Ah. Ok, here we go! Time to nail my colours to the mast. What does that mean anyway?
After a quick google search… “In nautical battles colours (flags) were lowered as a mark of submission. Nailing your colours to the mast meant you weren’t intending to submit.” Ok, I’m avoiding the issue, stalling for time. Hmm.
It’s an impossible choice, like asking which do you prefer, wine, spirits or beer. The simple answer is that they’re all great, and all very different. I find it very difficult to compare a Hip Hop album with a Post Rock or a Folk album. Who knows. Anyway, this is a list of ten good albums, and most of the things I was listening to this year.
Honourable mentions to Bill Callahan (feels odd leaving him out, but I didn’t fall in love with this one the way I normally do with his stuff), Beastie Boys (I was expecting a bit more to be honest), Youth Lagoon (nice stuff, but didn’t make it), Atlas Sounds (some lovely stuff on it though, well worth checking out), A winged victory for the sullen (perfect music when you come in from work stressed out of your mind) and St Vincent (she’s great really).
10. Girls – Father, Son and Holy Ghost
This music has always hit me as slighted haunted, but they can also bang it out at the chorus. There’s not much more I ask from a band, and they deliver in spades. Lovely stuff.
9. Modular – Sonic Explorations – In a year where I had to do far too many trips to Cork, this was my road trip soundtrack of choice. It sounds great blasted at high volume, and is lovely spacious music and builds wonderfully into walls of sound.
8. Scroobius Pip -Distraction Pieces – ‘You see a mouse trap, I see free cheese and a fucking challenge’
Nobody else gave this one a mention, but I really enjoyed it, and I was possibly tipped over the edge by a great live show in Whelans a couple of months back. His lyrics are smart and funny, and the beats are varied throughout. There’s more than enough here to keep me coming back for many years to come.
7. Desert Shore – Drawing of Threes
Always nice to include a couple of names that don’t actually have their own wiki page, but these guys are worthy of being included, especially with the help of Mark Kozelek on vocals. One member of Red House Painters, a classically trained pianist and Mark. Hard to beat! Check them out here.
6. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
The problem with people like PJ, is that you’ve heard so many albums from them, that it’s hard for them to surprise you. Have to say though, PJ is someone that goes to great lengths not to repeat herself and always sounds at least a little bit different. Another lovely album from Polly.
5. Tom Waits – Bad As Me
It’s a Tom album, and that should always be celebrated. He’s another one with great lyrics, and his voice is the stuff of legends. Hard for the rest of the world to compete with him. I’m still hoping to get a tour next year, as he’s fantastic live. I know he’s making movies, so maybe that will occupy his time. Hopefully not, and he’ll make another trip back to Dublin!
4. Kurt Vile – Smoke ring for my Halo
I’m a late starter when it comes to Kurt, as I only really got into him this year. Better late than never I guess. The man that loves Bank of America is great, and is heading to Whelans soon. I’m looking forward to seeing it live.
3. Fionn Regan – 100 acres of sycamore
Fionn is ignored by the Irish press, for the most part, but I think he’s a legend in the making. Another lovely album from the man from Bray. Saw him recently in the Peppercanister church, and it seemed a perfect spot to see him live.
2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Another gem from Justin Vernon. I was very worried about a dodgy second album from this man, but he created something lovely and very different from his last, while still having the quality of songwriting and that voice. A lot saw it as a dramatic change in direction, but few complained! Although, there is Beth/ Rest though, maybe that’s what stopped this album being higher in the list than it is at the moment.
1. tUnE-yArDs – Who Kill
It was always going to be Merrill, to be honest. I don’t think I ever hid the fact, as I must have featured her here about ten times throughout the year, but she’s stupidly talented in my book. I love her drum sounds, which she creates from just about anything in her vicinity, and her wailing voice. Another one that is visiting Dublin shortly, and I’m looking forward to it.