It might be their bright-shiny-newness, but BoC and Disclosure have jumped right to the top of my list so far… Tomorrow’s Harvest is everything I could’ve hoped for; good lord it is a gorgeous and complex album. Haven’t put a whole lot of thought into rankings, but here goes my faves of the year so far:
1. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
2. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
3. Disclosure – Settle
4. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the Weekend
5. Tegan & Sara – Heartthrob
6. Phoenix – Bankrupt!
7. Locked Groove – Heritage EP
8. The National – Trouble Will Find Me
9. Classixx – Hanging Gardens
10. Bonobo – The North Borders
11. James Blake – Overgrown
12. Mano Le Tough – Changing Days
I know DJ mixes don’t usually make these lists but there’s been some great ones so far: Maceo Plex’s DJ Kicks, Francois K’s Master Series, and Sandwell District’s Fabric mix are all pretty stellar. Loving After Dark 2 as well.
I still need to hear Dungeonesse and Jon Hopkins, and I’m still getting into the new Bibio , Mount Kimbie, and Baths albums (was kinda put off by Baths on first listen though, and didn’t think it was nearly as good as Cerulean). All in all, its been a pretty great year so far. :)
PS- fb login ain’t workin for me either.
I think it’s also worth pointing out that the vast majority of criticism towards this album (not just here, but all over the internet) is focusing on the hype, personal expectations, “daft punk vs EDM,” and what the album is apparently “missing.” Its kinda sad, because the production, arrangement, and mixing on this album is phenomenal; this is definitely one of the best sounding albums I’ve heard in while. I mean, it sounds like BUTTAH.
What I’ve always loved about electronic music was how talented producers perfectly sculpt and manicure sounds and create atmospheric worlds for your brain to swim in. I always wanted electronic music to be more popular, and that’s what has bugged me most about the whole EDM/Dubstep movement: obviously the music has become derivative and formulaic, but the biggest reason I don’t like is that it sounds like fucking shit. It’s like getting fucked in the ear by screeching synths, hissing white noise, and irritating bass squelches. It has all the subtlety of jackhammer.
Another reason why I’m liking RAM more and more: every single sound on it- the guitar plucks, the snare hits, the synthesizer tones- sound rich and luscious. It’s obvious that the duo when to painstaking measure to create this album. This is quite the counterpoint to not only EDM, but also their own Human After All, which was recorded in only two weeks (and definitely sounds like it was).
1st Listen: What??
2nd Listen: Hmm…
3rd Listen: Ohhhhhh.
4th Listen: YES.
Screw the hype and your expectations. Appreciate the album for what it is, don’t measure it against what it isnt’. I’ll admit, it felt really uneven and kinda forgettable (aside from the standouts) the first time around… but now I’m looooving it, especially the slow robo-jams. Game of Love, Beyond, and Fragments of Time felt like muzak at first, but damn they are JAMS. It’s official, I think I (mostly) love this album. Still iffy about Pharrell, and can’t help but think Justin Timberlake would’ve been better on those tracks.
Four semi-decent Knife tunes surrounded by a whole lot of irritating noise and aimless noodling. Weren’t these experiments painful enough to sit through on Tomorrow in a Year? Not going to sugar coat it- I’m kind of hating this album.
I don’t necessarily mind streaming services, but I do feel like it narrows the listenership to a specific type of demographic / listening behavior- people whose jobs have them in front of screen all day, with multiple tabs open, etc. While, yes, this is certainly a sizeable portion of the population, I like my music mobile and with me, not tethering me to a laptop, that type of listening is so passive. But perhaps I’m just a caveman with my ipod classic and my meticulously organized playlists.
I’m not trying to keep some line between the underground and pop music out of some kind of “pedantic loyalty to genre names.” I understand how crossover functions; mainstream radio has been mining “underground” dance scenes for decades, long before Madonna took vogueing out of the drag balls and put on pop radio under the notion that ‘it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, if you’re a boy or a girl.”
One could argue over the negative effects this has on the underground music scenes. Purists tend to feel that this exploitation cheapens the genre; the underground supplies the seed of creativity, which them blooms into a larger cultural awareness through crossover into the mainstream, and subsequently rots after the genre becomes distilled to the point of cliche (see: dubstep after 2010) and the mainstream moves on to the next big thing.
While this is certainly an issue, I actually think that bringing pop elements into dance music, and vice versa, regardless of the ‘underground’ vs. ‘mainstream’ posturing is largely mutually beneficial. I want the artist I love to be more popular, and I want the music I love to reach a wider audience. It would just be really great if genres could crossover into the mainstream without the sacrifice in quality that inevitably happens (at least from my perspective). But that’s the double-edged sword with popularity; in order to achieve widespread appeal, the elements of the genre become simplistic, derivative, and while these sound may sound new to a wider audience, they sound banal and uninspired to listeners such as myself.
So no, I don’t have a problem that this list includes songs that fall under ‘radio-friendly’ territory, or have reached mass appeal, or whatever. My problem with this list is that it appears to have been cobbled together with little to no regard for taste, musicality, dynamics, or any other discerning aspects that deem a track “good” vs. “bad.”
