Albums of 2008
The harmonised beauty of Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut album made it an easy pick for our favourite LP of 2009 – we’re suckers for their baroque pop stylising. But they were latecomers to the album scene – springtime had already brought Soft Power, a ’70s-pop pastiche by Gonzales, and Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!, Nick Cave’s wry, post-punk masterpiece. Award for ‘hardest workers’ goes to peppy popsters Los Campesinos!, who released two great albums this year: Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.
Performance of 2008
We’d like to claim indie cred by pointing to José González playing Chi, or kitschy pop cred by worshipping Kylie. But no – we’ll throw our reputations out the window by saying that our top 2008 moment was seeing Brian May and Roger Taylor in Festival City. Seriously – they might be old farts now (and the new material is all rubbish), but when they did their surprise mini-gig on the end of the audience catwalk they looked like they were having the time of their lives. Shame they kept letting pint-sized rubbish-mo-tron Paul Rodgers onstage, though.
Disappointment of 2008
If you read the British music press this year, you might have been led to believe that The Ting Tings were living pop gods come to carry us away to a land of great music. They weren’t. They really, really weren’t. Oh, they had one incredible song – ‘That’s Not My Name’ – and a couple of other good tracks, but for the most part their debut, We Started Nothing, lived up to its name all too well. Sad times.
Most anticipated album of 2009
If it were possible to wear out MP3s, our copies of The Crane Wife, the 2006 album from 1850s folksy throwbacks The Decemberists would have been so much digital dust by now. Needless to say, their upcoming LP, The Hazards Of Love, has got us all excited. And challenging Los Campesinos! for the ‘most prolific’ title are Big Boi and André 3000, who will release three albums – two solo, one as Outkast – next year. Let’s hope the solo stuff is better than 2003’s inconsistent Speakerboxxx/The Love Below double-album. And while British/Sri Lankan rapper MIA keeps flip-flopping over her plans for a third LP, we’re hoping against hope that she’ll release something next year.
Biggest wish for 2009
While it wasn’t our favourite of the year, Swedish muso José González’s gig conclusively showed that there’s a big audience here for indie, folk and other music from around the world. Sterling work by Alpha’s See You Next Thursday (soon to be Friday) bods aside, we hope more promoters look to this sizeable crowd in the future. Hopefully they’ll be tempted by the opportunity to siphon money off a huge, mostly untapped market.