Part four of five, and the pressure’s building. What record will scoop our prestigious (?) Album of the Year title, and will its makers – or maker – expect any sort of reward for their efforts? We’re kinda hoping not – we’ve blown our budget for the month on liquor and hookers, which is a right ol’ bitch since there’re bills to pay. The DiSopolis, sadly, is not self-sustaining.
As we near the culmination of a year’s record reviewing, it’s time, I think, to say thanks for riding along with us. In a year that’s seen new publications emerge and fold in a matter of weeks, music websites elsewhere introduce comments boards only to essentially withdraw them, and Morrissey prove himself to be something of a cantankerous silly again, we’re chuffed to our nuts that the DiS readership’s not only remained loyal, but has grown. And the re-design didn’t have people flooding away to our rivals… sorry, peers… thanks.
Let us not forget that the website you’re reading now is the best of its kind according to those who work and play in the music business. About which we’re, well, made up basically: seven years of trauma and toil rewarded. Don’t know what the bollix I’m spoutin’ ‘bout? Clicky.
Oh, and FYI: reader voting closes tomorrow. Click here right away if you're yet to make your opinions count.
Ten to six, in order: go.
Health (Lovepump United)
I’ve already waxed reckless and lyrical over this record – check the review. So, I could take this opportunity to bare-face promote other luminaries of the scene that centres, unashamedly, around downtown LA venue the Smell. Abe Vigoda! The Mae Shi! Mika Miko! Serious. It’s HEALTH though, along with No Age, who really stood out from the rabble these last twelve months. The record? Twice? Just imagine the world reaching the end of its tri-millennial life-cycle and imploding again. Dark? Now just imagine rhythm. Primal, learning, glittering rhythm…
Kev Kharas; review here
Jake Duzsik, HEALTH
The quality of the writing on DrownedinSound is some of the best we have seen anywhere so it means a lot to us to receive such an accolade from a critical community so clearly passionate about music. We are truly flattered. In other matters, please send our prize money in the form of an oversized cashiers check made out to HEALTHRULZBALLZ .COM
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In Rainbows (self-released/XL)
The danger was that the excitement about 'honesty boxes' and 'the future of the music industry' would overshadow the actual record itself. Fortunately, the strengths of In Rainbows shine, beams of light splintered prism style in typically hydra-headed compositional fashion. Tracks like the jazz-tinged 'Reckoner' and the languorous fuzziness of 'All I Need' are up there with the best songs Radiohead have ever produced. When it's released on CD on New Year's Eve, via XL (home to Thom Yorke’s solo effort of last year, The Eraser), we get to enjoy it all over again.
Gareth Dobson; reader review here
Weirdo Rippers (FatCat)
When DiS first heard No Age, via their MySpace site (which was active but carried no music for some months following their formation), we were immediately enraptured with the Los Angeles pair, Randy Randall and Dean Spunt. Being fans of their previous outfit – the bloody punk racket that was Wives – helped of course, but to say that EP compilation Weirdo Rippers surprised us is something of an understatement: we were properly blown away by the muddled mix of savage squall and dreamy drone. Some of these songs aren’t really songs; they’re sketches, collages, sound explosions set against a backdrop of fiery creativity. Now signed to Sub Pop, their debut album ‘proper’ is expected to drop in 2008, and we’re already eagerly anticipating its excellence.
Mike Diver; review here
Randy Randall, No Age
Better than Nick Cave? We are honoured as well as psyched. This has been such an incredible year. Two UK tours, three Group Art Shows, five EPs, seven shows in Japan, an 8.5 on Pitchfork, 11 Weirdro Rippers tracks and now in on DrownedinSound’s records of the year. It looks like our deal with the devil down at the crossroads really paid off. Thanks to everyone who's come out to the shows and liked the record. THANKS RIPPERS!!!
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Just as a loophole in Darwinian theory has allowed for the evolution of the ‘man’s man’, Liars renege on pop’s sexual vows and become a wiry, mucky-shirted ‘boy’s band’. Turning from the primal, agenda-setting squall and squash of Drum’s Not Dead, Liars is a remarkably daring collection of tunes that sees the trio tear through noise-pop (‘Plaster Casts of Everything’), pop-noise, (‘Pure Unevil’), noise, (‘Leather Prowler’), and, inevitably, glitch-swing (‘Houseclouds’). Playful and inventive throughout, it’s Liars’ ability to inject their personality into everything they do that sets them apart and above of imitators and rivals; their stamina for new ideas finding them fit for survival in avant-'s godless process.
Kev Kharas; review here
Aaron Hemphill, Liars
Oh wow. It’s greatly appreciated, and very flattering. I think how we feel, when we receive these things, is that we have to be quite… diplomatic. It doesn’t take any weight off of how great that is for you guys to be so nice to us, but we’ve always had the philosophy that if someone gives you a shit review and you conclude that’s just that one person’s opinion, then you have to do the same with positive reviews. I think, again, it’s very nice of you. It sets us challenges to make records that aren’t just as enjoyable, but that are more enjoyable.
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We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank (Columbia)
The truth is, most of us have never fully explored the now-substantial back catalogue of Modest Mouse albums and EPs, but We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank is another compelling reason to shell out those pounds. It is hard, though, imagining that they've produced something better, as this fifth album proper is the full realisation of the band's wide musical spectrum. From the funk sheen of 'Dashboard' to the brilliant, sprawling odyssey of 'Spitting Venom', this is a record that’s revealed its wonderful colours across the course of the year. Now with added Marr factor, Modest Mouse have become one of the finest indie-rock bands in the world.
Gareth Dobson; review here