they say I'm on top of my game

Two things.

One - I will never, ever get tired of looking at Guy Garvey. Look at him. Just LOOK AT HIM. *swoon*

Two - I tuned in late to the BBC broadcast of "The Seldom Seen Kid" live with the BBC Concert Orchestra - stupid work - but ho-ly shit is this amazing. I caught the tail end of 'Weather To Fly' - beautiful, of course - and 'The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver' just finished. When the song explodes during the "send up a prayer in my name" line with a harp and full orchestra and a FULL FUCKING CHOIR, it is the most incredible thing in the whole world. And this is all on a shitty real audio stream - it's going to sound fucking massive in high quality. I cannot wait to hear 'Some Riot'.

How can one band be so fucking good?

ps - 'Some Riot' was ridiculously good. Hooray!


I vote hell yes

The limited CD/DVD pressing of Elbow's performance at Abbey Road with the BBC Concert Orchestra from a few weeks ago is now available to pre-order at their website. For the reasonable price of £20, you get the performance on CD and DVD - as you might imagine - as well as 4 postcards and a 16-page booklet, all stored in a lovely box. It all ships sometime in March - so now the wait begins.

It's not quite the same as being there, but it'll have to do I suppose.

I vote no

The Coachella line up is a fucking pile. [The Killers as Saturday's headliners? Seriously?]



I vote yes

After thinking about it today, I have decided that this is a fab sleeve for the new Pet Shop Boys album.

Hopefully the music is equally as good.

[According to the official site, 'Love, etc.' will get it's first radio play in February 9th, so we won't have to wait too much longer to find out.]


this was a nice surprise in my inbox this morning

I knew a new SFA album was coming this year but I thought we'd have to wait at least until late spring, if not summer.

From the official mailing list:


Digital release 16th March on the band's own website -
www.superfurry.com, physical release 13th April on Rough Trade Records,
21st April for U.S. release.

Super Furry Animals are currently hard at work on their 9th studio album in
Cardiff.. Since 2007's 'Hey Venus' the band have been keeping busy
with their various side projects including Daf and Guto's acclaimed
work as part of The Peth with Rhys Ifans, Cian's forthcoming Acid
Casuals release and Som Bom techno nights in London and of course
Gruff's Mercury nominated work with Neon Neon.

Currently with a tracklisting but without a title the band promise;
"Musically it's based around riffs and grooves we've been playing
around with over the last few years. We have enough now for a whole
album so even though it's still very melodic we thought we could
leave off the acoustic ballads for the time being."

"It's recognisable as a melodic SFA record, but is very focused
musically as a cohesive album. And no country rock as Daf has
developed a pedal steel phobia. Which has confined the great
Nashvillian instrument along with the Saxophone to the banned
instrument directive of the SFA board. there's only one slow number
which isn't slow at all."

Longtime cohorts Pete Fowler will combine with legendary Japanese
artist Tanaami for the album artwork, which is sure to result in a
feast for the eyes.

The album is due for digital release on the 16th March via the bands
own website (www.superfurry.com), the physical following on the 13th
of April on Rough Trade Records.

Super Furry Animals have some more tricks up their sleeve which we
will be announcing a little closer to the release date - watch this
space for more information!

Working Title Tracklisting

1.'The very best of Neil Diamond'
2. White socks/Flip Flops.
3. Inaugural Trams.
4. Sounds Familiar.
5. Cardiff in the sun.
6. Where do you wanna go?
7. LLiwiau LLachar.
8. Mountain.
9. Moped eyes.
10. Inconvenience.
11. Crazy Naked Girls.
12. Earth.
13. Prick.

Is this the rumored instrumental album? Is 'Earth' the short oddball number performed on the "Hey Venus!" tour? The first Welsh language SFA song since "Mwng"? Pete Fowler AND Tanaami working together? A new SFA and a new PSB album in consecutive release weeks? How exciting! :)


everything Richard X touches turns to gold

The internet has been abuzz for weeks - months, perhaps - about how amazing the new Richard X-produced Saint Etienne single 'Method of Modern Love' is....based on the little snippets here and there the band have been teasing us with.

