[13] Fixers, ‘Iron Deer Dream’

Fixers

The lyrics are no less rhyming-dictionary than Chris Martin’s worst un-excesses, but Fixers just seem to have better source material. Yeah, generally it’s The Beach Boys. “Waikiki” sounds a bit Beach Boys.

Only kidding. Absolutely everything about this sounds like The Beach Boys except for the bits that sound like Animal Collective trying to sound like The Beach Boys. All this is catnip to me. But it’s only at 13 because sometimes – particularly when I’m playing along on my air piano, like I did here – a dark thought will rear up that ‘Iron Deer Dream’ could be a good Scouting For Girls song. I know that’s a concept beyond natural brain patterns, but there it is. It’s out there.

With no such listening parameters or prejudices, Junior says she likes it. She likes “the noise”. We agree it’s quite dense, the inevitable result of splurging all your best choruses on one song.

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[15] Animal Collective, ‘My Girls’

Equally lauded and disparaged across the blogosphere – well, perhaps not equally, but loud voices on either side – the standout single of 2009 features Animal Collective marrying their yen for somewhat flat Beach Boys harmonies with an evolving brash electronica to muddle out a dance music you couldn’t possibly cut a rug to, but which sounds like a rave nonetheless. I’m particularly drawn to Panda Bear’s tribute to his girls, having three (count ’em, THREE) little daughters of my own, and find the dense trippiness of the whole endlessly uplifting.

Still none the wiser about “Adobe slabs”.

Junior says: “The beat makes my eyes blink like this,” followed by furious fluttering of eyelids. It’s like a natural strobe.

Best bit: The delayed arrival of bass. We’re still not really dancing, but think it can’t be far off.

[1] Animal Collective, ‘My Girls’

For all its ecstatic brilliance, it’s annoying that I’ve known what the single of the year is for most of 2009. But it seemed so obvious when I heard it. I hadn’t been expecting truly great things from Animal Collective – maybe more of the same quirky pop, bellowed harmonies, abstract lyrics and squelchy textures – so when they came up with this dense, sticky, Beach Boys rave track that actually seemed to be about something (Panda Bear’s kids and – erm – Adobe slabs), it was as welcome as a fat cheque on a… well, right about now, please.

It’s struck me that I might simply be a sucker for this because I have daughters (and everyone likes to think that song is about them, don’t they? Don’t they?), but listen to those Frankie Knuckles-nabbing synths and the slow introduction of the bass that makes it sound like Orbital – and then the steady rise and layering of the sonics, the two different hooks that could stand as a chorus. And the “Woo!”s. Your hands are in the air, aren’t they?

On this play, Junior pranced like a deer from kitchen to living room, but she’s been tuned into ‘My Girls’ all year, along with its album Merriweather Post Pavilion, a mainstay of the car in 2009 – and probably the album of the year too. The Horrors’ one was good too, mind you. And Grizzly Bear’s. And Wild Beasts’.

We’re not going to do an album chart though. We’re going to do the Top 50 Best Singles of the 2000s, and we’ll start next week. Merry Christmas, all you cats.

I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things…

2009 Top 20 Singles?

We did this about this time last year, so why change a vaguely popular feature? These are the Top 20 Most Played 2009 Singles on the ever-honest iPod:

[1] Yeah Yeah Yeahs, ‘Zero’
[2] Dananananaykroyd, ‘Black Wax’
[3] The Horrors, ‘Sea Within A Sea’
[4] Passion Pit, ‘The Reeling’
[5] Animal Collective, ‘My Girls’
[6] James Yuill, ‘No Surprise’
[7] Sunny Day Sets Fire, ‘Adrenaline’
[8] TV On The Radio, ‘Dancing Choose’
[9] Frankmusik, ‘Better Off As Two’
[10] Röyksopp featuring Robyn, ‘Girl And The Robot’
[11] Jamie T, ‘Sticks ‘n’ Stones’
[12] Coldplay, ‘Life In Technicolor ii’
[13] U2, ‘Magnificent’
[14] The Phantom Band, ‘The Howling’
[15] Eg, ‘Broken’
[16] Junior Boys, ‘Hazel’
[17] Lily Allen, ‘The Fear’
[18] Fischerspooner, ‘Supply & Demand’
[19] Saint Etienne, ‘Method Of Modern Love’
[20] Red Light Company, ‘Arts & Crafts’

But will it bear any resemblance to the year-end chart? Be sure to check in 18 or 19 weeks.

Animal Collective, ‘Summertime Clothes’

Animal Collective

So it’s Junior’s fourth birthday. It seems only three and a half years and a bit since we were reviewing Antipop Consortium records together and plumping for Kanye West over Missy Elliott in the 2005 chart. How time flies, innit.

And in those few short years, Animal Collective have gone from quirky indie electronica nerds to quirky indie electronica nerds with something approaching proper tunes. There have always been squirts of brilliance, but 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion has pulled together more than most and set them to some full rave dynamics. The jaunty ‘Summertime Clothes’ isn’t the best single on it – mayyybbeee we’ll save one for the year-end chart – but it’s a ray of hope as everything goes haywire outside the window.

Newly grown-up Junior is more interested in the flashy magic eye madness on the album sleeve, gracing the song with a mere handclap or two. She’d have loved them at Glastonbury though, where they stole the show with disco lights and hands aloft and sent all my mates packing to buy their album.

AndIwaaaaannawaaaaalkarooouuundwithyou:

N.B. Coming soon(ish) – The Top 50 Singles of the 00s