The Turner Music Prize 2008, vol. 2

Two down, one to go. You might think a year-end-list of three CD-length volumes may be a bit much, but it illustrates just how much good stuff (out of the endless wellspring of shit that floods our everyday lives) is actually made. So here are more tunes for your merry enjoyment:

TURNER MUSIC PRIZE 2008, Vol. 2 [.zip file]
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1. The Gutter Twins: «Down the Line»
José González’s 2007 single is a self-explanatory song, really. But as your DJ I advise you to listen carefully for the deep'n'booming soft growl of Mark Lanegan grounding Greg Dulli's singing, low in the background…
From «Adorata» EP

2. Wolf Parade: «Call It a Ritual»
Someone should probably let Wolf Parade know that this is a cover of Spoon’s «My Mathe-
matical Mind». Luckily, «My Mathematical Mind» has a great groove.
From At Mount Zoomer

3. Ladytron: «Black Cat»
Turn up the bass for this one. The trashy drums and the twin synth basses set the scene: darkrooms, glory holes, catwalks and beauty salons, all in the same place. This song is all coke’n’AIDS—a fitting
soundtrack to when all you have to lose is the next gramme and the future's so uncertain you need to rush to get your kicks in before the night's over, morning bringing only the awareness that you're stuck between a wasted past and a precarious future… But we're already ahead of ourselves. It’s an almost cosmic joke: billions of people genuflect before idols that don’t possess what they themselves sell. It’s not so much a paradox, perhaps, as a lie sold as enthusiastically as it is bought.
(Shovelled and lapped up in the same movement.) Still it’s tempting to say, whenever you're faced with all the transparently contrived and pouting poses on billboards, magazine covers, and TV sets, that those with the public sex appeal lack a private sex drive, and vice versa. But here, as the shaking, vibrating undercurrent of the bass meets the unimpressed and jaded voice, it appears the boredom of an elite set of models and pop stars too narcissistic to lust for anything but their own image finally meets the frenzied fantasies of the voyeuristic masses, in an unlikely union of ennui and savagery. The kind of decadence where the unbridled hedonism of junkies and perverts meets the unnecessary and ruinous luxuries of The Beautiful People. So, feel your morals ooze out of your pores with every dance move as you respond helplessly to the trashy groove; catch the syllables, dripping from the singer's mouth, coming from a place of hostility too haughty and indifferent to blossom into rage. (Rage would be generous, after all, insofar as it extends energy toward someone else, and who are you, anyway?) A voice that’s been around and back, but for no particular reason and with no reward to show for it, other than a readiness to be unimpressed by whatever it is that you have to offer…
But I digress. In a perfect world, this track is what they would dance to at strip clubs—or in any club. But of course, anyone who’s anyone and their nan is a DJ these days, none of whom seems to realise you can actually shake your hips and shuffle yer feet to something that’s not utterly toothless—grooves that aren’t just insults added to the injury of blissful ignorance, forever tacky in its tactics to please and dominate crowds, all around, all year round, everywhere you go. Maybe the financial crisis will thin out the endless queues of pursuers of happiness lining up to dance with their tails between their legs?
From Velocifero

4. Madonna: «Give It 2 Me»
The queen of make-believe hedonism and poster child for decadence is back. The lead-up to the chorus—«Don’t stop me now / No need to catch my breath / I can go on and on and on»—is irrepressible, and
that Eurotrash house synth which erupts once a prone & pouting Madonna starts begging you to «Give it to me!» does it for me every time. Feel your integrity shrink in the face of the urges, instincts and passions that accumulate within you as you're hooked by the shameless synth groove. This song evokes memories of pissed-up businessmen wearing generic blue shirts (no tie) and grey trousers (onto which mobile phone holsters are clipped, natch), as they stumble-dance among incognito transsexuals and prostitutes on nightclub catwalks. With this crowd-pleaser the club came alive, like a pathetic beast you'd rather see asleep. Yet who but Madonna personifies (and so inspires) decadence—that unapproachable 50-year-old, camel-toed star who says losing her virginity was a career move?
From Hard Candy

