OK, here we go, here’s my Top Ten of the year, definitely in this order and no other!
10. Xander Harris – The New Dark Age of Love
Synthmeister and celebrity ‘Spill visitor Xander Harris is back with an all-new second album. Gone (well, not completely) are the Jean Michel Jarre-isms of the first album, replaced by a darker, more downbeat and foreboding edge. This only makes it that much more to my tastes and a great progression from an already outstanding debut.
9. The Julie Ruin – Run Fast
Kathleen Hanna is finally back after a long hiatus (she was diagnosed with Lyme disease) and this album did not disappoint (me, at least!). It doesn’t sound much like her lo-fi solo album as Julie Ruin (no ‘The’!) which I absolutely love, but it does sound like a perfect amalgam of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Shouty bits, bleepy bits, tonnes of catchy bits and the odd emotional sucker punch. Welcome back Kathleen!
Here’s one of the emotional sucker punch tracks:
8. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
I have to admit that I was slightly underwhelmed when I ran back from the record shop and first dropped the needle on the new BOC. There was no obvious radio friendly unit shifter and not too much to grab hold of. But after giving it a few spins the subtle textures and insistent rhythms managed to burrow their way into my head and I ended up loving it and think it might be their best since “Music Has….”. Albums that need a few listens to appreciate end up being the keepers and I think this might be one of them.
7. My Bloody Valentine – mbv
Due to the fact that I only bought (and heard for the first time) “Loveless” about two years ago ( I think it was after a discussion on here) I came to mbv unencumbered by the misplaced sense of greatness that nostalgia has given it. Don’t get me wrong, I like “Loveless”, I just don’t think it’s that amazing. In fact, I much much prefer mbv, it has the fuzziness of their previous stuff but with added songwriting focus and forward-looking experimentalism to boot. I listened to this album A LOT this year, usually late at night. In three words: better than “Loveless”! ……Oi, who just shouted ‘Judas’ ??!!
6. Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
I know this has become the go-to album for white hipster bloggers this year and I don’t usually listen to much hip-hop, but I downloaded this the week it came out because….well, because it was free (!) and have just found myself coming back to it again and again (and again!) – usually whilst doing the washing up! The combination of clever wordplay, the usual hip-hop hyperbole, goofy raps, everyday vignettes and emotional vulnerability reminds me a bit of the first couple of Eminen albums, but instead of Marshall Mathers’ misanthropy, Chance comes across more as a victim of circumstance, a scared kid (I think he has only just turned 21) stuck in a place where “it’s easier to find a gun than it is to find a fucking parking spot”, using rap to get out (of it). I think I’m rambling now, OK…I just like it a lot!
Download it free and see for yourself!