Best of 2018

Posted: January 4, 2019 in General

I seem to find every second year to be a great year of music, which unfortunately makes this a down year.  Just to compare, this year’s No. 1 album would struggle to scrape into the top ten for 2017.  Perhaps more of my favourite bands release an album every second year.  Not all bad however, still lots of good new music to enjoy and I’m proud to say that some of the best is Australian.


  1. ‘Hope Downs’ – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – whilst there is a lot of good new Aussie music out there, if you are looking for a classic Aussie Rock Band, look no further than this Melbourne band who formed in 2013, but only finally released their debut album this year.  Catchy, jangly guitar heavy tracks with clever hooks and classic Aussie references scattered throughout, this is the Aussie Album of the Summer for mine.
  2. ‘Southern Mind’ – Lowtide – another Melbourne based band, Lowtide have created a gorgeous, expansive reverb heavy album in the mould of Slowdive. The album is steady and consistent and I get lost in it each time I listen.  Warning – this one will be too slow and steady for most listeners, but a joy for those who are happy to lie back and let it wash over them.
  3. ‘Lush’ – Snail Mail – at only 19 years of age Lindsey Jordan writes indie rock songs with a depth and maturity that belies her age, whilst cleverly commenting on the trials and tribulations of the teenage years she is living through. Discovered this one early this year and have been enjoying it ever since.  My No. 1 song of the year ‘Pristine’ is an absolute stand out, but the album is consistent, with lots of further potential for this new artist.
  4. ‘Warm’ – Jeff Tweedy – having achieved much critical acclaim with Wilco, Jeff seems to be in a good place where he writes and performs music he likes, by himself. It feels like he has the skills, life experience and storytelling ability to keep on delivering these heart felt acoustic gems forever.  This is a grower.
  5. ‘Freedom’ – Amen Dunes – a very parred back, mature and subtle album, filled with sincerity and emotion. Each track floats by, whilst life weighs heavy on the voice of Damon McMahon as he delivers what seems like very personal messages, however there is a sense of hope throughout.  An album well worth spending some time with.
  6. ‘The Blue Hour’ – Suede – these guys have settled on a style and sound which they deliver brilliantly. This is unashamedly grandiose, almost cinematic rock which perfectly embraces the confident and intentionally over the top lyrics & vocals of Brett Anderson.   The third in a triptych of records since they reformed in 2010 (originally formed in 1989), this is a band who know who they are, but are still striving to succeed.
  7. ‘Be the Cowboy’ – Mitski – this is a gem of an album from an artist who does the quirky, yet cool and sophisticated pop song beautifully. Moving rapidly from soft and pretty to aggressive and powerful, the sound keeps you involved and the clever, twisted lyrics keep you on your toes as you journey through this consistent album.
  8. ‘7’ – Beach House – a dark, thick, gloomy and yet strangely satisfying album from my favourite dream pop band. The only complaint is that the pace is a little too slow and steady with no big build ups or crescendos.  What’s there is cleverly formulated and well produced, if not particularly exciting.
  9. ‘Boygenius’ – Boygenius – whilst this is technically an EP, I’ve included it because it’s worth it. This band, made up of 3 female American musicians Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, came about simple by touring together.  Each artist brought along one finished song and one idea for a song and although this is their debut, there is great cohesion and it feels like they’ve been working together for years.  This is a slow moving, emotionally driven, gentle and moving piece of indie rock.  Only discovered this in the last month or so, but just keep going back to it.
  10. ‘Marauder’ – Interpol – this is a solid outing from one of my favourite bands. Despite the fact that they have included far less bass and much more distortion than usual (the strong basslines and crisp production are two of the things I had previously enjoyed most about this band), it still works reasonably well.  Their distinctive guitar sound and Paul Bank’s sharp and dark vocal delivery, continue to produce quality tracks.  If you like it you must go back and listen to their debut ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’, which is a masterpiece IMHO.


