It took a while, but here it is. Originally, the plan was to make a podcast of all the best tracks, but then my computer died, so that’s not going to happen now.
Anyway, here they are…the albums that soundtracked my year more than any others…in reverse order…
10. Ninjasonik – Art School Girls
I think it’s fair to say that Pitchfork are not fans of Brooklyn rappers Ninjasonik. The final sentence of their album review speaks for itself really – “Can an album truly be bad even if it achieves exactly what it intended to do? If your intent is to make shit music, I don’t even see how it’s a question at all.” And the final score of 1.9 out of 10 makes it one of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen on the site. But then it’s Pitchfork. They were never going to approve of this. Yes, this is not a deep and meaningful record. It’s silly, stupid and hideously un-PC at times, but for some reason that’s part of it’s appeal. It just feels like an honest record and I guess serves as a document of a certain scene – a record for friends made by friends, with all the references and in-jokes that goes with that. We all talk shit when we’re with friends. I guess, most of us just don’t put those conversations on a record.
9.The Thermals – Personal Life
I didn’t expect much from the new Thermals record. I guess I kind of thought the band was a closed chapter for me. Then I heard I Don’t Believe You and all that changed. I can’t really pinpoint why I love the song so much, but it’s definitely one of my tracks of the year. And although nothing else on the album quite reaches that level of awesomeness, it is a very strong record. It’s fun and bouncy and never boring. That’s all I ask really.
8. Säkert – Facit
I don’t really understand how non-Swedish speakers can listen to Säkert! Sure, the music is stunning, but for me it’s all about the lyrics. It’s sad and uplifting in equal measures. It’s a rare skill to be able to express yourself to such an extent in two languages, but Annika Norlin never struggles with words. Every bit as charming as her songs in Hello Saferide (her English-language band) this is, again, an extremely personal and very beautiful record.
7. Matt and Kim – Sidewalks
Matt and Kim are all grown up these days, doing Bacardi ads and playing giant festivals. Sidewalks is miles away from both their self-titled debut album and the follow-up Grand. But, you know…it’s stillMatt and Kim, one of the happiest, most life-affirming bands on the planet. I’m always going to love these guys, no matter what they sound like. And don’t get me wrong, the album is great. It’s nowhere near as punky or fast as the previous ones, but still alot fun and catchy as hell.
6. Of Montreal – False Priest
I don’t understand what people were complaining about. So, it’s not a new Hissing Fauna. False Priest is still fucking great. Famine Affair is one of my all-time favorite Of Montreal songs. That’s all.
5. Standard Fare – The Noyelle Beat
I wasn’t overly impressed when I first heard Noyelle Beat, but over the course of the year it has just grown and grown on me. It’s really a stunning record. All the songs are great, but songs like Fifteen, Dancing and Philadelphia really stand out…all pure indiepop classics.
4. Trouble Books – Gathered Tones
Just another absolutely stunning record from Ohio’s finest.
3. Tiger Tape – I Woke Up In Hökarängen
I already wrote a post about this record somewhere. It’s AMAZING! ’nuff said.
2. Nana Grizol – Ruth
Hmmm….getting bored of thinking of things to say now. Nana Grizol’s debut record Love It Love It was an incredible effort, so follow-up Ruth had a lot to live up to. As is quite common, it’s a much more polished record, but none of the charm is lost. An extremely addictive record, with lyrics and melodies that will stick in your head for months and months.
Which brings us to the number one…
1. Japanther – Rock N’Roll Ice Cream
During the past nine years Brooklyn punks Japanther have produced a seemingly endless amount of material. I’ve lost track on how many full-length albums they’ve released, but each has added something new and fresh to their sound. This constant re-invention continues with Rock N’Roll Ice Cream, an album that marks a slight departure from their usual lo-fi fuzz and distortion. The record is by far their most “produced” and “clean-sounding” effort to date. They’ve even called in some female assistance to provide some extra vocal layers. Despite some initial hesitation, I quickly grew to absolutely love this “new sound”. Since I first got my hands on the record in the beginning of the year, I’ve listened to it an insane amount of times and it still shows no signs of losing its appeal. It’s just great. Bursting with positive energy, with just the right dose of angry thrown in, it’s a record that I can count on to drag me out of the shittiest of days. Big words, but Japanther are really my favourite act in the world right now, both on record and live. They have a great attitude to recording and performing and I just can’t wait to hear the next one.
They’re coming to London in February! Seriously, you need to get tickets.
OK…that’s it…Bring on 2011!!