Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Class of '08: Ten Essential Albums

Simon Bookish - Everything/Everything
A bold, cerebral jazz/pop record from the elusive post-classical post-everything diva. Science, knowledge and information overload are the backdrop for this startlingly ambitious album. One of the essential must-hear records of the year.
MP3: Dumb Terminal

Beach House - Devotion
A candlelit record of slow stories and sweet sentiments told via a sparse palette of guitar, organ, voice and drums, this tender record is a underrated gem. tells me I listened to 'Gila' 73 times in the last six months, and I've a feeling I'll listen to it as many again in the next six.
MP3: Gila

Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
Mind-alteringly awesome melodic noise from the ubiquitous duo. Live, they can be transcendental, and the album doesn't disappoint. Their new more rhythmic material, played as part of their recent shows, will be one of the most eagerly anticipated follow-ups of 2009.
MP3: Bright Tomorrow

Cats In Paris - Courtcase 2000
Kaleidoscopic indie-pop from this genre-smashing band of sweethearted kool kids from the North. 'Courtcase 2000' is stuffed with imagination and ingenuity from start to finish.
MP3: Foxes

Atlas Sound - Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Deerhunter's Bradford Cox is in a prolific phase at the moment. Atlas Sound is an outlet for his more ambient leanings, and this record is a beautifully warm glide into Cox's unique reinvention of the shoegaze genre, playfully termed 'ambient punk'. Cox was also a guest DJ at Brainlove's Club NME room this year - dig the tracklisting out in the blog archive...
MP3: Quarantined

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
She's most famous for her technically adept shredding technique, but more important is the manic upbeat spirit of Stern's second album. Every song explodes with energy, making this one of the most genuinely exciting records of the year.
MP3: Transformer

Hammock - Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow
An achingly beautiful hour-long record of ambient reverb soundscapes that became one of my most listened to records of 08. I initially thought this one was bit soppy, but ended up loving it after a trip to Iceland softened me up massively.
MP3: Mono No Aware

Max Tundra - Parallax Error Beheads You
Three years in the making, and 'Parallax Error Beheads You' is a breath of fresh air. A dizzying whirlwind of beeps and beats make it a deceptively frenetic listen but 'Parallax Error' has a heart made of pop, bringing to mind The Jackson 5 and Germlin in equal measure.
MP3: Which Song

Parenthetical Girls - Entanglements
I know I've banged on about them a lot on this blog over the last few months, but Parenthetical Girls are a completely unique band with a brutally poetic lyrical canon and some grandly ambitious arrangements. There are shades of Xiu Xiu and Scott Walker, but Parenthetical Girls remain a true original.
MP3: A Song For Ellie Greenwich

The Acorn - Glory Hope Mountain
The Acorn are the kind of slow-burning band that Bella Union have a gift for unearthing. Their sound lies somewhere between the homely folk of their ubiquitous labelmates Fleet Foxes and the grand anthems of The Arcade Fire. Complex arrangements are are played on humble instrumentation, and they bounce between sparse ballads and heartfelt singalongs with ease.
ZIP: The Acorn Live in Session

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