Hank Williams – I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

In the New Year keeppoploud.co.uk is going to be focusing almost exclusively on indiepop. In the meantime I wanted to offer up something completely different for your ears. Something reflective. Something that I would assume you might not otherwise think to listen to.

It's been a tough year for many of us. Even though I think we can all agree it's gone pretty quick. It's been a fantastic year for new releases but a terrible one for the many high profile names to have passed away.

I lost someone close to me this year and after his passing I inherited a handful of country CDs. The song below comes from one of these – a Hank Williams box set. From the title it's obvious that this isn't a song for super-happy-fun-times. Still, as this comes in the immediate aftermath of the gluttony of Christmas, during the time that we're all contemplating how much we've spent and feeling sadness for those that are no longer here I feel that something contemplative is in order to round the year out.

So until 2011 where it'll be a year of indiepoptastic goodness I'll leave you with this. One of the comments on this youtube video simply states:
“there is nothing like the crackle of a old record with Hank singing”

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Track of the Week: 2010 #51 The Boy Least Likely To - A Happy Christmas Baby

Good morning/afternoon/whatever and a Happy Christmas from 'Mrs Keep Pop Loud'. I have to wish you happy Christmas, you see, because your usual provider of poppy ramblings and lists isn't 'a fan of Christmas'. Miserable bastard.

Anyway, this week's track of the week is by The Boy Least Likely To and is called 'A Happy Christmas Baby' from their Christmas Special album.

It's full of their usual bouncy poppyness played on primary school musical instruments which is just what I want to feel a bit Christmassy before everyone's drunk too much and wants to hear Slade.

Happy Christmas everyone :)
The Boy Least Likely To - Happy Christmas Baby by happypocket

Friday, 17 December 2010

Albums of the Year #10 - #01

10) Everything Everything – Man Alive












Italic
In a shocking year for début albums, Everything Everything shone through. Their electronic artpop is refreshing in the extreme with harmonies bouncing off each other and everything else in sight. Although the critics will beg to differ there was more to Man Alive (so named as to be a throwaway comment and an encapsulation of the vastness of life) than just the quirky 'hits'. Gentler songs such as 'Leave The Engine' room left just as much impact as 'Suffragette Suffragette' in the long run and there's little doubt that providing EE can build on what they've started they'll be around for a long time yet.

09) Gorillaz – Plastic Beach













You could assume that Plastic Beach is only here because I'm a bit of a Damon Albarn fan. If you assumed this, you're probably a bit of an arse. The sort of arse who would have rather seen U2 'play the hits' at Glastonbury than one of the most forward-thinking and genre-breaking acts of the last 10 years summing up the true spirit of the festival. Like said set, Plastic Beach utilises its cast of legends and young 'uns perfectly, with each held as reverentially as each other. The cohesion and feel of the album is surprisingly stunning and most importantly each song is fan-bloody-tastic.

08) Robyn - Body Talk Parts 1 & 2

The second entry to feature Snoop Dogg!
Put together, Parts 1 and 2 of Body Talk are about the same length as The Suburbs. As such I'm letting them take up one spot. They're also both equally fantastic. No-one does slick pop hooks like Robyn does. Hits like 'Hang With Me' and 'Dancing On My Own' are already timeless classics. 'Fembot' is sexy as hell and the acoustic versions are tender and excellently constructed. Ladies, Robyn is the one to beat. Your move.

07) The National – High Violet













This is the one choice that I shouldn't need to justify. The front cover with the caption “Well, Duh!” should suffice. But I'll try anyway. The National are THE breakthrough band of the year, and rightly so. High Violet is their third classic album. Critics (whom I can only assume are dull people) will call The National dull. Whilst it's true that they're not exciting, who would want exciting when you could have something better?

06) Yeasayer – Odd Blood













What do you do when your debut album is a collection of meandering world-prog with only three decent tunes on it? Create an LP of pop smashes, that's what. Teaser 'Ambling Alp' only scratched the surface of what the three piece had to offer. The shrillness of 'Rome' contrasts with the gut-wrenching honesty of 'Madder Red', the bounce of 'O.N.E.' and the near-prog-isms of 'I Remember'. Shame about the artwork really.

