Category: top of the top

top of the top: 2016

2016 was again a fantastic music year, made of a different shades of guitar tones, from tender notes to raging, devastating sound experiences. the bands and albums listed are presented in no specific order, because this year, a crazy number of albums simply turned our heads inside-out. but these are the ones that will be remembered.

our favourite albums


— Beak>, Couple In a Hole, Music from Tom Geens Film
the quintessence of krautrock, a clever mixture of restlessness and disquieting grace. with absolutely killing bass and drums, this mesmerizing hooting maze is a genuine blast. who said that bristol genius belong to the past?
sensational: Spittin’ Feathers


— Civil Civic, The Test
a very essential bum-shaking space rock album that conveys a certain appetite for life and happiness, with mordant guitars and jiggling synthesizer vibes (and a drum machine that will exhaust your frog’s legs). joyful as jumping into a roll-coaster to reach the moon. fantastic, chirpy, on cloud nine.
essential: The Shift


— Nothing, Tired of Tomorrow
it’s impossible to get tired of Nothing, whose hook-laden melodies and humming guitars translate a powerful longing for skygazing tenderness. the band’s third album evinces once again Palermo’s heartbreaking songwriting that blows hot and cold, spreading some beautiful sadness. simply sumptuous.
mandatory: ACD


— Russian Circles, Guidance
wow, a grand, grand album, a genuine head-splitting shot that encapsulates any organic emotions. Guidance is a swelling masterpiece, an irresistible panel of ambivalent sentiments, tender and brutal, crystal clear and tenebrous, incandescent and placid. better than the familiar imagery for post-rock and post-metal, this album is the perfect expression of an ireful contemplation.
killing: Mota


— Suuns, Hold/Still
well, Suuns’ music isn’t colourful, it doesn’t try to seduce or allure, but it penetrates your skin as a drill machine would puncture the thickest wall of sound. Hold/Still may be the band’s most hypnotic album to date. thrilling drones and benumbing beacons intend nothing else but depicting beautifully a desperate, stony tomorrow.
monumental: Resistance


— Piano Interrupted, Landscape of the Unfinished
this new record conceived in Senegal is a graceful, captivating odyssey of pieces that were first deconstructed before being recomposed. a beautiful travel to fruitful soundscapes, where delicate piano notes and a sunny double-bass intertwine with traditional instruments of senegalese musicians, a humming clarinet and amazing sounds from the landscape. to put it simple, the nonpareil of beauty.
soul-stirring: Sara Ba


— Yeti Lane, L’Aurore
with L’Aurore, the duo’s third album, the songs are replete with the caressing assonance of psychedelia. electrifying and intoxicant as the most heavenly drug, this record is highly addictive and pulls off a major coup in the french musical panorama by defining a new paragon of virtuosity. awesome, exhilarating, sensational.
mind-blowing: Liquide


— Nicolas Jaar, Sirens
once again, the magic of Nicolas Jaar is vivid. the young alchemist mix ingredients very patiently in order to give birth to a skilful celebration of delicate sounds and warm, tender beats. Sirens starts progressively, with Jaar’s voice as a guide. floating in luxuriant waters is always a treat before surrendering to frenetic jazzy or oriental notes. now beats can come into sight and serve as a wake-up call. superb, outstanding, good vibes guarantee, and cherry on the cake, a short interaction with his dad, Alfredo.
appealing: Machine/Decide + No


— Roots Manuva, Bleeds
actually released at the end of 2015, Roots Manuva’s last album could not remain absent in this yearly compilation. both beautiful and tragic, Bleeds doesn’t give Britain the highest praise one could give it. this poignant opus is a wide open wound, from a magnificent observer of our time, whose profound and significant lyrics and hip hop are essential to Britain’s grandeur. sad, alarming, essential, and served by Manuva’s remarkable voice and phrasing.
urgent: Hard Bastards


