Many thanks to Simon Thomas for becoming the third guest lister on this blog. Simon is the former Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion and was also a special adviser to the Assembly Government. He’s the party’s lead list candidate in this year’s Assembly election.
It’s been a pretty good year and I’ve noticed that these days I’m listening to tracks as much as albums, indeed there’s one or two here where I know I would not listen to a whole album.
Richard James: From Morning Sunshine (We Went Riding)
Laugharne Festival is always a good place to start the musical year. Richard James is a regular there. I enjoyed Racehorses and Trembling Bells, but this track by Richard is lovely and the whole album is a great piece of alt.folk.
Stanley Odd: Get out of bed
The next is a strange choice for me, I don’t really appreciate hip hop, but done with humour this Scottish rapper hits a rather personal spot…
Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate: Sabu Yerkoy (Ali and Toumani)
Two from world music now, which is what we have to call non Anglo-American sounds. Toure ad Diabate’s music is mesmerising, any track would do, but this you can get as a free download.
Afrocubism: Al vaiven de mi carreta
Meanwhile, what’s not to like a fusion of Cuban and west African music, bringing it all back home?
Best Coast: Boyfriend (Crazy for you)
An injection of West Coast infused guitar pop harmony helps any summer day, this one was going around my head this summer.
Gruff Rhys: Shark ridden waters
And autumn brought another Gruff Rhys piece of magic on the same lines with a psychedelic twist.
You may want to evaluate my musical taste on the grounds that I once saw a band in the Hospital Club, Aberystwyth, called Ffa Coffi Bawb who I thought were terrible and had no future…..
Arcade Fire: Ready to start (The Suburbs)
Arcade Fire are superb, I envy those who have seen them live, the Suburbs has several stand out tracks, this is my current favourite.
The Duke Spirit: Everybody’s under your spell
A bit of indie rock is always welcome, as long as it’s not too much or it starts to sound all the same. This is the latest from Duke Spirit, another I like in tracks rather than albums.
Warpaint: Undertow (The Fool)
Last year, my need for psych.alt.folk was met by Espers, this year it has been Warpaint. Some say they are indie eye candy, a view of some of their videos may make you think that, but check out the acoustic version here of the sublime Undertow. I think they have something.
This Is The Kit: Sometimes the sea (Wriggle out the restless)
Finally, you will always find a folky female voice in my best ofs, this track has been haunting me for weeks. I’m scared to listen to the whole album in case it’s not up to this standard. Beautiful.
So a Top 10 without Richard Thompson, who did bring out a new album this year, but I have yet to digest it. He’s in Cardiff soon, so maybe he’ll count on next year’s list.