Yes, it’s that time of year again. I’ll keep it brief. The YouTube links explain much better.
TV On The Radio: Dear Science
If there is a superlative that hasn’t been lavished on TV On The Radio’s fourth album then I’d like to hear it.
It’s a mad, glorious fusion of jazz, funk, hip-hop and rock, leading many to proclaim the birth of a brand new genre.
Their ridiculous fire escape performance on Letterman in September summed up the group better than any amount of column inches ever could.
Sigur Ros: Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
The Icelandic quartet’s fifth studio album was yet another revelation.
They beefed up their sound while losing nothing of the entirely unique emotion they seem to produce so effortlessly.
And there’s even a song sung in English.
Okkervil River: The Stand Ins
Conceived as a sequel to 2007’s The Stage Names, this was another strangely catchy record from this Texas outfit.
More low-key and perhaps more introspective than it’s predecessor, Will Sheff’s lyrics remain intriguing and evocative.
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago
Recorded over a three month period in a remote cabin in the woods of northern Wisconsin, this record was originally intended as a demo tape by Justin Vernon, the brains behind Bon Iver.
What resulted was a fragile, breathtaking folk record that is astounding in its simplicity.
Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid
Kings of Leon and Fleet Foxes also deserve a mention, but I couldn’t compile a top five without a nod to a home-grown band.
Elbow produced what may well be their masterpiece and were awarded the Mercury Music Prize for their pains.
Guy Garvey is an expert storyteller and poet, and this was the year when everything came together for this hugely popular Bury band.