It's my first post of the new year and, though late to the game, I wanted to share my favourite music from last year. 2016 was a notoriously terrible year (not that this year is exactly peachy so far!), but thankfully the same can't be said of the music that came out last year. It was, to quote Lisa Simpson's insensitive future fiancé, like a flower that grew out of a pot of dirt. I feel spoiled by the amount and variety of quality music I've been enjoying from last year's offerings. There are the gorgeous vintage European pop sounds of The Yearning and Lia Pamina, the visionary retrofuturism of Adrian Younge, the moving, classic songwriting of Big Smoke, the raw garage rock of The Mystery Lights, some fresh takes on dream pop, and many outings in psychedelic-influenced, experimental pop. Some of these albums have quickly become all-time favourites, not just favourites of the year. Below is a playlist of songs from my most-loved releases of 2016, including albums, singles and EPs, in no particular order. A list of my top eleven albums (I could not narrow it down to ten!) of the year – again, in no specific order – follows it.
Click next to tracks for individual players | Show all
- Britta Phillips - Daydream (Luck Or Magic)
- Big Smoke - Honey, I (Time Is Golden)
- Margo Price - Hands Of Time (Midwest Farmer's Daughter)
- Kadhja Bonet - Fairweather Friend (The Visitor)
- The Yearning - When I Lost You (Evening Souvenirs)
- Le Super Homard - Maple Key (Maple Key)
- Gloria - Show Me Your Trail (Gloria In Excelsis Stereo)
- Lake Ruth - Helium (Actual Entity)
- Adrian Younge Presents Venice Dawn - Ready To Love (Something About April II)
- Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - A Wonderful Seed (Until The Hunter)
- Julia Jacklin - Pool Party (Don't Let The Kids Win)
Name your price download.
- Beverly - Victoria (The Blue Swell)
- Nice As Fuck - Door (Nice As Fuck)
- The Limiñanas - Dahlia Rouge (Malamore)
- The Mystery Lights - Follow Me Home (The Mystery Lights)
- Gaye Su Akyol - Eski tüfek (Hologram İmparatorluğu)
- La Femme - Le vide est ton nouveau prénom (Mystère)
- Lia Pamina - Créeme (Love Is Enough)
- Cat's Eyes - Everything Moves Towards the Sun (Treasure House)
- Innerspace Orchestra - One Way Glass (One Way Glass single)
- Whyte Horses - Peach Tree Street (Pop Or Not)
- Charlie Hilton - Pony (Palana)
- Prudence Rees-Lee - Fair Witness (Fair Witness single)
- Olympia - Smoke Signals (Self Talk)
- Juniore - Panique (Panique single)
- September Girls - Quicksand (Age Of Indignation)
- Heron Oblivion - Your Hollows (Heron Oblivion)
- Delphine Dora - Alpha centauri (Le Fruit de mes songes)
- Morgan Delt - Sun Powers (Phase Zero)
- Charles Bradley - Ain't Gonna Give It Up (Changes)
- The Honey Pot - Almost Exactly Beautiful (Inside The Whale)
- Beautify Junkyards - Constant Flux (Other Voices 08 single)
- Lush - Lost Boy (Blind Spot EP)
- Exploded View - Stand Your Ground (Exploded View)
- Bat For Lashes - In God's House (The Bride)
- Adrian Younge presents The Electronique Void - Black Noise (Black Noise)
- TOY - Dream Orchestrator (Clear Shot)
- Jarvis Cocker - Theme From "Likely Stories" (Likely Stories EP)
- The Galaxy Electric - Nightmares (Everything is Light and Sound)
- Jenny Hval - Female Vampire (Blood Bitch)
- Leonard Cohen - Traveling Light (You Want it Darker)
- John Cunningham - I Can Fly (Fell)
- Paul Kelly - Sonnet 73 (Seven Sonnets & A Song)
- The New Lines - Love and Cannibalism (Love and Cannibalism)
- Mild High Club - Homage (Skiptracing)
- COTE - London (London single)
- Samara Lubelski - What's Up Rider (The Gilded Raid)
Top 11 albums:
A mix for Halloween featuring music from 70s European horror soundtracks, eerie vintage folk-pop, contemporary pop noir and more. Last year, I made a devil-themed mix drawing from a similar range of artists, but where that one was skin-crawlingly creepy, this is more softly unnerving, with undercurrents of romance and sensuality. It makes me vaguely picture an imaginary classic horror film where a beautiful heroine is lured into a haunted forest by an irresistible but diabolical lover. Amid the prettily haunting sounds, there are still some genuinely terrifying moments – Goblin's bloodcurdling 'Sighs', from Suspiria, for example – should this ominous realm start to feel too cosy.
