Top 50 Albums Of The Decade – 40 To 31

roddy[1]40.  Roddy Woomble – My Secret Is My Silence:  Idlewild have been one of my favourite acts for a long time.  As their albums progressed the heavy punk/rock that they became known for started to dilute and things became less edgy and more folky.  Still, when this album dropped it was a bit of a surprise to hear a fully traditional Scottish folk album with some full on Ceilidh music midway through.  For what it’s worth, it’s a fantastic album.  “I Came In From The Mountain” is a stunning start to the record.  A regular on the stereo in this house.

333[1]39. Olafur Arnalds – Eulogies for Evolution:  Iceland.  Where do you find all these amazing musicians?  Mum, Sigur Ros, Sea Bear.  There are lots more.  Olafur Arnalds is simply special.  A young man at 22, he has already supported Sigur Ros on tour.  This is classical music, but it does bridge the divide between classical and mainstream in a really positive way.  There are lots of artists doing this, but Sigur Ros having this lad support them is a fabulous way to encourage more cross over.  This album is stunningly beautiful.  Minimalist for sure, but it’s the simplicity of it that makes it so beautiful.

2161-baby-im-bored[1]38. Evan Dando – Baby I’m Bored: I loved the Lemonheads.  I wasn’t sure that a solo album comeback was going to be the best approach.  How wrong I was.  I think this album is as good as anything that he released with his band and having seen him play the songs live about 5 times they sound as good live as they do on record.  Compiling this list reminded me of this record and how overplayed it was on my stereo when it first dropped.  I never really got into the last Lemonheads album, maybe when he comes back next it should be a solo album once again.  If it’s as good as this it will be a winner for sure.

album-Bright-Eyes-Im-Wide-Awake-Its-Morning[1]37. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning: This is actually the first album I stumbled upon by Conor Oberst.  It remains my favourite.  Having read that he was the new “Dylan” I had to find out what the fuss was about.  I have to be honest and say that everything else I’ve heard by him since I’ve been a bit luke warm towards but this record is fantastic and has some incredlibly poignant moments on it for me. ‘First Day Of My Life’ is simply wonderful song writing, as is this record as an overall piece.  Hopefully he can rediscover this on future releases.

2430-the-last-broadcast[1]36. Doves – The Last Broadcast:  I do love a bit of Doves.  And this album for me is something pretty special.  My friends Dad could and would wax lyrical about this record for hours.  At the time it came out he had 2 obsessions.  1.  This record.  2.  The Shawshank Redemption.  I can’t argue on either front.  A great album and a great film.  Not the best things I’ve ever heard or seen, but real quality.  If he read this post, he’d probably call me to tell me again how good this record actually is!

Vetiver-ToFindMeGone[1]35. Vetiver – To Find Me Gone:  Vetiver, and this record in particular, are my honeymoon band.  They remind me of the time we spent in San Francisco because it was there that I bought this record and their first record also.  This is the one for me though.  Absolutely great album and wonderful memories associated with it.  I bought it in Ameoba music in San Francisco, which is undoubtedly the coolest, cheapest and best music shop I’ve ever visited.  I could have spent days and days in there.  Anyways, I first saw them support Adem at the ABC in Glasgow and was blown away.  So glad I got involved in this record.  Their best to date in my opinion.

album-cover-nick-cave-and-the-bad-seeds-abattoir-blues-the-lyre-of-orpheus[1]34. Nick Cave – Abbitoir Blues/Lyre Of Orpheus:  I am a late starter when it comes to Nick Cave.  Like the Vetiver’s ‘To Find Me Gone’, this was my first real experience of listening to him.  My friend at work had given me this record telling me that if I loved Tom Waits I would love Nick Cave also.  She was not wrong.  Filled with agression and drive but also with some of the most beautiful piano songs I’ve ever heard, this double album was something of a revelation in my life and created a Nick Cave obesession for me.  I finally got to see him live last year and it was just magical.  This is the record I go back to again and again though.  It might not be every diehard Cave fan’s favourite, but it’s the one I heard first, so I’m sticking with it.

foremma_cover[1]33. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago:  I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t like this record.  There’s something very accessible about it.  Something rather sparse and beautiful.  It feels like it was made with a lot of time and love.  It’s a great record.  ‘Blindsided’ was definitely one of my favourite tracks last year and as an overall piece of work I just think this is great.

4329-on-my-way-to-absence[1]32. Damien Jurado – On My Way To Absence:  The only difficulty I had with selecting a Damien Jurado record was which one to select.  I have so many and they are all wonderful.  ‘And Now That I’m In Your Shadow’ was a fabulous record, and last years ‘Caught In The Trees’ was equally good.  However, this is the one I love the most.  It’s his 7th studio album, which for somebody who is a teacher by trade is pretty good going.  He’s another one I had the pleasure of finally seeing live last year and he did not disappoint.  Wonderful artist, wonderful album.

5499-loss[1]31. Mull Historical Society – Loss:  What can I say about this record other than it came along at the beginning of the decade and was an immediate hit with me.  One of my favourite Scottish records of all time for sure.  Whilst the follow up albums have been a real mixed bag, there is no doubt about the quality of this record.  Wonderful songwriting from start to finish.  I was torn actually.  Perhaps this should be higher up in the list?  I dunno.  I just know that this is just great.  ‘Animal Cannibus’ = TUNE.

