Close friend, long time supporter and Tough Love DJ, Liam P. Manley has been good enough to send me his choices for album of the year. There's a few in the list that I myself managed to miss, but listening to them now (Harvey Milk in particular), I'm wondering just what it was that made me pass them over
Roots Manuva – Slime And Reason(Big Dada)
Rodney Smith stepped back into ’08 with this collection of bangers, bouncers, winders and grinders. Slime And Reason finds him chatting direct over the perfectly skewed production of Metronomy and Toddla T, at once both precise and, in Smith’s words, wonky. At ease skipping between raconteurish lechery (“It’s the whisky man, the frisky man”) and the trials of fatherhood (“you gotta learn, dude/be careful what ya sperm do”), this is nothing less than a triumph of honesty and wit.
Roots Manuva - "Let The Spirit"
The Walkmen – You & Me (Fierce Panda)
Last heard covering Harry Nillson’s Pussy Cats, NY’s finest washed up on shore of this summer, half-smiling, half asleep: “There is still sand in my suitcase/There is still salt in my teeth”, they croaked. Sun-bleached, crumpled and curled-at-the-edges, You & Me amounts to a travelogue of hazy, drunken episodes half-remembered yet lovingly sketched in sepia tones. Singer Hamilton Leithauser’s hard-worn vocals are the ideal instrument to relay these tales, carefully balancing the celebratory moods and their woozy aftermath. Forget labelling them one-hit wonders: hit singles are immaterial when faced with the fourteen sublime chapters presented here.
The Walkmen - "I Lost You"
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours(Modular)
Summer 2008 will not be remembered as a summer of love, but rather one of tragically dull inclemancy. Regardless of this, these Aussies reminded us of better times: a time when The Pet Shop Boys covered Elvis or sang with Dusty; a time when New Order were arguably the greatest band alive and not just arguing. Concerned first and foremost with the matters of the heart, be it longing ("Far Away") or fledgling romance ("Unforgettable Season"), In Ghost Colours carefully married pure pop with 80’s pre-hyphenated house. P!ss poor weather aside, the real tragedy would have been if nobody fell in love with (or to) this dazzling record.
Cut Copy - "So Haunted"
Fucked Up – Chemistry Of Common Life
Less concerned with burning down churches than the hypocrisy of the pious (be it punk insularity or right wing evangalists), Fucked Up burst through like a gang of punk-rock Richard Dawkins. Bridging post-hardcore elements with Stoogified space rock, they tear up the template, happy to fuse flutes, loops and drones with vocalist Pink Eyes’ invective, like Iggy vomiting lava. The choice is simple: either wait around for the rapture or get Fucked Up and go to heaven (before you die).
Fucked Up - "Twice Born"
Harvey Milk – Life... The Best Game In Town(Hydra Head)
A celebration of mortality where life is for the living and death our reward, Life... came without warning and even less expectation. Equally blistered and blistering, Harvey Milk never once resort to the advocation of lunk-headed hedonism or self pity, preferring instead to wallow in glory and splendor. Ever ambitious, starting with a Christmas choir before unleashing a skip load of sludge and hot tar into unsuspecting ears, you’d be hard pushed to find a more fearless statement than opener ‘Death Goes To The Winner’. Fittingly ended with the theme from Looney Tunes, this is a record determined to die smiling.
Harvey Milk - "Motown"