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  • BEST OF 2010 SO FAR - WHO DA FUCK ARE Y'ALL???

    Giu 26 2010, 19:42

    1. Drake - Over

    If this track doesn't make you want to punch the air and pour champagne all over yourself then you are officially not my friend. NOPE. NOT MY FRIEND.

    2. Anais Mitchell - Way Down Hadestown

    The star-studded 'Hadestown' cast at their finest, this track is pretty much crying out to be tap-danced to. I want to live in Hadestown with Justin Vernon. Can somebody arrange this? Thanks.

    3. Joanna Newsom - Good Intentions Paving Company

    This is one of the most joyful things my ears have ever experienced. It's so so so joyful. I can't even describe it. AND I WILL LOVE YOU TIL THE NOISE HAS LONG SINCE PASSEDD. Again, very tap danceable.

    4. Gorillaz - Stylo

    Bobby Womack. THE VOICE. That is all.

    5. Beach House - Norway

    This is like the dictionary definition of 'dreamy'. In fact, I demand that it is made the dictionary defintion of 'dreamy'. Minions, make that happen.

    6. Beyoncé - Ego

    This is fucking rad. But whatever you do don't download the Kanye West remix. IT'S HORRENDOUS. KANYE I WILL KILL YOU FOR RUINING SUCH A KICK-ASS TRACK. Beyoncé is my jam.

    7. The High Wire - Odds & Evens

    This is lovely. It's really soft and floaty yet anthemic at the same time. IT'S NAICE IS WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY.

    8. Japandroids - Younger Us

    This is like the aural equivilant of an air-punch. It makes me feel like an actual teenager for once. Usually i'm in the mindset of a fifty year old academic, so this is rare.

    9. Los Campesinos! - The Sea is a Good Place…

    I don't like the lyrics on this track (They remind me of one of those crappy sob story novels you find stacked up in tescos with names like 'TRAPPED IN A NIGHMARE' 'FORGOTTEN CHILD' 'WHY DIDN'T MY MOTHER LOVE ME NOW I CAN'T STOP TAKING DRUGS' 'DON'T HURT ME, DADDY' etc.) But whatta chorus.

    10. Madvillain - Papermill

    Allll dayyyy! Madvillain must be the only rapper to have ever rapped about being celibate and forrest gump.

    11. Sleigh Bells - Tell Em

    You can hear the MIA influence in this. It sounds like a BAZILLION fireworks going off at once. I don't think Sleigh Bells are a particularly groundbreaking band, but this is fun.

    12. Nina Nastasia - Cry Cry Baby

    You know i'm your true love... I love Nina. And the strings on this are beyoootiful. Mmm mmm.

    13. Love is All - Bigger Bolder

    BIGGER BOLDER, MY LOVE FOR YOUUUU. Why is this so good. Why are the swedes so good at everything. This is like Karin from The Knife doing indie-pop.

    14. Kate Nash - Don’t You Want To Share The Guilt?

    This is like the solo record Ellen Campesinos would make. And it's the only track on my list which has 'cunt' in it's lyrics. REHSPECT.

    15. The Roots - Right On ft. Joanna Newsom

    BABY NEWSOM IN A HIP-HOP RECORD. Well I never. This works surprisingly well. Really well, in fact. And yknow. The Roots can do no wrong. And newsom is sounding even more witchy than usual here.

    16. Two Door Cinema Club - Undercover Martyn (Passion Pit Remix)

    This is all glitchy and lovely. Passion Pit do the best remixes. They basically vomit glitter all over the tracks. And NORTHERN IRELAND RE-PRE-SENT.

    17. Janelle Monae - Tightrope ft. Big Boi

    Oh MY GAWD. Why is this so good. I can't even describe this. It's just that good. If I could dance without falling over this is what i'd dance to. Janelle is such a slammin megababe.

    18. Stars - Fixed

    Hello Amy Millan. Lovely to have you back. This is the kind of track that plays in films where the lovelorn male lead, possibly Zach Braff, running through an airport to find their LOST LURVE (possibly Zooey Deschanel) and to tell them not to marry their swedish body-builder boyfriend, Bjorn, FOR IT IS ME YOU TRULY LOVE. AND THEN THEY KISS AND IT'S ALL FUCKING LOVELY.

