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Hi.

Welcome to Rob Hakimian’s website, collecting together the best of his writing from over the years.

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Xenia Rubinos - Black Terry Cat

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Xenia Rubinos was a complete mystery to me before I saw her getting good reviews for this, her second album Black Terry Cat, and decided to check it out. I can clearly remember the first time I listened to it, on a public transport trek across London from Herne Hill to Stoke Newington. It made the long trip into an utter joy – and I particularly remember dancing my way down the main concourse of St. Pancras to the latin-tinged pop banger “Mexican Chef” with a huge and completely unexpected grin on my face. Since then Black Terry Cat has become a regular listen, and Rubinos one of the artists I most recommend to people when asked.

In a year when racial politics has been in music more than ever (Blood Orange, Beyonce, Solange etc.), Black Terry Cat certainly deserves a mention as one of the finest examples of protest music in 2016. Across the album Rubinos tackles the idea of her role or position in society as a brown woman living in New York. This can be through the seething, on-blast “See Them,” through the prideful, anthemic “Black Stars” or the tongue-in-cheek party tune “Mexican Chef.” Sometimes she pulls out from the race situation and looks at humanity as a whole, and this results in the magnificent, crunchy life-affirmer “Right?” or the introverted, pondering “How Strange It Is.”

Although the genre that Black Terry Cat would be filed under is probably soul or RnB, the truth is that that is just the basis. Rubinos is fearless in her choice of production and instrumentation, which makes the album a treasure trove of delights for the ears, always surprising and delighting with vibrant instrumentation. When I saw Rubinos this year commanding her band through these songs it only fortified my belief that she’s a star sadly flying under the radar, but seems to be having a blast nonetheless.

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Below you can see my top 50 albums of the year list.

50| Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
49| Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits
48| Daughter - Not To Disappear
47| The Avalanches - Wildflower
46| Beyonce - Lemonade
45| Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
44| Gold Panda - Good Luck and Do Your Best
43| James Blake - The Colour In Anything
42| Lambchop - FLOTUS
41| Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger
40| Nothing - Tired Of Tomorrow
39| Camp Cope - Camp Cope
38| Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years
37| Aphex Twin - Cheetah EP
36| Mary Lattimore - At The Dam
35| Woods - City Sun Eater In The River Of Light
34| White Lung - Paradise
33| Solange - A Seat At The Table
32| Wild Beasts - Boy King
31| Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
30| Marissa Nadler - Strangers
29| Weyes Blood - Front Row Seat To Earth
28| Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
27| Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
26| Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
25| Kedr Livanskiy - January Sun
24| Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
23| Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines
22| Pantha du Prince - The Triad
21| Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
20| Cavern of Anti-Matter - void beats/invocation trex
19| Olga Bell - Tempo
18| Chairlift - Moth
17| Mitski - Puberty 2
16| Anderson .Paak - Malibu
15| Underworld - Barbara, Barbara we face a shining future
14| Xenia Rubinos - Black Terry Cat
13| Savages - Adore Life
12| DIIV - Is The Is Are
11| Frank Ocean - Blonde
10| Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
09| MONEY - Suicide Songs
08| Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
07| A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
06| Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
05| Angel Olsen - My Woman
04| Parquet Courts - Human Performance
03| Preoccupations - Preoccupations
02| ANOHNI - Hopelessness
01| Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

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