50. I Am Kloot – Northern Skies
49. Islet – We Shall Visit
48. Erykah Badu – 20 Feet Tall
47. The Vaselines – I Hate The Eighties
46. (We Are) Performance – The Living
45. Hole – Skinny Little Bitch
44. Vit Päls – Odysseus
43. Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
42. Drive-By Truckers – Birthday Boy
41. The National – Anyone’s Ghost
40. Ke$ha – Your Love Is My Drug
39. Wild Nothing – O Lilac
38. MGMT – Song For Dan Treacy
37. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – Beverly Kills
36. The Black Keys – Everlasting Light
35. Four Tet – Angel Echoes
34. Shearwater – Landscape At Speed
33. The Heartbreaks – Liar, My Dear
32. Ed Harcourt – Lustre
31. Best Coast – Boyfriend
30. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim feat. Florence Welch – Here Lies Love
A concept album about corrupt capitalist she-dragon Imelda Marcos sounds too camp to be true, but this is David Byrne, so what actually emerges is an ambitious and accomplished musical extravaganza with 22 tracks showcasing some of the most interesting singers around, and no Fatboy Slim grating big-beat-bollocks in evidence. The title track sets the bar appropriately high for the drama and epically catchy pieces that follow.
29. Sleigh Bells – Crown On The Ground
It was a close call choosing a Bells track, but in the live show this one comes across like a combine harvester to the face so it had the necessary edge. Not all hipster music is complete toilet, sometimes they’re onto a right winner.
28. Belle and Sebastian – I Didn’t See It Coming
Funny to think they’re the old guard now isn’t it? I even saw them at a seated gig last week with full orchestra. Magic. Write About Love is a charmer of an album, not quite The Life Pursuit but still one to keep close to your heart. This, the opener, starts out as simple as a glass of milk. Stuart takes a back seat to some sweet, sweet vocals by a lady whose name I don’t know and then, about three minutes in, there’s a spectacular Bowie-esque middle-eight after which Stuart returns with a backing vocal line that takes you to that whimsical, late-afternoon, heart-busting place where Belle and Sebastian are simply kings. ‘Make me dance, I want to surrender …’
27. Gil Scott-Heron – Me And The Devil
Every episode of The Wire condensed into three minutes of slanted soul music. Quietly epic and lifted from one of the most beautifully produced records of the year.
26. The Fall – O.F.Y.C. Showcase
THE FALL-UH! ARE BACK-UH! Yet more new backing blood ensured Your Future Our Clutter could hold its own with the best of their now vast backlist. I nearly chose ‘Mexico Wax Solvent’ for out-Falling themselves with amazing song titles.
25. Villagers – Becoming A Jackal
Another track that shot up the list like a ferret after hearing it brought to life in concert. The diminutive Conor O’Brien fights to keep that unruly and beautiful voice of his in check in the flesh, while here it’s perfectly set into the song like a little emerald in a ring. And if you wonder why you feel like crying a bit, there’s a tiny little melodic motif in there from ‘Bright Eyes’, that’s why.
A little bit Cut Copy, a little bit Annie, and loads of fun cranked up on your iPod stomping through town with a hangover. The album is full of all kinds of surprises.
23. LCD Soundsystem – I Can Change
They’re the band you’d have to put in a time capsule so people in the future would just get us, know what I mean? Half the album was in my top 100 at one point, but this Yazoo meets Flock Of Seagulls vibe kept me coming back for more. Such a sad song too, and those are always my favourite.
22. Zola Jesus – Lightsick
Those deep atmospherics and tense female vocals made the Stridulum II album kind of like this year’s Fever Ray. No surprise they toured together. If you can stop repeating the mountain-moving ‘Run Me Out’ then ‘Lightsick’ is waiting for you at the end of the album, or possibly at the end of the world.
21. Big Boi – Shutterbugg
A DJ set fave of mine this year, neither Big Boi nor Andre 3000 have put much of a foot wrong since OutKast’s Aquemini back in, Jesus Christ, 1998, but BB upped the game considerably with Sir Luscious Left Foot … Son Of Chico Dusty, not least in terms of stoopid names.
Blimey, over halfway already ...
Blimey, over halfway already ...
Spotify playlist is here.
See you next week!