Monday, December 23, 2013

The Sandman Chronicles on Poplie radio: Blogovision 2013


Blogovision 2013 final results

So the tally is done, 174 people voted for their favourite albums and let's see the final list for this year (numbers in parenthesis are the points each album got)! I have only five in common with the top-20. Thanks to everyone involved, all the people who voted but most of all to the man who created this fun way to musically end the year and is the soul behind blogovision, Markos Fragkos. Here's to next year!


1. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor” (1494)
2. Daft Punk – “Random Access Memories” (1294)
3. Arctic Monkeys – “AM” (1053)
4. National – “Trouble Will Find Me” (1038)
5. Vampire Weekend – “Modern Vampires Of The City” (870)
6. My Bloody Valentine – “Mbv” (855)
7. James Blake – “Overgrown” (798)
8. Savages – “Silence Yourself” (650)
9. Queens Of The Stone Age – “…Like Clockwork” (649)
10. Atoms For Peace – “AMOK” (600)
11. Chvrches – “The Bones Of What You Believe” (565)
12. Boards Of Canada – “Tomorrow’s Harvest” (537)
13. Deerhunter – “Monomania” (528)
14. Knife – “Shaking The Habitual” (524)
15. Jon Hopkins – “Immunity” (520)
16. Darkside – “Psychic” (480)
17. Kanye West – “Yeezus” (478)
18. Justin Timberlake – “The 20/20 Experience” (425)
19. Black Angels – “Indigo Meadow” (425)
20. John Grant – “Pale Green Ghosts” (424)
21. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – “Push The Sky Away” (404)
22. Chelsea Wolfe – “Pain Is Beauty” (372)
23. Woodkid – “The Golden Age” (361)
24. Bill Callahan – “Dream River” (360)
25. Sigur Ros – “Kveikur” (346)
26. Fuck Buttons – “Slow Focus” (338)
27. London Grammar – “If You Wait” (321)
28. David Bowie – “The Next Day” (320)
29. Kurt Vile – “Wakin On A Pretty Daze” (297)
30. Girls Names – “The New Life” (294)
31. Deafheaven – “Sunbather” (292)
32. Forest Swords – “Engravings” (277)
33. Disclosure – “Settle” (274)
34. Larry Gus – “Years Not Living” (251)
35. Foxygen – “We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic” (248)
36. HAIM – “Days Are Gone” (247)
37. Parquet Courts – “Light Up Gold” (239)
38. Factory Floor – “Factory Floor” (233)
39. Phosphorescent – “Muchacho” (208)
40. Julia Holter – “Loud City Song” (204)
41. Foals – “Holy Fire” (197)
42. These New Puritans – “Field Of Reeds” (197)
43. Thee Oh Sees – “Floating Coffin” (189)
44. Iceage – “You’re Nothing” (188)
45. Franz Ferdinand – “Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action” (186)
46. Still Corners – “Strange Pleasures” (186)
47. MS MR – “Secondhand Rapture” (181)
48. Rhye – “Woman” (180)
49. White Lies – “Big Tv” (171)
50. Pan Pan – “Missing Two Trains On Purpose” (171)
51. The Men – “New Moon” (171)
52. Tim Hecker – “Virgins” (167)
53. Steve Mason – “Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time” (166)
54. Crystal Stilts – “Nature Noir” (159)
55. Charli XCX – “True Romance” (154)
56. Washed Out – “Paracosm” (151)
57. 65daysofstatic – “Wild Light” (148)
58. Mikal Cronin – “MCII” (146)
59. Primal Scream – “More Light” (146)
60. Goldfrapp – “Tales Of Us” (144)
61. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito” (142)
62. Tricky – “False Idols” (141)
63. Moderat – “II” (139)
64. Laura Marling – “Once I Was An Eagle” (138)
65. Nine Inch Nails – “Hesitation Marks” (137)
66. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “II” (133)
67. Devendra Banhart – “Mala” (131)
68. Pearl Jam – “Lightning Bolt” (131)
69. Vår – “No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers” (129)
70. Kavinsky – “Outrun” (129)
71. Yo La Tengo – “Fade” (128)
72. Pharmakon – “Abandon” (122)
73. Austra – “Olympia” (122)
74. Hookworms – “Pearl Mystic” (120)
75. Daughter – “If You Leave” (120)
76. The Strokes – “Comedown Machine” (118)
77. Jonathan Wilson – “Fanfare” (117)
78. Lorde – “Pure Heroine” (117)
79. Carcass – “Surgical Steel” (116)
80. King Krule – “6 Feet Beneath The Moon” (115)
81. Mazzy Star – “Seasons Of Your Day” (114)
82. Editors – “The Weight Of Your Love” (109)
83. Moonface – “Julia With Blue Jeans On” (106)
84. Midlake – “Antiphon” (106)
85. Wooden Shjips – “Back To Land” (105)
86. Lady Gaga – “Artpop” (104)
87. Fidlar – “Fidlar” (104)
88. Dirty Beaches – “Drifters/Love Is The Devil” (103)
89. Keep Shelly In Athens – “At Home” (103)
90. Suede – “Bloodsports” (103)
91. Steven Wilson – “The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)” (102)
92. Flaming Lips – “The Terror” (102)
93. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Specter At The Feast” (102)
94. Bonobo – “The North Borders” (101)
95. Matt Elliott – “Only Myocardial Infarction Can Break Your Heart” (98)
96. Portugal. The Man – “Evil Friends” (96)
97. Local Natives – “Hummingbird” (96)
98. Ulver – “Messe I.X-VI.X” (96)
99. TORRES – “TORRES” (91)
100. Jim James – “Regions Of Light And Sound Of God” (90)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.1: Essie Jain - All Became Golden



All Became Golden is a very apt title for Essie Jain's fourth album. She recorded this live, meaning with an orchestra and audience at the same time in the studio with her, much like artists like Frank Sinatra used to do in the mid-20th century. This does not mean that the album has any retro feel or lingers on past sounds. On the contrary, even including one cover version, Dire Straits' Why Wait. It's a breath of fresh air, modern, spare, emotional and gutsy, Nico Muhly's arrangements being the perfect foil for Essie's compositions. She goes through her songs seemingly effortlessly, her divine voice the connecting thread. The album has a film twin, , as the whole process was filmed, directed by Natalie Johns. I saw the film first, which may have made the album experience even better, as it gives you her insights into writing and performing the songs, and watching the creative process of recording the music, which is mesmerising. Who knows. What I know is that this is the music I played and listened to most this year, through good times and bad, a true companion for life now. My best album for the year. Love.

 

no.02: John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
no.03: Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
no.04: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
no.05: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 1 of 2
no.06: London Grammar - If You Wait
no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.2: John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts



This is John Grant's most mature work to date - and his most heartfelt too. Going through depression, only to come out of it, seemingly on top of the world with a new (then) album and finding out you are HIV positive, is not anywhere near normal. But then Grant's life was not normal to begin with. The album worked as a therapy for him, without resorting into self-hate, or making every other song a lament mired in self-pity. Instead he revels in self-depreciation, making great music and moving one, even if it is one small step at a time. He is heartbreakingly honest and raw, being the definition of wearing his heart on his sleeve, musically that is. And in today's façade-important world, this is of great importance, anywhere one can find it. Start here.



no.03: Daft Punk: Random Access Memories
no.04: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
no.05: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 1 of 2
no.06: London Grammar - If You Wait
no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.3: Daft Punk - Random Access Memories



The undisputed kings of electronic dance music, Daft Punk, released their much awaited fourth album, Random Access Memories, last May. Gathering critical acclaim as well as commercial success, it further cements their position in dance music history. Perfectly encapsulating disco and electronic music past elements, it catapults them to the forefront of the modern dance scene, reaching an apex in an area covered by many other, particularly European, artists. Some dismiss it as "disco" but it is not as simple as that. Using live instruments as well as digital, with Nile Rodgers in three tracks, an incredible tribute to Giorgio Moroder, the voice of Pharell Williams, the guitar and vocals of Julian Casablancas and also Panda Bear, they juxtapose computer against human, analogue against digital, past against future, all in the way memories are randomly stored in the brain as well as a hard drive. This is the soundtrack of year 2013.



no.04: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
no.05: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 1 of 2
no.06: London Grammar - If You Wait
no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.4: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2



For a man who did not care about returning to music, focusing instead on making films, supporting social media (MySpace), honing his golf skills, getting married etc., Justin Timberlake sure showed us a different approach this year. Not only he released the successful and acclaimed The 20/20 Experience in March 2013, he recorded in summer and released its successor, The 20/20 Experience 2 in September. And it is definitely not a collection of leftovers or second thoughts. In fact, it is a much better album than his previous one. Tighter, leaner, infinetly more focused and concise, it is my favourite of the two. I just hope he does not take twelve years for his next one.



no.05: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 1 of 2
no.06: London Grammar - If You Wait
no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top-20 Albums for 2013, no.5: Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience 1 of 2



This was an album that was long awaited: seven years since his previous outing, Justin Timberlake returned last spring with a tour-de-force project, taking the music world by storm. All his usual collaborators are here: Timbaland, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley and James Fauntleroy with Jay-Z being the only guest on the first single, Suit & Tie. It showcases his talent perfectly, his love for soul music and R&B music. It moves forward from his previous work while keeping an eye firmly on the past (his own as well as a more distant one). Very much near perfection, like the title says.



no.06: London Grammar - If You Wait
no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Sandman Chronicles on Poplie radio, 15/12/2013


Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.6: London Grammar - If You Wait



What do you get when you mix Florence And The Machines with XX? London Grammar of course. Their emotional, atmospheric, brooding sound is instantly addictive, and the vocals of singer Hanna Reid call you as a siren, again and again, into their "trap". Impressive début, one of the albums that I have been playing over and over again since it was released this September.

