So we’re into the business end of my top 50 records. Nobody has praised or criticised my choices to date, other than to correct my spelling. But maybe this is where things will change?! Who knows. Anyways, here goes.
20. Meursault – Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues: This album is simply brilliant. This band are simply brilliant. They will be known to most people who read this page for being one of Edinburgh’s finest artists, without a shadow of a doubt. However, if you do not know them, sneak on over to songbytoad records and buy this album now. I don’t know what to say other than it’s a mad onslaught of electronica with one of the most beautiful pauses for breath half way through. You have to own this record and you have to see them live. Amazing.
19. J Tillman – A Year In The Kingdom: Not sure people will agree with me on this one. Simply put this is one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever bought. I’ve never really been desperate to play other peoples songs before but I always want to learn this mans songs. I just connect with this record so much, and ultimately I think that’s what makes a great record. This, for me, is special.
18. Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling: This would most definitely have been CODY, except that that particular album was from 1999, I believe, which means it misses out by 1 year. However, this is Mogwai’s best record since CODY was released. Well it is for me. I know many people would argue ‘Happy Songs For Sad People’ would be up there. This is just class though. It’s nothing like CODY but is definitely the album I was waiting for from them. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a Mogwai record, but I do think this is the album they’ve been striving to make since 1999. And what a return to form it is. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G
17. Grandaddy – The Software Slump: I honestly cannot think of an album that starts with a more amazing song than this record. ‘He’s simple, He’s dumb, He’s the pilot’ is simply astounding songwriting. If you are not sold within 2 minutes of starting this album then you’re never going to be. It’s a blissfully brilliant record of americana/pop. I love Grandaddy. I would not necessarily agree with NME that this record is their finest moment, but it is one of the finest musical moments from the past decade without a shadow of a doubt.
16. Brendan Benson – Lapalco: This is without doubt Brendan Benson’s finest hour. Screw the Raconteurs – well don’t, I kinda like them – this is sunshine pop music at it’s very finest. It may even be one of the best pop records of our generatation, let alone the past 10 years. I was lucky enough to see him live before the Raconteurs gained him a larger following. His new record is certainly a step back in the right direction, but I cannot imagine him bettering this. If he manages I will eat my wooly hats one by one. Brilliant record.
15. Micah P Hinson And The Opera Circuit: I first saw Micah P Hinson at the Bongo Club in Edinburgh prior to any albums dropping. I was immediately captivated by his strange and awkward vocal delivery. At times it was grating, at times gorgeous but always engaging. His live set is raw, edgy and aggressive. This album is similar. ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’ is one of my favourite songs ever, without a shadow of a doubt. It’s actually hard to choose one of his records as my favourite. This one edges it though, slightly. And if there were awards for album art, this man would win every single time with his stunning cover art.
14. Sigur Ros – Agaetis Byrjun: Our old bass player Jake introduced me to Sigur Ros. As debts go, this is a pretty massive one I’m in. I owe him a lot for forcing them on me and telling me I’d love them. He was not wrong. Their music is simply breathtaking. Nothing beats a night like tonight. Quiet house, no tv, no noise, just myself, my thoughts and this album. It’s just amazing. I don’t actually think there is an album by Sigur Ros that I dislike. But this is a standout. It’s just fabulous.
13. PJ Harvey – White Chalk: I disagree with the masses. This is PJ Harvey’s finest moment. I was stunned when I first heard this record. I bought it expecting more of her rock n’roll stylings of previous records but found a sparse, haunting album filled with piano tracks. It is a stunningly brilliant piece of dark minimilism and I like it so much that it’s found it’s way to number 13 in my list. I mean, there are so many great records out there and on my shelves but this is one that I adore because not only did it represent a massive departure from previous records, but I cannot think of another piano lead album which comes anywhere close to matching this.
12. Radiohead – In Rainbows: When this came out in 2007 I was just blown away. I don’t think anyone expected this band to come back into the mainstream after the outings of Kid A and Amnesiac. I guess the beauty of Radiohead is you should never try to guess what’s coming next. This wasn’t what I expected, but WOW did it hit the spot. It’s brilliant. From start to finish it’s brilliant.
11. Wilco – A Ghost Is Born: Now you see, this could easily have made my top 1o. Everyone knows my love of Wilco. Following up Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was never going to be easy. Yet follow it up brilliantly is what Wilco did with this album. A change in feel and mood from YHF, this album never disappoints. Some of my favourite Wilco tunes are actually on this album and it would be top 10 without a shadow of a doubt had it not been for its predecessor. I’m not sure I have enough words to describe what Wilco and, in particular, this album and YHF mean to me as a music fan, musician and person. Some albums just fill your life with joy and pleasure. A Ghost Is Born is definitely one of them.