Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Best of the year - the final bit...

Jonsi - Go
Jonsi is responsible for one song that always makes me cry - this one. However, my interest in Sigur Ros has waned of late but this album is uniformly excellent. There are still a few weepy numbers but there is a vibrancy and buoyancy to this album which is infectious and weird. Comparing Jonsi to Bjork is redundant (I don't want to put them in some Icelandic ghetto) but there is something they both share - total awesomeness.

Grinderman - Grinderman 2
A lot of people talk about Grinderman as an outlet for Nick Cave's angry id which has been repressed by the Bad Seeds increasing sophistication and his penchant for stately ballads. I think that's kind of bullshit because a) Grinderman is made up of Bad Seeds and b) the Bad Seeds can still be fierce both live and on record. This album sounds like the boys messing around in the back shed and as Cave is learning guitar as he goes - Grinderman sounds like the greatest non-adolescent garage band in history. Furious and dirty, this is the sound of Cave re-learning to write in a new form which is fun and detached from his stately history. It's not an angry id, just the sounds of a naughty boy thrashing his guitar in his bedroom.

Broken Bells - Broken Bells
Broken Bells is that guy from the Shins and the dude who did the Jay-Z/Beatles mash up. It is excellent.

Antony and the Johnsons - Swanlights
I generally have two reactions to foreign films: I'm totally entranced or I look at the screen like a monkey trying comprehend physics. For a long time, I was a perplexed monkey when it came to Antony but good timing and the right circumstances made me finally understand the equation. As such, I've been working my way through all his albums over the last year and Swanlights has come as a welcome edition to my listening spree. At times, it's almost as if the songs are secondary to the voice but there is a deep current of beauty and surprisingly, anger running through this album. The highlight for me is the duet with Bjork where two of the most idiosyncratic singers on record trade lines like they're channeling operas from Mars.

Other notable mentions:

You Am I - You Am I: their best album in years.

The Corin Tucker Band - 1000 Years: Not quite Sleater-Kinney but it's still a solid album.

Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer: Fuck You is a great song and more than makes up for that terrible Band of Horses cover.

Bonobo - Black Sands: Some early '00's electric throwback but really nice.

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Hawk: Yeah, that's some good shit there.

Bullshit album of the year.
Sorry Sufjan, but you've gone from orchestral pop magic to obscurist electronic nonsense. May the Age of Adz be brief.


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