For the uninitiated, every year at the Homegame Festival some kind soul organises a compilation CD lucky dip, giving everyone a chance to inflict their musical proclivities upon fellow bearded musos. Last year it proved to be a major hit and so it was something very much looked forward to again this year.
I still haven't heard from the lucky (or unfortunate - however you see it) person who picked this mix out of the hat. But it would be a shame, I think, only to inflict it upon only one person, so here it is for all and sundry to get their grubby hands on.
By now it seems almost hardly necessary to point out, having become something of a trademark, but the usual caveats do apply about appalling mixing skills. Maybe someone will teach me, one day...
... in which I reveal myself as the pop fanatic I always knew, deep down, I was. No attempt has been made to make this list in any way credible - indeed, how could it? There are plenty of 'significant' releases that I've either deliberately ignored or not gotten round to yet and I make no apology (for none is necessary) This is purely and simply what's been spinning my platters in 2009...
1. Pet Shop Boys - Yes
Their most coherent and complete album for a good few years. Startlingly catchy, perfectly produced and continually lyrically intriguing. Has barely been off the stereo since its release. Not for everyone, yet neither is common sense or intelligence.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
A successful change of direction. An easy target for those critical of anyone jumping on the rock-band-with-synths bandwagon, but the quality of the songs surely overcomes any cheap jibes. Would have been number one were it not for the truly cringeworthy Runrig overtones of 'Skeleton'... Karen! What were you thinking?!? A perfect album, otherwise.
3. The xx - xx
The kind of album that makes me weep at the folly of my idly mis-spent youth.
4. Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependance
It's only taken them four years but the two quiet Norwegians have once again managed to softly blow me away. Eirik and Erlend apparently have Northern Europe's largest horde of Reverb.
5. La Roux - La Roux
It's Yazoo but in 2009. 'Nuff said :-D
6. Annie - Don't Stop
Another pop gem from the girl who I would have to call the undisputed queen of underachieving Scandinavian pop princesses. The much delayed album has been reworked so many times and doesn't even include the singles "Anthonio" or "Two Of Hearts", but it still hangs together really well. Except "The Breakfast Song" which is hideous. Annie! What were you thinking?!?
7. Au Revoir Simone - Still Light, Still Night
I imagine heaven to be filled with girls who sound like Au Revoir Simone. Even when they're asking what time the next bus is or telling you to get out of the shower because it's 4am and you've been in there for hours. For example.
8. The Twilight Sad - Forget The Night Ahead
The Twilight Sad somehow manage to walk that fine line of brittle emotion and massive power whilst simultaneously off-handedly throwing in little hooks that send shivers down your spine. An incredible follow-up to Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters from the Best Band In Scotland Right Now(tm).
9. Lau - Arc Light
Much-lauded folk album from the trio of Kris Drever, Martin Green & Aidan O'Rourke. Avoids all notions of moribund, anachronistic Celtic/British folk and instead delivers something truly invigorating and timelessly modern.
10. Sally Shapiro - My Guilty Pleasure
Johan Agebjorn is undoubtedly one of my favourite producers and it's probably no great surprise that this album makes my top ten. It's great, a fine (if not earth-shattering) follow-up to 'Disco Romance' and kept my blood-Italo levels topped up nicely for most of 2009.
Appreciative knods go to Little Boots ("Hands") which should be in this list on the strength of the Phil Oakey guest appearance alone, The Whitest Boy Alive ("Rules"), Idlewild ("Post Electric Blues"), King Creosote ("Flick The Vs") and Junior Boys ("Begone Dull Care") Thanks for making my year that little bit louder.