Sunday, December 26, 2010

Poplie radio show, 26th of December 2010

This show was dedicated to the best songs of the year in my humble opinion. I made the top-20 initially for Poplie radio and then decided to do the show and adding more to fill the two hours. I think it turned out quite good. You can always get the show from the left column. Click on the image (Vienna in snow) to see the playlist and the top-26.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Final Top-20 countdown for best albums of 2010

So as you know if you have been reading my posts for the last month, for the 4th year in a row, my dear friend Gone4sure organized the vote for the best albums of the year by Greek bloggers, with the valuable help of homo Ludens and Aggelos K. I have taken part in this since the first time back in 2007. You have seen my top-20 and also Giannis' top-20 list in my previous post. Here are the final results of the jury for this year's Blogovision (fun name, isn't it?)

01. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
02. The National - High Violet
03. Caribou - Swim
04. Beach House - Teen Dream
05. Gonjasufi - A Sufi And A Killer
06. Black Keys - Brothers
07. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
08. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
09. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
10. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
11. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
12. Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More
13. Janelle Monae - Archandroid
14. Gil Scott Heron - I'm New Here
15. Ariel Pink - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
16. Midlake - The Courage Of Others
17. MGMT - Congratulations
18. Broken Bells - Broken Bells
19. Sufjan Stevens - Age of Ads
20. Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
21. Twin Shadow - Forget
22. Motorama - Alps
23. Grinderman - Grinderman 2
24. Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
25. Yeasayer - Odd Blood
26. These New Puritans - Hidden
27. Shearwater - The Golden Archipelago
28. Pantha du Prince - Behind The Stars
29. John Grant - Queen of Denmark
30. Foals - Total Life Forever
31. Electric Litany - How To Be A Child And Win The War
32. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
33. Divine Comedy - Bang Goes The Knighthood
34. Four Tet - There Is Love In You
35. Lone Wolf - The Devil And I
36. Neil Young - Le noise
37. Hot Chip - One Life Stand
38. Pan Pan - Someday Maybe I Wont Mind
39. Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
40. Radio Dept. - Clinging to a Scheme

No big surprises on the top-5, it was expected that Arcade Fire and National would give a strong fight for the top, Caribou was a really strong contender as were Beach House who were really popular, and Gonjasufi is this year's hip selection. I am happy to have eight of my top-20 selections in the top 40. Let's do it again next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - our lists

Stratos - Top-20 countdown:

01. The National – High Violet
02. Groove Armada – Black Light
03. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
04. Daft Punk – Tron Legacy OST
05. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
06. Karen Elson – The Ghost Who Walks
07. Five Star Hotel – This Sound
08. Pan Pan – Someday Maybe I Won’t Mind
09. Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci - Departum
10. Caribou - Swim
11. Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite
12. Scissor Sisters - Night Work
13. Goldfrapp - Head First
14. Marina & The Diamonds - Family Jewels
15. Robyn - Body Talk
16. Lone Wolf - The Devil And I
17. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim - Here Lies Love
18. Zola Zesus - Stridulum II
19. The Divine Comedy - Bang Goes The Knighthood
20. Beach House - Teen Dream

Giannis - top20 countdown:

01. The National – High Violet 
02. The Black Keys – Brothers 
03. LCD soyndsystem - This Is Happening 
04. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles 
05. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs 
06. Groove Armada – White/Black Light 
07. Hot Chip – One Life Stand 
08. Ratatat – LP4 
09. Scissor Sisters – Night Work 
10. Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way 
11. The Boy – Koustoumaki 
12. The Walkmen - Lisbon
13. Wavves – King Of The Beach 
14. Goldfrapp – Head First 
15. The Radio Dept - Clinging To A Scheme 
16. CocoRosie – Grey Oceans 
17. Spoon - Transference
18. Of Montreal – False Priest 
19. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang 
20. Metaform – The Electric Mist 

Top-20 Countdown - No.01

Stratos - no.01: The National - High Violet

What to write about this one? That it was the soundtrack of my life this year? That it defined so many of my sleepless nights and groggy mornings? That it took me by the hand and helped me get through a difficult period of my life not by supporting me or whispering soft sweet nothings in my ears but by entering me and inhabiting every vein and every cell of my body, making me feel all emotions stronger, clearer, more thorough. Oh and yes, I think this is their best one yet.

