With the albums of the decade list going up on TLOBF and the ‘Best of British’ arriving on Saam’s Faded Glamour any day now, I thought it would be nice to say a few words on albums that came out this year that i haven’t really spoken about. This is mainly due to being very, very embarassingly late to the party or possibly due to listening over a longer period of time without the short, sharp bursts that often result in my manically posting that such and such a band are the best thing ever. Either way, these are a few artists and their albums that you should definitely look into if they’ve not already cropped up in your other end of year searches:
Loney Dear – Dear John
Apparently, Emil Svanängen had been releasing his work by himself in Sweden since 2003, but it wasn;t until Sub Pop came knocking in 2007 that he got his break into a wider audience. On his second record, this time put out by Polyvinyl, he’s really stretching his wings, making an album that’s got just the right amount of Postal Service mixed in with his ow3n unique Scandinavian charm. There are one or two tracks that are more singer songwriter than anything else, but for the sheer scope and vision of the work, Dear John deserves commending. It’s personal and engaging whilst brimming with a confidence with what is being achieved. Excellent for long bus journeys, too.
Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM
Anyone who’s ever written any kind of blog even mentioning music was seemingly linked to a diskjokke remix of the title track from this album a ew months ago. And though the remix is brilliant – as proven by the amount of decent writers that re-posted it – the original sttill far surpasses it. Anyone who’s appeared in a Michel Gondry movie doesn’t really need to be any more cool, but if you’ve got Serge Gainsbourg as a Dad then I suppose you might feel like you’re living in somewhat of a shadow. It’s been decades since the pair dueted on ‘Lemon Incest’ but with this release Charlotte really seems to have hit her stride, flitting between languages whilst crafting a wonderful album.
Zola Jesus – Tsar Bomba
Zola Jesus – The Spoils
Former Ghosts – Fleur
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you realise that the people you look up to are younger than you. Having turned 20 this year, Nika Rosa Danilova is younger than a lot of people. Not only that, she’s also made two of the better albums of the year and was a part of Gareth Campesinos! album of the year thanks to being a part of the Former Ghosts project. Whilst tsar Bomba and The Spoils are both spectacular in their execution, working with Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and Freddy Ruppert of This song is a mess but so am I takes her industrial, isolated soundscapes and hones them to perfection. Her voice is like something from a particularly vivid dream, creating some of the most haunting songs of the year. Heavily regretting not voting for these on TLOBF’s end of year poll.
The Fresh & Onlys – Self Titled
In a year where garage, lo-fi pop has been hyped beyond belief, it’s a still a shock that The Fresh & Onlys don’t demand more of a following. They’re dirty, and there’s a fair amount of fuzz on this, but at the heart of each track on their debut there’s a really good pop song. It’s hardly the most complex stuff, but the simple lyurics and thrashing of two or three chords somehow manages to sound like it’s not been done to death already when done by these guys. With a record coming out on woodsist soon, hopefully 2010 will see more hipsters flock to these San Fransicans
How do you top one of the most recognisable records o all time? well, you can’t, really. And though Vs Children isn’t as good as Etiquette, it’s not too far off, but iot lacks the instant connection with the listener that the 2006 album had. Lyrically, it’s still the same old Casiotone, singing of love and longing whilst sounding like the saddest man on earth, but there’s a definite move away from pop with this, which makes it a little less accessible. Though it may take a while to get into, it’s still one of the most rewarding albums of the year and cements Owen Ashworth’s position as an international music treasure. As long as he keeps touring and releasing work of this quality, we will all be okay, I promise.
She’s not really put out a real record as of yet, but the ex-Pocahaunted member has still had a pretty big year. Pitchfork recently put The Sun was High (so was I) on their tracks of the year, which seems to be giving her dreamy, lo-fi music the publicity it deserves, and should only hasten the release of a full LP sometime. Supremely talented and has the potential to become the undisputed queen of her genre – grab ahold of every MP3 of hers you can, sit in your room and listen. You could even put them into some sort of order and pretend it’s actually an album, and it’ll still probably be better than most of the other music you’ve listened to this year.
Apologies for the lack of mp3/streaming, but there is a car outside waiting for me. Sorry.