Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The last good month of the year

As longtime readers - yeah, right - will know, it's about time for normal service to be suspended on Sweeping The Nation as from December 1st we go into end of year mode. The first part of this procedure is in the post immediately above this one; then from tomorrow we commence our annual rundown in detail of the albums of the year, which we've now extended to a top 50, although still only the top thirty get full write-ups. There'll be mp3s and embeds about, as usual. No STN favourite polling this year, it'd just be the same people again and we don't want to piss on our chips. Even Warmsley, y'know, we think he likes us and he sends us links to his online filmed work and stuff, but secretly we know he desires a greater range of awareness than just answering our requests for content twice a week or whatever it must feel like.

Can we just take a moment of your valuable if pointless time to discuss the list for this year? Being the sorts who get paranoid about misrepresentation to our nearly twelve readers, not to mention liability to get embarrassed by what we've written in retrospect, it might be worth noting that we've been chopping and changing this list for the last few weeks virtually daily, only coming up with a final order of merit when we started having to write the thing and stop mucking about. A number of albums that extends down into the chart's twenties could have been in the top ten had the wind changed, records we could write a lot more about superceded eventually by those that had more to impress us with, which is all partly why we’ve extended the full countdown to highlight those records which just missed out and might not get much attention elsewhere. Also, three other factors had to be brought into play:

- No Half Man Half Biscuit - CSI Ambleside
As you know we yield to few in worshipping at the altar of Blackwell, and finally seeing them live last month was properly among the best nights out we had all year. Nevertheless, it feels wrong to put their records in competition with others - they work on an entirely different plane, one which we never feel can be compared easily with others. So, to be on the safe side, they're sidelined.

- No Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Less justifiable, this one. Firstly, they say it isn’t a proper album despite being ten tracks and comfortably over half an hour long. Moreover, it makes things easier for us, as it’d take us another year to work out which of their two records is the more accomplished. We’ll cover this in brief when we get round to Hold On Now, Youngster…, but leaving it out of the countdown makes an already tricky job that much more straightforward.

- No Anathallo – Canopy Glow
For the simple reason that despite a good year’s worth of fevered anticipation on these pages (alright, page) we still haven’t heard it despite it apparently being released on Monday. No shop we can find stocks it, there’s no sign of our pre-order, we wouldn’t know how to go about scrounging promos off Anticon, the likes of Norman Records and Puregroove aren’t listing accurate release dates, and even the leaked torrent is different to the release version according to the band. As we have to get our top 50 sorted by the weekend for obvious reasons, even if it landed tomorrow we wouldn’t be able to give it the listening time amongst sorting out what else we’re writing about to justify any sort of decision about its worthiness compared to the rest of the year’s output. We'll write something about it in the new year, touch wood. (There's something to look forward to.)

What else is coming up? Dissection of further Christmas top forties of yore, a good list of songs that also entertained, Weekender and Weekly Sweep round-ups, a festive television guide, and then once the whole personal listing shebang is done our mighty review of the year on New Year's Eve and the fourth annual UK Blogger Albums Of The Year Poll on New Year's Day, followed two days later by the Class Of '09 covermount ahead of the resumption of musical hostilities. Cool yule!

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