I’d say it’s been a vintage year for quality music. Before I get into this year’s top five, here’s another 25 that didn’t quick make the list but all come highly recommended by the Tidal Wave of Indifference:
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today
Beach House – Teen Dream
Bear in Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Broken Records - Let Me Come Home
Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record
Burns Unit - Side Show
Die! Die! Die! – Form
Field Music - Field Music (Measure)
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Here We Go Magic - Pigeons
The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever
I Build Collapsible Mountains - A Month of Lost Memories
James Yuill - Movement in a Storm
Les Savy Fav - Root for Ruin
Liars – Sisterworld
Maps and Atlases - Perch Patchwork
Mimas - Lifejackets
Mitchell Museum - The Peters Port Memorial Service
No Age - Everything in Between
PVT - Church With No Magic
The Scottish Enlightenment - St Thomas
Serena-Maneesh - No 2: Abyss in B Minor
UNKLE - Where Did The Night Fall
The Unwinding Hours - The Unwinding Hours
Yeasayer - Odd Blood
I could name plenty more but if I did I’d be sailing dangerously close to ‘just naming every album I picked up this year’ territory. Anyways…
5. Caribou – Swim
Swim by name, Swim by nature. Aquatic references were all over electronic wizard Dan Snaith’s latest record, reviewed in full here. For me this took electronic music somewhere entirely new and cemented Caribou’s reputation as one of its leading lights.
4. The Last Battle – Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea
Ah, of course. There had to be a record by a relatively unknown downbeat Scottish folk troupe near the top of the list didn’t there? The debut album by Leith’s Last Battle, reviewed in full here was the pick of the bunch and a band I’d love to see reach beyond the Scottish scene. This is a particularly lo-fi video from their in-store performance in Edinburgh’s Avalanche a few months back - I was there but mercifully, I’m just out of shot.
3. Foals – Total Life Forever
Foals could easily have slipped my attention altogether. I passed on their debut Antidotes, dismissing them as NME fodder, but thankfully airplay for Spanish Sahara and Miami prompted me to investigate further and thank god I did. Total Life Forever has depth – both musical and emotional – intricate arrangements and, in Blue Blood, probably the song of the year.
2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
I liked 2007’s Neon Bible but there’s no doubting this is a vast improvement on an album that disappointed many. Described as bloated by some, lacklustre by others, I went into considerable depth about how much I liked it on its release. My opinion hasn’t changed – I still think it’s absolutely brilliant.
1. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest
It was always going to be one hell of an album to pip Arcade Fire to the top. And well, here it is. By blending the best elements of indie pop, shoegaze and minimalist electronica into a single record, Bradford Cox has created his masterpiece. An absolute must buy for all music fans. You can read my full review here.
So that’s it for another year. I’ll be doing a bit of a round up of what other sites are saying in the next days, plus a look ahead to 2011. Now it’s over to you – aside from Dundonian mouthpiece Stevie, you’ve all been suspiciously quiet so far – I normally expect a significant amount of piss-taking every year I do this and the list wouldn’t be complete without them, so bring the comments on!!!