05) Kate Nash - My Best Friend Is You













Oh, C'mon! Kate may be the least critically acclaimed on this list, but that doesn't mean you should be incredulous at her inclusion in the Top 5. Aside from you, John, I know you approve. My Best Friend Is You improves on the scrappy template Nash laid down on her debut, incorporating Los Camp!-isms, odd poetry readings, riot grrrl and classic girl-group pop. The mash of styles lead to something really quite different.

04) Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring













I hereby declare that should Los Campesinos! contiune to release albums of this quality there will always be a space for them in the KPL Top 5 Albums of the Year list. It's three for three for Los Camp! and with a new fanzine/music project in the new year things are just starting for the group.

03) The Futureheads - The Chaos













If you said that bands don't make albums like this any more, you'd be right. Post-punk has sadly fallen out of fashion, but it's not stopped The Futureheads from making their best record since their debut. The Chaos came out early in the year but familiarity has definitely not bred contempt. Top 40 Hit Single 'Heartbeat Song' made it to track of the year and there's plenty more where it came from. 'Jupiter's an epic, whilst 'I Can Do That' helped me to get the job I have now.
The 'heads are doing an a'capella album next. It'll be fantastic.

02) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs












There is literally nothing between #2 and #3 on this list. Ranking them was a purely arbitrary decision. The Suburbs is a truly awesome album that you can expect to see at the top of Albums of the 2010s lists in 9 years time. I don't need to say more. Perfect

01) Ash - A-Z Vol. 1























First – yes I am aware that this is not strictly an album. But remember, is is my list and my rules. Ash achieved something extraordinary with their A-Z Series. Not only did they engage with fans constantly for a year but they created a remarkable collection of songs, all by being freed of the traditional album format. With said format no longer being a constant we can expect to see more such projects in the coming years, and if they all manage to be of a similar standard to what Ash have done it shall not be a bad thing that the album is 'dead'.
I've gone for Volume 1 here as I feel that Volume 2 slipped slightly as a collection. With an overlong instrumental and sub-par conclusion to the series it felt as if anticipation had dropped. On Vol. 1 however even the bonus tracks were spot on. The singles contained within included 'Arcadia', 'True Love 1980', 'Neon' and 'Space Shot'. It's literally impossible to argue with. Record of the year.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Albums of the Year #20 - #11

20) Janelle Monaé – The ArchAndroid


















It's not surprising that Janelle Monaé has cleared up critically this year. Bending genres when not disregarding them completely, she's created a fresh sounding album wrapped up in a fantastic concept. It's not perfect by any means but it's faults come from reaching very very high. Soulful vocals meeting funky beats and epic guitar parts, it still leaves room for perfectly placed guest spots from artists as diverse as Big Boi and of Montreal.

19) Sky Larkin – Kaleide


















I've said before that I've not connected as much with Kaleide as I'd hoped, considering my love for last year's The Golden Spike. Nonetheless there's moments of pure pop perfection ('ATM', 'Year Dot') and a showcase for how far the Leeds three-piece has come as a band and individual musicians. I'm not alone in thinking that Kaleide could be a bit of a sleeper for the band, ensuring them a cult status in years to come. When they build from here they'll be unstoppable.

18) Foals - Total Life Forever


















The surprise of the year for those of us who couldn't stand their debut was 'Spanish Sahara' landing. Spectacularly it wasn't a one off and Total Life Forever cemented itself a place in our hearts. Emotive, considered and with depth, songs such as 'This Orient' and 'Alabaster' were everything that 'Cassius' wasn't. Even re-visiting their older jittery template paid dividends second time around with shimmering single 'Miami'.

17) Manic Street Preachers - Postcards From A Young Man

















There's always going to be a place for the Manics in my CD library. Gobshite/bassist Nicky Wire described this as their “last shot at mass communication” and it's easy to see where he's coming from. The Holy Bible fans didn't take to the gloss, string sections or gospel choirs in the way they did to Richey Edwards lyrics on Journal For Plague Lovers but the Manics at their stadium humping best are really hard to beat. '(It's Not War)', 'A Billion Balconies' and 'Auto-Intoxication' ensured that Postcards From A Young Man was a winner in my book

16) We Are Scientists – Barbara


















Although we sorta spotted it at the time, it's become clearer since that Brain Thrust Mastery was a bit of a mis-step for WAS. So with album number three (or four, if we're being pedantic) they went back to the formula that won them fans initially. The indie disco hits came thick and fast on Barbara – 'Rules Don't Stop', 'Jack & Ginger', 'Nice Guys' etc etc. With Andy “used to be in Razorlight” Burrows on drums they finally became the shit-hot live act that rocked KPLs uni days once again.

15) Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can

















It's all been said about Laura Marling already, hasn't it. Amazing voice, amazing talent, really young, Mercury nominated, you've heard it all before. Hopefully you should have heard the album as well by now. Through headphones the musical swells really astound and the lyrics always strike home

14) Mystery Jets – Serotonin / Vampire Weekend - Contra
The 2010 KPL Joint Spot. It's my list and I can cheat if I want. Serotonin and Contra are fantastic pop records that always hit their marks. Vampire Weekend proved that they were much more than one-album-wonders with a collection of songs that was as good as their debut. Mystery Jets meanwhile released by far their best LP yet and backed it up with some great shows. The gloss present on both may have been offputting for some, but it's a bit different at KPL, where smarts and hooks goes a long way.

13) Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks



















Bringing the emotional intensity this year was Frightened Rabbit who really broke out of the indie ghetto with their third album. Gripping lyrics concerning death, illness, drink and drowning always managed to give way to a faint glimmer of hope and a string of strong singles guarantees that Frightened Rabbit are only going to get bigger and bigger from here. I'll drink to that.

12) Blood Red Shoes - Fire Like This















The all out ROCK album of the year. Blood Red Shoes kept the British end up when it comes to two piece guitar-and-drums outfits. The quiet-LOUD-quiet-VERYLOUD thing may have been done to death by lesser bands but BRS keep the Pixies dream alive. Boy-Girl vocals and the ever present sexual tension between the two made Fire Like This a winner that I returned to throughout the year.

11) Paul Smith - Margins


















A solo album from the Maxïmo Park man was seen as highly unnecessary by some but with a record of subtle intimate tracks Paul Smith put a very good argument up. From the barely-there-ness of 'Improvement/Denouement' and the gently plucking of 'While You're In The Bath' to the more cinematic 'North Atlantic Drift' and 'Our Lady Of Lourdes' Paul found the perfect showcase for his voice. Definitely a good back-up plan if the day job doesn't work out.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Best of 2010 - Odds and Ends

Best Album from ’09 that I bought in ‘10:
The Pains of Being Pure at HeartThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Worthy of mentioning here, because had I picked it up in time it would have achieved a decent position on last year's countdown. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart make pure classic indiepop that's sure to stick around. With 'Young Adult Friction' they've written a song about the best subject ever – sex in libraries.

Best Best Of:
Pavement - Quarantine The Past
There's nothing that I can say about Pavement that's not already been said by people who know far better what they're talking about. This was my introduction to them on a proper scale thanks to my Anglo-centric focus. Fantastic. Fantastic.

Best Compilation
:
Alcopopular 4
This is a game changer for me. A game changer in a comically large burger bun. Prior to sampling the Alcopop! menu I'd been meandering around wondering where the decent new indie bands were hiding. Now I know. Johnny Foreigner lead me here when they signed to Alcopop! this year and from Alcopop! I've come across Big Scary Monsters and a whole heap of bands that I'm going to spend the next year investigating. This is the future for KPL.