Here is my review for High Violet as published in Screw magazine issue 19:

Ever since 2001, The National have been gifting us with one wonderful song after another. Songs that mark personal moments for everyone, that carve themselves deep in our hearts whether we want it or not. Their new album is not an exception. From the first track of this record you understand that once more you will cry, scream, beat up yourself, smile, love, separate and The National will be there, next to you, writing the soundtrack of your life. And of course Matt Benninger's characteristic voice is simply unsurpassed. It's difficult to pick songs that stand out, because they are all exceptional.
Selections: Conversation 16, Terrible Love, Anyone’s Ghost

Giannis - no.01: The National - High Violet

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.02

Stratos - no.02: Groove Armada - Black Light

Such a great album, full of incredibly amazing songs, discovering a brilliant new voice (Saint Saviour), re-discovering old ones (can Will Young keep on doing this?) and Groove Armada in top form - what more can I ask for? Oh yes, seeing them live (Santa, are you listening?). Dance, dance, dance, dance all the way through. Love 'em. Plus they gave us a second one with remixes and live versions called White Light!

Giannis - no.02: The Black Keys – Brothers

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.03

Stratos - no.03: LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

Final three now... this is probably their last album (I hope they change their mind) and it is at least as good as their previous work. LCD Soundsystem keep defining my music world with their music, their beats deeply ingrained in my cells, their electronic sounds etched in my mind, James Murphy's voice echoing in my ears. And yes, I want to have his baby (I'll settle for Pat Mahoney of James declines, thank you). Murphy's law indeed.

My review for "This Is Happening" as published in Screw magazine issue 19:

James Murphy and his group give us their third (and rumoured last) album as LCD Soundsystem. Combining exquisite beats, electronic elements and Murphy's particular style, they do not disappoint - instead they pull you inside their world without giving you an escape route. This might not make you feel like exploring distant soundscapes like their previous one, but it fills you with aesthetic and sensual gusto. And in these days it is so very rare. 
Selections: Dance Yrself Clean, Drunk Girls, Home

Giannis - no.03: LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening

Friday, December 17, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.04

Stratos - no.04: Daft Punk - Tron Legacy Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Soundtrack of the year for me, it probably has already defined the way I am going to see the film. Much anticipated album from Daft Punk, it disappointed lots of their fans because they probably expected another Discovery, Of course it is not one. It is a chillingly brilliant work that puts them right up there with any major contemporary film music composer. I usually listen to it late at night, dreaming about running with my light cycle away...

Giannis - no.04: Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.05

Stratos - no.05: Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

This came out in late autumn of 2009 but we barely noticed it until the first months of 2010, when it was officialy released in Europe. Gorgeous dreamy folk music that can either fill me with joy or tear me up depending on the song and time of day, it was one of the records I could barely stop playing either at home or on my radio show. Their music speaks straight to my heart without even trying. I am certain we will be listening a lot of these guys in the next few years and that they will keep getting better with time - like great wine does. Drink non-stop of their nectar.

Giannis - no.05: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.06

Stratos - no.06: Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks

Karen Elson was always one of my favourite models, so different than your run of the mill blondes that filled the glossy pages of Vogues around the world. When she married Jack White I was worried that it may make her change from high fashion to grunge/rock chic but instead she became a bona-fide singer /songwriter, turning out an album that many seasoned ladies of the scene would kill for. Sensual, intelligent and tasteful, she brings to music all the right ingredients from her fashion career. I do have a thing for redheads and I am so glad she did not disappoint me.

My review for the album for Screw Magazine issue 21:

Some will say «Jack White's wife». Others will say «model». But if they put this album to play without knowing who Karen Elson is and listen to it in one go, from start till finish, they will adore it without a second guess.Mrs. White has crafted a small gem, embellishing our walls with her wonderful soundscapes, sometimes dark and sadly fragile, others more strong and demanding. And her distinctive voice is the link that threads her stories from beginning to end. And we listen to her. 
Selections: The Ghost Who Walks, Stolen Roses, Cruel Summer

Giannis - no.06: Groove Armada – Black Light

Blogovision party - 21st Of December 2010!

Instead of Gone4sure posting the results first in his blog, as he did the previous years, this year the results will be announced at a party organized in Blink at Karytsi square, on the 21st of December, starting at 22:00. Be there if you want to have fun with Tassos Papaioannou (who designed the poster as well) and Vassilis Bibas (both from Poplie radio) on the decks or listen to songs of the top-20 albums of the year as voted by Greek bloggers and after that, Teresos will take over the decks. Or if you just want to discuss the results whether you agree or not with them. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.07

Stratos - no.07: Five Star Hotel - This Sound

Yes, George is a friend. Yes I have been listening to their songs, even playing them at the bar I used to DJ, in one form or another, for three years now. Waiting for this album to come out was like having your wife pregnant for aforementioned years. But it is out. And it is amazing. And we get to enjoy it in its best form yet. And listen over and over to this incredible music. Thanks a lot George, keep it up!

