Ah, finally cleaning up the files...here's the dreaded 'end of year list''...Fascinating year, and deep, lots of quality music...many oldsters-i so thought about having junior/senior lists, but what the hell...in all it's glory, here we go:
Honourable Mention: (VA) dark was the night, Joe Henry, Neko Case, Fanfarlo, Avett Brothers, Le Loup, Norah Jones, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs get the Honorable Mention...
As for the toppermost, it would be:
10 BROWNIES ourknife yourback
A spastic blast of good old rock and roll from the UK...In the wake of Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Kasabian, and for god sakes Muse, you really had to wonder what had got into the old chaps...was there really no life left in the form whatsoever? Here is your answer, everything great, rude, crude, and socially unacceptable in one neat little package...
9 YO LA TENGO popular songs
Still defiantly barking up their very own tree...this one's front.loaded with great songs, and then finishes with three long jams ranging from sublime to spiky. It could only be Yo La Tengo!
8 ANTLERS hospice
Happy surprise in the form of a desperately dire concept record...(see title). Actually uplifting, in that downbeat kind of way...
7 DINOSAUR, JR farm
Along with Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr has managed to pull off the rare reunion that transcends its original work. Their reunion album Beyond was a great return to form, but Farm ups the ante with an emphasis on tightness, and Mascis' amazing guitar work.
6 GIRLS girls
Buzz band with a crazed backstory and a Phil Spector/Jesus & Mary Chain fuzzball sound makes waves w/their debut...compulsively listenable...(& yet another show i missed this year, sigh...)
5 MOS DEF the ecstatic
A serious return to form; Mos hits it hard and doesn't quit, effectively cancelling out the 'WTF' that was 'True Magic, with a lean and muscular record. He's totally committed, riding over some jawdropping samples, culminating the whole trip with a Black Star reunion on key track, 'History'
4 SONIC YOUTH the eternal
Aging gracefully is such a rare thing (to paraphrase Ornette Coleman), and while their peers made marginal records, broke up, reformed for big $$$, Sonic Youth kept the bar raised...Some records were gauzier and less linear, some sharper and shorter, but they maintained a certain level, and never backed away...
Perhaps inspired by their trotting out of Daydream Nation for ATP shows and a move to Matador, this is a career record in terms of looking back across the landscape of their career and bringing all the different elements of noise back under one roof, while maintaining their cohesiveness.
3 GRIZZLY BEAR veckatimest
How to follow up Yellow House? Grizzly Bear chose ostensibly the harder road, the arrangements getting denser, the hype starting with internet leaks of early mixes, a summer tour slot opening for Radiohead, and a sense of having to lay all its cards on the table.
Veckatimest is a magnificent success, the very definition of a 'grower' record, one that seeps into your senses, and crawls under your skin.
2 MISSION OF BURMA the sound the speed the light
The latest salvo in the second wave of Burma is, like Sonic Youth's 'Eternal', at once a summation record of all the strands that made them great, and a statement of current purpose...Never have they rocked harder...each song building upon the previous with little let down. Perhaps no individual songs will match the Burma anthems of yore, this relentless disc as a whole could well be their finest album.
1 DIRTY PROJECTORS bitte orca Stunning from the first listen, still revealing months and months later, like a crystal held to light...Dirty Projectors come into their own.
Misc cleanup...still haven't heard Bat For Lashes new one...loved the first, and how did she not get the Mercury Prize?! Did they turn into the Grammy's when i wasn't looking? Also, just got new Trail of Dead, back in business in a big way. I think both of those would have tussled for a spot on this list if i had it together...
Forward Ho! in the 010, already can't wait for Spoon's new album, 'Transferences', as well as new records from Los Campesinos! , the Besnard Lakes, Shearwater, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Midlake, and Shearwater. In the studio as we speak, (w/no reported release dates), are both Radiohead and Arcade Fire...