Ed's Note: Ten Years On, My Last Ten Tracks On Last.FM

on Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Words: Saam Das

Does anyone still use last.fm? Much like MySpace, a last.fm account felt intrinsic to the music experience of any teen growing up in the noughties before things like Facebook and Spotify became ingrained into our contemporary life. Checking my old last.fm account has given me an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, and combined with a final track play on December 26th 2008, it seems only appropriate to take a shallow dive into my final ten songs, exactly ten years to the day.

For those unfamiliar with last.fm or its predecessor Audioscrobbler, it is/was somewhere to show off your impeccable musical tastes (tracking/"scrobbling" your plays publicly) as well as allowing you to interact with other users by commenting on their profiles. So join me in this adventure into my past, which will hopefully encourage you to do a similar thing, or at the very least, bring some eyes and ears to a few under-heard tracks that deserved better.

Laura Marling - 'Ghosts'

The opening track and probably my favourite from Laura Marling's 2008 debut album 'Alas, I Cannot Swim', which snagged the first of her three Mercury Music Prize nominations to date. There's comparisons to be made to early Mumford & Sons and early Noah & The Whale - no surprise really, considering some of the personnel (most notably, N&TW frontman Charlie Fink, who produced the album) contributed directly to 'Ghosts', and appear in the video.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? It's been a very long time since I saw a teenage Laura Marling play in a North London pub called Nambucca, and much success has come her way since. Recently, she has taken a side-step with a new project, LUMP, alongside Tunng's Mike Lindsay - their self-titled 2018 debut has been well received.

Pendulum - 'Propane Nightmares'

It's hard to tell whether the timings listed on last.fm are reflective of reality - did I really listen to Pendulum then Laura Marling after 3am on Boxing Day? If so, no regrets/ragrets. I had no stakes in the debate regarding the purity of Pendulum's drum-and-bass-or-not-drum-and-bass sound, 'Propane Nightmares' was simply a bonafide banger. (And remains so.)

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The outfit moved further away from their DnB basis for later albums before going on hiatus, with a side project called Knife Party formed by a couple of the members. However, in 2017, the band announced a return, culminating in a remix album, 'The Reworks' appearing in June 2018.

Sigur Rós — 'Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur'

What better way to bring in Christmas Day 2008 than with the glorious Icelandic outfit Sigur Rós? Crystal Castles must have felt similarly as they sampled vocals from 'Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur' on their 2010 track, 'Year Of Silence'. Fun fact: the title means "within me a lunatic sings" in Icelandic.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Still going, but losing members on a regular basis, Sigur Rós are now just Jónsi Birgisson (who has been squirreling away with plenty of other work in recent years) and Georg Hólm. The band have collaborated with several TV shows including 'The Simpsons', 'Game Of Thrones', and 'Black Mirror', but remain true to their leftfield artistic roots - releasing an experimental ambient 'Liminal' mixtape in several parts in 2018.

Diplo - 'Maps' (Yeah Yeah Yeahs Remix)

A considerable leap in time to 2006 here. Apparently, I enjoyed this so much that it received a coveted repeat play. The relative lack however of almost any discussion of this track on the internet makes me wonder whether it was indeed a Diplo remix or if this is fake news, to borrow from current parlance. Regardless, I was and still am a fan, and genuinely impressed that it is available to listen to today. Thank you, YouTube user Wracker93, you a real one.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Now firmly established as a superstar producer Diplo has most recently launched a new outfit with Mark Ronson as Silk City, while still being one-third of Major Lazer. As for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they've been relatively dormant since 2013's 'Sacrilege' but did pop up to headline All Points East Festival in London this summer.

