I know how you all enjoy lists. And how secretly, deep down, you believe that music IS a competition. The other day, someone – the BBC website, actually – asked me for my Top 5 albums of 2010. Initially, I got all sniffy about it and wasn’t going to send any… but then figured it’s a good (if crass) way to publicise some of the bands I like. So I came up with an entirely arbitrary list in around 20 seconds, and thought you might enjoy reading it.
At least two of these albums I haven’t listened to the entire way through.
Agent Ribbons – Chateau Crone
Texan two-piece Agent Ribbons are the band of your dreams. A little bit of 50s doo wop style, a whole lot of passion, a truck-load of genius harmonies, a smattering of Gothic ennui and a voice to call down the ghost of Johnny Ray with. Home-made. Hand-knit. Intimate. They tour vigilante-style in a Chevy Astro. They like to play dress-up. They love The Boswell Sisters and The Shaggs. They write songs about Pinocchio (‘The Boy With The Wooden Lips’). They swoon like Clara Bow. Dame Darcy draws their covers.
My Disco – Little Joy
There is the one simple trick that this Melbourne three-piece pull on their third album, repeatedly – and it’s a devastating one. Restraint. Repetition. Repetition. My Disco understand that a wig-out isn’t a wig-out until it’s been pummelled into the ground, unmercifully – the longer the better.
kyü – kyü
Songs engage with a fierce pop sensibility, all the while throwing in a mesmerising diorama of sounds and musical instruments: fluttering wing-movements and stuttering synth breaks and fluting woodwind and those stunning voices, cajoling and caressing and crying and begging and enticing.
Mountain Man – Made The Harbor
Remember the scenes in Cold Mountain with the white Southern a cappella church choirs block singing, the cadences more important than the melodies? That approach resonates through the voices of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath, yet with something added. It’s a solemn joy – you feel privileged to be listening.
Tunabunny – Tunabunny
The greatest band from Athens, Georgia since Pylon; Tunabunny songs are half-songs are fuller songs than most songs around for the simple reason that they haven’t had the spirit and imagination and inspiration bashed and bullied out of them.
kyü photography: Tom Hall