  1. ‘Pristine’ – Snail Mail
  2. ‘These 3 Things’ – Ought
  3. ‘Rosebud’ – U.S. Girls
  4. ‘Life is Golden’ – Suede
  5. ‘Talking Straight’ – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
  6. ‘One Rizla’ – Shame
  7. ‘Time’ – Amen Dunes
  8. ‘Walk with me’ – Motorcade
  9. ‘Don’t Mind it’ – Cameo Habitat
  10. ‘Sure’ – Hatchie
  11. ‘Deep Burn Blue’ – The Paper Kites
  12. ‘Love is a Basic Need’ – Embrace
  13. ‘All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar (with SZA)
  14. ‘A Pearl’ – Mitski
  15. ‘Falling into Me’ – Let’s Eat Grandma
  16. ‘Shiggy’ – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
  17. ‘Black Car’ – Beach House
  18. ‘The Rover’ – Interpol
  19. ‘I don’t want to know’ – Sigrid
  20. ‘Make me a Song’ – Eleanor Friedberger

Currently and for quite awhile now this has been my favourite album of all time.

Released in October 1992 (when I was turning 18), Automatic for the People received both universal critical acclaim and huge commercial success, reaching number one on the UK charts, generating six singles and to date, it has sold over 18 million copies.

But the story for me is more about what they made and when they made it.  After ‘Out of Time’, REM were big and they just needed one ‘popular’ and commercial hit album to become the biggest band in the world.  Most bands (& more so labels) would look for radio friendly hits without deviating too far from what got them to this point.  REM took a big risk by taking ‘Automatic’ in the direction they did, an album that deals with, among other things, death, depression, pain and suffering.  Whilst ‘Everybody Hurts’ became the big radio hit, it was not the upbeat pop song most would have offered up, but it resonated with people in a way that few songs do.  ‘Nightswimming’ and ‘Find the River’ provide the sense of hope at the end which allows the listener to take a deep breath and look to the future with some optimism.

Listen again to the dark surging undercurrent of ‘Drive’, the crisp & classic Peter Buck guitar on ‘Try not to breathe’, the gentle sway of ‘Everybody Hurts’, the ambiguous but heartfelt lyrics of Michael Stipe throughout and the gorgeous simplicity of ‘Nightswimming’.

A little like ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ by Wilco, few if any of the songs jump out at you, but they all flow effortlessly and the whole is even greater than the sum of its parts, which is hard to believe for an album which generated six singles.  It all sounds so simple, and yet we know that it takes genius and timing to create this kind of magic.   A band at the absolute peak of their powers.

REM moved in a very different direction after this, they had to, they had perfected what they do and it was time to try something different.

Best of 2017

Posted: December 28, 2017 in General

Just a great year for music really.  You never quite know what a new year in music will bring and it’s always a joy to discover something new, but equally it is very disappointing when your favourite bands deliver something sub par (eg. Arcade Fire, U2).  Far more good than bad this year and a nice mix of old and new – enjoy!

