Friday, 19 December 2008

Albums and films of the year

Well... here we go:

1) TV on the Radio 'Dear Science'
Like all TVOTR albums, you appreciate it and find it worthy at first and then one day it hits you and you completely 'get it', you understand. This is such a gorgeous album as TVOTR discover their pop side and get all funky, full of bopping breaks and some Prince-esque falsetto, as well as the sublime weep-inducing 'Family Tree.' This is a special album, one that will continue to grow and grow in your ears for years to come.

2) Vampire Weekend 'Vampire Weekend'
From the moment this dropped, it never left the speaker. Each time I heard it, I got obsessed with a new song and rewound it constantly. From Wes Anderson-friendly baroque organs to Peter Gabriel-winking slap-bass soloes, this was an ambitious indie prospect by achingly cool NY preppy boys, Vampire Weekend. Bringing the punk with riotous 'A Punk' and the campfire blues with 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa' (sparking off a series of excellent cover versions and remixes), as well as the anthemic 'Walcott.' This was all killer, no filler. Completely utterly endlessly listenable.

3) The Indelicates 'American Demo'
When the shots ring out on 'The Last Significant Statement in Rock'n'Roll' you know hyou're in for a bilous journey through the spit and snarl of Simon Indelicate and his troupe of feisty articulate socialist punks and poets, all in thrall to Jeff Buckley and the Manics and other mid 90s luminairies. This was special stuff, so intelligent, so fierce and so on the ball. 'If Jeff Buckley Had Lived' was a riposte against hero worship and the disappointment he would have faced if he'd carried on, while 'Heroin' and 'We Hate the Kids' take pops at the indie scenesters and their impossibly stupid ways. This was angry spiky anthemic stuff from the most intelligent band in the country.

4) Spiritualized 'Songs in A&E'
J.Spaceman knows how to tug your heartstrings. His vocabulary pallette hasn't changed much in the last 4 albums but each time he gives us higher highs and bigger blues as he tackles the big issues of love, heartbreak and lust. This time, he takes us on a journey through death and its own caustic set of melodies. As the life support machine chugs away, the texture and melancholy of the guitars and soaring strings lead us on a journey through death, debilitating and honest, yet life-affirming and full of soul. Completely on fire throughout. Brutally honest and staggeringly beautiful.

5) Roots Manuva 'Slime and Reason'
Roots Manuva has slowly been going mental for years now. This time he decided to take time out to balance his partying and his cathartic honesty in an album that's half-confessional and half-soulful, bouncing and skipping along on a minimal thrust and bop of scuzzy synths and deep rumbling basslines. 'Buff Nuff' reminds us how funny he is while 'Again and Again' is a reggae symposium of sun-drenched bravado. Completely fucking brilliant.

Honorable mentions:
MGMT 'Oracular Spectacular'
Santogold 'Santogold'

Top 5 films:

1) The Dark Knight
2) Slumdog Millionaire
3) Juno
4) Waltz with Bashir
5) No Country for Old Men

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