THE VPME AWARDS 2008

2008 has been a strange year, and one I’ll generally be glad to see the back of.  I guess in global terms it’ll be defined as the year of Obama and the year those gung-ho laissez-faire capitalists decided that actually state intervention is actually a jolly good idea after all. They think it only fair that whilst profits are privatised, losses really should be socialised. Suddenly the shrill bleating about the mythical “nanny state” or” letting the market decide” from dullards who subscribe to the Daily Mail’s paranoid right wing hysteria has been inexplicably silenced.  2008 has seen the biggest government intervention and nationalisation in recent economic history, purely for the benefit of the rich and the well connected…..

However musically there have been some great moments so without further ado here are The VPME 2008 Awards………

Who will follow last year’s winners The Raveonettes ( Lust Lust Lust)?

ALBUM OF THE YEAR


Joint NO 1. “Save The World, Get The Girl”- The King Blues

“Save The World, Get The Girl”-The King Blues

The perfect blend of politics ska, punk, rap and folk. Written from the heart not the wallet. “What If Punk Never Happened” is possibly my fave song of the year.

Joint NO 1. “American Demo”- The Indelicates

“If Jeff Buckley Had Lived” By The Indelicates

The Indelicates are unlike anything another band around at the moment. “American Demo” is an, intelligent, disturbing, witty and, thought provoking album, and every right thinking person should own a copy.

3. Thomas Tantrum- Thomas Tantrum

TT came up with a fantastic debut album, hopefully they will build an even bigger fan base in 2009.

4. “ Neptune City ”- Nicole Atkins

There have been many pretenders to the thrown, but Nicole is the real deal. A timeless voice, a classic album, genius.

5. Glasvegas-Glasvegas

Glasgow ’s finest, prove,  that the hype appears to be completely justified.

6. The Bookhouse Boys-The Bookhouse Boys

The Bookhouse Boys combine surf guitar, spaghetti western, even elements of gospel, and at times sound like Nick Cave fronting The Last Shadow Puppets. Only one small gripe, would like to hear Catherine Turner’s vocals utilised to greater effect, still, a great debut.

7. “Alas I Cannot Swim” -Laura Marling

Maybe she can’t swim but she can certainly sing; mature lyrics, dark themes and beautiful melodies equal a remarkable debut album.

8. “This Gift” –Sons & Daughters

Bernard Butler’s production may have given S&D a new sense of tattered glamour but underneath the surface the fire the passion and the menace burn as brightly as ever. A fabulous band and an album that sees them scale new heights.

9. “O” Tilly And The Wall

When an album contains shouted terrace chants, girl group harmony vocals, a sonic 60’s organ, Punk Rock guitar riffs and erm… tap dance- you must ponder the inevitable question “what’s not to like?

“Pot Kettle Black” By Tilly And The Wall


10.” Velocifero”- Ladytron

The enigmatic goth-pop purveyors of layered synths and pounding drums come back with a driving, relentless blend of lush electronica and icy pop hooks. “Velocifero” draws on many influences yet still sounds unique and original.

11. “CSI Ambleside”- Half man Half Biscuit

Oft described as one of pops greatest satirists, Mr. Blackwell and his merry men produce another album that provides enough laughs, home truths and wisdom to satisfy die heard fans and maybe gain some new ones. As ever the songs also have the greatest pop song titles known to man.

“Lord Herefords Knob” By Halfman Half Biscuit


12. “The Colourful Life” – Cajun Dance Party

A debut from a band who at times conjure up a slightly more upbeat Robert Smith, or a sunnier Morrissey. It’s an album that maybe short on length but doesn’t skimp on genuine excitement and is impossible to listen to without lightening your mood.  A band with a big future.

13. “Dig Lazarus Dig”- Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

His moustache may be big enough to support its own weather system, he may look like some sort of demented preacher from Tombstone , and it may be his 14th studio album but on “Dig Lazarus Dig” Mr. Cave sounds reinvigorated and surprisingly upbeat. Where as many middle aged rock stars would be content to amble around the golf course, Mr. Cave is still wrestling his   favorite obsessions, sex, scarlet women, death, literature, religion, fidelity and creates a world which is burrowing its way to hell, and appears to be  having quite a time getting there.

14. “Do You Like Rock Music?” – British Sea Power

Yes I do, and I also like this album, it has a HUGE sound, which retains the Psychedelic Furs /Joy Division vibe of their earlier work, and has been compared by many to The Arcade Fire. The big difference here is that British Sea Power has produced a better and a more consistent album than their Canadian brethren’s rather laboured efforts thus far.

“No Lucifer” By British Sea Power


15 “In Our Space Hero Suits”- Those Dancing Days

Their now  trade mark pounding Hammond organ underpins Linnea Jonsson’s soulful voice on an album that provides  pop hooks a plenty and proves the Swedish teen-sensations have a precocious talent for writing punky poppy C-86 Northern soul inspired tracks.

