Entries in AiMT 2009 (4)

Tuesday
Jan192010

AiMT 2009: Best Singles

Red

Better late than never? Can you forgive me?


#25
Sharam [ft. KiD CuDi] - "She Came Along" [Ultra]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#24
Young Money - "Every Girl" [Young Money/Cash Money]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#23
Designer Drugs - "Drop Down" [IHEARTCOMIX]
DOWNLOAD!

#22
Fever Ray - "When I Grow Up" [Rabid/Mute]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#21
La Roux - "Bulletproof" [Polydor]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#20
Darkstar - "Aidy's Girl Is a Computer" [Hyperdub]
DOWNLOAD!

#19
Ellie Goulding - "Under the Sheets" [Neon Gold/Polydor]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#18
Codebreaker - "Follow Me" [Disco Demolition]
DOWNLOAD!

#17
Ghostface Killah - "Forever" [Def Jam]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

#16
Major Lazer [ft. Nina Sky & Ricky Blaze] - "Keep It Goin' Louder" [Downtown]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#15
Rihanna [ft. Young Jeezy] - "Hard" [Def Jam]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#14
Rich Boy - "Drop" [Interscope]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

#13
Lady GaGa - "Bad Romance" [Streamline/Interscope/KonLive/ Cherrytree]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#12
Acid Girls [ft. Frankmusik] - "Wake Up" [Kitsuné]
DOWNLOAD!

#11
Feadz [ft. MC Wesley] - "Subiu, Desceu" [Man]
DOWNLOAD!

#10
Red - "I Should Tell Ya Momma on You" [HVW8]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#9
Basement Jaxx - "Raindrops" [XL]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#8
Little Boots - "Remedy" [679]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#7
Amanda Blank - "Make It Take It" [Downtown]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

#6
The Very Best [ft. Ezra Koenig] - "Warm Heart of Africa" [Green Owl]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#5
Marina & SoKo - "Mum" [IHEARTCOMIX/Pure Groove]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

#4
Big Boi [ft. Gucci Mane] - "Shine Blockas" [LaFace]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#3
Vybz Kartel & Spice - "Romping Shop" [Tad's]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#2
La Roux - "I'm Not Your Toy" [Polydor]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

#1
Shakira - "She Wolf" [Epic]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!


Download the ZIP (for a very limited time).
Monday
Dec282009

AiMT 2009: Baby Armie Preview Mix



Big up KXUA's DJ EJ for debuting this mix a few weeks back on Wheels of Steel. It's pretty self-explanatory: a handful of mix-friendly picks from this year. (Okay, so it's not much of a "preview," considering half the lists have already gone up.)

Download [Direct]

00:00: Bestrack - "Wishmaker (Worship Remix)"
03:24: Passion Pit - "The Reeling (Sammy Bananas Big Choon Mix)"
06:55: Classixx [ft. Frankmusik] - "Wake Up"
10:21: Dragonette - "Pick Up the Phone (Richard X Remix)"
15:39: Little Boots - "Remedy (Buffetlibre vs. Sidechains Remix)"
20:43: Bestrack - "Do It All Night"
24:22: VEGA - "No Reasons"
28:09: Crookers [ft. Izza Kizza] - "What Up Y'all"
32:34: Designer Drugs - "Drop Down"
36:20: Partyshank - "Virgin (Mustard Pimp Remix)"

Also, catch me at the Art Amiss Blue Masquerade at Speakeasy on NYE:


Related:
AiMT 2009: Best Albums
AiMT 2009: Best Non-Single Songs (w/ Bonus Phony Cover Art)


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Monday
Dec212009

AiMT 2009: Best Albums

Amanda Blank
Here's my obligatory recurring disclaimer that AiMT basically covers dance-pop, hip-hop and certain strains of dance music. This list reflects that coverage. It's not a comprehensive list, so no AnCo or Antony. (Sorry...) Enjoy!


#25
Woolfy - If You Know What's Good for Ya!! [Rong/DFA]
DOWNLOAD "LOOKING GLASS" / BUY: AMAZON ($9.99), EMUSIC (12 CREDITS), iTUNES ($9.99), OTHER MUSIC ($9.99)

#24
2562 - Unbalanced [Tectonic]
DOWNLOAD "LOVE IN OUTER SPACE" / BUY: AMAZON ($9.99), EMUSIC (12 CREDITS), iTUNES ($9.99)

#23
Tinchy Stryder - Catch 22 [Universal Island]
DOWNLOAD "TRYNA BE ME" / BUY: iTUNES UK (£5.99)

#22
Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Real Life Is No Cool [Feedelity]
DOWNLOAD "KEEP IT UP" / BUY: AMAZON ($8.99), EMUSIC (10 CREDITS), iTUNES ($9.90)

#21
Basement Jaxx - Scars [XL]
DOWNLOAD "SCARS" / BUY: AMAZON ($7.99), iTUNES ($9.99)

#20
Matias Aguayo - Ay Ay Ay [Kompakt]
DOWNLOAD "MUCHO VIENTO" / BUY: iTUNES ($9.99), OTHER MUSIC ($12.99)

#19
Kid Sister - Ultraviolet [Fool's Gold/Downtown]
DOWNLOAD "STEP" NSFW / BUY: AMAZON ($5.00), iTUNES ($7.99)

#18
Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - II [Eskimo]
DOWNLOAD "RETT PÅ" / BUY: EMUSIC (8 CREDITS), iTUNES ($9.99)

#17
Desire - II [Italians Do It Better]
DOWNLOAD "DANS MES RÊVES" / BUY: AMAZON ($7.92), EMUSIC (8 CREDITS), iTUNES ($7.92), OTHER MUSIC ($7.99)

#16
Annie - Don't Stop [Smalltown Supersound]
DOWNLOAD "WHEN THE NIGHT" / BUY: AMAZON ($7.99), EMUSIC (12 CREDITS), iTUNES ($10.99)

#15
Bodycode - Immune [Spectral]
DOWNLOAD "I'LL HOLD YOUR HAND" / BUY: AMAZON ($8.91), EMUSIC (9 CREDITS), iTUNES ($8.91), OTHER MUSIC ($9.99)

#14
FaltyDL - Love Is a Liability [Planet Mu]
DOWNLOAD "TRUTH" / BUY: AMAZON ($9.99), iTUNES ($9.99), OTHER MUSIC ($9.99)

#13
Ghostface Killah - Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City [Def Jam]
DOWNLOAD "DO OVER" NSFW / BUY: AMAZON ($8.99), iTUNES ($11.99)

#12
Little Boots - Hands [679]
DOWNLOAD "MEDDLE" / BUY: iTUNES UK (£4.99)

#11
Dizzee Rascal - Tongue 'n Cheek [Dirtee Stank/Liberation]
DOWNLOAD "ROAD RAGE" NSFW / BUY: iTUNES UK (£5.99)


#10
Memory Tapes - Seek Magic [S/R]
DOWNLOAD "GRAPHICS" / BUY: AMAZON ($7.92), EMUSIC (8 CREDITS), iTUNES ($7.92)

Dayve Hawk (aka Memory Tapes, aka Memory Cassette, aka Weird Tapes) fit snugly into the GvsB-christened new wave of lo-fi pop this year with this self-released album. Normally this sound would be considered off-topic here at AiMT, but this record has some great upbeat dance choons, like the above-linked "Graphics," which comes off like a post-punk-savvy DFA A-side. Seek Magic is a well rounded album with lots of variety, so don't sleep on it.


#9
Frankmusik - Complete Me [Island]
DOWNLOAD "WHEN YOU'RE AROUND" / BUY: AMAZON ($9.49), iTUNES ($9.99)

Produced entirely by UK dance-pop bigwig Stuart Price (the man behind Les Rythmes Digitales), Frankmusik's debut hits all the right notes on the gay pop scale. Frankmusik has a classic pop voice and song structure—something like a halfway point between Elton John and Dave Gahan, only much sassier and poppier than either. Frank's songwriting chops become even more apparent on Complete Me's sister album, Completely Me, which features solo piano performances of the album's tracks.


#8
Amanda Blank - I Love You [Downtown]
DOWNLOAD "LEMME GET SOME" NSFW / BUY: AMAZON ($7.99), EMUSIC (11 CREDITS), iTUNES ($7.99)

This entry could single-handedly invalidate this entire list in the eyes of many Pitchfork fanboys, and that's just how it'll have to be. Good riddance! What several of the sacred cows failed to acknowledge is that Amanda Blank made the album she was supposed to make. It's an X-rated pop-rap record that showcases her rock-solid Rakim-esque throwback flow, features slick, of-the-moment production by Diplo, Switch and XXXchange, and cements her as a big talent and a major player in the blossoming hipster rap movement. At under 34 minutes, I Love You is bite-sized, to-the-point, light on filler and totally worth hearing despite the harsh internet booty chatter.


#7
Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II [IceH20]
DOWNLOAD "SURGICAL GLOVES" NSFW / BUY: AMAZON ($7.99), iTUNES ($9.99)

OB4CL2 was easily the year's most hyped album on my radar, and the hype turned out to be largely justified. While the record was a bit too much of a nostalgia piece to be a bonafied classic, it recalled the vintage Wu aesthetic with a level of quality I figured would never again be possible. Rae's projects in recent years have been forgettable and even downright bad (namely 2007's Polluted Water comp), but all is forgiven with OB4CL2. If all Wu members were still putting out albums of this quality, the outfit's legacy would be beyond colossal.


#6
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon: The End of Day [G.O.O.D./Dream On/Universal]
DOWNLOAD "SOUNDTRACK 2 MY LIFE" NSFW / BUY: AMAZON ($5.00), iTUNES ($9.99)

Underground rappers have been making careers out of criticizing their own genre's mainstream for years and years, especially in the post-Diddy era. Cudi is among a select few who have done so competently and successfully. Man on the Moon is a mellow, moody and contemplative concept record that finds the Cleveland sort-of-rapper turn rap's conventions on their head all while impacting the industry on a level rivaling a Soulja Boy or a post-incarceration Gucci Mane.


#5
Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do [Downtown]
DOWNLOAD "WHEN YOU HEAR THE BASSLINE" NSFW / BUY: AMAZON ($5.00), EMUSIC (13 CREDITS), iTUNES ($6.99)

It's difficult to gauge exactly, but it seems like Major Lazer, the dream team dancehall project of Diplo and Switch, first started being buzzed about back in 2006 or perhaps even earlier. In any case, Guns Don't Kill People is a long-awaited and highly anticipated release, and the wait has definitely paid off. Beyond the excellent and punctually absurdist Eric Warehime-directed music videos, this surprisingly poppy project has proven to be wildly quirky but still carries enough thud power to set most adventurous dancefloors ablaze.


#4
Dâm-Funk - Toeachizown [Stones Throw]
DOWNLOAD "TOEACHIZOWN" / BUY: AMAZON ($8.99), EMUSIC (24 CREDITS), iTUNES ($11.99), OTHER MUSIC ($9.99)

The new funk ambassador of Los Angeles has arrived. In 2009, not only did Dâm-Funk introduce us his completely unique and alien brand of electro/funk, he dropped this mini anthology of his work, a five-LP/double-CD opus that clocks in at 140 minutes but costs as much as a single album at most digital music retailers. You probably wouldn't want to listen to all 140 minutes at once—Toeachizown is best consumed in small doses, but it functions as a real album, a single creative ideal.


#3
The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa [Green Owl]
DOWNLOAD "CHALO" / BUY: AMAZON ($8.99), iTUNES ($9.99)

Considering the ever-increasing interest in African music within the reissues circuit, 2009 proved to be impeccably good timing for the debut of The Very Best, the African-pop-meets-cool-kid-Western-production venture of Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit. Still enjoying the success of last year's self-titled mixtape, the odd pair won over indie, dance and world music circles alike with Warm Heart of Africa, a masterful melding of two sounds that ends up sounding wholly natural and meant to be.


