Friday, 26 December 2008

Narrow Misses

Having started late on the lists this year, the last week and a bit has seen my listening heavily revolve around: 1) summarising what the bloody hell was released in 2008 and 2) figuring out whether the albums that sounded great at the start of the year hold up further down the line. Having done that, I'm chuffed to have now finished it all up and can get to the satisfying bit of posting everything up soon, closing off the year, looking forward to what's upcoming in 2009, then realising I've forgotten/missed/changed my mind on approximately 4,000 albums from '08. Such is the nature of the self-indulgent year end best of.

It being Boxing Day (regardless of the blatant refusal to acknowledge it with a public holiday in the US.....for shame), I still have too much Christmas cheer in me - in cookie form, not beer unfortunately - to spend ages counting down the albums, so I'll simply prologue it now with the laughingly overblown tag of 'Honourable Mentions'. Albums that were high up in the listening tracks at some time but for whatever reason didn't quite scale the heady peaks of my entirely uninfluential top 30. To wit:

The King Blues - Save the World, Get the Girl
A fun, very British listen. Given more time it might rank higher but not all tunes are as superb as the title track.

The Bronx - III
Crazy. This should probably be in my top 10 but it was only released last month and I haven't found it on iTunes or any record stores....unfathomable really but there you go.

Textures - Silhouettes
Along with Meshuggah, these guys released a supremely schizophrenic, engaging metal outing here. Just marginally shy of nudging out a few others.

Rise Against - Appeal to Reason
Standard fare Rise Against really, but they do it so well. 'Hero of War' is stirring and the usual fast-paced, politically charged content is it was in '06,'04, and '02 before that.

Weezer - Red Album
I've heard all these tracks in a disjointed way, a stream here and a download there. As always, they've included some untouchable pop-rock songs that everyone has heard by now. Probably more my fault for not putting it all together and listening to the album as a whole.

Portico Quartet - Knee Deep in the North Sea
Officially a 2007 release but I downloaded it in September '08, on the basis of it being in the Mercury '08 nominations and them playing Jools Holland in '08. So there. Smooth as a silk kitten jazz that is perfect for the wee hours.

Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
Sold a million plus in the first week......just not to me. 'A Milli' got me hooked recently and I like the unhinged, alternative arrogance of the rhymes used. Hip hop/rap's poorly represented on my list this year, which may not have been quite so much the case if I'd picked up on this one a bit earlier.

British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
One of the first albums I picked up this year and, whilst it still has some of the endearing qualities of 'Open Season', I found myself rarely coming back for repeat listens. My first surprise of the year, as I was expecting some significant evolution here. Oh well.

Lightspeed Champion - Falling Off Lavendar Bridge
Pleasant enough with some enjoyable, simple indie pop songs. Not that remarkable, though.

- s/t
See post from a few days ago. This is US radio rock fare but doesn't lose anything for being so.

Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
Great singles, doesn't make for a full album to come back to for me though.

Grails - Take Refuge in Clean Living
Not bad but suffers from being in the shadow of last year's outstanding 'Burning Off Impurities'.

Cadence Weapon - After Party Babies
See Grails but substitute album title for 'Breaking Kayfabe'.

Blood Red Shoes
- Box of Secrets
Some great singles but another band I should have tried harder with, both on disc and live. My bad, lass and lad.

- Black Ice
Haven't listened to all of it, so can't justify it being higher. Fair play on the amazing comeback though......the world needs simple, boozy rawk n roll like this!

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