HMCMB’s Songs Of 2010
It’s about time for the Hey Man, Check My Band songs of 2010 post, we are just as excited as you are… The problems with these posts are the taste Vs trend aspect of them though. I could, if i so chose, put up the biggest songs of 2010. Naturally there would be spots for Tinie Tempah’s breakthrough ‘Pass Out’, some inane Justin Bieber drivel and before the year is out, some kind of awful Biffy Clyro murdering X-Factor ballad (Here’s lookin’ at you Matt). That would be a massive waste of both mine and your time, you could find that on MTV if you wanted to. The other issue is deciding quite what to put in, whilst not getting swept away by the songs you currently love. With the speed at which our blog has taken off, I could choose 10 songs I love alone just from the last month of emails in our inbox. Trends are also key to a successful compilation, this year we’ve seen a renewed resurgence of nu-folk, Stornoway, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling and Bombay Bicycle Club’s new albums testament to that. The Surf rock/shoegaze/artrock/haze pop, crackly synth anthems and lo-fi indie that captured the essence of Summer with their ambiguity and chilled electro, shout outs to Wild Nothing and Best Coast as notable mentions of this Summer past. With all that in mind, setting up a playlist becomes very daunting! It was for this reason the Hey Man Check My Band unit sat down and debated for hours (more like 3 texts and a few facebook chats) over how to discern which tracks are suitable for inclusion. We figured eventually that we should just post the songs of relevance to our blog (keen followers may well already have some of the songs posted), or that have been important to us in the last 365 days. The songs we have chosen may not have affected the music industry this year, but they’ve certainly affected us.
Tom, Pete & Will
Oh and best mention it now, the download is both HERE and the bottom of this article. It’s a zipped up folder full of all the lovely tracks we’ve chosen alongside some awesome cover art from blog affiliate, artist and all round TopLad Josh Tomlinson. Hit the link now then read through and the chances are it will be done by the time you’ve finished, then you can make your own mind up…
Right, as is the norm (we’re very conventional like that) will give a run down of each song and why we chose it, hope you can learn to love them like we have!
Their Calling - Bravestation
I am not exaggerating whatsoever when I say I could have chosen any one of the songs on Bravestation’s 2010 EP released earlier this year. Heck, ‘White Wolves’ and ‘Clocks & Spears’ were both in early versions of the playlist instead! Their post-punk sound is incredibly well manipulated and there is definitely a reason they have topped the playlist (although actually the rest is not in an order of importance, I just felt this deserved credit). Maybe it hit me more than it will others, but without a doubt, when I claimed they were my favourite act of 2010 3 months ago, no one has beaten them to it. They are the sound of my 2010, I only hope they are the sound of everyone else’s 2011. If you like what you hear, download their full EP HERE.
Better - Rob The Rich
Gotta give a bit of love to some Brighton bands, the tropical pop of Rob The Rich is infectious in its indie-ness and just generally great sound, they released Better under Fandango but word on the street they broke up soon after. A massive shame they never got the time to make an EP. You will be missed!!
You Are Not A Robot - Hoodie Allen
Ahh Hoodie <3. Musically, I had a pretty sheltered upbringing.. well that’s not at all fair, there was always music in the house and is no doubt the reason I love it so much.. But hip hop and rap were most definitely not ever played at the dinner table. I think it was the sampling of Hoodie’s ‘Pep Rally’ that got me hooked, but through him opened up a huge new range of artists I could appreciate, so if you’re reading this (fingers crossed), thanks Hoodie! Oh.. and from a blog perspective we also managed to hold the #1 and #2 spots on Hypem with his interview!
TAOS - Menomena
Bit less reason to why I included this, it’s just generally a quality song and a quality album, I think I read a review of their album ‘Mines’ in ‘The Clash’, I checked it out and fell in love with it, specifically TAOS. The guitar on this is just incredible, bluesy and magnificent.
