08 December 2010

Scots Way-Hay - The Artists Albums of the Year (Part 1)

As it's that time of year when every man and his dog is drawing up their end of year album lists. I thought it would be a fun idea to ask some of the bands that have done interviews for me this year as part of my Scots Way-Hay, to tell me what their favourite albums of 2010.
Kicking it all off we have Call To Mind, Eagleowl, Ghost Pants, I Build Collapsible Mountains, Miss the Occupier, Seafieldroad and the Son(s) telling us a bit about what was floating their boat in 2010.

'Deerhunter - Halcyon' Digest

chosen by Paul Carlin, Ghost Pants/Dananananaykroyd/American Men

"I got into Deerhunter by accident about three years ago and remember walking around in the sunshine listening to their album 'Cryptograms' a LOT. They've steadily become better and better since then and this new album, Halcyon Digest, is, by far, their most concise and complete collection of songs to date. They've somehow managed to come up with a body of work that has a 4-track recorder for a heart but is significantly more shiny on the outside. Everything that Deerhunter has done up until now has culminated in this great album and in Desire Lines, they've written pretty much the perfect indie rock song. There's perhaps less ramshackle charm on this record compared to their earlier work but when the songs are THIS good, who cares? Halcyon Digest is darkness and light in equal measure and a fine starting point if you're new to the band"

'Marnie Stern by Marnie Stern'

chosen by Magnus Hughson, Miss the Occupier

"The basic idea of taking the none-more-metal musical technique of guitar shredding and placing it within the context of non-metal, quirky, Deerhoof-ish songs with sweet vocals was refreshing enough on Stern's first two albums. Here she expands on this massively with the epic For Ash, the bruised Transparency Is The New Mystery, and the understated The Things You Notice. With lots of awesome choruses and riffs in between.
For what it's worth, the rest of my top ten albums of 2010 list is as follows: Quasi, The Fall, Manic Street Preachers, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, Neil Young, M.I.A, Kristin Hersh, Emma Pollock, and Scout Niblett."

'The Phantom Band - The Wants'

chosen by Jamie Ross, Call To Mind

"We were lucky enough to play one of our first gigs opening for them. It's really pleasing to see a band who've taken their time and done things their own way deliver a really solid first album. With The Want's though, it shows a definite step forward: diverse, more grooves on there, lots of melodies.. You can tell they don't take themselves seriously, but at the same time it's a more intense record than Checkmate Savage. They've really stepped up in terms of song craft, and we've all got a different favourite track ('The None of One' being mine just now). Weird and lovely sounds + weird and lovely blokes to boot"

Field Music - Measure

chosen by Bart, Eagleowl

"This was released way back in February - but it's one I've kept coming back to all year. Field Music always floor me. I guess they're very much a musician's band. The two brothers - the songwriting core of the band - are really proficient, both musically and in terms of the production. It's amazing that they can create such interesting rhythms and structures, have such intelligent lyrics, and yet still retain a real sense of fun. Still keep it so light and accessible. It always seems like they're having the time of their lives, despite the complex nature of the music. This came after a three year break from Field Music. And where most bands take time out to concentrate on other things, or have a rest to recharge the creative batteries, Field Music spent the intervening time concentrating on two side project 'solo' albums - School of Language and The Week That Was. And still had time to write this rather stunning double album. It's as impressive as it is expansive. I think their secret is economy. There's 20 songs, but only one breaks the 4 minute mark. They're never afraid to experiment or play around with ideas, but it's always within the confines of a pop song. Also they always seem to take influences from the most unlikely, most unfashionable places (prog rock, 80s pop), and turn it into something that sounds, for want of a better word, really cool. They're really quite an inspiring band"

St Vincent - Actor

Andrew Eaton, Seafieldroad/Swimmer One

"There are two albums I've had pretty much on repeat this year -Everything Everything's debut, and Actor by St Vincent. If I had to pick one I'd go for Actor. It's called Actor because in every song she plays a character in a different imaginary movie. So the words are very evocative and the music is very cinematic - there are shades of Michael Nyman, Ennio Morricone, Yann Tiersen, Ryuichi Sakomoto and David Arnold, but it's never just pastiche. It’s audacious, unpredictable, really inventive and ambitious in the structure and arrangements, and every song has its own distinct atmosphere. I love it"

Admiral Fallow - Boots Met My Face

chosen by Luke Joyce, I Build Collapsible Mountains/The Gothenburg Address

"I've been a fan of this bands music for quite some time starting back when they were Brother Louis Collective. They were one of the few bands that I knew after the first live show i saw that they were going to be moving on to great things. They took their sweet time mind you. A few years later and a name change in tow, they finally released their awesome debut album for all who had been patiently waiting. The high expectation was easily met. The songs had become favourites from hearing them live so it was Christmas come early to get them in hard copy. The album is being re-released next year and i have no doubts it will find its way in to many a new fans hand"

John Grant - Queen of Denmark

chosen by Karl, the Son(s)

"I must admit there are songs on here I habitually skip but it's also the album I've listened to the most this year, from it's release and still now. Fireflies, Caramel, Marz, Sigourney Weaver.... I love those songs. They seem so naive and unforced. I think you can hear that it is music recorded without an audience in mind, as if it was made to be listened to just by the people who recorded it. I like that here. It came out months ago and it's not spent a week unplayed"


  1. Anonymous8/12/10

    Nice idea this, reminds me of The Skinny's approach to their Scottish albums of the decade poll last year.

    Pretty sure the St Vincent record came out in 2009, though.

  2. it did, but I didn't have the heart to tell him!