    HONORARY MENTIONS:

    Everything else on Joanna Newsom's 'Have One On Me'
    Erykah Badu - 20 Feet Tall
    MGMT - Brian Eno
    Wait For Me, Epic Pt I, Our Lady of The Underground, Wedding Song and If It's True from Anais Mitchell's 'Hadestown'
    Tegan and Sara - Hell & Alligator
    Bombay Bicycle Club - How Are We
    Jay-Z - Empire State of Mind ft. Alicia Keyes
    Drake - Fireworks ft Alicia Keyes
    Lady Gaga - Alejandro and Telephone
    Surfer Blood - Catholic Pagans
  • STEALING. YES.

    Apr 6 2010, 17:48

    RULES:
    1. Put Your iTunes/iPod, Windows Media Player (etc…) on Shuffle.
    2. For each question, press the next button, and the title of that song is your answer.
    3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS
    4. Put any comments in [brackets] after the song name


    Are you male or female?
    Your Picture - Camera Obscura (....uh-huh)

    Describe yourself!
    Song Wars Classics - Adam & Joe (HELL.YES)

    What do people feel when they’re around you?
    Magic Weather - Alessi's Ark (Hope so. It's usually raining over here.)

    Describe your current relationship.
    It's Getting Boring By The Sea - Blood Red Shoes (I like the seaside, though.)

    Where would you like to be now?
    Clowne Towne - Xiu Xiu (Jamie Stewart could take me ANYWHERE tbh -raises eyebrow)

    How do you feel about love?
    Hit Dat - M.I.A (SO. TRUE. 'Tap tap dat bed to the wall... does this look good to ya mister?')

    What’s your life like?
    Kids - MGMT (Oh dear. A mainstream hit could never describe my life. PCHAW.)

    What would you wish for if you had only one wish?
    Lets Call It Love - Sleater Kinney (Erm. Lets?)

    Say something wise.
    Some Things Last a Long Time - Beach House (They do, yes. LIKE FOSSILS AND SHIT)

    If someone says “Is this okay?” You say,
    The Neighbors - St. Vincent (HATE typing the silly american spelling.)

    How would you describe yourself?
    Transformer - Marnie Stern (I love Marnie Stern YES.)

    What do you look for in a guy/girl?
    ...And We Exhale and Roll Our Eyes in Unison - Los Campesinos! (I am looking for an eye-rolling and exhaling partner now please)

    How do you feel today?
    Sunrise - Yeasayer (Yes please)

    What is your life’s purpose?
    I Wanna - Matt & Kim (YEAH I WANNA, YEAH I WANNA... LALALA REMADE HORIZON. Sorry, had to.)

    What is your motto?
    Best Friend - The Drums (Why not?)

    What do your friends think of you?
    On A Good Day - Joanna Newsom (MMMM NEWSOM)

    What do you think of your parents?
    Wild Eyes - Vivian Girls (MY DAD YES)

    What do you think about very often?
    Follow The Lines - Blood Red Shoes (Sure will)

    What is 2 + 2?
    Tropical Ice-Land - The Fiery Furnaces (Right Ho)

    What do you think of your best friend?
    Folds in Your Hands - Passion Pit (Sounds disgusting. Like they're really old)

    What do you think of the person you like?
    Two Sheep Asleep - Dirty Projectors (There's an evil sheep who lives next door to me. It bites. I DON'T LIKE IT. It should sleep more.)

    What is your life story?
    Fisher of Men - M. Ward (WELL IT'S COMMON KNOWLEDGE THAT I AM HACTUALLY JESUS)

    What do you want to be when you grow up?
    Over The Ocean - Best Coast (I want to be an Ocean yeah)

    What do you think of when you see the person you like?
    Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen (CUS TRAMPS LIKE US, BABY WE WERE BORN TO RUHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNN)

    What will you dance to at your wedding?
    Love and Caring - Crystal Castles (RAVE RAVE RAVE.)

    What will they play at your funeral?
    Superconnected - Broken Social Scene (How beautiful.)

    What is your hobby/interest?
    Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill (My hobby is mainly reading, so not so much...)

    What is your biggest fear?
    No Provenance - Joanna Newsom ('I'm afraid, of the big return, there's a certain conversation, and that loss incurred' YES.)

    What is your biggest secret?
    I Warned You Do Not Make An Enemy Of Me - Los Campesinos! (YEAH. DON'T EVEN.)

