Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Music Highlights 2009 Part 2

Wild Beasts - This Is Our Lot

Leeds Wild Beasts this year became Britains next contenders for the "New Smiths" tag. Aside from all the hype they did make a huge leap forward on Two Dancers. Your liking of this band depends on how you react to Hayden Thorpes' near operatic falsetto. On the more extreme offerings on their debut he sounded like Mika with rabies. They reigned their excesses in somewhat on the follow up to brilliant effect typified by this track. The hook before the last chorus always gets me.


Drunken Boat - Underground


When the Choice Music Award shortlist was announced there were a few voices from the underground lamenting the omission of Plumb The Depths, Drunken Boats' follow up to Cut The Engines, Raise The Sails. OK I have to own up a little here... I'm one of the band members' house mates! But any thoughts of favouritsm are blown away with this album. This track grabbed me from the first time I heard it... fierce but beautiful. An admirable feat.


Julianna Barwick - Cloudbank


A recent discovery for me when I heard this track on the excellent GvsB blog. My jaw dropped immediately. Using what sounds like just her voice and very few words she creates beautiful soundscapes. Think of a less pretentious Sigur Ros or even Bjork. The choral nature of the music made me think of James Blackshaw. Reading my futile attempts to describe her music though is pointless... just listen for yourself.


James Blackshaw - Cross

Blackshaw is an artist whose music I've been listening to constantly since discovering 2008's excellent Litany Of Echoes. A gifted 12 string guitarist & pianist, he composes music which is grounded in folk but is also influenced by classical & minimalist composers. And that's where I stop pretending to know what I'm talking about! I'm not at all familiar with his influences so I feel slightly inept writing about his music. Suffice to say this does not take away from the enjoyment of this amazing music and "Cross" was the stunning opening track, with Lavinia Blackwall from the awesome Trembling Bells providing haunting vocals.


Wooden Shjips - Down By The Sea

If I were ever taking a drive down a very long desert road I imagine this would be my soundtrack. From their Dos album this track stole the show with its squalling psychedelic guitars melded to a hypnotic motorik beat. Think Jim Morrison fronting Neu! but without the shit poetry.

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