— Jóhann Jóhannsson, Orphée
14 years after his blissful first album Englabörn, the classical composer returns with another impressive and magnificent studio album. released the very same year as a sumptuous soundtrack written for Denis Villeneuve’s The Arrival, it is impossible not to succumb to the beauty of this both disquieting and spellbinding Orphée that takes you to a fantastic journey, made of beautifully-textured shades of grey. both inspiring and Kafkaesque.
mesmerising: The Drowned World

among the best songs
these are the very thrilling songs of the year, with the exception of BEAK and Suuns, which albums are now copyright-protected on soundcloud. a simple click on the band’s picture (or on any of the aforementioned bands/musicians) will redirect you to their bandcamp page or website, where their music may be streamed freely. and do not forget to purchase the albums that you enjoyed the most to support the bands’ remarkable work.


 

best concerts
K-X-P @ The Great Escape Festival, june 2016
Russian Circles @ Kesselhaus, september 2016

the killing surprise of the year
The Low Frequency in Stereo, a very surprising post-rock band from Norway, which 2002’s eponymous, sublime, first album shook the pond as we discovered it on Byte.FM Schnittstelle. highly recommended for post-rock aficionados who also have a squint at jazzy tunes.


 

best newcomers
the amazing Boobs of Doom, whose noisy inspiration seems genuinely tireless.


 

best music website
aclisten
 

best album artwork
A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead, again another amazing piece of art by Stanley Donwood and Dr. Tchock. the 32-page magnificent artwork was made from huge canvases painted by Mr. Donwood, which were exposed to warm winds and thunderstorms in the french riviera. the darkness of a few drawing is a pure wonder. such as Radiohead’s is.


the cherry on the cake
Byte.FM’s BTTB, short for Back To The Basics, Marcus Maack, a monument of the Hamburg DJ scene.

amazing creator of the recordstores.love website that lists all record shops in the world, Marcus Maacks also presents a non-less amazing broadcast on byte.FM called Back To The Basics. the programme airs every thursday at 9pm and is mostly dedicated to bass. the pond shares quite a lot of Maacks’ favourites, such as dubstep, electro, hip hop and the bristol scene. BTTB is the very first programme we have been following for years, and every thursday is a bass day. can’t stop, won’t stop, as Maack would say.

 

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top of the top: 2015

2015 was for the pond a lovely noisy year, mostly focused on guitars but also high-fever emotions. never again the frog felt such a frenzy at approaching a record shop, showing clear evidence, indeed, of no-return addiction. the greatest milestones of the year are now listed here for you and we are very happy to share such an incredible and brilliant selection. a click on each picture or link will provide you with either the entire streaming of the said album/song or an alternative concert version. thank you for your interest in the music we try to promote, and we look forward to discovering and sharing further more jewels in 2016.

 

our favourite albums


1. Low, Ones and Sixes
our very record of the year, Ones and Sixes is a quintessential album that combines the tenderness, the beauty and the electrifying powerfulness provided by Low’s meaningful music.

maiak
2. Maïak, A Very Pleasant Way To Die
our favourite post-rock album of the year –full of bite, refreshing, cinematic, mind-blowing.

jamiexx
3. Jamie XX, In Colour
a good-mood, blissful record, because Jamie XX is an amazing talented composer and DJ who knows perfectly how beats can sublimate a certain kind of melancholy.

dienerven
4. Die Nerven, Out
a third album with eloquent lyrics, spiteful bass and guitars, a pure exhilarating wonder.

girl_band
5. Girl Band, Holding Hands With Jamie
so much fevering energy put into a record, fantastic, brilliant, loud, tortured.

aptbs
6. A Place To Bury Strangers, Transfixiation
the gentlemen of noise. better served fortissimo, with(out) ear plugs. an outstanding album. and still Oliver Ackerman’s voice.

oiseaux_tempete
7. Oiseaux-Tempête, Ütopiya?
a substantial, outstanding album where anger and melancholy fuse with grandeur.

sleaford_mods
8. Sleaford Mods, Key Markets
amazing spoken words and trenchant lyrics, first-class bass, simply supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

aucan
9. Aucan, Stelle Fisse
again a tour de force for Aucan that prove their ingenuity and appetite for unknown landscapes. genuinely mesmerizing.

maserati
10. Maserati, Rehumanizer
another major monolithic space rock and krautrock knockout for Maserati.
once again, an essential album.

