I’m trying to work out what I listened to the most last year, and I think this might be be it. I mean, I could’ve got really scientific and done a list of 50 tracks that I loved, but life is far too short. And I’ve mostly picked individual tracks that stood out, although I still think tracks should be listened to as albums.
Fleet Foxes – Mykonos (from ‘Sun Giant’)
I downloaded ‘Sun Giant’ when it came out and thought it was great. I love harmonies, and there are harmonies all over this. The songs go off in unexpected directions, the melodies are strong, interesting and sung really well. That guy can sing. I wasn’t convinced about the first track, but it’s ok. I loved the album too, but it’s this track that i seem to play over and over. I am still surprised that they have become so big this year, only goes to prove that people have better musical taste than I give them credit for. Sometimes.
Raveonettes – Young and Beautiful
Ok, they are sort-of JAMC with proper tunes and singing with an edge of melancholy (does melancholy come to an edge or is it sort of soft?) so they don’t actually sound like JAMC at all, do they? I suppose they’re like a less-shoegazing Blonde Redhead. I love this track, I love the melody, I love the fact that it is 90% fuzz bass.
(Is it JAMC that everyone says they sound like, or is it My Bloody Valentine? But everyone said MBV sounded like JAMC when they put out ‘Isn’t Anything’. Yeah, right. Like a model-T is the same as a Bently).
These guys are on my list of bands to investigate in 2009 – all I own by them is this 5track EP. I think I ought to listen to more ‘Rock’ stuff this year, I think I’m going soft.
Blank Blue -Western Water Music Vol.II
This is the new band of Nobody, who everyone should buy stuff by. It’s psychedelic hiphop-syled stuff, I suppose, made of stitched-together bits of obscure records with added drum machines and multiple vocals. One review likened it to the Cocteau Twins, which it sort of is, but that wasn’t the first comparison that came to mind. It’ll do. This is really moody stuff, with some serious bass going on. He also manages to do hip-hop in 3/4 time on one track, which I didn’t think was possible. It is apparently a concept album about a flood consuming California, which I didn’t know until 5 minutes ago when I checked up what Nobody’s real name is: Elvin Esetla.
James Summerfield – Another Day With You’s Like Torture
This gets lumped in with ‘folk’ when I think (like a lot of other ‘folk’) it’s pop songs played gently on acoustic instruments. Which is what this is. I followed a link on a blog and found a 5-track sampler for this album, which I played for about 6 months before placing the order. Anyway, this is really good stuff. Track 1 reminds me a little of Robert Gomez, who no-one ever mentions who put out a really good album the other year called ‘Brand new towns’. Anyway, James Summerfield is English and sounds it. His label is called ‘Commercially Inviable Records’ which is a pretty good name, although it seems to cause them problems with the search engines.
Bruce Kaphan – Slider
The album is sub-titled ‘Ambient Excursions for Pedal Steel Guitar’, which i think tells you all you need to know about what it sounds like. We’re not in Nashville anymore.
Kaphan played pedal steel for American Music Club around the time of ‘Everclear’ (probably my favourite album ever, still) and ‘Mercury’. That might also give you an idea of the sound. This is incredibly mellow, varied and ambient, like it says on the front. sometimes – late at night, open bottle of wine – stick this on shuffle and repeat and chill out. Why not?
Spoon – The Book I Write
Spoon did the soundtrack to the disappointing ‘Stranger Than Fiction’. Most of the tracks were either instrumental versions of old songs or songs from ‘Gimme Fiction’. This was the only thing that doesn’t appear anywhere else. I put off buying this for ages, I’m not buying an album for just one track. Well, I did. This is pretty damn good. Well, it’s by Spoon, of course it’s good.