Larrikin Love — 'The Cucumber Song' (Live)

I'm fairly confident I first heard this song at Ben & Jerry's Sundae 2006 on Clapham Common, just after I'd won on the coconut shy. Great little festival that, only a fiver and apparently Badly Drawn Boy and Echo & The Bunnymen headlined - I was more interested in the likes of The Pipettes, Roland Shanks, and the deliciously ramshackle Larrikin Love however.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The spark of Larrikin Love fizzled out rapidly, as Edward Leeson lost interest in the band. He went on to create another short-lived effort The Pan I Am, and Sunless 97. Much like fellow band members Coz Kerrigan (Marner Brown) and Alfie Ambrose (Gaoler's Daughter), it's unclear if his latest group has formally called it a day. Special mention to guitarist Micko Larkin who joined Courtney Love's new version of Hole.

Regina Spektor - 'Us'

'Us' will forever be an apt demonstration of Regina Spektor's incredible talent as a songwriter and musician - soaring, provocative, and above all, spectacular. Those vocal melodies, phwoar. Bonus indie points to her for an unexpected team up with one of my favourite bands at the time, British trio Kill Kenada, on her 2003 album 'Soviet Kitsch'.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Spektor has been steadily releasing new material over the last few years, and similar to Sigur Ros has found herself in the favour of TV shows - taking on the theme for Netflix behemoth 'Orange Is The New Black' and defecting to Amazon Prime series 'The Romanoffs to donate a new track 'Birdsong' just last month.

Battle - 'Demons'

One of several mid-noughties bands that I thought (potentially) had the world at their feet. I genuinely feel quite sad at their demise, particularly as some of their earliest demos, with particular reference to 'Tendency', were some of the strongest I've ever heard. Indeed, they did get signed to Transgressive and put out records via Warner Music (a similar deal to the aforementioned Larrikin Love) with The Cure-esque 'Demons' being one of their singles around the height of their popularity.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Interestingly, both frontman Jason Bavanandan and guitarist Jamie Ellis are working as tutors at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, which counts Daughter's Elena Tonra as a graduate. Bassist Tim Scudder is currently a digital product manager, and according to Wikipedia, a "general badass". Drummer Oliver Davies has been tougher to track down, although there has been some mention online of him being a drumming teacher.

Battle — 'Sit With Me' (Demo)

As mentioned, Battle had some absolutely brilliant demo tracks, and 'Sit With Me' was no different. A polished version appeared on their 2007 debut proper album 'Break The Banks', which followed a mini-album the year before, 'Back To Earth'. The mini-album route is always a curious one and in hindsight, it may have been wiser to have combined the best tracks from each record onto one formal album which might have garnered more of the acclaim that they very much deserved *sigh*


The Zutons - 'Don't Ever Think (Too Much)'

In recent times, it seems like The Zutons are most famous for having their track 'Valerie' covered by the late Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson. But in 2006, sax-infused group were certainly one of the more UK prominent bands at the time, on the back of a top ten debut album, and top ten singles from it. 'Don't Ever Think (Too Much)' peaked at #15 but no chart, singles or otherwise, could adequately contain its deliriously high energy levels.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Well, in a highly appreciated move that makes my research relatively simple, they are making a return in 2019 to play their debut album across the UK.

Auf Der Maur — 'Followed The Waves'

And finally, we have a stormer of a track in 'Followed The Waves' from Melissa Auf Der Maur's 2004 debut solo album 'Auf Der Maur'. Having not followed her career, even with her impressive CV of work in Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins, I'm not entirely sure how this track ever made it to my ears. Maybe MySpace? Maybe band messageboards like TheLibertines.org or DrownedInSound? Regardless, I'm glad of it.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? In what can only be described as "six degrees of Larrikin Love", the former Hole bassist was not involved in the reunion that saw Micko Larkin join as a new guitarist. However, as Creative Director of NY arts space Basilica Hudson, Auf Der Maur hosted a special night in October 2018 that saw her perform Hole material with Courtney Love. With Auf Der Maur's last solo album/musical release coming out in 2010, we suspect she's happy enough off-stage for the most part.

To relive my listening habits circa 2005-2008, check out my old Last.fm account here.

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