16 “The Age Of The Understatement”-The Last Shadow Puppets

Yes we know it’s a project hugely influenced By Scott Walker, that sounds comfortably familiar, yet conversely  is a breath of fresh air. What saves this record from being merely a swirling symphonic -pop pastiche is the lyrics and the swashbuckling attitude that runs through the entire project, which  manages to step outside of its obvious limitations and is prepared to take risks…  Sadly for Miles Kane it also exacerbates the obvious short comings of The Rascals debut album…ouch!

17. “A Larum”-Johnny Flynn

The  ex violin player with Emmy The Great and former choirboy’s  debut is an album that shines like a light house in the sea of so called, “British folk.” He’s also a Shakespearian actor. Oh and ladies, he’s not exactly been hit with the ugly stick either !  It’s just not fair is it?

“The Box” By Johnny Flynn


18. Santogold- Santogold

Santi Whites genre hopping album covers everything from RnB to surf punk  to sounding like Karen O fronting the B-52’s. Eclectic is the word. Here’s another two, “Top Banana”, and it really is.

19. “Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes

One of the more stupid statements of 2008 has to be  “I’m too young to like The Fleet Foxes” …Pfft!   …contrast that retarded remark with what Fleet Foxes Singer and chief songwriter Robin Pecknold said “All we strove for with this record was to make something that was an honest reflection of who we are, citizens of the western United States who love all kinds of music and above all else love singing.” – Enough said eh?

20. “Blue Hands”- The Hot Puppies

Initially I found this a disappointment, possibly due to the timescales between the single releases and the eventual album release date. When the album finally came into the public arena I felt I’d already heard it. Then I decided to listen to it with new ears as a whole and not skipping past the singles and tracks I was on more than nodding terms with. . It was only then I had my Boo Radley moment of clarity and understood…The Puppies are still Hot.

Single Of The Year

1. Swan Lake- Thomas Tantrum


2. Geraldine-Glasvegas

3. Bruises-Chairlift

4. America –The Indelicates

5. Beat Control- Tilly And The Wall

6. Ghosts-Ladytron

7. Pirouette-Stickboy

8. Darling- Sons & Daughters

9. Six And Three Quarters-Ipso Facto

10.  Colourful Life-Cajun Dance Party

11. Somewhere-the Hot Puppies

12. Another Version Of Pop Song –Rose Elinor Dougall

13. Let It Slip-The School

14. We Almost had A Baby-Emmy The Great

15. Five Years Time- Noah And The Whale

Quotes Of The Year:

Gordon Brown:  “We not only saved the world… “

Mark Radcliff : “ these top dogs who are obviously worth the millions they’re paid to run these companies, when they were raking in huge profits, didn’t it cross  their minds to, you know, put a bit by for when things aren’t so rosy? But it turns out they were right not to put a bit by, because now things are turning sour, everybody chips in to see them right”

Monster Bobby (On the many departures from The Pipettes); Nobody held a gun to Rose and Becki’s head and forced them to leave”

Von Pip:So you’re no Phil Spector then?”

Frankie Boyle, referring to Michael Jackson; “He has to live the life of a Scooby Doo villain, hanging around in a deserted fairground with a plastic face”;

And questioning plans to give Margaret Thatcher a £3m state funeral

“For that money you could buy every person in Glasgow a shovel so they can dig a hole so deep they can hand her to Satan personally”

Gigs Of The Year

1. Jesus And Mary Chain /Black Box Recorder/British Sea Power The Forum London 27/10/2008
2. Glasvegas Liverpool Barfly
3. Sons and Daughters/ Eugene McGuiness/ Lightspeed Champion- Academy 2 Liverpool
4. Laura Marling – Zanzibar Club Liverpool
5. Billy Bragg- Liverpool Philharmonic.

Ones To Watch 2009

Ipso Facto, Sound Of Guns, Stickboy, Thomas Tantrum, Little Boots, Wintersleep, Emmy The Great, Paloma Faith,  Vote Show Pony , Mumford and Sons, The Tamborines, Eugene McGuiness,  Doll And The Kicks, Detox Cute & The Beauty Junkies,The King Blues, The Bookhouse Boys, Skint And Demoralised, Howling Bells, Catherine AD and Fight Like Apes

Little Boots

Little Boots

“Alcatraz” By Sound Of Guns

These lads have caused  moistness a-plenty in the pants of A&R men this year, they’ve also been getting rave reviews for their live performances and have a lead singer whose been compared to everybody from Jim Morrison to Ian McCulloch.

“Into The Chaos”  By Howling Bells

Howling Bells will be releasing their second album  in 09, and if it’s as good as  2006’s  darkly  brooding first offering we’re in for a treat.  Juanita Stein’s gorgeous vocals could well be haunting your dreams this year.


“Something Global” By Fight Like Apes

Mad as F**k!! Unpretentious electro-punk fun, their debut album””And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion”  released in the UK on 26th January, should see them breakthrough to the big time in 2009


Video Of The Year

The Indelicates – America


Proof that you can capture the essence and atmosphere of a song without flashy CGI effects or Simon Le Bon clamping his flabby thighs around the reinforced hull of some champagne Charlie’s yacht. Just raid Stuart Goddard’s wardrobe for  costumes, mix in some  decent editing, a bit of passion and sing like you mean it!

