Moderat – A New Error (2009)

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It’s a Friday, so let’s go techno. Gernot Bronsert, Sascha Ring and Sebastian Szary are Moderat – a three-piece project from Berlin. In 2009, the trio released their self-titled debut on BPitch Control. ‘A New Error’ is the opening track. Have a great weekend.

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Estelle feat. Kanye West – American Boy (2008)

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2008 gave us a slice of golden pop – catchy, disposable and well produced (will.i.am). ‘American Boy’ was written by the masses (Estelle herself, Kanye West, will.i.am, John Legend, Josh Lopez, Caleb Speir and Keith Harris), but delivered by the few. London’s own Estelle was at the height of her vocal powers and Kanye did his thing. Released as a single in 2008, the song features as the third track on her second studio album Shine.

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Kings Of Leon – McFearless (2007)

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In a year that they are showing signs of a return to form, one wonders what might represent their zenith. Kings Of Leon released Because Of The Times in 2007 and the album featured the direct ‘McFearless’. Will Caleb Followill get a better set of vocals for his rock persona? “So I know I’ma show/It’s my show/I must go/With my soul.”

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The Felice Brothers – Her Eyes Dart Round (2006)

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Iantown was the first album pressing released by The Felice Brothers, but really it was the work of Ian Felice plus. However, the acoustic guitar and folk country set the tempo of what was to follow for the band. The album is out of print, but the track ‘Her Eyes Dart Round’ can also be found on their 2012 collection of home-recorded songs. God Bless You, Amigo.

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Guillemots – Trains To Brazil (2005)

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We kick the week off with 2005, the year that the Guillemots released ‘Trains to Brazil’ as an advanced single from their 2006 album Through the Windowpane. For a song that makes reference to Jean Charles de Menezes’ fatal journey on the London Underground, the sound is remarkably upbeat. Have a great week.

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The Polyphonic Spree – Section 12 (Hold Me Now) (2004)

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“Hold me now, don’t stop chicken.” The Polyphonic Spree reminds me of my kids and makes me smile. Disney’s Hollywood Records released the Texan troupe’s.sophomore album Together We’re Heavy in 2004. ‘Section 12’ is the second track on the album. Have a great weekend.

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The Killers – Mr. Brightside (2003)

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2003 could not pass without some mention of The Killers for their ubiquitous track ‘Mr. Brightside’. Hot Fuss indeed.

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Frou Frou – Let Go (2002)

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Before they disbanded, electronic duo Imogen Heap and Guy Sigsworth (aka Frou Frou) released just the one album Details in 2002. The two of them wrote the song ‘Let Go’ and it would go on to feature during the end credits of the movie Garden State. Emotional electronica, like the Everything But The Girl a few years before.

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Janet Jackson – Doesn’t Really Matter (2001)

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This one is verging on a guilty pleasure, but probably has enough credibility to duck that ignominy. Janet Jackson may have written ‘Doesn’t Really Matter’ for the soundtrack to the movie Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, but the Jam and Lewis production lifts it above all of that tosh. The experimentation with fluid (almost acid-like) sounds combined with her classic vocal bridges and breakdowns make this timeless contemporary R&B.

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Daft Punk – One More Time (2000)

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At some points when writing these blogs, I fear a block in inspiration. To overcome such concerns, I listen to a lot of music and think of ways to chart a course through the near-infinite source material. One simple way to do this is by chronology.  Treating 2000 as a ground zero (which it certainly was not), I intend to stroll through recent years over the next couple of weeks or so. Year 2000 featured Daft Punk in full pomp as they produced and released their second studio album Discovery. Romanthony’s autotuned vocals “One More Time” on the album’s lead single would joyfully fill every club, gym and radio station for months. Have a great week.

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The Avalanches – Subways (2016)

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With a video reminiscent of Yellow Submarine, an earworm sample of Chandra Oppenheim’s off-kilter ‘Subways’ and a Bee Gees instrumentation (‘Warm Ride’), what is there not to like about this latest release from The Avalanches’ Wildflower?! No sign of Barry Gibb’s vocals either; nice restraint chaps. Have a great weekend.

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Christine And The Queens – Christine (2015)

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The androgynous Héloïse Letissier (aka Christine And The Queens) is a mainstream star in her native France. Listening to her best-selling long player Chaleur Humaine, you can understand why. Despite this, the album’s most catchy track ‘Christine’ has been translated for wary anglophones. The song was released on the Parisian label Because Music in 2014. The company rerecorded and reissued as ‘Tilted’ a year later.

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Lou Reed – Coney Island Baby (1975)

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From one poetically and heroically sad song to another… Lou Reed wrote the title track of 1975’s Coney Island Baby about his Mexican transvestite lover, muse and hairdresser Rachel (Tommy). Now that’s a subject matter to cut through all the usual hipster blah. Like Transformer and Berlin before it, Coney Island Baby reminded you how brilliant the maverick and ever-so peculiar Reed could be.

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Townes Van Zandt – Pancho and Lefty (1972)

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Americana hero, John Townes Van Zandt died on New Year’s Day 1997 ravaged by 52 years of hard living. Typically, it was his early death that piqued the interests of artists and critics alike. However, it wasn’t first time people had paid their respects to his songwriting. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard all covered his song ‘Pancho and Lefty’. The song was originally released as a single on Tomato Records in 1972, but would also feature on 1977’s Live At The Old Quarter – a live set recorded over five nights in Houston, Texas in July 1973.

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Final Fantasy – This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine (2005)

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Andrew Bird isn’t the only kid on the block to experiment with indie pop and his own string arrangements. Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) is also virtuoso violinist, plus a renowned contributor of arrangements for the likes of The National, Arcade Fire, Beirut and Grizzly Bear. ‘This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine’ featured on Final Fantasy’s debut studio album Has A Good Home. Have a great week.

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