Lightspeed Champion


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It’s Sunday, it’s past 1pm and that means you missed my radio show again, didn’t you? Don’t worry, I’m not angry with you. Just play that little embedded podcast above and we’ll forget it ever happened. Ok?

This Is Ivy League – London Bridges (YSI)

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Sometimes songs will reappear in your head for no reason. You’ll start humming a tune, and only recognise what that song is a minute later. I love it when this happens, it’s a true affirmation of loving a song, that it’s buried almost subconsciously into you. For me, today, it was “Midnight Surprise” by Lightspeed Champion.

To create an epic folk song is no mean feat, but Dev Hynes managed it and then some, the minutes fly by without warning. The amount of times I’ve listened to it and suddenly found myself on the next track, 10 minutes later, is astonishing. By using country and Western slide guitar, traditional acoustic guitar, strains of violin, classical piano and judicious sprinklings of background Hammond organ he’s created a tapestry of a song, flowing like a story from one verse to another. The addition of Emmy The Great’s vocals in the mid-section accompanied by pizzicatto violin plucks is just lovely too. There’s almost too much to talk about within it, and yet it holds together so well. Would it be impetuous to say that this is the folk “Paranoid Android”? Probably, but I will anyway. And that’s two Radiohead comparisons in two posts, I really have to tone that down…

Lightspeed Champion – Midnight Surprise

It’s the end of the year, and sure as eggs is eggs there are music lists, polls and debates galore. I’m a sucker for a good end-of-year list, so I’m sure as hell gonna contribute my own. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums of the year:

10. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into

A triumph of genre crossovers, from Daft Punk to ’80s pop, there was hardly a dud track on here.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Weird Science

9. Ida Maria – Fortress Around My Heart

Explosive, effervescent pop-punk from the amazing Miss Maria, her live show is just as good.

Ida Maria – Stella

 

8. Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

Dev Hynes truly manages to shake off the Test Icicles tag to mould himself as a brilliant, twisted folk troubador.

Lightspeed Champion – Galaxy Of The Lost

 

7. Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords

I know comedy records shouldn’t count, but this is such a well-formed album, the fact that it’s funny doesn’t even matter that much.

Flight of the Conchords – The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room)

 

6. Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires

The perfect blend of house, indie, funk and any other genre you want to name, this album manages the seemingly impossible task of making a hugely coherent album without ever becoming samey.

Friendly Fires – Photobooth

 

5. Mumford and Sons – Lend Me Your Eyes EP

Alright, it’s an EP not an album, but all four tracks are just so beautiful, so unbelievably heart-wrenching and glorious that I can’t not include it.

Mumford and Sons – Awake My Soul

 

4. Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim

New-folk’s true pioneer, this album delivered exactly what everyone wanted, the old demos produced beautifully, as well as some wonderful new tracks.

Laura Marling – Night Terror

 

3. Johnny Flynn – A Larum

Three new-folk albums in a row eh? I’d been waiting for an album from Johnny Flynn since his first demo of Tickle Me Pink, and the album was everything I’d wanted and more.

Johnny Flynn – Leftovers

 

2. Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – Angles

Hip-hop doesn’t have to be corporate, gangstafied shite, it can be poetry, it can be dance music, it can be funny or tragically sad. In short, this album’s brilliant.

Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip – The Beat That My Heart Skipped

1. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

To be honest, I don’t think there was ever a doubt in my mind that this would be first place. When it came out it was just so different. Totally summery, totally African and totally incredible.

Vampire Weekend – Bryn