I’ve seen a lot of waffle online, talking about “It’s been a vintage year” blah blah blah. It’s the same people saying that same shit every year. I’m not going to candy coat anything and try and pretend it’s been that for my goodself. 2013 hasn’t been an Anus Horribilis but it has been the year I got round to giving my website a facelift and in turn really found my groove with my writing. It’s a creative outlet for someone that has a 9-5 in the City, in a suit. 2013 has also been the year that I’ve not really fitted in those suits as well, as I seem to have put on weight all over the shop.
You’re probably tired of all these lists and general ‘end of year’ bandwagonning but allow me, yeah? I’d just like to round up things that have made me happy or that have garnered my interest for longer than the usual seven seconds.
Top Ten House Tracks
Toyboy & Robin – Jaded
This tune is just instant energy for the floor. I’ve rinsed the granny out of it and due to its cracking intro was great for set opening. Also gets top spot for using an R&B vocal (Jade ‘Don’t Walk Away’ if you were wondering) and NOT pitching it DOWN (although they have on their VIP Remix).
Route 94 – My Love
I tweeted earlier this year that this tune gives me feelings and Skream concurred with my findings. It’s mostly the keys but that topline by Jess Glynne is like the icing on a pretty bloody tasty cake.
Wez Saunders – Fire (Grant Nelson Mix)
I’ve definitely played this tune the most in 2013. The legendary Mr Nelson turns in a killer remix for this track on his own label and all things considered this could’ve crossed over if certain stars had aligned.
Duke Dumont featuring A.M.E. – Need U (100%)
Talking of crossover, this tune actually hit the top of the hit parade, which in turn kind of highlighted what a good year for House Music it was. A huge hit that still sounds good even if it’s been rinsed.
Osunlade – Dionne
Let’s face facts, you’re always going to get a Defected tune in most House DJs round up of the years tunes, and rightly so. Their quality control is next level as is this Dionne Warwick sampling disco tinged beauty from Osunlade.
Kove – My Love
Kove is actually a young D&B producer normally but just like Danny Byrd or Chase and Status, they reach for the 4/4 on occasion and in this instance turn out a Speed Garage/Piano House hybrid that has done the business for me every time I’ve played it.
Close featuring Joe Dukie – My Way (Dusky Mix)
Joe Dukie is one of my favourite male vocalists and I love his work as the front man for Fat Freddys Drop. From time to time he turns up on cool labels out of Berlin and this is one of those times. The original is really downtempo but the Dusky boys give this a floor friendly makeover.
Deetron & Ben Westbeech – Rhythm (Karizma Mix)
What do you expect with this amount of talent on one track? The whole mix package for this track is dope but the Karizma mix edges it for me.
Paul Woolford – Untitled
The one thing I find strange about this track is that whenever I read about it, no one tends to acknowledge the fact it samples Switch’s superb ‘I Still Love You’. Also it irks me that it’s called Untitled, but ignoring all that, this is one belter of a dancefloor track.
NineToes – Finder
As soon as I heard the steel drums in this I had to Shazam the shit out of it and get that badboy. Only then did I realise that the idea for the track had been pinched from Lovebirds who was understandably pretty miffed and subsequently released his version entitled ‘The Path’ for free.
For everything that was right about my first ever festival gig in Slovenia, with ATFC and David Morales headlining, Morales’ histrionics, meant that it couldn’t be my fav gig of 2013 as I didn’t fully enjoy it at all as I was actually on edge quite a bit. Where I wasn’t on edge however, was at a Shush party at the Whirled Cinema in Brixton where I was asked to kickstart the evening playing “Whatever you want”. That remit is as rare as hens teeth for me and I took to it with much eagerness. I warmed things up with some low slung disco and quirky house beats and ended with ‘Super Sharp Shooter’ and ‘Battle’ with a full dancefloor. Job done.
Thankfully I’ve got Ibiza to fall back on for this segment as I’ve not been out clubbing, properly, anywhere near as much as I’d have liked to this year. Plenty of flitting in and out of clubs seeing if they are busy or not and popping to the next, but I’ve not plotted up and put in a full shift much in 2013. So my fav party of this year has to be Dirty Bird at Sankeys. I cannot fault a thing. Justin Martin was in the hizzouse as was Kink and the latter really went to town with a clever live set that I really appreciated.
Best House Album
With all the House artists that have crossed over this year, there is still relatively scant supply of actual House artist albums. Claude Von Stroke dropped a solid offering. Maya Jane Coles released an interesting album but it was really quite eclectic in content. Hot Natured’s album was decent enough but I felt it had a touch of filler. My top pick then has to be the Disclosure boys ‘Settle’. It’s a tad loose with what constitutes House Music, but House Music is at its core. From the initial “Fires Starts To Burn” hook to last year’s sublime remix of Jessie Wares’ “Running” it had me reveling in the talent of two young artists that, no doubt, will continue to bless their fans with more of the same for years to come.
London Grammer – Nightcall (Joe Goddard Mix)
There’s so much I like about Joe Goddard. Firstly you can’t pin him down on one sound. Also he actually seems to really REMIX records, not just get paid his fee and churn out any old cobblers. From the evidence I’ve heard e.g. his recent Breach remix and also Shining Star he puts in some TLC and it makes for interesting listening. This remix of LG teases you with the old skool drums and then deep into the running time of the track it goes full on RAVE when the breakbeat drums come in fully and are then accompanied by some fierce hoover bass, which are quite the contrast to the vocal.
Top Ten Non-House Tracks
Bondax – Giving It All
From the first play of this I knew it was a tune that was right up my street. Reminds me a bit of a Moloko track but that’s a good thing in my eyes.
Rudimental feat. Angel Haze – Hell Could Freeze (Skreamix)
2013 was the year Skream said he’d no longer play Dubstep and he also took to making some funky ass disco stuff, including this absolute gem of a track.
Krystal Klear feat. Jenna G – Addiction
Some more Disco loveliness that came out via the Rinse FM stable. You could listen to this and be forgiven for thinking it was actually released in the 80s. Brandt
Brauer Frick – Broken Pieces (Dollkraut Mix)
This features one of my fav underrated male singers, Jamie Lidell and has some seriously skippy beats> pretty much everything about this track is achingly cool.
Banks – Warm Water (Snakehips Mix)
I think everyone’s going to hear much more from Banks in 2014. When I first heard the original version on the radio I had to Shazam it as I loved her sultry vocals and this remix makes it sound even better.
Ta-Ku – I Miss You
Found this whilst trawling around Soundcloud and fell in love with the downtempo dreamy production and slightly ethereal vocal which just so happens to be a sample of Willow Smith with her new project.
Wookie feat. Eliza Doolittle – The Hype
Eliza Doolittle shunning her pop credentials again to team up with legendary Garage producer Wookie on this anti-love song.
How To Dress Well – & It Was You
Initially I’d seen this featured in someones chart on Beatport and fell in love with it and with the fact that someones got an artist name called How To Dress Well.
Pharell – Happy
You just can’t dislike this tune. I dare you, even if you’re a metal head or a goth.
Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip – Thank You
Everything about this song is on point. The fantastic sample, Busta & the Abstracts delivery and even the Yeezy and Weezy guest slots don’t detract from the fact this is one badass Hip Hop banger.
Best Non-House Album
I do think it’s been a vintage year for good music and I’ve had some great albums on rotation heavily this year. Arctic Monkeys ‘AM’ was/is superb, then I really enjoyed JT’s return, although personally he should’ve stuck to just releasing the one album as 20/20 Experience Part 2 was far inferior to Part 1. The album I’ve listened and enjoyed the most has to be Home by Rudimental. It’s really varied in content, has a great range of featured artists from up and coming like Ella Eyre to established like Emile Sande and is a really good listen start to finish.
Best Compilation Album
The Deep Down and Defected albums are my pick from the range of collections they put together. In that I buy every one of them. Admittedly the House Masters albums are superb but I don’t buy all of them but the DDD albums I do. The last instalment of 2013, which is Volume 4, was my pick of the compilations for this year. The quality you get for the price on iTunes is fantastic value for money. All killer, no filler.
I actually love the fact that people still call mixes ‘mixtapes’ even if they may have never done a mix on a re-used TDK in their whole life. Who cares? The mixtape lives on and my fav of the year has to be Snoop Dogg’s 20th Anniversary Doggystyle Mixtape. The original album holds fold memories of my college years and this mixtape goes back to the samples that underpin that classic album.
For many it’d probably be Blurred Lines but I can hand on heart say that I’ve still not seen the full unedited version, so I’m not opting for that. There is a link to my winner though as the 24 Hours Of Happy video for Pharell’s ‘Happy’ just goes to show that a) he’s a modern day genius and b) there are still different avenues to persue in music video that don’t involve scenes of a sexual nature. Honestly if people want that, surely they can just fire up XNXX??
Best Twitter Follow
It has to be @artworkmagnetic this year. He’s just so random, but good random. He does a hilarious radio show on Rinse FM on Monday nights too, which highlights his mischievous side. The good thing with Arthur is not only is he really funny on Twitter, but to back it all up he’s one third of Magnetic Man with Skream and Benga and has been instrumental in loads of groundbreaking UK music over the years.
Easy jet wouldn’t even give me an extra foot room seat ! Bastards pic.twitter.com/XetfOnaps3
— artwork (@artworkmagnetic) December 29, 2013
Worst Dance Track
I know the heading says BEST BITS but this is the Best Worst track, ya get me!? That has to be a toss-up between BOTH of Avicii’s horrid Country infused tracks and Afrojack’s ‘The Spark’. The latter just edges it though, as the gimp that sings the vocal has a voice that makes you want to punch him repeatedly in the face.
This has to be between Katy Perry and James Arthur. Firstly who doesn’t like KP’s ROAR? Even if you’re the most chinstrokeingly hip House head you’ll still slyly love ROAR. Don’t lie to yourself. If James Arthur wasn’t an X-Factor winner, he may not need to be a Guilty Pleasure? He’s a talented guy and if you heard his ‘Fire In The Booth’ on Charlie Sloth’s show earlier this year, then you’ll know that he ‘Goes In’ with his rap freestyles too.
I think it has to be my Gingerbread Christmas train that no one seemed to believe I built and decorated. After that it has to be me completing another marathon. This time it was the Chester Marathon and I done it in 3hrs 38mins.
Another one for Rudimental. Their live show really is something to behold. They have an abundance of musicians scattered across the stage and depending on what tune they’re playing you’ll focus on different bits of the stage and then of course there’s the myriad of guests they had for the Brixton gigs which included John Newman, Ella Eyre and the super talented MNEK.
I’d actually written this bit and listed Prisoners with Hugh Jackman before I’d watched American Hustle just before Christmas and it just blew me away. To me it was faultless. It has star power with Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and even a cameo from Robert De Niro. You’ve then got how it’s stylised in the late 70s with crazy suits and the ladies in risqué dresses. Chuck in quite a smattering of humour, a decent story line and faultless acting all round and you’ve got a corker of a movie. Oh and did I mention Jennifer Lawrence?
Tips For The Future
I’m opting for two tips for 2014 and both of them collaborate on one tune that has been building up a head of steam out there. So I’m opting for Gorgon City and MNEK who work together on the massive ‘Ready For Your Love’. That track is due for release early in 2014 and I think it will just keep on growing for all involved. MNEK already has a No.1 under his belt for writing and featuring on Duke Dumont’s Need U (100%) along with his sterling work with Rudimental. Gorgon City are from the same stable and already have a massive track under their belt with ‘Real’ featuring Yasmin. I’m pretty sure 2014 is gonna be huge for these guys.