Thursday, January 01, 2009

UK Blogger Albums Of 2008 Poll Results

As is already traditional, the first day and first post of the new year sees the results of our asking for - or scrounging unasked for where deemed necessary - favourite album lists from a range of good, honest UK music and culture bloggers. Again, it's led to our highest number of contributors yet, a testament to the spread of worthwhile British writers as we head into what we suspect might be for one reason or another quite a difficult year for the populace, and the tightest competition, if that's the right word, yet, the winner literally going down to the last set of votes counted.

This year's contributing music blog roll of honour, then: 17 Seconds, 88 Days in my veins, A New Band A Day, Both Bars On, Breaking More Waves, Broken FM, Buzzin Music Blog, Comfort Comes, Eaten By Monsters, Eyemaylisten, Fact magazine, Fire Escape Talking, Folly Of Youth, Fucking Dance, funfunfun, Ich Luge Bullets, ifblog, Illegal Tender, ireallylovemusic, In League With Paton, It's Getting Boring By The Sea, Just Press Play, Keep Hope Inside, Lots Of Random Words, MFM, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, No Ripcord, Parallax View, Mark from Rock Sellout, The Auditorium, The Daily Growl, Themilkfactory, The Pop Cop, The Sonic Minefield, The Von Pip Musical Express, Transparent Magazine and Yer Mam!. We decided our friends at Smalltown America's blog qualified them, so they provided a list too.

Funeral, Return To Cookie Mountain and Sound Of Silver were the first three winners of the accolade - joining their place in the pantheon for '08? Well, you'll see in forty nine eclectic albums' time:

50 BLOC PARTY - Intimacy
49 ATLAS SOUND - Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
47 JULIAN COPE - Black Sheep
46 MEURSAULT - Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues
45 HOT CHIP - Made In The Dark
44 CADENCE WEAPON - Afterparty Babies
43 MARNIE STERN - This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That
41 LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION - Falling Off The Lavender Bridge
40 THESE NEW PURITANS - Beat Pyramid
39 CUT COPY - In Ghost Colours
38 NEON NEON - Stainless Style
37 STARKEY - Ephemeral Exhibits
36 HELLO SAFERIDE - More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide
35 NO AGE - Nouns
34 THE WAVE PICTURES - Instant Coffee Baby
33 COLDPLAY - Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
32 JAMES YORKSTON - When The Haar Rolls In
31 SIGUR ROS - Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
30 WILD BEASTS - Limbo, Panto
29 METRONOMY - Nights Out
28 GANG GANG DANCE - Saint Dymphna
27 FUCK BUTTONS - Street Horrrsing
26 FLYING LOTUS - Los Angeles
25 DEERHUNTER - Microcastle
24 MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
22 BRITISH SEA POWER - Do You Like Rock Music?
21 LINDSTROM - Where You Go I Go Too

20 WHY? - Alopecia
Yoni Wolf and co may have drifted even further away from their hip hop grounding but their analogue folk beats with stories don't really sound like anyone else.
Video: Song Of The Sad Assassin

19 GLASVEGAS - Glasvegas
The Jesus & Mary Chain's feral Spectorisms are shotgun wed to James Allan's proudly broad accent and intensely detailed raw stories of masculinity and murder.
Video: Daddy's Gone

18 M83 - Saturdays = Youth
Anthony Gonzalez's fuzzy invocations of youthful joy and growing pains sidestepped merely rehashing a 1980s youth, despite being perhaps the most 80s sounding album here.
Video: Kim And Jessie

17 LYKKE LI - Youth Novels
This year's big Swedish pop achiever, sounds simultaneously like a set of big modern pop statements and a series of understated, intricately arranged pocket symphonies.
Video: I'm Good, I'm Gone

16 LAURA MARLING - Alas I Cannot Swim
It became obligatory to mention her age (born 1990) in reviews, but this richly detailed collection of fully developed wistfulness would be an achievement whatever.
Video: Ghosts

15 FOALS - Antidotes
Teaching the indie kids to dance again, just to something fairly different, marrying punk-funk rhythms, Afrobeat guitars, mathrock technicalities and dancefloor propulsiveness.
Video: Balloons

14 FRIGHTENED RABBIT - The Midnight Organ Fight
Selkirk's finest have been threatening to raise both stakes and roof with their emotive bombast, and with this level of open vein lyricism and soulful hooks they stepped up a gear.
Video: Head Rolls Off

13 THE HOLD STEADY - Stay Positive
Less Springsteen, more Replacements; less participatory in drinking and carousing, more observation and wondering where they're going to end up. Still sounding tailormade for bigger venues.
Video: Stay Positive

12 THE INDELICATES - American Demo
Who says music doesn't encourage thinking any more? Intelligent, scabrous, impassioned, thought provoking diatribes about off-menu subjects for 2000s indie pop.
Video: America

Thou Shalt Always Kill sounded like a one-off but they proved otherwise; Pip's streams of thought, ideas and arguments to fall over each other, Le Sac handles the glitch sample backing.
Video: Letter From God To Man

10 SANTOGOLD - Santogold
MIA's early patronage was evident on Santi White's debut, but so was awkward retro-futurist electro-pop, Blondieish pop, reggae and lover's rock, new wave, Grace Jones sterile funk and all stylistic points west.
Video: L.E.S. Artistes

9 LATE OF THE PIER - Fantasy Black Channel
Taking on not just the day-glo ruins of nu-rave but also the early 80s synths and giving them a post-punk inflected twist, indie kids hadn't given up on giving the dancefloor a good postmodern shaking up yet.
Video: Heartbeat

8 FLEET FOXES - Fleet Foxes
You'd have got long odds on Crosby, Stills & Nash proving such an influence in 2008, but these soaring, emotive harmonies recalled them among many an Americana pop influence.
Video: White Winter Hymnal

7 LOS CAMPESINOS! - Hold On Now, Youngster...
Awkward, individual and unwilling to use one voice and instrument where seven will do, their airtight indie pop exploded out at every angle with heads down no nonsense social aphorisms and tunnel vision joyfulness.
Video: My Year In Lists
(Ed. note - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed was not counted for the poll as the band themselves don't consider it a proper album for some reason, and also splitting the vote would have got messy)

6 TV ON THE RADIO - Dear Science
TVOTR didn't so much go commercial as watch commercial catch up with them and then delicately step to the side, taking on loved up funk and conscious disco alongside the production tricks, soundscapes and social panic lyrics.
Video: Dancing Choose

5 VAMPIRE WEEKEND - Vampire Weekend
London bands deny their class; New Yorkers glory in it. Collegiate kids running hi-life and Afrobeat into Talking Heads post-punk, unafraid to write about punctuation or employ a harpsichord, this debut was an off-kilter joy.
Video: Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Completely destroying the dinner party cliche, eleven years on from their last album the trio moved on from psychic dancehalls to chambers of horror, evoking 60s electronic experimentalists, dark industrial dub, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and folk gothic soundtracks.
Video: The Rip

3 JOHNNY FOREIGNER - Waited Up Til It Was Light
Visceral in a completely different way to TVOTR, the Birmingham trio took on tricks from post-hardcore, Chicago math-punk and British mid-90s awkward indie underachievers and packaged it up into full-on harmonious riots of excitable pyrotechnics and unexpected touches.
Video: Salt, Peppa And Spinderella

2 BON IVER - For Emma, Forever Ago
The story of Justin Vernon in the snowbound wood cabin has been well told, but it explains the resultant isolatory chill of these songs, Vernon's soulful falsetto and brittle guitar framing desolate heartbreak and redemptive resolve. Many were instantly seduced.
Video: The Wolves (Act I & II)

1 ELBOW - The Seldom Seen Kid
You'd do well to find a more liked winner of the Mercury Prize winner, sweeping aside 'thinking man's Coldplay' comparisons by making the giant step up, making everything that little bit less universal (bar One Day Like This) and rediscovering Guy Garvey's strengths as an inventive, fragile writer, producing a set of heartfelt pain and joy.
Video: Grounds For Divorce


Breaking More Waves Blog said...

Well that's a splendid list. Nice to see my Top 2 correlated with the Top 2 of other bloggers out there (just that mine were in reverse order). Very good also to see Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip so high as well - it didn't quite make my Top 10, but I don't feel it got the publicity it deserved, in what was a very shallow year for Hip Hop in my opinion. I still don't 'get' the Portishead album. The first two I found emotionally engaging and powerfully atmospheric whereas the new one seems mechanical, detached and without soul to me.

Anonymous said...

What's this? Late of the Pier in the top 10 but no Friendly Fires in the top 50? And a lower than hoped-for placing for The Wave Pictures. But nice to see James Yorkston sitting proudly above Coldplay. Good work as always with this Simon - it never fails to be an interesting list, and despite the protestations above, there's no crap here...


Anonymous said...

Was probably naive to hope that I'd not be the only person repping Black Milk and Elzhi.

mike said...

Dammit, I forgot to send my votes in! They would have confirmed Elbow at #1, and they might have provided fractional nudges for Late of the Pier, Vampire Weekend, Lindstrom, Portishead and the Hold Steady. And 4 of my top 10 haven't charted in your 50 at all: Hercules & Love Affair, Lone, Barry Adamson and Bellowhead.

MFM said...

Great stuff.
Thanks so much for including us, this is a fantastic list and actually really reflects my choices :)

Carl said...

Apologies for not sending the list in, been so busy! Great idea and the overall list isn't half bad!

Unknown said...

Still feel a dick for not getting my ballot in. :(