Artist: Lindstrom and Christabelle
Album: Real Life is No Cool
Lindstrom’s 2008 release ‘Where You Go I Go Too’ hinted at what this dance producer could achieve and on ‘Real Life is No Cool’ the listener experiences those achievements at their zenith. Inspired by House and Disco, but with clear soft spots for Folk and Funk, Lindstrom enlists the mesmerising talents of vocalist Christabelle to inject the sublime and haunting into the oft-minimalist rhythms. Delivering both dance floor and DJ friendly cuts to smoky living room chill-outs, this release sets the standard for this year’s dance albums.
Artist: R. Kelly
R. Kelly’s 1996 track ‘I Believe I can Fly’ is in my top-ten least favourite records of all time. It was not simply innately annoying, it was a vexatious tyrannosaurus of improbability and if it was created to irritate it was a masterpiece. Kelly has since courted controversy with several child pornography charges and bar-room brawls, which compared to the release of ‘I Believe…’ are mere misdemeanors. ‘Untitled’ is quite possibly the last goiter of Kelly’s career, a record so weak it refuses to have a name. As with previous Kelly audibles, sex is the overriding theme and irritancy the unwanted result.
Artist: Vampire Weekend
That ‘something great’ about Vampire Weekend has been reaffirmed on their second album Contra, a sugar-coated tamarind of triumphalism with a hard-on. Rather than divest themselves of the harmonious chirpiness which irritated the wasp-chewers, Vampire Weekend have exploded with licentiousness and Contra sounds like a follow-up which is content in its old Mack, but about to flash with surprises. This means we get Afro-pop melodies, more marimbas, more steely beats and more Ezra Koenig flexing his pharynx. Highlights include ‘Cousins’ and ‘Horchata’, on a confident release with no fillers.