Speakers Push Air

That 2010 Chart Rundown In Full
December 31, 2010, 11:57 am
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

1              Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Buried Behind The Barn

2              Four Tet – There Is Love In You

3              Swans – My Father Will Guide Us

4              Los Campesinos – Romance Is Boring

5              Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now

6              Mogwai – Special Moves

7              Grinderman 2

8              Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do

9              Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy

10           Forest Swords – Dagger Paths

11           Frontier Ruckus – Nightmalls & Dead Falls

12           Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Agridustrial

13           Living Sisters – Love To Live

14           CW Stoneking – Jungle Blues

15           LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

16           Warpaint – The Fool

17           These New Puritans – Hidden

18           Zola Jesus – Stridulum 2

19           Sleigh Bells – Treats

20           Demdike Stare- Liberation Through Hearing

21           Charlie Parr & The Black Twig Pickers

22           Salem King Night

23           Sun City Girls – Funeral Mariachi

24           Bill Callahan – Rough Travel For A Rare Thing

25           Dan Sartain Lives

The gauntlet has been thrown down to 2011. Bring it on…

1 Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Buried Behind The Barn
2 Four Tet – There Is Love In You
3 Swans – My Father Will Guide Us
4 Los Campesinos – Romance Is Boring
5 Caitlin Rose – Own Side Now
6 Mogwai – Special Moves
7 Grinderman 2
8 Drive By Truckers – The Big To Do
9 Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy
10 Forest Swords – Dagger Paths
11 Frontier Ruckus – Nightmalls & Dead Falls
12 Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Agridustrial
13 Living Sisters – Love To Live
14 CW Stoneking – Jungle Blues
15 LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
16 Warpaint – The Fool
17 These New Puritans – Hidden
18 Zola Jesus – Stridulum 2
19 Sleigh Bells – Treats
20 Demdike Stare- Liberation Through Hearing
21 Charlie Parr & The Black Twig Pickers
22 Salem King Night
23 Sun City Girls – Funeral Mariachi
24 Bill Callahan – Rough Travel For A Rare Thing
25 Dan Sartain Lives

December 31, 2010, 11:11 am
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Port Authority Band

download Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Cranston

So here y’are.

The album of the year seemed inevitable to me (and Pete, the one person who guessed in advance what it would be). Course, there are rules being broken here: Buried Behind The Barn is not only virtually a mini-album, but also it’s a collection of demos and outtakes from about 10 years ago. But fuck it – 2010 has been ALL about Slim Cessna’s Auto Club for me.

Comrade Ouchmonkey / Jared / Brother Earl had been pimping SCAC to me for an age, but I pretty much ignored him: they had 16 Horsepower connections, a band I find too overwrought and dour for the most part. But SCAC are a totally different proposition. If you’d asked me to describe my dream “Americana” band, I’d have pretty much described Slim Cessna. Imagine if you will a Venn diagram featuring the Violent Femmes, The Handsome Family, The Bad Seeds, Th’Legendary Shack Shakers, The Broken Family Band, The Bad Livers, country gospel and a dozen other perfect reference points. SCAC would be slap bang in the middle, drinkin’ and fornicatin’ and testifyin’.

Complex, funny lyrics nodding to William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy, a genuine sense of baptist fire in their bellies, fantastically interwoven vocals, a rich fierce sound. I’ve never seen SCAC live but you just KNOW they’d fucking rock. 17 years they’ve been going, with a dozen offshoot bands and art projects. This band hit me like a hammer this year, they’ve never left the stereo and while Buried Behind The Barn isn’t their best album (find The Bloudy Tenent Truth Peace for that), it’s still head and shoulders above everything else in a year that has produced more fantastic music than any I can remember.

Seriously, 2010 has been amazing and next time someone bitches and moans about there being no good music any more, spit in their eye and tell them to make a fucking effort. It’s out there, it’s just not being spoonfed. Or just point them at this blog as a jumping off point. All killer, no filler comrades.

buy it



December 31, 2010, 8:48 am
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Four Tet – Plastic People

download Four Tet – She Just Likes To Fight

I find writing about electronic / dance music much harder than writing about other forms. Partly I guess because as I get older and I go clubbing much much less (ie never) and I’m so removed these days from any kind of scene, I don’t have the kind of background knowledge to give the music a context. So it is with Four Tet.

I’ve been buying Kieran Hebden’s music since he was in Fridge, and I’ve got a lot and it’s pretty much all wonderful. There Is Love In You is obviously more dancefloor-focussed than before, which as far as I can glean comes from a long period of playing out (including at the legendary, now saved and titular Plastic People) but other than that, I can’t say with any authority whether it’s post-dubstep, quasi-twostep, anti-brostep or some other micro-genre. There’s still traces of the kind of sounds that got early Four Tet releases tagged “folktronica” (ugh) but the beats are more prominent without ever being formulaic.

