It's that time of the year where every dog and his Norwegian grandmother is making yearly and decade lists about the best books, music, movies, typography, episode of Rock of Love - and I'm no different. To think about the best albums of the decade is a little too much to wrap my head around just yet but I thought I'd like to write about my favourite albums of the year.
Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
Before TCV released any substantial clips of music, they played a number of shows to fans sight, unheard (I listened to the bootlegs). Despite being a position where they played to audiences who hadn't heard a note of the music before the second they saw them live, the same thing happens in every show. Once they get about 30 seconds into Elephants (above), the crowd goes apeshit. Why? because they have being possessed by the unrelenting awesomeness of undiluted rock action. I love rock music and my mancrush on Josh Homme has been well established but nothing prepared me for just how great this album is. Fuck the haters (hello pitchfork), this album was design for playing the air instrument of your choice to when you're not throwing devil horns. Sexy times were had by all.
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
A beautiful red headed woman belting out inspired country pop - what's not to love? I've always had a soft spot for Neko but this was my album of the year until the release of TCV. It's one of those albums which is somehow timeless but of its time and just exudes that spirit of being produced in a high state of inspiration, clarity, ambition and unrelenting brilliance. I love this album.
Bob Mould - Life and Times
Any year that Bob Mould releases an album is a good year for me. I've been a Bob fan for 20 years and his music has been a constant in my life whether it's been Husker Du, Sugar or solo. Now, that being said, Bob is a an acquired taste and most of my friends kind of go 'huh' when I start on one of my raves about him. This album isn't as good as his last one but it's a solid Bob album (he is yet to surpass the late career benchmark of the Body of Song album).
Future of the Left - Travels With Myself and Another
I was always a fan of Mclusky (this blog is named after one of their songs for example) but since their demise I hadn't really paid much attention to what the band members were up to. Big mistake. FOTL left picks up the psycho-sexual-fucked-up-psychotic-absurdist rantings of Mclusky, polishes them up and takes them to a new dimension hippies. Who couldn't love a song called 'You need Satan more than he needs you'? Who couldn't love a band who hates Margaret Thatcher with a burning passion? Who couldn't love a band as fantastic as this? Answer: only a moron couldn't.
Superchunk - Leaves in the Gutter EP
Superchunk haven't released an album since, like, OMG, forever and pretty much everything post Here's where the strings come in was a bit of a let down (except the underrated Here's to shutting up). I have my theories why this happened. Firstly, the writing company for lead singer Mac is 'All the songs sounds the same music.' The decline in their music coincided with Superchunk not really sounding like Superchunk anymore. Secondly, Mac decided to sing in a higher register which just kind of sucked because he already sung kinda high already. Anyhow, on this ep, Mac is back to his lower voice and these songs (and a vinyl only single Crossed Wires backed by the superior Blinders) is a total vindication of my devotion, love and defense of Superchunk. The song Learned to Surf made me sing out loud when I walk down the street and break into air guitar at inappropriate times - yeah,it's that good.
The Dead Weather - Horehound
Bluesy sexy scuzz rock. Jack rather than Meg on drums and doesn't sing too much. A pretty solid album that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Japandroids - Post Nothing
Despite the guitar/drums set up being a bit tired, this album is all kinds of awesome. Just bare bones rock and even though No Age love Bob Mould better, I think the Japandroids are a better prospect.
Built to Spill - There is no enemy
I'm always amazed when a band can release one of it's best albums twenty years into its career (not many have - Fugazi's The Argument being the obvious one that pops to mind). Built to Spill are other long time favourites of mine but I can't say I've really loved much of their music this decade which makes this album all the more shocking. It is drop dead fucking A grade BTS from go to whoa - no filler - just guitar-crazed-Neil-Youngesque-style-freak-outs like the old days but with great songs to back it up.
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Yeah I know I suck but I love my girly pop as much as I love my Slayer. A bit skanky, a bit cute, a bit subversive, say what you want - great tunes.
Various Artists - Dark Was The Night
A compilation album for the Red, Hot and Blue organisation filled with all those indie buzz bands that we're supposed to love. However, this album (especially disc 1) is amazing both in tone and quality. Stand out for me is Bon Iver but there's a lot to discover on this record.
Sarah Blasko - As Day Follows Night
More girly pop but darker, sadder and lonelier. A delicate break up album to listen to as the long, empty bitter days drag on.
That's about all I can think of at the moment but I'm sure there's others I might remember (maybe I'll update this if I can be arsed and I'm not sure if I can be bothered writing about Bats for Lashes and the Iron and Wine compilation album). I've challenged some of my friends to come up with a list of their favourite albums for the last ten years. Are you up for the challenge? You have until New Year's eve...