Drunk Noise's Tracks of The Year So Far
We give you 25 of our favourite tracks from the year so far. From euphoric techno to spiralling indie-rock, or nostalgic ambience there's something for everyone.
Alex Cameron - 'Candy May'
Alex Cameron is a raconteur. In our Best of 2016 Restrospective, we called Cameron's, "bleached, seedy, squelching Jumping The Shark... a brilliant tour alongside the ever-popular anti-hero figure. It's a pulsing, thrilling tour-de-force that came out of nowhere". 'Candy May' certainly lives up to the billing - though its a far less queasy affair it's nonetheless intoxicating. Full of swagger Cameron is in genuine crooner mode as a sincere confession flips the switch on the culture of public shaming.
LCD Soundsystem - 'Call The Police'
Its fair to say LCD's wake was perhaps, in hindsight, a little premature. But, if you're willing to avoid cynicism this can only be something utterly brilliant. Indeed, if they had returned with anything other than this balls to the walls brilliance they would have justly been in for a hammering. Instead what we've been given is Heroes era Bowie crossed with latter U2 which is nothing short of staggering, both in its scope and its genius.
Lexie - 'In Us'
'In Us' from the brilliant, and brilliantly titled Record Time sees Greta Kline lament a turbulent break-up, though there's a bittersweet fortitude in the midst of the aftermath. Unsurprisingly it's an all too short affair, though in its brief course Kline's lyrics effortlessly turn the quotidian into the poetic. Backed by suitably churning drums and guitar licks, a visit to Chinatown acts as a cutting metaphor for overindulgence, "Even though / You make me full / You also make me horrible".
Kelly Lee Owens - 'Evolution'
Kelly Lee Owens has proved her prowess at cutting ambient electronica on tracks like 'Anxi', but 'Evolution' finds her in her in a more dance floor ready mode. This bewitching track bubbles and builds, becoming as satisfying as it is threatening. With a deceptively simple, killer hook, its a piece of repetitive brilliance.
Sorority Noise - 'No Halo'
On the brilliant You're Not As _____ As You Think Sorority Noise proved above all else that catharsis is catchy, in turn becoming the kind of band people run off to get tattoos about. 'No Halo' kicked this all off in fine style. Unashamedly bombastic and cutting, it reflects the emo-inspired paradigm shift in modern alternative rock, and is perhaps one of the finest tracks in the ouevre to date.
Jens Lekman - 'What's That Perfume That You Wear?'
Stumbling across Jens Lekman feels a bit like attending a wedding of a friend of a friend of a friend. At first it feels like you're entirely uninvited, you're giving people weird stares trying to work just what exactly is going on. But, then you've had a few slices of cake, a glass or two of wine. You're talking to the groom, then the brides mother. Then you're swept up in it all. At first its easy to be rather confused - isnt this all a bit too - silly? Then slowly but surely, ever so gradually, you're swept up in the Balearic beat. You're singing along to every line. And, suddenly you've probably realised what all the fuss is about.
Japandroids - 'No Known Drink Or Drug'
When Japandroids incredibly, and effectively, killed of their own band at the pinnacle of their power the reverberating effects where not quite felt till their timely return. With a career built on carpe diem to the max bangers, 'No Known Drink Or Drug' certainly fits to the formula of call and response greatness. However, its a decidedly sweet, mature pivot and one that will only benefit from time.
Big Thief - 'Mythological Beauty'
Capacity became quickly one of our favourite albums of the year, so it's no surprise that its finest song would make the list. ‘Mythological Beauty’ pretty much blows anything they’ve previously recorded out the water, which is saying a lot. Big Thief's essentially 'gone emo moment' strikes a nerve in such a brutal and effective way that its unlikely many others would top it, this year or any.
Cloud Nothings - 'Modern Act'
Just try not to sing along to 'Modern Act'. Just try. Its the kind of track that makes the term 'earworm' a gross understatement. Cloud Nothings just do it, time and time again and 'Modern Act', with its distinctly modern phenomenon of self imposed isoaltion is one of their finest to date.
Grandaddy - 'Way We Won't'
Ten years after the release of their farewell album Just Like the Fambly Cat, the Californian indie rock giants returned with this anthemic, and typically catchy track. Dogged by feelings of alienation the inspired 'Way We Won’t' is a heartbreaking and entirely ironic tale about a homeless couple living on the roof of a big-box retailer.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - 'French Press'
"I'm all right if you ask me. But you never do". So begins the opening track of Rolling Blackouts C.F.'s brilliant EP. It's a breezy slice of brilliant indie-rock, that turns and twists effortlessly, filled to the brim with clever wordplay and tantalising guitar hooks. It's summer listening, before the summer has even started.
Adult Mom - 'J-Station'
Stumbling and eventually realising upon the sheer hurtfulness of a past relationship, 'J Station' sees Stephanie Knipe spiral from sweet to sad in a familiar, but nonetheless brilliant pattern, recalling the likes of Frankie Cosmos and Waxahatchee - yet its packed deep with his its own uniquely deft wit.
