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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Darrin Frew » Music » Half Time Analysis

5.It’s been a strange year for music. Surplus of ‘quite good’ but deficient of ‘great’, 2006 has so far gently pleased rather than blown away. My number five, Jenny Lewis came out of the traps early with ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ and although it seems to have divided opinion in the wider worldit has hung on in there on my list. For me, it was a pleasant surprise to see someone try to be lyrically ambitious even if she didn’t always get it quite right and the Watson twin’s contributions were an undoubted highlight, taking most of the songs to a different level.

4. I’m afraid to say that as I head towards clichéd old age I’ve found myself listening to more and more woolly jumpered singer-songwriter types and less in the way of rock or electronic music. It was therefore of a great relief to me to have Nathan Fake make my list and therefore retain at least some pulse of modernity. His soaring M83-only-good electronica has been perhaps the surprise find of the year. In particular ‘The Sky Was Pink’ makes you feel as if you’ve just been sucked into the extendable nozzle of God’s own vacuum cleaner headed for the glorious white-out death of Hoover bag heaven. I’ll feel less guilty about doing that to spiders as a result.

3. At three we have those perennial favourites Belle & Sebastian whom I now feel utterly confident to leaden with the epithet ‘one of the great bands of the last ten years’. The signs were there for all to see on the last album but the hushed Nick Drake has been almost completely ditched in favour of glamtastic double tracked drums, Ernie Isley style guitar solos and Funkadelic homage’s. Murdoch’s vocals say it all. Where once they were endearingly cracked and out of tune, now they ooze confidence and, dare I say it, sex appeal.

2. We waited and waited for Neko Case to follow up her last release with a ‘proper’ album and when it did arrive it seemed to encapsulate the year in music. There is very little you could point to as being weak on ‘Fox Confessor’ and yet at the same time it lacked that something that made ‘Blacklisted’ one of the greats. Still, we all know Neko’s voice is one of the marvels of the age and as such the number two spot is hardly unbefitting.

1. My number one from the first half of the year belongs to M Craft, an artist completely new to these ears, although apparently something of an old hand in the music biz. It’s to the Australian's eternal credit that he seems to crafted his own ‘classic’ 60’s/70’s sound without sounding, as so many modern bands do, completely derivative. Having said that the best track on the album ‘Sweets’ bares a passing resemblance to a sort of soft focus ‘Revolution Blues’. If you’re going to have influences, though, Neil Young seems a good pick.

My Top Twenty list.

1

m craft

SILVER AND FIRE

2

neko case

FOX CONFESSOR BRINGS THE FLOOD

3

belle & sebastian

THE LIFE PURSUIT

4

nathan fake

DROWNING IN A SEA OF LOVE

5

jenny lewis & the watson twins

RABBIT FUR COAT

6

sonic youth

RATHER RIPPED

7

cortney tidwell

CORTNEY TIDWELL

8

mogwai

MR BEAST

9

camera obscura

LET’S GET OUT THIS COUNTRY

10

two gallants

WHAT THE TOLL TELLS

11

isobel campbell & mark lanegan

BALLAD OF THE BROKEN SEAS

12

the strokes

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF EARTH

13

roddy frame

WESTERN SKIES

14

the fiery furnaces

BITTER TEA

15

cat power

THE GREATEST

16

clap your hands say yeah

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH

17

morrissey

RINGLEADER OF THE TORMENTED

18

the broken family band

BALLS

19

megan reilly

LET YOUR GHOST GO

20

el perro del mar

EL PERRO DEL MAR

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