billi-ray-martin-aussen-48During a rare break from the monotonous grind of putting together a website, I was talking to John Preston (JP to his friends) as we sipped Pina Coladas around the indoor pool at Riot Towers the other day.  It came as quite a surprise to discover that we were both fans of Billie Ray Martin.  John reviewed her recent Opiates album here on Musicriot and I loved Electribe 101 way back in the days when I spent my evenings behind the wheels of steel.  So why not ask her to contribute to our High Fives feature?  I’m pleased to say she was happy to get involved and these are Billie Ray Martin’s Top 5 tracks of 2012.

“Ed-Ged-Osis”(Todd Terje edit) – LindstromLINDSTROM - Ra-ako-st / Eg-ged-osis (Extended Edits) (Front Cover)

Lindstrom (Hans-Peter Lindstrom) is a Norwegian composer and producer who established his Feedelity label in 2002.  This track is from the album “Smalhans” released in November 2012 and is a collaboration with fellow-Norwegian Todd Terje.  The track is built around a long sinuous bass riff and melodies built around synth arpeggios which always seem to be trying to get back to starting point but never quite making it.

“I Came Here” – TorgnyProduct Details

Torgny is Norwegian and very enigmatic. Even the website and Facebook page tell you very little about Torgny; I’m guessing the implication is that we should concentrate on the music, which is fine by me.   “I Came Here” is a fascinating blend of Nordic indie with dance elements creeping in as the song develops whilst retaining a glacial feel from start to finish.  It’s faintly disturbing, particularly when it’s tied in to the images in the video, but it’s absolutely fascinating.

“OFI” – Model 500Product Details

Originally released in 2010, this has been reactivated with a number of mixes this year.  Model 500 is a pseudonym of the Detroit techno pioneer Juan Atkins, making a comeback over 20 years after his early, and incredibly influential, work.  Of the 2012 mixes, the Debukas remix is attracting most of the attention and is certainly the most dancefloor-friendly.  Great return to form from a genuine innovator.

“Prayer” – TerranovaProduct Details

Terranova has been musically active since 1996 and has been involved in collaborations with Cath Coffey, Nicolette Krebitz, Tricky, Ari Up and, not unsurprisingly Billie Ray Martin and has also done a huge amount of remixes.  This track is from the album “Hotel Amour” on Kompakt Records and features Nicolette Krevitz.

“Ride” – Lana del ReyProduct Details

You just can’t get away from Lana del Rey this year.  She’s everywhere and it’s not difficult to see why.  The songs are great and the David Lynch feel of the music and visuals make this a very special package.  This song is from the “Paradise Edition” of one of this year’s classic albums, “Born to Die” and has classic stamped all the way through it.

Many thanks to Billie Ray Martin for this eclectic and beautiful selection of songs; keep an eye out for the next contribution tomorrow.  Who will it be this time?

And last but not least from the Riot Squad, we have John Preston’s Top 5 albums from 2012.  Starting tomorrow, you can find out what some of the artists we’ve reviewed this year have been listening to.  Of course, I’m not going to tell you who’s contributing yet; you’ll have to visit the website over the next couple of weeks for that.


Fiona Apple – “The Idler Wheel…”Product Details

Her best album of 4, Fiona Apple is a true original; a breath taking talent and completely, criminally overlooked in the UK. You can change this; buy this outstanding albeit challenging (worth it though, believe me) CD and show her the respect and love she deserves for continuing to make songs as brave, bare and uncompromising as she has here. You’re not worthy of course and she’d rather spend a weekend with her piano and dog than share a beer with a hipster like you but you won’t find a better singer songwriter to fall head over heels with. Listen to ‘Regret’ and be quietly, hopelessly terrified and then just surrender.

Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra – “Theatre is Evil”Product Details

Charismatic, tireless, controversial and forever ‘on’; Amanda Palmer’s fan-funded, 16 track opus is a thumping and relentless feel good(ish) blast. The chamber pop strings and piano of “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” has, on the whole, been traded in for massive 80’s synths, rock guitars, thuggish pop choruses and has an energy and vitality that nothing else I’ve listened to this year comes close to matching. This is probably best demonstrated in the garish, hysterical and euphoric “Do It with A Rockstar” video where all of these elements collide beautifully. My go to choice to blow the morning blues away when you’re still half asleep and making your way into work on a rainy Thursday morning; it may be a cliché but play this one LOUD!

Brandy – “Two Eleven”Product Details

In 2004 Brandy released what was probably her most consistent and cohesive album, “Afrodisiac”. Crucially it was also one of the last top notch productions that RnB superstar Timbaland (and Missy Elliott’s musical soul mate) was responsible for before his, and also RnB’s, decline. He went on to produce Miley Cyrus and New Kids on The Block and Mary J Blige was produced by Eurotrance cheese maker RedOne and autotune replaced real vocals. Brandy resisted jumping on this ill-conceived bandwagon and has now returned with a heartfelt, beautifully sung, sleek and modern RnB album. Timbaland isn’t around this time but Frank Ocean and Bangladesh are and they really do provide Brandy with a sound-scape that enables her to fly.  Check out the Lykke Li-sampled, dancehall-incorporating and completely bonkers “Let Me Go” if any further proof is needed. So along with new comers such as Dawn Richard and Solange, things are thankfully moving forward again in a very positive, new direction within the RnB genre.

Lana Del Rey – “Born To Die Paradise Edition”Product Details

When one of the most intriguing and original pop stars of the last ten years debut album didn’t quite deliver the goods as expected in the wake  of her destined to become classic single “Video Games”, the disappointment was palpable. Lana Del Rey has more than redeemed herself however on this re-release featuring 9 (on the ITunes version) new, very high quality songs which ditches some of the kitchen sink production mistakes of the original album and replaces them with a warmer but, importantly,  even more desolate sound. “Ride” demonstrates that vocally and songwise Del Rey is no one-trick pony and possesses enough personality and pathos to carry a big song in a way that her contemporaries may struggle with. America’s new sweet heart.

Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”Product Details

Released at the beginning of this month, this is a late comer but without doubt an essential release which you will thank me for tracking down. This is beautiful, ornate and soothing music of the most other-worldly kind and also the most seasonal (as in winter not Christmas) of my picks. Last year I included Cat’s Eyes on my Top 5 and Rachel Zeffira is one half of that duo so it’s nice that this album, which has the DNA of that debut but mixed with something altogether more spectral, has proved that she can stand alone and make an album which sounds unlike anything else I’ve heard this year.