Jay Som - 'The Bus Song'
The first single released from her debut collection sees Jay Som at her scintillating best. Whispered, poignant lyrics give way slowly to a crescendo of lush, crashing drums. Though they are never truly drowned out, oscilliating in and out as an intricate layer of piano and striking guitar work builds in to something quite brilliant.
The Smith Street Band - 'Birthdays'
Wil Wagner and his band of boys might just be Australia's greatest export, and 'Birthdays' is everything you expect from The Smith Street Band. Candid. A fucking huge chorus, and a seize the day quality that no one else can quite create just like these guys - "All I want occupying my mind / Is what is the highest thing we can climb before sunrise?"
Anxiety Machine - 'have you heard this before i think they call it jazz'
Anxiety Machine is a seemingly off-the-cuff side-project headed up by AJJ (fka Andrew Jackson Jihad) cellist Mark Glick, with this track being the first thing we ever heard from him. Resembling the score to a long-forgotten 8-bit video game this uniquely nostalgic song possesses an extraordinarily deep warmth. As a fidgety and minimal soundscape, its certainly reminiscent of work from artists like Tycho or possibly El-Ten Eleven but there's something uniquely assured about this stirring composition that finds humanity in the machines.
Real Estate - 'Darling'
Hazy rock masters Real Estate never seem like they're truly straining themselves, though thats probably far from the point. A jangling beauty, 'Darling' never strays from their system, though its a crystalline refinement of everything that makes them so effortless. It's a crisp, echoing number that could be played over, and over, and over again.
Happyness - 'Falling Down'
Happyness' 2014 hit, the entirely underrated 'Montreal Rock Band Somewhere' is so good that it should probably divert time itself to end up on this list, nonetheless it would be a real shame to see their latest LP not reach the masses once more. 'Falling Down' is a welcome return to form in both style and substance, with this dually chugging and beautifully swirling melancholic track coalescing into something utterly bewitching.
Palm - 'Two Toes'
'Toe Toes' is a blissfully mathy cut from the avant-garde indie rockers Palm, that has been in the ether (in some state or form) for over a year now. Stuttering rhythms canter wildly and almost fall over themselves before once more before regaining balance in a spectacle that truly merits repeated listens and acts as a brilliant taste of everything they offer.
Mogwai - 'Coolverine'
Scottish Post-rock giants Mogwai can do no wrong in our books and 'Coolverine' finds them at their atmospheric best. Its a brooding, powerful cut that as vast as it is microscopic in its coverage. Its also gets major points for a cracking title.
Daphni - 'Tin'
Its this multi-layered, intelligent form of controlled chaos that Dan Snaith truly specialises in - and sets him apart from many producers in the game today. Though, this swelling juggernaut is undeniably dance-orientated, 'Tin' never pulls a sucker punch, it earns its euphoria deliberately - whatever the context.
Protomartyr - 'A Private Understanding'
Protomartyr have never been one to pull punches, but despite their sometimes oblique messages 'A Private Understanding' is vicious, insightful rage. It's your favourite 'alcoholic uncle' in superb form once more, like a man sick of a vacuous Christmas party, finally snapping. Indeed, Joe Casey's vitriol feels distinctly figured by a 'Falling Down' mentality with his latest shots fired at disinterest, and general apathy. That's not to say its not accessible or dry, far from it - its a hook filled diatribe that echoes a little louder each time you spin it.
Been Stellar - 'Kamikazes'
Been Stellar's off-kilter sounds gains their best traction when following in the vein of post-punk greats like Interpol. On 'Kamikazes' this is figured brilliantly as wiry, screeching guitars form the track's brilliant climax, as if caught fire themselves. Though 'Kamikazes' may see Been Stellar in a tailspin, its a paradoxically promising sight to behold.
Turnover - 'Super Natural'
Recalling the halcyon times of an almost spectral holiday, vocalist Austin Getz's irresistible refrain is pervaded by a deep sense of nostalgia on 'Super Natural'. Smothered in their enticing, warming instrumentation, Turnover somehow finds fertile ground in the sandy shores. Somewhere between meandering beach rock, and something far more longing, they once more navigate an untraveled path, and in doing so have discovered something quite brilliant.
Thunder Dreamer - 'Why Bother'
On Capture's opener swelling guitars and an impressively intricate composition are quickly undercut by lead singer Steven Hamilton's limp sentiment of heartbreak, "Why Bother?". It's a brilliant slice of apocalyptic atmosphere, as disquieting and as beautiful as that foreboding album artwork. Though, 'You Know Me' is equally as great with its indie-hit muscles and its Shins-infected sound, it's on 'Why Bother' that Thunder Dreamer best weave their meticulous, cinematic sound with a growingly distinctive voice.
Mount Eerie - 'Real Death'
We just about adored A Crow Looked At Me and 'Real Death' is the perfect entry point to this stunning, exhaustive, utterly claustrophobic album of loss. If it all sounds a little too much to handle, don't let it be. Like the album itself, 'Real Death' is a love story, after all.