Friday, December 15, 2006
i'm fast as lightning bro, you better use your nikes bro



From Blown Speakers' End of Year Listfest, Vol. 1: the Singles

Feel free to rag on me for my selections, but take this as a list of my favourites, and not some attempt at measuring the best/influential/omnipresent singles of 2006. With that said, there's no "Crazy," because if I never hear it until I start compiling my 2007 list, I'll be pretty pleased.

1. TI - What You Know
A couple months back, I was explaining the concept of "the hook" to my girlfriend (whose listening habits don't delve that deeply into the realm of hip-hop). I suppose I could've just said "it's the chorus in a rap song," but I don't think that really captures the true spirit of a good hook. Instead, I summed it up by asserting that "it's the part of the song that you shout along and whip your hand over your head in time to." And if you can judge a hook by its ability to incite either behaviour, "What You Know's" is a monster. While the single wasn't nearly as ubiquitous, in a lot of circles the answer to "whatchu know about that?" became as obvious as the answer to "what's cooler than being cool?" was in '04.
watch: TI - What You Know
download: TI vs the Paper Cranes - What You Know About Deus Ex Machina (DJ K's Mix)

2. The Paper Cranes - I'll Love You Until My Veins Explode
No matter what happens to the Paper Cranes, they can still celebrate the fact that they crafted one pop song that is damn near perfect. Ryan McCullagh's vocals - slightly reminiscent of Robert Smith - sound fine when the band's conjuring up Cure comparisons, but when it comes to the new new wave, he also sounds a touch generic at times. By contrast, when his singing goes from croon to yelp and back again, underneath a bed of bouncing piano and lazy guitar, it's positively thrilling
download: the Paper Cranes - I'll Love You Until My Veins Explode

3. The Rapture - Whoo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh
One day, in a couple of years, you'll be on some dance floor minding your own business when you'll hear a familiar voice. Before you have a chance to place it, it'll have snuck up from behind to make sweet discotheque love to you. But until the day that it's okay for DJs to rock "House of Jealous Lovers" again, you'll have to settle for "WAYUH." By comparison, it's just a dance-punk hand job, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.
watch: the Rapture - Whoo! Alright-Yeah... Uh Huh


4. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
I think pretty much everyone made a bigger deal out of "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" (which is nothing to scoff at), but for me the title track of the record that was one of summer's soundtracks was the one that truly grabbed me. They both share the same soaring orchestration, but the latter sees Tracyanne Campbell's trademark deadpan glimmer with a hint of excitement in the pre-chorus. And while "Lloyd..." was buried in defeatism, "Let's Get Out of This Country" brims with hope amidst it's escapism. Every once in a while, it's nice to hear a (sort of) positive jam.
download: Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country

5. The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
Craig Finn's vocals are probably the Hold Steady's single most important element. Ironic then, that pulling his voice back in the mix, throwing the guitars and keys out front, and sliding some group "whoa-ohs" over top of everything would improve things. "Chips Ahoy!" still has its share of clever one-liners, but putting extra emphasis on the music that soundtracks the wit meant something else as well: that it would turn out undeniably catchy.
watch: the Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!
download: the Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy!

6. Jarvis Cocker - Cunts Are Still Running the World
Well, they are... "smash the system." Heh.
watch: Jarvis Cocker - Cunts Are Still Running the World

7. Rick Ross feat. Young Jeezy and Jay-Z - Hustlin (remix)
It's the hook. And while TI backs his up by spitting some pretty decent raps, Rick Ross has no such ambitions. On the original his lazy, half-assed rhymes inexplicably still work, but it's the remix that catapults "Hustlin'" to a higher plane. Not only does Ross mercifully avoid rhyming "Atlantic" (the label) with "Atlantic" (the ocean), but he corrals Jeezy and S. Carter to bless the reworking. Neither of them says anything all that interesting either, but they rhyme with enough style to make you believe the track's mantra: "everyday I'm hustlin.'"
watch: Rick Ross - Hustlin'
Rick Ross feat. Young Jeezy and Jay- Z - Hustlin' (Remix)

8. Teddybears - Yours to Keep (original feat. Paola and remix feat. Annie)
The original - released over six years ago in Sweden - is a lilting piece of perfect pop, with Paola's angelic timbre floating amongst a pulsing beat and 8-bit blips. The flipside pulls the guitars and drums to the front, giving the former a double-shot of overdrive, as Annie's wispy vocals dance along to the electro throb. You could pick a favourite, but I'd rather have both.
Teddybears feat. Paola - Yours to Keep
Teddybears feat. Annie - Yours to Keep (Annie Remix)

The Prototypes - Je Ne Te Connais Pas
Generally speaking, I carry a healthy amount of skepticism when I approach music that could be described as "a throwback." I also have trouble getting into a lot of music, when I can't understand the words. Sigur Ros (because his voice might as well be an instrument) and dance music (because lyrics really don't matter all that much) tend to be the exceptions. While "Je Ne Te Connais Pas" boasts a DJ friendly beat, it's certainly not a dance tune by genre, falling easiest under the garage or psych label; in essence, a throwback (think Thirteen Floor Elevators). Ma francais is also so terrible that the only things I can understand are the title and the "yeah yeah yeahs." But I still love this song.
download: The Prototypes - Je Ne Te Connais Pas EP (click on "stimuli")

Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland - Promiscuous Girl
So after the Grey Cup, I take back what I said re: Nelly and embarrassing Canadian music exports. That being said, this track still proves that Timbaland is back. And if Nelly's god awful performance at halftime proved anything, it's that he's like a one man musical version of the Sedin twins; you could throw anyone on his line and they'll score.
watch: Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland - Promiscuous Girl (ridiculous YouTube amateur puppet version)

also:
Peter Bjorn & John feat. Victoria Bergsman - Young Folks
TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
CSS - Let's Make Love and Listen to Death from Above
Uffie - Ready to Uff
Lupe Fiasco - Kick, Push
Kelis - Bossy
Herman Dune - I Wish That I Could See You Soon
Julie Doiron - Me and My Friend
Hello Saferide - the Quiz
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cheated Hearts
Arctic Monkeys - When the Sun Goes Down

now playing: the Clipse - Queen Bitch (Diplo Remix)

3 Comments:

thank you... i LOVE kelis's single "bossy" and lupe fiasco's "kick push".

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:47 PM  

dude, I think you underrated "Young Folks" which I've come around to realizing is maybe the #2 single of the year (behind, what else, "What You Know").

By Blogger Graham, at 2:06 PM  

I'll have to agree... I think Young Folks should be right up there. S'all good...

By Anonymous cflores, at 5:40 PM  

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upcoming shows
2/8 Twin Sister, Eleanor Friedberger, and Ava Luna @ the Media Club
2/9 David Choi @ the Rio
2/10 Secret Chiefs 3 and Dengue Fever @ the Rickshaw
2/13 White Buffalo @ the Media Club
2/14 The Ballyntines and Pleasure Cruise (TT) @ the Biltmore
2/18 Grimes w/Born Gold @ Fortune (early)
2/18 Cruel Young Heart, Young Liars, the Oh Wells, and Matiation @ the Dodson Rooms (AA)
2/18 Cursive w/UME @the Media Club
2/19 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour w/Vacationer @ Venue
2/20 Veronica Falls w/Bleached @ the Media Club
2/26 DJ Krush @ Fortune
2/29 Trevor Hall @ the Media Club
3/6 Slow Club w/Signals @ the Media Club
3/7 Cloud Nothings w/Mr. Dream @ the Media Clubr
3/8 Islands @ the Rio
3/10 Memoryhouse @ the Waldorf
3/17 William Fitzsimmons @ the Biltmore (early)
3/18 Magnetic Fields @ the Vogue (AA)
3/21 Plants & Animals>/b> @ the Rickshaw
3/22 Drive-by Truckers @ the Commodore
3/23 White Rabbits @ the Biltmore
3/23 Loney Dear @ the Media Club
3/24 Sharon Van Etten and the War on Drugs @ the Biltmore (early)
3/25 Nada Surf and An Horse @ the Rickshaw
3/27 The Ting Tings @ the Commodore
4/5 House de Racket @ the Electric Owl
4/6 Chairlift w/Nite Jewel @ the Electric Owl
4/7 Heartless Bastards @ the Media Club
4/8 Metronomy @ Venue
4/8 Gotye @ the Vogue (AA)
4/9 Cults @ Venue
4/10 First Aid Kit @ Venue
4/10 Andrew Bird w/Laura Marling @ the Vogue (AA)
4/13 The Odds and the Grapes of Wrath @ the Rickshaw
4/14 The Joel Plaskett Emergency @ the Vogue (AA)
4/24 School of Seven Bells w/Exitmusic @ the Electric Owl
4/26 Justice @ the PNE Forum (AA)
4/27 M83 @ the Vogue (AA)
4/27 Yukon Blonde @ the Commodore
4/28 Neon Indian @ Venue (early)
5/6 Delta Spirit w/Waters @ the Electric Owl
5/9 Yann Tiersen @ the Rickshaw
5/11 Great Lake Swimmers w/Cold Specks @ the Commodore
5/12 The Boxer Rebellion> @ the Biltmore
5/27 Coeur de Pirate @ Venue

legend:
AA = all ages
DG = @damaged goods
DFTK = @dirty for the kids
FJW = @fake jazz wed
EN = @easy now
GD = @glory days
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SD = @shindig
TT = @toonie tuesday
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previous posts
i'll love you until my veins explode
one more minute to midnight
ross ross ross
will you smile again for me?
24-hour store
we will always be like little kids
down where i darn with the milk-eyed mender
take me out (again)
i know i won't be leaving here... with you
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mp3s are for preview purposes, if you like what you hear, buy it at your favourite indie record store. please don't direct link to photos. click for more.

writing by Quinn
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