Monday, December 29, 2014

Paul's 2014 Favourites

Below 11 of my favorite albums/songs of 2014.

Royksopp & Robyn - Do it again
This is just an incredibly catchy song. 
Good production, good beat, very addictive. 
I don`t know what else to say about it.
I just want to Do It Again. 

The Dø - Despair, Hangover & Ecstasy 

I`ve been following this group for almost 10 years now and this is the first single of their third album. Their new album still has to be released in the UK and the US. I hear a lot more synthesizers and a catchy beat. It's a short song and at the end I only want more. Success!

Parquet Courts - Black & White
The Parquet Courts are a bunch of rock 'n rollers from the U.S of A who write pointy songs about the frustrations of modern (city) life. Their second album is a bit less focused than their first effort, but it certainly grew on me. The start of this song, when the guitar goes "chkchkchkchk" is  one of my favorite moments recorded on any album this year. Remind me of Devo. 

Mac DeMarco - Blue Boy
The pepperoni playboy. Don`t let his slacker image distract you. The songs he writes are some of the most delicate and beautiful tunes published in 2014. He reminds me of a hopelessly romantic Bob Dylan. 

Blue boy, worried 'bout the world's eyes
Worried every time the sun shines
Worried about his haircut
Calm down, sweetheart, grow up

Blue boy, older than the world knows
Honey, that's the way that life goes
No use acting so tough
Come down, sweetheart, grow up
  Admiral Freebee - Nothing Else to Do
Favorite song from the low countries this year. 
Just a nice, relaxing song, demonstrating the Admiral's nice gritty voice and solid songwriting. 
Seeing I`m live is also something I can recommended to anyone.

St Vincent - Birth In Reverse
Her music and performances are becoming more mechanic and less organic with every album, but she's still a hell of a guitar player and a musician with a vision. She gave me a chill down the back of my spine when I saw her open her live performance in the Paradiso with "Rattlesnake". I`m hoping that in one of her next moves she'll let a bit more air into her music and her performance.
 Tune-yards - Water Fountain
Tune-yards bring fun and experimentation back into music and their live performances are a joy to watch and very powerful. Lot's of drums, strong vocals and a funky bass to finish it off. One of my favorite acts of this decade.

Death from Above 1979 - Right On, Frankenstein
Back from the death, death from above. I saw them live in 2005 and I saw them live in 2014. 
Just like wine they got better with age.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - I`m in your mind. I`m not in your mind. Cellophane. I`m in your mind fuzz.
Just listen to the first four songs on this album and you'll hopefully understand why this band is one of my greatest discoveries this year. It just blows your mind. Excellent music for head-banging or for when you just need to lose some excess energy (by jumping around like an insane mad-man!)

Future Islands - Seasons (Waiting for you)
In the 3voor12 poll for song of the year, this one ended on my list. I have not listened to anything else this band has produced, or care for the singer's dance-moves, but this song just proves that with a bit of Stevie Wonder you can get a beautiful song about longing for someone or something...

TOPS - Way to be loved
Smoky room. Lot's of people dancing..see her through the haze.
I like the atmosphere this song radiates and the delicate guitar work on it.
One of the bands I hope to see live in 2014. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My 5 favorite tracks of 2012

Tame Impala - Endoirs Toi

The first thirty seconds there's a synth going from your right to you left ear and you think: "This is interesting, but is this it?". Then at 0:30 the drums kick in and the song launches itself in the sky. Amazing! 

The Walkmen - Heaven

One beat. A couple of chords with alternate picking. One guitar on vibrato.
Beautiful in it's simplicity with excellent lyrics to wail along to with all your heart.

Neon Bunny - Oh my prince

Excellent deep bass, smooth vocals. She's singing in Korean, you shouldn`t understand it, but somehow you do: Oh-oh-oh-oh....ooohooo, ooohooo. It just suits the song.  Certainly the most catchy tune to oh-oh along to this year. 

Beach House - Myth

A warm bath of sound. It´s heavy, it is slow, it is dramatic, it is mystical (no typ-o),  but also very, very comforting.

Chairlift - I Belong in your arms

A huge battle between this song and Amanaemonesia. That song has the best bassline I´ve heard all year, but it was released last year. This song, `I belong in your arms` however, is just as great. Again an excellent bassline, but the chorus is what makes this song a really high high for me. Lucy (or Paul) in the sky with diamonds. Just like the bass-player in this clip of the Japanese karaoke version of the song.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Are we here to stay?

Greece, Italy and Spain are bringing us down. Their uncompetitive economies, irresponsible government spending and idiotic electorate (who are unwilling to pay the price for their mistake), are not only bringing them close to bankruptcy, but also putting a heavy load on our economy. The only way we can save ourselves, and them, is to kick these countries out of the European Union and start with a clean slate.

Europeans, lets not kid ourselves. This crisis is not caused by the financial sector or overspending governments, but by a decease which has been developing itself in our collective underbelly for the past 30 years: Ignorance combined with an unhealthy dose of arrogance.

I learned in high school that the Western world provided the knowledge and the Eastern world the labour. That China consisted out of copy cats and that India was the service desk of the world. That idea has become more and more outdated from the day that India and China started investing in their youth.

They have a high pressure from home to perform, face gruelling competition, have the desire for a better life, a top notch educational system and live in a relatively collective society. These factors did not only create a generation which matches us in knowledge, but also surpasses us in drive. This is what made the real GDP in India and China grow with an average rate of 8% per year during the last 10 years while Europe is stuck at a growth rate of 1%.  

A Dutch president once argued for the “VOC” mentality to return to the nation, supposedly pointing to the Golden Age of the Netherlands and the “Yes, we can” mentality that was raging during that time. It was shot down as a glorification of our colonial past by critics from all corners of the national political landscape. These critics however failed to see the true point that Daniel Radcliffe was making: We need to go overseas again to find our future.

Not to decimate and enslave the local population, or strip the land of its resources, but to ride on the wave of opportunity that a rapidly growing welfare provides. Why does the Spanish youth stay in Spain while the unemployment rate of their age group is close to 50%? Why are they not emigrating to a country which is currently undergoing their Golden Age?

Your purchasing power will be a bit lower, living conditions will be poorer and there is no social safety net. You will however see all these three things improve over the next decades in India and China, while Europe will only be deteriorating. Language and immigration laws remains as the two most sturdy barriers, but these can be broken down by a shrewd Indian or Chinese businessman with a keen sense for business opportunities….