Top 10 Albums of 2012

Better late than never? I’ve sat on this list for a month now, pushing titles up and down a bit, but here it is: my 10 favorite albums of 2012. Looking back, I listened to a lot of pop, R&B, rap, and electronic music. Punk and metal moved further off my radar. Indie pop and rock sounded like a lot of the same to me. And I’m still holding on to the album as the definitive statement by an artist.

I’ve put together a playlist featuring one song from each of these albums, hopefully you enjoy some of it:


10. Grimes – Visions

Grimes - Visions

It was Genesis and Oblivion for me. Really, two of the best songs released this year. The rest of the album took a few months to grow on me. As this list attests,  I’ve been listening to a lot more pop music, and this album skews the furthest to left-field of the albums on this list.


9. Death Grips – The Money Store

Death Grips - The Money Store

By far the most agressive album that stuck in my head this year. If only this band had been around when I was in high school, I probably could have been saved from listening to Mindless Self Indulgence.


8. Dirty Projectors – Swing Low Magellan

Dirty Projectors - Swing Low Magellan

While it didn’t hit me like the poppier side of Bitte Orca did, Swing Low Magellan still manages to needle its way through me with songs that all stick together, though I couldn’t say what the glue is.

Some friends and I went to a listening party put on by NPR’s All Songs Considered early in the year, and one of the songs they played to us unidentified was Offspring Are Blank. But the moment David Longstreth voice was audible, it was obvious that the people who knew Dirty Projectors, knew this song. A room full of idiots grinning ear to ear because no one does weird guitars and weird vocals to make weird pop like the Dirty Projectors.


7. Azealia Banks – 1991 EPAzealia Banks - 1991 EP

God it’s been an incredible year for rappers who aren’t afraid to throw out the out and make their own new. Le1f, Mykki Blanco, Zebra Katz, and Azealia Banks. I ate ’em up.

The only EP on this list, there really isn’t any getting around a release that has 212 on it. Then you add production from Machinedrum and Lone in there? Yep, that hits the spot.


6. Lana Del Rey – Born to DieLana Del Rey - Born to Die

A lengthy academic article could be written about Lana Del Rey’s 2012. It could cover sexism in the music industry, sexism in the media, the importance of (perceived) artistic authenticity, “going viral,” among other topics. I thought about these things after the SNL performance and the backlash that followed, and now that we’re “The Paradise Edition” removed from all of that, I feel the same way that I did when this album was released. It’s not the best, I mean – it has a song called Diet Mountain Dew on it – but it’s still pretty great.


5. Cat Power – SunCat Power - Sun

If you were looking for an artist who took a hard left this year, Cat Power is your girl. Talk about a departure from past material; Sun was a breath of fresh air for me around mid-year. I’ve liked her previous output, but Sun went above and beyond all of that for me. It took what I’ve always perceived to be her singer-songwriter feel and put a serious percussive drive behind it that helped me finally “get” Cat Power.


4. Hot Chip – In Our HeadsHot Chip - In Our Heads

I’m a sucker for anything Hot Chip does. I still remember the first time I listened to The Warning while driving around the windy backroads of Fallbrook and being floored at the immediate hit of Careful’s samples. Same thing when I saw that Made In the Dark was streaming online sometime my freshman year of college and immediately fell into the groove of Out at the Pictures.

In Our Heads is an exact culmination of Hot Chip today.  It’s warm, it’s danceable, it’s earnest. It has quick uptempos, slower ballads, and a couple seven-minute-plus songs that build and release with ease. More than anything, I just feel good when I listen to Hot Chip. Regardless of whether or not this statement has actual meaning: they’re a band I feel is real.


3. Jessie Ware – DevotionJessie Ware - Devotion

This was a sleeper hit for me. There was just enough hanging off of the edges of this album to get my interest. In my searches for the Julio Bashmore-produced 110% and what I thought of as “the original version” of Running – which I initially only cared about because of the fantastic Disclosure remix – I wound up listening to the rest of this album and slowly easing into the rest of the songs. Much has been said about R&B in 2012, but it’s not a genre I know too much about. I just know that if R&B keeps it coming in 2013, I’ll keep listening.


