For those of you out there that check out my show, Alive And Amplified over on DIY Radio, you’ll be expecting this. As promised the run down of the years top ten songs as we have caught them on Alive And Amplified, and as they have tickled our fancy. I’ll avoid the word ‘eclectic’, but there is quite a variety from the alt. scene.
10. The Hives – I Want More [Listen]
My favourite Swedes returning with album number 5 ‘Lex Hives’ this year. Retaining their crown as the best live band in the world, (although closely contended they have just scrapped above their peers yet again) they have come back with their riffin’ garage rock that shows the world they are still ‘the bosses’.
9. Crushed Beaks – Grim [Listen]
The London duo are still relatively fresh, but I’m listening. Carefully. We’re loving them over on thisisfakediy and the trademark vocals of frontman Matt sound beautiful over this alt. rock gem. All 1minute 54seconds of it.
8. Hawk Eyes – I Hate This, Do You Like It?
They used to be called ChickenHawk. Their singer used to be a drummer. And Pluto used to be a planet, but none of that matters now. Pay attention to Hawk Eyes.Their debut album ‘Ideas’ was released earlier this year and loved by the rock royalty of the press and radio world. A collection of rockin’ songs that have sounded great from small venues holding just a few hundred to the Hard Rock Festival, just a few acts before The Mars Volta. And as proven by this video, if the zombie apocalypse comes, they will still be able to play this song, thus entertaining and NOT eating you. WIN!
7. Mowbird – Happy Birthday Dad [Listen]
I was wandering about the Camden Crawl earlier this year and decided to just drop in and see what I found. What I found was one of the best things I’ve stumbled across this year besides that £50 I found on the floor near Kings Cross tube once…but yes! Mowbird – beautifully fresh with their sound and although still in their infancy as an artist, those local to the Welsh / Herefordshire scene might have seen these guys gracing your festivals and venues. About 2 minutes in you’re hit by a wall of noise, shortly backed up Ben’s scowling vocals. I will keep the EP in it’s hand stitched case forever guys.
6. The Neighbourhood -Sweater Weather [Listen]
My Number 1 in Zane’s 100 Hottest Records list – the California-based band The Neighbourhood. Their overall resume does have a hip-hop, pop infused sound, but this was the first track of theirs I heard and it’s wonderful. Lyrics, imagery, beat. They nailed it. And although they are proving to go in a direction that isn’t really me, this will be a keeper.
5. Glass Animals – Cocoa Hooves
What do you get when you get some Oxford boys, lead by a neuroscientist who like music? You get Glass Animals apparently. And very welcome they are too. They’re not really touring – there’s a small EP available which is worth picking up. But there’s so much potential in this. The Alt-J references aside, they could fly on this kind of talent. A friend of mine introduced me to Massive Attack – Paradise Circus, which we both agree is the ultimate chill-out song. But I think this could park alongside it nicely. Beautiful.
4. Father John Misty – Hollywood Cemetery Forever Sings [Listen]
The oddball in the AAA Top Ten of 2012 I reckon. The one you’re not expecting. AKA Joshua Tillman – recent band member of Fleet Foxes and Saxon Shore. A nice bluesy beat with some haunting minor chords and suiting vocals. Folk at it’s best says I. Not really into the whatnots and sons. If you like the sound of this the debut album under his alias of Father John Misty is ‘Fear Fun’.
3. DZ DEATHRAYS – L.A. Lightning [Listen]
When these fellas came bouncing round with Cerebral Ballzy coming up to 2 years ago I’d heard some hype from some friends over in Brisbane. But Brissie has a vibrant rock / scuzz scene so I was skeptical that this could just be another good ear-filler, but not a gem. Thank fuck I was proved majorly wrong! DO NOT COMPARE THIS BAND TO ANYTHING YOU’VE HEARD BEFORE. ‘Cause that’s just boring. These boys have a story, and it’s infused with house parties and genuine talent that gave them the chance to do big things worldwide. Shane and Simon have had a gruelling couple of years touring hard all across the world, but still seem some of the nicest guys on the stage and off it, (just make sure you’ve got some Sailor Jerry’s to appease the thrash punk princes). ‘Bloodstreams’, their debut album is not a bedtime listen – but then, who needs bed anyway when you’ve got DZ DEATHRAYS?
2. Gorillaz – DoYaThing ft. James Murphy & Andre 3000 [Listen]
Converse. Bah. Advertising and music rarely do go well together, but I think in this instance they really did throw together some bods that had chemistry. I didn’t see the video until much later in this tracks lifetime and I would thoroughly recommend you LISTEN first. Then watch. The video detracts a bit from the awesomeness of the song. And sod all this Rihanna nonsense. This is catchy. You’ll know all the words to Andre’s rap by the 3rd listen. So LISTEN first. Then you can try the video.
*CUE DRUM ROLL….
1. Pulled Apart By Horses – Everything Dipped In Gold
Haha…they ‘dip it’ in something else if you’ve every worked with them or been lucky enough to grab a setlist from seeing them live, but still! The standout track of a standout collection of songs that make one of the standout albums of 2012? Sounds like a bit of Pulled Apart to me. Starting off with their rolling bass and leading drums, Tom’s vocals kick in with an urgency and scrowl, (scream / howl traditional of Tom Hudson), but then, fucking hell! It all goes off!! What a riff! Everyone that attends a PABH gig is well up for it, but this gets quite a reaction at the drop. I think these boys have worked hard, they’ve crafted their art as musicians and with album #2 ‘Tough Love’ they’ve smashed down the doors of mainstream radio, getting Radio 1 on board and getting rock back to the ears of starved radio listeners who would otherwise not seek out these amazing guitar based artists, (and no – not these indie faffy types with the latest in TopMan fashion who happen to be ‘future’). Fuck that – this is a modern rock band, rocking out and inviting your sorry ass along. The whole album is fantastic, beginning to end, but this is Alive And Amplified’s standout moment. From the time I first heard it working at Xfm all those months ago, to putting it to your ears shortly after. Number 1.
And so – back for more brand new tunes like this and more from the alt. music scene. Come over to DIY Radio for Alive And Amplified. Back Thursday 3rd January from the new time of 7pm, or on listen back straight after. Woohoo!