For someone who isn’t all that fussed about films, I saw a whopping 19 new movies last year.
- Season Of The Witch
- Drive Angry 3D
- Hobo With A Shotgun
- American: The Bill Hicks Story
- Scream 4
- Fast Five
- Super 8
- Transformers: Dark Of The Moon
- Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Fright Night
- Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
- Red State
- The Thing
- Paranormal Activity 3
- The Muppet
Of all of these, I would say my favourites were Super 8, Drive Angry 3D and Insidious. My least favourites were easily Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon, Thor and Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark.
It’s December! I think I can safely say no new albums are going to arrive that will change my mind too drastically. This is about 1/7 of the albums I bought this year, it was really difficult picking favourites as a result. Once you’re done reading, share yours in case there are any gems I missed!
10. Galactic Melt by Com Truise
With videos that look like the loading screens on old Commodore 64 games and a modern take on an extremely ’80s synth sound, I was an easy sell for Com Truise. If you like your electronica both up and off-beat, you can do no worse. My favourite song didn’t appear on the album, but was a lead in single.
9. Bon Iver by Bon Iver
Like the Cut Copy album ahead of it, it felt more like the work of a band than a single person this time. Everything was more produced, more fleshed out, and – no doubt bolstered by all of Justin’s work with Kanye West – more ambitious in scope. Of course, when I was made aware of a Peter Gabriel comparison on a couple of songs, I felt a little old for liking it.
8. Zonoscope by Cut Copy
Their previous album, In Ghost Colours, was so perfect and the lead single to this – ‘Need You Now’ – didn’t grab me, so I was worried. Worried over nothing, I might add. This album definitely feels more like a band effort than a guy in a studio, I really can’t wait to experience it live (yay, white people dancing).
Favourite song: http://open.spotify.com/track/6xMkSIpV3MULmCgrTOYLxD (not on YouTube, sorry!)
7. The King Of Limbs by Radiohead
I certainly don’t sympathise with the widespread disappointment with this album. It is fairly short by Radiohead standards, but like In Rainbows before it, it caters to all kinds of fans – it has out-there glitchy IDM, less blippy electronic numbers and low-key Debbie Downers in equal measure. All that’s missing is a rocker like ‘Bodysnatchers’ or ‘Just’. And the remix project turned out some fantastic re-interpretations, like Jacques Green’s take on ‘Lotus Flower’.
6. Human Hearts by Maritime
With every album that distances Dan and Davey from their past in The Promise Ring, they get better and better musically – Davey’s singing in particular is night and day more gut-wrenchingly affecting. There is nary a misstep on this album, I didn’t think they could improve on We, The Vehicles and Heresy & The Hotel Choir.
5. Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
I wasn’t entirely in on the buzz with their self-titled first album but this sucker really grabbed me. It has a totally timeless vibe going on, and lyrics that cut right through me. It probably has the least keyboards of my entire Top 5, too.
4. Holy Ghost! by Holy Ghost!
Signed to DFA Records, home of LCD Soundsystem and run by that band’s head honcho James Murphy, this pop duo are – according to my iTunes library – owners of one of my most played albums this year. It has a lead time over the albums further ahead in my list, but it’s absolutely perfect start to finish. It makes me want to dance.
3. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming by M83
It’s a double album, so amongst its 22 songs, there’s bound to be a couple of not-so-great moments. The peaks definitely make up for the valleys, though – it’s a beautifully produced, utterly nostalgic slice of pop. The lead single, ‘Midnight City’, gives me goose pimples with every listen… and who can fail to smile at a song featuring a kid telling the story of magical frogs (‘Raconte Moi Une Histoire’)?
2. Reptilians by Starfucker
Named for the lizard people believed to secretly control the world (Google “David Icke” for A Real Fun Time), and featuring samples of British philosopher Alan Watts, you might not expect this to be a mostly danceable indie pop album, but there you go. If you vibe on Holy Ghost!, Hot Chip et al, you may like this.
1. The Year Of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon
What does it say about me that my favourite album this year is one that uses fairly sparse instrumentation and excessive reverb to keep the listener at an emotional distance? Sole Youth Trevor Powers deals in meloncholy nostalgia set to fairly upbeat music, and while a little brief (the regular edition is eight songs long), it’s been getting a lot of love on my morning commute – especially as the weather gets colder.