Best Albums

  1. ‘A Deeper Understanding’ – The War on Drugs – the band’s last album (2014’s ‘Lost in the Dream’) made my Top 10 (current) albums of all time earlier this year, so I guess it’s no surprise to see the follow up at the top of this year’s list. Hard to believe, but I think this new album has the potential to be even better.  It’s too soon to call, but I’ll let you know in a few years.  ‘A Deeper Understanding’ Is more powerful and immediate, driving, pulsing, filled with rich sounds and grandeur.  Known for his meticulous song craft and grand epic guitar soundscapes, Adam Granduciel has now developed an explosive drum beat sound which is all over this record.  Whilst some will call this dad rock, I call it genius.
  2. ‘Science Fiction’ – Brand New – only just discovered this band after a 17 year career and what is now considered to be their final (and possibly best) album. The band are like a cross between Grunge, Classic Rock and Slacker Rock.  The album delves deep into the theme of mental illness and how it changes and molds our view of the world.  There is not a bad track on this album and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which makes for a truly great album.
  3. ‘Slowdive’ – Slowdive – this is the first album from this band in 22 years and it was worth the wait. The shoegaze movement only lasted a few years in the early 90’s and was overshadowed by grunge and yet it’s influence on music has been profound.  IMHO Slowdive were and have now proven again to be one of the best at it.   The band have created another lush wave of sound which flows gorgeously throughout this record as the male / female vocals drift and float in and out like another instrument.  The melodies are simply beautiful and the songs build and roll so that you get lost in the ambience, like a spectacular dream.
  4. ‘Nothing Feels Natural’ – Priests – a brilliant debut album from this post punk quartet from the US. This band appears to have studied those who’ve gone before them and deliver a great mix of what makes punk great – raw guitars, jungle drums, slow / fast dynamic, angry spoken word, screaming aggressive vocals, political statements, rebellion against capitalism, comedy – it’s all here and then some.  Punk bands aren’t as raw as they used to be and this band can really play, with great punk attitude delivery from their female lead singer.
  5. ‘Prisoner’ – Ryan Adams – this guy knows how to write a classic pop / rock song and this album is full of them, playing like a greatest hits, but still flows well. Written and recorded following the breakup of his marriage, Ryan is sad, lonely, depressed, angry and reflective on this classic break up album.  The guitars are crisp and clear and the mood is frustrated and broken.  He seemingly does this effortlessly, but as we all know it is an incredible skill to make a good album sound simple and easy.  This may well become one of the great ‘break up’ records.
  6. ‘Truth Is a Beautiful Thing’ – London Grammar – after such a great debut album and lots of commercial success I had assumed this band would go all ‘poppy’ in order to milk it for all it’s worth. But instead they have delivered a wonderful follow up of great depth and beauty.  This is a slow, tender, mature album filled with subtle textures and beautiful, building soundscapes.  Hannah Reid’s gorgeous voice hovers over all of this, capturing the sadness and loss of love gone wrong, but always with a sense of hope.
  7. ‘The Order of Time’ – Valerie June – an eclectic mix of styles and sounds from this versatile artist who sings with a heavy voice of experience and wisdom. Soul, blues, gospel, country, Americana and all that fits in between.  If these were my favourite genres, I think this would easily be my No. 1 album of the year.  Steeped in roots music the album provides a fresh take on old styles and it’s gorgeous.  I think this artist would deliver an even deeper level of emotion and spirituality in a live setting.
  8. ‘Emperor of Sand’ – Mastodon – like all good heavy metal albums there is a level of intensity to this album, but after the band members experienced a number of deaths during the making of this album, there is a layer of darkness and loss hanging over it. The guitars are always coming at you and some of the solos are spectacular.  Whilst I am quite new to this band, they have been reportedly making great metal for years and it shows.  They have the ability to take it up and down a notch at will and the album is consistently good and never lets up, bringing in the emotional pull when required.
  9. ‘Hot Thoughts’ – Spoon – this band has been around for some time and make consistently good (some say great) records. They generally stick pretty tightly to a groove, but on this album they are expanding their palette a bit with tempo changes, electronic influences and even a jazz infused piece. It all adds up to another solid outing.
  10. ‘Life without sound’ – Cloud Nothings – this band’s debut album was fast, angry, raw, urgent and loud. This, their third album shows that they have grown and evolved, less angst, more reflection, not necessarily better, just different. The wall of sound guitars remains, but there is more going on, subtle variations, more space for some of the tracks to breath, more commercial without ever being commercial, and very good.


Best Songs

  1. ‘Pain’ – The War on Drugs – song of the year and lyrics of the year – ‘I’ve been pulling on a wire, but it just won’t break, I’ve been turning up the dial, but I hear no sound, I resist what I cannot change, and I wanna find what can’t be found.’
  2. ‘Astral Plane’ – Valerie June
  3. ‘Hell to the Liars’ – London Grammar
  4. ‘Slomo’ – Slowdive
  5. ‘Prisoner’ – Ryan Adams
  6. ‘Murder to the Mind’ – Tash Sultana
  7. ‘Can’t get it out’ – Brand New
  8. ‘Nothing Feels Natural’ – Priests
  9. ‘Show Yourself’ – Mastodon
  10. ‘Ancient Water’ – Future Islands
  11. ‘Enter Entirely’ – Cloud Nothings
  12. ‘Darling’ – Real Estate’
  13. ‘WhisperI’lllistentohearit’ – Spoon
  14. ‘The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness’ – The National
  15. ‘Summer of Love’ – U2


Not sure why but I suddenly felt compelled to update my list and intend to do so every 5 years to see if and how it changes.

