- I'm New Here by Gil Scott-Heron. The production is wonderful, his voice is glorious - it's not just spoken word, it's somehow blues and soul and soaked with pain and anguish and years of thought and abuse. And I love it. Absolutely magnetic.
- Sir Lucious Left Foot the Son of Chico Dusty by Big Boi. This album is absolutely spectacular. Kanye may have got the plaudits and the nods from many, many lists of the albums of the year but this to me leaves it for dust. The production is inventive and playful, he sounds spectacular and it's funny, smart and just genius. Turns Me On and Tangerine are going to be on repeat for our New Year's party. Cracking.
- This Is Happening by LCD Soundsystem. Well, duh. I do love the Murph, we all know that. It's not Sound of Silver but, frankly, how could it be? Instead it's older, wiser, and Home is getting on for my favourite LCD track ever - at least, it's in the top 5. Maybe even top 3. Bliss.
- Swim by Caribou. Apparently Mr. Caribou describes this record as sounds as if it were submerged in water and somehow, that just fits it beautifully. It has those slightly muffled qualities, and the warmth has that dazed, filtered sunlight feel to it. I love this - I've listened to it a ridiculous number of times and I find something interesting each time. It's got a really structured feel to it but it's not rigid - it flows, follows some pattern that I don't understand. Which makes sense, as the dude has a PhD in maths.
- Dirty South Dance 2 by A Trak. Ok, so this is a mash up album so does it count? I dunno, but it's grand. I love the choices he's made on this, mixing up some seriously big hip hop names (Kanye, Ludacris), showing love for Kid Sister and then jamming them with house/dance tracks of the summer. TOH and I have listened to this a LOT this year.
- Crazy for You by Best Coast. This was my album of the summer - just really good power 60s-style girl pop. It somehow sounds modern and fresh with this album, though, sort of like a Winehouse trick. Apparently they're amazing live, much edgier, so I'm going to try to grab tickets for her upcoming show with Wavves.
- Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus. More dubby type stuff, with a fun, inventive streak. I wasn't sure about it at all at first then suddenly - bam. I've listened to it a lot at work. One of the ways I can tell I really am liking an album a lot is that it stays on the nano - now that I don't have that much space, I do have to use what I have judiciously. So there are certain things that I remove because I've not listened to them of late, although they may reappear later on. Cosmogramma has been on since I put it there, and it's not going to be removed any time soon.
- The Magician's Private Library by Holly Miranda. So this is really, really not my usual type of thing, and TOH loathed it. But I like the breathy, magical and almost woozy feel to this. For reasons other than just the name it reminded me of The Magicians, which I read this year and really liked, and also of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell - something about the fuzzying effect of magic in the real world.
- Real Life Is No Cool by Lindstrom. Slinky disco house from Norway. It's ace. And, of course, there is a glorious aeroplane remix available of one of the tracks.
- Foundation by Breakage. Came late to this, but I really like it - a bit dubby but tons of great breaks, basically - and anyone who collaborates with Roots Manuva is alright by me.
There were also a few albums that I love that are new to me, rather than new to the world in general. Newly discovered gems. And these I'm not going to number, but I do love:
- 1 2 3 by Pole. Sludgy dubstep from before dubstep was even invented. Mr. Pole made these three albums, now released together as one album, between 1999 and 2002, I think. They are stunning - sparse, cinematic, atmospheric and dark - absolutely remarkable. This might be my find of the year.
- Remain in Light / Speaking in Tongues by Talking Heads. I knew the hits, obviously, but this is the first time I've really listened to Talking Heads albums. And they're brilliant. The influence on bands I love (i.e. LCD) is quite remarkable.
- 5: Five Years of Hyperdub is a fantastic gathering of the best of the label Hyperdub's output so far. It's another one that hasn't left my pod since I got it - excellent to work to, apart from anything else.
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So there you go. Upcoming: gigs of the year and favourite songs. I bet you cannot wait.