jkneale’s Top Ten of 2009

Mr abb is right, this has been tougher than usual. I’m pleased we worked it out and even more pleased we’ve hit on a top four after extended negotiations more convoluted than the US healthcare wrangles and Copenhagen put together. Finally we can walk out to the armoured car in our blue UN flak jackets, shake hands, and pronounce the Big Four. A roadmap to tinnitus, essentially.

But before that, my other top records, following angrybonbon’s tremendous ten…

1 – Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men

I promised a review of this back in January, describing them as “one of the most interesting and completely underrated bands around”. I got a copy early, seemingly hand-posted from California by David Sylvian. Cue Mercury nomination, baffled reactions from all and sundry, etc. Did I review it? Did I hell. Anyway, it’s a superb album, developing the subtle craft of the first album into something much more expansive – especially the widescreen soundtrack of ‘Here It Begins’ – while still retaining the intimacy you get from recording in a shed. Still highly recommended.

Truth Only Smiles

There Will It End

2 – Fanfarlo – Reservoir

In the same post, I bade you all watch the glorious ascent of Fanfarlo. And didn’t review that album either, partly because it got released three times (I think). But it’s another surefire winner – the production does, as everyone noticed, conjure the Arcade Fire, but that just gives Fanfarlo another set of choices, a beefier sound to set against Simon’s voice and the spot-on instrumentation. This is great pop music and Fanfarlo’s hard work is surely winning them friends.

The Walls Are Coming Down

Finish Line

3 – Micah P. Hinson – All Dressed Up And Smelling Of Strangers

I’m a sucker for covers, and to be honest MPH could cover the oeuvre of Nickelback and I would have to consider buying it… but this goes beyond by-the-numbers stuff. Exhibit A:

In The Pines

4 – Bob Mould – Life And Times

Bob is a bit of a fixture here, but if your teenage heroes continue to make fantastic records, what can you do? Writing his autobiography is clearly making Bob go back to the different stages of his career – Husker Du, solo work, Sugar, it all seems to inform this album. Apart from the superb ‘I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand In My Light Any More’ this is a stand-out, a song for Bob’s gay punk band:


5 – Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years

There was stiff competition for the coveted 5th placing but I ended up going back to this. SFA have been around so long they might seem in danger of going stale but this is a cracking album. One of the Welsh ones:

Lliwiau Llachar

6 – Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights

7 – Circulus – Thought Becomes Reality

8 – The Flowers of Hell – Come Hell Or High Water

9 – Art Brut – Art Brut vs Satan

10 – The Joy Formidable – A Balloon Called Moaning

Thanks everyone who visited or emailed us this year, and apologies if we haven’t replied to you – we’re a bit snowed under with other stuff. Anyway, cheers!


About jkneale

BothBarsOn's London correspondent.

Posted on December 23, 2009, in Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great tunes and nicely put.

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