Sunday, December 23, 2007

Music review 2007

Time for me to compile a list of my favourite music from the last year, and it has been a very good one on the music front. And I'll probably miss something

Top 10 Albums of 2007

1 Feist - The Reminder
This album is superb, from lilting pop to understated folk. Feist's voice is wonderful and beautifully backed by intricate melodies as she sings of love won and lost. Favourite track: The Park.

2 MIA - Kala
Bought on the back of glowing comments on teletext, this album proved to be huge. Inventive and fresh, these electronic noises rage with life. Challenging intelligent lyrics bolster this heady mix of beats, bringing issues of war and poverty to the dance floor. Fave song: $20

3 Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Once again they have managed to expertly bring together a myriad of instrumentation to make a sound that is vivid and not pompous. Hurdy Gurdy's and Cathedral Organs nestle with electric guitars and horns. Songs question the insignificance of the church and it's apparent failure to engage with modern life. Fave song: Intervention

4 Monkey Swallows the Universe - Casket Letters
I have been privilaged to have become friends with this bunch of musicians over the last year and as such it makes it harder to review their music. Their second album certainly produced the goods, lilting folk pop, songs full of charm and accessibility. Music this good should really be playing on iPods around the country. Fave song: Gravestones

5 Radiohead - In Rainbows
Radiohead return to form with this album. Mixing interesting electronic noises with their brand of guitar rock. Thom varies his vocal performances with falsettos providing frshness to tracks. They continue to show that rock music can evolve. Fave song: Reckoner

6 Stars - In our bedroom after the wall
Third entry by a canadian band in the top ten. Girl/boy vocals play together against sunny guitar pop. Songs of love and broken relationships interplay, as the music careers between 70s funk to piano ballads. Fave song: Personel

7 Strange Death of Liberal England - Forward March!
Passionate vocals are hollered against a backdrop of angry guitars. But it's not all noise as gentle glockenspiel and banjo are cleverly included. Vibrant and punchy. Fave track: A day another day

8 Justice - cross album
An album named by a symbol - how crazy (!) This album starts with the dirtiest rummbling bass that entrances your legs into a dancing frenzy. The beats continue to pound as funk laden melodies are carried along. Album begins to tire after the first half for me. Fave track: D.A.N.C.E.

9 Bjork - Volta
As always Bjork brings an album to the table that continues to bring music from the future. Working with some of the world's most inventive producers she brings alien noises to back her unique voice. The album suffers from patchy mediocre tunes, but the good ones are very very good. Fave track: Earth Intruders

10 Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat
Malcolm sings about the downs and hurts of life with wit and uplifting tunes. Often overlooked for being depressing, his lyrics are actually filled with hope in the gritty reality that often you feel let down by life. Anti folk at its best. Fave track: Brighter Beat

Of course I haven't managed to listen to loads of albums that have been released this year and am sure that some of them may well have made my top ten and the alustrious acolades that that brings ;)

Top singles:

1 Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
2 Going to a town - Rufu Wainwright
3 Fire Escape - Fanfarlo

three singles will do cos I don't really pay attention to singles anymore

Top gigs of the year:

1 MIA - Manchester Academy 2
Only a few days ago, this stormed straight to the top of the gig list. I was so impressed with the live mixing of electronic loops and the ferocity of MIAs vocal delivery. A performance full of passion whipping the crowd into a frenzy of dancing. Astounding

2 Arcade Fire - Latitude
Awesome finish to a really great festival, with Final Fantasy joining them onstage the bombastic orchestral sound was electric.

3 Feist - Manchester
Small venue, big voice. Session musicians squeezed onto the stage gave a wonderful rounded sound to supplement her gossamer vocals. Wonderful

4 Monkey Swallows the Universe - Merlin
Launching their new album, this theatre proved the perfect venue for their wonderful indie folk pop.

5 Hush the Many - leadmill
Supporting The Fields - this support act blew me away with their wondrous soundscapes. Supplemented with cello and understated boy/girl vocals this sound was awe inspiring. Hope to hear more in the future.

more of my live reviews can be read in the teletext flickr set

Music I discovered this year that was out ages ago

Sufjan Stevens - this man is so good. His Illinois Album has been catapulted into my all time top albums ever. Wonderful instrumentation backs intelligent and heartfelt lyrics. You must own some of his music. Thanks to and cait for the recommendation.

Bat for Lashes - spotted on glastonbury this eccentric musician is not only beautiful, but creates wonderful folk pop.

Antony and the Johnsons - what a voice! Album picked up on the cheap, knew it was a mercury winner - and how.

Thom Yorke - solo album of chilled electronica fused with his varied vocals. great for focusing concentration when at work.

Bands to look out for this year:
Operator Please, I was a cub scout (for pink squares, a top pop tune), nat johnson, fanfarlo, hush the many