Schoolin’ - Everything Everything
Gotta put these guys down! For most they’ve been one of the most diverse and interesting breakthrough acts of 2010, of course Schoolin’ had to be included! We interviewed these guys a few months ago before the release of their album, since then I’ve managed to see them a couple of times during the year, they have not once disappointed. I think I first heard them through a remix by David’s Lyre, another inclusion on this post *Small World*
Gary - Stages Of Dan
I remember this gem was sent via Playground their PR who we had had some success with with one of their other acts Films Of Colour. Regardless, they were one of the first truly infectious and class tracks we had sent to us, we’ve gone over it before, but a bloggers inbox can be pretty bleak some times. Often musical talent and advertising one’s self are exclusive of each other. For this reason I listened to Gary over and over again, sure it isn’t as ‘mature’ or clever as some of the other songs included, but it’s an absolute riot. Love it for what it is, something that isn’t trying to be anything it’s not.
Your Four Limbs - Kurran & The Wolf Notes
Was just on the off chance I was checking up on these guys MySpace and saw they were having a new single out. A few listens and emails later we were interviewing them due to the quality of their tracks (looking back on it, most of the acts we’ve really loved, we have strived to interview). Their folk musings completely grabbed us, the vocals of lead Kurran are completely enthralling, really really emotive and beautiful to listen to. I often think these guys are one of those bands that just need a push from somewhere, their music is just so good and they are so talented the mainstream are really missing out. On the off chance some big wig CEO or label owner is reading this, this is a personal plea!
King Charles - We Didn’t Start The Fire
A loose cover of the Billy Joel classic (well I hadn’t heard it).. The cynical and light hearted lyricism of King Charles deserve inclusion on their own! Unfortunately this I don’t think has been properly released, and this is just a youtube rip, hence the cutting of some lyrics, mainly concerning Tom Cruise’s sexual persuasion. On a slightly more personal level this was I think one of the last songs I posted on facebook before thinking ‘sod it, i’ll start a blog’ for that reasons it is on the my unbelievably rookie first attempt of a post, the tunes on it are still pretty slick though!
Lissie - Pursuit Of Happiness
Just realised I put two covers back to back *super cringe*. Anyywayy, put this up because I just fancied having a cover on the playlist and this was by far one of the best this year. It picked up massive support within the ‘blogosphere’, and rightly so, the new slant on the Cudi classic is very well executed. Heck I even love her little intro. The lyrics of Sir Cudi are perhaps sound a bit silly sung at this rate, but fair play, they hold up to it, i’m sure most rap songs wouldn’t (the argumentatively inclined my well point out at this point it isn’t really a rap song).
Microlite - Trophy Wife
Do they just hand out guitars and musical talent at birth in Oxford?! As well as highly intellectual alumni, masses of quality bands to come out of Oxford this year. Trophy Wife however are definitely the pick of the crop (although Jonquil gave them a run for their money). They’re friendly with the Foals and supported them on their tour, I think they even lived together for a spell.. Trophy Wife are really gearing up for a big 2011. Their first single Microlite is VERY promising. Full of that folky – punky but kind of electro sound that Local Natives and Bravestation also lay claim to, they are a terribly exciting prospect for next year. But yet again, they were one of the biggest songs for me this year, hence inclusion.
Boy - Ra Ra Riot
A double recognition one here, This is a copy of RRR’s single from their second album they released earlier this year. As a whole, for me the album went the wrong way, they began to steer more towards the eccentricities of the leads voice and sharp guitar, opposed to giving more importance to their interesting and quirky violin and Cello aspects. It will definitely reap them more financial reward, but I can’t help but feel that they’ve lost a tiny bit of the magic that was there to be built on in ‘The Rhumb Line’, their debut. Hence the version i’ve included! It’s a live recording from the Daytrotter studio’s. Daytrotter, a massively revered and successful website that gives away free versions of live studio recordings they have had with the huge number of indie outfits that make it a tour destination. The National, Foals, Local Natives and Vampire Weekends have all had more than one session on there. For me, Daytrotter are a massive force for good in the music industry, giving big names a chance to express themselves without the production pressures of their mainstream labels, as well as smaller acts a chance to really get themselves out there amongst the bigger names that bring the viewers (and listeners) to the site. It is also wonderfully written, if a bit thick, which always gives their site a sense of professionalism and quality, whilst remaining passionate about music, a tricky balance.