Lyric Of The Year

National Shite Day“-Half Man Half Biscuit

“There’s a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets…
I try to put everything into perspective,
Set it against the scale of human suffering
And I thought of the Mugabe government
And the children of the Calcutta railways
This works for a while
But then I encounter Primark FM
Overhead a rainbow appears
In black and white

Shite Day..
I guess this must be National Shite Day

Websites Of The Year

Fan site

Light From A Dead Star

Best Music  Site:

The Quietus

TV Of The Year:

Dr Who, Heroes, Dexter, Gavin And Stacey, Mock The Week.

Irritation

Borrell, Alpha*f**kin”Beat, Kaiser Chiefs, guilty pleasure pop (wow, a new way to market “SHITE” !)

Highlight Of The Year

Bye Bye Bush, hello Obama

But what of our chums, contributors, collaborators and supporters? How was 2008 for them?

JOHN MOORE: (Black Box Recorder, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Expressway):

Rather bad news on the record of the year front I’m afraid. It appears that I haven’t brought any, and have successfully avoided almost everything – it’s the way to be! However, I have been listening “To Raindrops Keeps Falling On My Head” By Sacha Distel, “ Dessert Shore ” By Nico, Hank Williams, The Cramps, Laughing Lenny Cohen, and the great works of the legendary Black Box Recorder – for pleasure and professional purposes.

Were I to come up with a list of records I’d like to have seen made in 2008, I’d have paid good money to hear Gordon Brown cover “I’ve Got Cocaine, Running Around My Brain,” Karen Matthews doing “Material Girl”, and Osama Bin Laden doing the Ink Spot’s “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – I Just Want To Start A Flame In Your Heart.” That concludes the voting from London .

MATHEW HORNE (Probably best known at present as Gavin, from one of our fave TV shows Gavin And Stacy, as well as The Catherine Tate Show, 20 Things To Do Before You’re 30, and Teachers. In 2009 he ‘ll be appearing on the West End in Joe Orton’s “Entertaining Mr Sloane” and starring with James Corden in their movie “Lesbian Vampire Killers”)

“My Top Five are

Foals – Antidotes
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
The Whip – X-Marks Destination
Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel”

JULIA INDELICATE: (The Indelicates)

“Dance and Walk” (album) by No Bra. they did that Munchausen’s song, and are quite cool shit…who came out this year? I keep getting asking this question, and I can’t for the life of me say… argh. erm…Goldfrapp’s one I suppose I like that… and err…”Songs In A and E” by Spiritualized, though these are really just ones I might like if I actually listened to music, so I probably shouldn’t be playing really…how many have I got? … one more… um…Jesus, it’s been a TERRIBLE year for albums. I’ve just been looking at the Amazon list… lord god they’re terrible…I suppose we should put the Thlyds album ‘I Dun Lewis’s Mum’. that’s a cracker. Highlights of the year, Obama becoming president, Heroes TV series, the Caged Virgin (book) by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Dark Knight, Germaine Greer on “Never Mind The Buzzcocks,” and my album “American Demo.” Oh and the stage version of Cabaret in London was probably one of my favourite things of the year. It has one of the hardest endings to witness ever, and resulted in me being unable to leave the theatre due to UNCONTROLLABLE sobbing:/

SIMON INDELICATE: (The Indelicates) “My favourite album of the year was by Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, because it doesn’t exist.”

REBECCA STEPHENS (Electric Blue, Into Cinders)

“Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow and Blue
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Laura Marling – Alas, I Cannot Swim
Grace Jones – Hurricane
Santogold – Santogold”

LAURA TROUBLE  AND OLLIE POUND – (Screaming Ballerinas)

Laura:

“Radiohead -In Rainbows
Late Of The Pier-Fantasy Black Channel
Mystery Jets –Twenty One
Laura Marling- Alas I Cannot Swim
Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend”

Ollie:

“1. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
2. Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires
3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
4. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
5. Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin Rinas”

THOM (The Gresham Flyers)

“1. The Features – Some Kind of Salvation
2. Pas/Cal – I Was Raised On Matthew Mark Luke & Laura
3. Grace Jones – Hurricane
4. Tindersticks – The Hungry Saw
5. Sparks – Exotic Creatures Of The Deep”

NICOLE ATKINS

Nicole Atkins & The Sea

Nicole Atkins & The Sea

“1. The Melvins- Nude With Boots
2. The Last Shadow Puppets- The Age Of The Understatement
3. Jay Reatard- Singles
4. Black Mountain- In The Future
5. Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes”

EMMY THE GREAT

“Beach House – Devotion
Adam Green -Sixes and Sevens
Why? – Alopecia
Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge
Eugene McGuiness – Eugene McGuiness
Wild beasts – Limbo, Panto”

DOGWOOD

“Hello Dogwood here, settle down.