    What do you think of your friends?
    I Feel Like The Mother of The World - Smog (I always find that song slightly creepy. Bill, you're a dude. You're the father of the world! GAWSH.)
  • Bon Iver Cannot Pronounce "Bon Iver"

    Set 18 2009, 17:01

    Written by Sharon Van Halen (or singer Sharon Van Etten)
    http://sharonvanhalen.blogspot.com/

    BON IVER CANNOT PRONOUNCE "BON IVER"

    Deep in the woods of Wisconsin, a lone bearded man pauses from his morning task of splitting wood to answer a few questions from an intrepid reporter. "Sheeooooot!" Justin Vernon exclaimed, wiping an oily rag over his sweaty forehead, "I din't know that name would be stickin' and all!" Vernon, who has been honored as the latest talented indie rock troubadour by thousands of blogs and comment boards, calls out to his dog, named "Dog", to settle down as he rolls himself a cigarette. "I done write the name of the band on my arm just likes I planned on. My name was all gonna be 'Bone Ivory' ya know, but then I wiped my sweat and the words got all jumbled up. Now I got to say I am in a band that I don't even know what how to say the name of!" At that point, Vernon watched Dog chase a varmint up a tree, then went back to his wood choppin'.
  • My thoughts on the Mercury Nominees and my own Mercury Prize Choices. Warning:…

    Ago 20 2009, 18:04

    Mercury Prize Nominees

    Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

    This is a massive improvement from her debut - on 'Fur and Gold' BFL struck me as undoubtly talented, but unfocused. She's taken a while off, and travelled to America, and you can really see the focus in her songwriting now. The whole of 'Two Suns' is linked by the central, conceptual theme of planets, love and loss and the metaphysical, and it includes some startlingly effective bible references. Usually conceptual albums make me gag, but 'Two Suns' is far more effective than I ever thought it could be. The production has also improved, and BFL many, ethnic influences seems vital parts of the pieces, rather than piled-on musical garnishes. This album is a grower, and becomes more and more rewarding with each listen, but my bet is the judges will want to choose something that is a) immediate and b) a debut, so I don't think it's BFL's year this year. However, she's got an immensely dedicated fan-base, and after a couple of popular tours, and a slot supporting actual RADIOHEAD, I bet she doesn't need the monies.


    Florence and the Machine - Lungs

    Florence, you can sing. And I want to love 'Lungs', I really do, but the truth is, this album makes me feel travel-sick. 'Rabbit Heart' was a great single - there's no denying it, that chorus is bloody good. But when I listen to 'Dog Days Are Over', underneath all the harps AND the drums AND the beats and the God-damn awful multi-tracking they do on her voice every single freaking' song, until a thousand Florence’s are screaming painfully in your ears, and you're fumbling for the pause button before the tinnitus becomes fatal, and any talent Florence has is buried under the awful, sticky, studio-sheen. She could be a fantastic songwriter (though most of her lyrics are embarrassingly juvenile) but we wouldn't know it, because she mutates all of her songs out of recognition with her painful, laughable over-singing, and her awful over-production. Which will amaze those who are impressed by such things, who like being ear-raped, and beat to death with a wall of disco-kitsch - the charts have been lapping it up - but I've never been impressed by loud music, and I think a lot of Lung's loudness is just a cover-up for a kind of deadness inside. I'd love to set Florence on a stage with an acoustic guitar, and ban her from only using one high note per song, and just she how she does.
    'Lungs' is an insanely busy album - full of numerous, random influences - a few original, most derivative. 'Howl' stinks of Cat Power's far superior 'Werewolf', 'Cosmic Love' of Bat for Lashes (superior) 'Two Suns' concept. (By the way, the line 'a falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes' is butt-clenchingly awful.). The harps - the unnecessary harps that add nothing to the songs whatsoever - are a direct nod to the incredible Joanna Newsom, and the drumming reminded me of Sweden's Wildbirds & Peacedrums, except a million times louder and not as creative. She's a one-woman boardroom creation, grabbing influences from all kind of contemporary female artists, and ramming them into her album, until she's like Frankenstein’s monster.
    Florence is immensely unfocused - she's a druidess, a hollering, sacrificing priestess on 'Rabbit Heart', a scorned lover on 'I'm Not Calling You A Liar', a werewolf on 'Howl', but she's also violent on 'Kiss with a fist', hang on, she's a hurricane, but she's a drummer too, and suddenly all pastoral on 'bird song', and not one of her personas is genuine. The worst moment, however, comes on the self-aware quirkiness of 'My Boy Builds Coffins'. There is not a genuine singer-songwriter who would ever use such a ridiculous title. Combine this with her tittering, insincere 'I'm well mad, me' PR personality, (there is no reason why she had to climb up the stage at Glastonbury. That was plain showing-off.) And her dress-sense poached from under Bat for Lashes nose, and FATM is really starting to get on my grits. That's not to say she doesn't have mad, boundless talent, but her song-writing needs to improve, she needs to learn to keep her bloody voice under control, sack her drummer and her harpist and to step away from the production. This isn't an album I ever want to hear ever again, but her beautiful cover of The Cold War Kid's 'Hospital Beds' is as beautiful as the day I first heard it - for now, I'll listen to 'Dog Days Are Over' and hope her second album is a bit better, and a little quieter, so maybe I can keep a little of my hearing.
    Oh, and the Candi Payne cover? Don't ever do that again. That was awful. I don't think I'll ever recover from that.
    I think Florence will win the Mercury, purely because she is what doddery old Judges will probably consider 'edgy' (God) and will slot into their mindset nicely - sounds a bit experimental, but not really, derivative enough to seem familiar, she will look good coming up to collect her award, with glitter smeared over her face and probably wearing something like a sequined catsuit. She has haters, though - plenty of them, especially on indie websites. If it reaches the judges that she is particularly 'cool' anymore, and that most of her fan base have bought her album from Tesco’s, then that could be the end for Florence. She's lost her indie fan-base already, so for her next album to be successful, it'll have to be shockingly mainstream. If it isn't, the charts crowd will lose interest, and she'll be relegated to some God-forsaken label where she'll be monumentally ignored. I figure Flo doesn't like being ignored, so I think my hopes that she'll pipe down and ease off the production won't be realised, and I can look forward to more tinnitus this time next year, joy.


    Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum

    I can't pretend I've ever gone within five feet of a Kasbian song, but I get the feeling they're part of those awful lad-rock bands that all sound like Oasis - The Enemy, The Zutons, The Killers etc. Their first song confirms that I’m right - it sounds just like Oasis. They're not as bad as I thought they would be, but it'd still be a crying shame if they won. I don't think they will though, a lot of people would be quite miffed if they won. Can't work out if their album title is brilliant or annoying. A mixture of both, I think.


    Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires

    I've heard a lot of good things about Friendly Fires, but I've never really been wowed by them. There's nothing wrong with them, I'm just not a fan of discoey indie-pop. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if they won, there are some good tunes on their album - Skeleton Boy and Jump in the Pool being the highlights - and they're quite a fun band, but not really my thing. There are a lot of bands abroad, such as Matt & Kim, Passion Pit and Ra Ra Riot in America, and Love Is All and Pacific! In Sweden, who are doing the same sort of thing as Friendly Fires, but better.


    The Horrors - Primary Colours

    Just listened to The Horrors, and they're quite good - garagey punk with just a hint of blues. It'd be quite nice if a punk band won, but I don't really think it'll happen. They're a little dark for some. 'Who Can Say' is a good song, and kind of reminds me of 'After Hours' by We Are Scientists.


    Glasvegas - Glasvegas

    Oh dear. Really? Glasvegas? That's a crime. They're probably not as bad as Flo and the Ma, or *shudders* La Roux, but they shouldn't win.


    Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Twice Born Men

    Sweet Billy Pilgrim make quiet, gentle music, that pretty much defies genre, although their closest neighbours would be a cross between Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Sigur Rós. It's all very soft, and quiet, which is nice after Florence and The Machine. Straight through, it's all wonderfully beautiful and pretty, if a little light-weight, and again, there are bands abroad doing the same but better, noticeably Iceland’s múm. This is a glacially pretty album, but with little substance. Highlight is the gorgeous 'Kalypso', with its plucking strings, and mournful refrain.


    La Roux - La Roux

    La Roux is a second rate Lady Gaga, without any of Lady G's creativity and showmanship. 'Bulletproof' sounds like a bad Lady G single, something like the 8th single she'd release. 'In For the Kill' doesn't even sound like it'd get on her album. She's immensely shit. In a couple of decade’s time, looking back over the music of the 2000's, everyone will be monumentally embarrassed of La Roux; she embodies everything that is wrong with the music scene today. Hopefully, this awful, dingy, uninspired electro-trash is just a passing faze. La Roux shouldn't win this. I can't see why anyone would like La Roux.

    The Invisible - The Invisible

    Have never heard of The Invisible, but I'm listening to them now. They seem intriguing - sparse electric guitar, coupled with some whirring, experimental, background noises. Their songs are waltzy and slightly creepy, and there are some jazz influences in there as well, as well as some funk and industrial. I was expecting a bog-standard indie-band, but The Invisible are much more interesting - they remind me of Portishead. I don't think they'll win - they're far too odd, but I'll be interested to hear what they do next.


