THE TOP TEN
The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters
Appeals to the young Scottish male in all of us. You too. I wrote the Skinny review but am thoroughly embarassed by it now: mostly, though I stick by the 5-star rating. It seems others agreed with that (if not the dubious Mogwai reference), as the writers collectively voted it the Album of the Year. I also interviewed James Graham, the lead singer.
Burial – Untrue
Inspiring an interest in dubstep. Have I been missing more like this? But this is more ambient than most, I think, and makes me want to move to east London just so I can listen to it through my Sennheisers on a late-night walk home from a bar. Anyone in such a privileged position should do so.
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Often unfairly maligned as a solid-but-unremarkable record. All My Friends and Someone Great would be enough to get it somewhere on the list, but there’s no filler here either. If this goes down as the album of the year according to THE CANON, that's alright with me.
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Could, possibly, maybe, be better than Kid A. Just bought it on vinyl – because good music deserves to be paid for – and sounds even better. My review for The Skinny, another 5-star job, which I wholly stand by.
Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Initially a difficult, exhausting listen. The pulsing intro to the first song, Peacebone, is almost painful. There was much debate on the Stylus staff message board about whether an album that is unenjoyable on first listen deserves more time. I gave it the benefit of that doubt, until it finally began to make sense after several listens, and grew into a remarkably complex, idiosyncratic and melodic record, far exceeding (imho) Feels.
M.I.A. – Kala
Moreso than Sound Of Silver, Kala is a record which is boosted immeasurably by two (or three) particular tracks. Much of Kala is minimalistic Timbaland-style beats that, on their own, don't excite me much. But Jimmy – who knew Bollywood and Italo-disco would merge so smoothly? – was my favourite song of the year, and Paper Planes was another strong candidate.
ps. If you ask Google Images, Kala is all-natural, aye.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Scribble Mural Comic JournalMy Stylus review here. Also, a Skinny review here. In summary – hazy and beautiful and slightly dirty, like the band name suggests.
The National – Boxer
Soft-rock for trendy accountants who wish they were actually journalists because they understand words as well as numbers. In a good way.
Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
Eloquent and elegant, grandiose and intimate.
Future Of The Left - Curses
ELEVEN TO THIRTY
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Jens Lekman - Night Falls over Kortedala
The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
Robert Wyatt - Comicopera
Kanye West - Graduation
Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Battles - Mirrored
Efterklang - Parades (My slightly too-breathless Stylus review)
Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew - Spirit If...
Brother Reade - Rap Music
Ricardo Villalobos - Fabric 36
Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends
Miracle Fortress - Five Roses (Skinny review here)
Gui Boratto - Chromophobia
Elliot Smith - New Moon
Caribou - Andorra
Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye (Stylus review here - the first I got published)
The Besnard Lakes - Are The Dark Horse