194. Field Music – ‘Start the Day Right’
The Sunderland brothers’ fifth album, Plumb, seems to wake up with the opening gentle strings and percussion. As much as they evoke the first waking moments of a day, they appeared to herald the start of another year of music – but this song (and the medley it starts) is still one of the very best things released.
195. Of Montreal – ‘Dour Percentage’
Kevin Barnes’ ninth album as Of Montreal (other members have come and gone) tested my “6 listens and then I’ll be able to tell you what I think of it” rule. Long stretches of it come and go in swatches of what could feel like directionless noise. This track is the most immediate, belonging on the Todd Rundgren spectrum.
196. dEUS – ‘Hidden Wounds’
With its sickening spoken word passages detailing the horrors of a civilian casualty during a war, the juddering progression which dEUS are so good at producing finds a fitting lyrical partner. The gritty environment they create is signposted by frequent rasped calls of “what’s that sound?”.
197. SoKo – ‘First Love Never Die’
Perhaps surprisingly, considering she’s a melodramatic French singer-actress, Stéphanie Sokolinski’s debut album I Thought I Was an Alien is often reminiscent of Eels. Its innocent humanity and simple song structures might be best exhibited by this pretty arrangement for electric organ and reverbing acoustic guitar.
198. Liars – ‘Ill Valley Prodigies’
The shortest snapshot of Liars’ latest uncomfortable soundworld, ‘Ill Valley Prodigies’ sparsely matches Angus Andrew’s falsetto with basic acoustic guitar and what sound like animal noises and warped clapping.
199. Hot Chip – ‘Ends of the Earth’
The opening gambit of “you promised me the ends of the Earth, but I don’t want that” is one of the typically arch verbal hooks that go some way to defining Hot Chip. Sidestepping the words, the pristine electro sound they put together here could easily fit onto a Röyksopp, or even Kylie Minogue, album.
200. Andrew Bird – ‘Give It Away’
‘Give It Away’ runs on exactly parallel lines to the Bad Seeds’ ‘We Call Upon the Author’ (track 2 on The Playlist): its most memorable moment comes between verses, where a shift in meter and tempo knocks the song onto a slightly different path, without stalling its progress.