    Led Bib - Sensible Shoes

    Oh, the token jazz nomination. There's not much I can say about this - it's jazz. It's classy and very well done. There are some free-jazz influences, but mostly Led Bib keeps it quite traditional. It'd be nice if a jazz act won, but when has that ever happened?

    Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy

    I don't know much about rap, but I really like Speech Debelle - she has a gentle, conversational style of rap, and couples it with fantastically original instrumentation - there's skittering, trip-hop beats, jazzy inflection, soft strings and even acoustic guitars - and she's probably one of the brightest stars on the music scene today. She's obviously very mature - her lyrics are intelligent, hopeful and charming, with none of the agro associated with rappers. "All this abusing becoming amusing, the harsh reality becoming alluring /the life I'm choosing won't stop moving and I'm refusing any kind of curing." I'd be pretty pleased if she won.


    Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew

    My personal album of the year, I’m delighted that this got a nomination! I've loved Lisa ever since I heard her singing with Damien, and I replayed the few songs where she sung over and over again, and looked up crackly old recordings of her singing 'Oh Lord' with a dodgy Dolly Parton accent. And I was not disappointed - this album has completely overwhelmed me, and if I had a pound for the hours I've spent listening to it on repeat...
    Lisa has proved herself to have a rare gift for melody - each track on this album is blessed with a unique, lilting tune - from the spidery 'Splishy Splashy' to the upbeat 'I Keep It All', and there's a wonderful cover of an old Irish folk song 'Courting Blues'.
    The instrumentation on this album is impeccable - it's far more beautiful than the average folk album, with soaring violins and kitsch trumpets. There's also some skillful drumming, which props up Lisa's beautiful songs perfectly, never intruding or taking centre stage.
    But the main focus here is on Lisa's voice. Lisa Hannigan has a fantastic voice - probably the strongest on this list, although she's doesn't shove it in your face. It's a beautiful, warm voice, which starts as a lilting whisper and unfurls itself into a husky, bluesy yell. It reminds me of Cat Power, although it contains much more warmth than hers. On the three best tracks on the album - and probably the three best tracks of the year - I Don't Know, Venn diagram and Ocean and A Rock, Lisa's voice rises to soaring heights, with the purity of a choirgirl.
    A lot of this list underwhelmed me, but this is a really good call, and I can't imagine anyone who has properly and truly listened to this album begrudging Lisa an outside win. Because she should win. I hate writing about album's I love, because I never, ever do it justice, but listen to 'I Don't Know' from 4:13 onwards, and you'll know what I mean. This album is so so so brilliant.


    My Mercury Prize Nominees

    Emmy the Great - First Love

    I'm glad this album was released in what I think has been a lull in the anti-folk scene, because this is just brilliant. Emmy combines a sweet, lilting voice with razor-sharp, Belle & Sebastian style wit. Emmy works part-time as a music journalist, and it's clear she knows her stuff - First Love nods to Joni Mitchell style folk and Heavenly style Twee-pop to great effect. Highlights are ' We Almost Had a Baby', which combines a sweet, countryish melody with the most disturbing lyrics on the album
    "Well, you didn't stop/ When I told you to stop/ and there was a month/ When I wasn't sure...” and the brooding First Love, which samples Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah". I love the mock-celebratory chorus "Hallelujah/ Hallelujah/and the sky was so much bluer..." With X Factor rejects murdering Cohen's classic left right and centre, it's nice to see genuine talents like Emmy treating it with the respect it deserves.


    Alessi's Ark - Notes From The Treehouse

    The Guardian called Alessi "a doe-eyed Disney princess" "most likely to scare grown men", and Alessi is the most ceaselessly imaginative artists I've heard in quite some time. No wonder she was snapped up only after a couple of bar-gigs and whisked away to Obraska to record with Bright Eye's producer Mike Mogis. 'Notes From The Treehouse' is an album full of fable-like folk songs - and happily, Alessi hasn't went mad on the production - 'Magic Weather' is a little busy, but otherwise lovely, and there is some unnecessary guitar noodling on 'Glendora', but otherwise the production has been kept clean and crisp. Although her slightly husky voice does need a little work, Alessi is still very young (only 18 years old!) and she works like a dog - since the release of this album in May she's released a split EP, written several new songs and created an art exhibition - all while touring relentlessly. I've heard some of her new songs, and they're much slicker than her older stuff, bringing to mind Feist. If it came to a battle of the folksingers, Alessi Vs Emmy, Emmy would win out on her wit alone, but Alessi has bagfuls of potential, so I'm looking forward to her second album.