My review of "This Sound" for Screw magazine, issue 21:

George Begas, Yiannis Kretsios, Yiannis Varelidis, Euripidis Papadopoulos and Antonis Vellios are members of a group that all of Thessaloniki (OK, all of "smart" Thessaloniki) was waiting impatiently to make their first CD. And finally we have it in our hands... and it's stuck on repeat! Gorgeous music with a view, style and balls that thousands of much more experienced groups would be jealous of, from both sides of the Atlantic. Pop? Yes, but also rock and electronica merging harmoniously. For those who cannot understand unless they compare one with another artist, I will give one name: Camera Obscura (yes they will be the opening act for them in Thessaloniki on the 29th of October). You want more? St. Etienne. OK, enough with ask the audience, now go get the CD!
Selections: Minimal, Underground, Highway Traffic

Giannis - no.07: Hot Chip – One Life Stand

Monday, December 13, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.08

Stratos - no.08: Pan Pan - Someday Maybe I Won't Mind

I am so proud of Panayiotis Pantazis. I know him for some years now, read his comics and listen to his music and now that he has released his first fully fledged album (which you can download here for at least 1 euro) I am so happy to see his dreams come true. The album is very intense and atmospheric, his sound relentless but heart - warming. Go Pan Pan, go!!!

My review for this album published originally in Screw issue 22

Panayiotis Pantazis is something of a Renessance artist - an architect with a phD in theoretical Architecture if you please), designer and writer of comics (his four wonderful Common Comics are published by Giganto Books) and musician. Self taught. Researching to the limits. For years he has been fighting with keyboards, samples, his inspiration, making dreamy or nightmarish soundscapes that accompany even his comic stories. For his first official album he gathered what he considers best from all the music he wrote these last few years, "freshened" it up and laid them out, nine pieces, only as a digital download, as his soul testament. 
Selection: Never Gonna Happen, 5 Years, Wake Up With The Sun

Giannis - no.08: Ratatat – LP4

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Poplie radio show, 12th of December 2010

Mid-December and mid-blogovision countdown, I tried to refrain from focusing on that as I intend to do a show for my top20 albums when this is over. You can always find the show on the left hand column to listen to again. Click on the image above to see the playlist.

Photo courtesy of Stratos Bacalis

Top-20 Countdown - No.09

Stratos - no.09: Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci - Departum

This woman is one of  my favourite artists of all time, so a new release from her is always welcome. A collaboration album again, Lisa picks this time Marcello De Francisci (he is a soundtrack composer, they had worked again together in the Balibo soundtrack) and they deliver to us a gorgeous haunting album, with that voice that will always send shivers down my spine and fill my eyes with tears. I cannot resist her.

Giannis - no.09: Scissor Sisters – Night Work

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.10

Stratos - no.10: Caribou - Swim

What a gorgeous album! Dreamy electronic dance music that characterised much of this year's summer for me. It was one of my mainstay listens at home and it had a permanent place in my radio shows almost every week - either Odessa or Jamelia was sure to be on my playlist. More please!

Giannis - no.10: Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.11 and the story so far

Stratos - no.11: Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite

This is one of her purest dance albums - not one ballad in sight! I thoroughly enjoy it and keep on dancing to it whenever I listen to one of its tracks. Stuart Price hit the nail right on its head and gave her the best production he could , in fact making the album sound a lot like his other great production this year, the Scissor Sisters album Night Work (check previous post). There is even a Jack Shears collaboration here, Too Much, a dance stomper if there ever was one! I cannot imagine a more perfect summer (or winter) night in a great club dancing to this till dawn. She could release almost every track as a single and get away with it.

