Oh, how hard was this? Most years I carry around about a dozen choons, and a handful bubbling over, that I know are going to be close to being in the top ten.
But this year, there have been far too many jostling around on the shuffle and playlists. It took a while but we’re there. Well, nearly. Cos it’s twelve and not ten. But hey I tried!
A definition of the burdz year in music? The ever presents of reverb and shoegaze were there, as too were “all things Americana”. I’m still a sucker for a melancholy choon that tells a dark story. And yup, the irrational drum obsession still holds – so many bands with two drummers these days! – but things have definitely got a little bit heavier on the blues and rock front. In fact, rediscovering my rock roots as well as my dancing shoes are probably key themes. But the biggest surprise – certainly to me – is that the burd appears finally, after years of denial, to have begun to dig female vocalists.
The Burdz Top Twelve Tracks of 2010:
12. Some Frontier – Orphan Boy
I’ve loved Orphan Boy’s album for months now and was determined to shoehorn a track into my top twelve-that-should-be-ten. But which? By a whisker, this won out. Anthemic yet ramshackle, poetic and defiantly political. Oh, and drums front and central.
11. TAOS – Menomena
Ranging from raucous to winsome, with a bit of thrash and bash in between, these boys rock. And a little bit of down and dirty does everyone good.
10. The First will be Last – the Scottish Enlightenment
Where has this band been all my life? Dark, brooding, melancholy. But strangely uplifting.
9. Older Brother – Pepper Rabbit
Yep, the burd does jingly, jangly, happy, clappy pop.
8. WOR – Django Django
This Scottish band based in London made it into 2009’s top ten and they’re back, having only released 2 tracks all year. No mean feat. I said it then, I’ll say it again. Django Django combines a little of all of the burdz favourite things: drums, harmonies and weirdness.
7. New Chain – the Vicious Guns
Now this has been in, then out and came back in again. But a top ten/twelve should be about the songs that you just can’t help turning up loud and stomping and shimmying to. This one does it for me.
6. Stranger in the Window – Elf Power
Just a beautiful, heartfelt song, tenderly sung. And no wonder. It’s a tribute to Vic Chesnutt with whom they had been collaborating before he took his own life.
5. Doubt – the Corin Tucker Band
This track took a while to grow on me and now I can’t shake it off. Sheer, unadulterated, honest to goodness rock n roll. Amen to that.
4. Song for Martin Kippenberger – Meursault
An exquisite piece of art. This track reveals new layers the more you listen to it. First class. And I’ll probably get into big bother from Song, by Toad but I couldn’t find a free streaming version of this track anywhere so sshh, it’s in the boxnet below.
3. Slippery when Wet – the Acorn
A pitch perfect slice of everything that is wonderful about the Acorn – beautiful melody, haunting acoustics, melting vocals and off-kilter subject matter. This would appear to be an ode to a tree.
2. Lines – And the Wiremen
Sometimes a choon just grabs you and you can’t really explain why. This is one such. The rhythmic baseline, and the call and answer maybe. It’s all a bit hypnotic and swoony.
1. White Table – Delta Spirit
The burdz favourite track of the year. Oh, how many ways do I love this song?
It’s a choon that is definitely the sum of its parts. Starting off lowkey, it builds and it layers. Less is more on the lyrics: sparse but perfectly formed and phrased. Matt Vasquez yearns, croons and shrugs his way to the crescendo. Which is burd nirvana frankly. Two drummers giving it laldy! The whole shebang is in turns subtle and stomping, and sexy, in a spurned sort of way. Can you tell how much I like it yet?
Close but no cigar:
Cloudy Shoes – Damien Jurado
A beautiful, haunting track, from his best album yet.
Quiet things are Quiet Now – Kid Canaveral
Ahh, big things coming for this Glasgow band. Intelligent pop.
Let the Record Go – the Mynabirds
This was in and on another day, would have stayed in. It’s the ohs wot done it.
Catholic Boys in the Rain – the Savings and Loan
An end of year discovery. I know too many of these boys for it not to have hit the mark.
Come Undone – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan
Walking Boss – Puerto Muerto
“Johnny Cash on 33rpm” was the verdict of the mate who sent me this. Indeed.
The Witching Hour – Wild Nothing
Loved this album all year. This track just shaves it as my favourite. I think.
Marathon – Tennis
Summery, flowery stateside pop with a big retro vibe that is utterly addictive.
Breathe the Fire – the Soft Moon
No, I don’t know what it says about me that I love this either.
Glorylight and Christie – Cotton Jones
Definitely in the category “all things Americana”. Top class.
Wish I’d discovered sooner (or not overlooked first time round):
Feel Like Taking you Home – Brendan Benson
Salivating – the Broken Family Band
(you gotta watch this video – it’s a hoot)
Dolphin Center – the Donkeys
Early in the Morning – Heartless Bastards
Stay with me here tonight – the Hollows
This God Damn House – the Low Anthem
Equality and Justice for All – PAMA International
Black Tables – Other Lives
Last Dance – the Raveonettes
Kissing my Love – Spanky Wilson
A Guilty Pleasure:
All the Lovers – Kylie