What I can say with authority, however, is that it is one of the most uniquely immersive and joyful things I’ve heard in a long time. It shimmers and it soars and it takes me to some wonderful places in my head. The rest doesn’t really matter. This album fought a long tussle with the Swans album for the #2 spot, but beauty won out over ecstatic dread, perhaps as it should.

buy it

Farewell God’s Jukebox
December 30, 2010, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Radio

You’ve got about a day to listen to the last ever God’s Jukebox on BBC’s iPlayer. God’s Jukebox was Mark Lamarr’s long-running, absolutely peerless Friday midnight show. The show’s gone now and so has he. More about that another time. But if you need some sort of tribute to how fantastic the show was, how unique and essential, this final tracklisting can say more than any amount of prose.

1.     Fab Four — Jingle Bells

2.     The Granville Williams Orchestra — Santa Claus Is Ska Ing To Town

3.     Swingin’ Embers — Shimmy Winter Wonderland

4.     Mickey Gilley — Don’t The Girls All Get Prettier Around Christmastime

5.     Buck Owens — Christmas Ain’t Christmas

6.     Aquellas Navidades — el ano viejo

7.     Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias — Shakana Santa Shake It

8.     Belton Richard — Blue Christmas

9.     AKIM & The Teddy Vann Production Company — Santa Claus Is A Black Man

10.  Jack Teagarden — The Christmas Song

11.  El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico — Viva La Navidad

12.  Willie Colón & Héctor Lavoe — Esta Navidad

13.  Petty Booka — Christmas Island

14.  The Swan Silvertones — When Was The Baby Born

15.  Rev. James Cleveland & The Angelic Choir — Hark The Herald Angels Sing

16.  Ike & Tina Turner — Merry Christmas Baby

17.  Willie Nelson — What a Merry Christmas this could be

18.  Guarnieri, Johnny & Will Bradley Band — Santa’s Secret

19.  Gary Walker & The Boogie Kings — Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag

20.  James Brown — The Christmas Song

21.  Niyah and the Sunflakes — White Christmas

22.  The Diplomats of Solid Sound — Let It Snow

23.  Madd — Mad Xmas

24.  The Charles River Valley Boys — Norwegian Wood

25.  Bull Moose Jackson — Keep Your Big Mouth Shut

26.  Quantic and his Combo Bárbaro — La Murga De Panama

27.  Bamboos & Kylie Auldist — Like Tears And Rain

28.  Randa & The Soul Kingdom (Deep Street Soul) — On The Road

29.  C.W. Stoneking — The Love Me or Die

30.  The Len Price 3 — Pictures

31.  The Keys — I Tried To Find It In Books

32.  Paul Carrack — Tempted

33.  Prince Fatty — Insane In The Brain

34.  The Trojans — Auld Lang Syne

35.  James Hunter — Talkin’ Bout My Love

36.  Gizzelle — Baby Please Don’t Go

37.  Sarah Blasko — No Turning Back

38.  Tex Ritter — Jingle Jangle Jingle

39.  Richard Hawley — Don’t Get Hung Up In Your Soul

40.  Neville Skelly — He Looks A Lot Like Me

41.  The Jim Jones Revue — Shoot First

42.  Cyrus Gabrysch and the Zizaniques — In The Chapel Of All Kinds Of Things

43.  Noel McKoy — Great Big Gap

44.  Robbie Fulks — Jeanie’s Afraid Of The Dark

45.  Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys — Wishing Him Away

46.  Cymande — Brothers On The Slide

47.  Sam Cooke — The Last Mile Of The Way

December 30, 2010, 3:40 pm
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Swans – Reeling The Liars In

download Swans – Jim

An admission: I was never as into Swans as I probably “should” have been. I respected them, sure, was in awe of how damned intense they were, lapped up stories of the sheer brutality of their live performances. But somehow Time Is Money (Bastard) and Raping A Slave were never regular  plays round my house. And I haven’t paid that much attention to Gira’s post-Swans career either, the dark folk stuff on his Young God Records.

But Jesus H Christ, this reunion album is a revelation. A blistering mix of old Swans total commitment noise and a country / folk quality from Gira’s later work. At times it’s like The Bad Seeds at their peak if Blixa Bargeld had got his way more often and Cave had been more “for real”. This album is near perfect, that near-impossible blend of ecstasy and dread that so few bands can pull off. Most of the time I’ve no idea what Gira’s upset about, but there’s no doubting his utter fucking sincerity. There’s some beautiful, ruminative stuff on here but it’s the opening No Words / No Thoughts and the absolutely epic Jim that really blew me away.

