Albums Of The Year 2008

Good evening! There’s less than an hour of 2008 left and so it’s time for my traditional Best Albums list. This year, I had to whittle it down from 63 albums to the final forty below. Therefore, every album below is a winner, no matter the placing, I had to leave a lot out that I loved!

This year, I loved:

40. Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

Late Of The Pier
A fabulous electroprogpop album that is as poppy as it is off-kilter. Probably the only band operating now that approaches the aesthetic of Devo.

39. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

Girl Talk
I got so many requests for tracks from this album this year when I was DJing and it’s easy to see why: the beats are undeniable and the mashing is, unlike so many others, sophisticated and musically lovely.

38. Burning Skies – Greed. Filth. Abuse. Corruption

Burning Skies
Ahhh, clean out your lugholes with this fine barrage of METAL! Some lovely riffery here coupled with a great, simple ferocity.

37. The Primary 5 – High Five

Primary 5
Take some Soup Dragons’ playfulness and some Teenage Fanclub melody, mix it up with a slew of sunny, warm pop songs and you have this lovely, lovely album. High five indeed…

36. A Different Breed Of Killer – I, Colossus

A Different Breed Of Killer
More metal mayhem that deserves a space in anyone’s collection. Standout track: ‘Omega.’ Just perfect!

35. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive

The Hold Steady
Yes, it’s Springsteeny (as are a lot of albums at the mo) but what makes this album different from the herd is the lyrics. Some beautiful imagery there and I love the lack of embarrassment. More like this, please!

34. Ghosty – Answers

If you’ve ever liked Weezer, Pavement, MMJ or any American indie rock, you owe it to yourself to check out Ghosty and in particular this stormer of an album.

33. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Pershing

More summery indie rock, this time with a touch more Beach Boys and perhaps even Ben Folds about it? Whatever, there’s some catchy shit on here!

32. Sons And Daughters – This Gift

Moving from their early, folkier sound to a more ragged, urgent rock, Sons And Daughters remind me in places of The Poppy Family channelling John Leyton. Which is, of course, a huge compliment.

31. Austrian Death Machine – Total Brutal

Austrian Death Machine
A thrash band fronted by Arnie himself? (errr…) Every song a classic line from one of the Governator’s films? How can you not like this album, eh? COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIIIIIVE!

30. The Fairline Parkway – A Memory Of Open Spaces

The Fairline Parkway
And, as a complete contrast, welcome to the whisper-quiet, vibraphone-padded heaven of The Fairline Parkway. A pretty safe bet if you’ve ever loved any American Analog Set or any similar quiet magnificence.

29. The Girls – Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No

The Girls
Wow. Just some great, angular, jerky, catchy pop songs on this album. Every time I’ve DJed ‘Not I,’ someone has come and asked me what the band is. That’s pop!

28. Division Of Laura Lee – Violence Is Timeless

Division Of Laura Lee
Bizarrely, I met the drummer of DOLL in an Apple Shop on Aveny in Gothenburg a couple of years ago. Lovely guy… umm, well, nothing to do with this action-packed album that you should check out if you’ve ever liked rocking in a melodic hardcore-y way. Hell, it’s just fine pop music!

27. Cyne – Pretty Dark Things

Cyne have been making damn excellent hip hop for years now and they keep up their standards with this album. And, yes, ‘Excite Me’ does just that.

26. Mystic Man & Eshamanjaro- In Heavy Weather

Mystic Man
Mystic Man on the beats, Eshamanjaro rapping, this is a damn near perfect hip hop album. That’s it’s a debut and that it’s UK hip hop only makes me happier. ‘Cheshire Cat’ should be everywhere all the time.

25. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours

Cut Copy
This is the first of two magnificent Aussie synthpop albums in this year’s best-of. Cut Copy’s second album is pure, swooning ’80s-ness, sometimes drifting through Fiction Factory through B Movie via Lotus Eater-y melodies. Oh, and it’s bloody good to dance to, too! Tutu!

24. Orion – Esperanza

Independent hip hop putting the big, corporate artists to shame. Check out Orion if you love hip hop but you’re bored of hearing the same lame chattering over and over again. Solid.

23. Dosh – Wolves And Wishes

Anticon’s Dosh delivers an album that sounds as fresh as it is catchy. ‘Waiting For The Needle To Drop’ is seductively, deceptively simple sounding at first until the meld of drums and tuned percussion just draws you in. This is cinematic.

22. Sebastien Tellier – Sexuality

France’s greatest ever Eurovision entry, Tellier’s sweeping synthpop is playful and yet still sincere. That’s quite a trick. But if you listen to tracks like ‘Divine’ or ‘Sexual Sportswear,’ there’s real heart there.

21. These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid

These New Puritans
Heavy beats, Barnett’s marvellous sneer of a voice, lawnmower rhythm guitar, These New Puritans take a host of disparate, jarring elements and bake us a fine, dancey cake. As an old man, it’s great to hear something as novel as this.

20. Ladytron – Velocifero

You can always rely on Ladytron to deliver some fab, catchy pop and frame it in novel ways. My fave track from this gem of an album is ‘Ghosts,’ I must have listened to it a gazillion times in the car. Such a swagger and sway!

19. Modcam – Six Minute City

For more info about this album, click here!

18. Mystery Jets – Twenty One

Mystery Jets
Why you should love this band: here and here!

17. Kettel – Myam James Part 1

Blissful, dreamy electronic music that sounds like lullabies you’ve forgotten. Check out ‘The Wombat.’ If that doesn’t move you, nowt will!

16. Deerhoof – Offend Maggie

Another best-of, another Deerhoof album! How do these bleeders keep making experimental pop music that pushes things but never retreats into technique for technique’s sake? Again, some lovely pop songs on here.

15. Russian Circles – Station

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve played ‘Harper Lewis’ when I’ve DJed this year. From the first time I heard it, I fell in love with the grandeur and power. I’m not a postrock fan so I hesitate to label Russian Circles as such, though that’s where they come from. They’re just hugely more interesting than most of their genre brethren.

14. Neon Neon – Stainless Style

Neon Neon
More classy synthpop, this time of a more shiny, aerodynamic bent. Top tracks: ‘I Lust U’ and ‘Alderaan.’ Stick this on and start throwing shapes in your bedroom.

13. Deerhunter – Microcastle

I dunno why, but this album reminds me loads of late-period Delgados. It has the same catchiness, the same unpredictability from track to track and the same mix of sombreness and err.. fun?

12. Max Tundra – Parallax Error Beheads You

Max Tundra
Do you like the idea of Nick Drake singing over a glitching laptop once owned by Frazier Chorus? If so, buy this excitable balloon of an album.

11. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

Blitzen Trapper
I loved the first Blitzen Trapper album and this one is even poppier! Mixing country, rock, country-rock and anything else they can get their hands on, Blitzen Trapper frame great pop songs in erratic, fractious settings. Works for me!

10. Why? – Alopecia

Jonathon Wolf can’t be tied to any one genre. And that eclectic rambling is what makes every Why? album a rare treat. Is it indierock? Is it hip hop? Is it electronica? Who cares – it’s brilliant.

9. MC Chris – MC Chris Is Dead

MC Chris
More great rapping, this time from the absolute monarch of geek hip hop, MC Chris. His rap skills are awesome, his imagery is pure magic. Forget all the nerdcore hoo-haa, this is simply brilliant hip hop.

8. Ratatat – LP3

I’ve listened to this sublime album so many times this year, often when I’m writing or tidying or whatever. It starts off as perfect backgroundy music for that kind of activity but eventually I’ll end up stopping what I’m doing and just listening. Utterly captivating.

7. The Presets – Apocalypso

The Presets
Why I love these Aussie synthateers here.

6. School Of Seven Bells – Alpinisms

School Of Seven Bells
A very late entry in this list, I have to put it so high because SOSB’s album clicks, ticks and whirrs along on a shimmery bed of grunty synths and girly harmonies. What’s not to like?

5. Pacific! – Reveries

‘Hotlips’ was one of the top songs of the year and it comes from an album just as poppy and just as fantastic. Stomping, singalong Swedie synthpop, you have to check this album out.

4. Billie The Vision And The Dancers – I Used To Wander These Streets

I’ve already rambled about this band here and here.

3. Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs

Death Cab
I often get accused of being deliberately obscure in these best-of lists. Not so! It’s just my tastes don’t often coincide with the big sellers. But here’s a bona-fide US number-one album that is also one of the best albums of the year. This one deserves every one of its sales. Every one.

2. Hello Saferide – More Modern Short Stories From…

Hello Saferide
Easily the best indie / pop / rock album of the year, ‘More Modern Stories From…’ is what I wish more guitar-rock music would be like: honest. Sometimes painfully honest as in the horribly intimate ‘Anna’:

You know, we could have had a daughter
And we could have named her Anna
And she would have been a sweetheart
But with punk rock manners

You could have taught her to play hockey
I could have taught her the guitar
And her granddad could have shown her the way to the bar
She could have supported us when we retire, bought us a cottage near the countryside

…which is about a child that never got to be. It’s all the more effective for the non-goth framing, the song lulls you into expecting just another wispy indie singalong and then kicks you in the head.

Really, if you’ve ever loved Leonard Cohen or Tim Hardin or Martin Gore or… well, any songwriter who deals with the extremely personal and intense, you need to own this album. Every song is a perfect vignette, every lyric a poem.

1. Braintax – My Last And Best Album

It was close but Braintax’ album is definitely, defiantly the best album of 2008. The lyricism, the beats, the concepts… this is an artist at the top of his game. All the sadder then that the following appears to be true:

In 2008 Braintax suddenly announced his retirement with the release of his final album titled My Last And Best Album and also the end of Low Life Records to the disappointment of many UK Hip-Hop fans.
(Source: Wikipedia)

If he has given up, the world, not only the UK, has lost one of its best rappers. He runs circles round all of the major-label corporate rappers clogging up the airwaves, Braintax is as nimble as they are plodding, as erudite as they are incoherent. Think I’m hyping him too much? Check out these lyrics:

Spit ’bout crimes we forget for the sake of our own little tragedy’s
Incidental maladies
Irrelevant like a fucking Akon ballad is
The biggest shame of this society we live in
While we act all spiritual when we’re money driven
It’s the way we forget in a hell of a rush
Like ‘If it ain’t affecting me, then I ain’t too fussed’
Then there’s bombs on the street and us Brits get shaky
But how can we be shocked – Check our leadership lately?
They’re rattling the sabres, talking ’bout Jesus
Fundamentalist believers acting like crusaders
Memories are short over here
The zeitgeist is a truck that the media steer
So we ain’t on the streets protesting – We’re stuck in front of TV sets digesting
Forgetting about the lies and the unfound weapons
Suggestions, the questions we should be asking journalists a second
I’m (BRAAAIIIIN) taxing – the opposite of aspirin
Blood is on the streets and the East End soaking it up
Bush making me a target – and I’m not too pleased
There’s no peace when the beast is us.

And that’s just one verse from one song off this truly stunning, seminal album. How he comes up with this shit, I really don’t know. This is stellar songwriting, these are lyrics I’m going to remember snatches of years from now.

Braintax, I’ll miss you. Thank you for some of the best music I’ve ever heard in my life. I hope Australia brings you what you’re looking for.

Merry Crimbo 2008!

A New Surprise EP

Ho ho ho!

As a special festive treat, for one week only you can download the mp3 version of my 2006 ‘A New Surprise EP’ totally free! I’ve even written a little background blurb that I’ve included as a text file.

The EP was originally released as 7″ vinyl by Heavenly Pop Hits, a Swedish indie label.

The songs on the EP are:

A1 A New Surprise
A2 Melissa Joan Hart
B1 Make A Right At Jordfallsmotet (cover version of the classic Agent Simple song)
B2 Theme For A Post-Watershed Cop Show Set In Wellingborough

The zip file of the EP is around 12 megabytes so beware if you’re not on broadband!

Click here to download the EP! Sorry, it’s gone now!

Thanks to all of you for supporting my music, I hope you all have a great Christmas / Saturnalia / whatever and a happy and healthy 2009!
love and kisses,

Bzangy Groink Playlist 17/12/08

The best new tune tonight was ‘Never Stops’ by Deerhunter. Check out their lovely new album!
The best old tune was Lulu’s ‘To Sir With Love.’ What a beautiful pop song!

