Set your conrols for the heart of the sun and oil up your Ouija board as the Antiswarm attempts to contact the dead via glacial slabs of space rock and dreamlike electronica.
Author Archives: jimgriffin
So it’s been a slow year for the Antiswarm with only 2 shows posted, but in these days of sensory overload I feel quality not quantity needs to win the race. Having said that I promise to do better next year! So to try and redress the balance (a bit) here are my top 10 tracks and albums of 2015. Before I started my faulty memory told me it had been a fairly quiet year compared to the last few music wise but I was pleasantly surprised by my trawl through Spotify and iTunes. And so, here are the fruits of me meticulously poring over this year’s musical landscape so you don’t have to. Any additions, corrections or just general chat are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me at TheAntiswarm on Twitter. Perhaps I’ll get the hang of Instagram next year. Who knows eh?
Top 10 Tracks (in no particular order)
1. Boil Yer Blood – Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind
Last year Jim dissolved the Jim Jones Review saying that the Rock n’ roll thing had run it’s course. He’s now persuing a more mysterious vibe with the Righteous Mind and with a new album coming in 2016 Boil Yer Blood was the first taster for his ravenous fans. It did not disappoint!
2. Lung – Blanck Mass
3. The Great Confuso Pts I,II and III – Blanck Mass
Having given us the fantastic Big Dumb Flesh album in May, Benjamin John Power in his Blanck Mass guise rounds the year off nicely with the Great Confuso EP. Part II is a little bit too crazy for me but is bookended by 2 of the best bits of music I’ve heard all year. Truly an artist maturing with every release.
4. Everything is in Colour – Cherushii
Joyously random find on Youtube. From Stockholm I think and the standout track from the ‘Memory of Water’ Album. Perfect 90s style ambience
5. Silverlake – Eagles of Death Metal
My wife and I were at the London gig with these guys a week before all the insanity in Paris took place. The band and crew are such lovely people and our hearts go out to them and all the fans involved. We hope to see them back in the UK soon and that they will be remembered for the right reasons not just because of the shootings. This was the best track on their latest album ‘Zipper Down’.
6. Sticky Hulks - Thee Ohs Sees
This track just blows my mind constantly….on a loop….constantly…..on a loop….seriously……listen to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
7. Hogre – Evight Morker
One of the many great tracks on the Prins Thomas triple mix pack ‘Paradise Goulash’ (awesome name). Very crisp electronica. Good in the morning I find.
8. Daffodils (feat. Kevin Parker) – Mark Ronson
I’ve had a soft spot for Mark Ronson for a long time. I was gutted when the second single ‘Feel Right’ (way better than Uptown Funk in my opinion) was too filthy to play at home in front of my 9 year old but at the same time I like the fact that he didn’t clean it up. Daffodils is amazing and it features Kevin Parker from Tame Impala so I basically can’t lose. This opened up my DJ sets for most of the summer. Check out this live version with a cheeky Riders on the Storm bassline and some seriously eccentic lead guitar antics!
9. Gosh – Jamie XX
The end of this sounds so much like Belfast by Orbital that I was immediately transported to a rave in 1992. So much good old school house being produced at the moment. If you like this sort of stuff check out Tuff City Kids and Paul Woolford’s Special Request project.
10. It’s Just (House Of Dupree) – Leon Vynhall
Again just amazing house music with a really weird intro.
Top 10 Albums (in no particular order)
1. Sour Soul – Ghostface Killah and Badbadnotgood
For me Ghostface is one of the greatest rappers ever. He tells a story like no other and the marriage of his vocals and Jazz trio Badbadnotgood’s backing tracks is unique in my opinion. It’s like listening to Rakim spit over the Superfly soundtrack only better. It also features Antiswarm favourite Doom and has some incredible instrumental tracks as well. Killah!
2. Pattern of Excel – Lee Bannon
Not so much an album as a bunch of interesting soundscapes that morphs into something vaguely coherent. It’s a real grower so give it time and it will reward you.
3. El Reino Invisible – Leandro Fresco
I like listening to this in the morning as it’s very atmospheric and chilled. Kompakt released this and the quality of their output is always top notch. A close second on this label would be the Kolsch ’1983′ album. The Germans stayed strong this year.
4. Undertow – Drenge
A bit of QOTSA, a bit of Ian Brown and something quite unique makes this a really enjoyable album plus they have a great drummer. I need to see them live!
5. Currents – Tame Impala
Undeniably good. Also a great video to boot.
6. Mutilator Defeated At Last – Thee Oh Sees
Took a while to grow on me but this is on par with the last 2 albums in terms of quality i.e. excellent. They straddle a sort of proggy, garage, indie style I’ve never heard anywhere else and live they are a demented gonzo affair with 2 drummers. Very, very good!
7. A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Pt 4 Wizards of Oz – Amorphous Androgynous
Long after the Antiswarm was knitting together the psychedelic strands twitching over the horizon from Australia, the Amorphous Androgynous give us an in depth look at the OZ scene both new and old. If you’ve never heard the Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble comps you are in for a treat and this edition doesn’t disappoint.
8. Contrepoint – Nicholas Godin
Ok so an album inspired by Bach played by an enigmatic Parisian dandy might sound pretentious. It is, but it’s also great and reminds me how much I miss Air in their heyday.
9. Kingsman OST – Henry Jackman
Childish but it makes me feel like I’m a spy on my way to work! Henry Jackson turns in a brilliant fusion of dark electronica and orchestral pieces in his score for a film that along side The Men from Uncle hopefully paves the way for more playful spy/adventure films. Hans Zimmer take note.