Now, I'll say that I'm not the biggest Saint Etienne fan - though I certainly know many people that are, and lived with a Saint Etienne hardcore for a while - so I was a bit skeptical. I was more intrigued by the Richard X part - seriously, show me something he's done that isn't AMAZING. You can't.

Anyways, the full track has finally reared it's head and it is, as everyone was saying, FUCKING AMAZING. It's not too widespread yet, but if you look you can find it.

Like here:

8/1: Saint Etienne - Method Of Modern Love

Gold, I say.



Superdrag - the original line up, don't you know - have reconvened and have a new album coming out in March 17th entitled "Indsutry Giants", as you probably know. What might be new is that the lead track from the album - 'Slow To Anger' - is now available as a free download from their myspace. Huzzah! It is quite good and has me looking forward to St. Patrick's Day even more.

They've also announced some tour dates, also on their myspace - but I'll put em here too. Like Bishop Allen, they are playing in Chicago. Unlike Bishop Allen, they are playing in Chicago after I am in Chicago. Sad face. :( Maybe you can make it, as they put on a mighty fantastic live show well worth checking out.

Those tour dates:






Why is everyone I want to see playing SXSW the year I decide to try and go to Coachella? Double sad face. :( :(

a happy coincidence

The always wonderful Bishop Allen announced a late winter/early spring US tour in support/anticipation of their forthcoming third album, possibly called "Grrr..." - which is a fantastic title, by the way, and one they should definitely keep. Unsurprisingly, the tour does not include a stop in Rochester...or Buffalo, for that matter. Back in the "Charm School" days they used to play here or there, but they haven't in a good five years. [Has it really been five years since I last saw Bishop Allen? Possibly...wow.]


They will, however, be in Chicago on March 31. Conveniently, I will also be in Chicago on March 31st as I will be visiting my brother who lives there. It's a date! :)

The fantastic 'Click Click Click Click' from their second album "Bishop Allen & The Broken String" - which you also might recognize from a camera commercial a few years ago, though I forget which one:


last.fm vs subliminal messages

The strangest thing happened the other day...

I was going along, minding my own, when all of a sudden I had the strangest, strongest urge to listen to Elastica. Nothing against Elastica, but I never really cared either way for them back in the day, but for whatever reason I had. to. listen. to. them. now.

Of course, I didn't actually own a copy of the album so first I had to run out and secure myself a copy - I was reasonably certain I could find a used copy without too much difficulty and was proven correct by a stop to the Record Archive - and the itch was scratched. I was also picking up my friend Bryan for lunch at the time, so I prepared him for the blast from the past going on in the car and he laughed at me.

Then I realized I had this urge to listen to Elastica because last.fm has been recommending them to me on the front page for weeks due to the large amounts of Blur, Pulp and Suede I've been listening to lately. So there you have it, it worked.

And as you can see, I've a newfound appreciation for 'Stutter' than I didn't have before. Well played.

It is pretty great, isn't it? The album could use some trimming, but those two minutes are perfect.


the first great single of 2009

Lady Sovereign returns in April with her second proper album, and 'I Got You Dancing' is the first single. This is the video:

I am officially "excited".


a bit behind the 8-ball

OK, so I'm wayyyyyyyyy behind the times on this - Southern Fried put this video up on You Tube on October 23 according to the time stamp - BUT Shinichi Osawa's version of 'Star Guitar' is, like, a zillion times better than the Chemical Brothers original. I counted - a zillion.


Again - one zillion times better.

my wallet cries on March 24th

March 24th is sure shaping up to be a busy release day. As previously mentioned, the new KMFDM album comes out - which I still am curious about. DVD-wise, the long delayed first season of "In Treatment" is penciled-in to finally come out that day, as is the also long-missing-on-DVD "Andy Richter Controls The Universe". [Talk about two shows on opposite ends of the spectrum...]

