So this year was, erm, interesting. Thankfully there were loads of fantastic LPs/EPs & shows to lift our collective spirits, right guys? Right?
Like every year, a virtual tip of the hat is directed Waub’s way for starting the best annual tradition among our crew. Extra thanks go out to everyone who contributed to those list emails or posted lists on their respective sites.
I have been agonizing/procrastinating for over a month. Had a Top 20 list burning a hole in my draft folder & I think I have whittled it down properly…So in no particular order, I give you:
Zeus – Sounds Like Zeus EP – Tho last year’s promise of a full-length won’t materialize til February, this tiny perfect pop confection arrived just in time for Zeus’ pint-sized, yet triumphant, takeover of the Arts&Crafts NXNEshowcase. Neil’s tune ‘Marching Through Your Head’ is my personal fav, but the Phil Collins cover of ‘That’s All’ is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!
Joel Plaskett – Three - 3xs the usual amazing JP output but surprisingly (unlike almost every other concept album in the history of rock music after Sgt Pepper’s) strung together with a cohesive theme, both lyrically and melodically, featuring beautiful guest vocals and insane hooks. This undertaking stands on par with Down at the Khyber
Gentleman Reg – Jet Black – He’s Reg. He can do no (faux)albino wrong.
Cats On Fire – Our Temperance Movement – Frosty Finnish climate makes for toasty warm indoor fireworks. I am entirely biased because they are Finnish. (Insert Kayne interruption joke *here*)
Sprengjuhöllin – Bestu Kveðjur – What can I say? I love Scandinavian dudes. These psych pop lads are what The Coral would sound like if they were fronted by Sondre Lerche – borderline saccharine-sweet, but genuinely heartfelt. Now that they’re penning English-language lyrics, they’ll hopefully have 2010 North American success to match their string of homeland #1s.
Do Make Say Think – Other Truths – This record makes me wish I was still in school so it could be my go-to-instrumental background writing s/t. If you have a chance to catch DMST/Happiness Project on tour – PROMISE ME you will attend. Happiness Project is such a phenomenal experience live, I cried. (& I only cry for Rufus or when someone drops a delicious gooey cookie from Le Gourmand)
Bahamas – Pink Strat – This record is more of a ’07-09 souvenir for the zillions of treks to the Magpie for Paso Mino or some other brilliant indie incarnation of Afie Jurvanen (here I go again with the Finns…). I can promise with a clear-conscience that this record will make you smile – it’s perfect.
Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice – This is the only album that overlaps with the year-end list by almighty music guru Frank at Chromewaves. So I’ve got that going for me…Although it’s ridiculously earnest/shockingly adorable, Dan’s gravely voice balances it out & it turns into this laddish singer-songwriter masterpiece.
PJ Harvey & John Parish – A Woman A Man Walked By – Pretty sure if I had to pick a #1 that this would be it…not necessarily due to its musical merits, but mainly because I’m a *little* stubborn. I’ve been so disappointed that throughout the year, & especially now, this LP hasn’t gotten any love. People take PJ for granted! I’m convinced if some new YouTubeing/Twittering waif in Portland put this haunting, sexy, gutsy, intense, raw, intelligent record out, you’d hear it in every pseudo bohemian cafe from here to Timbuktu. But what the hell do I know?
Noah And The Whale – The First Days Of Spring – Every couple years you need a new ‘break glass in case of sad bastard emergency (heartbreak, boredom, general malaise, crap manager who accuses one of job hunting whilst on medical leave, etc)’ record. This is your new one if you get sick of your old Belle & Sebastian LPs.
St. Vincent – Actor
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
Bruce Peninsula – A Mountain Is A Mouth
The Wooden Sky – If I don’t come home you’ll know I’m gone
Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP
Julie Fader – Outside In
M. Ward – Hold Time
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Robert Francis – Before Nightfall
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone