Archive for December, 2008

My Top Ten Albums of 2008

December 23, 2008

I was surprised to find that I’ve only bought 11 albums that were released in 2008.  So this isn’t going to be so much a “best of” as a few mini reviews.

516kvviqfll_sl500_aa240_1Ladytron – Velocifero

Synth pop with girly vocals doesn’t get much better than this.  There are three tremendous  tracks with Ghosts, Black Cat and Runaway (and the rest of the album isn’t too shabby either).  I’ve heard that this isn’t a huge departure from their last album, but that one slipped under my radar – if you’ve already got Witching Hour then consider yourself warned, otherwise dive in.

41y0gukjcal_sl500_aa240_1Bob Mould – District Line
Wire – Object 47

Proof there is life in the old dogs yet.  Both Mould and Wire brought out albums that reminded us why we love them without caricaturing their past.  Sadly Bob has got a bit too fond of autotune but otherwise there’s nothing to criticise in District Line.  Object 47 is a very polished noise machine.

Max Tundra – Parallax Error Beheads You

This is probably my favorite album of the year.  Twiddly complexity meets pop elegance.  It’s relentlessly geeky and yet manages to be quite charming too – that’s not an easy trick to pull off.

The Residents – The Bunny Boy

I got this in readiness for their gig in London.  It’s quite good in parts but I can’t help but feel that the music has been slave to the concept, and the concept isn’t strong enough to save the music.  Any music lover’s unfamiliar with The Residents would be better off getting The Commercial Album. 

Beck – Modern Guilt

Beck’s a funny old beast.  His albums are always hugely enjoyable when I first get them but they get less satisfying with each repeated listen.  This is no different.  Chemtrails is a great track (which has a passing resemblance to Skip Spence’s War In Peace) and the rest of the album is fine.  But yeah, kind of meh.

Deerhoof – Offend Maggie

Deerhoof rock out with twee Japanese vocals.  Or something.  Not as great as their Friend Opportunity album but it’s still growing on me.

Underground Railroad – Sticks and Stones

This is probably second place for album of the year for me.  Songs in a Mogwai style might be a reasonably good description.

Vampire Weekend

This album has been talked to death.  It’s great.  I liked it a lot more before my neighbours started playing it full blast every bloody weekend.

Veda Hille – This Riot Life

A little bit Tori Amos.  A little bit Judee Sill.  A little bit better than the former but not as good as the latter.  A little bit weirder than both.

The Black Keys – Attack and Release

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if The Black Keys got out of their basement for once and recorded an album properly with a hot producer?    A great idea on paper; was pretty dull in practice.

Advertisements

My Top Ten Singles of 2008

December 20, 2008

’tis the season to make music lists.  Thanks to the power of last.fm and YouTube I can share my most played singles from 2008.

If you want to hear these songs play back to back then click on this link.

1. Ladytron – Ghosts

The rhythm to Personal Jesus has rarely been stolen to such powerful effect

2. Black Kids – I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You

An irresistible pop song with all the right elements: a nice riff, some girly chants and cute lyrics delivered in laid back style

3. Max Tundra – Will Get Fooled Again

This comes from his tremendous new album.  This track is all about the dangers of believing what you see on the internet (but don’t take my word for it).

4. Those Dancing Days – Hitten

A pop tune with a tinge of regret, unexpected in a band so young

5. Cardiacs – Ditzy Scene

I make no apologies for loving Cardiacs.  Sadly their leader Tim had (ironically, considering their name) a heart attack and so this might be the last material we ever hear from him.  Sad.

6. Zoot Woman – We Won’t Break

The new album seems to be a long way off but this Gilliam-esque video will have to do for now

7. Wire – One of Us

Great to have them back with a fantastic album

8. Let’s Wrestle – I Won’t Lie to You

Infectious lo-fi pop

9. I Was a Cub Scout – Pink Squares

A mellow song that just sort of crept up on me.  Certainly a grower.

10. The Futureheads – Walking Backwards

A spiky pop tune