The mix image is Elsa Martinelli in Roger Vadim's 1960 vampire flick, Et mourir de plaisir (aka Blood and Roses).
Tracklist (Show details)
- François De Roubaix - Les Lèvres Rouges (1971)
From the Les Lèvres Rouges (Daughters of Darkness) soundtrack.
- Beautify Junkyards - Longo Amanhã (2015)
From The Beast Shouted Love.
- Ennio Morricone - Astratto IV (1971)
From the Veruschka - poesia di una donna soundtrack.
- Marianne Faithfull - Oh Look Around You (1965)
From her self-titled debut album.
- Daniela Casa - Ignoto (1975)
From Società Malata, reissued on Penny Records in 2013, and again on Dagored this year.
- Death and Vanilla - Shadow and Shape (2015)
- Comus - Bitten (1971)
From First Utterance.
- The Paradise Motel - Bad Light (1996)
From Still Life.
- Broadcast - The Sacred Marriage (2013)
From the soundtrack to Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio.
- Jenny Hval - In the Red (2016)
From Blood Bitch.
- Cat's Eyes - Pavane (2015)
From the soundtrack to another Strickland film, The Duke of Burgundy.
- Françoise Hardy - The Rose (1966)
From Hardy's first English language album, In English.
- Piero Umiliani - Nocturne (1973)
From To-Day's Sound, reissued on Easy Tempo in 1997.
- Ennio Morricone - Metamorfosi (1971)
From the La classe operaia va in paradiso.
- Laurence Vanay - Soleil Rouge (1974)
- Espers - Flowery Noontide (2005)
- Cat's Eyes - Black Madonna (2015)
From The Duke of Burgundy.
- Les Maledictus Sound - Heathcliff Y Cry Your Name (1968)
From Attention (or arguably Les Maledictus Sound - I'm uncertain of the correct title), the only release by this band helmed by Jean-Pierre Massiera.
- Keith Seatman - A Slight of Hand (2013)
- Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - The False Husband (2006)
From Ballad Of The Broken Seas.
- Jane Weaver - Parade of Blood Red Sorrows (2013)
- Belbury Poly - Pan's Garden (2006)
From The Owl's Map.
- Spirogyra - Old Boot Wine (1973)
From the 2004 compilation Gather In The Mushrooms – The British Acid Folk Underground 1968-1974. Originally from the album Bells, Boots and Shambles.
- Phillip Lambro / Orriel Smith - Hannah Emerges In the Night (1973)
Originally from the Crypt of the Living Dead soundtrack, this was included as a bonus track on the 2011 digital issue of Smith's 1968 single, 'Tiffany Glass' (which was also written by Lambro).
- Still Corners - Demons (2011)
From Creatures of an Hour.
- Acanthus - Sleeping Beauty (Samba Des Vampires) (1971)
From the soundtrack to Jean Rollin's Le Frisson des vampires, released by Finders Keepers Records in 2010.
- Emil Richards - Opal (October) (1966)
From New Sound Element "Stones", reissued by The Omni Recording Corporation in 2012.
- Lake Ruth - One Night As I Lay On My Bed (2016)
From Actual Entity.
- Colleen - Le Labyrinthe (2007)
- Angelo Badalamenti - Laura's Dark Boogie (1990)
From Twin Peaks: Season Two Music and More (2007).
- Maxine Sullivan - Dark Eyes (1938)
From the 1997 compilation The Chronological Classics: Maxine Sullivan 1937-1938.
- Jean Prodromidès - Carmilla et Léopoldo (1960)
From the Et mourir de plaisir (Blood and Roses) soundtrack.
