Best Music Of 2009
The Top Ten Albums
1) The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method
A chamber pop/light prog rock concept album about cricket, there is no reason why this shouldn't have been rubbish but instead Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) and Thomas Walsh (Pugwash) created an album of sublime, charming, witty and delightful pop. The lyrics were wonderful, from the hilarity of Shane Warne's Ball Of The Century celebrated in Jiggery-Pokery to the wistful Nightwatchman, this is a rare and beautiful album.
2) The Liberty Of Norton Folgate - Madness
Madness produced a wonderful return to form on this ska concept album, the Nutty Boys took us on an aural tour of their home turf, telling tales of love and life along the way. The eponymously titled album closer was an 11 minute epic, an eleven minute ska song about walking around some streets in London ? Why should that be good ? But it was, quite wonderful.
3) Here's The Tender Coming - The Unthanks
The Unthanks have had a change of personnel since Cruel Sister, but their third album was as haunting and fantastically beautiful as anything they have produced. The Unthanks do tend to explore the darker side of life, from the cruel pit work experienced by the young girl who narrates The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw, the invisible nature of working class women in Nobody Knew She Was There and the despondency of Sad February it can be, lyrically at least, a grim listen, but the Unthank sisters gorgeous voices make it compelling.
4) Let The Dominoes Fall - Rancid
Rancid don't want to be Green Day, their rough edged punk has gained them legions of adoring fans, and on this, their 7th studio album, Rancid charge out just as full of vitriol as when they began. The East Bay punks though have always extolled the virtues of family and brotherhood alongside their more angry rants, and the couplet of Civilian Ways and The Bravest Kids set out their thoughts about the serving military in an adult and thoughtful manner.
5)Everyday Demons - The Answer
The Answer are all the best bits of classic rock rolled up into a brand new package, great songs, big riffs, proper solos and lyrics you want to sing along to, their second album is a joyous celebration of what proper rock music sounds like.
6) The Hazards Of Love - The Decemberists
The Oregon folk band decided on this concept album that they were not Folk Rock, but rather Folk ROCK !, although they continued in parts with their whimsical and wandering modern folk style, they also dropped slabs of Black Sabbath styled guitar work into their new work which thrilled some long time fans and alienated others, it worked though, a complex and beautiful album where the dark heart of lust and gratification corrupts all.
7) Shadows And Half Light - Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts
This debut album from a folk duo was a class act, the pair showcased their multi-instrumental virtuosity alongside their songwriting and vocal talents, with Jamie and Katriona alternating on vocals its almost like having two folk bands in one.
8) New Frustration - Guns On The Roof
Leeds punks GOTR turned out an accomplished debut with New Frustration, a collection of modern melodic punk rowdy enough to suit the old school, but with a modern punk feel that the fans of Green Day and their ilk should appreciate.
9) Metalwar - Hysterica
Meat and potatoes heavy metal with cheesy 80's metal warrior lyrics, what wasn't to like ? The Swedish girls, didn't go for anything modern or avant garde on their debut release, but they did make an absolutely belting straight down the line metal album.
10) The Resistance - Muse
Matt Bellamy led his troops into classical territory on a three part symphony on The Resistance, elsewhere they continued familiar themes of alienation and paranoia and stomping modern prog rock.
Just out of the top ten....Common Dreads - Enter Shikari, Notes & Rhymes - The Proclaimers, Invaders Must Die - The Prodigy, Crooked Timber - Therapy?, Tres Tres Fort - Staff Benda Bilili, Babylon - W.A.S.P., Hands - Little Boots, La Roux - La Roux,
Best Live Acts of 2009
3) The Quireboys
4) The Wildhearts
5) Black Spiders
6) Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts
10) Die Apokalyptischien Reiter
I didn't get out to many gigs last year, must do better in 2010.
Best Songs Of 2010
1) Jiggery Pokery - The Duckworth Lewis Method
2) The Liberty Of Norton Folgate - Madness
3) Thou Shalt Always Kill - Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
4) The Rake's Song - The Decemberists.
5) The Jester - Enter Shikari
6) Omen - The Prodigy
7) Susanna - Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts
8) I'll Be The Judge - Black Spiders
9) The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw - The Unthanks
10) Civilian Ways - Rancid