Master Von Pip has asked me to voice opinion on my five favourite albums of the year and other highlights.  I suppose it has to be this year doesn’t it? Yes? Thought so, otherwise I would have included my self-made C60 cassette compilation of Lancastrian marching songs which I put together in the summer of 1974.  Strange summer 1974, full of Zairean footballers doing ludicrous things and girls in Hayley Mills tank tops.  That’s the year I discovered bri-nylon that is.

Back to the present, 2008 was hardly a vintage year for albums in my book although I made some interesting discoveries like those lasses in Ipso Facto.  There’s a lot of things that I don’t “do” but among the things that I do “do” (dooby doo) are sulky looking young lasses in Mary Quant tops.  I also “do” Diana Rigg in a leather cat suit, Jenny Agutter in a next to nothing slip in “Logan’s Run” and Joan Sim’s gym teacher in “Carry On Teacher.”

No, 2008 left me most of the time in a state of audio confusion, a fog of bewildered thoughts with the occasional torch beam that illuminated a way out.  One such beam was that lot, Glasvegas.  I have nowt but admiration for a well sculptured quif and a motorbike jacket these days, anyone who can strut thus in a sea of track suits and skinny jeans has got to have true grit.  I also like the fusion of Glasgow and Johnny Vegas, it suggests hard drinking surreal comedy with a rock’n’roll edge.  But then someone said it was Glasgow and Las Vegas which brings a whole “Siegfried and Roy” element to the game.  But I’m in a tolerant mood so let’s overlook any potential tendency towards camp Germanic magic glitz.  In fact, there’s no such evidence to suggest that Glasvegas incorporate this kind of coco.  No, if anything Glasvegas look like The Clash and sound like The Shangri-la’s, which can only be a good thing.  The album is full of ‘boom-BA-boom-tssh’ Phil Spector moments but with pithy stories of everyday folk.  It is a logbook of the dirt underneath the tenements of Glasgow , the burger burp of a weedgie drunk in your face, a wee swally of Tennants Superbrew.  In other words, rough but real.

Having found that particular oasis, I looked for another oasis.  Not that one, not the one with the feller that looks like Parker from Thundercats and badmouths everyone else and thinks that he’s Bingo Starr.  Why would I want to listen to Status bloody Quo?  No the next Preston in a sea of Burnley ’s is the Portishead album.  Portishead are an old feller, a blonde attractive middle aged lass and a younger beardy bloke and they hadn’t recorded an album for ten years – if only the same could be said for Oasis.  Now I don’t normally do German machine shop noises and all that, Kraftwerk were the reason I spent a night in the cells in Haltwhistle in 1975.  ‘Third’ so called because they wanted to do a tribute to Thora Hird (T-hird = Third) is like listening to a computer booting up as if it had been programmed by Vaughn Williams.  In other words, rather lovely.   There’s a few sprightly tunes that put me in a the mood to walk up to the likes of Wilmot-Bwona (our local council diversity champion) and those other self-appointed politically correct do gooders who cancel Christmas and force us to celebrate Kwanza and get a wedge of Stollen and shove it where the sun don’t shine.  Empowerment, that’s what this album delivers.

Sir Timothy Of Burgess

My third Valhalla of the year is The Charlatans album which I downloaded for nowt from XFM and which makes it the best VFM album this year.  I mentioned elsewhere on the VPME reviews that I very much admired Tim Burgess and his medieval Henry V hair-do.  My female friend Sandra-Joyce plays an Abbess in these medieval dressing up re-enactment type things and she says that The Charlatans are the first band since Jethro Tull to provide an authentic medieval soundtrack to their middle-aged gadding about.  For that reason and also because they’re a bloody decent bunch of fellers, I like very much.

Monkey

My fourth Penny Smith (one of a quintet of TV lovelies – Her, Lorraine Kelly, Jane MacDonald, Linda Bellingham and the other Mrs Herriot, Carol Drinkwater – who is the best of the lot – who shine light on my life) is “Monkey Journey To The West.”  An odd choice you may think, especially for someone who doesn’t like Chinese food – bloody birds nest soup.  But not so odd  see, I like Albarn and the other feller and I’d much rather watch their cartoon characters than Ed, Edd and Eddy or whatever animated claptrap exists in this day and age.  The music is pleasant, it plinkety plonks along, tells a story which is more than can be said about Phil Collins who can just sing laments about being left because of his premature baldness.  What’s more it has the holy trinity of a monkey, a pig and a fish plus a monk called Tripataka, now that’s class that is.  I’ve had a lot of trouble with monkeys down the years and I’m a bit undecided on whether it’s their comedic value or ability to rip your face off that I find most appealing.  Pigs are delicious and fish are…well…aquatic creatures.  Less said the better there.

My last choice is Beck.  Now Beck is American.  Don’t know if you knew that but he is, so there.  He makes the sort of racket that the bohemians next door to me practise their surf dancing to, at 2am in the morning, suffice to say that drives me up the wall but when you hear something enough times you fall in love with it.  I love this album, not in a sexy way, but a kind of peck on the cheek sort of way.  It’s like a pair of Farah’s, functional and yet a design classic that holds shape during the most vigorous shakedown at the local discothèque.  That’s French, by the way, for disco.