I am very aware of the subjective nature of such a list and that as a result it tends to be filled with music that came out (or you listened to most) when you were between the ages of 15 and 30 (hence no Stones, Zeppelin, Floyd, Dylan or Beatles).  However, given my love of music, I consider each person’s list to be fascinating, a window into their soul.  You can tell a lot about a person by what is on their list, and looking at mine it appears as though I’m attracted to some pretty dark and depressing stuff.

It takes more than a bunch of good tracks to make a great album and I have tried to not only choose albums that I love listening to, but also albums which offer a collection of songs which flow and work well together, ‘the whole is greater than the sums of its parts’ type approach.

Whilst it is sometimes hard not to select a so called ‘classic’ album, I find the best way is to think about it as though you were about to go to a deserted island for the rest of your life and this is the only 10 albums you can take.  You then chose the stuff you love and you really want to hear over and over again.  No soundtracks, compilations or greatest hits, just your favourite albums.

For what it’s worth, here is my (current) list:

  1. ‘Automatic for the People’ – REM

After the commercial success of ‘Green’ and the worldwide appeal of ‘Out of Time’, R.E.M. appeared set to take the mantle as the world’s biggest band. All they needed to do was to be a bit more radio friendly, commercial, make a ‘popular’ record. Instead, they turned and went the other way, making a dark, reflective piece of art, and in doing so created a masterpiece. Just look at the album cover, this is not a crowd pleaser.

There is a depth and sincerity to this album that is rarely captured. The water is deep and murky, there is a sense of unease, concern, anxiety, uncertainty, and eventually acceptance and hope (“I have got to find the river”). It is well known that Kurt Cobain was a big fan and had intended for Nirvana’s next album to be of a similar style (but alas).  For mine ‘Automatic’ holds up from start to finish, a truly Classic Album.  And has there ever been a finer last 3 tracks to an album than ‘Man on the Moon’, ‘Nightswimming’ and ‘Find the River’? I think not.

Favourite track: ‘Find the River’

  1. ‘Achtung Baby’ – U2

It’s no longer cool to be a fan of U2, but I’m now too old to care.  I still say they are one of the greatest bands the world has ever known and should be remembered accordingly.

This album was a perfect culmination of so many things, the time, the place (Berlin), where the band was at (psychologically, emotionally, career wise) and what was going on in the world (war and the commericalisation of it), it was a statement.  Bono had said at the end of the previous tour that the band had ‘to go away and dream it all up again’. This band knew that to continue down its current path would leave them open to great criticism as the press and general population would grow tired of their earnest anthems.  The decision to ‘become’ Rock Stars and take on different characters was a reinvention, and this along with The ZOO TV tour and TV programs just exploded this concept and made it huge.  Beautiful, powerful, bombastic, spiritual, uplifting, depressing, all of this and more.  The sharp edges, the world weary ballads, the in your face rockers, the deep spiritual reflective moments and a dark undertone present the whole way through, it’s genius.

I still remember many times in my late teenage years going outside late at night, laying in the grass, staring up at the stars and listening to ‘Love is Blindness’ on my Sony Walkman…..powerful stuff.

Favourite Track – ‘Until the end of the world’

     3.  ‘Ok Computer’ – Radiohead

My 20th anniversary review of this album can be found here:

Favourite track: ‘Paranoid Android’

  1. ‘August & Everything After’ – Counting Crows

It’s reasonably rare that a band produces a masterpiece on their debut album.   This album came out in 1993 and spoke to me in a way few albums ever have.  The soft alt country folk strings and sounds, makes you feel almost like you are walking through rural middle America.  This sound combined with the sheer pain and longing in Adam Duritz’s voice and the pure poetry of his lyrics provided a soundtrack to my early years at University.  So earnest, pure and real, I still enjoy a deep connection with this record whenever I play it.

