Following Dan Hegarty's input yesterday, next up to share his musical discoveries over the past year is Kid Karate sticksman Steven Gannon. Having just played to around 4,000 ecstatic French folk in Le Trans Musicales in Rennes just over a week ago, and with a performance in January's Eurosonic Festival in Gronigen on the horizon, things are looking very rosy in Kid Karate HQ nowadays.
Their Lights Out EP (available for purchase here) was released earlier this year, delivering on the furious promise their live shows have suggested for the past couple of years. But what sort of music made them tick this year? Over to you, Steve...
STEVEN GANNON'S TOP FIVE ALBUMS OF 2013
Big Scary - Not Art
Big Scary are a two piece from Melbourne whom I discovered purely by chance because I was intrigued by the title of one of their songs ('Phil Collins'). Their debut album, Not Art is a beautifully arranged piece of indie pop/rock with serene vocals, subtle use of distortion and great piano melodies. I’ve been listening to it non-stop.
John Grant - Pale Green Ghosts
Another discovery made by chance, this time due to the album artwork and title, I heard the album’s title track and was completely hooked on it before it reached the first chorus. The pulsing synths, emotion-laden lyrics and flawless production make this album an incredible listen. A big leap sonically from Grant's music circa The Czars and his first solo album, Pale Green Ghosts is probably my favourite album of the year.
Atoms For Peace - AMOK
Thom Yorke never fails to surprise me and his latest venture is no different. Add Flea from RHCP into the mix and stick Nigel Godrich on production duties and you’re obviously onto a winner. Apparently Yorke said he wanted to start having fun with music when he started AFP and this album is so much fun to listen to. It works walking around town listening on headphones, chilling out in the evening or just hanging with friends after a night out. Very excited to hear more music from Atoms For Peace.
Factory Floor - Factory Floor
This album is like one huge building, pulsing, industrial trancey banger. I first heard it driving around on a recent UK tour, we would have it blaring out of the van speakers on our way home and it definitely helped to keep us awake. Just buy it and give it a listen and it’ll all make sense. It’s a delicious piece of work.
Kanye West - Yeezus
Aside from his recent media meltdowns, whether they’re in the spirit of publicity or not, Kanye West still makes incredible music. I've been a fan of his since The College Dropout and he has never released a disappointing album. If anything he's gotten more experimental and he’s been consistently pushing the boundaries of popular music while his counterparts are still churning out the same bullshit by the numbers hip hop. Lyrically, the album could be better, but as an overall release it's my favourite rap album of the year and if he can avoid a mental breakdown I look forward to see what he does next, musically speaking.
STEVEN GANNON'S TOP FIVE SONGS OF 2013
Four Tet - Parallel Jalebi
I've listened to this song about 400 times since I first heard it. The only issue I have is it should be about eight minutes long. It’s such a simple tune but I fucking love it.
Blood Orange - You’re Not Good Enough
If Prince was born in London and living in New York he would have wrote this tune. The bassline is silly funky and it's a little groover.
Pusha T - Numbers on the Boards
This is my favourite rap song of the year, the lyrics, the flow, the production (Kanye West). It’s just a straight up ballsy rap tune and it even has a little Jay Z sample thrown in for good measure.
Quite simply, this is the best song by any Irish act I’ve heard in fucking ages. It’s incredible.
Fuck Buttons - The Red Wing
Stick this on in the morning to shake the cobwebs off and you’ll have a great day. The synths on this one make me giddy. It’s such a tune. I wish Danny Brown would hear it and do a freestyle over it, that would make my year.