A great big gorgeous ugly monolith of an album then. Gutted to have missed the reportedly phenomenal reunion shows too.

buy it

December 30, 2010, 2:16 pm
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring

download Los Campesinos! – Straight In At 101

“I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock.
Feels like the build-up takes forever but you never touch my cock”

Los Campesinos! are all growed up.

This bloody marvellous 3rd album sees less sugar-rush shouting and glockenspiels, a more dense and awkward sound, a much broader palette. While they may never again make something so uniquely exhilirating as You! Me! Dancing! or Death To Los Campesinos (the only records in years that made me wish I still went to indie clubs), instead there’s a depth and lyricism here. Gareth’s words can scarcely be contained by the shape of the verses any more, he’s got so much to say. While not as brattily shouty as before, it’s still pretty intense, maximalist stuff, but Los Campesinos! always pack about 3 melodies into each track.

I absolutely adore this band, they make me feel excited and joyful in a way that doesn’t happen so much with guitar bands any more. I genuinely can’t wait to see what they do next.

buy it


December 30, 2010, 12:48 pm
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Caitlin Rose – For The Rabbits

download Caitlin Rose – Learnin’ To Ride

Caitlin Rose couldn’t be more different to a lot of the albums in this rundown. Instead of eerie hauntological driftings and decaying martial beats, this is pure fucking Nashville.

But proper Nashville, not the big hatted nonsense that dominates these days. I first heard her on the Robert Elms show (the kiss of death to anyone looking for hipster points) covering that old warhorse Dead Flowers. Took a while for the album to follow but it’s absolutely bloody lovely. She’s got an amazing voice – powerful without being strident, rich and warm in that special way that always gets me. She gets compared to the usual – Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn – but there’s a more indie pop quality at work here too, and precious little twang. The lyrics are funny and painful and sharp and clever like all the best country. The music isn’t radical – mostly brilliantly played, straight ahead country, a little “alt” here and there, a little punkier than you’d expect (she’s paid her punker dues). There are killer harmonies, beautiful imagery.

Ah, it’s just absolutely brilliant and as Radio 2 as fuck and I just don’t care any more.

buy it

December 29, 2010, 6:17 pm
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Mogwai – Mogwai Fear Satan

I’ve seen Mogwai live at least 20 times. One of these occasions, at an NME gig at the Astoria – when they were on fucking FIRE – I found myself stood next to a very drunk, very blokey, bloke. Not some rhapsodising indie kid or journo or post rock gimp. The kind of bloke who’d never said a pretentious thing in his life. When they finished playing, he turned to me and said “that, pal, is what heaven sounds like”.

I have nothing to add.

buy it.

(NB: I usually exclude live albums from these charts. But it’s Mogwai so fuck you)

December 29, 2010, 5:55 pm
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Grinderman -Kitchenette.

It must be brilliant being Nick Cave. To become some kind of institution without entirely selling your muse down the river. To have your big rock cake and eat it with a shit-eating ironic grin. To have built up enough trust that you can leap from novel to soundtrack to hysterically self-aware mid life crisis great big hairy priapic side project without too much risk of alienating people.

And when it comes to hysterically self-aware mid life crisis great big hairy priapic side projects, Grinderman is one of the best. The second album might actually be a little less hairy and priapic than the first – it’s positively gentle in places, has a track that sounds a bit like one of Eno’s doo-wop projects and doesn’t have anything quite so flat out lascivious as, for example, No Pussy Blues. But there’s still a lot of facial hair, awkward middle aged libido and self-mockery here. Like pretty much everything Cave does, this album is a fucking triumph.

buy it.

December 29, 2010, 1:49 pm
Filed under: 2010 Top 25

download Drive By Truckers – Drag The Lake Charles

It’s “serious men with serious beards” day on the 2010 Chart Rundown, kicking off with the astonishingly prolific Drive By Truckers. By rights I shouldn’t really even like the DBTs – their brand of southern rock in many ways pushes all the wrong buttons: it’s blue collar, workmanlike, almost stodgy at times. But the songs are just so damned good, uber-precise dissections of smalltown southern life. This might be the first album from the list I heard this year, and it’s probably been played the most. As per a number of other albums on this list, there are no wheels being reinvented here, but it’s just killer song after killer song. Gallows humour, scathing insight, twin-axe attack. Makes me want to buy a pickup, a crate of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a truckers cap. Except I already have the trucker cap.

buy it.