Best EP:
Johnny Foreigneryou thought you saw a shooting star but yr eyes were blurred with tears and the lighthouse can be deceiving with the sky so clear and the sea so calm
An excellent stand-alone release from one of the best bands in the world. This stretches new ground for the band, incorporating droney slower material, R&B inflicted pop and the standard shouty fight-pop. The artwork is amazing also.

Best Film:
Toy Story 3
It says something when with such high expectations no-one came away from Toy Story 3 disappointed. It forms the closer to what is a perfect trilogy. Only Pixar can make grown men shed tears at cartoons and the incinerator scene is the most tense I've felt at the cinema in my adult life. How? Because somehow we all cared about those characters. They're not just toys y'know.

Best Gig:
Supergrass’ Farewell Show @ Manchester Academy
It was sad to say goodbye to the boys. For one of their last ever gigs they performed micro-sets from each album, culminating of an encore of 'Alright' and 'Caught By The Fuzz'. No other band has sets as strong as Supergrass could put together. Pop music will miss them, but I can remember them positively.

Best Reissue:
Weezer Pinkerton Deluxe Edition
The re-issuing of what's regarded as Weezer's best album catapulted me into the band in a bigger way than I ever have been before. It's also lead me to the realisation that Weezer have more good albums than the critics will give them credit for. I don't need to say anything more about the genius of Pinkerton, so I won't – aside from complementing the bonus tracks, which are ace.

Best Soundtrack:
Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
Ah, well it couldn't have been anything else. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World may have been beaten to the KPL Film of the Year title by Toy Story 3, but boy was it a close call. Still, Scott Pilgrim had the best soundtrack, by a mile. Alongside classics by bands beginning with B (Broken Social Scene, Blood Red Shoes, The Bluetones) there featured amazing new compositions by Beck and songs by the fictional bands Sex Bob-Omb and Crash and the Boys. Oh, and the fourth best song of the year by some Canadians called Metric.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Track of the Week: 2010 #50 - The Track of the Year

The Futureheads - 'Heartbeat Song'

Unfortunately in a clean up of my hard drive (and transfer to a new one) I deleted what I was going to say about the Keep Pop Loud Track of the Year 2010: 'Heartbeat Song' by The Futureheads.

But there's little that I need to say really. This is quick simple and so very perfect. Like a modern day Buzzcocks this isn't about sonic exploration or reinventing the pop wheel. This is just a punk song about love. That's what pop music is for me. I like great songs and 'Heartbeat Song' is one of the best.

Plus, it snuck into the charts too. Big victory for the band who are self-releasing.

View the full countdown.



As a bonus, take a look at The Futurheads ace Christmas single 'Christmas Was Better In The '80s'

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Keep/Pop/Loud Top 50 Songs of 2010