- Harmonic 33 - Long Shadow (2005)
From Music For Film, Television & Radio, Volume 1.
- Goblin - Sighs (1977)
From the soundtrack to Dario Argento's Suspiria, reissued on Bella Casa's The Awakening box set in 2012.
- Harper / Russe / St. George - Nightwalker (1972)
From Electrosonic, a library music record Don Harper, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson (the latter two under pseudonyms) made for KPM, reissued by Glo-Spot in 2006.
- Clara Rockmore - Rachmaninoff: Vocalise (1977)
From The Art of the Theremin.
- Ela Orleans - Nocturne (2012)
From Tumult In Clouds.
- Elysian Fields - Black Acres (2000) – Free download available from Epitonic.
From Queen Of The Meadow.
- Luboš Fišer - Blood Red Rose (1972)
From the Morgiana soundtrack, released by Finders Keepers Records in 2013.
- Mono In VCF - We Could've Owned The World (2008)
From Mono In VCF.
Sorry, everyone, not to have blogged for a long time and to have neglected to let you know that I'm on (unintended) hiatus. I kept hoping I would get back to blogging at any moment, but I just have not been up to it. I will return when I feel like I can blog without it taking too much out of me. I also want to take some time to rethink/redesign/relaunch the blog just as I'd like it.
Apologies also to my Last.fm friends and group members. I'll catch up when I can, but need to continue having a total break for now. Socialising online with everyone has been really fun, but it snowballed into something I couldn't keep up with.
You may also have noticed my Youtube account is once again gone, and I won't be setting up another, as it's too much of a gamble that hours of work will be wiped out at their whim. Instead, I'm migrating to
Imeem, where many videos are allowed, since Imeem has deals with labels and pay royalties. And if a copyright holder wants to exercise their right to keep everyone from ever seeing obscure videos, as they are wont to do on Youtube, the video gets cut but I get to keep my account. Hooray! So far I've uploaded one of my faves and my most popular video on Youtube, Marianne Faithfull singing 'Hier ou demain ' in Anna:
The clip above is a fab girls-with-guitars sequence from the 1967 Greek musical comedy Oi thalassies oi hadres (Οι θαλασσιές οι χάντρες, "The Blue Beads"). A group of men have been lured to the modern club Crazy Girls, hearing rock refrains drifting into their own club, situated nearby in the Plaka, where they play traditional bazouki music. Sitting in on the rehearsal of the house band, the men appreciatively gawk at lead singer Mary, played by Zoe Laskari (Ζωή Λάσκαρη), who cuts a stunning figure in her red sweater and gorgeous knee-high red boots. Toward the end of the clip, we see the band perform to a packed, groovy dancefloor that night. Mary will soon fall for one of the bazouki players, setting up a theme of modern versus traditional values and how a traditional place handles the influence of modernity.
The entire movie can be watched here. Though it has no English subtitles, you may still find it enjoyable, as I did. It can be vaguely followed, particularly at the beginning when the American character says quite a few basic pieces of dialogue in English. The musical numbers alone, especially the gloriously choreographed fantasy sequences, are worth watching it for. 'Crazy Girl' is the only rock song, but the more traditional music is beautiful.
That said, I do hope to see a subtitled version one day, because the film has more to offer than being a light romp with optional dialogue. Greek blog Zalmoxis discusses viewing the film with a fresh perspective after reading an academic article by Michael Kokkoni which credits Oi thalassies oi hadres as representing an important turning point in Greek cinema. It was an unusually high quality production for the time, no easy feat considering the film industry faced "indifference from the state [and] heavy taxation".
Until I watched the video above and the Zoe Kouroukli clips posted in the last entry (all originally posted by balubashake), I thought Zoe Kouroukli and Zoe Laskari were the same person and was about to print Laskari's life story as Kouroukli's. You see, Laskari was also born Zoe Kouroukli, and between attempting to read poorly translated Greek and coming across sites understandably confusing the two women, I came to the wrong conclusion. The excellent Vangelis Movements site, for example, has a page on Zoe Kouroukli which states singer Kouroukli competed for Greece in Miss Universe in 1959, which was actually Laskari. Another article mentions Laskari in a blurb on Zoe & The Stormies, and with auto-translators not providing any clarity, I guessed the name was mentioned as an alias or stage name.
I'm sure if Emily Post had foreseen to write etiquette guidelines for music bloggers, having a Christmas post as one's latest entry as we begin, *gulp*, May would be considered a dreadful faux pas. Once again, I've found myself on an unintended hiatus from blogging, and I'm hoping to get back to posting regularly. For now at least, it's time for my blog to cease to be the virtual equivalent of a home strewn with tattered decorations and a sad Christmas tree wilting away months after 'twas the season.
Recently, I picked up an excellent CD compilation called Greek Beat Greats, released by Gyro Records. This is definitely not a CD to judge by its cover: the artwork alone, with a polite-looking combo hovering in the sky over a generic picture of the Acropolis, would make me fear I'm in for something supremely dodgy, akin to what I'd find in my parents' vast collection of 70s Greek "easy"-listening records. Thankfully, that's not the case. Instead, it's packed with 29 fun, melodic, upbeat tracks from the 60s Greek garage scene. Greek Beat Greats is Vol. 4 in a Gyro's Wildworld series (Vols 1, 2 and 3 featured 60s garage from around the world, Japan and Italy respectively).
The entire CD is worth getting your hands on, but I was particularly excited by a surprising find in the form of the very last track. 'Let's Shake, Baby'* by Zoe & The Stormies is an English-language cover of France Gall's 'Laisse tomber les filles'. A Greek 60s cover of 'Laisse tomber les filles' in English! Who knew?! (Just the one mention of it online is at Garage Hangover - one that, likely due to the misspelling, escaped even my prided Google super-skills at first).
I think I've hit on a plan to let me keep blogging without exhausting myself and then subsequently losing interest. I'm going to keep things as simple as possible with just pictures and the song and probably not buying links, although I feel a bit guilty leaving those out. But you should be able to find any albums from the vendors in my sidebar. If you've searched high and low and can't find where to buy something, you can always ask and I'll help you out.
Please use the comments section to ask me any questions. I've taken down my email address, but if you still have it, please don't use it to ask me questions you can easily find answers for on a search engine. I'm also unable to send out anything individually, even for a trade. Nor am I taking requests or band submissions. Unless you're a band in my myspace friends and you want to send me free stuff? Eh? Eh? Can't blame a girl for trying.
I'm excited to be adding
Radioblog*, which I discovered on the gorgeous blog Pop 'N Cherries. I've been trying to find a free way to do something like this for ages, but had no luck so it's a happy discovery indeed. This is my exception to my no requests policy; you can ask me to post an mp3 if you like anything on there. And I'm hoping that will make the blog a little more interactive and I'll get some more feedback on what people like. Remember, feedback keeps your widdle bloggers happy and makes them want to go on! Even just a 'thanks' or 'you rule the school' or even 'you suck!' (no just kidding, please don't) is great to hear.
I did think of starting up a forum where readers of this blog and the others that post French 60s stuff regularly could talk about what they love and any new discoveries, or trade stuff, but again I'd be biting off a bit more than I can chew. But for anyone who'd be interested in such an idea, please join the last.fm groups I have, French 60s and Ye-Ye Girls and maybe you could liven those up a bit. Even if you don't use the other last.fm features, the forums have the potential to be a great meeting place for fans.
And don't forget
Spiked-Candy Last.fm Radio is still chugging away, churning out lots of aural treats and free to listen to. If the player has let you down before, try the beta for the upcoming release. As long as you have a decent connection, it should work a charm. And I know the 2 separate downloads for the Audioscrobbler plug-in and the Last.fm player are confusing to some; this download has them both in one and guides you through everything you need to do.
Merci, and I'll be back with some tunes very soon .
out of print
- February 19 2017
- February 2 2017
- December 24 2016
- December 23 2016
- November 25 2016
- November 19 2016
- November 11 2016
- October 29 2016
- October 7 2016
- September 1 2016
- August 29 2016
- July 30 2016
- July 19 2016
- July 14 2016
- Tue, Jul 05 2005
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