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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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

22 dreams by Paul Weller


I have an ambivalent attitude to Paul Weller.

I don’t know why, because you could fill several CD’s with his highly enjoyable ‘best of’… However, I think he blows a bit hot and cold for me; maybe it’s just because he’s had such a phenomenal output in volume terms (even this album has a collosal 21 tracks).

Wildwood was classy.

I liked some, but not much, of Style Council, I liked some, but not all, of The Jam.

So, this stunning album, (I was prompted to buy it on the back of seeing him live on TV a couple of times, but more significantly by the outstanding single, ‘Have you made up your mind.“) has really taken me by surprise.

It’s massively varied, although it has a strong rock backbone to it.

It’s not a life-changing record but it is a very, very good one by a man who has had more iterations than a highly iterative thing.  Like a website for example.

Try it.  You might like it.

Here’s the stunning single I referred to.

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recent listening


This is a bit different. A modern take on folk as a kind of folk supergroup. They could have called themselves Sky Ba’tat!

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Led by Martin and Eliza Carthy and featuring Sheila Chandra, Benjamin Zephania, Paul Weller, Trans-Global Underground, Billy Bragg, The Copper Family and Tuung it maybe shouldn’t work, but it does.

However, even though it’s a new take on folk if you don’t like folk you won’t like this. If you’re ambivalent it might just swing it for you.

They are The Imagined Village. What’s most interesting is when they meld olde English Folk with ‘World Rythms’ so that the percussion can be really interesting and exciting, particularly on the song “Cold Haily Rainy Night.”

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The other thing that’s heavily rotating on the car stereo is the soundtrack from Juno featuring a bunch of quirky off-beat stuff. “A bit kooky” would, I suppose, sum it up and no better demo of that is the Velvet Underground’s “I’m sticking with you” which is, for those of you that know it, is not typical Velvets.

In addition it features Dearest by Buddy Hololy which is really rather good and A Well Respected Man by The Kinks, thereafter you’re into Belle and Sebastian territory with a couple of contributions (Expectations and Piazza. New York Catcher). But the real backbone of the album is a bunch of college bands from the US that I’ve never heard of but would like to find out more, principally Kimya Dawson, but also Barry Louis Polisar, Antsy Pants and The Moldy Peaches.

Here’s some Kimya…

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It’s all good fun, feelgood stuff.

Well worth a tenner.