10. In Colour – Jamie XX
It’s weird for me to see other end of year lists and agree with them but Jamie XX and Tame Impala have made the sort of albums this year it would be churlish to deny. There’s one duff track in the middle. Delete it is my advice. Here’s the brilliant Special Request remix of ‘Loud Places’. Enjoy!
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”Albert Einstein
- Vermont – Vermont
- Ty Segall – Manipulator
- Temples – Sun Restructured – Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Reanimations
- Matt Berry – Music For Insomniacs
- Royal Blood – Royal Blood
- Lone – Reality Test A
- King Grizzard and the Lizard Wizard – I’m in your Mind Fuzz
- Objekt – Flatlands
- John Steel Singers – Everything’s a Thread
- Cheatahs – Cheatahs
As a format the album’s relevance is rightly questioned these days but I still seem to be listening to a hell of lot of them. So if you enjoy an album too and you can be arsed to listen to any of the above you’ll hear there’s quite a lot ambient stuff in there especially Vermont, The Temples remix album (both masterpieces in my opinion) and special mention has to go to Matt Berry who turned in a soundscape album with head nods to Pink Floyd’s spacier moments and KLF’s Chill Out. There are only 2 tracks on it, both 23 minutes long so what with his Toast of London series the man is a god in the Antiswarm’s household right now. Continuing the good work done by Tame Impala, Jagwar Ma and Pond, fellow Aussies King Grizzard release their 5th album and it’s killer, chocked full of weird detunings and probably the most adrenalin fuelled tunes of all year. The first 3 tracks all run together and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Also from that neck of the woods, The John Steel Singers (terrible name, ignore it) produced an african tinged, melodic Krautrock masterpiece. Something in the water over there on the groovier end of the spectrum right now I think.
- Trash Talk – SOS
- Greys – Use Your Delusion
- John Steel Singers – Everythin’s a Thread – Live At The Plutonium
- Foxygen – How Can You Really
- Beck – Heaven’s Ladder
- Tweak Bird – A Sign of Badness
- Ital – Endgame
- Hookworms – On Leaving
- Hercules & Love Affair feat John Grant – I try to Talk to You (Seth Troxler Extended NYC Mix)
- Action Bronson – Easy Rider
Singles wise it’s not been the greatest year for the angrier end of music with some significant ball dropping by Fucked Up, Cerebral Ballzy and The Datsuns to name a few. So I thought I’d include a few adrenalin soaked tunes here to try a redress the balance. Shouts then to Trash Talk for delivering a classic in the shape off SOS that shows a different, more atmospheric take on their normal straightforward hardcore (it probably just sounds like shouting to you but give it a go eh?). Greys pick up the baton where Metz left off and Everett True, the featured voice of the John Steel track delivers a harrowing time travelling story of mental anguish with tongue firmly in cheek (I hope!) Elseware, Foxygen’s marvellous ‘How Can You Really’ gets included despite delivering the most disappointing album of the year in the shape of ” …And Star Power”. After last years amazing effort this seemed like someone had let the praise go to their heads and then forgotten to put any effort in. A big mess and not in a good way. C Minus! Beck hogs his sheet music album’s best track and to great effect in Heaven’s Ladder. Despite being lyrically a bit clunky it’s as close as he’s ever come to the Beatles. Great tune. Finally the massively under rated Tweak Bird turned in a slow burner of an album in the form of ‘Any Ol’ Way’. A sign of Badness was the most immediate tune that jumped out with it’s restrained tempo full of malice like the best Bonham beat. The rest of the album is not so shabby either. Check it out.
A great year as ever if you dig hard enough. Roll on 2015!
A track so awesomely jackin from the taller half of the Chemical Brothers that it begs only one question: In the studio what the hell does Ed do?
Sadly now defunct but this track is testament to the power that Andrew Hung and Claire Inglis had as a duo. A stuttering apocalyptic rhythm frames the wailing vocal and builds to a stunning ending. Like nothing else you’d have heard all year
I realised the genius of this tune at about 4am in a tent at the Eastern Electric festival. Got to be the best bassline of the year. Annoyingly only released on Vinyl
This tune makes me wish I played bass better. Also it has a chorus of back-up singers swearing their heads off. Makes of the rest of his album seem really bland
A breakbeat techno masterpiece with a genuinely un-nerving sample. A small girl asks over and over ‘About the date we’re having. Come to my house, bring a lot of money’. Unsettling in all the right ways
From the amazing Cabinet of Curiosities album this track wrong-foots you with a discordant chorus that runs against the happy flower power verse. Good like Pop Levi’s ‘Blue Honey’ and recommended for fans of Foxygen
The only band to make it into both my album and track chart. This tune makes me want to drive very very fast and shoot guns and do badasssss shit. This is the type of music Josh Homme should be making if he still had balls
8 – Inter – Function
A beautifully sparse ambient techno track that has stopped everyone I played it to in their tracks. vaguely like the Orb at the height of their powers. It has other stuff going on behind it that you can’t make out. Intriguing
This LA skate punk band school you about their drinking habits in this 2.25sec rabble-rousing song. Good enough to open an Antiswarm show then it’s more than good enough for this list
10 – Headache – Metz
Another show opener, these guys remind me of the never talked about Nirvana ‘Bleach’ album only better. Very powerful live. The album all sounds the same – in a good way