Our 66, the slight return: bands (etc) list their favourites
- Sparklehorse »
- Redjetson »
- Kaiser Chiefs »
- Explosions In The Sky »
- Maximo Park »
- Blood Red Shoes »
- Howling Bells »
Here's the last little tidbit tangent to DiS's favourite 66 albums of the past six years, Our 66. Granted, it was out birthday last month, but we're allowed to carry the celebrations over, aren't we? It's not like we don't have loads of ace shows coming up to get you dancing at - click here for information-stuffed goodness.
Below, we present to you a selection of personal top sixes (of the last six years), like our Writers Choice article of last month (here), from an assortment of musicians and label folk. Some you'll know well, others not so.
Among those invited to provide us with a little list are the likes of Howling Bells and Sparklehorse - both acts feature in our actual Our 66, click here - as well as Kaiser Chiefs, members of Redjetson and recently-in-the-tabloids sort Fred Les Incompétents. He was in a band, too. Enjoy!
Steven Ansell - Blood Red Shoes
(Blood Red Shoes on MySpace)
Q And Not U - No Kill No Beep Beep
First it just sounded like Fugazi with the vocals mixed too loud. Then I realised it was better than most Fugazi records put together. Awkward time changes and twists and turns flow really smoothly and is really danceable. I still haven't got bored of it.
Lapsus Linguae - You Got Me Fraiche
This band is an inspiration to me in that they have a really clear vision of what they want and they just do it, and they're so perfectionist about it. You really can't describe what they sound like because they're too out there. It's like bringing you into another universe.
Ex-Models - Zoo Pyshcology
It sounds more like Prince than the first album, Other Mathematics. Their lyrics and their music fit perfectly and the guitars have a great awkward industrial feel, but somehow there is also enough of a brutal rock 'n' roll feel to make you move to it.
Don Caballero - American Don
The last and greatest record they made - I don't count the new line-up as ‘Don Caballero’. Ian Williams at the peak of his multi-layered guitar powers, and Damon Che bringing it to a jazzier and less-metal edge than their earlier records. The feel is so laid-back; bits of this are almost like ambient electronica.
Hood - Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys
Hood are so good that every time I've seen them play it's made me cry. This album’s my favourite, just before they started getting into more electronics. It takes really beautiful spacious sounds, adds understated vocals and splotches of samples and loops from what sounds like a fridge hum.
Charlottefield - How Long Are You Staying
The long-awaited debut record from basically the best live band in England. If this band was from the USA people would rave about them daily. I've known the songs live for ages and they finally put it down so we can have them for all history now. They deserve to be as big as Mogwai. These songs are angry, frightened, frightening, confusing, exciting. They never ever sit still long enough for you to get bored.
Danny Carney - Redjetson
(Redjetson on MySpace)
Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn
It’s annoying how simple this record is, but that's what makes it such a triumph. Heartbreaking guitar melodies glisten under trumpets and ambience, perfectly accompanying each other until one submits. It's like a magician's trick: taking one idea and making it sound like a million others, slight nuances to a path that seems to fragment this way and that, yet always returning to where it started. And you barley even notice.
Rumah Sakit - Rumah Sakit
One of the most immediate and intensive records my ears have ever witnessed - it's organised chaos, yet so very beautiful. Every single beat or riff in every single song adds something. Nothing is there that doesn't need to be there, and everything that's there is imperative for it any song's success.
Berg Sans Nipple - Form Of...
How do just two people make a record this full? It's like a soundtrack to the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Running between keyboards, steel drums, melodicas and percussion like we do jobs, friends, bars and families. They're just so much better at juggling it all than we are.
Les Savy Fav - Rome (Written Upside Down)
This party lasts 17 minutes. At first you want to laugh. It's comedic, isn't it? Yes, but there's a huge heart, there's a point; it's relevant somehow to things darker than just a few listens would hint at. Don't think too much, though: this record was made for dancing.
Jeniferever - Choose A Bright Morning
I didn't expect this record to be about the vocals, but it is. It's like a post-rock spoken-word album - every song is a tale of loss or love pushed along by swells and sparse melodies, looming until they collide and climax. The perfect record for lonely journeys.
The Dirty Three - She Has No Strings Apollo
Disinterested and discordant chords ring out against a mist of brushed snare and flayed cymbals, providing a backdrop to the layers of luscious yet almost forced violin leads. Take any part on its own and it's almost nothing, yet the sum of the combined is a wash of giddiness that sadly passes all too quickly.
Chris Hrasky - Explosions In The Sky
(Explosions In The Sky on MySpace)
The American Analog Set - Know By Heart
I have no idea why this album didn't shoot this band into the stratosphere. Every song sounds like a hit single.
Eluvium - An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death
Gorgeous piano pieces from one of the nicest guys on earth. I've probably listened to this more than any other album in the world.
Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade's other band. Truly epic.
Animal Collective - Feels
Beautiful gibberish. Makes me want to dance around the campfire.
Lift To Experience - The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads
A major influence on everything we've done. Terrifying, funny and beautiful.
Stars of The Lid - The Tired Sounds of...
My favorite ambient album of all time. And they're from Texas.
Ian Jarrold – Redjetson
(Redjetson on MySpace)
Sigur Rós - Takk
This album is one of my favourite albums of all time. It's lush and densely layered - they have spent a lot of time crafting the sounds that make up each song. I feel like I hear something new every time I listen to it. That aside, I find it emotionally stirring in so many ways - happiness, sadness, hope, regret... the whole spectrum. Shivers up my spine!
Múm - Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today is OK
The first modern electronic album that I fell in love with - it made me want to put down my guitar and pick up a keyboard. It's the mix of electronic and acoustic instruments that makes it lovable.
TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
This band write from the heart and it shows - I love their inventiveness, and not just in the sounds they use. Their songwriting is always melodic, interesting and vital. It makes me wanna dance, makes me wanna fuck, makes me wanna fall in love!
Liars - Drum's Not Dead
This album feels so primal and instinctive; it's like music from the dawn of time.
Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
It's all about the songs - incredible album from start to finish.
Berg Sans Nipple - Form Of...
An incredible mix of styles and it's played by only two guys! When I saw them live I nearly wet myself. So good.
(Kaiser Chiefs on MySpace)
Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs For The Deaf
The Cribs -The New Fellas
The Strokes - Is This It?
Johnny Cash - American 3
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Alan McGee - Poptones
(Poptones on MySpace)
Gillian Welch - Time the Revelator
An absolute diamond Americana record.
Viking Moses - Crosses
This is a beautiful record and I utterly rate him.
Antony and the Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
Weird but brilliant.
The Libertines - Up The Bracket
A classic record - I will never tire of it.
The Rapture – Echoes
James Murphy meets melody.
The Charlatans - Wonderland
Best Curtis record since ’74.
Simon Raymonde - Bella Union
(Bella Union online)
Lift to Experience - The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads
There will never be a band like it. There will never be a debut like this. A double-disc concept album about the apocalypse, with Texas as the Promised Land. As mythical as their arrival seemed, their demise was equally enigmatic. With drugs, booze and death all playing a part in the break-up, it was never going to be an easy band to work with, but it's the one regret I have that things didn't work out for them. I made mistakes too, and probably could have done more to help. I would love to work with them all again, but I think it's unlikely. Anyhow, one of best American rock 'n' roll albums of the last 25 years to never come out in the USA.
Boards Of Canada - Geogaddi
Along with Prefuse 73, BoC had the edge on all the wannabes in this world in that for all their technical brilliance, the music on this album in particular worked stoned or sober. In the car with the sub-woofer banged right up, in the office before everyone else gets in, on the Tube on your headphones, in bed in the dark, in a club... wherever this music takes you from A to B without you remembering the grief of how you got there.
Kaito - Band Red
Dismally treated by labels and the like. One of the best pop/punk bands of recent times. With better luck, Kaito would be a household name by now. This debut is chock-full of promise, and eleven dynamic slices of spiky rock 'n' roll. Not only a brilliant debut, they were one of the best live bands I have ever seen. I'm a huge fan and should have been as big as Blondie. Much missed.
Explosions In The Sky - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
Quite simply an album that can stay on the turntable all day - whatever mood you are in, it works. That is a gift you can not teach. Some bands have it and most don't. Their genius is to effortlessly make you EXCLAIM things like, "Fuck, that was just incredible," and then put it on again.
Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die
There aren't too many bands I hear that I think, "Shit, I really wished I'd signed them," but thankfully they're on Moshi Moshi which is one of the best record labels in the world right now. That is comfort indeed. Such brilliance - eight more Australians - will only flourish in this label's hands. A record of surprises and beautiful instrumentation. Horns. Double bass. Violins. Bassoons. Cello. Sitar, theremin and steel drums all turn up during the twelve glorious tracks.
Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther
I'd be a liar if I didn't pick this over another band from another label. One of the most-played albums of any in my rather huge collection. I see so many reviews that talk about soft-rock or retro-whatever, and really I would just say bollocks to all that - this is an album that is timeless. The songs are both beguiling and a little strange, yet within a few listens it's under your skin, so deep it becomes part of you.
Paul Smith – Maximo Park
(Maximo Park on MySpace)
Life Without Buildings - Any Other City
Arthur Russell - World Of Echo (reissue)
Cannibal Ox - The Cold Vein
Smog - A River Ain't Too Much To Love
Björk - Vespertine
Mark Kozelek - What's Next To The Moon
As albums these are amazing, but I could've chosen so many individual songs...