#2
La Roux - S/T [Polydor]
DOWNLOAD "COVER MY EYES" / BUY: AMAZON ($5.99), iTUNES ($7.99)

A handful of great singles, flashy retro music videos, extensive touring and UK chart-topping made for an amazingly successful year for Elly Jackson and company. This debut is chock-full of of personality, infectious hooks and all-around solid pop songwriting. And just like any other great pop record, there are even a few ballads (even despite the record's upbeat electro flare). There are only one or two songs on La Roux that aren't single worthy, but even those are at least good. The real treasures of this album are its singles, but don't let that stop you from hearing the whole thing, especially if you're serious about pop music.


#1
Fever Ray - S/T [Rabid/Mute]
DOWNLOAD "NOW'S THE ONLY TIME I KNOW" / BUY: AMAZON ($7.99), iTUNES ($7.99)

The shear oddity of Fever Ray, the beautifully unnerving solo project of The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson, almost casts this record into off-topic territory for AiMT. But rules are made to be broken, especially rules of silly music blogs with questionable senses of identity. Fever Ray is basically an electronic pop record, but it's one that is lightyears ahead of 97% its competition conceptually. This album embodies a constant sense of childhood wonderment and everything that comes with it: playfulness, fascination, a surrealist imagination, all of which are good things. But there's also a perpetually lurking fear of the unknown, which colors even the sunniest of experiences. Notions of witchcraft and the occult recur here and there, furthering this childlike state of vulnerability, which is painted with a very basic-yet-expertly-selected palette of breathy synths, pads and drums that recall the early days of Warp Records. Beyond that, there isn't a single sleeper on Fever Ray, so all things considered, it's the most fun to listen to.


Related:
AiMT 2009: Best Non-Single Songs (w/ Bonus Phony Cover Art)


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Thursday
Dec172009

AiMT 2009: Best Non-Single Songs (w/ Bonus Phony Cover Art)

Dâm-Funk

photo by Nick Crew

It hasn't been the most active year for AiMT, but I've tried my best to keep my ear to the ground, so I'll hereby commence AiMT 2009 with this list. While I'm tempted to guarantee more 2009 lists to come—specifically albums, singles and remixes—like last year, I'll just say, "I'm working on them." You see, these lists tend to be daunting for me, so only the good Lord knows whether or not I'll actually get them all finished. It could be that I get overwhelmed after finishing only one (see 2007) or that I manage to crank them all out after a few long nights (see 2008). Only time will tell.

This particular list may merit some explanation. Last year I made a singles list, and I plan to do the same this year. (I don't like settling on all-encompassing songs lists because I'm old-fashioned.) The problem is there were so many songs this year that felt like singles but technically weren't released commercially as such. Cue this list. And since these tracks aren't singles and therefore lack cover art, I made some dreadful, tacky fake covers. Why? I dunno—to meme up this feature or something. Click them to enlarge. Collect 'em all!

This list isn't as thorough as the other '09 lists will be. I'm sure I overlooked plenty of tracks that merited entries here, but this list is really more about songs that felt like singles or songs that I mistook for singles.

And lastly I'll give my disclaimer that AiMT 2009 (as well as subsequent years) is not comprehensive genre-wise. The entries on these lists are on topic for AiMT, so they're basically limited to dance-pop, dance music, hip-hop, etc. That's why list darlings like Animal Collective and the like are getting skipped. Maybe if I have time I'll make an off-topic list, but again, there are no guarantees in this cruel world. Enjoy!


PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #15
Ellie Goulding - "Starry Eyed" [blogs]
DOWNLOAD!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #14
Rich Boy [ft. Skapio] - "Kool-Aid Kush & Convertibles" [blogs]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #13
Jennifer Hudson [ft. Ludacris] - "Pocketbook" [Arista]
DOWNLOAD!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #12
Cassian - "Final Round" [Bang Gang]
DOWNLOAD!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #11
Ikonika - "Sahara Michael" [Hyperdub]
DOWNLOAD!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #10
Washed Out - "Feel It All Around" [Mexican Summer]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH A FAN VIDEO!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #9
Mavado - "Gyal Bend Ova" [blogs]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #8
Bestrack - "Do It All Night" [Bouchemiture]
DOWNLOAD!

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #7
Crookers [ft. Kid Cudi] - "Embrace the Martian" [Fool's Gold]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #6
Robin Thicke [ft. Nicki Minaj] - "Shakin' It 4 Daddy" [Star Trak/Interscope]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW


PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #5
Friend - "Doki" [blogs]
DOWNLOAD! / WATCH THE VIDEO!

"Doki" is perhaps the champion track of the regretfully coined "chillwave" movement. Friend is London-based producer Jesse Kanda, and unfortunately his Shima EP never dropped. Not much else to report about this steel drum-laden chiller other than it has a sweet minimalist video made from Wong Kar-wai film footage. Hopefully we'll hear more out of Friend in 2010.


PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #4
Gucci Mane - "Lemonade" [So Icey/Asylum/Warner Bros.]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW / WATCH THE VIDEO!

Gucci earned a cult following through the mixtape circuit in years past and has been a major player in the ATL music community since '05, but '09 was truly Gucci's year. He broke into the mainstream in a big way, and his number of featured spots probably tallies up there with Weezy and Drake. For many people, it was too easy to hate Gucci in '09. Just when the ATL-based crack rap waters started to subside, 'long comes this newly hyped poster boy with more tired tales of drug trafficking, an exaggerated Southern drawl, lots of big jewelry and even *gasp* a grill. (Soo '05.) But Gucci's stylistic lagging didn't stop him from putting out some really competent material, like the quirky Bangladesh-produced "Lemonade."


PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #3
Dâm-Funk - "(My Funk Goes) On & On" [Stones Throw]
DOWNLOAD!

When Dâm-Funk impacted earlier this year, so many questions swirled around music circles, namely, "Where did this guy come from?" While his alien brand of G-funk felt so relevant in '09, it didn't fit comfortably into any of-the-moment blossoming music scenes. Dâm is a movement unto himself. We'll likely hear a billion artists biting this dude's sound in 2010. It just seems inevitable. "On & On" comes from Dâm's Toeachizown 12-inch series (and now double CD).


PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #2
Big Boi [ft. George Clinton & Too Short] - "Fo Yo Sorrows" [blogs]
DOWNLOAD! NSFW

Inclusions and outtakes from the long-delayed and still forthcoming Big Boi solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty have been leaking for nearly two years now, and the Organized Noize-produced "Fo Yo Sorrows" sits near the top of the pile. George Clinton graces the track with one of '09's most infectious hooks, and Big Boi is in essential Outkast throwback mode. If this song is any indication of how good Chico Dusty will be, it could very well be the much needed period piece antidote that does for Outkast's legacy what OB4CL2 has done for Wu. Chico Dusty should be out in February on Def Jam.


PHONY COVER ART! Click to enlarge. #1
VEGA - "No Reasons" [blogs]
DOWNLOAD!

Alan Palomo of Ghosthustler and Neon Indian fame is also the force behind VEGA. While Neon Indian saw an album release and extensive touring in '09, VEGA only got a short-lived blog buzz back in May and dropped no commercial releases. "No Reasons" was slated to be commercially available on Vogue College Records via VEGA's Well Known Pleasures EP, which sadly never hit shelves. "No Reasons," unlike the hazy lo-fi synthpop sounds of Neon Indian, is slick and glossy. It's topnotch filter house-enriched dance-pop ambrosia, and it's easily in the same league as your favorite Daft Punk track. It demands the attention of any dancefloor whose patrons are even the slightest bit adventurous. Let's hope the EP delays mean Palomo is shopping around with the majors.


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