We’ve called on a number of cherished members of The Word family to take a look back on this year’s best album releases and to list their absolute favourite top 3 records of 2012. Scroll down to find out what got played to death on the stereos of Belgian Dj Lefto, Soldout manager Tom De Vuyst and Brussels nightlife queen Lady Jane, to name but a few.
Lefto is one of Belgium’s best known DJs, relentlessly touring worldwide, co-programming festivals, running his own hip-hop radio show on Studio Brussel and co-running label B9000. We interviewed him for our pink issue about life in the DJ booth.
1. The Gaslamp Killer: Breakthrough
“A debut album for the bearded/long hair man with all the influences that made him what he is today – Turkish influences, real drums, distorted sounds and amazing guests, that’s what GLK is all about.”
2. Joey Bada$$: 1999
“Not really an album; more like a mixtape with Joey’s rhymes. Why? Because this guy and his Pro-Era team are putting NY rap in its purest way back on the map – New York is on some retro mania and those boys are the reason of this resurrection.”
3. Mala: In Cuba
“Not because it’s on Brownswood but definitely because it is something new and fresh. A dubstep album with real Cuban influences, this record is deep and some of the musicians were taken from the streets after a street party to record on the album. It’s an amazing challenge and it worked. The sound is dark but warm. This is different shit!”
Pieter Dirkx, film and music video director
Young Belgian filmmaker Pieter Dirkx has screened movies at a number of renowned film festivals, from Cannes to Montreal and beyond. He also made the music video for ‘Maniac’ by celebrated Brookly indie rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. For our grey album, we asked him what a grey playlist would sound like.
1. Lower Dens: Nootropics
2. Grizzly Bear: Shields
3. Animal Collective: Centipede Hz
Bart Sibiel, Onda Sonora
Bart Sibiel is one half of Brussels Dj duo Onda Sonora. Together with Yoeri Bellemans he hosts a show on FM Brussels and organises the infamous ‘Our Party’. A few months ago the music buff also came on board as a regular contributor to the Word website where he dazzles our readers with uber-sharp insights into Belgian music.
1. Actress: RIP
“One of the most intruiging electronic artists of late. Always left of most others without ever losing the plot. It’s the sort of album about which Pitchfork writes a review that makes you wonder if you’ve missed a few things. It’s almost beatless, very moody and absolutely unruly yet very catchy in its own particular way. It’s an album that gets an instant repeat after the first listen.”
2. Various: Surinam!
“Not too keen on compilations that concentrate on a very specific genre (Boogie in this case) in an unexpected far away country. It’s usually a sure-fire recipe for a bland collectors item only aimed at record geeks who’ve forgotten what it’s all about. This one avoids that neatly and serves nothing but superb tunes. Pretty sure they’ve covered all good Boogie / Disco ever made in Surinam.”
3. Karriem Riggins: Alone Together
“Just when you think the Dilla-styled beattape / album has been done to death someone comes hard with his take on it. Nothing genre-defying nor style-changing but a very solid collection of beats that amaze, never bore. Something that would have gotten the thumbs up from James Yancey himself no doubt (Karriem and him were very close).”
Emmanuel Perceau, owner of Brussels’ MAPP store
Born in France, Emmanuel opened MAPP in 2009 which we love for its unique selection of international brands by an eclectic mix of designers. This year he participated in our round table on what it takes to make it as a fashion designer. Naturally, his shop has also become a regular reference for our unmissable online shopping guides.
1. Tops: Tender Opposites
2. The Magnetic North: Orkney symphony
3. The Eyes In The Heat: Programme
Jasper Wentzel, PIAS
Jasper is the PR and promotion go-to guy at record label PIAS where he takes care of everyone from Local Natives to Liars. A true music expert and record collector, his passion for music has also led him into the DJ booth. He made us a mix of his 25 favorite songs of the year which will be published later this week.
1. Alt-J: An Awesome Wave
2. Cold Specks: I predict a graceful expulsion
3. Julia Holter: Ekstasis
Tom De Vuyst, band manager
1. Iggy Pop: Après
2. Montevideo: Personal Space
3. Grimes: Visions
Jef Claes, photographer
Upcoming Belgian photographer Jef Claes graduated from Brussels’ Narafi school this year and contributed to The Word with image series on transformed buildings or Belgium’s best swimming pools, for example.
1. Com Truise – In Decay
Absolutely my favorite producer at the moment, his work is just so aesthetic and 80s that I want to put on some hair spray. Apart from that his tracks are carefully composed, almost to the mathematical extent, and although this isn’t as good as last year’s Galactic Melt, it’s clear that this guy is a pure stylist. I love that. A lot. Also really great artwork, as always.
2. TNGHT – TNGHT EP
I love Lunice and Hudson Mohawke and this collab of theirs is just awesome. Don’t like every track on it equally but in general it’s great fun, especially tracks like ‘Higher Ground’ with that nasty ol’ beat and monotonous clap. Starts out as one of those foul 90’s tracks but quickly drops hard. Yes.
3. Shlohmo – Vacation EP
The thing I like the most about Shlohmo is that familiar percussion. The atmosphere is bluesy and reminds me of the winter of this year, when it was released. Slightly dark and gloomy, for those driving-home-late-at-night type of situations. Excellent stuff!
Jergan Callebaut, Dandelion Lotus Records
Jergan Callebaut, member of Brussels band Dalai Lama Renaissance who we featured in our orange album, also runs record label Dandelion Lotus Records and recently took London producer Danglo (listen to his exculsive Word mix here) under his wing.
1. Actress: RIP
2. Blawan: His He, She & She
3. Airhead: Black Ink / Pyramid Lake
Alex Deforce, On-Point
Alex Deforce is one of the founding members of Brussels-based label On-Point, who represent bands and producers ranging from Uphigh Collective to Jazz Neversleeps. Alex also happened to create the artwork for Errorism’s exclusive Word mix…
1. NTrek: Mjir Dan Nen Track
2. BRNS: Wounded
3. Paperclip People: The Secret Tapes Of Dr. Eich
Lady Jane, DJ and event organiser
Jane is the brains behind our beloved Brussels Catclub soirées (the next one’s taking place on December 24 – don’t miss it). She’s also a veteran DJ and contributed her own column to our print edition, touching on subjects such as the all-but-forgotten tradition of white labels.
1. Chromatics: Kill For Love
2. The XX: Coexist
3. Lauer: Phillips
MonkeyRobot, music duo
Brussels-based beatmakers MonkeyRobot, who once went by the moniker InfinitSkills, spoke to us about their name change in our online new beginnings special. This versatile Brussels-based producer duo is also part of jazz project ‘74 Miles away‘, and we’re expecting an album from them in early 2013.
1. Thundercat: The Golden Age of Apocalypse
2. Dr John: Locked Down
3. Pomrad: Vlotjes
Bed Rugs, band
We spoke with musician Stijn Boels for our orange album earlier this year, when he filled us in on his love for his Orange Dual Terror. Stijn is also a member of four-piece Bed Rugs from Antwerp, who released their first album ‘8th Cloud’ in January.
1. Murals: On a Passing Cloud
2. Tame Impala: Lonerism
3. Ty Segall band: Slaughterhouse
Felicia Atkinson, visual artist and musician
Born in France but based in Belgium, music-maker Felicia showed up in our grey album. As a musician, she goes by the pseudonym “Je suis le petit chevalier”, while her visual art focuses on paintings and sculptures that you might have caught at Documenta #13‘s off-exhibition in Kassel. Read our interview about her experiences here.
1. Vestals: Forever Falling Toward The Sky
2. Heatsick: Deviation
3. Tops: Tender Opposites
New Bleeders, band
Noise-surf-postpunk band New Bleeders, formerly known as Vegas! talked to us about their name change in our online special on new beginnings. The four-piece from Sint-Niklaas/Temse released their debut self-titled full-length album on March 9 this year, and you can experience it live for yourself on 22nd December in Zoersel.
1. Liars: Wixiv
“This record grew on me and didn’t let me go for weeks in a row. It’s dark but with a gentle touch. It’s romantic and creepy at the same time. A few times they get me stomping my feet on the ground and above all it’s different than their previous records. Still, you can’t mistake them for someone else. It’s undoubtedly a Liars album but with a new direction for this amazing band.” Kenny, vocals
2. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats: Blood Lust
“Passed on to me by a friend and fan of the groovy stoner genre. The first time I heard it I was in a car and we cranked up the volume and played the record twice without a pause. Dirty, repetitive, awesome vocals and one badass song after another. No bells and whistles, just good old 70s riffing! There’s also a mysterious vibe around the members of this griddy trio that makes the package complete. It might not be the most original album but definitely the one that rocked my socks off.” Thomas, guitar player
3. Death Grips: The Money Store
“Zach Hill on a shitload of drum machines, fucked up synth-trakcs, insane basslines and a pounding voice that demands you to listen without any distractions. Bouncy and addictive this one. This record made the world around me even a bit stranger than it already is. If I ever had the chance to hide inside a fluorescent version of pacman on speed in the year 2030 this would play on my mp3. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Zach Hill terrorises the drumkit live!! Walhalla baby!” Thomas, drummer
Max, Pale Grey
Max is a member of Liège-based electro-pop four-piece Pale Grey who we interviewed for this year’s grey album (of course). Their first EP “Put Some Colors” was released in May. Max is also part of Belgian music collective Jaune Orange, which boasts hit-makers like Hollywood Porn Stars and Girls in Hawaii on its roster.
1. Alt-J: An Awesome Wave
2. Breton: Other People’s Problems
3. Grizzly Bear: Shields