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Don’t Ever……..

…….write anything bad about anyone ever.   It’s not worth it!   I’m a nice guy, or at least I hope I am.  I don’t need the abuse.  So I’m going to stick to writing about the things I love and hoping that the people that actually enjoy this blog keep enjoying it regardless of what people have said on a certain post…..which has now been trashed cause I really don’t need to be abused in the manner I was.

However, apologies to the phtographer who’s photo I used without asking permission or without crediting.  It did say your photography name on the pic, but I should have asked if I could use it and if I upset you on that then I’m sorry.  I’ve taken the whole thing down now.  Probably for the best.

That Cunt Fae Snow Cunt

Gary+Lightbody[1]

No don’t worry Snow Patrol fans, this is not a rant about Gary Lightbody or his band.  And apologies for the title of this post.  Poor language I know, but there is a point, I promise.   Anyways, in the process of putting together my top 50 albums of the decade I’ve been reminded of some great gigs I’ve attended along the way.  Of course, there are the big shows like Tom Waits and Neil Young at the Edinburgh Playhouse and Radiohead at Meadowbank and Glasgow Green, which will forever live long in the memory.  But there have also been hundreds of other shows I’ve attended which will always have a special place in the memory.

The first one that springs to mind would be seeing Stephen Fretwell at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh.  I mean, there are some venues you’d never expect to see an established artist and at that time, right between glorious debut ‘Magpie’ and his follow up record, I would never have expected to see Mr Fretwell performing at such a tiny and strange venue.  That said, I am extremely glad that that’s where we got to see him.  Not only was he brilliant but the odd setting added to the overall brilliance of the experience.  With banter to match the quality of the music, in a venue as small as they come, I really will never forget that show.

Another one I’m not likey to ever forget would be seeing Mogwai in a tiny venue in Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 1999 when I was living there.  The show was part of their Come On Die Young tour and I had just been introduced to their music by a good friend.  Such was the experience of that show that I have since become something of a Mogwai addict and in the past 10 years have seen them live on numerous occasions.  I also own pretty much everything they’ve ever released.  Seeing them headline the King Tuts stage at T in the Park this year, ten years after the first time I saw them in Holland in that tiny venue really was a surreal experience to say the least. I really will not ever forget sitting cross legged, drinking beer and being blown away by the brilliance of this band for the very first time.

Another show that sticks in my head, without a shadow of a doubt, would be seeing dEUS at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh a few years back.  The Ideal Crash is one of my favourite records so getting to see them live after all those years was pretty special anyways.  However, this was a extra amazing gig mainly because they started the show with ‘Instant Street’ and finished their encore with ‘Suds and Soda’.  I still can’t remember a show that had a more perfect beginning and end.  The middle was pretty special too mind.

Evan Dando at the Edinburgh Venue was pretty memorable as well.  Maybe it was seeing him in such a legendary venue.  Maybe it was cause he was hammered – the show occurred just before he kicked booze.  Maybe it was cause I was also hammered.  I don’t know.  What I do know and remember is that I saw him 4 times in total that year and though musically the Venue show was perhaps not his strongest, it is definitely the show that I will always cherish.

Another show that sticks firmly in the back of my mind would be Brendan Benson at the Reading Rooms in Dundee.  Nothing in particular was special about this show, other than it was an ace venue and any artist of note playing Dundee was a pretty special event back in the day.  Of course, the View have changed all that these days, but when I was younger Dundee didn’t get touring bands.  It wasn’t seen as a place to stop off on tour.  Somebody of Brendan Benson’s quality and stature stopping off was nothing short of a miracle.  The fact he was also brilliant that night added something extra to proceddings.

Finally, Wilco at Glasgow QMU during their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot tour.  As most people know YHF is one of my all time favourite albums so seeing them tour this record was amazing.  The gig itself was special but what I always remember is standing outside a little record shop on Byars Road waiting for my friend to buy some music when Joos Valgaren (Celtic footballer for those not in the know) walked by.  As he walked past I did that kind of star stuck thing of following his path (not actually moving from the spot, just watching him walk on by) and as he went past me and down Byars Road, Wilco walked past me heading in the opposite direction!  It was one of the most surreal moments of my life for sure.  Totally brilliant.  Made my day and fortunately Wilco made my night with their performance.  Again, I’d say I’ve seen them better since but it’s the little things that make me remember all these shows most of all.

Oh, and as an aside.  The second time I caught dEUS live, at the QMU in Glasgow I was with the band.  Our old drummer Gordon used to get mistaken for Gary Lightbody all the time.  Two great things happened at  this show.  Firstly, Gary Lightbody was in attendance.  Gordon being a confident, outgoing sort of lad decided to sort this situation out and wandered over and asked Mr Lightbody if he thought that they looked similar.  He did, for the record.  Better than that though was when the gig finished and we went outside.  As we were walking away from the venue, some boy came over to Gordon, and in a thick Glasgow accent said.  “Oi, Are you that cunt fae snow cunt?”  You cannot put a price on such genius comedy!