Each subsequent release from this band (except for some more recent efforts) showed a gradual deterioration in depth and quality, as they appeared to chase commercial success.  It sounds terrible to say, but I liked them when they were sad and depressed.  I met Adam Duritz out the back of a venue after a concert in Sydney once and told him his lyrics were like beautiful poetry.  His response………’Ok’.

Favourite Track – ‘Round Here’

  1. ‘Disintegration’ – The Cure

Most of us turn to the dark side at some point in our teenage years and when you do there is no better soundtrack or comfort than The Cure and there is no one Cure album which takes you deeper into that  place of dark reflection than ‘Disintegration’.   At times I’ve preferred the ‘Wish’ album, but really ‘Disintegration’ is the one that works best for me, that is most consistent, that takes you to that dark place and keeps you there the whole way through.

From the sparkling start of Plainsong to the harrowing end of ‘Untitled’ this album feels like one long dark night where every emotion and moment has meaning.  The album keeps a steady pace, is consistently good, flows beautifully like a gentle sea and carries you right to the end, majestic and deep.   And it’s even better on vinyl.

Favourite track: ‘Plainsong’

  1. ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ – Wilco

This album epitomizes ‘the whole is greater than the sums of its parts’ concept.  Whilst all the songs are good, together they form something very special.  I’m sure you are all aware of the back story, with the band’s Record company letting them go as they could not hear a single or marketing angle to this record, only for another Record company (ironically owned by the same parent company) to eventually pick them up.  This just simply adds to the legend, but is not why this album is so great.  You can see all this unfold on the wonderful documentary ‘I am trying to break your heart’ which I also highly recommend.

Wilco got really creative here and were free to take the songs all directions.  They claim to have spent months and months in their loft recording space deconstructing each song to its core and rebuilding it, bringing in all sorts of unusual sounds, styles and textures.  The lyrics are abstract, the vocal delivery often heartfelt and painful, even beautifully portraying a drunken man on ‘I am trying to break your heart’.  The songs moving from straight up easy listening guitar to crazy distortion, beeps, feedback and back again (sometimes all within the same song).  It’s hard to explain, but it really works.

Favourite track: ‘Reservations’

  1. ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’ – Interpol

Another example of a band making a debut masterpiece.  Interpol burst onto the scene with this album in 2002 and it was everything I was looking for from a band.  Deep, dark, aggressive, brutal at times, intense, urgent, haunting, the slow builds, the power chords, the emotionless vocals, with lots of bass.  The constant and unfair comparisons to Joy Division took some of the shine off this album for some, but don’t be fooled, this band created a style and sound that was and is all their own.  It took awhile but over time, many people have come out of the woodwork to declare their love for this record.

Dark and brooding, strikingly passionate, sincere and punchy, loss and regret, it’s all here.   It seems clear to me that the band were not too focused on commercial success at this early stage, with most tracks allowed to linger and evolve, finding something more, when most bands would have sung the chorus 3 times and stopped. Each track drives you at pace towards the next until you reach the end, exhausted and exhilarated, ready to go again.

Favourite Track – ‘Untitled’

  1. ‘Doolittle’ – Pixies

This album plays more like a greatest hits (it’s astounding how many great songs are on this one album), and it doesn’t flow quite as well as I would like in parts.  However, you can’t deny it’s one of the greats.  Starting with the onslaught of Debaser and Tame, moving to the almost easy listening of ‘Here comes your man’, the classic rock guitar of ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ and the power and the passion of ‘Hey’, this album has something for almost every hard rocker out there.

The Pixies created their own style.  The soft loud dynamic, the strange and controversial lyrics, the polar extremes of Frank Black’s screams and grunts with the gorgeous vocal moments of Kim Deal, the quirky and searing electric guitar of Joey Santiago grounded perfectly by Kim Deal’s clever bass guitar.  And it all came together brilliantly on this truly classic album.

