Monday, 21 December 2009

Tracks of the Year

You can listen to my playlist on Spotify here :
Polly Scattergood - Breathe In Breathe Out
Stripped to its bare bones, this is a gorgeously simple piano song with a stunningly stripped breaking vocal that sounds right at the edge of everything.

"lived such a little but loved such a lot"

 St Vincent - The Strangers
One of the albums of the year that had me simultaneously enraptured and jealous in equal parts. A huge talent. So much wit and wisdom in her lyrics.

"paint the blackhole blacker" 

Manic Street Preachers - Jackie Collins Existential Question Time
Hard to pick a favourite from this album which lyrically, for me,  has no equal this year. I got to talk to Nicky Wire about how much the lyric made me laugh too... Reminds me of the best bits of Larkin and it makes me sad that we won't get to hear any more new songs with lyrics by Richey James Edwards...

"situationist sisterhood of jackie and joan"

Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Zero
Winner in the huge fucking anthemic chorus category. Saw them at Reading this year. Would probably turn for Karen O.

Fever Ray - When I Grow Up
Haunting and hugely inventive. Winner in the best lighting category. Her laser show is fantastic. I really can't recommend this whole album enough as it feels like cutting off an arm to isolate one track.

"I put my soul in what I do / Last night I drew a funny man with dark eyes and a hanging tongue / It goes way bad, I never liked a sad look /From someone who wants to be loved by you"

Black Hearted Love / A Women A Man Walked By - PJ Harvey and John Parish
Winner in the best use of a bouncy castle in a music video. Love this first track for the slo-mo PJ jumping Chapman Brothers' video alone. PJ & JP's first album is one of my favourite records EVER so have been playing this quite a lot and had to put the second track on too because you just won't hear anything like this anymore (outside of a Capt. Beefheart convention).

"I wanted to explore the damp alleyways of his soul"

Sit Down By The Fire - The Veils

Ok. Kinda cheating cos I sang on this one but they are just so hugely underrated and I'm so glad I got asked to do this otherwise I would never have discovered my new favourite band (MNFB). Beautifully dark stuff. Also check out 'Lavinia' and 'The Letter': Equal parts raving Tom Waits lunatic and fragile Buckleyesque beauty.

"It's hard to say but I think you'd better / Just say you don't love me you don't love me anymore"

Tara Busch - Pour the Bottle Pt. 1
An uncompromising independent talent, Tara came to my attention through her Bat For Lashes Remix and I've been listening to her so much ever since. She's so inventive with her soundscapes but this track showcases her more experimental side (oh and she did a brilliant job remixing me too here)

Wild Beasts -  Hooting & Howling
Just adore the vocal on this. Reminds me of the amazing Billy Mackenzie and I'm a sucker for a falsetto...

Paramore -
All I Wanted
A guilty pleasure that has turned into a full on obsession.

"I could follow you to the beginning   / just to relive the start"

Moon and Moon - Bat For Lashes

First heard this on The Culture Show a year or so ago. My favourite from the new album.

"I'd be boy and you'd be girl"

Tori Amos - Give / Flavor
Back to her sultry best, this first song is a metaphorical narrative about the vampiric nature of being a musician... or so I think I suggested when I was lucky enough to interview her earlier this year!
'Flavor' is just spectacular so I had to put that on as well.

Sufjan Stevens - Movement II Linear Tableau With Intersecting Surprise
I don't think Phillip Glass had an album out his year but this is almost as good.


These were my tracks of 2009... now tell me yours



  1. A lot of those would/will appear in my Festive 50 (my homage to John Peel). However, here's a few that you may have missed. Probably my favourite track of the year is Tegan and Sara's Hell. Best thing they've ever done. The way they move from verse to chorus is pure magic. I would also have to mention Blue October, whom I had the honour to photograph this year: The song "The End" is amazing simply for the way it tells a rather creepy story and build to a rather startling crescendo. Finally, an unsigned band I came across called Exoterik from Bradford who supported Blue October in Leeds. They do have an album called Butterfly In Your Hand. Check out a track called "Uninvited" it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. Sublime.

    Now.... hope I can post this: Much success in 2010. (I see have worked out a use for my gmail account: Find me on Twitter under StuartofLeeds)

    Stay happy


  2. Excellent picks, Polly Scattergood's album was my album of the year, other favs also on the site.

    I will take a listen at spotify soon. I have enjoyed your songs too this year, here's to next year!

  3. You have good taste ;)

    Thank you for the ‘In The Bleak Midwinter E.P.’ lovely stuff. I have just done a post on that on my music site.

    X to the Mas to you.

  4. 1) Telekinesis - Coast of Carolina
    2) Dear Reader - Great White Bear
    3) Chris Wollard & the Ship Thieves - The Same to You
    4) Maria Taylor - Time Lapse Lifeline
    5) Manics - All is Vanity
    6) Joan As Police Woman - Whatever You Like
    7) Kasabian - Fire
    8) Land of Talk - May You Never
    9) Liam Frost - Held Tightly in Your Fist
    10) Gold Help The Girl - Funny Little Frog

    Should be unfamiliars in there to check out.

    Would you say Journal for Plague Lovers would be hard to equal lyrically for the past 13 years too? All is Vanity's verse is probably my favourite section of lyrics from the album which is a reason it's my favourite track.

    A discovery of the end of last year that really should be this year's discovery - as I only started listening to their albums this year - is The Comsat Angels. They produced some really sublime music in the 80s and early 90s and I got a chance to see them in a London show this year in which they were excellent.

    Thanks for The Veils and PJ Harvey plugs - both sound good!