Sunday, 14 December 2008

TLS Edinburgh Edition: Five Favourite Albums of 2008

I'm happy to bring you the Edinburgh edition of Terrible Love Songs written by Ian who shares with us his five favourite albums of 2008.

I guess we will look back on 2008 as not a classic year - no new emerging styles to thrill and memorize a nation and too much focus perhaps on the follow on albums of Coldplay, Kaisers and alike - with even Oasis getting in on the act.

I did have a few gems though :

We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery

It was great to see We Are Scientists recreate the mirth and joy of their live performances on an LP. Reduced to a duo the guys are indies best writing double act of the moment and the album combines the wit of Afterhours (my favourite drinking song of the year) with more serious song content on the rocky and the more dancy Chick-LitImpatience. The band worked hard to promote this album and there YouTube videos are well worth a look if you need a laugh.


Fighting With Wire - Man vs Monster

Derry Rockers Fighting With Wire broke through on this side of the Irish Sea with a series of impressive shows and a mighty fine album. Solid rock throughout, Man Vs Monster is stocked with anthems. Some of the guitar work reeks of quality, particularly on Strength In Numbers and Everyone Needs A Nemesis with Cahir O'Doherty's vocals reminiscent of fellow Derry hero Fergal. The strength of the album is a stripped down sound and keeping the tracks tight, short and free from any padding - 2009 should be a big year for these guys with hopefully more live shows and plenty potential for more great songs to come. Get this album and play it loud !


Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday At Devil Dirt

The debut collaboration by Isobel and Lanegan was the biggest surprise of 2006 and news of this follow up was greeted in many quarters with equal surprise. Sunday at Devil Dirt compares favourably with The Ballad Of The Broken Seas debut . The pair have gelled following a set of gigs which were quite mesmerising (panned however in The Observer who criticised the pair for lack of communication between their songs - Was the reviewer expecting 'Terry & June' ??) Sunday At Devil Dirt feels less experimental partly due to a fan base becoming more familiar with The Campbell & Lanegan style - Oil and Water vocal contrasts blend perfectly on a set of songs which lilt from almost traditional country through to 21st century blues. I rate this as a great find and a true achievement for both artists. This is very different from the Belle & Sebastian collective where Isobel Campbell contributed some white satin vocals and cello rifts
and the more blustery Screeming Trees work of big Mark Lanegan . Difficult to pick out a star track however Lanegans growl on Backburner crashes wonderfully into Campbell's cello playing and Keep Me In Mind Sweetheart modernises the world of country pain. More of the same can't be ruled out ...



Silver Jews - Look Out Mountain , Look Out Sea

David Berman is a genius and this record has the hallmark of genius all the way through. Renowned for clever lyrics, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is a bit more upbeat than some of the Silver Jews previous efforts . Totally thought provoking stuff from start to finish with San Francisco BCa particular favourite (romance is the douche of the bourgeoisie is one of my lines of the year) Aloysius, Bluegrass drummer is a typical example of Berman's humour and the lament We Could Be Looking For The Same Thing closes the album perfectly. Of course there is more to Silver Jews than Berman and the band drive and low fi their way to layer clever accompaniments to bring these songs to life. In particular some of the guitar on the album stand outs as being the most original heard anywhere this year - This record has had as much impact on me as the early Pavement albums which Berman influenced behind the scenes. Lookout Mountain Look Out Sea is a joy to listen to and a privilege to own.


Sigur Ros - Med sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaus ( With A Buzz In Our Ears We Play Endlessly)

This is a thing of beauty. I have not been affected by a record in this way since The Cocteaus released Treasure. Probably the best crafted music heard this century, Sigur Ros seem to have done the impossible of crossing over into the spotlight without compromising their unique sound. With outstanding quality throughout, it is difficult to single out highlights however the wax and wane of inni mer Syngur Vitleysingur and godan daginn captures the essence of what Sigur Ros are all about. The biggest compliment for the band however was that all 8 minutes of Festival was played regularly on radio when the album was released. The instant recognition that this was a very important record was clear and appropriate. Tracks form this album will be played at weddings, funerals and in maternity suites throughout the land. The influence of Sigur Ros and Bjork from such an isolated music community is staggering and perhaps a clear indication of what can grow when protected from the festering sores of commercialism - Yeah Iceland great bands, crap Banks ( A bit likely Scotland really !)


1 comment:

Citizen Meh said...

Good call on the Silver Jews and Sigur Ros. I'm a big fan of Aloysius, Bluegrass Drummer too!

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