Frederick Bang! - Les Incompétents
(Les Incompétents on MySpace)
The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
The album that early on in my teens made me want to 'pick up a guitar'. I did, of course, and it was too hard to play, so I quickly found some hangers-on who would be happy to play for me and with me. This is not a decision I regret.
Spiritualized - Let It Come Down
Though by no means a work of genius, this is the album that soundtracked my disintegrating relationship and belief in an interventionist and benevolent God; a period that will always stay with me and haunt me. At the time I believed that there was no finer or more epic album dealing with ideas of drugs, Chrisitianity and very simple laziness. Looking back I am not so sure.
The Mars Volta - DeLoused In the Comatorium
"Now I'm lost..." The second that the immensity of the first drum roll kicked in I knew that my life was changing. This album frightened me and inspired me to the extent that I knew I couldn't go back to living a life void of music. As my results in school began to deteriorate, this album taught me that nothing bar original and exciting artistic output was worthwhile. The first album I've ever listened to twice in a row, without any other distractions, and the first piece of music to make me physically sweat.
Tom Waits - Alice
"Everything you can think of is true / Before the ocean was blue / You were lost in a flood run red with your blood's Nigerian skeleton crew."
At which point I realised that lyrics were ALWAYS as important as music, and to write about love or parties was a cop-out. I bought a thesaurus, and promised myself I would change.
Aphex Twin - Drukqs
Perhaps this does not contain his strongest tracks, but in my opinion it's his most interesting body of work overall. The sound of an artist unanimously unparalled in his field. Electronic music with a soul? No further comment.
Aaron LaCrate & Low Budget - B-More Gutter Music
For about an hour I believed guitar music was dead. To be honest part of me still does. My relationship with everything bar my laptop has hugely declined since hearing this revelation to music earlier this year. Find a track on here that doesn't make you want to dance in the street or spend hours on the internet downloading songs and I'll give you five pounds.
Mark Linkous - Sparklehorse
(Sparklehorse on MySpace)
One of the Godspeed You! Black Emperor records.
Boards Of Canada – Geogaddi
Oval – Ovalcommers
Fennesz – Endless Summer
Stars Of The Lid – The Tired Sounds Of...
Grandaddy - The Sophtware Slump
Juanita Stein – Howling Bells
(Howling Bells on MySpace)
Ulrich Shnauss - A Strangely Isolated Place
I find this record insanely beautiful, all the sounds and structures. The atmosphere it creates is my favourite place to hide. Watching him play makes me think of all those eccentric 16th century European musicians, with their mad hair and achingly poignant compositions.
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
Well, unfortunately this became the café album of the year. Of course I blame Natalie Portman. But the truth is that it's a fucking incredible album. It plays such an important role in my life as someone very special gave it to me. The songs are perfect: so shambolic and so heartfelt.
Radiohead - Kid A
This album made a very special mark on so many people, including me, in that it managed to bridge a gap between mainstream rock-pop and atmospheric electro. But more importantly they created a really powerful and beautiful album. Doesn’t matter where I am, whenever I hear the start of 'Everything In Its Right Place' I stop and shake my head.
Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain
I love everything about this record. It was a huge album for me in that it managed to encapsulate so much of what's important to me about music, melody, atmosphere, darkness, creatures and strange ideas. I wanted to live in this record when I first heard it! It just worked so well as a story, which is what i think every great album should be... a brilliant story.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
I love the dirtiness of this record. It's so full of sex and grime and blues. I know how derivative they are, but it doesn’t matter, because they do it so well! The most spectacular thing about this album for me is how melodic it is. Seeing them live a few years ago changed my perception of what a live band should be.
Yann Tiersen - Amelie OST
Apart from being one of my favourite films of the last few years, this is definitely one of my favourite albums too. Its not that often you get a soundtrack that mirrors the ambience of a film perfectly. These songs glow; they’re golden and warm and they smile at me. Yann is a glorious composer - I love most of his work, and he's definitely someone we would love to work with one day.
Revisit Our 66 in full by clicking here. Not got our number one record yet, let alone a number of other entries? Worry not - soon we'll be running a competition where one reader can win a lot of albums that made the Our 66 cut. We just need a bag big enough to send them out in... Watch this space.
- 10 Years of Singer-Songwriters: Some Thoughts
- David Lynch and Danger Mouse discuss Dark Night of the Soul
- Dark Night Of The Soul to get official July release
- NewsRound: The first quarter of 2010 in NEWS
- Drowned in March 2010: a Spotify playlist
- The Rings of Saturn on Your Fingers: Metric's Emily Haines on Mark Linkous
- Spotifriday #37 - This Week on DiS as a playlist
- R.I.P Mark Linkous