Friday, December 22, 2006

Review of the year


A lot of the albums I bought this year weren't released in 2006, however of those I did buy that were released this year here are my top 5:

1. Bright Carvings - Monkey Swallows the Universe
This album is quite superb and deservedly takes the honour of album of the year. I can remember the first listen like yesterday as it broke into Sheffield Shanty I thought this sounds like Twee nonsense trying to appeal to Sheffield sensibilities. But then on the second listen I realised that I had been fooled and that this really was a work of musical and lyrical genius. Clever stories told over beguiling music played with such delicacy and simplicity that it's myriad layers come together in a delightful way. You need to own this record.

2.CSS - Cansei de Ser Sexy
Tremendous bubblegum punk record, at 35 minutes, there is no room for dull tracks. Unlike MSTU it's merit is not on musicallity but on fun. This record oozes cool, vibrant tunes matching Lovefoxxx's astute and cheeky lyrics. Art Bitch is the highlight, though it is the live performances where these songs come to life.

3.Mr Beast - Mogwai
Probably their poorest album to date, but with few records to choose from I'll put this in the list. Probably only half of the tracks are great on this offering, however it does have the magnificent 'glasgow mega snake' which packs Mogwai at their most ferocious into a delightful 3min track.

4.Love and Other planets - Adem
Another up and down album, however his ability to create music using a variety of borrowed sounds makes this album worthy of note. Some beautiful tunes and allogories of love. Perhaps my love of his first album, homesongs, sets a standard that just can't be matched.

5.Campfire Headphase - Boards of Canada
Back to their best after their mediocre last album. Beautiful melodic electronica that is perfect for ambient surroundings. Lacks the odd sampled vocals of previous albums.

Must also mention the superb double album of Peel Sessions by the delgados, not included in the list due to being a compilation album. Superb music as always and the added bonus of mentioning me in the sleeve notes (i'm the moog). arab strap sadly split up this year and also released a compilation of rareities and hits.

Albums I bought this year worthy of note:
Clap your hands say yeah
Belle and Sebastian - Life Pursuit

My top singles of the year with links to youtube videos

1 when the sun goes down - Arctic Monkeys
At the start of the year I hailed this as single of the year and I wasn't wrong, though the next few tracks made it a close run thing. Perfect single material that just makes you want to bounce along. Shame the album fell a bit flat after a few listens.

2 boy at school - Hot Chip
Not only is the tune great but the video is superb. I love the harmonies over the simple electronica. Just need to get the album now

3 alala - CSS
There's another video too. When I heard this on the radio I liked it straight away. It's got perfect pop elements, driving beat, makes you want to dance.

4 Monster - The Automatic
I love the shouty vocals on this, though it sounds very much like Seafood.

5 science - Monkey Swallows the Universe
You'll have to go to theur website to see the video. Following on from their superb album comes this beautiful tune about losing faith in the 'truth' of science.

6 Us - Regina Spektor
Wonderful piano playing from the anti-folk queen. Using vocals to create unique sounds, the video is wonderful too.

7 Maneater - Nelly Furtado
The best pop record of the year from the crazy nelly furtado. Shame the video is a bit lame.

8 Yeah Yeah - Bodyrox
A nod to a dance tune that couples simple beats with great shouty vocals sung with attitude.

Live gigs of the year

CSS - Leadmill
Adem - Boardwalk
Monkey Swallows the Universe - Boardwalk
Mogwai - Plug
Regina Spektor - Leadmill
65 Days of Static - Leadmill
Belle and Sebastian - Octagon
Emma Pollock - Leadmill
Radiohead - Blackpool
Broken Social Scene - Manchester Academy

Best book I've read this year:
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, I reviewed in some depth a while ago, you can search for it if you're interested!

I'm sure there's more stuff, but that'll do.

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