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Delirious With Weird

Friday, September 24, 2004  
List More, Listless

The A List
I guess, for the sake of this not ending up as just another fucking list, I ought to write something about everything here, otherwise the exercise is pointless. Shopping list alone as useless, shopping list + recipe together as great, etcetera, etcetera. And yet I don’t know if I can be bothered, frankly. With this one, as opposed to that other one, there is an order, and yes it is preferential and not alphabetical or anything else. But at the same time it is, as you will ascertain, still almost entirely arbitrary.

And do I love all these records? Riddle me this, motherfucker? I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I even care.

I’ll go twenty-five at a time, I think, starting at the top. I can’t be arsed with suspense bollocks.

Embrace – Out of Nothing
Is this really my favourite album of the decade so far? Probably not, but you know, emotional investment and all that. It was a relief that it wasn’t shit, and a marvel that it was actually really good. I am still waiting for the next one, but only because this one points so tantalisingly at where they’re going. They just covered “How Come” by D12 on Radio 1. I know where it’s at.

Bark Psychosis – ///Codename: Dustsucker
Likewise this, is it really my second favourite of the last five years? I don’t know; trying to quantify affection is like trying to build with water – if you’re going to get anywhere at all you have to freeze it. But still, this is great.

Missy Elliott – Miss E… So Addictive
Likewise this; I build good furniture to it, and, ballads aside, you can genuinely dance to it and also get wigged-out when you pulse it through headphones. I don’t know wtf crunk is, but if this is it then crunk is good.

Lambchop – Nixon
I think Kurt must have cracked his voice completely by breaking into falsetto on this record, because he’s become more quietly and hesitantly phrased with each album since. Nixon is just glorious, sumptuous, luscious and, most importantly, odd – mainly because of the lyrics, a calm and disjointed series of observances that are so off-kilter they propel the band’s psychedelic country soul into weirdness. “Up With People”, I mean c’mon!

Primal Scream – XTRMNTR
This rocks. It rocks NOIZE. Sure, the rap one in the middle is shocking and the whole record is basically just a load of “my record collection is better than yours” angry-old-man posturing, but it’s great. It’s stupid, it’s noisy, it’s over the top, but it’s a work of art, a ridiculous, gaudy, brilliant work of art.

The Streets – Original Pirate Material
The sophomore might get more love (at the moment) due to its concept-album- schtick, its narrative and cumulative emotional impact, but it simply doesn’t have the tunes that this has, nowhere near. I’ve written about this at length on here (check the archives for April 2003, I think) and I stand by everything I said and then some. I love this record.

Embrace – Drawn From Memory
A huge amount of memories tied up with this, a lot of idiocy and hysteria and love, a lot of which I tried to distance myself from once it had all finished because it seemed like a crazy dream. But nevertheless this actually is a wonderful record, and I’ve fallen in love with it all over again in the last few months.

Bows – Cassidy
A recent discovery, but what a discovery. It’s basically just “Scottish postrocker goes shoegaze triphop”, but it’s done so well, so sexily, with so much attention to detail, that I fell in love with it pretty much straight away, much more so than the (admittedly still very good) Long Fin Killie, Luke Sutherland’s previous project.

Outkast – Stankonia
This gets in just for “B.O.B.”, and gets in high for everything else, but most of all for “Gasoline Dreams” and “Gangster Shit”. I probably prefer Aquemini slightly, but only just.

Jay-Z – The Blueprint
I’ve said before and I’ll say again, I’m not a Jay-Z fan, but this is undeniable, completely undeniable, just one great song after another. Karim gives too much love to “Song Cry”; “Hola Hovito” is where it’s at.

Manitoba – Up In Flames
Digital organic joy on disc; it sounds like it’s about to burst with happy and sunshine.

Plaid – Double Figure
The first four tracks on here are perfect, “Eyen” and “Squance” especially. That the rest is very good seals the deal. Again, Rest Proof Clockwork might be better, but it’s the wrong century.

Sugababes – Three
Their second album is in here somewhere too – I know a lot of people prefer that but I think this is stronger (pardon the pun), more consistent. And for all you indie whingers out there, they just make (or have made for them or whatever – if you still care about who made what and who’s authentic in this day and age then you’re lost) exquisite pop music, great melodies, great harmonies, great hooks, great sonics.

Four Tet – Pause
Just as whimsical as Manitoba but less brash, this was the album that got me back into electronic music, back into any music that wasn’t a band, after a couple of years at university when I’d needed faces to ground me, or something. This is sweet, simply.

Fugazi – The Argument
Whereas this is the total opposite. I need to engage with Repeater more to find out what the fuss is about (I enjoy the dynamics when I play it but the songs never got me); this is hardcore, yes, but it goes *pop* in the most unexpected ways.

Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
Took me a while (I thought the first single was Simon Mayo taking the piss) but fucking hell, the onslaught of words, of emotions, of bile, is incredible. People who go on about him being punk can fuck off.

Mountain Goats – Tallahassee
Stripped compared to other things, but luscious compared to his own history (this is released on a proper record label and everything). J0hn Darni3lle remains one of the people I’ve encountered on the internet who I have most respect for, not just because he’s a fabulous songwriter (I really need to delve more into his extensive back catalogue), but because he’s a wonderful, thoughtful human being who also manages to be rambunctiously, disgustingly funny too. J0hn, if by chance you read this, I miss posting shit with you.

Aaliyah – Aaliyah
Yeah yeah yeah, Timbaland, blah blah, Queen of the Damned, etcetera etcetera, tragedy LISTEN TO THE SONGS, listen to the voice. Listen to “We Need A Resolution”. Listen to “What If” and realise it’s not all down to Timbaland either.

Lambchop – Is a Woman
Ambient acoustic Americana? A name check for the road crew of my favourite band? They sneak a funk track into the middle of it, but it’s not any kind of funk you’ve ever heard before, or ever will again. You can barely hear it while it’s playing. Beautiful.

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Hype hype hype, hate hate hate. On this side of the water, they’re just a nice little band and this is just a nice little album. And thank fuck too, because I think the constant nonsense thrown at them in the US would put me off too. The album is good, very good maybe, but “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” is AMAZING.

Boards of Canada – Geogaddi
I’m still not sure what this is, but I keep trying to find out, and will for a while yet. Nothing here as good as “In A Beautiful Place…”, perhaps, but nonetheless.

Queens of the Stone Age – Rated R
Psychotic and, importantly, brief. And fun. Only one of these things would remain on the next record.

The Delgados – Hate
Swygart has said many, many things about this record over the last two years, some of which I agree with and some of which I don’t. Nevertheless this is lovely, and I much prefer it to the other famous Friddman productions so beloved of so many of my friends.

Missy Elliott - Under Construction
Again this took me a while because at first there seemed like nothing here, but closer attention reveals it’s probably Missy & Timbaland’s most consistently weird record. Plus “Gossip Folks” and “Work It”, I mean c’mon!

At The Drive-In – Relationship of Command
Say what you like, this is so far removed from the shit NME pushes lately it’s not even funny. “Enfilade” has a dub middle 8 with a melodica over the top. The dynamics are INSANE (as opposed to those of The Mars Volta, which are just too much), and live they were fucking incredible, at least on the occasion when I saw them in Camden Electric Ballroom back in 2000. Electric and crazed.

And that’s the first 25. First, haha! Like it matters what order they’re in – I’ll have changed my mind tomorrow.


9/24/2004 01:51:00 pm


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005