The In Between - e-dubble
Just to point out, e-dubble insists on lower case when writing his name, as much as it offends my iTunes formatting OCD. The fact that one of his Freestyle Fridays can even be included is testament to his talent, it is also a cool way of summing up the year. He’s released a Freestyle every Friday since the beginning of the year, sure, some are stronger than others, but generally the quality has been incredible. His wide range of sampling sheds some light on both his technical ability when constructing songs, as well as an insight into the reams of incredible and some times thought provoking material he has on offer. I listened through all of his Freestyle Friday’s in a row once, the little tit bits of news and recent releases, made for a very interesting and reflective account of his year. Something I was attempting to try with this playlist. I only wish that e-dubble is willing to continue when the year is out.
Matilda - FILMS
This is one of the acts latest in the year that I included. In fact, the post on them is only about 2 weeks old, they are very very good though. I mean realllyy good. Their single Breezeblocks is set for release in Jan, but I wanted to put them up now to ya’ kno’ beat the hype . I actually feel a bit bad that I included them, as it gets rid of a spot that could have been reserved for an act earlier in the year. My money however is on that if they were brought to my knowledge earlier, they still would’ve made the spot.
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster The People
If i was completely honest, i wasn’t as into the Chill Wave summer scene as I was the folk and post-punk resurgences, it seemed like an easy way to sound arty and clever, but actually often it was just a group of indie kids over compensating for their lack of musical dexterity with a $80 dollar synth box.. Though with the cynical rant over, it still definitely deserves some kind of recognition. As I noted before Wild Nothing and Best Coast, whilst different in sound, summed up the Summer pretty well as far as alternative music goes. There was another though for us here. ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ by Foster The People, for us, captured the essence of those hazy summers. Luckily, they also succeeded in creating a ludicrously catchy tune. Equipped with a crafty melody and novel whistling elements (Peter, Bjorn & John anyone?!) it was always bound to sound pretty damn cool. As much about signifying a trend as the song itself, this definitely for us one one of the best things that came out of the Summer lo-fi madness.
Heartbeat - David’s Lyre
Credit where credit’s due, I first saw this on My Band’s Better Than Your Band (have a look if you like a slightly crazy, slightly angry posting style, and cameo appearances from the likes of Raoul Moat and Andy Murray, oh and some seriously ace music). David’s Lyre is somewhat of a self confessed enigma. Originally veiled in mystery and donning a venetian mask, his acoustic guitar on piano led ditties completely captivated me. He finally released his first single ‘Tear Them Down’ earlier this year but for me it doesn’t come close to how great one of his earlier demo’s Heartbeat is. Oh, and for a bit of coverage, he has also undertaken a musical advent calendar on his bandcamp, posting either a poem or song every day until christmas. Check it out.
Right, that’s it for the summaries, here’s the download link, well actually, there’s 10 of them, for no other reason than to grab your attention and make it painfully obvious how to do it. Bare in mind it is zipped up, no problem for Mac-ites like Pete & I and many others of course, but may pose more of a problem for PC users. Here’s a little excerpt from Will about PC’s:
‘On account of being thoughtful people we’ve saved our tracks in a zip file so it downloads quicker and most computers should then unzip said file automatically when you try to open it. Plus I guess some of you may well have have zip software already. If however you find yourself in neither of those two groups then this link might help:
Oh right, also, we felt there was some other notable acts or artists that deserved mentioning. Will quite reasonably pointed out, who else has dominated the blogosphere more than Mr Kanye West and his host of G.O.O.D Friday’s?! Not quite my thing, so wasn’t included, but yeah, it deserves mentioning…
Oh and some Hoodie Allen streams too, just cause we found it on Soundcloud again just now…
That’s it for our end of year special, 2010 has been a big year for us, both musically and generally everything about it. Me personally (Tom) have managed to create and sustain this blog, grabbed loads of experience from all those willing to share, and hopefully made some friends through it too. Now their are 3 of us, here’s looking at you 2011!