So that was 2005. Good, huh? Well if you can't remember, fret not, as musicOMH.com does what's traditional at this time of year - gets drunk and attempts to feel you up at the the Christmas party.|
Oh, and the eds name their best five albums of the past 12 months.
On this page, read the pearls of Danuta Kean, Steve Hands and David Welsh.
Next up come the thoughts of Jeremy Lloyd, Tim Lee and John Murphy. Finally, see if you agree with Helen Wright, Vik Bansal and Michael Hubbard.
Danuta Kean - Associate Editor:
1. The National - Alligator
Best album of the year. Dark, emotionally spare lyricism married to melodies that raise the spirits sunwards only to drop you crashing like a stone to the ground, bitter and angry, whether raging at estranged lovers or failed politicians
2. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow
The light to The National's darkness. As though the bastard son of Manu Chao and Donovan, the troubador pixie plays childlike melodies with an edge. He also has the best vibrato in the business.
3. Aidan Smith - Fancy Barrel
Pared down talent marries clever writing to irresistible melodies with echoes of Belle & Sebastian, the Small Faces and Love.
4. Kate Bush - Aerial
Two cds, one emotionally and musically complex the second does for concept albums what Strictly Come Dancing did for ballroom. I defy anyone not to feel uplifted by the sheer poetry of it.
5. Gorillaz - Demon Days
As sharp as a well made suit and twice as cool. 'Nuf said.
Steve Hands - Features Editor:
1. Prefuse 73 - Surrounded By Silence
Hip-Hop, glitch-hop or click-hop? Whatever, Scott Herren gleefully incorporates nu-folk, avant jazz and post-rock into this jigsaw masterpiece best viewed in one sitting rather than its oddly-cut constituent parts. A Rear Window of alt-pop narratives, where Herren's telescopic recording approach rests halfway between voyeuer and auteur.
2. Boards Of Canada - The Campfire Headphase
Akin to woozy chemical euphoria, complete with anticipatory dread. This lens-flash techno-retro is like finding an Unexplained-style apparition suddenly phasing in on old family photos.
3. L Pierre - Touchpool
Side projects, ahoy! Hard to believe, but this string-drenched loop-happy classic is just a bit of tomfoolery while
Arab Strap's Aidan Moffatt goofs off from the day job. Well beyond the pages of Wallpaper, this is lounge music, but for sitting rooms built for comfort.
4. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
10 out of 10 for sheer originality. Scarily brave performances and, at times, achieving a raw sensitivity rarely seen since (gulp!) Astral Weeks.
5. Kate Bush - Aerial
Tempting to avoid major label efforts, but La Bush's time-arresting return is impossible to ignore. Aerial is as flexibly English as
Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom, and as surreptiously detailed as The Haywain. Country miles away from the ever-priapic concerns of the rock biz, but no less sensual for it. For old socks and old shoes, but by no means exclusively.
David Welsh - Singles Editor:
1. Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft
They've been threatening to realise their planet-sized potential for the best part of a decade, and this year eventually marked the landmark point at which SFA output began matching its creators' vision. Absolutely, indupitably and unfalteringly brilliant from beginning to end.
2. DFA 1979 - You're A Woman I'm A Machine
As is the case with all the greatest LPs, the debut effort from Toronto's most bombastic noiseniks gets better over time. The duo race through a dozen white-hot tracks without so much as dropping a beat. A damn fine live act,
3. Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger
I stand by my assertion that the album is flawed in places, and yet it's difficult to imagine a pop scene pre-Maximo Park. They came, they saw, they made Barry from personnel squeal about applying some pressure in his very best Geordie accent (not to mention those tailor-baiting axe kicks...).
4. Beck - Guero
I wasn't one of the hoardes demanding Beck return to his Odelay hey-day and yet his decision to do so
pleased me greatly. With Guero he proved that can still genre-fuse better than most. Hats off once again to the diminutive funkster - and bonus points for the uber-clever Girl video.
5. Weezer - Make Believe
Beverly Hills didn't bowl me over, but I needn't have worried. Cuomo and co marked 2005 with some of their strongest material for years: Perfect Situation, This Is Such A Pity, We Are All On Drugs, The Damage In Your Heart, Pardon Me... it's an enviable line-up - even by Weezer standards. Welcome news for manufacturers of Buddy Holly glasses across the globe.