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   Thursday, December 31, 2009  
The wrongness of everyone, the rightness of me...

...aka reallyrather's top 10 for 2009, being a mix of whammo guitar noiseage and expert popsmithing, occasionally on the same record...

[Coloured-in edition]

10. The xx / self-titled
Third best British debut of the year, alarmingly singular and chilled effort from these Putney teens. Where was this in everyone else's list, eh? Well?? Oh yes, sorry, in all of them, usually near the top. It's not that great but its certainly notable enough, seemingly taking its sonic cue from thing's like Gnarles Barkley's Crazy

9. Gentleman Reg / Jet black
But really, where was this on everyone else's list, eh? Eh?! Channeling the same uncluttered organic band feel as The xx but injecting a fizzing pop edge that record lacks, Canada's Reg Vermue dishes up more of his distinctive fiesty feyness. Got any other records in your collection by bearded gay albinos? Er, fill that hole...
[gentleman reg]

8. Silversun Pickups / Swoon
Continuing their stealthy climb up the sheer face of the mountain we call Rock (Grammy nom ahoy!), the LA quartet offers up more lashings of deftly modulated, treacle-thick riffage smeared over what are essentially cracking little tunes [see]. Pretty, bombastic...

7. My Sad Captains / Here & elsewhere
Where was this on everyone else's list, eh? Second-best British debut of 2009 and within the context of their slacker pop aesthetic a modest triumph. Fairly freighted with assured, naggingly likeable tuneage - if Linus from Charlie Brown had formed a band this would be it - certainly more durable than the likes of slightly more touted types such as, well, Fanfarlo. Cathy, come home!

6. A Camp / Colonia
So, where was this on everyone else's list? Oh dear, actually it was on that of 'Fleet Street's least credible music hack (stiff competition there), Neil McCormick of the Daily Telegraph. Goes to show everyone can get it right at least once a decade. Sturdy, diverting tunesmithing more or less from the tinkling opening of The crowning to the oriental wooziness of extended closer The weed had got there first. Sound.

5. Cut Off Your Hands / You and I
Where was this on everyone else's list, eh? Eh?! Seems to have been around for much longer but it says 2009 on my copy so its in. Ill-starred NZ quartet go for the '80s indie-guitar-pop jugular with this Bernard Butler-produced debut. The result? Blood everyfuckingwhere. All the 'up' tracks - just the nine of them - hit the back of the net. Good though it also is, this beats out the more shoegazey fuzz of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's similarly-inspired debut set.

4. Wheat / White ink, black ink
Where, oh where, was this on everyone else's list? OK, so this band have been a bit of a reallyrather weakness over their stop-start existence but chuffin' heck, they've only gone and done it again. With the drummin' ever more direct and between-the-eyes, Brendan and Scott continue to distil their mercurial but effortlessly melodic pop leanings whilst continuing to avoid popular embrace. Strange, most strange...

And so to the top 3 which have revolved - and continue to revolve - in order over the months. But we're pushing the stick between the spokes NOW so the ranking goes:

3. M. Ward / Hold time
Nothing really left to say about Matt Ward and his seemingly efforless command of the 2min50sec bulletproof pop melody, gorgeously, glisteningly rendered. Distinctly more rewarding than the enjoyable Monsters of Folk offering, Ward here adds a nice line in Roy Woods-ian glam stomp. Unquestionably pleasurable stuff all the way through, as per...

2. Dananananaykroyd / Hey everyone
So where the chuffin' heck was this on everyone else's list, eh? Eh?! Hey everyone's thrillingly ectoplasmic splurge was only the best British debut of the year, that's all. How folks can embrace things like the fee-paid faux-folk of Mumford & Son over this is mystifying and a tad depressing. What a relentless belter this is with its mile-high wall of screamo riffage shot through with tightly-wound, whip-smart guitar figures and endlessly restless arangements. Infinity milk, Song one puzzle and hands-down song of the year Black wax are just some of its many peaks. Beaten to the top only by...

1. White Denim / Fits
...with their greater light 'n' shade and smarter editing. Well, it is this Texan trio's second go, Dana.., you'll learn. Coming in at barely 37mins this is a fantastically varied set (way more so than they can pull off live, in truth) ranging from thrillingly derivative acid-rock Jimi/Zep/Cream-isms to the verdant plains of acoustic melodism occupied by contemporaries the likes of Annuals and Plants & Animals. Guaranteed to kick out the jams, the pickles, the chutnies and any other preserves you still have lying around, this record has appeared in some lists, sometimes even near the top. They know and now so do you...

   posted by SMc at 12:30 PM |