Favourite track: ‘Hey’

  1. ‘Kind of Blue’ – Miles Davis

I am at risk of copping a lot of flak for including this album – the jazz album that every non jazz fan owns. But hey, I’ve been to New Orleans, I know where it’s at.  Honestly though, whilst I am not much of a jazz aficionado, this is an album that I always come back to, I have listened to hundreds of times and I truly love.  I’m sure I’ll do a terrible job of explaining what makes this album great, but I guess ultimately, in this case, it’s what it means to me that matters.

This album feels like a kind of musical perfection, like everything came together at the right place, at the right time, the planets aligned and this is the result.  It’s so self assured, so smooth, so clever.  Miles had pulled together a group of masterful musicians who all went on to have great careers, including the legendary John Coltrane.  Apparently, it was recorded over two days and each day Miles simply laid out most of the song structures and the band went with it and improvised, the way great jazz musicians do.

This album is just beautiful and simply never grows tired. Quincey Jones reportedly listens to it every day.

Favourite track: ‘So What’

  1. ‘Lost In The Dream’ – The War On Drugs

This album topped my (and many others) Best of 2014 albums list and at that time I described as follows:

It’s Dylan, it’s Springsteen, it’s even Arcade Fire, but really it’s just a brilliant album in its own right. This is my type of classic rock, floating, twisting, mystical soundscapes with story telling vocals and a sad and yearning voice – genius.

My love of this album has only grown since.  The band has been described as “hypnotic heartland”, a nod to the grand soundscapes and American influences which define their sound. At the time of its release band mastermind Adam Granduciel was only 34 and yet writes songs and lyrics of a man with far more life experience and stories to tell.  His lyrics are very personal and heartfelt, but not overly distinctive, they blend in with the sad and lonely ambience of the slower tracks and rise to meet the faster more energetic moments.  A number of times during the album he lets out what appears to be an instinctive unplanned ‘WOO!’ as a track launches itself to the next level, however the album is meticulous and thus I imagine every detail is planned and strategically placed.

Listening to their previous album ‘Slave Ambient’ (which is an amazing road trip album in its own right) you can see that the band were building up to this moment.  This album is a grower, you need to spend time with it to truly appreciate it, but there is so much to it, so many beautiful layers and subtle moments, that you will get ‘Lost in the Dream’.

Favourite track: ‘Under the pressure’

This album was released in my second year of working after finishing uni.  I was not really into Radiohead at that stage, other than having watched ‘Creep’ on Rage many times.  Friends kept telling me ‘OK Computer’ was very, very good and so I eventually bought it to see what all the hype was about and for at least the first few months, I have to admit,… I didn’t get it.

Some albums are so detailed and dense that you can’t take it all in.  Opening track ‘Airbag’ bursts from the speakers, sharp and angular, bitter and twisted.  Second track ‘Paranoid Android’ starts gently but turns vicious, ultimately morphing into four songs in one.  There is so much going on, with such urgency and anxiety that you don’t quite know what to do, what to think,… I enjoying this?,….am I meant to enjoy this?

Listen again to:

  • the psychedelic bewilderment of ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’
  • the dark empty cavern that is ‘Exit Music (for a film)’
  • the slow, confident march of ‘Karma Police’
  • the raw, angry strings of ‘Electioneering’
  • the slow decent into madness of ‘Climbing up the walls’

Over many listens, the sharp edges, urgency and anxiety start to become strangely familiar and you almost get comfortable with them.  You let the songs flow through you, as much as you can, rather than reacting to them.  And then you start to realise the genius of it all – an accurate musical portrayal of the crazy technological, mixed up world we live in.

What you never get comfortable with is the Robot Voiceover in the middle which I find scary and confronting no matter how many times I’ve heard it.  Forever trying to understand exactly what it is really saying about us and how close to reality it actually is – the rapid and uncontrolled advancement of technology, the lack of humanity.

…..and they came up with that 20 years ago!

I now consider it to be one of the very few perfect albums, every track is strong, there is not a note I would change, and there are very few albums you can say that about.

I went to see them in concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in Feb 1998 before this album became truly huge.  Some mates and I managed to get 3 metres from the stage without too much effort.  The first few songs were a little raw and then they hit their straps, putting on a spectacular performance, mostly revolving around this very complex album.

