So here it is – MPT’s Favourite 10 LPs of the past 12 months.
In truth, it’s a surprising list for me. At the start of the year, I would have expected Martin John Henry and We Were Promised Jetpacks to make the Top 10 at the start of the year but I genuinely don’t think I would have predicted any of the other 8 records, apart from, perhaps, FOUND.
And as suggested yesterday, I think it’s the strongest Top 10 in the blog’s lifetime. The fact that a lot of it is surprising seems to me to be the point.
The ‘Honeytone’ EP suggested ‘The Party’s Over’ would be a garage rock record and whilst there’s a degree of lo-fi on display TPO is a far more varied beast than I expected. Eels seem a definite influence but KPK have more strings to their bow than that.
9. Edinburgh School for the Deaf – New Youth Bible [Buy it]
Quite probably the record that taps into my past experience the most, namely the Sonic Youth/Mary Chain/shoegaze triangle. But ESFTD have found their own take on that era unlike some contemporaries who might make good records but do so without a shred of originality. (Yes, Ringo Deathstarr, I’m looking at you.) Still think ‘Orpheus Descending’ should have been on NYB though.
8. We Were Promised Jetpacks – In The Pit of the Stomach [Buy it]
Heavier, louder and brasher than before, ‘Pit’ is an odd listen as I’m usually anxious to get to “Side 2” as the weaker songs on the record were put on “Side 1”. Which detracts a bit from a record that saw WWPJ push their envelope further than ever before.
7. Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older [Buy it]
I can see why this would be Number 1 in the BAMS poll but there’s something holds me back from unreservedly loving EGO. It’s not the fact that it’s something of a departure for MPT (it is) but that a couple of the tunes are a little … unremarkable. Which is a pity because most of the record is magnificent.
They came, they saw… they split up. But ‘Strike A Match’ was a worthy legacy. At its musical heart, something akin to power pop, but lent an extra dimension by Sarah’s almost folky voice and intricate melodies. Gone before their time.
5. The Paradise Motel – I Still Hear Your Voice At Night [Buy it]
The real wildcard in the Top 10 and entirely down to needing to spend an emusic credit. I only discovered the band had reformed at the same time but ‘ISHYVAN’ was a great discovery. Sad and elegiac, ISHYVAN is a beautiful record which I always think is going to run out of steam in its second half. Believe me, it never does.
4. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will [Buy it]
For some reason, even though they sound like they should very much be my sort of thing, Mogwai have never clicked with me before. But ‘Hardcore’ was everything I ever expected them to be. Post-rock, a bit more dancey stuff it may be getting old for long term devotees (or not) but coming in so late means that, for me, it’s a very fresh record. And very strong throughout.
I’ve clearly been missing out on Wire over the last (gulp) 30 years or so but in the course of the last 12 months I’ve become slightly obsessed with catching up with their recorded output. Perhaps not such a shock to long term fans but for me ‘Red Barked Tree’ is a very fine record indeed which seems to distil different phases of their career into one great album.
I was curious as to how ‘factorycraft’ was going to sound but even seeing them live three times in 2010 didn’t prepare me for just how good this is. It’s been described as ‘indie rock’ in some quarters but that’s surely only by comparison to their previous records. Seamlessly incorporates the electronic elements of their sound into a new direct and streamlined approach. Stunning.
1. Martin John Henry – The Other Half of Everything [Buy it]
I know how this looks, but this wasn’t the foregone conclusion that you probably think. In fact halfway through the year, I’d have probably bet against this coming out top of the heap. But ‘The Other Half …’ is the best thing that Martin’s done and to be top of this list it needed to be. But he’s taken his previous electronic, folk and rock influences and made a cleaner, sounding, more accessible, yet at the same time, more powerful record.