My name is Kyle. I am a happily failing indie/punk/folk/country/rock musician from Hampshire, UK. I have been singing and songwriting in The Dawn Chorus since 2005, and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players since 2010. I love these two bands like my brother/wife rolled into one. This blog details the shows I have played with both bands, in chronological order.
So here's my yearly list. This year, more than any other, it seems that every single end of year list - in particluar the top tens - seem to be nearly identical. Are Animal Collective, Fever Ray and The XX really that good? I like all of those acts, but do they really deserve this blanket praise?
I'm pretty sure I haven't seen any of my top 4 in any other list - maybe that makes me ultra-cool or maybe I have awful taste. I've only done a top ten this year too. I've actually bought a huge amount of music this year, but most of it is older stuff or didn't move me hugely (hello Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.) Here's to an exciting 2010.
20) Bob Dylan - Christmas in the Heart
19) Mew - No More Stories...
18) Polly Scattergood - Polly Scattergood
17) The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
16) Various - Dark Was The Night
15) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
14) Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
13) Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
12) Fanfarlo - Reservoir
11) The Leisure Society - The Sleeper
10) Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen - Anything that Tim Kasher makes will pretty much be a hit with me. The line between Cursive and The Good Life seems to be blurring somewhat, not that I really mind since I love both bands. If he keeps an album a year coming - under either guise - I'll be a happy man.
9) Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca - The first I'd heard of them was their track on the 'Dark was the Night' compilation, and initially I was disappointed that their regular material seems to be much more leftfield and "challenging". Given time, however, it unfurls itself beautifully.
8) Girls - Album - I don't care about their back-story, this is just a great album. Skipping easliy between Beach Boys pop, psychedelica and drawn out feedback sections, this is a gloriously fucked-up debut.
7) The Horrors - Primary Colours - A huge departure from their debut, which I actually like, this apparently rips off a lot of shoegazey bands of yesteryear such as MBV and J&MC, but to me this sounds a lot more direct and song-based. Where will they go next?
6) Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed - His first proper full-band album, I personally like Frank best when he's in full-on British Springsteen mode. 'Live Fast, Die Old', 'Poetry of the Deed' and 'Try This at Home' are probably the best things he's ever done.
5) Wild Beasts - Two Dancers - A brilliantly surprise critics' darling, the odder edges of their debut and sanded off and the remaining ten tracks represent the essence of Wild Beasts. Possibly the most aptly named band of recent years?
4) The B of the Bang - Beginning.Middle.End - Yes, yes, they're on our label and I know them, but I was blown away by how good this was. Despite having heard 'New Road' several times live, it still nearly made me cry when I listened to it at home in the dark. I wish more people had heard this album, hopefully one day the public will have more BOTB in their lives.
3) Richmond Fontaine - We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River - Sublimely restrained and perfectly written songs from one of my favourite new old bands (whose singer Willy Vlautin is also one of my favourite new writers.) I intend to delve deeper into their back catalogue when my wallet will allow it.
2) Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances - I think this came out in 2008 in the states but it was definitely 2009 in the UK. Excellent lyrics are shouted and buried under distortion, leading to a surprisingly re-listenable experience. Something along the lines of The Thermals fronted by a 'Fevers and Mirrors'-era Conor Oberst, this is shambolic yet strangely charming.
1) Emmy the Great - At first I was slightly underwhelmed with this, but oh how it pays dividens over time. She writes perfectly about death, yet with a wry smile that allows this to bypass any mawkish sentimentality. Perfectly constructed and played, if her lyrics were a little more pronounced or higher in the mix I'm sure this would have turned more heads than it has done. I don't care, for me it's just about perfect as it is. More of the same please!