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Christmas Catch-up: Records

Posted: December 24th, 2009, by Marceline Smith

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
A world in which Animal Collective get played on the radio and in trendy clothing stores may seem to be a bizarre, topsy-turvy one, but they’ve always had great tunes. It’s just now they’ve learned how to calibrate them to be heard by human ears. (Alex McChesney)

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Predictable. But yeah, this’ll basically be the top of everyone’s album of the year charts, right? Since it’s obviously the best thing released this year and quite probably one of the best records of the decade. If you’ve not heard it, it’s bloody astonishingly brilliant. (Stuart Fowkes)

Sonic Youth – The Eternal
Oh I don’t know, it’s so difficult to remember, especially as my listening habits seem to ping between brand new releases and old records with no degree of logic, and my stringent listen-twice-then-file-for-now policy on records forces a certain lack of ongoing appreciation. I might suggest Sonic Youth’s The Eternal but only because it’s the first thing that springs to mind. I did enjoy the fact that it came on vinyl with another live album included for free, though. And the fact that it’s very good. (Simon Minter)

Boban Markovi? Orkestar – Boban & Marko: Balkan Brass Fest
Serbia’s finest gypsy brass ensemble with 14 arse-kicking tracks, stuffed with rich brass and silly melodies. Have a listen, go on… I know it’s very cool right now to like the Balkan stuff but this trend is justified! Just like Nu Rave. (Pascal Ansell)

The Jesus Lizard – reunion shows
If I’m honest the recordings that have given me most joy this year have been the Chunklet live recordings of The Jesus Lizard reunion shows. To date I believe there have been four including the first set at All Tomorrows Parties. This band’s return surpassed all expectations and absolutely nobody anywhere leads a band quite the way that David Yow does. He is the one remaining badass in rock music. Worship him while you still can (JGRAM)

The Organ – Thieves
The discovery that there was a whole extra EP by The Organ that I didn’t own was certainly an exciting day for me. I fell instantly in love with The Organ when my band supported them several aeons ago and was hugely disappointed by their break-up. This EP is somehow even better than their album, capturing everything good about their sound (and indeed, the entirety of late 80s indie) in six songs. From Katie’s soaring, melancholy vocals to the post-Smiths jangly guitars and warm retro keyboards, it would be a total delight, if it wasn’t so heart-wrenchingly sad. (Marceline Smith)

Dan Deacon – Bromst
I fell in love with Spiderman Of The Rings when it came out. I’m sure I’m not alone on that one. And I had a hard time believing Dan Deacon could make anything better. But holy shit Bromst is absolute euphoria. It came out in March and I still listen to it more than almost any other record that came out this year. Every time I listen to it, I almost expect to be slightly let down by it. I’ve put it so high up on a pedestal that when I actually take a minute and think about it, I’m like “There’s no way the Bromst in my head is anyway near as good as the real Bromst.” But it is. It fucking is. (Justin Snow)

Mos Def –  The Ecstatic
Get a tin, label it ‘The Ecstatic’ and you’ve got precisely that. An unbeatable album from Mos Def that ticks aaaaaall the boxes: ever lyric, beat and sample is top-notch. Mos Def chants those ‘sit-up and listen’ lines, very often so too real it evades instant gratification: “I speak it so clearly sometimes you don’t hear me“. Auditorium’ (featuring Slick Rick) remains the anthem to my insomnia, you can find it here. (Pascal Ansell)

Obits – I Blame You
Seeing Obits play to a room of 70 people this year threw up some interesting debates about the bizarre reformation-craze that is strangling the culture of a generation stone dead. If Rick Froberg had come through town with a reformed Drive Like Jehu there would have been 700 people there I am sure. That’s crazy: you’re making music that is relevant to you now and is honest to you now like you always did and people want you to go back 10, 20 years and play music from a different time and to deliver it with the honesty and integrity that you made it with and made those people like it in the first place. It’s almost like people are having some kind of collective panic attack as they hit the next decade of their lives and are seeking solace in the cultural reference points of a time pre-internet or when they lived with their parents and life was easier. I Blame You sounds fresh and exciting to my ears. It’s a blast of garagey rock and roll and trashy aesthetics and importantly it’s got some killer tunes on it. It taps into a rediscovered liking for simpler and more direct music to such a degree that, coming from someone who is in part responsible for many shitty math rock bands, it’s almost a political statement. If you like old long-gone bands and you like and trust the people involved then dig into what they do now, don’t sit at home wanting to recreate a time gone by because you’ll only want a reunion of what they do now in 10 years time because you missed it this time round. (Chris Summerlin)

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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