2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. cityKendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

I can’t get my mind to break out of the comparison of good kid, m.A.A.d city to My Dark Twisted Fantasy. Sonically, they’re similar only in that they’re both rap albums. But I guess I link the two because Kendrick Lamar topped rap in 2012 just like Kanye topped rap in 2010.

I love Swimming Pools. I super love Backseat Freestyle. I could listen to the first four bars of that song on repeat for hours. But this is a complete album. There’s a minor narrative followed, and spoken recordings that *don’t* come off as over-production help tie it all together. Just like R&B, the rap playing field looked fresh and new this year. I’m looking forward to 2013.

1. Frank Ocean – Channel OrangeFrank Ocean - Channel Orange

This one is a classic. Or will be considered a classic. It will be near my top ten of the decade come 2020. I thought it was a 9/10 on first listen, but in the countless replays its received this year, its slid up a point without a struggle.

Who starts their album with the PS1 startup sound?! Who thinks that’s a good idea?! But it was; it gave me chills.

Just listen to it. There’s a million ideas there to dive into. Ignore the intellectualizing of this album and the events surrounding it, they don’t matter. Just listen to it.

PS: where’s my vinyl version I ordered back in August? I want the real thing. Not a bootleg.

Sleigh Bells @ Terminal 5

When you see a crowd jumping like at 1:50 of this video, you know something’s going right.

I saw Black Bananas and Sleigh Bells play last night to a sold out Terminal 5, and it was a hell of a show. This is the third time I’ve seen Sleigh Bells (1st: Gobi Tent at Coachella, 2nd: Mojave Tent at Coachella), and every time they seem to hone their craft even further. With music as fast-paced and aggressive as this, the show has to be super tight, not too long, and have perfectly placed mid-tempo songs. Without a doubt, Sleigh Bells are 100% aware of what their image is, what their ‘sound’ is, and how that sound should translate in a live setting. Flawless execution.

Son Lux – We Are Rising & the making of the cover art

Album art for Son Lux's We Are Rising

There has been a lot of high-profile/0n-my-radar music released in the past few weeks, and for some reason only a small portion of it is living up to my expectations. One album that surpassed what I expected is Son Lux‘s sophomore album We Are Rising. I’ve mentioned Son Lux before, but I really think that this new offering deserves further note.

For an album made start to finish in 28 days, We Are Rising shines in so many different ways. I love the orchestral arrangements Son Lux (aka Ryan Lott) has put together. It’s obvious from the beginning that he’s a classically trained musician fully capable of composing very complex pieces, and he doesn’t shy away from his abilities. “Let Go” – a short track near the end of the relatively quick 38-minute run time – is one of my favorites not because of any pop sensibilities Lott shows off, but because of the fact that multiple tempos overlap through different instruments and phase in and out of each other until the end when tracks are stripped away until a simple beat is left.

Other standouts include the bombastic “All The Right Things” and the Portishead-reminiscent “Leave The Bones.” But We Are Rising really should be listened to in its entirety. I’ve gone through it many times since its release last month and don’t plan on letting it slip out of rotation any time soon. Lott’s deep constructions will give me new facets to discover for quite some time.

Mos Def redefined the rap live show last night

Mos Def: making avant-garde hip hop appeal to a mainstream college audience

I’ve been to a few hip hop shows in the past. Not nearly as many as punk, indie rock, or electronic shows, but still, a few. Mos Def’s show last night at USC’s Springfest ’11 was like nothing else.

I’m about as knowledgeable about Mos Def as the average guy off of the street; that is, I know “Ms. Fat Booty,” “Sex, Love & Money,” and I’ve seen a movie or two he’s been in. I can’t comment on how many of the songs he played – or flowed through – last night are his, but whatever it he was playing couldn’t have sounded more like the high-brow rap innovator that he is in my mind.

