So here we are again, that time of the year when the top LP's (in my humble opinion) are counted down in glorious fashion.
To be truthful, this year hasn't been as good as I thought it was, if that makes sense and I have no need of any notable mentions barging into the mosh pit of in this year's selection as I can pick ten albums that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Slim pickings indeed and it feels odd that this list was not a dog fight like every other.
So, without further ado, here we go...
10. "SPEECH THERAPY" SPEECH DEBELLE
Nearly didn't make it in but then I realised I was just being a tit and it deserves a place because it just speaks another language and her voice is so sweet (in a way) and the backing so jazzy but tight and still swinging. A deserved if obscure Mercury Music Prize winner even if it seems not to have helped her shift any units or reach a wider audience; a sad blow but a bright, black, British talent.
9. "GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE, LAZERS DO" VARIOUS ARTISTS
It counts, as it is not a compilation of existing tracks but rather a purpose built dancehall- techno-grime-roots reggae-death bomb of awesome dance-till-end of time, tunes. TOP RANKIN!!!
8. "GENERALLY SPEAKING" NEWHAM GENERALS
I've said it before and I'll say it again, having some black lads shout at you is my idea of fun and these two gents are as intense as they come but backed with some awesome, Prodigy style beats (in a good way) that carry the grimy day and Newham Generals just might be the torch bearers for keeping it real in innovative UK grime.
7. "RELAPSE" EMINEM
A much needed return to form after an achingly large gap, this choice is heavily influenced by the beautiful Eva-Jane, who made me listen to it all the time in Saint Lucia and it just got stuck in my heart. A work of deft skill with all the boxes ticked for any one with even a slight interest in Jay-Z being given a run for his money in the King of Hip-Hop stakes.
6. "BLUE ROSES" BLUE ROSES
Another UK artist and a profoundly moving and beautiful record, which seems to have passed many people by in the rush to lionise other UK female singer songwriters. I like it that way, as my lovely little secret.
5. "FITS" WHITE DENIM
I love how much this record rocks, the arrangements managing to be both sparse and vast at the same time, clever as well as accessible, they make a fine racket and have so many tricks up their sleeves. Excellent alt-rock, the US could do with making more of this kind of kerfuffle.
4. "NO HATS NO HOODS" VARIOUS ARTISTS
Regular readers will remember me repping this awesome record back when it came out. I think my previous life as a wigga is still effecting me heavily, I love grime, I love how british it is, how dark it is, how good it is and this is a collection of the best grime tracks of 08/09 mixed together into one dense blast of serious rhymes; this is an essential guide to what is happening right now in the UK rap scene.
3. "THE MASTER ALCHEMIST" INVASION
This band came from nowhere and blew me away. I took a chance on them and it paid off, this is their debut and it sounds like Aretha Franklin being backed by Lightening Bolt and if that doesn't make you want to buy it, I don't know what will. RAWK!
2. "IN THE COURT OF THE WRESTLING LET'S" LET'S WRESTLE
Looking at this list it's mostly all about British music and these chaps are as British as they come, clever lyrics about Princess Di's hair, old people and obscure ailments backed with indie punk rock guitar work and some great drumming...this album is a lovely bit of heaven.
1. "AFTER ROBOTS" BLK JKS
This LP towers over all others this year, like a musical God, it is literally in another league, another world, it is the Hamlet to the preceding collection of whimsical comedies and tragedies. After Robots is like a life-partner, a happening, a deeply personal experience. Buy it now if you haven't already.