I have no doubt that this list is 30 tracks that you enjoy. However, a good portion of them fall into derivative pop music (Rihanna) and cheap sounding, recycled ghetto-tech dancehall beats with obnoxiously triggered vocal samples. And since you’ve included these tracks in a top 30 of the year list, while missing a lot of great tracks, that were actually very popular, from artists like Bicep, Rustie, Alunageorge, Actress, Andres, Daphni, Christian Loffler, Voices from the Lake, Scuba, Ejeca… (I could go on… ) well, it just makes your claim that you “revisited every nook and cranny of the year in dance music” seem slightly dubious.
Royksopp told some Russian website that fans can expect a new album in 2013. They just released a new song too.
This list is painfully confused. Lumping in EDM pop shit like Rihanna and Calvin Harris alongside stuff like Burial, John Talabot, Blawan, Joy Orbison, etc… does a complete disservice to the much more respected (and respectable) genres of electronic music.
Putting “where have you been,” which is easily the most painful, obnoxious, irritating, derivative, repetitive, crap pop song of the year next to something like Todd Terje is like, oh i dunno, putting someone like Taylor Swift on a list of the best indie albums of the year.
If you’re going to try to cover electronic music, know the distinction.
There were a lot of really great, innovative, and beautifully produced electronic and electro-pop albums put out this year (John Talabot, Lone, Andy Stott, Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, Four Tet, and Actress to name a few)… and all the indie blogs are fawning over Purity Rings and Grimes; sing-songy bullshit laid over cheap, thin-sounding ratatat drum machines. I really don’t get it. Those albums are terrible. At least you guys included FlyLo.
I mean, I love Orbital (obviously), but even I’m like, Wonky? Really?
1. Ok Computer / Kid A (Sheer Brilliance)
2. In Rainbows / The Bends (Fantastic Start to Finish)
3. Hail to the Thief / King of Limbs / Amnesiac (Amazing albums with experimental deep cuts that some fans aren’t into)
4. Pablo Honey (Proto-Radiohead)
Guys… I’m starting to get a sneaking suspicion that all the albums released in ’92 might be turning 20 this year.
Well this sounds like a promising return to form. :) I loved Seek Magic, but wow his sophomore album was forgettable (I’ve already forgotten the name of it). Glad to see he’s moving on rather quickly.
AC has always been a little hit or miss in my opinion; I alternate between thinking they are flat-out brilliant and that they might also be an “emperor has no clothes” situation. I like everything post-Feels, with MPP being my favorite, but I’ve been massively confused\bored\disappointed every time I’ve seen them live.
That said, my initial reaction to Centipede HZ is that it is goddamn brilliant.
Oh my god please stop calling this music dubstep. Dubstep was over by 2009. This new thing needs a different name- shitstep, transformerstep…. crappy electro with a half-time beat… I really don’t care, but nothing about this is even vaguely reminiscent of actual dubstep.
John Talabot’s fIN is a great summer album from start to finish, had trouble picking a favorite track
From the list given, I would say Beach House – Lazuli is my favorite. I could also get on board with anything from the new Hot Chip album
I mainly listen to house and disco in the hot months, here’s a few of my current faves for this summer:
Scuba – July (for obvious reasons)
Chromatics – Birds of Paradise (Amtrac Remix)
John Talabot – Destiny
Joy Orbison – Ellipsis
Lemonade – Big Changes
Little Boots – Headphones (Todd Edwards Remix)
Todd Terje – Inspector Norse
M83 – Reunion (Mylo Remix)
Holy. Freaking. CHRIST… this entire comment section is just embarrassing. Yikes.
This album is so amazingly bad.
This is the same version that was on tkol rmx8, that radiohead posted in november. If you’re trying to track down the missing remix, which would be version number 2, good luck! apparently it was only pressed once and went up for auction.
This is your 61st post about Lana Del Rey, and she has 3 songs. Really, Stereogum?
Well, they got #1 right.
Yay: The Field, Friendly Fires… love those albums
Boo: No M83.
WTF: Someone really needs to explain how Biophilia keeps making these lists, because it is 4 minutes of exciting music surrounded by a whole lot of boring.
I think its funny when these lists throw in the token random electronic album. Its obvious that they just pick one album that has the slightest bit of cross-over potential and call it a day. Not that I don’t like the SBTRKT album, but anyone who actually follows the electronic scene and listens to the major releases knows that Machinedrum – Room(s) and Sepalcure’s s/t debut are vastly superior albums and the best to come out of that amorphous UK Bass genre.
It’s like with Holy Ghost! on Paste’s list… Paste, you guys are into folksy indie rock. It’s okay. Own it. Holy Ghost’s album doesn’t even belong on a Top 50 list of purely electronic and dance albums, and that’s coming from someone that actually likes them.
Oh and M83 is album of the year, hands down.
Air’s last album was called Love 2, not Air 2. Excited for this one!