For the first fifteen minutes, I was waiting for a song I recognized to come from the DJ (we’d just finished a set by MURS who covered Rage and The Bangles). But when songs blended together and lasted ten minutes with extended interludes of Mos improvising over muddied beats removed of any mid or treble tones, I just went with it.

An anecdote: During the dead pause between two songs, someone in the crowd was repeatedly yelling, “Ms. Fat Booty.” Mos turned to face the guy and said, “Hey, this ain’t a jukebox show.” That pretty much sums it up.

The word to describe the set: weird. It wasn’t fun, but I loved it. I’m not sure if this is the best comparison, but it was what Portishead would do if for some reason Beth wanted to rap. It was fantastic.

MOG launches new app in Chrome Web Store

MOG Music's new web app brings its interface up to speed with competitors like Rdio

I consume a lot of music, and there’s no way that I could ever afford to purchase every album I listen to for $14.99. That’s where music subscription services come in. As a recent convert to MOG (from Rhapsody), I get excited every time I get even just a weekly update in my inbox letting me know what music has been added recently. But the announcement of an entirely revamped web app launched into Google’s brand new Chrome Web Store is something that anyone who loves music should pay attention to.

To get you acquainted with what it is exactly that MOG offers, here’s a quick summary of the $4.99 /month service (for $9.99, you get the mobile app too):

Unlimited Music: Access to over 10 million songs and close to one million albums, on-demand.
High Quality Audio: Music is streamed at 320 kbps; better than any other music service.
Best-in-Class, Personal Radio: The most powerful music discovery engine on the planet (powered by MOG Mobius).
One-click Access: With one click, get instant access to New Releases, Top Artists, Top Albums and Editor’s Picks.
Anytime, Anywhere: Unlimited access to the MOG app from any computer using Chrome or Safari browsers or on your TV (Roku and GoogleTV).

The Good (a.k.a. why it’s better than what it was)

So why is this new web app a good thing? Because the way that we interface with MOG’s library has been vastly improved. For starters, the browsing of MOG’s huge catalog and the managing of the ‘Play Queue’ all happens in the same browser window now. Where you used to click a button in one window to add a song to the queue in another pop-up, now an addition to the queue affects the window you’re looking at. This really unifies the user experience and brings MOG up to speed with the user experience that competitors like Rdio already offer.

Another improvement is the way in which you now browse and discover music on the site. When you click on an artist’s name after you either search for them or just happen upon them while browsing the site, a dropdown summarizing the content pertaining to that artist is shown. From here, you can view that artist’s discography, see their top tracks, play a radio station built around their sound, or dive deeper and see the individual songs that make up an album. Because the site is built as a web app meeting to the (relatively) new HTML5 standards, the absence of pageloads makes browsing the site super smooth. Jumping in and out of artist pages is quick and painless.

The Bad (or hopefully ‘The Temporarily Left Out’)

The site isn’t perfect though. As a beta release, this is understandable, but there are a few things that I hope are in the pipeline to be implemented soon. The first thing that stuck out to me was that playlists are nowhere to be found. When someone gives you unlimited access to a 10 million song catalog of music, you want playlists. In a larger context than just music discovery, the curators of today’s information landscape provide a great service to the communities that they belong to: they help content of value bubble to the top for everyone to enjoy. Leaving out playlists leaves out the ability for quality music to surface. Only a small fraction of the catalog is ever seen.

Another addition that I’d love to see is the ability to see more than just the music content offered by MOG when viewing an artist’s page. When I’m in a discovery mood, I want to know everything I can about an artist: their bio, maybe some photos, a few similar artists, etc. does an incredible job of bringing this information forward on their artist pages.

Finally, I can’t scrobble any of the music I listen to with the new web app! I have no idea what percentage of MOG users are also users, but this issue is bordering on being a deal-breaker for me. I’ve been OK with the inability to scrobble songs on my iPhone, but if I can’t scrobble on my desktop either, then I’m left in a pretty bad situation. This seems to be such a small feature to implement, I hope MOG throws this in very soon.

