1. The XX- xx
Where so many bands fill their space with noise and layers these four teenagers from London showed that less can indeed be more. Set to a musical backdrop of trip-hop, two step and dub dual vocalists Olliver Sim and Romy Croft open their hearts and mouths scattering broken hearted rhymes and brittle citadels of romance. From the upbeat pop tunes of ‘Basic Space’ and ‘VCR’ to the stunning ‘Crystalised’ and ‘Shelter’ this debut album never drops below astonishing. The future is neon bright for The XX but even if they packed it all in tomorrow they have left their indelible dark mark on 2009.
2. The Horrors- Primary Colours
It would have been so easy for The Horrors to conform to the stereotypes forced upon them and to churn out an album of sub Sonic/ Cramps tunes. The much maligned five piece defied expectations though and emerged from an underground studio having worked with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow on ‘Primary Colours’ 2009’s most unexpected hit. Much of the album works as a tribute to the bands influences, showcasing their love of 60’s psychadelia and bands like Neu! And Can resulting in tracks like the sprawling motorik beat of ‘Sea Within A Sea’. Elsewhere the aggressive glam stomp of yore is brought to a natural progression on ‘Who Can Say’ and ‘New Ice Age’. Every single copy of ‘Primary Colours’ should come issued with a big steaming slice of humble pie.
3. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s- It’s Blitz!
After the glitter punk thrash of their debut album and the experimental sounds of its follow up Karen O and co. took the natural progression on album number three and went all out disco pop. From the opening call to arms double bill of ‘Zero’ and ‘Heads Will Roll’ this album sees spirits high in the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s camp and as usual there is a battle between the distorted fuzz of Nick Zinner’s guitar and Karen O’s charismatic onslaught resulting in a double K.O. If at first it’s the fist pumping anthems that grab you then it’s the slower and more delicate moments that will have you coming back to ‘It’s Blitz!’ with ‘Hysteric’ and ‘Runaway’ rivalling anything the group have done before for elegance and poise.
4. The Maccabees- Wall Of Arms
This is the album which saw The Maccabees go from men to boys and burst out from the pack with a host of epic romantic anthems. Enlisting Arcade Fire producer Markus Dravs was a master stroke on the part of the Brighton band as his sense of the gargantuan merged with the shy indie promise shown on the bands 2007 debut record. This meeting of minds saw lead singer Orlando Weeks emerge as a town crier for the sad and alone, a klaxon for the soppy and love lorn. Listen to a song as good as ‘Love You Better’ or the National gone post punk brilliance of ‘No Kind Words’ and tell us that The Maccabees aren’t a band to cherish. You can’t and ‘Wall Of Arms’ is their tour de force.
5. Jamie T- Kings & Queens
It wasn’t mentioned much at the time but there must have been a great deal of pressure on Jamie T to follow up his superb debut ‘Panic Prevention’. Any signs of nerves or tension didn’t show one single bit however as with a swig of his brew Jamie hit the ball out of the court on ‘Kings & Queens’ showing his unique flow, spirit and precocious talent. This album has a real communal brothers in arms feel as swaying sing alongs like ‘The Man’s Machine’ line up alongside frantic skittering sugar rush tunes like ‘Chaka Demus’ and ‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’.
6. Arctic Monkeys- 'Humbug'
7. Danananaykroyd- 'Hey Everyone!'
8. Florence and The Machine- 'Lungs'
9. The Big Pink- 'A Brief History Of Love'
10. Wild Beasts- 'Two Dancers'
The Top 10 on Spotify
Monday, December 14
1. The XX- xx