One of the best scenes…


…from one of the best films ever made (Magnolia) by the greatest living American Director (Paul Thomas Anderson) and featuring one of America’s greatest pop singers (Aimee Mann) who is 52 today.

Happy Birthday Aimee.

Oh, and here’s to PT winning the Golden Lion tonight at the Venice Film Festival.

The best of 2008


OK

It’s that time of year again. The wrap. After a great deal of deliberation I have arrived at my Albums of the year and my best of 2008 CD.

You’ll not be surprised to see my usual heavy inclusion of female singer songwriters, although in percentage terms they are rather lower than usual – only about 25%. There’s more Rock ‘n ‘roll than previous years. Don’t know why. Just a good year for rock I suppose.

In no particular order my albums of the year were.

Dig Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Reviewed here. A total classic that is full of cracking and totally unique songs. I absolutely adore this record.

dig-lazarus

Third by Portishead. Ten years in gestation it was worth every second of the wait. Eerie, disconcerting. Unique. I reviewed it here.

portishead-third

22 Dreams by Paul Weller. I’m not a fan usually, but this record is wonderful. Reviewed here.

paul-weller-22-dreams-4337311

The Very Best of Ethiopiques by various artists. What a wonderful discovery. In a classic year for world music, in particular african stuff this blew me away as I explained here.

ethiopiques

Welcome to Mali by Amadou and Mariam. Just in. Just Wonderful. This Malian couple make stunning fresh pop music. Not had time to review it yet.

3_g_301

The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow. Deserved winners of The Mercury Prize. This album came from nowhere and was a hot contender for my album of the year. I reviewed it here.

elbow_-_the_seldom_seen_kid

Only by the Night by Kings of Leon. They just keep getting better. This is a fine record with great grinding melodies.

kings-of-leon

Stay Positive by The Hold Steady. What a wonderful, opoetic record. The other big contender for album of the year. Reviewed here.

hold_steady-stay_positive

Glasvegas by Glasvegas. Yikes. Scotland’s best this year. Huge sound great lyrics and Geraldine is a gem of a song. Reviewed here.

glasvegas

A Piece of What You Need by Teddy Thomson. This is a great underground folky, rocky album by the son of Richard and Linda Thomson that has been on heavy rotation this year. I suspect Jeana would have it as her album of the year. Very good. Reviewed here.

tedthompson

Juno Soundtrack by Various Artists. One of the movies of the year and a cracking soundtrack to go with it. Another one that received heavy rotation in the spring and summer. Reviewed here.

juno

Aman Iwan by Tinariwen. Last but certainly not least it was actually released in 2007 but it only came to my attention this year. The third of my much loved African albums on the list. Reviewed here.

tinariwen

I have to say in conclusion that Dig Lazarus Dig!!! wins my overall album of the year.

And so, to my best of the year CD…

As usual, if you want a copy you need only ask.

Probably the hardest decision of all was to leave off One day Like This by Elbow in favour of Starlings, but my rules only allow one song per artist.

Overall I thought 2008 was a vintage year and I think this might be my best ‘best of’ yet…

Here’s how it pans out.

1. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
2. That’s not my name by The Ting Tings
3. Cler Achel by Tinariwen
4. The Rip by Portishead
5. Come On Over (Turn Me On) by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
6. Have You Made Up Your Mind by Paul Weller
7. Freeway by Aimee Mann
8. Family Tree by TV On The Radio
9. Lights Out by Santogold
10. In My Arms by Teddy Thompson
11. You Cheated Me by Martha Wainwright
12. Geraldine by Glasvegas
13. Starlings by Elbow
14. Daydreamer by Adele
15. The Age Of The Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets
16. Crawl by Kings Of Leon
17. Lord, I’m Discouraged by The Hold Steady
18. 5 Years Time by Noah And The Whale
19. Sabali by Amadou and Mariam

So good was this year’s stock that I’m strongly considering a ‘B sides best of”.

What do you think?

The aforementioned One Day Like This would feature, as would a couple of tracks from the Very Best Of Ethiopiques, and a great Karine Polwart song called Sorry are among the contenders…

The Nightfly – Stop Press


Loud and live

Loud and live

They’re doing a Johnnie Walker on me and moving my slot about a bit, but I can confirm I will be on Jubilee FM, online, from 7 till 9 tomorrow, Thursday, night. Because I’m on a lot earlier than my usual Round Midnight slot I may crank the volume up a bit…

I’ve got a cracking playlist that includes; The Imagined Village, Sigur Ros, The Hold Steady, Portishead, Stephanie Dosen, Katrine Polwart, Paul Weller, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Nck Cave and the Bad Seeds, Calexico, Danny and the Champions of the World, Chemical Brothers,Led Zep, Aimee Mann, The Clash, Belle and Sebastian, Martha Wainwright, The Fleet Foxes and more.

Oh so many more

Aimee Mann returns to form


I’ve been getting a kicking from Fowlup for my dissing of The Fleet Foxes new and rather good, but not at all great album. And he hasn’t had the bottle to purchase the new Aimee Mann disc without the prior benefit of my outpourings. However, because he is sulking about my review of the FF’s (no, not the Foos) I suspect he will, in turn, seek to take an opposing line with my views on this.

I predict he will say “Ah, Gorman’s off on one of his female singer songwriter” things again. How dull.

Well, perhaps, but the fact is Aimee Mann has returned dramatically to form after the disappointment of The Forgotten Arm.

Her seventh, yes seventh, album “@#x%x*! Smilers” (despite a desperately bad title and sleeve) is a peach from the very first bars of the opener, Freeway. It’s a lush, subtle, melodic, brilliantly arranged mood piece that sits as a companion with with Batchelor No 2 her previous finest hour

Perhaps it’s her most mature work to date. And that wouldn’t be a surprise given that she’s been round the block a few times now.

I was fortunate enough to visit Victoria and Karl in Peterheed last week and amongst other things I played Karl a copy of this album and his view was that he thought he hated Aimee Mann but thought this was great.

It’s excellent stuff.

Don’t listen to Kenneth.

Listen to this…

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