‘OK Computer’ now sits comfortably in my top five albums of all time and I can’t see it moving – a masterpiece.  Very much of it’s time and yet truly transcendent, like nothing I’ve heard before or since.  It has stood the test of time and will only grow in stature over the next 20 years.

No alarms and no surprises please.

Best of 2016

Posted: February 6, 2017 in General

I hate to be negative but a fairly disappointing year in music in my opinion. Started strongly and ended strongly, but there was a huge lull in the middle. Many albums I anticipated a lot from ended up letting me down. But like all years, there was a few nice surprises – thank goodness for the Drive-By-Truckers.

Albums of the Year

  1. American Band’ – Drive-By Truckers – these US country rockers from the south have created a masterful take on the state of America. A dark and gloomy view of the racial, political, economic landscape and where it might be headed. Solid rock songs with clever lyrics and a dark undertone.
  2. ‘Adore Life’ – Savages – another intense and absorbing outing from the best post punk band around. Their 2nd album is a powerful and energetic assessment of Love and what it means to them. Just play it loud OK!
  3. ‘Jet Plane and Oxbow’ – Shearwater – a solid outing from this wonderful band. Less of the slow build, big climax they are known for and more of the standard rock song style tracks with plenty of electronic beats, but still maintaining their expansive and grandiose sound and lyrics.
  4. ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ – Radiohead – a dark and foreboding album, sounding like a movie score for the end of the world.
  5. ‘Human Ceremony’ – Sunflower Bean – the debut album from a NY band who provide an eclectic mix of rock styles from soft and gentle to loud and powerful, complimented by the male / female vocal mix and very crisp production.
  6. ‘Blue & Lonesome’ – The Rolling Stones – one of the greatest bands of all time going back to where it all began – the Blues – and they are loving every minute of it.
  7. ‘Schmilco’ – Wilco – a slow and steady album from these alt country legends. A few quirky unnecessary parts, but generally consistent and solid. Best album title of the year.
  8. ‘Tween’ – Wye Oak – an album made from the best songs which did not make either of their last 2 albums. As a result it’s not particularly cohesive, but still contains some great tracks and some incredible sounds and ideas. Jen Wasner’s voice remains mesmerising.
  9. ‘Is the Is Are’ – DIIV – a consistent pulsating album, which unfortunately lacks the tunes and variations that made their previous album such a stand out.
  10. ‘Kodama’ – Alcest – an immense and hypnotic soundscape from this French wall of sound death metal band.


Songs of the Year

  1. ‘Guns of Umpqua’ – Drive-By Truckers
  2. ‘God’s Eyes’ – Spookyland
  3. ‘If I Ever Was A Child’ – Wilco
  4. ‘Trigger Finger’ – Wye Oak
  5. ‘Darwinism’ – Holy Holy
  6. ‘The Answer’ – Savages
  7. ‘New Song’ – Warpaint
  8. ‘Your Best American Girl’ – Mitski
  9. ‘Quiet Americans’ – Shearwater
  10. ‘Human Ceremony’ – Sunflower Bean
  11. ‘I can’t quit you baby’ – The Rolling Stones
  12. Under the Sun’ – DIIV
  13. ‘Burn the Witch’ – Radiohead
  14. ‘Untouched’ – Alcest
  15. ‘Hometown’ – Twenty one pilots

Best of 2008?

Posted: February 3, 2017 in General

Before I update my Blog with the ‘Best of 2016’, I thought I’d throw in a blast from the past that I just happened to find, but which appears to have never been published.

Best of 2008

Where do you run to? – Vivian Girls (my song of the year)
L.E.S. Artistes – Santogold
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Two Silver Trees – Calexico
Washington Square – Counting Crows
Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur – Sigur Ros
Longest Days – John Mellencamp
Time won’t let go – The Bravery
Falling Down – Scarlett Johansson
Golden Age – TV on the Radio

Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls (my album of the year)
Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust – Sigur Ros
The Seldom Seen Kid – Elbow
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Viva La Vida – Coldplay
4:13 Dream – The Cure
Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings – Counting Crows
Accelerate – REM
Dear Science – TV on the Radio
Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds