Tuesday, December 02, 2014

"We check the charts / And start to figure it out"

It's December, so let's do this thing.

Ten of the Best

Last year's list was ridiculously long. This year, we can narrow it down to a comfortable ten. This is not to say there aren't other worthy records out there, whether it's the ones that require further digestion (Flying Lotus, Actress and Andy Stott, I choose you!), or the ones that can't be obtained in Canberra for love or money (The Juan Maclean and David Kilgour, I choose you!). But these are the ten albums that have resonated most with me over the course of the year, the ones that keep generating that itch that needs scratching. And, like the amplifier in "Spinal Tap", this list of ten goes up to 11.

"Morning Phase", by Beck.
"Our Love", by Caribou.
"High Life", by Eno - Hyde.
"Becs", by Fennesz.
"Held in Splendor", by Quilt.
"Atlas", by Real Estate.
"Entropicalia", by The Soundcarriers.
"They Want Your Soul", by Spoon.
"It's Album Time", by Todd Terje.
"Vermont", by Vermont.
"All Kinds of You", by Ryley Walker.

The one from 2013 that missed the cut but would have been a shoe-in

"Rival Dealer", by Burial.

Best new old music

"Volume 3", by The Cleaners from Venus.

The songs

"Rain", by Jimmy Tait, because it gets me where I live.
"Lights On", by FKA twigs, because it gets me where I, um, er, uh, ah, erm, it just gets me.

The book

I tend to react badly to novels about music (Nick Hornby, I choose you -- not!), but not this time. "Telegraph Avenue", by Michael Chabon, gets it exactly right. (Whatever "it" is.) It may not have come out this year, but I'm a slow reader.

The film

In any other year I would be saying "The Grand Budapest Hotel", but Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive" is very special. Can we have both of them? (Shout-outs to "A Most Wanted Man" and "Calvary", while we're at it.)