Tonight, you heard:

Danny Elfman – Edward Scissorhands
Rae & Christian – Blazing The Crop
Money Mark – Hand In Your Head
Sunny Day Real Estate – Killed By an Angel
SonnyJim – Running Late (Ft. Irs)
Scott 4 – catastrophe
Jeans Team – Oh Bauer
Rocks – Kleine Jongen
Art Brut – Good Weekend
iTAL tEK – Cybernetic bad-boy
Less Than Jake – Is This Thing On?
Teriyaki Boyz – Celebrity Death Match
Goodnight City – Picture Perfect
Zdarlight – Digitalism
Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (Shoreline)
Mr. Oizo – Positif
Sonic Youth – Teen Age Riot
Skinnyman – No Big Ting
Distance – Mount Zion (Remix)
Thursday – I Am The Killer
Pete and The Pirates – Mr Understanding
Ladytron – Ghosts
TV on the Radio – Crying
Minutemen – Shit You Hear At Parties
The Weakerthans – Anchorless
Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
These Waves – Want Owt
Shannon – let the music play
Mascot Fight – City Bones
Distance – Koncrete
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers – Roadrunner
Ugly Duckling – I Won’t Let It Die
Los Campesinos! – It’s Never That Easy Though,..
Death Cab for Cutie – No Sunlight
Sev Statik – Still On It
School of Seven Bells – Prince Of Peace
The Samuel Jackson Five – If You Show Off The Milk, Who’s Gonna Buy The Cow?
Deadmau5 – Clockwork (Cosmic Gate Radio Edit)
Sufjan Stevens – All Good Naysayers, Speak Up!
Devo – The Day My Baby Gave Me A Surprise
The Magnificents – Ring Ring Oo Oo
Nate Krooks – still true
Tilly and the Wall – Cacophony
Chromeo – My Girl Is Calling Me (A Liar)
Lowkey – Revolution
Girl Talk – No Pause
Burial – Archangel
Deerhunter – Never Stops
Belle and Sebastian – You’re Just a Baby
Lulu – To Sir With Love

Bzangy Groink Playlist 3/12/08


Tonight’s best new tune was ‘Vuvuvu’ by MSTRKRFT. It’s simply a great slab of electropop, bumping along like a baby rhino. Get it now!


The best old tune was ‘Voyage Voyage’ by Desireless. Again, great electropop! I love the semiquaver bass-synth thrumming in the chorus. Fantastic!

Midtown – Direction
Chromeo – My Girl Is Calling Me (A Liar)
Mystery Jets – Young Love (feat. Laura Marling)
The Get Up Kids – How Long Is Too Long
Todd Rundgren – I Saw The Light
Pacific! – Hot Lips
Q-Tip – Shaka
Saves the Day – Certain Tragedy
Sébastien Tellier – Divine
Division of Laura Lee – Anytime, Anywhere
Dio – Probleem
Distance – Koncrete
Desireless – Voyage Voyage
The Magnetic Fields – I Don’t Want to Get Over You
Late of the Pier – Heartbeat
Lukestar – White Shade
Ugly Duckling – I Won’t Let It Die
Skream – oskilatah
Wild Beasts – She Purred While I Grrred
Ladytron – Ghosts
Melleefresh & Deadmau5 – Hey Baby (Original Mix)
Tragedy – Beginning Of The End
EPMD – Yo (Feat Redman)
The Magnificents – Ring Ring Oo Oo
6BLOCC – Warning
Blossome Dearie – I Like London In The Rain
Does It Offend You, Yeah ? – Let’s Make Out (Extended Mix)
Virus Syndicate – Neva Argue Prod By M.R.K.1)
Mr. Oizo – Positif
Maybeshewill – Seraphim & Cherubim
Circuits – Pistols at Dawn (Tim ‘Love’ Le
No Fun At All – mine my mind
Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart
The Presets – Anywhere
Drag The River – Not Fine
Braintax – Retail
The Tuss – Rushup I Bank 12
The Faceless – Prison Born
School of Seven Bells – Connjur
Friendly Fires – Jump In The Pool
Rocks – Kleine Jongen
Alan Braxe – Addicted
Sylvie – Please Make It Home
Lowkey – Revolution
Headhunter – spyro
The Primary 5 – Lost And Confused
Ursula 1000 – Electrik Boogie (Product.01 Remix)
Jape – Floating (Original)
School of Language – rockist part 1
Kano – I Like It (Prod. By Davinche)
TV on the Radio – Crying
Ratatat – Falcon Jab
The Fall – Hit The North part 1
Karate – Tow Truck
DJ Babu – The Unexpected Feat. Doom & Sean Price
Errors – Salut! France
Pallers – Humdrum
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Rollerdisco
De Colombiaanse Bloedgroep – Gangstershit
Blitzen Trapper – Gold for Bread
Hello Saferide – Anna
Jens Lekman – Your Arms Around Me
Spoon – Finer Feelings
The Shins – Fighting In A Sack
Buffalo Daughter – New Rock
Efterklang – Mirador

Menezes Inquest Corrupted

Jean Charles de Menezes' inquest corrupted

The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes will not be able to consider a verdict of unlawful killing, the coroner has said.

Sir Michael Wright said that having heard all the evidence, a verdict of unlawful killing was “not justified”.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot dead by police at Stockwell Tube station in south London after he was mistaken for one of the failed 21 July 2005 bombers.

The jury may now return either an open or lawful killing verdict.

(Source: BBC News)

So, the jury has been barred from delivering any verdict it wants. It has been stopped from declaring the killing of de Menezes as unlawful killing.

Basically, by his interpretation of the law, Wright has let the murderers of de Menezes off the hook.

This innocent man, who wasn’t running, who wasn’t wearing a coat and rucksack, who didn’t leap barriers (all of that was false, lies spread by Ian Blair and other Met officers) was shot seven times in the head at point blank range. And, according to eye witnesses, no warning whatsoever was given:

A woman sitting near Jean Charles de Menezes as he was shot dead told today how police were “out of control”.

Commuter Anna Dunwoodie told the inquest into the Brazilian’s death how she was “very, very clear” officers did not shout armed police before opening fire.

Ms Dunwoodie also said she thought firearms officers were a gang, as she described a “sense of panic” from officers as Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head.
(Source: The Independent)

It was a police murder, pure and simple.

Cressida Dick, the officer in charge, should have been arrested. Instead, she was promoted. Well done, Metropolitan Police – that’s the way to reward ineptness that kills civilians.

And now, the jury at this inquest have been legally barred from delivering the only verdict that makes sense of the horror of Jean Charles de Menezes’ death: murder.

Georgian Ambassador Claims Georgia Started War

Georgian Ambassador

A former Georgian ambassador has caused uproar in Georgia by saying his country, not Russia, started August’s war over South Ossetia.

Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a former envoy to Russia, was testifying at a parliamentary commission hearing into the war the breakaway Georgian region.

“Russia was ready for this war, but the Georgian leadership started the military action first,” Mr Kitsmarishvili told the commission on Tuesday.

(Source: BBC News)

Oh, hold on – I thought everything was caused by the EVIL RUSSIANS!

That’s what our government told us. After the US government told them what to say…

Capitalism Fails Again, Socialism Bails It Out – Again


The US government has announced a rescue plan for the Citigroup banking giant after its shares plunged by more than 60% last week.
The US treasury department is to invest $20bn (£13.4bn) in return for preferred shares in Citigroup.
The treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp will also guarantee up to $306bn (£205bn) of risky loans and securities on Citigroup’s books.
(Source: BBC News)

The USA, that proselytising bastion of the “free market,” is once again using public money to bail out the failure of capitalists at Citigroup.

Thirteen point four thousand million pounds are going into the hole created by the piratical adventurism of the Citigroup management. Money that could have been spent on welfare, housing, education, health.

But spending money on essential public services is, of course, against The American Way. That would be foolish, that would be socialism!

Far better to spend trillions of dollars on an illegal war and then pour billions more into businesses run by inept fatcats.

For the US ruling class, essential infrastructure isn’t worth investing in. War and bonuses for reckless management, now those are things worthy of support.

Oh, and if you think $20bn is a crapload of money, don’t worry, this follows $25bn of public money thrown at the bank last month.

Ordinary people all around the world must be thinking, “Surely it would be cheaper for us if these businesses had been nationalised all along?”