This is the first of three lists on the site, as we’ll all have a go at our top music of the year. I seem to have beaten the crowd though, so here goes. Love to hear all opinions of others in the comments section.
The first thing I noticed when I started to work on this list, is that there isn’t an obvious winner! I could have mixed any of the top five around and been happy enough with the results. Sadly there’s not a lot of new blood on the list either, and releases like the National and the Walkmen being pretty predictable! Still, Beachhouse and Sleighbells are two, and even if they’re not rating very highly on my list, its always nice to see a few new names… Morgan:
1. The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt – I’ve always had a soft spot for him, and his brilliant live performance earlier in the year didn’t hurt matters. He has such a wonderful rasp of a voice, well worth checking out if you haven’t already. The King of Spain is also one of my singles of the year!
2. Owen Pallett – Heartland – This was the first year I really started to enjoy Owen’s work, and it possibly has something to do with seeing him live for the first time. He seems an amazingly talented guy, who can pick almost any instrument and have a good go at it. The arrangements are quite unusual with lots of quirky electronic noises and violin, which is a nice break from the world of guitar, bass and drums.
3. Bonnie Prince Billy & the Cairo Gang – The Wonder Show of the World – this was a return to form for Bonnie as I didn’t really get along with his last few releases. He’s always had a problem with quality control, and seems to be able to knock out an album a year, while constantly touring which is an impressive feat. This is a bit of a move away from the country vibe and closer to something resembling soul or 70’s folk music.
4. The National – Lyrically not their best album, but it still has a lot of pretty good tunes on it. Bloodbuzz Ohio and Terrible Love may seem like attempts to break the main stream. I guess with three nights in the Olympia recently, it would be hard to argue they aren’t there already. Another great live performance here, so you can see how easily I’m swayed by hearing a band live!
5. Sam Amidon – I see the sign -How comes the blood is a song that you’ll be hearing in years to come, possibly just late night with Donal Dineen, but still, its a thing of beauty. He’s someone to watch in the coming years as I’d say he’s going to be someone a bit special.
6. LCD Soundsystem – This is happening – This was slightly disappointing, but only because his other body of work is just so good. Not his finest hour, but definitely deserves to be on the list. Songs like ‘drunk girls’ were a bit off the mark, but there still are tunes like dance yrself clean to make up for it!
7. The Walkmen – Lisbon – This was a change in direction and sound from their last effort, it is a lovely subtle album, filled with simple laid back rock songs. Strange to hear a guitar without any sort of feedback or distortion for the most part. Nice use of brass on songs like Stranded.
8. Beach House – Teen Dream – The first real synth album on the list, with some great vocals from Victoria Legrand. This has a real sense of the 80’s about it in my mind. Again an album of simple pop songs, but ones that last one in your head.
9. Sleigh Bells – Treats – Some of the tracks on this are just nasty, with large brash synths blasting away, but some of them just work so well. One of the few new names to break into my list, so I’m happy enough to put them near the end! There are a few gems like Rill Rill and Treats in there also though.
10. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs – This one grew on me a little, but I never liked it as much as most. It seems to be number one on most people’s polls, which is a little surprising. Still, much better than their last one, and has some great singles on it.
People who have a right to feel annoyed by missing out:
Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fel Promises – This album didn’t take any risks, and while if it was the first album I’d heard from him, i’d probably love it, there is the slight problem of the 147 earlier albums that sound more than a bit similar!
Warpaint – The Fool – This is a quite dreamy collection of songs. They are guitar based, and have lovely vocals from Emily Kokal.
Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz – Possibly more a reaction to my disappointment with the album, there’s a weight of expectation attached to a Sufjan album. It’s a bit of a mess at times, with far too much going on in many of the songs. He seems to get it very easy, if he would stick to one style, he would be much better!
Peter Broderick – How the are – Anything by Peter Broderick is a joy as far as I’m concerned, but this was a little bit short in length to make the list. If you don’t know him, check him out!
Caribou – Swim – This album is probably my dance album of the year, but that really doesn’t say a lot, as I’m not really into dance music! I really like some of the tracks (Odessa, Hannibal and Sun especially), but it’s a bit uneven with some dodgy ones in there also.
Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy – They’ll probably never make an end of year list from me, but they are a good solid rock band. Lovely seeing them in Whelans a few months back and again backing up the national.