Today, of course, Capitol announced March 24th as the release date for expanded versions of the first three - and, really, the only three that matter - Radiohead albums. Spread over 2 CDs and one DVD for each of the albums, there's a lot of extra material - though probably not a lot of material you don't already have on something else - and I'm still a sucker for '93-'97 Radiohead as much as I like to think I'm not anymore, so I'm probably there. [I'll clarify that - I'm definitely on board for "Pablo Honey" as I never bothered/could afford to track down most of those singles on CD...it's worth it for "Drill" alone, certainly. "The Bends" I'm torn on as it doesn't have the one "Bends"-era track I most covet in a crisp clean CD version - 'Planet Telex [Trashed]' - and I've got all those singles so I'd be buying a few radio sessions and a cut up version of the Astoria show so we'll see. I never got around to getting Live at the Astoria on DVD, so it could be OK. Ditto for "OK Computer", but for some reason those radio sessions don't excite me as much despite me not having any live "OK Computer"-era on CD. Hrm.]

I'm sure I'll cave and get them all, but I like to complain so there you have it.

Oh, today they also annouced the title of the new Depeche Mode album to be "Sounds of the Universe". LAME.


oh, right: orange juice won't stain

In everything that was going on, I totally forgot to post my mix for this year. Well, here goes - although it's already out there so most of you already have it.

orange juice won't stain
a freemonster 2008 mix

01 rem - living well is the best revenge - from the "accelerate" lp
02 the b-52's - pump - from the "funplex" lp
03 hot chip - ready for the floor - single from the "made in the dark" lp
04 kaiser chiefs - never miss a beat - single from the "off with their heads" lp
05 nick cave & the bad seeds - dig, lazarus, dig!!! - single from the lp of the same name
06 operator please - get what you want - single from the "yes yes vindictive" lp
07 the kills - getting down - from the "midnight boom" lp
08 van she - changes - single from the "v" lp
09 ladyhawke - my delirium - single from the self-titled lp
10 annie - i know ur girlfriend hates me - single from the aborted "don't stop" lp
11 alphabeat - boyfriend - single of the year from the "this is alphabeat" lp
12 lorraine - beyond the sky - b-side to the "when i return to the world" 7"
13 parralox - we believe in electric love - from the "electricity" lp
14 neon neon - i told her on alderaan [richard x andress mix] - promo only remix of the single from the "stainless style" lp
15 pop levi - dita dimone - single from the "never never love" lp
16 these new puritans - infinity ytinifni - from the "beat pyramid" lp
17 duels - regeneration - single from "the barbarians move in" lp
18 the whip - blackout [graham massey remix] - remix of the single from the "x marks destination" lp
19 the breeders - we're gonna rise - single from the "mountain battles" lp
20 alphabeat - boyfriend [alex metric remix] - yes i cheated by including the same song twice promo only super fucking amazing remix of the single of the year from the "this is alphabeat" lp

Tada. 2008 can go to bed now...14 days late.

shopping list

Alright, with 2008 out of the way let's take a look at what's coming down the pipe for 2009:

January -

Nothing outside of a Girls Aloud single. Boo.

February -

Shinichi Osawa - The One [02/03 US release, although it's been out overseas for ages apparently]
Ugly Duckling - Audacity [02/03]
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You [02/10]
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh [02/17 - supposedly. I'll believe it when I hear it...and I really wanna hear it.]

March -

Bishop Allen - Grrr... [03/10 - hooray, new Bishop Allen! :)]
Superdrag - Industry Giants [03/17 - first album with original line up since 1998's "Head Trip In Every Key". I'm curious.]
Pet Shop Boys - Love etc. single [03/16] and Yes LP [03/23 - both UK releases, hopefully the US won't be too far behind. I CANNOT WAIT - PSB + XENOMANIA!]
KMFDM - Blitz [03/24 - not that their past few records have been that great, but I'm always up for a curiosity listen]
PJ Harvey + John Parish - A Man A Woman Walked By [03/31 - I'd rather a PJH solo album, but I guess I'll take what I can get]

April -

Lady Sovereign - Jigsaw [04/07 - I actually didn't think we'd ever get a second Lady Sov album so this is quite exciting]

Also coming up but with no set date yet - "Cinnabar City" from Charlotte Hatherley [sorry PSB but this is officially my most anticipated album of the first half of 2009], Kasabian LP3 [info in the NME today but nothing's hit the internet yet], another Depeche Mode album with a million singles on a zillion formats [though their new logo is hott so we'll see...], a second Rob Dickinson solo album [yay!], Annie is supposedly working on re-jigging and self-releasing "Don't Stop" with a new Richard-X produced single beforehand [yum], that SFA instrumental album, the Jane's Addiction and Smashing Pumpkins "Gish" boxsets, possibly a Robbie Williams album [though possibly it is a follow up to "Swing When You're Winning" so we'll reserve excitement until we know for sure], "X Marks Destination" gets a US physical release [which doesn't help me much but is always exciting to see], and possibly the second album from Freemonster favs Dragonette. In the works for the autumn is the second Saturdays album and possibly Sugababes LP7 - though they'd better take their time and give us a stormer this time or I'm officially Mad At Them. Alphabeat apparently want to have a second album out this year, which could be quite good, and there's yet another Tori Amos album in the works [which could be alright since the last one was decent if way too long]. Then, of course, there's always the ever-imminent St. Famous album and new Mark Greaney project [whatever form that happens to take when it finally comes out] but put those along the Erykah Badu album in the "I'll believe it when I see it" column.

There should also be a third single from "Off With Their Heads" [there's supposedly a 'You Want History' remix in the works so possibly that?], a fourth Saturdays single off the debut [rumored to be 'Work' and/or 'Lies'] and another crap Girls Aloud duet for Comic Relief [this time with Take That - really?] that might take the place of a third single off "Out of Control" [which is fine as there's no real good ones left outside of 'Live In The Country' which would never get picked in a million years]. On the topic of singles from 2008 albums, how were there only 2 singles off of the Hercules & Love Affair album? I was fully prepared to be bitching about the fifth single on ridiculous formats about this time, yet I stare at my beautiful 'You Belong' 12" with it's BRIGHT BLUE SLEEVE and wonder "what happened?". Hrm.

And I'm supposed to be saving money this year how????

[I feel like I'm missing a big one. What is it?]

UPDATE: RIGHT, the new project from Jeppe/Senior. That should see the light of day soon. Whee!


can you explain?

OK, this song needs a proper release and it needs it now, dammit.

Once again, I miss Catherine Wheel. *sigh*

my 20 favorite albums of 2008 - part three

Right, where were we?

05 - The Kills - Midnight Boom
key tracks: 'Cheap & Cheerful', 'Last Day of Magic', 'Sour Cherry'
I've always had a bit of a love/hate thing with The Kills, but this album is all about the love - minus the wretched 'Alphabet Pony', of course. My favorite part of the band in the past is how well they remixed - the base songs are so basic and straightforward that they leave a lot for the remixer to work with, and no doubt that their Jagz Kooner and MSTRKRFT mixes were amongst my favorite tracks of 2005. Pairing up with XXXChange, they've brought that remix aesthetic to their album giving us their most danceable poptastic album yet and the single they've always been trying to make in 'Cheep & Cheerful'. More, please.

04 - Van She - V
key tracks: 'Changes', 'The Cat and The Eye', 'The Sea'
This is the golden rule - just becuse someone produces amazing remixes does not mean they are capable of making great music on their own. [Timo Maas, I'm looking at you, and Dingo tells me the same of Chicken Lips so I stay far away.] So I approached a Van She full length with a bit of apprehension as their remix work is AMAZING. Well, fortunately this turns out to be an exception to the rule as "V" is even AMAZINGer. Call them 80's revivalists if you wish - there's no doubt that 'Changes' or 'Kelly' harken back to the synth-pop of 20 YEARS AGO! - but they do it right...and touch on other references as well. Dreampop? 'The Cat and The Eye' covers that. 90's guitar? Look no further than 'It Could Be The Same'. Spot the influence is fun to play with this one but don't get me wrong - it totally stands on it's own two feet and is hopefully the start of amazing things to come.

03 - The Breeders - Mountain Battles
key tracks: 'Overglazed', 'We're Gonna Rise', 'No Way'
It is almost as if Kim Deal thought to herself one day - "y'know what? 'Title TK' was a bit too straightfoward for me...let's break pop even more." and then went ahead and did just that. "Mountain Battles" makes "Title TK" look like the most straight forward album in the whole world, and is all the better for it. Not to mention it has the best album cover of the year, hands down. Actually, the album cover is the perfect image for the music contained within. It's almost as if it is the review of the album itself. Let's look at it again:

02 - The Whip - X Marks Destination
key tracks: 'Divebomb', 'Fire', 'Sirens'
I had built my expectations for this album sky high and was sure it would let me down - not in the least. It helped that five of the albums ten tracks were singles beforehand, so there wasn't a lot of unknown material going in. Even then, the new songs were just as strong as the singles which led to the first candidate for album of the year.

01 - Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
key tracks: 'The Bones Of You', 'Mirrorball', 'Some Riot'
When I really thought about it, there wasn't even a competition this year. I'm not sure how they did it, but Elbow somehow managed to trump three perfect albums and create without a doubt the most special album of the year. I mean, really.


we interrupt this best of list

The top 5 is coming - I promise - but first, this:

That would be one Annie Lennox covering Ash's 'Shining Light'. This has possibly been out there for a while but it has just been brought to my attention - thanks Dean. I'm not quite sure what to make of it...


my 20 favorite albums of 2008 - part two

Sorry for the commercial break. Now, where was I?

12 - Duels - The Barbarians Move In
key tracks: 'Regeneration', 'Sleeping Giants', 'The Barbarians Move In'
I was very, very happy to see the Duels return in February with a self-released second album after their split from Nude. I was a little disappointed that there was none of the hyper indie-pop that drew me to them in the first place, but that was soon overtaken by how impressive the grand scope of the album is. This. Is. Epic. Pop. and it makes no bones about it. From the sweeping rush of opener 'The Furies' to the soft whisper that ends the album on the title track, you better buckle in for the ride. If "The Bright Lights And What I Should Have Learned" was "Coming Up" circa-2006, this goes toe to toe with "Dog Man Star". Yes, I said it.

11 - The Ting TIngs - We Started Nothing
key tracks: 'Great DJ', 'Be The One', 'We Started Nothing'
First, let me say how pleasantly surprised I was that this album got as huge as it did. For a while, you couldn't escape these two - but it was one of those rare cases where you didn't seem to mind. This album had appeal for everyone - I was expecting the guitar indie pop album of the summer [by way of Columbia Records, of course] but wasn't prepared for the onslaught of single after single, club mix after club mix, etc. Early listens suggest the album is front loaded and then peters out after the enormous 'Shut Up And Let Me Go', however further exploration reveals that the most interesting stuff is really going on at the end. I'm very curious to see where they go next.

10 - Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
key tracks: 'Ready For The Floor', 'Out At The Pictures', 'Bendable Poseable'
I love Hot Chip because they're not sure if they're a dance act or a guitar band - they generally combine the best of both and fall somewhere in the middle. 'Ready For The Floor' was pure floor filler, of course, but there's lots of stuff here that most "dance acts" wouldn't ever dream up - like the pair of heart-wrenching ballads that close the album, or the whispery title track that sits as the album's centerpiece. This is, I think, the album they've always been trying to make, and I think it's the one that shows of their numerous strengths the most.

09 - Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
key tracks: 'My Delirium', 'Manipulating Woman', 'Dusk Till Dawn'
I first became aware of Ladyhawke via the video for 'Paris Is Burning', which I must admit didn't impress me much. Its remix package - with names such as Chicken Lips, Cut Copy and Alex Gopher - did intrigue me and since there was a good deal both the single AND album when they were released in the UK, I decided what the hell. Good thing too, because she's got quite the ear for a pop song. Yet another case of an album that's a bit too long for it's own good - it starts to sound a bit samey here and there - but there's some amazing stuff here to suggest that Ms. Pip Brown could have a long, prosperous career as Ladyhawke.

08 - Alphabeat - This Is Alphabeat
key tracks: 'Boyfriend', 'Touch Me Touching You', 'Go-Go'
Another one I wasn't initially all that enthralled with - 'Fascination' is both fantastic and obnoxious at the same time and follow-up '10,000 Nights' is more of the same but sounds like an outtake for a musical as well, which is not a good thing. However, again the remixes sold me - I'm such a remix whore, I can't help it - but I still couldn't pull the trigger on the album. Third single - and my favorite song of the year, in case you missed it - 'Boyfriend' had me hooked and I gave in to the album. Good thing, too, because in context the first two singles make a bit more sense, and "This Is Alphabeat" turned out to be a rarity in 2008 - a pop album that doesn't overstay its welcome. Ten tracks, all of them necessarry - well, I might ditch '10,000 Nights' - including a Public Image cover, and then it's done and ready to be played again. Score!

07 - Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War
key tracks: 'Telephone', 'Soldier', 'That Hump'
I've always admired Erykah Badu and even spun her albums on occasion, but found her a bit much to take in big doses. I'm not sure what led me to purchase yet another of her albums to add to the growing pile of ones that I rarely listen to, but I'm quite thankful for whatever it was because this album is amazing. It's one of those albums that major label artists rarely make - Erykah has clearly always followed her own beat, but I don't think she's ever raised both middle fingers at everything quite so proudly as she does here. A very claustrophobic album that takes a while to wrap your head around, but one like more people should be making these days. Part two apparently is finally coming this year, but I'll believe it when I see it considering how long it took to get this one.

06 These New Puritans - Beat Pyramid
key tracks: 'Infinity ytinifnI', 'Swords of Truth', 'En Papier'
Much like the Erykah Badu record, this is an album's album. Sure, most of the songs play fine by themselves, but they're all interlinked with little segues and bits of noise to connect them all - not to mention the ending track that feeds directly into the opening track as they're literally halves of the same whole - that it only makes sense when it's played as a whole. File them along side the Klaxons as a young band with too many ideas in their head to get them all out in a cohesive manner, which is very exciting.

The rest soon.


my 20 favorite albums of 2008 - part one

OK, first off - Florian leaving Kraftwerk? What the fuck? Glad I got to see them back in 2004 - AMAZING.


The inevitable list, part one.

20 - The Saturdays - Chasing Lights
key tracks: 'Up', 'Keep Her', 'Chasing Lights'
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of huge pop, and the UK has been pumping out amazing girl groups for years. [Notsomuch the US, but that's another story.] Anyways, the Saturdays popped up this summer with their Yaz-sampling 'If This Is Love', and I thought: "do we really need yet another UK girl group - especially one that shares a label with Girls Aloud and is therefore more likely than not going to be a watered down Girls Aloud?" Well, come the Fall when both the Sugababes and Girls Aloud released incredibly sub-standard albums, the answer quickly became "yes!". Not that the Saturdays are up to those two at their prime - not yet, anyways - however "Chasing Lights" is certainly the most enjoyable, consistent girlpop album of 2008. [Though they apparently suffer from Fascination's curse of always picking the wrong single with the soggy 'Issues' chosen to follow up the amazing 'Up'.]