As for other annual highlights, here’s a few thoughts:

Last episode of Dr Who, when that bloody harridan Catherine Tate lost her memory and was written out.  Hoorah I cried but what a waste of a bloody series having her inane chavness ruin what should be a chav free zone.  I’ve come to trust Russell T Grant less and less as time goes by; I think the fellers obsessed with celebrity.  He’s like a more subdued Alan Carr only without the Banana Splits face.  “Dogwood Who and The Faerie,” my own effort, was much better.

Being voted Cheambeat Communications Thinking Woman’s Crumpet for 2008.  Apparently, the fact that I make absolutely no attempt to exude any charm whatsoever makes me the man that woman of a certain age want to tame.  Tame? What am I a bloody feral cat?  Still it’s nice to know that I can have my pick of the Darby and Jones Club.  I’ve had exactly 3.2 sexual experiences this year, that’s enough for any Tom, Dick or Damian Hirst.

Sandra Faerie – she’s my best female mate although she probably doesn’t think that I’m her best male mate.  Despite the fact that she causes me no end of grief with her sarcastic interjections and stand-offishness, she is a worthy sparring partner and I would say that the current score is all level at half-time with Dogwood having a goal disallowed.  She is a creative lass and her work on ‘Dogwood Who’, ‘Hotel’ and the latest bonanza ‘Gibson and Rubnut’, a kind of Professionals for the 21st century is actually very good.

VPME – Becoming a regular contributor to this fine epistle has been one of my highlights.  Getting recognised as one of the best bloody online music blogs is well deserved.

Well that’s enough High Cockalorum from me, time to bed down for Christmas and New Year.

My New Years resolution is more lace brassieres on women.

Settle down

Dogwood”

JONNY COLA & THE A-GRADES

“1. Bloc Party – Intimacy
2. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
3. Little Jackie – The Stoop
4. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
5. Guns ‘n’ Roses – Chinese Democracy”

NICK LEVINE (TTT)

“M83 – Saturdays=Youth
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke
Air France – On Trade Winds
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart”

WILLIAM EMMS (The Bookhouse Boys)

The Bookhouse Boys

“My top 5 albums in no particular order have been

Havilah – The Drones
Dear Science – TV on the Radio
Lie Down in the light – Bonnie Prince Billy
A Larum – Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit
Instant Coffee Baby – The Wave Pictures

With special mentions to The Walkmen, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, MGMT and Laura Marling.

Personal Bookhouse Boys highlights have been:

Getting the album out into the world
Recording a live session for Radio 1 at BBC Maida Vale
Selling out the ICA
Playing our biggest show at Latitude Festival
And last but not least, having a great time playing music with my friends and family.

Personal Musical Highlights:

The Minotaur – The Drones
Brown Trout Blues – Johnny Flynn
Love Song – Lesley Duncan
Walk Don’t Run – Herman Dune
Sigur Ros Live at Latitude
Feist at the Royal Albert Hall”

MISTER LION: (VPME Illustrator and East Anglian Correspondent)

“I’d like to begin by saying that I don’t really truck with this list-making malarkey; competition between works of artistic endeavour is like asking whether air is better than water. However, I’ve been asked for my “top five”, so I’ll dutifully comply. I would just like it noted that, in what has been a genuinely top year for music (as long as you haven’t been watching X Factor), there are at the very least a dozen other albums from 2008 which I love as much as any of those listed here. Ask me on another day, the list would be different. Anyway, here goes, in no particular order…

Blue Hands by the Hot Puppies

It gets into your head, under your skin and you wake up in the middle of the night with the lyrics preying on your mind. If Under The Crooked Moon was just the beginning of a mystery story, then this second chapter sucks us further into that world. The metaphors and iconography resonate with a contemporary urgency, told as they are in powerful, haunting vocals and engaging, otherworldly sounds, and one can only hope that this album finds a wider audience over time considering the tragic lack of fanfare that accompanied its release.

Seventh Tree by Goldfrapp

Never ones to adhere to formula or trends, Goldfrapp this year muted the electro-pop image in favour of a much more earthy look and sound which would sit quite comfortably alongside the soundtrack to The Wicker Man. It’s undeniably them, but they’ve successfully pushed their pop machine forward by drawing on the folk sounds of the past. You can get lost in this album, so keep a wary eye out for Britt Ekland and ChristopherLee.

Stainless Style by Neon Neon

Throwbacks to the eighties are everywhere at the moment, with mixed results – the excellent debut from  Ladyhawke being one of the positive ones – but Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals and experimental producer Boom Bip managed to ably justify their homage to the era with this collaboration. The concept album is an awkward creature, but this retelling of the rise and fall of visionary, delusional car-maker John DeLorean strikes a perfect balance of genres, tempos and moods, even proving that rap – a field I’m usually averse to on account of its commonly negative subject matter – works exceptionally well when employed as a narrative tool.

American Demo by the Indelicates

If all the angst, dreams, discovery, speculation, yearning and disillusionment one feels as a student of the arts (I’ve been there, so bear with me) could be poured into musical form, it would sound like the Indelicates. Hopping genres, telling stories and shouting the truth – however ugly it may be – from the rooftops, my year would have been a quieter, sadder, duller place without this album.

