This blog has been stupidly quiet recently, for which apologies; I shall try to remedy the situation over the New Year period. In the meantime I am readying a host of posts about my favourite records, books and TV programmes of the year – but first here is an excellent and intriguing Albums of 2008 list by Dan. Quite a few things to explore if you don’t know the records already:
1. Bowerbirds – Hymms for a Dark Horse. This is my favourite album of the year by quite a way actually. Very honest recording, very beautiful songs. Tracks sound like they have been sung and recorded in the open and the instrumentation is basic but used to great effect. Saw this band at End of the Road twice, once on their own and also backing up their pal Bon Iver (more of him later). Watch this video of ‘My Oldest Memory’ to get a flavour of their rustic charm:
2. Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim. Ah, lovely Laura. She’s from the Reading area y’know? This album has been a revelation and I don’t know anyone who does’nt like it and who has’nt fallen under its spell. I stalked her this year at End of the Road Festival, this is what I saw.
3. Anni Rossi – Afton EP. Ok this is just an EP but I like her. She sounds a bit like Scout Niblet and quite a lot like Joanna Newsom. However she trumps the two of them – in my opinion. Looking forward to an album next year.
4. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago. Alright, what end of the year list would be complete without this? I like it a lot, though maybe a little tired of it now. Who is Emma? Does she mind? Anyway, as forced as this sounds at times its still really really good. How much we’ll want to pick it up next year remains to be seen however.
5. Hauschka – Ferndoff. This is a great comtemporary classical album. I really like it, it self destructs in places but is underpinned by beauty all the way through. A little like the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Goldmund which I also really liked this year.
6. Daniel Martin Moore – Stray Age. Superior singer song writer stuff in which you discover more reasons to like with each listen. I think Stray Age was his first album and it sounds a little like Sufjan Stevens circa Seven Swans.
7. Max Richter - 24 Postcards in Full Colour. It’s been a busy time for Max Richter. This year he has released this album as well as the soundtrack to the excellent film Waltz With Bashir. Each song here cuts off just as you imagine how they might turn out. It too is soundtrack stuff in a way but you are left to imagine the film for yourself.
8. Krulle Bol - This is the Kit. Second only to Laura Marling this year in my book for solo female song writing prowess. A little known album, but look up the track ‘She Does’.
9. Noah and The Whale – Peaceful The World Lays Me Down. Grown a little tired of this now but that is only due to the amount of listens I’ve given it over the year. The kids are ok – excellent album.
10. Sea Wolf – Leaves In the River. Cheesy in places, not as good as past ‘Sea’ named bands eg Seabear or Seagull. However there are enough beards in this band to make their sound authentic and there are three or four strong songs here. Their lead singer looks like Michael J Fox I reckon – check them out.