[19] The Avalanches, ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’

Junior ran the rule over this yesterday, on her third birthday. She’s come a long way since she was ruthlessly tearing a strip off Julie Andrews and Antipop Consortium (separate singles, not some breathtaking minimalist hip-hop/prim-yet-somehow-racy-nun mash-up) when she was 20 weeks old. Her critical faculties have sharpened, perhaps, but right now she dances to pretty much everything, willy-nilly. ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ witnessed some wiggling about and a dashed-off mime to a violin sample, before she returned to the more demanding matter of unwrapping piles of presents.

It’s a silly record, representative of its parent album Since I Left You only by dint of the ear-popping collage of samples. ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ is a bit Fatboy Slim; Since I Left You is warm, inspired, mood-driven and dazzling. If I were the type to stat these things up and make list upon list – and I am – I’d say it’s not just the album of 2001, it’s the album of the century so far. From the thrilling four-song build-up to ‘A Different Feeling’ to the gorgeous come-down of ‘Summer Crane’, ‘Etoh’ and ‘Three Kings’, it’s a seamless tapestry of ideas, emotions and balls-out party fun. Where’s the follow-up, lads? If they’re making one – and they occasionally insist they are, still – they must be clearing even more samples this time.

As the vinyl presence in charity shops starts to dwindle, you have to fear for The Avalanches’ source material. I might beat them to the punch myself, cutting up rough with those 93 BBC sound effects 7”s I bought in Oxfam last year…

[13] Fatboy Slim, ‘Praise You’

Fatboy Slim

This record is painfully 1999. It would get laughed out of town if it showed its big beaty face these days, wacky Spike Jonze video or not. Norman Cook had a way with a pop tune, admittedly – this, ‘Rockafeller Skank’ and ‘Gangster Trippin’ all grabbed you first time – but they were guaranteed to annoy your teeth out within a few plays.

It’s getting harder to measure Junior’s reactions, now that she’s a baby scud forever homing in on the living room’s most vulnerable points. This was the first time she’d made a beeline towards the stereo, however, desperate paw reaching out for the amplifier. Norm, mate, I think she was trying to put you out of your misery.

I remember reading interviews with The Housemartins back in the day. The others used to take the rise out of Quentin, ribbing him for his love of soul, funk, hip hop and dance when he was in this itchy pop band. You have to say he had the last laugh: the drummer went down for trying to brain some chap with an axe, Stan Cullimore ended up in Basic Instinct 2, obviously, and Paul Heaton was last seen releasing a compilation of his favourite soul, funk, hip hop and dance tunes. Pah.

[16] The Chemical Brothers, ‘Leave Home’

When this came out, I thought I was hearing the future of music. Now that the Lo-Fidelity Allstars bestride the globe, I see that I was correct. 

Oh, come on. Fatboy Slim was quite successful.

One of the loudest records I own, this. The 12” was jumping all over the shop this morning though, so I had to dig out the Greatest Hits CD where this track doesn’t have quite the same punch. The block rockin’ beats still had Junior leaping about (with assistance, natch). She could see a future where techno and hip-hop link arms and breakdance to a Special K-fuelled tomorrow.

I think Noel Gallagher ruined The Chemical Brothers too – “How does it feel like..?” The rap sheet extends.