    Antony and The Johnston's - The Crying Light

    Oh Antony. I won't write much about Antony, since his music has been fretted and fussed over since his debut. He's a man, who kind of sings likes Nina Simone. His music is so beautiful and otherworldly that he could sing the phonebook and get a place on this list. He's an acquired taste for sure, but also immensely talented. 'The Crying Light' is quite a solemn, sad affair, but a beautiful one. The only reason I can think of for Antony's lack of nomination is that there was so much controversy when he won the mercury prize in 2005.


    Blue Roses - Blue Roses

    Blue Roses, aka Laura Groves, has so quietly released this fantastic album that it almost slipped under my nose. Laura is a singer-songwriter in the same vein of Kate Bush, with a gorgeous, high voice that soars above her classically-influenced piano. Her songs are achingly romantic, and could soundtrack a Jane Austen film.


    The Mummers - Tale To Tell

    I never say this about anyone, but blooming heck The Mummers sound like Bjork. The Mummers are probably the most unique band I've heard this year - they combine massive vocals with stately horns and fairground, whirring electronics. It's all wonderfully batty, and sounds like a demented carnival. The Mummers also do a brave and fantastic cover of Passion Pit's 'Sleepyhead', which works surprisingly well with trumpets. The only reason they haven't been nominated is they haven't gone on the PR rampage that Florence ATM and Bats For Lashes have, and The Mummer's 'Tale To Tell' is better than them both.


    Slow Club - Yeah So?

    Slow Club have been around on the anti-folk scene for quite a while, touring with bands such as Tilly and The Wall, where they used chairs as percussion, and gained a reputation as one of the funnest live act around. They made energetic, boy/girl folk and remind me of the cooler, folk Ting Tings, complete with shouty vocals and catchy drums. 'Yeah So?' is such a cute and fun album that's amazing to dance to! If you like acts like Noah & The Whale you'll love Slow Club.



    Mumford & Sons - Love Your Ground EP

    Mumford & Sons are another band from London's anti-folk scene, and have been supporting Laura Marling. I know that this is an EP, and the list is meant to be best albums, but Mumford & Sons are such an amazing band that I couldn't leave them out. They play timeless, energetic bluegrass which is perfectly complimented by Marcus Mumford's gruff voice. They are flying the flag for the use of banjo in modern music - more bands need to dig banjos out and get plucking, it's a great instrument! I'm looking insanely forward to their upcoming studio album. Listen to this and prepare to be amazed:


    Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

    This is a great album. I've already written about it, so see the top.


    The Leisure Society - The Last of The Melting Snow

    The Leisure Society are a band that I'd heard lots about, but put off listening to, because I thought bands are never as big as their hype. Hmm, how wrong I was. This is gorgeous, delicate folk music - a little like Mumford & Sons, but gentler. The Leisure Society's sweet melodies and quiet harmonies remind me of Belle & Sebastian's 'Dear Catastrophe Waitress'. I had been sure they would have got a nomination, as their gorgeous song 'The Last of The Melting Snow' was nominated for a prestigious Ivor Novello award, losing out to 'One Day Like This' by Elbow. This album sounds fresh and exciting, and reminds me of spring.


    Caroline Weeks - Songs For Edna

    Caroline Weeks is the multi-instrumentalist for Bats For Lashes, so I was sure she wasn't going to do anything orthodox on her debut. 'Songs For Edna' is a tribute to poet Edna St. Vincent, and it features her poems put to music. This sounded dreadful, but is actually surprisingly effective. The instrumentation is minimal, with only lightly-plucked guitar, which lets the beauty of the lyrics shine through. This album is beautiful, if a little over-indulgent and the cover photo is just gorgeous.


    Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

    This just missed out on being my album of the year - and I mean just! Camera Obscura is a fantastic band from Glasgow, but their sound harks back to 60's girl-groups such as the Shangri-La's. My Maudlin Career is a joy to listen to - it's filled with dreamy, sunny pop music, and would have been perfect as a summer release! Single 'French Navy' is absolutely stunning - soaring strings and a massive, joyful chorus is punctuated by singer Tracyanne Campbell's wistful lyrics. It’s probably the most epic single of the year, and impossible not to love. I have absolutely no idea why this wasn't nominated for a mercury - they really missed out there.


    Lisa Hannigan - Sea Sew

    I've already written about Lisa Hannigan, so I won't gush about her anymore. But 'Sea Sew' is just so full of win.