Toad Festive Fifty: 37-50
Here is the official beginning of Christmas List season, here at Song, by Toad. If you want to get involved and write your own list, then please do. Go here for more details. The more of you that contribute to that the better the results we will get, so don’t be shy.
This is the first quarter of my Festive Fifty for 2008. I will also be preparing a list of my twenty favourite albums, but I might just neglect singles and EPs this time around. If you disagree with anything then do get stuck in, but bear in mind that this is far from a definitive ranking. Ask me on another day and Pictish’s brilliant I Don’t Know Where to Begin could easily be in the top five. Ask me in four months’ time and it would probably be all-change again.
37. Pale Young Gentlemen – Kettle Drum (I Left a Note) This whole album was an absolute joy, and the ‘we could talk for hours, or even not at all’ line is a gem. Sheer, easy, gentle loveliness.
38. The Cave Singers – Dancing on Our Graves Along with the Dodos this is some of the most percussive music I’ve heard in ages. And that voice – weird, whiney and wonderful.
39. James Yorkston – Tortoise Regrets Hare James Yorkston needs little more to be said about him; the man’s just bloody brilliant. His rolling monologues are almost spoken word at times, and this particular example is just bloody gorgeous.
40. Mumford & Sons – Awake My Soul It’s big and potentially radio-friendly (which I am almost starting to see as an insult) but this whole EP is genuinely uplifting – virtually gospel in fact.
41. The Pictish Trail – I Don’t Know Where to Begin Slightly sad, slightly nostaligic and absolutely beautiful from the first moment to the last. There are more complicated songs on his album, but none lovelier.
42. Calexico – The News About William Border noir. Calexico only flirted with their former genius on this album, but one or two tracks harked back to their glory days.
43. Frightened Rabbit – Good Arms vs. Bad Arms It’s almost, almost a Christmas song, this. A bitter, miserable, lonely one, but almost a Christmas song nonetheless. Don’t ask me why, it’s just something about the rhythm, and perhaps the turmoil of overwhelming emotions.
44. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Painter Blue Not quite a murder ballad, but a really odd tale set to music that is fascinatingly divorced from what you would expect from a story like this.
45. eagleowl – Blanket I don’t know if it’s the harmonies, or the gorgeous way the bowed double bass underpins the fiddle, but pretty much every last thing about this song has been done right.
46. James Yorkston – Midnight Feast From a confident, lush album comes this choral jewel, transcendent and grand. James Yorkston seems absolutely on top of his game at the moment.
47. The Velcro Quartet – Dead Dogs’ Hill Basically, this is just mental. Pure, unhinged, nut-pop – and absolutely inspired to boot.
48. The Low Lows – Five Ways I Didn’t Die This whole album is grumbling and drenched in reverb and distortion. It is purposeful and menacing, and then at times disarmingly sentimental
49. Samamidon – Saro Sam Amidon uses an awful lot of instruments to make very, very little noise. The brass is deep and mournful, but there’s a lighter sadness to everything else which makes it if anything even more affecting.
50. Mumford & Sons – Roll Away Your Stone I sometimes wonder if the impact of this is the same if you haven’t seen them live. It should be though.
And here’s the whole bloody lot as a single zip file – may take a while to download.More: calexico, cave singers, eagleowl, festive fifty, frightened rabbit, james yorkston, low lows, mumford and sons, pale young gentlemen, pictish trail, samamidon, velcro quartet, willard grant conspiracy