Way To Normal by Ben Folds

Fears that Ben Folds had finally settled down with his pipe and slippers, depleted of the energy to fill entire albums anymore were thankfully not borne out in his latest LP. Sadly it appears from many of the lyrics that his divorce from the mother of his children has been the primary fuel for the fire, but the result flies off this CD with all the vigour of the earliest Ben Folds Five material. One assumes the overt misogyny is ironic – he hasn’t wasted any time in marrying again – but this album manages to couple the expected heartfelt melancholy and observational wit with some nice musical surprises.”

NEAL ZETTER (Poet)

“Albums

Indelicates –American Demo
Ting Tings –We Started Nothing
Ladytron -Velocifero
Last Shadow Puppets- Age Of The Understatement
Sons & Daughters- This Gift

Most likely for 09:

Little Boots, Florence and the Machine

4 tracks I couldn’t stop playing

That’s Not My Name- The Ting-Tings
We Almost Had a Baby-Emmy The Great
Stuck on Repeat and Medldle- Little Boots

Not so likely as their music isn’t quite so mainstream but I hope they make it big: Emmy the Great,Slow Club, Jay Jay Pistolet, Peggy Sue

Musical hope?

New Regina Spektor and Dresden Dolls albums and tours

Sad demise:

Dirty Pretty things , Dead Disco, The Pipettes, Dead 60’s, Milburn.

Biggest disappointment

Ladytron’s rubbish sound system at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in Nov – worst gig I’ve ever attended

Best gig

Sparks (yes Sparks ) at Shepherds Bush Empire (end of their 21 albums 21 nights tour/residency)”

POPPY AND THE JEZEBELS

Poppy & The Jezebels

Poppy & The Jezebels

“First up – Dig Lazarus, Dig! by Nick Cave – always the object of much luv here at Jezeworld HQ.

Welcome to Goon Island by XX Teens

Something Clockwork This Way Comes by Spider and The Flies

Visions Arise on 45 by S.c.u.m on Loog records … they’re fantastic live and we’re looking forward to hearing new stuff in 2009,

Oh… and Dom loves the Fleet Foxes album…”

LILY RAE

“1. Skeletal Lamping by Of Montreal
2. Kala by M.I.A.
3. Third by Portishead
4. Meo suo i eyrum vio spilum endalaust by Sigur Ros
5. Seventh Tree by  Goldfrapp
6. Harps and Angels by  Randy Newman.

My personal highlight of the year (aside from the obvious presidential elections and turning eighteen) was Rich Kid, Poor Kid on Channel 4. I still haven’t decided whether it was hilariously tragic or just tragically tragic.”

NEIL DEL PARTO/Planting Seeds Records

“1.  Fleet Foxes “Fleet Foxes” (Subpop)
2.  M83 “Saturdays=Youth” (Mute)Explorers Club “Freedom Wind” ( Dead Ocean )
3.  The Last Shadow Puppets “The Age Of The Understatement” (Domino)
4.  Blitzen Trapper “Furr” (Subpop)
5.  Explorers Club “Freedom Wind” ( Dead Ocean )

More Highlights:

1. International Jetsetters “Heart Is Black” EP (Planting Seeds)
2. International Jetsetters acoustic live sets in New York/New Jersey ( Brooklyn , NYC, WFMU)
3. The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Power Of Negative Thinking” Box + ” All Things Must Pass ” track
4. The Jesus And Mary Chain live London (The Roundhouse) and in Los Angeles (Gibson Amphitheatre)
5.  There are way too many highlights but 2008 was all good…”

DAVID HEULUN ( VPME London Correspondent)

“1. BARRY ADAMSON ‘Back to the Cat’
The master of dark cinematic soul delivers his ‘pop’ album – and it was
perfect.

2. EAGLES OF DEATH METAL ‘Heart On’
These guys get better with every release. With ‘Heart On’ they reach new levels of boogie-tastic raunchy rock n’ roll deliciousness! Brings a
smile to the lips and a lump to the pants!

3. JENNY LEWIS ‘Acid Tongue’
More quality from the fabulous Ms Lewis. A raw ‘live-in-the-studio’ country-rock album. She makes proper albums where every track matters-and puts on a hell of a live show.

4. DENGUE FEVER ‘Venus on Earth’
Cambodian psychedelic pop-rock anyone? Yes please! This magical album will delight even the most jaded, bitter and twisted music lovers!

5. THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS ‘The Age of the Understatement’
To be honest the album’s galloping pace kinda runs out of steam near the end but the first three quarters are so utterly fantastic it makes my top five. And I will officially join the throngs proclaiming Alex Turner one of the finest lyricists of our time.”

VOTE SHOW PONY

“1- MGMT Oracular spectacular
2- Neon Neon Stainless steel
3- Hercules & Love Affair
4- Lykke Li Youth Novels
5- Friendly Fires”

DETOX CUTE & THE BEAUTY JUNKIES

“Our Fave albums are

Sparks “Exotic Creatures Of The Deep”

Utterly bonkers, of course, but what else would you expect from the Mael Brothers? Their 21st album is packed with the usual humour, wit and clever orchestrations found on all the previous 20 although unlike bands like Oasis who just never seem to change, the songs are never repetetive and there’s always a surprise gem or two hidden inside one of Ron Mael’s beautiful, multi-layered arrangements. Oh, and with a single entitled ‘Lighten Up Morrissey’ it surely sends out a message to all those rock stars who take themseleves far too seriously. Yes, Chris Martin, this means you!

Flight of the Conchords “Flight of the Conchords”

Ah, the old song parody routine! Never fear listeners, these ain’t no Hale and Pace, nor even more thankfully French and Saunders!  Sheer comic delight backed up with the kind of musical dexterity last seen and heard coming from Neil Innes’s piano on the Rutles’ DVD. These are decent songs in their own right, never mind the fact that they’re also hilariously funny, without resorting to stupidity – a lazy trait often used by the aforementioned F&S. Marvellous.

Acid House Kings “Sings Along With The Acid House Kings”

Ok, this came out last year but I only discovered it this year – bright, bouncy, overtly commercial Swedish pop done as only the Swedes know how – that is, they know they’re poppy and not angsty, indie with serious faces and they don’t care. It’s music to be enjoyed, pure and simple.

Other highlights: The Shout Out Louds, Ladyhawke, The Cure (the fact that they’re still going), Oasis failing in America again ha ha ha and Take That continuing to piss off Robbie Williams for being better than him.

Lowlights: Cowell, Razorlite continuing to have a career, anyone in the music business demanding money.”

JIMMY SHIVERS (Thomas Tantrum)

“Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls
No Age – Nouns..
Polysics – We Ate The Machine
Rivers Cuomo – Alone 2 : The Home Recordings
Johnny Foreigner – Waited Up ‘Til Was Light”

Not everyone enjoyed 2008 though

MILES HUNT (The Wonder Stuff)

“I just typed ‘2008’ into my i-Tunes & as I expected, nothing came up. A shite year for music.”

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30 comments

  1. Francesca · December 28, 2008

    Kudos to who mentioned Ben Folds and Jenny Lewis. Two questions:

    – no Duke Spirit?😦

    – no Peachy Bum award?

  2. vonpip · December 28, 2008

    The Duke would have made my top 25, as for the peachy awards, I’m afraid I have that in the bag, theres no competition really !😉

  3. Mister Lion · December 28, 2008

    I heard Mr Cakes stole the Peachy Bum award last year and it hasn’t been seen since. Could be just malicious rumour, I’m not sure. Neptune WAS in my top five at one stage, but the die was rolled and it missed my final picks. The fact is that there were probably thirty top albums released this year, I for one couldn’t make up my mind between them.

  4. neal z · December 28, 2008

    great stuff here as ever andy and really well put together. Ta for inc my comments etc. I am going through this and picking up music I have missed or forgotten about. Certainly the B Boys are one – you put me onto them and their debut album is stunning. Hope all’s good and best for 09. Nx

    PS New poem on blog about music/celebs so check it out.

  5. Francesca · December 28, 2008

    Also, Those Dancing Days’ album better than Last Shadow Puppets’, Santogold’s and Hot Puppies’? Really?!

    Time to do the fingerwag of disapproval.

    • vonpip · December 28, 2008

      It’s all subjective, there’s no right or wrong…unless it comes to Cowell and Razorlight.

  6. He Will Fall · December 29, 2008

    Those Dancing Days. ‘It’s all subjective.’

    YEAH!

  7. Natasha · December 29, 2008

    I love Those Dancing Days,let’s see your list then?

  8. vonpip · December 29, 2008

    Oh dear did I forget “The Daughters Of Cowell” , Girls Aloud? For shame….

  9. Dogwood · December 29, 2008

    Hello Old Son,

    Thanks for letting me air my priceless views on the world at large and music top fives. I had trouble compiling a top five if only because as you know popular music has often been the catalyst for me ending up in the night in the cells. For example, there was that time when I had an argument with a load of revisionist New Romantics down at the local Toby Carvery who were bemoaning the lack of a vegetarian option. This lit my fuse did this and I responded thus:

    “You lot come in here dressed as if you’ve just stepped out of the Court of Elizabeth the First and started moaning that there’s no vegetable mousakka? Look around you, you bloody ruff necked buffoons! It’s a bloody carvery, wall to wall meat!”

    They then started to sing Visage and Depeche Mode songs and I picked up a stool and things got a bit out of hand etc.

    Anyway, I’m feeling quite calm at the moment so Merry New Year to all at the VPME!

  10. MM · December 29, 2008

    Sad Demise The Pipettes
    have they split ?

  11. Chris · December 29, 2008

    A better link for the glorious National Shite Day might have been to The Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project (“109 – and counting – pop songs picked over by pedants!”)

  12. Mister Lion · December 29, 2008

    Out of Control is indeed a cracker, in and out of my top five like a yoyo, with fake tan, hair extensions and a fitness regime. But very good nonetheless.