 

among the best songs
these are the very thrilling songs of the year.

 

best concerts
Spain @ Privatclub, march
Low @ Lido, october
Panda Bear @ Berghain, march
James Wellburn @ KW, october

 

the killing surprise of the year
Paul Weller is a genuine master, the frog is very thankful to its sibling.

 

best newcomers
Land Of Nubia is a fantastic, very talented atmospheric progressive rock trio from canada. very promising.

 

best album artwork
Ütopiya? by Oiseaux-Tempête featuring a cover photograph by Yusuf Sevinçli, inside photographs by Frédéric D. Oberland and an artwork by Moutain / Another Sub Rosa Production

utopiya
the cherry on the cake
Justin Small’s weekly treat.

 

magna cum laude
minot
an immense, indispensable band, especially their last album released in 2014 Equal / Opposite.

 

top of the top: 2014

my oh my, 2014 was a killing year, with so many nuggets that the pond exploded its vinyl budget without being able to purchase any twelve-inches the frog desired to possess. the to-purchase-list became even more longer and i just can’t wait to visit my record shop again!
but no more waffle, let’s go (and do not forget that your mouse will forward you from puzzling pictures to dreamlike tunes)!

best albums of the pond

mondkopf
1. Hadès, Mondkopf

solstafir
2. Otta, Sólstafir


3. Mess, Liars

notwist
4. Close To The Glass, The Notwist


5. RTJ2, Run The Jewels

cloud_nothings
6. Here And Nowhere, Cloud Nothings

wovenhand
7. Refractory Obturate, Wovenhand

nothing
8. Guilty of Everything, Nothing

kate_tempest
9. Everybody Down, Kate Tempest

aveclesoleilesortantdesabouche
10. Zubberdust, Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche


11. King Nine, Blueneck

best songs of the pond
1. Pattern Walks, Cloud Nothings
2. Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck), Run The Jewels
3. Every Morning, J. Mascis
4. Run, Run, Run, The Notwist
5. Buy Gold (Beat Song), Oiseaux-Tempête

best concerts of the pond
Swans @Berghain, november
Jealousy Mountain Duo + Amigo Tropical @ausland, march
Mono + The Shaking Sensations @C-Club, december
HKZ @Flow Festival, august
Anna Calvi @Maschinenhaus, march

killing surprise of the pond
how post and math rock can lead to (post) metal, with elegance and shouting beauties

best discoveries of the pond
Cult of Luna + Swans

best label of the pond
just to set a precedent — Constellation Records, for enlightening the winter with the fantastic Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche, a quintessence of the vanished Fly Pan Am

most artistic cover of the pond
The Last Dawn/Rays of Darkness, Mono

best album artwork of the pond
King Nine, Blueneck

greatest moments of the pond
Denovali’s Swingfest in Essen, a unexpected mix of warmth, cheerfulness, friendship and blowing music

je-ne-sais-quoi of the pond
shivering at Ensemble Economique’s feverish concert and supping Pharmakon’s introductory gig to Swans without alcohol nor drugs. and discovering the unexpected and spellbinding second album of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness.

top of the top: 2013

well, you know how little prone we are to follow tendencies.
this may explain the reason why we unveil our 2013 top only today.
who cares anyway?!