#50) 'The Book of Love' – Peter Gabriel
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#49) 'Animals' – The Answering Machine
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#48) 'Fuckarias' – Those Dancing Days
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#47) 'Sleep Forever' - Crocodiles
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#46) 'Damaged Goods' – The HotRats
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#45) 'Pigeons' – The Hundred In The Hands
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#44) 'The Lost Estate' - Delays
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#43) 'G.I.R.L.F.R.I.E.N. (You Know I've Got A) – Everybody Was In The French Resistance... Now!
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#42) 'The Birds Were Singing With All Their Might' – Love Is All
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#41) 'While You're In The Bath' – Paul Smith
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#40) 'Birds & Planes' – Dinosaur Pile-Up
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#39) 'Once' – Diana Vickers
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#38) 'Tender' – Frankie & The Heartstrings
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#37) 'I Can Change' – LCD Soundsystem
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#36) 'We've Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues' – Wild Beasts
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#35) 'Bear' – British Sea Power
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#34) 'Boxer' – The Gaslight Anthem
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#33) 'Tiger Girl' - 65daysofstatic
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#32) 'Five Trees' – Chapel Club
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#31) 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' – The Vaccines
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#30) 'She Needs Me' – Fyfe Dangerfield
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#29) 'Free The Pterodactyl 3' – Hot Club de Paris
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#28) 'Undercover Martyn' – Two Door Cinema Club
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#27) 'Obsessions' – Marina & the Diamonds
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#26) 'Compliments' – Band of Horses
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#25) 'I Feel Better' – Hot Chip
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#24) 'Do It Again' – Edwyn Collins feat. Alex Kapranos & Nick McCarthy
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#23) 'Stop The Music' – The Pipettes
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#22) 'Rambling Man' – Laura Marling
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#21) 'Alice Springs' – Mystery Jets
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#20) 'Cold War' – Janelle Monaé
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#19) 'Heartsink' – Blood Red Shoes
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#18) 'A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun' – Manic Street Preachers
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#17) 'Superfast Jellyfish' – Gorillaz feat. De La Soul & Gruff Rhys
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#16) 'Robert Scargill Takes The Prize' – Johnny Foreigner
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#15) 'Nothing Like You' – Frightened Rabbit
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#14) 'Don't You Want To Share The Guilt?' - Kate Nash
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#13) 'Neon' - Ash
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#12) 'The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future' – Los Campesinos!
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#11) 'This Orient' - Foals
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#10) 'Rules Don't Stop' – We Are Scientists
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#09) 'Conversation 16' – The National
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#08) 'MY KYZ, UR BF' – Everything Everything
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#07) 'ATM' – Sky Larkin
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#06) 'Giving Up The Gun' – Vampire Weekend
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#05) 'Fembot' - Robyn
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#04) 'Black Sheep' - Metric
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#03) 'Ambling Alp' - Yeasayer
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#02) 'Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)' – Arcade Fire
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#01) 'Heartbeat Song' - The Futureheads

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Keep/Pop/Loud Festive Fifty 2010 – Part 4

The Keep/Pop/Loud Top 50 Songs of 2010 - Part 4 (#10-#02)

The penultimate part of the Festive Fifty countdown. I hope you've been paying attention. Slackers can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

#10) 'Rules Don't Stop' – We Are Scientists
I enthused about this back in March and it still sounds as good then as it ever did. The amount of indie dancefloor fillers has decreased massively in the past couple of years, but what has remained is quality. 'Rules Don't Stop' is nothing fancy, nothing original and very short. It hits the spot like really nothing else.

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#09) 'Conversation 16' – The National
The National however hit a completely different spot. As we all know, they've got the talent for penetration straight to the inner core and tugging hard at the heartstrings. People can take from their songs what they wish, and with 'Conversation 16' I take a lot. There's an essay it what it makes me feel somewhere, but I wont bore you with that.

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#08) 'MY KYZ, UR BF' – Everything Everything
When I put this song up as Track of the Week at the very beginning of the year I couldn't really imagine that it would have stayed with me til the list at the end. Schizophrenic, mental and to many people grating, I wouldn't have Everything Everything any other way.


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#07) 'ATM' – Sky Larkin
Ah Sky Larkin, you always know what to say. It's another really cold winter and I'm just really glad that I've got you there with songs like 'ATM' to keep me warm. You're truly ace Sky Larkin. Thanks for existing.





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#06) 'Giving Up The Gun' – Vampire Weekend
Is it surprising that Vampire Weekend have fallen out of flavour with the hipsters when they're writing songs of this size? No, not really. If you're the sort of person that can't admit to enjoying something as brilliant as the key change in 'Giving Up The Gun' then you're not really a pop fan, are you?

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#05) 'Fembot' – Robyn
I massively neglected this on release. After more listens to Body Talk Part 1 it suddenly clicked. The dehumanising effects of the vocoder highlighting the underlying emotional strains. The tight beats reflecting the sci-fi references in Robyn's vocals that are almost rapping. Superb.

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#04) 'Black Sheep' – Metric
Whereas Metric, despite me never having paid attention to them previously delivered a song that's brilliance was instantaneous. Their contribution to the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack blew away all competition, leaving even Beck trailing behind. I said pretty much everything when this was Track of the Week. Now it's damn close to being Track of the Year.