  13. Ralph · December 29, 2008

    Laura Marling
    MGMT
    Fleet Foxes
    Ladytron
    Bookhouse Boys

    Girls Aloud- dear god, please dont mention em and music in the same breath

  14. R.B.A.S. · December 29, 2008

    I’d do

    Glasvegas
    MGMT
    Friendly Fires
    The Indelicates
    Elbow

    I’d do Girls Aloud too.😉 Their music is Piss poor tho

  15. Frodsham Kaz · December 29, 2008

    Alright Andy and virtual friends,
    you are right, it is subjective, you can never have a top 20 eveybody would agree with.. TTD’s is a really good “pop” album, written by the band. I found the Hot Puppies and the Duke Spirit a slight let down after great singles but the albums didnt quite work for me. Good that Johnny Flynn’s getting a mention too

    my top five
    1. Fleet Foxes
    2 Glasvegas
    3. Laura Marling
    4. Deerhunter
    5 Mystery Jets

    Girls Aloud ? HA!

  16. Francesca · December 29, 2008

    Whoa, what a mess I’ve made. I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone.

    I do like Von PIp’s list (I would have included Elbow, Ladyhawke, Neon Neon and She And Him to name a few). I’m just saying that In Our Space Hero Suits left me disappointed. I was very much looking forward to it, after enjoying their self-titled EP very much. Hitten is a fantastic track, but in my opinion there’s nothing on the album nearly as good as that song.

    As he said, it’s all subjective.

  17. vonpip · December 29, 2008

    Hehehe a lively debate ……

  18. vonpip · December 29, 2008

    Chris, the link is there now, I’ve visited your site on numerous occasions , great work there!

  19. He Will Fall · December 29, 2008

    Those Dancing Days: The EP was better, indeed. Although most of the album tracks were no great surprise. But I liked it. More than the The Last Shadow Puppets I must confess.

    […] 17 Those Dancing Days – In Our Space Hero Suits
    18 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
    19 Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head
    20 Cat Power – Jukebox (Limited Edition)
    21 Tilly and The Wall – O
    22 Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
    23 Françoiz Breut – À l’aveuglette
    24 The Lurios – A Way Out From The Boredom
    25 Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs (The Bootleg Series Vol. VIII)
    26 The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement […]

  20. รูปดารา · December 30, 2008

    Nice pic I like

  21. Pingback: THE VPME AWARDS 2008 & The VPME - L3AK Magazine
  22. vonpip · December 30, 2008

    Best thing about The Guardian’s End of year is that their most disappointing albums always invariably end up in their “Best of ” top 10 . I agree about “Stabbed” on The Glasvegas album though, no idea why they changed it from the far superior demo to the clumsy spoken word nonsense over Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata it did seem a little OTT and a tad grandiloquent

    As for TDD’s I found the album a natural progression from the EP’s – Not life changing but fun Indie DIY pop, but not fun in away where you have to be lobotomised to enjoy it ( I think we know who we are talking about😉 )

    But its all subjective…..Lots of people adore dreary old Elbow for example, Ive always found them rather dull, Guy Gravey’s Voice has a tone that somehow depresses me … I did enjoy “On A Day Like This “ but the rest I found plodding, like attempting synchronised swimming in a vat of treacle and molasses . Also as Mr Lion pointed out , are Elbow sponsored by The BBC, what with their own shows and everything ? They are fast becoming a musical Noel Edmonds. Whatever next ? “Guy Gravey’s House Party?”

    Ah well , there’s that thing again “taste”

  23. Mister Lion · December 30, 2008

    “… attempting synchronised swimming in a vat of treacle and molasses.”

    – I’ve been looking for an activity for New Year’s Day, looks like you’ve thrown up a suggestion Mr Von Pip!😉

  24. Lord Vas · January 1, 2009

    I have a startling amount of the albums listed. Lots of C86 type music around, which is good, Vivian Girls/Manhattan Love Suicides/Pains of Being Pure At Heart all lit up the Vas life. And there was the mentalism of Bird Names and nugazery of Kyte/Crystal Stilts.

    But, for what it’s worth, my top 5 were (in alphabetical order):

    F**k Buttons – Street Horrsing
    Glasvegas – s/t
    Long Blondes – “Couples” (this is an absolute grower)
    Sambassadeur – Migration
    Those Dancing Days – In Our Space Hero Suits

    Biggest surprises: She & Him and Scarlett Johansson. Wow, sleb albums that are actually good.

  25. He Will Fall · January 4, 2009

    Liked them, too.

  26. Black Prince · January 9, 2009

    Some good stuff there, I got the Indelicates album based on this and the interview which is ace. Iam now a fan, when are they playing ouside of London next

  27. vonpip · January 9, 2009

    Must admit “Couples” by The Long Blondes has really grown on me. And now they’ve split. That’ll teach me. Still hopefully Dorian will make a speedy recovery

  28. harry-v · August 1, 2009

    starting to like Santogold. going to get really popular. even got a collab with jayz so you can see the exposure right there

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