Thursday, 24 December 2009

Top Ten of 2009

Merry fucking Christmas! Yep, time to jump on the end-of-year-best-albums-of-the-year bandwagon. I've got some of the contributors to the blog, as well as some other mates, to vote, and using a complicated points system - so complex it'd make Stephen Hawkin piss himself in fear - I have come up with a final ten. One album, a chairty record, isn't getting posted - I do have some morals!:

10) Fever Ray – Fever Ray
A solo album from The Knife's frontwoman that somehow manages to live up to expectations and match anything that Sweden's favourite electropoppers have produced so far in their career. – Pip

Fever Ray – Fever Ray

9) Dark Was The Night
Has there ever been a release as 'indie' as this compilation? This is free-market economics trading unfettered in the biggest, hippest names around; 31 tracks of pure bloggers' delight. And as we have seen to devastating effect in the real world this year, there is absolutely no fucking way this model can regulate itself.
So yes, it's a sprawling edifice of odd covers, runaway B-sides and wanton self-indulgence, but before you turn away in disgust and proclaim your little brother hitting a pot with a stick as purer music than this bunch of jumped-up posers, it's worth bearing one thing in mind. These artists became the biggest, the hippest names on the back of some serious songs. The royal bank of alt. rock's main currency may well be names, but it would still collapse without tunes, and this 2xLP set is awash with them.
Undeniable highlights include "Knotty Pine", the result, I can only assume, of David Byrne telling Dirty Projectors to man up and write a proper pop song and Sufjan Steven's grandiose cover of Castanet's "You Are The Blood", which is a bit embarrassing to play aloud, but lots of fun to pump through headphones at max volume. – Dave

8) The Horrors – Primary Colours
When the Horrors first burst onto the scene back in 2006/2007, I wrote them off as a bunch of southern posh-boy scenesters who found a Sonics LP in a Southend charity shop and bought it because it looked "alternative"; and thought they should form a band to get girls to talk to them, even though they looked like freaks. I still think this, but thanks to this fantastic second album, I know realise that they actually have talent and musical knowledge and all the rest of it. – Pip

The Horrors – Primary Colours

7) The xx – xx
This album just came out of nowhere; it sounds like nothing else around at the moment, and by golly is that a good thing! These kids (I can call them that, they're younger than me - and how depressing is that?!), who went to the same school as Hot Chip, Burial and Four Tet, have made a breathtaking debut album, that was self-produced and recorded at night, hence the whispery nature of the record. – Pip

The xx – xx

6) The Field – Yesterday & Today
When I have cheese dreams where I am running through the Arctic tundra for no reason this album is the soundtrack. – Chev

The Field – Yesterday & Today

5) The Thermals – Now We Can See
OK, so when I first heard The Blood, The Body, The Machine by this band - an album which I posted a few weeks ago, if you remember - I thought the band had reached their musical peak, and could never better it, which bummed me out a bit, and left me with low expectations for this record. However, the band have produced an album that is more complete, more whole, than any of their previous offerings. I think The Blood... is still my favourite, but this is a close second. – Pip

The Thermals – Now We Can See

4) Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II
Still keeping the coke nice and fluffy and basically dicking on anything done by any other members of Wu-Tang in the last 10 years. – Chev

Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II

3) Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
To be honest, this is the only surprise addition to the list. I don't particularly like this album, but some of my mates clearly do. I mean, it's not bad or anything, but it's just not the third best album of the year. Yes, they've done well to produce a second decent album so soon after the first, but so what - for truly talented musicians, that shouldn't be a problem! – Pip

Wild Beasts – Two Dancers

2) Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
Animal Collective lend themselves perfectly to a certain branch of obsessive musical geekery. As such, the propensity of many musical publications has been to over-analyse this record to a degree where it almost feels like less than the sum of its parts.
We're not going to fall into that, mainly because we're far too lazy. This is a fucking boss psychedelic pop album, the culmination of a career of eccentricities and Brian Wilson worship. That they preserved themselves and still broke the Billboard Top 20 is so totally not a reason to get all snobby and say that you preferred it when they couldn’t write anything memorable. – Dave

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

1) Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Many said it was rubbish and no Yellow House but what the hell does the fickle general indie population know? It thinks La Roux is actually music. A couple of months later those same people were all over this like a pigeon on a chip lapping up that humble pie. I am glad this band is finally getting the mainstream recognition they deserve. – Chev

Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

No comments: