Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tracks of our year I

Not everybody makes an album good enough for our top 50 (or one that we remember to put in); not everybody made an album. Siphoning off those with albums in our extended list to reflect what has been quite a good year if you know where to look and have the patience to continue looking, these are our 120 - ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY, because we don't know how many is too many - 'other' favourite tracks of the year, presented over the four not directly festive of the next five days in alphabetical order. Don't ask us for an order now, and don't think that the ones without notes are always less good than the ones with, because when you're writing about 120 individual songs it gets a bit tough over time.

A Classic Education - Best Regards [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
The original and best (probably, although not the last to appear here, and not Jonathan Clancy's last either) of our small stream of Bologna based discoveries, with Jeremy Warmsley behind the desk, produced a 7" of dramatic intent and Fanfarlo-ish expansive pop.

Ace Bushy Striptease - "Arrogance Is My Middle Name", Said Will Davies Arrogantly [YouTube]
No shortage of places to start with Birmingham's collapsing indie-pop lo-fi mavens, so we'll stick a pin in this one and present it. And it's on one of their free albums, so you can all share in it

Acres, Acres - Diamonds From Coal [Myspace stream]
Yeah, Warmsley made it in under his own steam again, then. His band project has superceded his solo self for the time being and its first stirrings were glorious Shins/Beulah maxi-pop of the fretful. Can you still download it free from here? Only one way to find out.

Alan MX - Warpsichord [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Allo, Darlin' - Henry Rollins Don't Dance [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Unaffected uke-led indiepop about changing men who consider themselves too punk for their long suffering girlfriends. Fair enough.

And So I Watch You From Afar - Set Guitars To Kill [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Banjo Or Freakout - Upside Down [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Alessio Natalizia's gauzy, hazy acoustic releases so far have been so varied in tone that an album will be fascinating if it finds a consistent thread of some sort.

Bearsuit - Muscle Belt [Spotify]

Beth Jeans Houghton — I Will Return, I Promise [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

The Bitter Springs - And Even Now [Spotify] [YouTube]
Ah, the grand old men of sarky south London back room of a pub pop. Simon Rivers turns his attention to, well, himself and his defiance against the fly by night pop world against a pleasingly indie disco setting.

Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Elastic riff, dual choruses, air of not having to try too hard - why isn't their sound, ahem, always like this?

Bon Iver - Blood Bank [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Brakes - Hey Hey [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
There was something a little to clean and planned out about Touchdown, a great shame after the unkempt high standards of the first two albums. The first single rocked and rollicked like rockfall, though.

Broadcast And The Focus Group - The Be Colony [YouTube]
The only thing you can definitively call a normal pop song on their Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age collaboration, albeit a pop song beamed through space to the space age bachelor pad.

The Broken Family Band - Cinema vs House [YouTube]
We said goodbye to indie-country's most indefatigable this year; surely Steven Adams will resurface somewhere, but in the meantime this is a prime example of his curiously effective lyrical gifts.

Calories - Let's Pretend That We're Older [Myspace stream]
The former Distophia tend to blow hot and cold and we're not convinced by them live, but we never really got Distophia at all. We know this makes us bad people, because several good people have told us so. Anyway, this is langorous-thrashy great.

Cant - Ghosts [Spotify]
Grizzly Bear's sonic landscaper in chief Chris Taylor forms a neat triangle with the sounds of that band and their other spinoff Department Of Eagles, an eerie version of the former, a harmonic hint of the latter. Amazing, but you knew that, right?

Cats & Cats & Cats - A Boy Called Haunts [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Cats On Fire - Letters From A Voyage To Sweden [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Our Temperance Movement disappointed, being even more Smithsian than before, but they can charmingly chime when the mood takes them and their live cover of Your Woman is second to none.

The Champagne Socialists - Blue Genes [Spotify] [Myspace stream]
Refugees from Bricolage and The Royal We, and since this single changing their name to Neverever, the duo took The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart to the heart of Talulah Gosh, and then to girl group nirvana.

The Chapman Family - Kids [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
Not a cult.

Chapel Club - Surfacing [Myspace stream]
Brooding, electronically enhanced dark ambition resolved in a menacing Dream A Little Dream quote. Oi, White Lies, you could have sounded like this if you cared.

Colourmusic - Yes! [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Copy Haho - Wrong Direction [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Cryptacize - Blue Tears [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Darren Hayman - Amy And Rachel [Spotify]
Pram Town wasn't a Hayman classic all told, but the tale of the pair whose band "mixed R&B and death metal" was a triumph of his wry lyrical gift. Talkbox solo!

David Cronenberg's Wife - The Fight Song [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

The Decemberists - Isn't It A Lovely Night? [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]
The Hazards Of Love was a huge disappointment, proving that going out of your comfort zone is all well and good as long as there's something worth finding outside that zone. At least here Colin Meloy and Becky Stark combine to find hitherto untapped melodies amid country-folk beauty.

Dent May And His Magnificent Ukelele - Meet Me In The Garden [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

Dinosaur Jr – Over It [Spotify] [Myspace stream] [YouTube]

No comments: