Randan Discotheque - Daily Record 18th May 1983 [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
The most unlikely thing we heard all year, perhaps. Edinburgh band make a scratchy, slightly synthy song out of stories in an old newspaper, like I, Ludicrous but namechecking Beverley Allitt and Simon Stainrod.
Rose Elinor Dougall - Start/Stop/Synchro [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
The keyboard part from Broadcast's The Book Lovers is sped up a bit and gets to frame a glorious pop-noir lament wherein Dougall gets to unleash her inner English folkie. Funny, she used to be in a band where the musicians hid away, and now she's a solo singer she puts her live band in her video.
The Rosie Taylor Project - Lovers Or Something Like It [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
The Scaramanga Six - Misadventure [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
They've been thereabout for as long as we can think (six albums, actually) and give a good name to melodic rock by taking it so far out of the arenas and into the sort of warped arrangements the Cardiacs might recognise it hardly recognises itself any more but for the underpinning tropes.
The Second Hand Marching Band - Lies [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Seeland - Library [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
Former members of Broadcast and Plone make music like - no, surprise us - the BBC Radiophonic Orchestra, Joe Meek and the sci-fi end of 60s psychedelia. Their underlying pop nous however takes them nearer Stereolab status.
Sons Of Noel And Adrian - Black Side Of The River [YouTube]
Stairs To Korea - Boy Bear It In Mind [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
The press pack says we called this debut single of the year. We might have been impetuous, but we might have been right.
Standard Fare - Dancing [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Still Corners - History Of Love [Myspace stream]
Proper dream-pop that circles its elegaic prey as if in a David Lynch scene, beautifully coloured - check the plucked strings and droning organ - after a Cocteaus fashion.
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - 1999 [Myspace stream]
Sufjan Stevens - You Are The Blood [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Undoubted highlight of the no slouch Dark Was The Night charity compilation, a ten minute war of choral folk attrition featuring electronic effects, male-female harmonies, found sounds, brass fanfares, a glitch segment, piano balladry, distorted guitar solos and everything on top of everything else to close. And it's a cover!
Superman Revenge Squad - We're Here For Duration [Myspace stream]
Some explanation. We've gone on enough about how Ben Parker is one of our favourite British songwriters, but 2009 was his annus miraculous, or whatever the exact phrase is. And yet we still found loopholes to keep his two releases this year out of our album list, We're Here For Duration... We Hope! as it's only available from himself and the magnificent, pretty much essential Nosferatu D2 album We’re Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones On To Block Out The Noise because it's all pre-existing songs. Which were only available from the duo. Hmm. That doesn't make sense. Let's be honest, keeping them out of the way on a whim makes things easier for ourselves. But both are superb, and you must, must buy both. This is Nosferatu D2's Flying Things And Pests, recorded at their last gig in March 2007 (supporting Los Campesinos!, FWIW)
Surf City - Headin' Inside [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Swanton Bombs - Shock [Spotify]
Teitur - Catherine the Waitress [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Telepathe - Can't Stand It [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Funny album, Dance Mother, being all too-cool NY scenester for its own good for the first half or so before gradually mutating into inventive post-electro warping with Dave Sitek's hand at the controls.
Their Hearts Were Full Of Spring - Take Your Own Good Advice [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
THWFOS released a fine, lovingly innocent album called How I Wasted My Youth. We highlighted it on here. They promptly split up and made their entire back catalogue free to download. BEHOLD OUR INFLUENCE.
Threatmantics - Little Bird [Spotify] [YouTube]
Rock'n'roll viola-led hoedown with an air of the Fall? Why not?
Three Trapped Tigers - 6 [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Sounding like Battles covering Squarepusher live with Boards Of Canada manning the desk, as ever, and what's going on in that video?
Tigers That Talked - Black Heart, Blue Eyes [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Tubelord - Propeller [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Our First American Friends was perhaps a little ponderous given the heavier end of their live set, but no question they have the commitment for it.
The Twilight Sad - I Became A Prostitute [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
For all the critical acclaim a band we've never quite got with, in truth, apart from this single. They'll doubtless be cockahoop to know they've finally cracked it with that.
Underground Railroad - Lots Of Cars [Myspace stream]
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Withered Hand - Religious Songs [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Dan Wilson's cracked vocal and existentially self-regarding folk songs have made him something of a legend in Edinburgh. You get the impression he couldn't fit in otherwise.
Wonderswan - Furrpile [Myspace stream]
Actually do sound like Pavement and Sonic Youth crossed over, as opposed to all those bands who just claim they do.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
People are easily impressed with changes in style, aren't they? Even so, Karen O suits the role of disco-not-disco ringleader.
Young British Artists - Bring The Sun [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
And to finally finish, some Mancunians making claustrophobic, electronically hinting, skyscrapingly ambitious sonic cathedrals. And that's all the cliche conventions we have for now.