Song, by Toad Favourite Albums of 2010: 16-20

16. Cotton JonesTall Hours in the Glowstream

This album may peter out slightly, but there is something I find utterly compelling about the first two thirds of it.  The sound has a wonderfully naive and pretty core, with a shimmering, enigmatic veneer and for some reason this has consistently fascinated me since I first heard it.  In many ways it’s just a lovely, dreamy pop album, but the way it’s been put together is bloody ace.

Cotton Jones – Sail of the Silver Morning
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/CottonJones-SailoftheSilverMorning.mp3]

17. Sparrow & the WorkshopCrystals Fall

This is a little over-long perhaps, but a fierce, ballsy album which sometimes channels the bone and guts of malevolent folk tales, whilst at others the emotional heart of it comes from somewhere altogether more personal.  Excuse the term, but Jill O’Sullivan and her gentleman friends (now there’s a band name!) write music with more balls than most bands I’ve heard in ages.  Figurative balls, Jill, sorry, you know what I mean.

Sparrow & the Workshop – A Horse’s Grin
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/SparrowandtheWorkshop-AHorsesGrin.mp3]

18. Sweet BabooI’m a Dancer/Songs About Sleeping

There is an unsettling combination of wonderfully comforting, lovely music and rather darker lyrics at work here.  The songs seem to portray the manic microscope of a paranoid, slightly twisted over-thinker, but it’s all delivered in such gorgeous acoustic pop that it takes a moment or two for it to sink in.  This is the sort of album which tends to generate an awful lot of ‘hang on, what did he say?’ moments, particularly if you are (foolishly) only half paying attention.

Sweet Baboo – Y’r Lungs
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/SweetBaboo-YrLungs.mp3]

19. 30 Pounds of BoneMethod

It’s a very rough album this, and yet a very warm one at the same time.  The actual recorded sound is extremely immediate and very raw, and the lyrics could be pretty well described that way as well.  It all gives the impression of an album so close to the bone that you may at times find yourself looking away, but there is such an unvarnished quality to the whole presentation that listening to it ends up feeling like something of a privilege.

30 Pounds of Bone – Ghosts in the Grass
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/ThirtyPoundsofBone-GhostsintheGrass.mp3]

20. Erland & the CarnivalErland & the Carnival

This is a bit of an ex-Britpop supergroup (well, not really, but justaboutkindasorta) who seemingly tired of fey, sensitive ukuleles in alt-folk music and set about making an album which, whilst it does fit in that genre, sets about its business with a good deal more pace and purpose than many others it might share a display with in your local Fopp.  It may not be breaking any new ground at all, but there isn’t a weak moment on this album.

Erland & the Carnival – You Don’t Have to be Lonely
[audio:http://songbytoad.com/tunes/ErlandandtheCarnival-YouDontHavetobeLonely.mp3]
More: , , , ,