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#03) 'Ambling Alp' – Yeasayer
'Ambling Alp' arrived barely days late to be on last year's countdown. Lucky for it really. Familiarity has heightened rather than dulled it's impact and it benefits from being surrounded by equally brilliant songs on parent album Odd Blood. For my money, this is better than anything Animal Collective have ever done.


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#02) 'Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)' – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire were going to appear somewhere in the list, that was inevitable. Those who know me aren't going to be surprised at my choice of songs from The Suburbs. This presses all the right buttons for me, as evidenced by it being Track of the Week on release. It's new ground for Arcade Fire and an utterly classic pop song. Can we have it as a single now please?
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#01) Will be revealed on Monday, as Track of the Week.
Guesses are welcome. I'll see you then.

The Keep/Pop/Loud Festive Fifty 2010 – Part 3

The Keep/Pop/Loud Top 50 Songs of 2010 - Part 3 (#20-#11)

In case you missed the beginning of the countdown: here's Part 1 and here's Part 2

#20) 'Cold War' – Janelle Monaé
It was a tough call between this and the Big Boi featuring 'Tightrope' . The moment when the vocals kick in over the garage beat wins this though. Monaé's quite clearly fantastic. So much so that the virtuoso guitar part at the end is climactic rather than offputting.
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#19) 'Heartsink' – Blood Red Shoes
Simply, this Track of the Week rocks. Fists in the air people.
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#18) 'A Billion Balconies Facing The Sun' – Manic Street Preachers
The Manics at their stadium conquering best are hard to beat as evidenced here. Bass supplied by a founding member of Guns N Roses, Bradfield's finest solo in years and a chorus that you can guess from the title. Excellent.
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#17) 'Superfast Jellyfish' – Gorillaz feat. De La Soul & Gruff Rhys
Dropped as a single for reasons that will never be fathomed. 'Superfast Jellyfish' marries the brilliance of 'Feel Good Inc' with a Super Furry Animals hook. This gets stuck in your head for days at the mere mention.
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#16) 'Robert Scargill Takes The Prize' – Johnny Foreigner
A very recent Track of the Week, the highlight from Johnny Foreigner's debut EP on Alcopop! is sweet, understated and breaks new ground for them whilst maintaining their distinct identity.
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#15) 'Nothing Like You' – Frightened Rabbit
ANOTHER Track of the Week. Frightened Rabbit are so capable of writing songs this gut-wrenching that they make most of their peers look bad. “There's nothing like someone new,” they may sing but the old fashioned way of writing Bloody Brilliant Songs is pretty good too.
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#14) 'Don't You Want To Share The Guilt?' - Kate Nash
Kate Nash came back with the album that no-one really expected this year and hidden in there was this Los Campesinos! Aping beauty where Kate recounts the downs of a relationship over a every building backing. Plus she shouts the word “Cunt”.
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#13) 'Neon' – Ash
There's a lot of competition for Best Ash Song of 2010 but with it's cascading keyboards and unmistakably Tim Wheeler chorus 'Neon' wins it. For fans of M83 and listening to music on headphones in the dark whilst looking out of the window.
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#12) 'The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future' – Los Campesinos!
It took it's spot on Romance Is Boring for 'The Sea Is...' to live up to its true potential. It does the narration thing very well and without sounding pompus or contrived. The imagery is evocative and darkly funny.
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#11) 'This Orient' – Foals
I reviewed this glowingly for This Is Fake DIY back in April. I stand by everything that I said back then. A truly wonderful single from a formerly terrible band.
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Keep/Pop/Loud Festive Fifty 2010 – Part 2

The Top 50 Songs of 2010 #35-21
Festive Fifty 2010 - Part 2 (#35-#21)

Part 1 is here. Read it first.

