So it goes that my annual selection touches on similar themes. Boxed In featured last year with “Full Circle”. How could I resist this fantastic groove, another to mix and mingle the blatantly retro with the cutting edge?
For “Running Out”, those retro touches are unbridled tributes to synth pioneers over a twenty-to-thirty year period. It rushes past you quickly and unashamed: this is power pop with something of the swish, the urban, the inner city. The outside world can be pushed aside with the strut of this track’s attitude, just put in the noise-cancellers and get out there.
I compare and re-visit the previous lists quite often. Patterns do emerge, of course they do. Humans like their patterns. Maybe there was, just at the back of my mind, a narrative reason behind choosing certain songs to follow each other. An inner DJ thinking process? Occasionally showing that I can review and research these things, now and then? A little from column a, a little from column b.
Remember when a fringe element of the dance scene took it upon themselves to pretend that sounding like a Commodore 64 loading screen was somehow a “thing”? This track has that “thing” running through it. And it sounds fantastic. The retro bleeps-and-sparks are but one layer to this veritable signature dish of elements; and yes, I am “down with that”. It’s in the title. It all works.
BOSS sound boss, la. There’s a great use of the vocal equivalent of ellipsis about a third of the way through, the croak in the voice playful and a touch menacing, before the all-out indie feel makes way for something a touch more psychedelic. And yes, I’m “down with that”.
No idea what this song truly means. Certainly no idea about the video (I had this track only on SoundCloud until approximately 30 seconds ago). You may not have much knowledge about this song either. Well listen, please. You’ll get it stuck in your head….instantly.
Insofar as it can be summarised “Strange Combinations” is an 80s/90s love-in stuffed to the brim with indie sensibilities, topped off with nodding to Hot Chip (at the very least). I’m not calling this song original because it’s not: what Teleman do have is the spirit of a hundred haunted houses and all present in almost a perfect three-minute pop slammer.
The folks at Speedy Wundergound, for it is they, sell out of their much loved new releases as fast as the records are pressed. It’s no surprise for something like this: simple and very effective pop, twisted as a telephone wire, all delivered with gusto. Sodding love it.
Back in 2013 I had an idea. You can see the Index for that idea here. Very pop-orientated. Very mainstream. I have pop sensibility and like a chorus strong enough to use as ballast, but really, I’m surprised by my choices coming across as more Radio 2 than 6Music. I would not choose the same list, nor put it in the same order now.
One year later is my 2014 Index . It is certainly less mainstream, maybe not organised quite how I would if doing it again (opening with Katy B, now there’s a misunderstanding about drawing in readers).
This year has seen my Spotify, SoundCloud, and ‘tucked in the back of the brain’ longlists growing by the week. Soon I will confirm the results of all that here – and as ever, the chosen 24 songs are presented in no particular order. In so many ways, this ain’t a chart.