50. Karen O, Michael Kiwunuka – YO! MY SAINT
This track was released back in January and it’s full of drama and dripping in lust. Fuzzy guitars and the soulful sounds of Michael Kiwunuka provide the perfect foundation for O’s vocals to dazzle. Designed to emulate the drama of a Korean soap opera, it was written to soundtrack a short film, which helps to make sense of the song’s cinematic feel.
- LeyeT – Drip Drop
Drip Drop is a deceptively simple pop song. The catchiness and immediacy of the melody mask the urgency of the lyrics, the sense that pain and heartbreak can feel relentless and overwhelming. The song’s production subtly mirrors the relentless through repetition before we reach a point of release.
- Hammer – Inside Soul
Rory Hamilton – aka Hammer – has been buddies with Bicep since their early Belfast days. Now based in East London, Inside Soul was the third track on his C-Space EP (released on Bicep’s label) and is equal parts hypnotic and euphoric.
- DJ Koze – Seeing Aliens
The lead single from Koze’s critically acclaimed Knock Knock album, Seeing Aliens is a baffling listen. Eight minutes of whirrs, glitches and general chaos make up the melody, Seeing Aliens is a speedy 3am drive up the motorway, when your monotony is irregularly frazzled by oncoming lights.
- James Supercave – Something To Lose (metsa Rework)
It’s pretty rare for remixes to make my top 50, but this metsa rework is superbly catchy. A dystopian remix in which the emotions of the original seem to have been given a cyborg makeover; it’s a battle between the metallic coldness of the production and the tenderness of the vocals.
- George Fitzgerald – Siren Call
From Fitzgerald’s second album All That Must Be, Siren Call feels like an ode to lying awake at night in an unfamiliar city. Full of creeping electronics and unsettling distortions, moments of peace and calm when you’re drifting into slumber are snatched away by another disturbance.
- Ellas Ross – Plastic
Sometimes music is at its best when you strip away all the unnecessary elements and keep it simple. Plastic feels like an artist at the end of a relationship, wearily realising that the person they thought they knew was never there. The façade has melted, and it’s time to accept it. Without malice, but with growing strength, Plastic lets us hear someone gaining clarity and acceptance.
- Django Django – Swimming at Night
Django Django’s Winter’s Beach EP was a pleasant surprise in September, and Swimming at Night was its instantly catchy single. Electronic percussion and synth-y goodness to the fore, this is a cracking pop song full of fun.
- Kidnap – After All
Sheffield-born Producer Kidnap (previously Kidnap Kid) released his Ashes EP in March and After All was the third track on it. With shades of Massive Attack, there a reflective and borderline spiritual quality to After All, with lyrical snippets of Amazing Grace subtly woven into the record. “You know when you get a taste of it?, I want this to be my life” the vocalist asks halfway through, as the music reflects the longing and hopes of the singer.
- Simian Mobile Disco – Hey Sister
This is a track that shouldn’t work on any level. Dance music doesn’t usually have choirs. Add in cold electronic beats that seem so urgent compared to the placid vocals and it’s a song that should drown in its own contradictions. Instead Simian Mobile Disco have created a unique track that sounds awesome. Well played.