#35) 'Bear' – British Sea Power
A gorgeous piece from the Zues EP. It sees BSP embracing the glacial-isms of Open Season with the more musically playful undertones that recall Arcade Fire.
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#34) 'Boxer' – The Gaslight Anthem
The moment from American Slang that retains the most from The '59 Sound is it's best. 'Old White Lincoln Pt. 2' as it essentially is, is more than fine by me.
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#33) 'Tiger Girl' - 65daysofstatic
Epic doesn't go far enough in describing this 10+ minute instrumental. The glitches and sweeps are as emotionally moving as the best pop and physically impacting as the best dance music.
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#32) 'Five Trees' – Chapel Club
Wonderfully smoky gloom pop. This Track of the Week across best on a 7" single if I'm honest, but the prospects for a full length are looking damn good.
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#31) 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' – The Vaccines
Short but oh, so sweet. In under a minute and a half The Vaccines accomplish perfection that so many bands yearn for. I almost want them to split up now so they don't sully this.
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#30) 'She Needs Me' – Fyfe Dangerfield
A faux-Northern Soul stomper, it's the song that should have made Fyfe the big star. Fully fleshed out instrumentation and THAT vocal. Nearly as good as Guillemots.
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#29) 'Free The Pterodactyl 3' – Hot Club de Paris
This former Track of the Week seems to have flown under most radars thanks to only being released on an EP. Subtle and intricate, it's one of Hot Club's very best. High praise.
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#28) 'Undercover Martyn' – Two Door Cinema Club
Trends will come and go, but glossy indie dancefloor fodder will not be forgotten by Keep Pop Loud. Especially when it's this catchy. Earworm of the year? Very possibly.
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#27) 'Obsessions' – Marina & the Diamonds
Despite or perhaps thanks to the talk of purchasing cream crackers 'Obsessions' is an oddly affecting dissection of breaking up. Also a great example of 'throw everything in' pop.
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#26) 'Compliments' – Band of Horses
Ah, the big open skies of America. 'Compliments' is the sound of open roads, rock radio and a dozen other things that I've only ever experienced through this brand of Americana.
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#25) 'I Feel Better' – Hot Chip
I used to HATE Hot Chip. Really. But this is special. Life affirming even. Like all of the best pop it's hard to tell on first listen if it's utter crap or genius.
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#24) 'Do It Again' – Edwyn Collins feat. Alex Kapranos & Nick McCarthy
This week's Track of the Week. It's a perfect meeting of Orange Juice and Franz Ferdinand. There's not really anything more that can be asked for from life.
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#23) 'Stop The Music' – The Pipettes
Despite all of the line-up changes The Pipettes still manage to come out with this stormer. Granted, it's no 'Pull Shapes', but Track of the Week #13 was close to lightning striking twice.
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#22) 'Rambling Man' – Laura Marling
Laura Marling possesses a voice that could make the government cuts sound fantastic. Here she puts it to the best possible use on a goosebump inducing classic.
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#21) 'Alice Springs' – Mystery Jets
The perfect opener to Mystery Jets best album yet. Vaguely '80s tinged pop with emotive shifts and rock drumming that effortlessly rolls the toms.
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Part 3 of the countdown which will stop just short of the Top 10 will be up tomorrow. You know where it's at.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Keep/Pop/Loud Festive Fifty 2010 – Part 1

The Top 50 Songs of 2010 #50-36
A few points:
1) Limited to one song per artist
2) Songs from 2009 albums that have been released as singles this year have been included
3) These are songs I've liked from this year and are listed in an entirely subjective and arbitrary way. This is more for me to make a playlist than anything else.

#50) 'The Book of Love' – Peter Gabriel
Rightfully chosen above Silvery's 'Give A Little Love' for this spot by Mrs Keep Pop Loud. This haunting cover of The Magnetic Fields works in every way it shouldn't. It was also the second Track of the Week of 2010
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#49) 'Animals' – The Answering Machine
A former Track of the Week that's demonstrative of the sky scraping brilliance The Answering Machine are capable of. Roll on album #2.
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#48) 'Fuckarias' – Those Dancing Days
Surprise late year addition to the list. 'Fuckarias' is the point where garage rock meets soulful pop - delivered by ice cool Swedish teens.
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#47) 'Sleep Forever' - Crocodiles
Fuzzy and anthemic. I reviewed and was captivated by this single over the summer and still can't shake it's melody. Close to perfection.
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#46) 'Damaged Goods' – The HotRats
Excellent Gang of Four cover from the former Supergrass boys. This wins a spot in the countdown purely for the moment the earthy bass kicks in.
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#45) 'Pigeons' – The Hundred In The Hands
Glossy sub-Girls Aloud pop is nothing to be sniffed at. The chorus here soars despite the portrayal of monotony. It easily grabs the ear and sounds great on the radio.
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#44) 'The Lost Estate' - Delays
Delays are always capable of knocking out something casually genius with this example being equal parts indie-jangle and hooky synth-pop.
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#43) 'G.I.R.L.F.R.I.E.N. (You Know I've Got A) – Everybody Was In The French Resistance... Now!
Eddie Argos always amuses and this Avril Lavigne send-up presses all the right buttons for comedy music - namely it doesn't forget to include a bubblegum pop tune.
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#42) 'The Birds Were Singing With All Their Might' – Love Is All
Clattering and discordant - but less so than Love Is All are known for being. 'The Birds...' has one of the best hidden melodies of the year.
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#41) 'While You're In The Bath' – Paul Smith
The highlight of Smith's excellent début solo album. It's warm and minimal, showcasing the wonderful croon that Maxïmo's full-on-ness doesn't allow.
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#40) 'Birds & Planes' – Dinosaur Pile-Up
So, apparently grunge will never die. But as long as bands are aping Nirvana, early Foo Fighters and a smidgen of Weezer with as much bollocks as this it doesn't deserve to. Review.
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#39) 'Once' – Diana Vickers
The POP song of the year. It almost excuses the existence of X-Factor but it's doubtful that Vickers will ever hit these heights again. Moorish.
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#38) 'Tender' – Frankie & The Heartstrings
Reviewed by me in April. This is rock n roll new-wave teen pop hedonism. Or something like that. Basically it's a rollocking piece of guitar pop.
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#37) 'I Can Change' – LCD Soundsystem
The emotional crux of LCD's third (and final) record. There's a sadness and futility amongst the protest and a penetration to the very core of the listener.
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#36) 'We've Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues' – Wild Beasts
From the excellent 2009 album that I was too slow to pick up on last year. This is one sensual, warped and frighteningly enchanting single.
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Part 2 of the countdown, going from #35 - #21 will be up tomorrow, so tune in again.


Monday, 6 December 2010

Track of the Week: 2010 #49 Edwyn Collins - Do It Again

Edwyn Collins feat. Alex Kapranos & Nick McCarthy – Do It Again

If you're this far in and wondering why you should be excited by this week's Track of the Week then it's clearly because you're unfamiliar with the names of the characters involved. In which case, my friends, you've probably come to the wrong place.

It's the former Orange Juice frontman at his most pop and (half of) Franz Ferdinand at their most chilled. Somewhere between 'Walk Away' and 'A Girl Like You'. But nothing like either really.

There's a distinct chance that this is one of the best songs that you will hear that's been released in 2010. Mr Collins himself (via Twitter) has informed me that him and his co-conspirators “look sexy” in the video, although it doesn't seem to have surfaced yet. Strange considering it's out on 7” today (apparently) and is taken from the album Losing Sleep which came out in September.

Tomorrow we see the start of the Keep Pop Loud Festive 50. Which I'm sure you'll agree is orgasmically exciting.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Stop the press and put down whatever it is you're doing - there's a new song from Those Dancing Days

You should be really excited about this because, as you might remember from their debut album In Our Space Hero Suits, Those Dancing Days are AMAZING. In fact, I reviewed said album back in 2008 and gave it a whopping 9/10. Read that here.

The new song is called 'Fuckarias' and it showcases a beefed up sound from the poppier sounds of songs such as 'Hitten', with comparisons to their fellow countrymen The Hives.

This is the video which is... you've guessed it... ace!


The song is available as a free download from their website. Go now!

I'd better go to bed now. I just got home from Stagecoach / Johnny Foreigner. It was great.

I'm in a nice and positive mood today. Music is good, yeah?