ninety-minute nationalism’s top ten albums of the year.
if you like, you can hit play on the mix. i spent about five minutes making that, about an hour uploading it, and though you shouldn’t (and won’t) take up forty minutes of your life reading this, y’know… it’s there to accompany the piece.
i think 2013 has been brilliant for music. i could name another five albums that would quite easily fit into my top ten records of the year, when some years i struggle to come up with ten records i can honestly say i love.
there are two standouts for me, and i’ll afford them the top billing. the knife’s incredible “shaking the habitual” and danny brown’s sprawling “old”. i had no idea what to expect from either record, and they both still surprised me.
"shaking the habitual" is a statement, a bold leap forward from the knife, no doubt alienating some who loved "silent shout", but their bloody determinism not to rehash old ideas, and to present something completely different is commendable, and added to that, it has some of the finest song writing of their career. take away "cherry on top", "old dreams waiting to be realised" and "tracking fluid injection", reduce some of the song lengths with radio edits, and you have an almost poppy album. but that’s not the point. it’s the presentation of their ideas in a unique, startling world of sound that sets them apart.
"old" is distinct, a realised project in itself, quite different from "shaking the habitual", and not as alienating, but is a perfect encapsulation and portrait of the artist. it is split into side a and side b. side a, the "old" danny brown, a man with a lower voice, depressed, numbed by the torture he’s witnessed in impoverished detroit contrasts side b, the new danny brown, shrieking, tongue out, devil horn hands, high and pumping out party tunes. both are equally engaging and enjoyable. the production from paul white and rustie is in particular enjoyable, and despite several different producers contributing, the album is cohesive and focussed. like a$ap rocky’s long.live album, half the strength is in the choice of producers, but brown is rapper at the top of his game and delivers a fascinating album soaked in narrative and personality.
yo la tengo delivered their best album in ten years, a snappy, direct album that seems to have taken most yo la fans i know by surprise, simply by how startling a return to form it is from a band in their fourth decade. the soupy, sirupy, uncompromising debut from earl sweatshirt is brilliant, though the quality of the raps suffers a few forgettable beats, and musically, the album lacks the tightness of production that danny brown and rocky have. the taut cold techno of factory floor is incredible, and contrasts quite sharply with the warm summer pond of daniel avery’s drone logic, while stellar om source and dj rashad are quite simply in worlds of their own. and action bronson returns to form - and to the production stable of party supplies - after the frankly shit saab stories with blue chips 2, his best release since… blue chips.
the list, since you’ve read this far:
1. the knife - shaking the habitual
2. danny brown - old
3. yo la tengo - fade
4. earl sweatshirt - doris
5. A$AP rocky - long.live.A$AP
6. factory floor - factory floor
7. dj rashad - double cup
8. daniel avery - drone logic
9. action bronson & party supplies - blue chips 2
10. stellar om source - joy one mile
jenny hval - innocence is kinky
machinedrum - vapour city
adam stafford - imaginary walls collapse
death grips - government plates
james blake - overgrown
"nigel mirage - this ain’t no mirage!"
UKIP rap. what a beat!
great wee poem from john mcgarrigle, who died in the clutha pub helicopter disaster on friday. RIP.
because sometimes 140 characters aren’t enough: ninety-minute nationalism’s thoughts on the new inverness caledonian thistle manager.
so a full month after we realised terry butcher would be leaving inverness for the poisoned chalice at easter road, we come to today’s unveiling of john “yogi” hughes as the new manager. the board taking their time with the decision, and not rushing into a shotgun wedding with any candidates, seemed universally popular with the ICT fans, almost as universally unpopular as their final decision seems to be.
along with the laughable suggestions from the central belt media that ex-celts chris sutton or henrik larsson might be about to take charge (because we can’t have a story about a diddy team without mentioning old firm legends - personally i’m surprised one of the lisbon lions wasn’t in their reckoning, tbh) were the usual former managers who haven’t worked in years - craig brewster and john robertson, again quite laughable propositions that, thankfully, proved to be nothing but media speculation inspired by trolls on the fan message boards… and at the sharper end of the betting odds, some rather attractive candidates in kenny shiels, craig levein and paul hartley.
personally, i was keen on shiels for his ability to motivate, for his loyalty, and for his commitment to the idea of community - something terry butcher, for all his exhortations of how wonderful inverness really is, didn’t necessarily put into practice with bringing youth through into the first team. on the other side of the coin, and just as intriguing, was the idea of paul hartley. a man with good contacts throughout the game, consecutive promotions with part-time alloa, followed by short-term consolidation in the second tier, a man apparently hungry to prove himself at a lower level and work his way up while learning his trade. inverness would provide him a smaller top-tier club to prove himself worthy of a bigger job at. win-win for both ICT and hartley.
so to plump for john “yogi” hughes, a man of limited success, success several years ago at that, is really, really disappointing. a promotion and four years of spl football at falkirk, followed by one good season at hibs before falling spectacularly out of the tree is all i am prepared to give him. his stints at livingston and hartlepool were too short to show any positive signs, and fans of falkirk and hibs have been all too happy to stick the boot in, warning of us of impending doom, telling tales of bullying, stubbornness, and a complete inability to adapt.
i’m worried about what’s going to happen to this team. given the way the team has managed itself since butcher left, it would take a real buffoon to tinker with team and mess up the rest of the season. i’m pretty sure we’ve appointed that buffoon. several commentators and pundits remarked in second place in the SPL, the only way is down for inverness. i disagree. we can still qualify for europe, we can quite conceivably win the league cup. we haven’t reached the glass ceiling yet. but since this appointment, i would tend to agree, that at the moment the only way for inverness is down.
the unveiling is at 11am, at the time of me writing this post. i’m hoping it’s a spectacular instance of trolling the BBC from chairman kenny cameron, in retaliation for their efforts in tapping terry butcher up on hibernian’s behalf, and that he’s going to unveil hartley, sheils, levein, derek adams… ANYONE but hughes.
but i doubt it.
Tonight’s gig (a support slot for Edinburgh indie guitar poppers Book Group as they launch their double-A side ‘Victory Lap’ / ‘The Lowdown of a Loud Sound’) is only the second outing for Carbs, but their constituent members’ prior onstage experience…
am i the hipster chopper read, or mike from spaced?