Giannis - no.11: The Boy – Koustoumaki

Let's see how our lists have evolved so far, from no.20 till no.11:


11. Kylie Minogue - Aphrodite
12. Scissor Sisters - Night Work
13. Goldfrapp - Head First
14. Marina & The Diamonds - Family Jewels
15. Robyn - Body Talk
16. Lone Wolf - The Devil And I
17. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim - Here Lies Love
18. Zola Zesus - Stridulum II
19. The Divine Comedy - Bang Goes The Knighthood
20. Beach House - Teen Dream


11. The Boy – Koustoumaki
12. The Walkmen - Lisbon
13. Wavves – King Of The Beach
14. Goldfrapp –Head First
15. The Radio Dept-Clinging To A Scheme
16. CocoRosie – Grey Oceans
17. Spoon- Transference
18. Of Montreal – False Priest
19. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
20. Metaform – The Electric Mist

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.12

Stratos - no.12: Scissor Sisters - Night Work

When I heard their first single out of Night Work, Fire With Fire, I started dancing on my own in front of my PC. The album did not disappointing either. A collection of pure gay dance music ready to lift you of in another dimension. More focused and strong then ever, Scissor Sisters are reaching their peak so far. And Mapplethorp's photography used on the cover is always mesmerizing.

My review of Night Work for Screw magazine issue 20:

One of the groups with defining influence over the dance scene of the last years returns with their latest album to find out if they still have their lucky charm. Even though they are American, Scissor Sisters members have european influences and references in their music, a thing that helps them achieve their target: beautiful riveting dance music with definite point of view a gay affair and what it entails. Dive deep and feel refreshed!
Selections: Fire With Fire, Whole New Way, Invisible light

Giannis - no.12: The Walkmen - Lisbon

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.13

Stratos - no.13: Goldfrapp - Head First

Yesterday Giannis had them at no. 14, today they are my no.13. Alison Goldfrap lets her Olivia Newton-John Xanadu fantasy come to life (how can I not love her even more for that? Olivia is my number one favourite singer since 1978!) and the result is a dance album that I cannot stop dancing to! It may not be their best but it has become my favourite!

My review of Head First for Screw magazine issue 17:
Goldfrapp reach hopefully their fifth album. Alison Goldfrapp and her gang tale their obsession with Olivia Newton-John from her Xanadu era (the definitive gay cult musical) to it's limits – even the first single's cover , the rousing Rocket, is a direct reference to the film. The sound is brimming with electronic elements, very commercial and optimistic. I do not believe that there is a human being that will listen to this and will not want to get up and dance right away - you? 
Selections: Rocket, Believer, Alive

Giannis - no.13: Wavves – King Of The Beach

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.14

Stratos - no.14: Marina & The Diamonds - Family Jewels

This is a record I thoroughly enjoyed this year. playing over and over at work - luckily my colleagues loved it as well. When I managed to get the CD in Edinburgh, we started playing it at the place  I was staying a lot, along with Florence's Lungs. It's so infectious and feel-good! Well done Marina!

My review for Family Jewels, published in Screw issue 17:

Marina Diamandis is of Greek origin (her dad that is) but she grew up in the UK. And it definitely shows in her first album titled "Family Jewels" (we all know what this phrase means I guess!). Beautiful songs with the spunky and lively Marina spreading her characteristic voice with ease and guts on the 13 album tracks. It is not the perfect record but you have a great time listening to it! Do not miss! 
Selections: Are You Satisfied?, Shampain, Mowgli’s Road

Giannis - no.14: Goldfrapp – Head First

Monday, December 6, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.15

Stratos - no.15: Robyn - Body Talk

Robyn released three albums with the same title this year, Body Talk parts 1 & 2 and this one which contains five tracks from pt.1, five from pt.2 and five new ones. To me it seems this is the most representative of her releases this year so I picked this for my list. I love her sound, her voice, her attitude, yet she always seems to be just a small step behind in her personal stuff compared to what she does working with artists like Kleerup or Röyksopp. I still can;t believe we only got to listen to her voice while waiting in-line to enter Athen's Olympic Stadium when she was Madonna's support. She's a firm favourite of mine - just keep on dancing!

My Screw magazine review for this album, published in issue no.23 (December 2010):

She became famous with the exceptional "With Every Heartbeat" in 2007. We saw her as the support act in Madonna's concert in Athens. This year she decided to release three full albums titled Body Talk, having of course her own recording company. The last one of them just came out and is essentially a concentration: five track from I & II each and five new ones. Rhythmic and dynamic tracks that get you up for dancing like crazy till falling exhausted on the dance floor. Ignore her at your own peril.  
Selections: Indestructible, Dancing On My Own, Hang With Me.

Giannis - no.15: The Radio Dept-Clinging To A Scheme

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Poplie radio show, 5th of December 2010 - Temptations

The Temptations tribute was long overdue. I grew up listening to their music, they are my strongest influence in terms of beat, orchestral arrangements, melodies, harmonics. And that style! I really enjoyed this show and hoe you did too. You can listen to it again if you get it from the left column of this blog. Check the play list by clicking the image above.

Top-20 Countdown - No.16

Stratos: no.16: Lone Wolf - The Devil And I

Paul Marshall from Leeds has captivated my heart with his sophomore release (the previous one, Vultures, was released under his name). Folk with a twist (the band arrangements take care of that mostly), it makes hair stand on my neck. This is the kind of music I like best, the one that speaks directly to your heart, travelling through your emotions. I am anxious to listen to what he will release next.

Giannis: No.16 - CocoRosie – Grey Oceans 2010 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.17

Stratos: No.17 - David Byrne & Fatboy Slim - Here Lies Love

If somebody told me a year ago that I  would e posting a photo of Imelda Marcos in one of my blogs I would tell them they're crazy. But here it is. She is the concept of this album (actually her relationship with one of her maids) by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, two very creative music artists. I love this because they picked incredible singers to sing their stuff, some of them real favourites: Sharon Jones, Camille, Róisín Murphy, Candie Payne, St. Vincent, Shara Worden, Florence Welch, Allison Moorer, Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Martha Wainwright,Natalie Merchant, Sia Furler, Santigold, Charmaine Clamor, Nicole Atkins, and Kate Pierson among many others, alternately playing the roles of Imelda Marcos and Estrella Cuempas. 

I love most of the songs, many of them make the singers "play" against type with great results. For my biased ears, Róisín and Tori come as the winners from all of them here, Tori having to sing a duet with Cyndi Lauper apart from her solo. I have played many of them in my radio show and will keep on listening to this for years to come. 

Giannis: No.17 - Spoon - Transference

Friday, December 3, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.18

Stratos: No.18 - Zola Jesus - Stridulum II

I knew Zola from last year's album, The Spoils. I liked her voice more than I did her music. She reminded me of Siouxsie, so it made her songs sound familiar to my ears. This year she has an exceptional song in this album, Night. But she still needs lots of work to make a clear point of what she wants to do with her music. She still sounds to me like someone else, not herself. But she sure gives many signs that she's on the right track. Hope she lives up to my expectations - cause it seems for others she has already fulfilled them.

My review from Screw magazine, issue 22:

Nika Rosa Danilova was "baptised" Zola Jesus to make a career in music beyond the opera she begun to study. Aged just 21, from Winsconsin USA, she is part of a small team that brings back the Goth aesthetics at the forefront, visually as well as sonically. Obviously influenced by the priestess Siouxsie (even her voice reminds of her a lot), with the guidance and support of James Stewart of Xiu Xiu fame (with whom she makes up the group Former Ghosts), Zola writes epic compositions, with stirring vocals, her music impressive and evocative at the same time, dark, menacing, rhythmic but also romantic, in a hellish, cursed way.  
Selections: Night, I Can’t Stand, Lightsick.

Giannis: No.18 - Of Montreal - False Priest

Coming on Sunday: A tribute to The Temptations

I grew up listening to their music, thanks to my uncle who is a great fan. I had the luck to see them play live in my home town, Thessaloniki, back in the early 90s, a concert I will never ever forget. So join me this Sunday at The Sandman Chronicles on-air at Poplie radio, for a tribute to this amazing group.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.19

Stratos: No.19 - The Divine Comedy - Bang Goes The Knighthood

This one was a favourite right from the start. I was so certain I would see them live in Edinburgh's Fringe Festival this year I kept listening to it again and again, wanting to learn all the lyrics so that I cloud sing along with them during the concert. Alas it was sold out months before (the cheap price of 20 GBP was a major factor as well as them being, well, THE Divine Comedy) so I did not have the chance to sing this wonderfully theatrical ditty:

Giannis:  No.19 - The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top-20 Countdown - No.20

  • Stratos: No. 20 - Beach House - Teen Dream

And it begins with Beach House, an American duo from Baltimore, with the native Alex Scally (love that name) and the French-born Victoria Legrand (niece of the composer Michel Legrand). Dreamy pop with a proper dosage of dynamism and intensity, it fills your ears with joy and a sense of satisfaction. Victoria's husky vocals are seductive, finding the perfect match to Alex's guitar. Brilliant third album, their best yet, easily surpassing this year's Vampire Weekend's "Contra" - they were the latter's opening act in their tour.

  • Giannis: No.20 - Metaform - The Electric Mist