Monday, December 29, 2008

Circa Now Albums Of '08: 25-15

Alriiiiiight. Here we go.

First up, I've whittled this down to 25. A few acts that got close but not close enough included Juana Molina, Gang Gang Dance, Cadence Weapon, The Notwist, Thank You, High Places, Dosh, These Arms Are Snakes, and I'm currently listening to the Women record which is fantastic (I'm not 100% sure if it is actually released this year or not though so maybe the '09 poll instead) Bands like No Age have passed me by a little bit, and there are other things I'm looking forward to hearing, such as the new Marnie Stern record which would have made the list probably if it arrived on time.

Anyway, here's the list.

#25 Fuck Buttons: Street Horrsing (ATP)
To be honest, I didn't think I was going to like this record. I really, really thought it was just gonna be a bunch of noisey chancers. You know what? It sort of sounds like that, but when "Bright Tomorrow" kicks in, all is forgiven for this dumbly monikered Bristol duo.

#24 Neon Neon: Stainless Style (Lex)
Boom Bip and yer man from Super Furry Animals making an electro-pop concept album about John Delorean? Yer having a laugh? Er no? And it's not shit? Actually, it's quite, quite decent.

#23 Flying Lotus: Los Angeles (Warp)

Undoubtedly, The hipster's record of choice from '08. A crazy and heady blend of skewered hip hop beats wrapped in electronic cotton, Steven Ellison was also responsible for the year's most disturbing music video for the ace 'Parisian Goldfish'

#22 Sigur Rós: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (EMI)
At this stage with Sigur Rós, people can either take 'em or leave them. In fact, I know a heck of a lot of people who find them to be the most incredibly boring band on the planet. On the other hand, I've always liked them. This record sprung up quickly and while it trails of in to familiar SR-territory, there are a couple of nice surprises, especially chirpy lead single Gobbledigook.

#21 My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges (ATO Records)
Not quite business as usual as Jim James and co slip further away from the straight-up rockers of their early days. Southern rock with a massive dash of funk is not supposed to sound this good.

#20 El Guincho: Alegranza (Young Turks)
This was a very late entry into the top 25. Deadly stuff from the Barca-based Pablo Díaz-Reixa. Like the Animal Collective mixing up tropicalia, Afrobeat, and weird indie. Completely bonkers, but nevertheless a total winner.

#19 Stereolab: Chemical Chords (4AD)
Two decades of consistency remains intact with their ninth studio album. It's typical fare from the 'lab with more than a nod in the direction of Motown this time out.

#18 Jay Reatard: Matador Singles '08 (Matador)
More a collection of singles than an actual straight up album, there is still a very palpable feeling that 2009 could very well be Jay Reatard's year: simple ideas - sticking The Stones, Ramones and Dino Jr in a blender, with super conviction made this one of my real surprise likes of the year (I saw him live a couple of years ago and was pretty unimpressed)

#17 Peter Broderick: Home (Bella Union)
Here's the story - Portland young lad sends a myspace message or two to Efterklang. All goes swimmingly well. They invite him over to Denmark. He plays the fiddle (or violin if you wanna be posh) for them. Then he makes a solo album. Efterklang folks help out. It's a really lovely folk album. That's it.

#16 Atlas Sound: Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel (Kranky)
The solo project for Deerhunter head honcho Bradford Cox is small bit of a departure from his dayjob. Sure, the breathy vocals and loops are there, but Atlas Sound veers more towards the ambient side of things. It's also simultaneously sad and claustrophobic as the subject matter more often than not tends to be Cox's hospital stay as a teen due to his suffering with marfan syndrome.

#15 Cass McCombs: Dropping The Writ (Domino)
This one sneaks in as it got a Europe release in early January. Really gorgeous songwriting from Cass, and this one seems to have stepped up in production values from earlier releases, with some wonderful guitar lines and harmonies splattered throughout.

14-1 to follow in the days to come...ooooh, the suspense!

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