19 - Delays - Everything's The Rush
key tracks: 'Hooray', 'Keep It Simple', 'The Earth Gave Me You'
I'm at odds with this one, hence its low placement. On one hand, this is possibly the Delays most consistent album yet - a joy from start to finish. On the other hand, it also lacks the insane highs of the first two - there's not a 'Valentine' or 'Long Time Coming' to be found here, sadly. So as an album, two thumbs up. In the grand scheme of things, though, we know you can do better boys. [However, seek out their cover of 'Cherry Cherry' that appeared as a b-side to 'Keep It Simple' - quite enjoyable.]

18 - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
key tracks: 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!', 'Today's Lesson', 'More News From Nowhere'
I am by no means a big fan of Nick Cave, however this album really hit the spot. The title track and first single is hillarious AND a big scuzzy rock song - something that the Grinderman project suggested it would be but failed to deliver on - and the rest does an admirable job of following up in a similar vein. Worth checking out for non-fans, such as myself.

17 - The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me
key tracks: 'Boneless', 'Alphabet', 'Good Lies'
It has been a long wait for the follow up to their 2002 masterpiece "Neon Golden", but the Notwist finally delivered this summer with this understated follow up. Not that that's a bad thing - for sure this is one fine album - but it doesn't exactly smack you over the head with its greatness like its predecessor did. Maybe it's because we knew what to expect all these years it was just a matter of them finally getting around to recording it, I don't know. But I can't help but feel a little disappointed in my almost non-reaction to such a great album, and I'm not sure why that is.

16 - Portishead - Third
key tracks: 'Machine Gun', 'Silence', 'We Carry On'
Here's another one I just don't appreciate as much as I know I should. For an album 11 years in the making to not be a massive disappoitment is a feat in and of itself. But for a band who had figureatively painted themselves into a genre corner with their first two albums practically creating and defining a movement to almost completely re-invent themselves after such a long period of time away and have it work, that's something else. For whatever reason, though, it sat on my shelf unlistened to for a lot of the year. Shame on me. It's great to have you back guys, and I'll be more attentive next time. ;)

15 - Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads
key tracks: 'Never Miss A Beat', 'Can't Say What I Mean', 'Always Happens Like That'
I admit, I was a bit nervous for another Kaiser Chiefs album so soon after the relatively disappointing "Yours Truly, Angry Mob" last year. Turns out it was the best thing they could have done. 'Never Miss A Beat' stormed out of the gates as a stronger single than anything on the second album, and while the rest don't quite add up to as great an album as the debut, it's a solid showing from the boys and helps ease the worries after a shaky second effort. Huzzah!

14 - Pop Levi - Never Never Love
key tracks: 'Dita Dimone', 'Everything and Finally', 'Never Never Love'
I love Pop Levi, and this was one of my most anticipated records of the year. Part of the reason I love Pop Levi is because he overreaches and generally pulls it all together in mini-pop masterpieces. "Never Never Love", however, suffers from the CD-age problem of not knowing when to stop. There's a brilliant, snappy 10-track pop masterpiece in here, unfortunately it's hiding amongst a bit of filler and a too long running time. That's what iTunes playlists are for.

13 - Parralox - Electricity
key tracks: 'We Believe In Electric Love', 'I Fell In Love With A Drum Machine', 'Europa'
Parralox are an Australian duo that formed in February and had an album self-produced and self-released by the end of the summer. Not bad for a year's work. A lot of criticism has been pointed at them for borrowing a little too heavilly from their influences - 'The End of Summer' is PSB's 'Rent', etc. - but that's part of the fun, I think. I don't know - it's hard to argue with some of the huge electro pop moments that can be found here, and anyone who can pull off a cover of Radiohead's 'Creep' as they do is worth it. Again, it's way too long and the track order is a bit weird, but it's more than I have to show for myself at the end of 2008. ;)

More to follow...