OK, so it's been a while since I posted on here but I'm back after some big deliberations about the best records of this wonderful year of music. It's been a year of discovery for me, I've discovered avenues of music I'd never heard or even considered before. From Animal Collective to Battles, The Shins to Jeffrey Lewis, it's been a year of new loves and old flames rekindled. Anyway here is the first installment of my top 40 albums of the year...
30. BATTLES - Mirrored (Warp)
A selection of creepy twisted helium vocals, tight yet expressive drumming and songs so darn funky, yet so clinical and cold, that they end up sounding like James Brown jamming with Gang Of Four in an abandoned warehouse. Amazingly abstract yet so accessible. A triumph of invention.
31. MUM - Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy (Fat Cat)
Lush, atmospheric and beautiful. A heady mix of glitchy electronics, hushed vocals and off kilter lyrics. Their best and most accessible album to date.
32. PATRICK WOLF - The Magic Position (Universal)
Not a patch on his earlier work but still a cracking album. Lacks the dark imagery of Wind In The Wires yet somehow misses the fun and passion of Lycanthropy, sitting somewhere in between. A troubled trip encompassing disco, torch songs and ukuleles. Difficult listening in places but when it's good, it's superb.
33. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE presents KEVIN DREW - Spirit If...
Songs sung with a whisper, melodies like ghostly nursery rhymes and guitars that jangle and brood in equal measure. Delicate and understated yet capable of letting go and becoming something much bigger, something massive. A great album.
34. THE STRANGE DEATH OF LIBERAL ENGLAND - Forward March! (Fantastic Plastic)
This amazing record has a big sound and a big heart. Crunching orchestral guitars, impassioned vocals and a tendency towards historical accuracy rather than introverted heartbreak. This album is big, brave and beautiful.
35. VON SUDENFED - Tromatic Reflexxions (Domino)
A marvelous marriage of Mouse On Mars and The Fall's evil genius Mark E. Smith. An album of deranged lyrics, distorted beats and arguments with builders. Tromatic Reflexxions is the realisation of all Smith's krautrock dreams set to a manic, electronic soundtrack. A much better record than The Fall's rather lacklustre Reformation Post TLC album, which didn't even make the list, consider this the real new Fall album*.
36. HOLY FUCK - Holy Fuck LP (Young Turks)
No vocals here. Nope none at all. Can you cope? I thought I couldn't with my short attention span but here we are, Holy Fuck have made the top 40. When I first clapped eyes on the filthy beggars, supporting the wonderful Buck 65, they were making such a racket out of just toy instruments and old record players. I thought it was a gimmick, this album proves otherwise. Accomplished and tight yet loosely experimental, much more exciting than the rest of the electronic fodder we got this year from insufferable bores like Simian Mobile Disco and Justice. A cracking record.
37. BLOC PARTY - A Weekend In The City (V2)
When I first heard this record I was horrified. After the wonderful Silent Alarm and its abrasive yet beautiful soundscapes this seemed, to be rude, a bit wimpy. As the year has progressed however I've begun to appreciate this record for what it is, a wonderfully naive and honest dissection of modern life. With anger replaced by fear, anti American statements replaced with watching kids playing football in the park with your partner. I think Kele is in love.
38. THE LODGER - Grown-Ups (Angular)
The best of the post c86 bunch. They play songs that you think you've heard before, great lost pop songs that somehow ended up in 2007 inside the mind of a rather unassuming man from Yorkshire. Grown-Ups is like all the best bits of The Wedding Present shot through with grit and cheap ale. An album of sharp, concise and very pretty little ditties.
39. BAT FOR LASHES - Fur And Gold (Caroline)
A wonderful, adventurous debut. Full of so much space, the drums echo as if recorded in a giant cave that stretches out to infinity and the vocals just glide over, flighty yet strong. Simple and to the point, this album tells you everything you need to know about young Natasha Khan in one record. This could be a curse or an indicator of just how great a debut this really is, we'll have to wait and see.
40. BAND OF HORSES - Cease To Begin (Sub Pop)
A solid record, one of those albums where every song could realistically be a single. It's full of winter blues, crisp fuzz-free guitars and an overwhelming sense of loss. A huge development from their 2006 effort Everything All The Time, and you feel there is much more to come, something beautiful rather than consistent.