5. Verve: «Love Is Noise» (radio edit)
The group you hate to love, Verve are ready for some commercial success by the (stadium) sounds of it. (The drummer in particular sounds like he's got some mouths to feed.) They’re one of those bands that are too eager to please to ever achieve greatness. You can imagine them sitting in the studio, trying to come up with a hit, hungering for attention and validation from the same masses they’re trying so desperately to rise above. A song both shameful and shameless, there’s still no way you can not get hooked on the loop that underpins this whole thing. (Because it’s a bit of an ambiguous, if not exactly guilty pleasure, I’ve used the slightly shorter radio edit…) Anyway, this is what summer used to sound like back when I was a youngster.
From «Love Is Noise» single

6. Gnarls Barkley: «Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)»
Now that even electroclash has been betrayed and merged with the death of dance that we call «house music» (a genre that'd be retro by now, had it not been for the fact that house has hardly changed since 1991, rendering a retro venture meaningless), it’s a relief to hear someone still bringing the funk. And not the nice’n’kind funk of feelgood retro soul nights, or cheesy bling-bling nu-R&B (you know, soul without the soul). No, this funkster turns late ’60s psych-soul into psycho-soul, with a deranged Cee-Lo venting his creepiness to delightful effect. Run, children!
From The Odd Couple

7. The Brian Jonestown Massacre: «Golden-frost»
Muddy sounding, you can easily imagine Anton Newcombe playing everything here himself—except for the Icelandic rant—in some makeshift Icelandic «studio». When I saw the Brian Jonestown Massacre on their 2008 tour, they didn’t play a single song off the very
album they were promoting. The psychotic tape loop perfectly complements the underlying, repetitive ’60s riff, and although I have no idea what this Icelandic guy is yelling about, his obvious anger adds to the adrenaline the track pumps into your system. The messy, directionless track perfectly illustrates the confusion inherent in rage, and sometimes, when you're hanging on by the fingernails, all you need is energy—and what better energy source than a slice of anger? «All you need is love» my ass!
From My Bloody Underground

8. Plastic Crimewave Sound: «I Feel Evils»
I don't feel evils all around, but there's certainly enough weakness to go around…
From Painted Shadows

9. Beck: «Gamma Ray»
Trust Beck to devise some sort of psychedelic punk gem. What a riff, what ghostly backing vox, what a rhythm track to make you bounce
absurdly while seated on a sofa as you try and write about this song! And who else could write song lyrics where environmental catastrophe’s a metaphor for love? «The heat wave’s calling your name»!
From Modern Guilt

10. Eat Skull: «Shredders on Fry»
The band with one of the best names in the history of rock revel in noise like children in mud. And it’s infectious.
From Sick to Death

11. Ghetto Cross: «Dog Years»
Atlas Sound/Deerhunter member Bradford Cox and Old King Cole Younger of Black Lips team up for the perfect soundtrack to strolling around in Oslo in summer… Lone junkies scattered across the cityscape, laying about in various sunspots they, better than anyone, know how to appreciate after a brutal winter without sufficient shelter. It’s the sound of sweet collapse at the tail-end of euphoria, all fuzzy veins and buzzing bones, a feeling like you’re wearing some frail exoskeleton as your thoughts fall in all over each other into a come down headed for something only resembling sleep. «Now I want to stop!» cries Cole, but not in any kind of despair, just with that good feeling of exhaustion (like after a hard day’s manual labour), your conscience beaming because you lit a fire under your consciousness. (Sobriety, after all, is laziness.) Here’s to the jubilant burn-out.
From «Dog Years» 7"

12. Cloudland Canyon: «You & I»
Where did this track come from? This group? It's like AI soul music made by computers playing humans—like Hal 9000's got the blues…
From Lie in Light

13. Magic Lantern: «Feasting on Energy»
Mordi digge speisrock.
From High Beams

14. Atlas Sound: «April 13»
No one fashions a fuzzy sound-cocoon quite like Bradford Cox, and few meld melody (and especially song) with noise in such an utterly comforting manner.
This is twelve minutes of the type of break some people should probably have prescribed by their doctor once a day. The lyrics talk about that friend we’ve all had—unless you yourself are one of them (in which case I’ll love you forever)…
From http://www.deerhuntertheband.blogspot.com/

15. The War On Drugs: «A Needle in Your Eye #16»
A bit of a random choice, this. Wagonwheel Blues contains at least four superb songs, but this one's got the best title, by far. It's a feelgood Springsteen stomper, but don't let that put you off. It's got just a smidge of nostalgic longing to give it that extra emotional edge—something to conjure up images of the perfect group of adolescent friends that never was…
From Wagonwheel Blues

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