I’m not feeling in any way festive, but anticipated or otherwise I seem to be in slowdown as we approach the end of the year. So, although I’d like to get my musical/photographic A to Z all posted and obviously there are mixes still to come, you probably won’t see much in the way of posting from me now until the calendar turns.
I’ve got a few things in mind. I know I fancy trying some kind of photographic diary again, probably hosted here as my Flickr Pro account must be due to expire and I can’t justify its renewal with a whole domain at my disposal. I’ve got a few things to think about before deciding what direction the blog will take and how it will intercept with my journalistic “career” – if, indeed, that’s something I still want to pursue. I’m not sure at the moment. I always suspected that thinking about doing something for a living would take all of the fun of it.
But there’s always room for one last hurrah in the form of my traditional end-of-year lists and awards!
LAST YEAR’S GIRL’S FAVOURITE, IF NOT THE BEST, ALBUMS OF 2009:
10. Leona Naess: Thirteens [buy] The very definition of a slow burner: a woozy, wonderous album for Sunday-morning listening that slips under the skin; graceful and gorgeous. Leona Naess’ voice is like melting butter.
9. MJ Hibbett & the Validators: Regardez, Ecoutez and Repetez [buy] Indie rules ok! There’s nothing complicated about this gloriously good fun collection of mischief and song.
I said: [I]t’s a giggle-a-minute tale of whimsy, bad dancing, conversations on the internet about Morrissey… all delivered in joyous indiepop technicolour. (July)
8. David Bazan: Curse Your Branches [buy] First solo album proper from onetime Pedro the Lion.
I said: Less a ‘breakup with God’ than one side of an ongoing, unresolved conversation; proud and unafraid. (November)
7. William Elliott Whitmore: Animals in the Dark [buy] There’s nothing complicated about this dark, old-timey record and its enchanting-voiced singer.
I said: Just arrived… a dark, folky record I overheard in Monorail a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with. (March)
6. Withered Hand: Good News [buy] There’s not much I haven’t already said about the lo-fi Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter.
I said: [H]is work is less mystical I guess, pining like the rest of my generation in a grotty sandstone bedsit; all sexual frustration bad language and all-night instant messenger drama and years of residual Catholic school guilt. (August)
5. The Mountain Goats: The Life of the World To Come [buy] John Darnielle’s biblically-themed record is by turns sparse and heartbreaking.
I said: …those sort of strange lovesongs that Darnielle pens so well, with his talent for that one heartstopping line delivered in just such a way with scratchy, spellbinding cello or piano. (September)
4. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit [buy] Classic rocking brilliance from one-time Drive By Trucker.
I said: [P]retty much all I’ve listened to for the past fortnight has been the Gaslight Anthem and Jason Isbell.November)
3. Emmy the Great: First Love [buy] Simple, evocative and heartbreaking debut from a girl I’ve had my eye on for a long time.
I said: I’ve bought three copies of this record already – both for my own consumption and for various birthday presents – and I cannot recommend it highly enough.(March)
2. Neko Case: Middle Cyclone [buy] Flame-haired singer’s album storms and rages.
I said: “I’m a man, man, maneater,” croons the songstress on “People Got a Lotta Nerve”, so warmly that you realise you could never resist. (March)
1. Lucero: 1372 Overton Park [buy] Tennessee troupe’s major label debut brings the rock, the roll – and the whole goddamn horn section.
I said: One fucked hero and heroine, outrunning their past on the back of a beat-up motorcycle, unknown and beautiful and battered as only Ben Nichols can tell it. (November)
2009’s Honourable Mentions: Elvis Perkins in Dearland, S/T; Kill It Kid, S/T; Richmond Fontaine, We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River; There Will Be Fireworks, S/T
2009’s Albums Which Might Have Made The List Had I Had Them Longer Than A Week: The Avett Brothers, I And Love And You.
Of course, they say the devil is in the detail, and there’s plenty of that after the jump.
MOST DISAPPOINTING FOLLOW-UP ALBUM TO A PREVIOUS TOP TEN CONTENDER AWARD:
Bruce Springsteen, Working on a Dream: like a rehash of Magic, only workmanlike rather than magical. Made up for by some stomping live performances though, as we shall see…
BEST COMPILATION ALBUM:
Various Artists, Dark Was The Night: A Red Hot Compilation (4AD). A stellar lineup, and all for charity!
BEST MOST BONKERS USE OF THE INTERNET:
Doubling up with the “Ryan Adams has to win something” category; this year it goes to PAX AM Records. Suuuuuure, you’re giving up music, Ryan.
EP OF THE YEAR:
Yim Yames, Tribute To: the My Morning Jacket frontman beautifully perfoms the songs of George Harrison.
“HEY! YOU! GET OFF OF MY FEED READER!” AWARD (SPONSORED BY RADIOWANK)
The XX. Uhhh… is it supposed to do something?
LAST YEAR’S GIRL’S TOP SONGS OF 2009 (END OF YEAR MIXES SOON!)
5. Beerjacket, “Dancing in the Dark”
4. Langhorne Slim, “Colette”
3. Bell X1: “The Great Defector”
2. Neko Case, “This Tornado Loves You”
1. Lucero, “Darken My Door”
BAND OF THE YEAR:
The Gaslight Anthem
LAST YEAR’S GIRL’S TOP GIGS OF 2008:
3. The Gaslight Anthem @ Cincinnati Bogarts, 9th September [blog] 2. July and August’s Drive Carefullys, which seem to blend into one inside my head [July blog and August blog] 1. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band @ Glasgow Hampden Park, 14th July [closely followed by the same at Dublin RDS Simmonscourt, 12th July blog]
MUSIC BLOKE OF THE YEAR
Bruce Springsteen, for turning sixty and still being the most awesome thing ever.
MUSIC BIRD OF THE YEAR:
Halina Rifai of Glasgow PodcART – the hardest-working woman in the Glasgow music scene.
MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN COLLABORATION AWARD:
Craig Finn co-writing the movie adaptation of Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo Rock City (have I mentioned how much I love Chuck Klosterman)? Jay Farrarr and Ben Gibbard soundtracking a Jack Kerouac documentary? Not that I’ve opened the CD because I don’t want to hear it before I watch the documentary before I read the book… argh. One of those two, anyway.
MOST ANTICIPATED 2010 RELEASE:
LAST YEAR’S GIRL’S ULTIMATE MUSIC MOMENT OF 2009:
My all-time favourite song live, with my favourite people. Oh, I was in FLOODS.
LAST YEAR’S GIRL NEEDS TO STOP ORDERING WORTHY FOREIGN FILMS SHE NEVER WATCHES, AND START FILLING HER LOVEFILM LIST WITH HANNAH MONTANA THE MOVIE. SHE LIKED THESE THOUGH:
10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
9. Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
8. Vicky Cristina Barcelona
7. The Damned United
6. The Wrestler
5. (500) Days of Summer
4. Broken Embraces
3. Coraline 3D
2. In The Loop
LAST YEAR’S GIRL’S WORST FILM OF 2009:
Tranformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. I missed Springsteen at Glastonbury for this, etc. A bitter disappointment as I really loved the first one, but how a film can be so tedious while featuring that many explosions I don’t know.