best albums of the pond

QOSTA
1. … Like Clockwork, Queens Of The Stone Age

BOC
2.  Tomorrow’s Harvest, Boards of Canada

tnp
3. Field Of Reeds, These New Puritans

mc
4. MCII, Mikal Cronin

suuns
5.  Images Du Futur, Suuns

savages
6.  Silence Yourself, Savages

sigurros
7. Kveikur, Sigur Rós

best songs of the pond
1. I Appear Missing, Queens Of The Stone Age
2. Brennisteinn, Sigur Rós
3. See It My Way, Mikal Cronin
4. Gun, Scout Niblett
5. Wonder 2, My Bloody Valentine

best concerts of the pond
A Place To Bury Strangers @Lido, september
Colin Stetson @Berghain, october
Suuns @Comet Club, may
Piano Interrupted @Waldo, november
The Chap @://about blank, february

killing surprise of the pond
the prodigious mountain of amps at My Bloody Valentine’s concert

best discovery of the pond
Closer

best label of the pond
Denovali Records, for their astounding cover artworks, but especially for their sharp roster (Saffronkeira, Piano Interrupted, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, Lento, Poppy Ackroyd)

most artistic cover of the pond
Amok, Atoms For Peace

best album artwork of the pond
Like Clockwork, Queens Of The Stone Age

greatest moments of the pond
bloody freezing at Denovali Swingfest Berlin and blissfully boiling at Shara Worden’s You Us We All

je-ne-sais-quoi of the pond
dancing at Thom Yorke’s dj-set in Berghain

we wouldn’t dare asking you to share your 2013 favs, but if you feel like doing so, please lie down and let’s have a pillow talk.

top of the top: 2012

wow, 2012’s been a hard year with too many excellent albums, too many amazing discoveries.
but after a few think-tank weeks, we more or less managed to make a decision.

best songs of the pond
1.  The House That Heaven Built, Japandroids
2.  I’ve Seen Footage, Death Grips
3.  Death of the Journalist, Scroobius Pip
4.  Shotgun, Eugene McGuinness

best albums of the pond
1.  Recreation, Papier Tigre
2.  Prophet, Ramona Falls
3.  In Motion pt. 1, The Cinematic Orchestra
4.  The Echo Show, Yeti Lane
5.  Attack on Memory, Cloud Nothing
6.  Lonerism, Tame Impala
7.  Quakers, Quarkers
8.  Milk Famous, White Rabbits
9.  Passage, Exitmusic
10. The Money Store, Death Grips

best concerts of the pond
A Winged Victory for the Sullen @Flow Festival, august
Sigur Rós @Berlin Festival, september
Radiohead @Wuhlheide, october
Menomena @Postbahnhof, december

best surprise of the pond
math rock is damn good!

best discovery of the pond
Slut, Slut, Slut

best label of the pond
africantape, place of refuge of Aucan, Papier Tigre and Electric Electric

ugliest cover of the pond
Centipede Hz, Animal Collective

most artistic cover of the pond
Two by Four, Piano Interrupted

best album artwork of the pond
Prophet, Ramona Falls

greatest moment of the pond
having Kari Tappiiri as a follower

je-ne-sais-quoi of the pond
newnoise

i don’t know if you feel like sharing your 2012 bests with us, but in case you do, feel free to leave a comment and give us your e-mail address. three 2012 samplers will be granted to the three first answers.
so, what was your album of the year? your favourite concert? your favs of the favs?

top of the top: 2011

here we go… it’s time for the yearly music rating…

what’s your favourite album, track, concert of the past year?
how about sharing your own top of the pops?

post your 2011 bestofs in comment, add your name, alias, nickname to make sure the frog identifies you.
and be among the 10th batrachians to be granted a gorgeous sampler in original format legmade by the juicy frog! (an mp3 version of the sampler will be spotified soon.)

best songs of the pond
1. Sound Pressure Level, Aucan, from Black Rainbow
2. In the Dark Places, PJ Harvey, from Let England Shake
3. The Lotus Eater, Sarah Kirkland Snider feat. Shara Worden and Signal, from Penelope
4. Burn This House/Hourglass, The Sand Band, from All Through the Night

best albums of the pond
1. Black Rainbow, Aucan
2. All Things will Unwind, My Brightest Diamond
3. Blood Pressure, The Kills
4. Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes
5. Space is only Noise, Nicolas Jaar
6. Let England Shake, PJ Harvey
7. Everything’s getting Older, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat
8. Parallax, Atlas Sound
9. Bon Iver, Bon Iver

best concerts of the pond
Fleet Foxes, Columbiahalle, May
Red Snapper, Frannz, October
John Grant, Lido, September

best surprise of the pond
Camera, outsiders of 2011 Berlin Festival

best musical website the pond
starting with a p ending with a k

best label of the pond
erased tapes for the polished layout of their LPs and their amazing catalogue

ugliest cover of the pond
Ventriloquizzing, Fujiya & Miyagi

most artistic cover of the pond
No Color, The Dodos

best album artwork of the pond
Inni, Sigur Rós

greatest moment of the pond
Aidan Moffat’s chatting and handshaking

je-ne-sais-quoi of the pond
 byte.fm

et voilà… your turn now (until 31st January)!

top of the top: 2010

dear toads, frogs and tapdoles,

even if it may seem out of time for a 2010 assessment, here’s the frog best of!

2010 best songs of the pond
Percussion Gun, White Rabbit, from It’s frightening
I Feel Better, Hot Chip, from One Life Stand
Sun
, Caribou, from Swim

2010 best albums of the pond
The Courage of Others, Midlake
Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter
The Great Wide Yonder, Trentemøller

2010best concertsof the pond
The Cinematic Orchestra, Astra, September
Junip, Berlin Festival, September,
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Volksbühne, September

2010 best surpriseof the pond
José González isn’t Spanish but Swedish, ha ha ha!!

2010 most important discovery of the pond
Peter Doherty isn’t only the favourite gossiping topic of the tabloids.
He’s a great great melodist and moving songwriter.

2010 ever saddest newsof the pond
Farewell my sparklehorse… sob… RIP Mark Linkous

2010 best musical website of the pond
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music

2010 best label of the pond
fat cat
because you can listen for free to most of the cat’s latest catalogue on its website

2010 ugliest cover of the pond
The Courage of Others, Midlake

2010 most artistic cover of the pond
Kollaps Tradixionales, A Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
Hold this Ghost, Musée Mécanique

2010 greatest moments of the pond
We Were Promised Jetpack’s energizing concert, Berlin Festival and GY!BE’s rebirth.

2010 je-ne-sais-quoi of the pond
Britt Daniel’s blue stare!

post-rock is back in the pond…
2011’s beginning will be dark and thrilly, yeah!
the frog is melankolic(the greatest label name ever!), constellated and happy.

top of the top: 2009

amis batraciens, bonne année à vous.
que 2010 nous garantisse un étang propre et soigné pour accueillir les meilleurs groupes du monde.

allez, assez plaisanté, assez réfléchi, il est grand temps de sortir de notre nénuphar et de faire le point sur l’année qui vient de s’écouler.

2009 best song of the pond
Cornestone, Arctic Monkeys, extrait de Humbug

2009 best albums of the pond
Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear
Merriweather Post Pavillion, Animal Collective
Beacons of Ancestorship, Tortoise

2009best concertsof the pond
The Dodos, Magnet Club, octobre
Grizzly Bear, Postbahnhof am Ostbahnhof, novembre

2009 best reedition of the pond
The Beatles (remastered)

2009 best surpriseof the pond
Sophia est américain et pas anglais, shame on me

2009 most important discovery of the pond
Sonic Youth et Bright Eyes c’est grenouillement bien !

2009 saddest newsof the pond
RIP Vic Chesnutt

2009 best musical website of the pond
pitchfork

2009 best label of the pond
domino

2009 ugliest cover of the pond
Two Suns, Bat for Lashes

2009 most artistic cover of the pond
Beacons of Ancestorship, Tortoise

2009 greatest moment of the pond
la soirée passée avec the Herbaliser !

voilà, c’est tout pour l’année 2009.
l’année 2010 s’annonce bien, avec la venue de Midlake, Spoon, Tocotronic, We were promised Jetpacks…

à suivre depuis votre nénuphar !