Crack loves a good album. But sometimes when Friday afternoon hits and the intern has gone over the road to buy loads of beer, we aren’t interested in consuming a whole album with a critical ear. We want the quick fix. A sonic booty call if you will.
And like any good booty call, you go back again and again. Which is exactly what we did with these 50 delightful slices of musical nookie. Here are our big 10.
The antagonism in Holograms’ sound reflects frustration brewed from being stuck working menial warehouse labour jobs. On single ABC City, the angry Swedes condensed their manifesto into three minutes of pure punk perfection. Hovering new wave synth bleeps and a growling, metallic bassline build suspense before the track snaps into a hyperactive anthem spearheaded by fizzy power chords and Anton Spetze’s audacious howl. Expected to submit to apathy, here Holograms sound like they’re kicking back with defiance and discontent. David Reed.
9. TALL SHIPS
(BIG SCARY MONSTERS/BLOOD + BISCUITS)
When you start listening to an album, you want to be reminded immediately of why you put it on in the first place. Bang! The best opening track to any album we’ve heard this year, T=O’s opening lines are a precursor to an utterly explosive guitar record that expands and builds in four minutes of riotous riff. Just hear it loud and live; we did and we lost of our shit. An absolute barnstormer. Thomas Frost.
8. TODD TERJE
Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po grow up. They decide to make a ‘club banger’ after attending a Nordic disco all-nighter at Fabric. They trade Noo-noo in for an ARP2600. They get fucked on Tubby Toast and make a track on said synthesiser. They know it’s a hit. But they don’t need the credit. Instead, they send it Todd Terje, who basks in the knowledge that all summer long, ‘his’ track put fun back on the dancefloor. Robert Bates.
7. ODD FUTURE
(ODD FUTURE RECORDS)
Despite their occasional bursts of prodigious raw talent, the story of Odd Future is already tainted by plenty of misfires. But what’s not so debatable is the fact these bratty kids made it to the top without compromising for anyone. On this 10 minute long victory lap, they flaunt their explosive chemistry over a spacious beat that compliments every member’s flow. By this point Earl Sweatshirt’s exile had made him a mythologised figure, and hearing him spit a mind-blowing surprise comeback verse was undoubtedly one of the most stirring sounds we heard all year. David Reed.
6. JULIO BASHMORE
2012 saw the relentless march of Julio Bashmore continue. With Au Seve, Bashmore followed up 2011’s Battle For Middle You, scoring undisputed tune of the summer, for the second summer running. The prominence of the record was felt at festivals and a rich variation of club nights all over the land and beyond. It’s often the simplicity in Bashmore’s music that ignites dancefloors so effectively, and the words “oh baby” alongside an iconic bassline proved impossible to resist. We’re in December, and it’s still everywhere. Thomas Frost.
5. JOY ORBISON
Joy O(rbison) heard you like 90s rave, so he put some 90s rave in your 90s rave so you can 90s rave with your 90s rave. A crowd favourite for months before release, complete with easily-memorised spoken words and emotive piano section, Ellipsis is a paean to a nostalgia-plated era of British dance music produced by a man ‘just doing his own thing’. No wonder the 12” goes for eye-watering sums on Discogs. Robert Bates.
Daughter’s auspicious signing to the perpetually consistent 4AD had many scrambling to be enlightened about this youthful London three-piece. With their first release for the imprint, it all immediately made sense. From Elena Tonra’s reluctant opening breaths of “I’m wasted, losing time / On a foolish, fragile spine”, the song gathers texture upon texture, swelling into the broadest expanses and sweeping up all in its path with devastating poignancy. Daughter document brittle humanity in a way very few can equal. Geraint Davies.
THE HOUSE THAT HEAVEN BUILT
She looks a little bit like Daria, the irony that you’re in Frankie and Benny’s feels sorta right, you both get it (or at least sorta get it). She orders the calzone. When it arrives you think your meat feast is looking prett-ay exotique. She slices her calzone and you realise that all this time she was the fucking calzone! Beige on the outside, but actually bursting with tasty nutritious fillings! We’re almost certain someone explained being young and in love better than that this year. Oh yeah, it was Japandroids. Billy Black.
No matter how many ropey DJs drop it, no matter how much radio play it gets, the level of adrenaline that Higher Ground fuels still hasn’t diminished, and the cynics who deny it are probably lying. The synergy of TNGHT is perfect, with HudMo boosting Lunice’s sharp drum grids with fat slabs of technicolour maximalism. And through garish synth horns, a compressed 808 kick and lacerating hi-hats, Higher Ground has channelled the menacing grandiose of Lex Luger’s trap formula to crammed dancefloors across the globe, inspiring total mayhem each and every time. David Reed.
1. JAI PAUL
If any piece of music adequately pinpoints where Crack’s headspace would like to remain after a long year buried in music, it’s Jai Paul’s Jasmine. Still an enigma at large, the London-based artist has remained completely detached from all forms of limelight, and although his identity is still largely submerged, Jasmine continues to mean many things to many people.
From that unprompted, fanfare-less emergence as a ‘demo’, the track spread into unchartered realms. Crack lost count of how many DJs used it as their mid/late set curveball track, a mood setting moment before a big finish. To the guys, the smoky, romantic overtones gave it a wonderful melancholic quality. For the girls, there has seldom been a more invigo- rating, sultry slice of contemporary R’n’B. From the off, the deceptive rolling percussion hints at a hidden depth, before guitars meld from measured chords to a Prince-baiting lick.
The understated beauty of the record builds and builds towards a rougher crescendo, with Jai Paul begging “to make my dream come true”, before reverting back to that guitar line. For those who weren’t living in an electronically saturated bubble in 2012, this was the beautiful antidote. Crack isn’t quite sure who Jasmine is, but she’s lighting fuses everywhere. Thomas Frost.