Singles of the year: #68

68. Some Girls – Rachel Stevens.

Well, it’s yer schaffel, innit? You know: that electro reworking of glitter-rock’s chunka-chunka-chunka-HEY that you can dance to in pairs, going left-right-left-right with your thumbs tucked into your waistbands, elbows sticking out? (Note: my 15 minute From Shuffle To Schaffel history lesson megamix is still available.)

Not quite the Second Coming Of Shiny Spangly New Pop that some people claimed it was, but still a whole heap of quasi-neo-proto-po-mo-conceptu-go-go FUN.

Singles of the year: #69

69. Paris Hilton – Mu.

…and from a track that I would never have discovered without ILM, to one of many, many tracks that I would never have discovered without Fluxblog. (Looking at my complete Top 90, I shudder to do the maths.)

Stripped down 1987 Chicago acid meets Arthur Russell meets a kind of Japanese Chicks On Speed. With cockerels. Demented, delirious and de-lovely.

Singles of the year: #70

70. Who Could Win A Rabbit? – Animal Collective

With Muzik and Jockey Slut gone, Q and Mixmag reduced to puerile embarrassments, seemingly targeted at people who don’t even like music, Uncut gone up an Americana/classic-rock blind alley, Mojo still too off-puttingly dad-like (although I know full well I’ll end up there sooner or later), the NME and Radio 1 dumbed down to a shrill screech for New! Academia Free! studenthood, The Wire still way, waaaaaay too weird-is-good obscurantist for lil’ ol’ me, and Radio 2 still picknicking in MeluaCullumBooblayLand, 2004 was the year that I finally stopped relying on traditional music media for my prime sources of information.

(Honourable exceptions: Word, whose cheery rockin-vicar-ishness cannot help but strike a chord, even if it never actually tells me anything new; OMM (Observer Music Monthly), although it strives too hard to be all things to all men; and Radio 3’s Late Junction as filtered back to me by K, who looks things up on their website and makes purchases accordingly. I’m now considering fRoots, whose cover-mounted CDs are exemplary, or maybe Songlines, for all my ever-burgeoning world music needs.)

Instead, I looked more and more to the self-described “music press in exile” on the web, and in particular to the unimpeachable Fluxblog, the passionate, maximalist, staggeringly well-informed Koons Really Does Think He’s Michelangelo… and the earnest academics of the I Love Music message board, without whom I would never have discovered the marvellous Animal Collective. (Yes! He got to the point AT LAST!)

At once primitive and intricate, and gleefully bashed out in God knows what time signature, or signatures, Who Could Win A Rabbit is, like the work of The Fiery Furnaces (see #80 below), all about learning to live with the kookiness, which once again levels out after a few plays. I particularly like the sense of place on this recording, which sounds like it was put together in a garage on a hot summer’s day. In this respect, it reminds me of Jonathan Richman’s surreally child-like 1977 album Rock And Roll With The Modern Lovers. (You know? The one with Egyptian Reggae on it?)

Singles of the year: #72

72. Yeah (stupid version) – LCD Soundsystem

2003-style punk-funk (we move so quickly nowadays), with a bassline straight from Delta 5’s Mind Your Own Business, which goes all acidcrazymental halfway through, and again towards the end, rather in the manner of Josh Wink’s Higher State Of Consciousness. The long-awaited debut album “drops” (hem hem) in February. With song titles such as Daft Punk Is Playing At My House and Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up, how can it fail?