Thursday, December 17, 2009

Issue 11: 2009 End Of Term Special

Welcome weary travelers - this week, not so much a best of 2009 but more of an end of term knees-up mixed with some tongue-in-cheek prize giving. It's by no means completist and it's certainly not in any kind of order.

Click here to listen now!

(Oh yeah, and the videos don't correspond to the songs in the podcast, it's more of a bonus-type thing.)

1. Wild Beasts - 'We've Still Got The Taste Dancin' On Our Tongues'

A stunning and swift return for these young men from Cumbria, The Wild Beasts would get a prize simply for being the only UK band deserving of your faith this year.

Their previous album, 'Limbo Panto', was great, but this year's 'Two Dancers' was even better. Intelligent, original and now thoroughly exhilarating - never has not running with the pack sounded so good.

Wild Beasts MySpace

2. Bob Hund - 'Blommor På Brinnande Fartyg'

Bob Hund have been Sweden's best band for more than 15 years now. I love everything about them, even though I don't understand everything about them. Least of all the lyrics, which are sung in the regional Skåne dialect of Southern Sweden. I certainly have no idea where their unique twisted toy town plink-plonk sound comes from, but the Super Furry Animals always strikes me as a good comparison.

Their album 'Folkmusik För Folk Som Inte Kan Bete Sig Som Folk', released this year after a six year break, is arguably their best yet and a great place to begin your brand new new year's resolution: Learning Swedish!

Bob Hund MySpace

3. Telex - 'En Route Vers de Nouvelles Aventures'

One of my favourite re-issues of the year - and a complete oddball from Belgium (though I'm told they're actually quite well known there).

The song popped up randomly on a blog I was reading and I had to find out more. Early '80s innovators, situationist-type pop personalities with tunes that are catchy as hell. They even entered Eurovision once, you can watch the video of their entry above.

Download The 'Ultimate Best Of Telex' From iTunes right here or visit their site for more information.

4. Atlas Sound- 'Quick Canal' (feat. Laetitia Sadier)

I've always preferred Bradford Cox's solo stuff to Deerhunter and this song is, for me, the best thing he's ever done.

He's certainly a fantastic sonic stylist, but with the help of an eminently qualified quest vocalist to really nail the whole thing down, this is 8 minutes of blissful haze that I can't resist.

Bradford Cox's Amazing Blog!

5. Wooden Shjips - 'Contact'

More haze, gaze or whatever you want to call it from San Francisco's Wooden Shjips now. A band that reward both deep listening or just drifting depending on what mood you are in.

This song is culled from a 12" on the amazing Mexican Summer label and I highly recommend you click here and find out more.

Wooden Shjips MySpace

6. Animal Collective - 'Daily Routine'

There's no doubt in my mind that when we look back on the '00s, the Animal Collective will easily stand out as Band of the Decade.

I'm still waiting for them to put out something that isn't worth listening to - and 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' was a predictably heavy rotation winner in my house.

Animal Collective MySpace

7. Lucky Dragons - 'We Made Our Own Government'

Lucky Dragons were my most exciting musical find of the year, but I don't know why I hadn't heard them before. With their tribal/digital punk Steve Reich sound – they make the same noise as the idea of the perfect band that has always lived in my head.

Thanks to Norman Records for turning me onto them and selling me the beautiful white vinyl LP that is currently my Sunday morning record of choice. I advise you head over to the band's website too, where you can try a hell of a lot of free mp3s before you buy.

Lucky Dragons MySpace

8. Bill Callahan - 'All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast'

My favourite quote of the 2009 occurred when Bill Callahan was asked at the end of an interview whether he had anything further to add. He simply said "Can I just say that I made a really great album? "

That might sound arrogant - but once you've spent time with 'Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle', you'll know exactly what he means. Sometimes people really should just shut the fuck up and listen. I thoroughly applaud Bill for both his direct approach and one of his best records yet.

Bill Callahan at Drag City

9. Fever Ray - 'Here Before'

Karin Dreijer Andersson's Fever Ray project has hovered over my 2009 like a rich, dark, black cloud and its unflinching relentless reality has proved comforting, somehow. It's been a really difficult year in many respects and I"m extremely glad that I've had such a mature and honest companion.

Critics and fans alike seem to have embraced this record too - so I guess there's nothing more to do than to play this stunning Vashti Bunyan cover and award a well-deserved Album of the Year honour.

Fever Ray Official Website

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