The All-In-All

So where does this leave the music subscription space? Rdio has a great interface and iPhone app but no catalog. Rhapsody has a gigantic catalog but the worst interface out there. MOG offers it all: the ideal UI, a large (and quickly growing) catalog, and mobile apps that are winning awards as fast as they can be awarded.

Holly Miranda, The xx, and Friendly Fires @ The Henry Fonda

Last night I headed over to the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood to check out Holly Miranda, The xx, and Friendly Fires. I’d seen Friendly Fires before at Coachella, and I’ve been in love for The xx since seeing their Basic Space video. Here’s a rundown of the night:

the Holly Miranda half of Holly Miranda (there's also a guy who plays guitar)
Holly Miranda playing her guitar

Holly Miranda

Before last night, I had never heard of Holly Miranda, but I can definitely see her name popping up more and more now that she has an EP coming out soon. Miranda plays a guitar along side a guy named Timmy. The slow pace of her songs and the ambient textures they create float along with her voice perfectly. Here’s my quick summary of what you can expect from Holly Miranda: slow, two guitars, harmonizng, Sigur ros vocal style, pretty, spacious.

Romy Madley Croft of The xx
Romy Madley Croft of The xx

The xx

As I said, The xx has been on my radar since I saw their music video for Basic Space on Pitchfork a few months ago. The trio (that was a quartet just a month ago) has this unique quality about themselves and their music in the same way that Ratatat does. Both bands have a sound that doesn’t seem to be like anything else out there.

Most of what I’ve read or heard about The xx’s live show is that they play their record note for note standing still like statues. I’m happy to report that this isn’t entirely true. Yes, they do just stand there intently focused on playing their songs, but they didn’t quite play exact replicas of what’s on their album. Maybe they just started doing this, but “Basic Space” had an extended remixed ending as did Infinity, and “Crystalized” had some new drums thrown in there. Because Jamie Smith plays their drums live on finger drum pads, it’s probably very difficult to improvise much of anything as far as percussion goes. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised when they went into the new sections of the songs.

I’ve also heard that the bass in the live show drowns out the vocals. Not true. If anything, I would have liked for the bass to be a bit more present in the mix. I know that The xx wasn’t headlining the show, so it might be expecting too much for the audio to be perfect. All in all, The xx gave me pretty much everything I wanted out of their live show.


  1. Intro
  2. VCR
  3. Basic Space
  4. Shelter
  5. Crystalized
  6. Islands
  7. Night Time
  8. Infinity
Ed Macfarlane of the Friendly Fires
Ed Macfarlane of the Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires

The last time I saw the Friendly Fires I had to squeeze my way in to the back of the Mojave tent at Coachella because I got there after the first song had started. Last time I had tried that (w/ MGMT) I hated the sound so much I left after the next song and just laid down on the grass. Not so with Friendly Fires. I stayed the whole time and enjoyed one of my favorite pre-sunset shows of the weekend.

The Friendly Fires’ music is so danceable and upbeat, it still amazes me that they are signed to XL Recordings and not to DFA. This brings me to one problem I have with LA audiences: no one moves. Everyone is so worried about their dresses/shoes/shirts/hats that they’re paranoid that something is going to spill on them if they move any part of their body. It drives me insane. At Coachella everyone is dripping sweat dancing/jumping/moshing and you can do whatever you want because everyone else is too. But I digress.

Last night, aside from the dead audience, was a great night for the Friendly Fires. They played through their entire debut album, and thew their more recent single off of the reissue “Kiss of Life” in for size. What I really commend the band for is recreating the joy of the record onstage. They had two guys as a brass section last night, and those two guys did wonders for the sound. So many of the elements in the Friendly Fires’ songs are sparkling and fighting for your attention that the sound of them live is sensory overload. The drums are less a drum kit and more of a percussion lineup, the bass pounds songs like “White Diamonds” and “Lovesick” forward, and Ed Macfarlane’s voice tops it all off jumping back and forth from belting out power notes to sliding out his falsetto every once in a while.

I think I’m almost ready to put Friendly Fires up there with Hot Chip as one of my favorite upbeat poppy bands to see live. Both groups know exactly what to do with their songs in a live setting and walk the line separating funk, electro, and rock very well.


  1. Lovesick
  2. Jump in the Pool
  3. Skeleton Boy
  4. In the Hospital
  5. White Diamonds
  6. Strobe
  7. Kiss of Life
  8. Photobooth
  9. On Board
  10. Paris
  11. Encore: Ex Lover

Thanks to flickr users jcbehm and Kmeron for their photos.

The Field & The Juan Maclean @ Webster Hall

The Field: Axel Willner
The Field: Axel Willner

The Field

the field opened, if you consider the field an “opener”

minimal, but not really, comment from amg review

Willner’s productions are as minimal techno as early-’90s Field precursors Seefeel were minimal rock; they’re not the least bit minimal, at least not sonically, and his approach to techno continues to sound like that of a dream pop/shoegaze freak

four man band, bass/drums, really only needed two people though

about five songs, more from new album (two old, three new)

when the song I love kicks in, it’s amazing, rave-like (ie. over the ice)

people need to calm down when listening to it, you can dance, but please stop spazzing out

rothko is to the field as …. is to …..

John Maclean & Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem)
John Maclean & Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem)

The Juan MacLean

amazing, FAR surpassed my expectations

quintessential DFA sound.

four piece, everyone actually doing band stuff

theremin on stage, used to good effect and with real skill

nancy whang is DFA’s Alison Mosshart

played a good mix of new and old songs (I’ll admit I haven’t listened to the new album that much)

great groove “happy house” stretched to about twenty minutes long (from it’s typical twelve), rises and falls, tempo changes, as good of pacing as Daft Punk’s live show, really put the show over-the-top

did I mention there was a theremin?

The Kills & The Horrors @ The Henry Fonda

Last Friday I went to see the Kills opened by the Horrors and Magic Wands at the Music Box at the Fonda Theater in LA. I didn’t care too much for Magic Wands (but they aren’t bad by any means), so here are my thoughts on the Horrors and the Kills (both of whom I’m enamored with).

The Horrors' lead singer Faris Badwan in LA at the Music Box
The Horrors' lead singer Faris Badwan in LA at the Music Box

The Horrors

What do you do after you are one of the most hyped bands of 2006 with the world on your fingertips? If you are the Horrors, you lay low for two years after touring and in the meantime record an album that is incredible but sounds nothing like your debut.

I was hooked after my first listen to the Horrors’ debut album Strange House three years ago. I loved that while there was something familiar in their songs, they sounded like nothing else I was listening to. Quite a bit has changed in the musical landscape since 2006, but the Horrors’ new sophomore album Primary Colors somehow instills the same feeling as Strange House.

The five piece put on a great show for being an opening band. Ferris, their lead singer, has a great presence on stage. After going from nothing to the cover of NME, he still seems pleased that people are interested in the music his band makes. Luckily, the Horrors are impeccable live and have no trouble recreating the dense punk sound that Primary Colors contains. There wasn’t much banter in between songs, they played pretty straight through their set.

As for the songs they played on this tour, you wouldn’t know that they ever had a debut album if you just saw the setlist. They essentially play Primary Colors start to finish save for two songs. It’s perfect – if you love Primary Colors; songs from Strange House are nowhere to be found.

Alison "VV" Mosshart, one half of The Kills
Alison "VV" Mosshart, one half of The Kills

The Kills

My new obsession. In the weeks leading up to Coachella 2009, I listened to their most recent album Midnight Boom start to finish and remembered how much I liked a few songs on their previous album No Wow. Since seeing the later half of their Coachella performance (and being completely mesmerized throughout), I’ve been watching/listening/reading everything I can get my hands on relating to the Kills.

The duo often gets compared to the White Stripes, but Meg White hasn’t got a single thing on Alison “VV” Mosshart. And since the White Stripes haven’t done much of anything lately, I’ll take the Kills without complaining.

Hotel and VV might be the most compelling people I’ve ever seen on stage. It might be VV’s long black hair as its own performace, or it maybe its the “chemistry” they have with each other while playing, or most likely, it’s just the fact that the two exude coolness. It’s not hipster snobbery; it’s a feeling of not giving a fuck, but having everything line up perfectly that reels everyone in.

Now that they have three LPs out, finding solid material to play isn’t much of an issue. Well over half of the songs on the setlist are hits with simple lyrics that can be sung along to. It was a great show all around (save for the tall ass with wiry blond hair who did nothing but instigate fights all night long). The last song of the encore was especially great as they invited the Horrors back out to do their 8+ minute version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You.” The song involved every wire on stage getting tangled around VV and the Horror’s guitar player as they lay on the floor rolling around. It was great.

All in all, the show proved to me that the Horrors aren’t going anywhere, the Kills are even cooler live than on record, and that I absolutely hate LA audiences.

photo credit goes to flickr user hazyskyline6

Dear M.I.A., thanks for Coachella

M.I.A. up on the stage at Coachella
M.I.A. up on the stage at Coachella

“They tried to make me do the Oscars, I said ‘No, No, No’.” Of all the banter M.I.A. threw into her hour-long set on the Main Stage at this year’s Coachella, this was probably the most pointed. When Amy Winehouse dropped off the lineup because she couldn’t get a Visa to the United States (surprise, surprise), M.I.A. was quickly announced to be her replacement. In my mind, there could be no better choice. I’ve missed the chance to see M.I.A. twice now, and I made sure not to pass her up again.

I’ve been an M.I.A. fan since Arular came out, and like everyone else,  Kala was one of my favorite albums of 2007. I know all the words to all her songs (well, at lease those that are audibly decipherable). You can imagine my disappointment when I found out that there aren’t as many people like me as I thought. Apparently, tons people are willing to stand around for an hour to hear one song. I really hope that the masses can get over “Paper Planes” and realize the true genius in all of M.I.A.’s songs.

Aside from that, the show was one of my favorite all weekend. Six neon glow-in-the-dark dancers started things off and led right into M.I.A.’s entrance at a podium rapping “World Town.” The party went on from there as she flew threw Rye Rye’s new song “Bang”, “$20”, “Boyz”, “Bingo”, “Sunshowers”, “Pull Up the People”, and “Galang”. A perfect set list.

M.I.A. at the end of her show coming out into the crowd
M.I.A. at the end of her show coming out into the crowd

Also included in her set was “Bird Flu”. Last year, M.I.A. only got through six songs in the Mojave tent because she wanted people to get up on stage, but the security guards thought otherwise. This year, she would get people up if it was the last thing she did. She called out, “I’ve already been banned from Coachella once, let do it. Hey hey, let ’em up! Let ’em up!” And something clicked in my brain.

In short, I jumped over the center barrier, ran as fast as I could towards the stage, got body checked into another barrier by a 300 lb. security guard, ran so as to not get thrown out, and jumped over another barrier back into the crowd. I didn’t make it onstage, but I did make it to the front row of the show. To those people who did make it onstage, good on ya; I hope you enjoyed yourself. I know I enjoyed my fleeting moment of excitement.

After “Bird Flu” came “Paper Planes.” And of course the crowd went wild for the one song they’d heard on TV and on the radio. While I’m still bitter that M.I.A. hasn’t received the mainstream success she deserves, I’m appreciative that anyone knows her music at all. It’s not everyday that a Sri Lankan girl with paternal ties to the Tamil Tigers makes it onto American radio waves.

I had a great time during M.I.A.’s third Coachella performance, and in the end, that’s what counts. That being said, if you ever go to one of her future shows, please listen to some songs that aren’t “Paper Planes” before heading out.

photo credit goes to flickr user Mick O

The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

the official cover art for the prodigy's - invaders must die
the official cover art for the prodigy's - invaders must die

The Prodigy – Invaders Must Die

Unfortunately, Invaders Must Die isn’t the return to hardcore techno greatness that Fat of the Land begun… But don’t let that get you down, because there are some damn good bangers in there. Invaders Must Die is a vast improvement compared to their/his (Liam Flint was the only member to contribute) album, Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned (AONO).

As the first Prodigy album with all three members in 15 years, it’s nice to hear Maxim & Keith’s voices on many of the tracks. I think Liam went overboard with the guest vocalists last time around (Juliette Lewis, Liam and Noel Gallagher, Kool Keith, and The Magnificent Ping Pong Bitches), but it’s clear he’s reeled himself back in with IMD.

Starting with my favorite track on the album, Take Me To The Hospital knocks it out of the park. The traces of rave are clear in the synth stabs from the get-go, and the hard beat is brought in right after a short intro. What separates this track from the rest is that it doesn’t sound like an attempt to recapture some lost glory, it takes what the Prodigy is known for (knock-out beats & rave synths) and pushes it forward.

Immediately after Take Me To The Hospital comes Warrior’s Dance which is probably my #2 song on IMD. Instead of having ravy synths, it’s the vocal sample that gives the listener the hints. The bass line in this song is one that makes you wish you had a wall of subs because it would shake you to your core. It has a nice breakdown about 2/3 of the way through, and as expected, the buildup and climax are spot-on.

Jumping down four tracks, Piranha has the best groove on the album. I seriously can’t stop dancing to this one; it gives me the same feeling as Hot Chip’s Out At The Pictures (I just wanna dance). I could do without the lyrics though… “Teeth, grip, razor sharp / Bites hi-power, tear you apart.”

When I was listening to IMD for the first time, I was getting very worried before I hit Take Me To The Hospital and Warrior’s Dance (they are #5 and #6 respectively). Why? Because the first song Invaders Must Die is good, but all I can think about when I listen to it is how much it sounds like The Prodigy trying to be Pendulum. Not a great first impression. Next is Omen, which is OK and doesn’t sound like Pendulum but just doesn’t sit right.

Then came Thunder, which shouldn’t have any vocals at all. The beats are sick, but I can’t stand Maxim on the track. I also feel that they could have made much more with the synths; they don’t fit with the rest of the song at all. Finally comes Colours, which I thought what going to be the redeemer when it started (sound like Hotride at first), then came in the worst synth line on the album. I hate the synths.

Now that you know the songs I loved and hated, the rest sort of fall into the middle. Run With the Wolves is an excuse to have live drums on a hardcore techno track, World’s On Fire is forgettable (but brings the rave back again), Stand Up confused the hell out of me, and Omen Reprise is just a +1 to the total track count (completely unnecessary).

Look before for a simple breakdown of what I rate each track and what my average would be. I enjoyed this album, and there is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be buying tickets when the Prodigy next comes around to LA.

Song Ratings

Here is a simple breakdown of what I’d rate each track on a 5 point scale. The average/mean (when converted to a Pitchfork scale) comes to 7.8, which I’d say is pretty respectable (even though I was praying it’d be a perfect 10). But I’m pretty sure that when the Pitchfork review comes out, it’ll be quite a bit lower than what I gave it (update: they gave it a 5.8).

  1. Invaders Must Die 5/5
  2. Omen 4/5
  3. Thunder 2/5
  4. Colours 3/5
  5. Take Me To The Hospital 5/5
  6. Warrior’s Dance 5/5
  7. Run With The Wolves 4/5
  8. Omen Reprise ?/5
  9. World’s On Fire 3/5
  10. Piranha 5/5
  11. Stand Up 3/5