Black Keys – Attack and Release
So you have GTA4? Of course you do. And one of the best tracks from the soundtrack on Radio Broker is Strange Times by the Black Keys. The album is tightly knitted blues rock. Like the first Kings of Leon album but more riff based. We saw them live last month and they were astonishing. So much energy for two guys with one guitar and one drum kit. No bass!
Awesome fact: this record was produced by Dangermouse. It has zero of his trademarks in the production. Sometimes a good song can just be played without any wild production tweaks I guess.
Could not live without: Things Ain’t Like They Used To Be, Strange Times, Psychotic Girl
Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
In 2005 I heard a great album that was full of energy and although was never going to be best album of all time it was great for walking around or riding on buses too. That album was El Pres!dente’s debut album. This year a band called Black Kids have gone that step further by making a energetic record that i listen to all the time regardless of location.
Could not live without: Hurricane Jane, I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You, Love Me Already
Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy
I had pretty much given up on this ever being released. I never really liked them that much originally however for an album that cost £13 million pounds I just had to check it out. It’s hard to separate the history of the band from the album when you listen to it. This album took 11 years to make and in that time we’ve had so many new genres spring up and get old. Each track on Chinese Democracy sounds like it was recorded when a different genre was the vogue. In fact it sounds like Guns N’ Roses released 4 albums in the last 11 years and this is a best of of those releases! Still though it flows so well.
What I especially like are the song structures. They are all fucking mad. Sometimes it’s like hmm, should i have another verse or a solo? i’ll do both. and then put a full orchestra on it too. In fact make that two solos by two different guitarists at the same time. To see if you will like this album I advise checking out I Had A Time. It is the best song on it because it is so pompous over the top. But my god, can that dickhead Axl Rose create wonderful melodies (see first 16 seconds of Scraped)
Could not live without: I Had A Time, Madagascar, If The World
Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreak
You know I love Kanye West but I (and everyone else) would not have expected this. Basically every track is built using the Roland TR-808 (as per the title) and there is no rapping on it. All his vocals are auto-tuned to fuck like his last hit Stronger. Except here, he’s singing in tune and they’ve fucked about with it for the style rather than for tuning purposes. I appreciate this may be really annoying for some people but this to me is where he has really developed as an artist. It is the strongest work I’ve heard this year. Everyone’s saying Barack Obama will make the world a better place but from where I’m standing he’s got a long way to go before he’s done as much as Mr West.
Could not live without: Love Lockdown, Amazing, Say You Will
Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
Following on from their last album which was really really fucking good comes this. Who can say if it’s better but goddamn it’s good! Every track is fantastic. The confidence you must have to release a track called Sex On Fire as a single. I don’t even know what the fuck it’s about but it’s ace. This album also contains the best and sleaziest lyric I heard this year:
Homeboy’s so proud, finally got the video proof
The night vision shows she was only ducking the truth
It’s heavy I know, black guy with the gift down below
A choke and a gag, she spit up ‘n came back for more
Could not live without: Sex on Fire, Use Somebody, Closer
Temposhark – The Invisible Line
This was released digitally last year. However the cd version came out this year. That may be cheating however this album is still fucking unbelievable and anyone who enjoys pop music will love it. This was my album of last year and it makes this years list too.
Could not live without: Joy, Knock Me Out, Blame
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious Pip – Angles
*deep breath* Okay, this is so startling that it almost makes you embarrased for anyone who tried to do anything innovate this year. Is it the best thing I’ve heard this year? Maybe. An album you put on and just listen to. You can’t have any kind of conversation over it as his voice is so attention grabbing. You all know about this album so let’s move on.
Could not live without: The Magician’s Assistant, Thou Shall Always Kill, Letter From God To Man
Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into
I bought this cos Aythan showed me one track saying I’d like it and it was so. They were actually everything I wanted in music. I also think the first track on their album “Battle Royal” sounds like a Ghostsmut track. But better of course! They are one of those bands who you dismiss immediately just for their stupid name. Grr!!! Anyway, once you hear them you go “bastards, you are ace! Why do you have a shit name?!” I played the whole album in the background at the recent Februus/We Modern Cadets gig and it went down well. I have listened to this album over 100 times this year.
Could not live without: Weird Science, With A Heavy Heart (I Regret To Inform You), Being Bad Feels Pretty Good
Foals – Antidotes
This year I have really stood up and took notice of bands who are supposedly “indie” – whatever that means. It used to mean sounds like the Stone Roses and I hated it but it’s somehow become synonymous with wild electrorock like Klaxons and all the other fucked up bands about. Likewise the Foals cd was bought for no reason. I hadn’t heard anything by them. I don’t watch music channels often and when I do they just play Beyonce and stuff I don’t hear worth in. Regardless they are great. A heady mix of post rock guitar work but with a ska rhythm section. Good use of trumpets too. Like the Black Kids album – a record to just listen to and discover new elements in each time while having FUN!
Could not live without: Cassius, Electric Bloom, Red Socks Pugie
Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim
I fell in love with this. Again, I downloaded this as it was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. I’ve already made a post about it. First track is so, so good. Then it continues being good until you are quite embarrassed by her songwriting skills. Then you realise she’s a Mackem and curse her violently!
Could not live without:Ghosts, Failure, My Manic And I
Glasvegas – Glasvegas
This came out of nowhere. Just a sudden burst of hype and loads of people were wearing Glasvegas tshirts. Okay I thought I’ll download it. I sat in Marrakech in the sun by the pool listening to it. Not really focussing on anything but the lyrics. Rare I get a chance to do that with an album but my god what an effect. Admittedly, it’s not something you want to hear all the time but why should a great album need to be listened to a lot? Also kudos for containing some of the strongest lyrics written this year.
Could not live without: Go Square Go, It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry, Geraldine
Albums That Were Also Good:
Anathema – Hindsight
Could not live without: One Last Goodbye
The Notwist – The Devil, You + Me
Could not live without: Boneless
Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke
Could not live without: Magic (song of the year!)
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
Could not live without: A Trip Out