Thursday, December 31, 2009

The words “breath” and “bated” spring to mind as I continue to post my best of lists. As I said the other day, my record buying habits are such that whether an album is new or not rarely enters into my thinking. In fact I’m very often unaware of a release date until I get round to preparing these sort of lists. Some of the records I’ve been most excited about in 2009 are already a few years old. I’m a little slow.

So this first list runs down some of the nearly new records I’ve really enjoyed this year:

Seven Nearly New Classics of 2009

Coles Corner – Richard Hawley
Love, Ire & Song – Frank Turner
For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
This Nation’s Saving Grace – The Fall
Snow Tyres – Unbunny
Lost Wisdom - Mount Eerie , Julie Doiron , Fred Squire
The Wailing Souls at Channel One – Wailing Souls

Some of these I’m embarrassed to have only just cottoned onto, some I feel that I’m arriving at fashionably late after all the fuss has died down. They’re all great records that have enriched my life this year.

Seven Records You Should Probably Buy
(Even though I haven’t…)

The Hazards of Love – The Decemberists
(actually, I have just bought this, not much liking it so far…)

Real Estate – Real Estate (ditto)

Merriweather Post Pavilion – Animal Collective
(I just know this is going to be too difficult for me, and it’ll end up being flung across the room)

Tarot Sport – Fuck Buttons

Psychic Spasms – Neon Indian

Fever Ray – Fever Ray (highly recommended by Mr Cole)

Bitte Orca – The Dirty Projectors (even more highly recommended by the aforementioned Blogger)
And finally...

The Seven Best Records of 2009

But, anyway, what can you do? You can’t get them all can you?

Actually, once I got round to checking out which records were new and which weren't, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much quality music has been released this year. Honourable mentions go to the Volcano Choir, the Antlers, Califone, Vic Chesnutt, You Can Be a Wesley, Euros Childs, the Leisure Society, the Phantom Band, Art Brut, the Lemonheads and Sin Fang Bous, who all produced good records that I’ve enjoyed listening to, but sorry fellers, no cigar…

So here we go, no particular order, I love them all

Veckatimest – Grizzly Bear
Two lovely performances - at Green Man and in Bristol – certainly enhanced this record for me, but even without that, how can you fail to be entranced by those harmonies and complex arrangements?

The Liberty of Norton Folgate – Madness
I’ve always been keen on Madness and their ability to write a decent pop song, and it’s particularly gratifying to see older gentlemen writing mature songs.
Idiot Child

Album– Girls
“Weedy”, “adenoidal” and “morbid” are all phrases that flash through the mind when you hear this. Their performance at the Cooler confirmed everything, (rather reassuringly so in fact) and added “Hunky Dory” to the list…
Lust for Life

The xx – The xx
The xx are another band who crept under my creaking radar system this year and another band who produced an eponymous classic for me. Right now I can’t get it off the iPhone…
Heart Skipped a Beat

The Crying Light – Antony and the Johnsons
Another record that benefited dramatically from my seeing it performed. It’s that voice again, obviously, but also his ability to write aching, moving songs that makes him continue to stand out.
Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground

Hometowns – the Rural Alberta Advantage
Great songs and a punchy restless approach made this record a cut above all the other Americana-style releases of the year. Basically, a jumpy, beaty record pushed on by the busiest drummer of the year.
Don’t Haunt This Place

Survival – Forest Fires
Another American record, sounding a lot like the Let It Bleed era Stones and embellished by yukes and other old tyme instruments. Some ugly awkward lyrics as well. Fascinating stuff.
Echoes Coming

In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s – Let’s Wrestle
And speaking of ugly awkward stuff, my last record makes a virtue of a Seeds-ish lack of virtuosity. An eager, wholehearted record that owes something to Art Brut and which actually pushes Eddie Argos off my list. It’s a funny old world, eh?
I Won’t Lie to You

Eight you say? Ah c’mon, who’s counting?

Happy New Year.

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