 


no.07: The National - Trouble Will Find Me
no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.7: The National - Trouble Will Find Me



The National keep on releasing one great album after another. their creative powers seemingly never depleted, their muse always urging them on to produce more and more great songs. To many, their work sounds repetitive, even boring. But if you listen carefully to their music, something that today's listener rarely does, you keep on finding stuff that makes it exciting, immersing you into their musical universe. They are talented craftsmen of exquisite music, their moody, gloomy lyrics sometimes hiding in upligting, soaring music and vocals. Oh yes, THAT voice. Welcome to my top-ten again guys, always nice to see you again.



no.08: Anna Calvi - One Breath
no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Friday, December 13, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.8: Anna Calvi - One Breath



Her first album was my second favourite of 2011 - and rightfully so. Anna Calvi is fierce, independent, original, loud and unique, keeping the ingredients pretty much the same in One Breath, her second outing, but mixing them up a bit, moving them slightly forward, without daring to do something different than before. Not that I mind. Her singing is captivating as ever, her guitar twangs still jarr the chords of my heart and you never get bored listening to her. Listen in one breath (pun intended).

 

no.09: James Blake - Overgrown
no.10: Poliça - Shulamith
no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.10: Poliça - Shulamith



Poliça's Shulamith, their second album, is named after their favourite feminist writer, Shulamith Firestone. She's singer Channy Leaneagh's muse and inspiration here, continuing on the unsettling and dark path they started on with their first work, Give You The Ghost. Ryan Olsen seemingly has tightened everything here, making this one more consise and robust than their debut. At the same time everything sounds clearer and more precise, more to the point, in contrast to the hazyness and murkiness of before. It does not pack the same punch but, if you like them, you'll love this. They keep us on our toes which is not something I can say for most artists on their second album.




no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned
no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.11: Scott Matthew - Unlearned



Scott Matthew is very dear and precious to me, like few artists are. His music and lyrics always go under my skin, deep inside my soul and have a profound effect on me, my thoughts, my mood, my thinking. So what happens when he puts out a record full of covers? Does it still work the same miracle on me? Is it still as exciting, moving, emotional, heartbreakingly beautiful as his own songs are? The answer is a loud yes! It is incredible how he assimilates each and every song from such diverse artists, from Whitney Houston's Dance With Somebody, to Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart. He makes them his own, keeping their artistic integrity intact but at the same time infusing them with his own spirit and creativity.



no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho
no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Monday, December 9, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.12: Phosphorescent - Muchacho



I found out about them through my fellow DJs at Poplie radio. Some kept playing A Song For Zula over and over in their radio shows, and soon enough, I was an acolyte too. Phosphorescent's Muchacho is their sixth album and it shows: experience, ingenuity, confidence and a certain relaxed, easy attitude. At the same time it is immensely atmospheric and dreamy, like a hazy summer sunny afternoon on a Greek beach. Kudos.



no.13: Laura Mvula - Sing For The Moon
no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society
no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Top-20 albums of 2013, no.14: The Ballet - I Blame Society




If it's The Ballet, then it is fun, fun, fun. They keep on proving that you can make excellent music and have the time of their lives doing it, while infecting you with their mood. And then you discover there are brains behind this music and you get hooked even more. And then it starts all over again. Endless loop of fun.



no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns
no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Friday, December 6, 2013

Top-20 albums of 2013, no.15: Son Lux - Lanterns



Can anyone place firmly Son Lux's music into one category? I was never in favour of putting labels on artists and segragating music based on certain arcane systems of dividing it into genres. There's only good and bad music, and Lanterns is defintely on the first lot. Atmospheric, brave, almost impertinent at some moments, it defies perceptions and invites us to a journey into a multitude of worlds and universes.

 

no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden
no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top-20 albums of 2013, no.16: Gustaf Spetz - Saknaden



Discovered him after a dear friend posted a song on Facebook. I was struck by the elegant music as well as the incredible voice. Scandinavia is always providing us with great music and Gustaf Spetz is no exception. There is an instrumental version of the album as well, but his voice is so moving and ethereal, there was no need for that one.



no.17: Daughter - If You Leave
no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living
no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top-20 Albums of 2013, no.18: Larry Gus - Years Not Living




Larry Gus, aka Panayiotis Mellidis, is a very talented Greek artist that keeps getting better with each new record he makes. This is his first full length album with DFA Records: he raises the bar for himself again, making it look effortless. If you are from Northern Greece, like he is (and I am), you will even recognize familiar sounds from the region hidden in some of the best tracks. Ignore him at your own peril.




no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose 
no.20: inc. - No World

Monday, December 2, 2013

Top-20 albums of 2013, no.19: Pan Pan - Missing Two Trains On Purpose



Not the first time one of his albums finds its way into my personal top-20 of the year. Panayiotis is extremely talented and creative in all the facets of his oeuvre. This must be his most easily accessible record to date. And if this year did not have so many extremely good records, it would have been even higher. Go get it from his bandcamp. Now!




20. inc. - No World

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Blogovision 2013 - "registration" period has started!

November is the month that the Blogovision fever begins: Greek bloggers and music pundits, led by Markos Fragkos, start preparing their top-20 album of the year lists. So anyone who wants to participate can go here and put his name up for it. Ths blog is participating too - I have been a member since the very first one, back in 2007. The gorgeous poster was once again designed by the talented Tassos Papaioannou.