Fair Ohs - Eden Rock [YouTube (live)] [Soundcloud]
If Abe Vigoda aren't going to do it any more, this lot will have to steer the path towards Afro-noise-surf-pop nirvana.
Foals – Spanish Sahara [YouTube] [Spotify]
Can't tell you offhand what would have been number 51. Might have been Total Life Forever, which just sagged a bit around a strong middle, which isn't how albums are supposed to flow. This was the first track to emerge and showed things weren't always going to be math-pop forever.
Frankie & The Heartstrings - Tender [YouTube]
Yeah, them. You know, someone's going to have to come up with a collective term for indiefied bands with unabashed rock'n'roll romance taking the genre term back to its original intentions. As such, F&TH are working with Edwyn Collins on their album.
Gaggle - I Hear Flies [YouTube] [Spotify]
THIS IS MERELY A DISTRACTION FROM THE INEVITABLE.
Gallops - Oh The Manatee [Soundcloud] [Spotify]
Battles on a fuzzy glam setting or Errors on a bouncy castle. Your choice.
Gindrinker - Bob Grainger; Sexual Pervert [YouTube (live)] [Soundcloud]
Metal guitar, metallic drum machine, mental lyrics. We'd expect nothing less from Gates and Graf. You are also cordially invited to try out Brandyman, essentially Gindrinker as heavy rock.
Gruff Rhys - Shark Ridden Waters [download] [YouTube]
The teaming up of Gruff and weird-retro-futurist producer Andy Votel promises much for February's album Hotel Shampoo, previewed by this road trip Franco-tropicalia.
His Clancyness - Mistify The Ocean [download via The Fader] [YouTube]
Jonathan Clancy for the second time, and it seemed at one stage that he was going to put out a new slice of lo-fi woozy poetic dreampop every week. It slowed up after a while but the hit rate was kept high, perhaps none higher than this.
Honour Before Glory - Empty Bottles Broken Hearts [Soundcloud]
Whiskas from Forward Russia's current iteration fractures and vibrates around wracked songwriting in a way M83 or Spencer Krug would understand. Plenty to look forward to from him in '11.
Is Tropical - When O When [YouTube] [Soundcloud]
Beginning to suspect they may be a one shot deal as far as greatness goes, but as far as debut singles go little came better this year. Almost a meeting point between post-punk energy and the synths of M25 fields in 1989. It deserves a fresh genre name. 'Nu-rave', would that work?
Islet - Jasmine [Soundcloud] [Spotify]
Rightly lauded for their borderline ridiculous live set that literally eradicates the gap between audience and performer, but the tribal dub post-punk motorik no wave stew of their two EPs, had they ever been released together, might have troubled the top end of STN's albums list.
James Blake - Limit To Your Love [YouTube] [Soundcloud]
After two lauded EPs of glitch-dubstep, Blake goes and makes a sparse piano cover of a Feist song that inhabits the same ballpark as Aqualung.
Janelle Monae - Dance Or Die [Myspace] [Spotify]
Truth be told it does feel a little like both tokenism and rockism leaving the indecently talented Monae down here, but couldn't help thinking most of the bits people lauded about were basically lesser Outkast productions. (And it's basically pale blog hipsters who went on about how she was about to become a huge global pop star without noticing that she really isn't, so we feel we're swimming against the hip tide much as when we left Deerhunter off the album list. Kanye? Never heard of him.) Anyway, the rush of ideas and words here is undeniable. Not so undeniable, though, as Tightrope on Letterman, bridge thoroughly taken to.
Japandroids - Heavenward Grand Prix [download] [Spotify]
Circular saw guitar fuzz, pounding drums and what for them and nobody else is mid-tempo meandering.
Jens Lekman - The End Of the World Is Bigger Than Love [download] [Spotify]
Oh you're so heartbroken, Jens. But at least he can try and put it in perspective, while still on his AM radio indiepop lush tip. Album in 2011, Jens? Please?
Johnny Foreigner - Elegy For Post Teenage Living Parts 1 And 2 [Spotify]
Starts as tenative collapsible noise, ends as bassy, talky dancepop with a George Pringle reference.
Jonquil - Compound [Soundcloud]
If Jonquil 1.0 was offbeat countryside folk, Jonquil 2.0 is offbeat Afropop. Note Hugo's brave falsetto and the crosshatched harmonies and the detail it sets itself to take off at high gear and then just doesn't.
Katy B - Katy On A Mission [YouTube] [Spotify]
Properly pop song of the year, largely because it comes from no proper pop background. Not to be confused with Truck regular KTB. Ms B doubtless turning shit even as you read this.
Laura Hocking & The Long Goodbye - Loves Of A Girl Wrestler [Myspace] [Bandcamp]
Hocking seems to have been around in various forms for years and years; this turnaround finds her as a cabaret folk ringmistress (in the circus rather than wrestling sense, despite the title and lyrics)
LCD Soundsystem - All I Want [YouTube (live)] [Spotify]
We tried to like This Is Happening, we really did, but it did nothing for us as a work. Didn't help that the BBC festival coverage kept putting Drunk Girls on either. This motorik wander succeeded by turning All My Friends upside down.
Les Savy Fav - Dirty Knails [Soundcloud] [Spotify]
As with LCD, Root For Ruin seemed to be based on what people wanted from the band rather than the good place they were heading to. Dirty Knails at least finds them doing what they do best, that is let Tim Harrington take off all over the place while everyone else holds down a muscular, somehow danceable richocheting anthem in aspic.
Let's Buy Happiness - Six Wolves [Soundcloud] [Spotify]
We've been excited about the possibilities surrounding this Newcastle outfit who've already been on a trip to Radio 4's Loose Ends. When it came to releasing something they hit on gold of a Cocteaus/Sundays arc, all delayed guitars and inscrutable female vocals that are oddly like Alessi's Ark's.
Lily Rae - Bad Film [Myspace] [Spotify]
Sometime Indelicate nails the sound of a really peeved Kirsty Maccoll, vocals inclusive. Apparently this first came out in 2007 but her album Oh No... was released this year and we hadn't previously heard it, as we suspect neither had you, so in it goes.
Lone Wolf — Keep Your Eyes On The Road [YouTube] [Spotify]
Come for Broken Pixel's spectacular reimagining of the Sledgehammer video, stay for Paul Marshall's shifting, intriguingly detailed alt-folk parable.
LookiMakeMusic - Why I Started The Indie Club Fires [Myspace] [Soundcloud]
Because Alexei Berrow couldn't have the 'awkward over-wordy jitteriness about shit indie clubs in Birmingham' field to himself.
The Loves - December Boy [YouTube]
Hell of a toss-up between this and the other half of the double A side Bubblegum, but they both prove Cardiff's other great knowingly retro band have hit top form... just as they're splitting up.
Lykke Li - Get Some [YouTube] [Soundcloud]
Those who saw her touring Youth Novels will know percussion featured well in her live set-up. They're even more to the forefront now. As are other concerns.