Sunday, 23 December 2012


Here are the results of the annual @lpgrp poll to find its Album of the Year. The good folk of @lpgrp were asked to vote for five albums and, from that list of five, choose one favourite. The ‘favourites’ gained three points; the other selections each gained a single point. Remarkably, 162 different albums gained votes.

This is the Top 25. If scores were the same, preference was given to albums with more ‘first choice’ votes. There are two numbers in brackets. The first number is the final score while the second number – marked with ‘*’ – indicates the number of ‘first choice’ votes attained. 

The winning album, Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s  Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! will be played communally at 9pm, Sunday 6th January 2013. 

Thank you for voting!

1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (16/2*)
2. Six Organs of Admittance – Ascent (12/3*)
3. Chromatics – Kill For Love (11/3*)
4. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp (10/2*)
5=. Dexys – One Day I’m Going to Soar
5 =. Gravenhurst – The Ghost in Daylight (8/2*)
7=. Richard Hawley – Standing at the Sky’s Edge (7/2*)
7=. Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse (7/2*)
9. Django Django – Django Django (7/1*)
10 Field Music – Plumb (7/0*)
11. Shearwater – Animal Joy (6/1*)
12=. El-P – Cancer for Cure (5/1*)
12=. Father John Misty – Fear Fun (5/1*)
12=. Lower Dens – Nootropics (5/1*)
12=. Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth (5/1*)
12=. Trembling Bells feat. Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy – The Marble Downs (5/1*)
17. Anais Mitchell – Young Man in America (5/0*)
18=. Allo Darlin’ – Europe (4/1*)
18=. Leonard Cohen – Old Ideas (4/1*)
18=. Death Grips – The Money Store (4/1*)
18=. Go-Kart Mozarts – Hot Dog Streets (4/1*)
18=. Amanda Palmer – Theatre is Evil (4/1*)
18=. Alexander Tucker – Third Mouth (4/1*)
18=. James Yorkston – I was a Cat from a Book (4/1*)
25. Woods – Bend Beyond (4/0*)

Monday, 17 December 2012

My Top Five - @ricardopollardo

As promised on Twitter, I have finally finished the favourite fifty on
the blog (, and here's basically what I wrote
about the top 5;

5. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Lost Songs

Trail of Dead are one of those bands that I have a long held soft spot for, from first hearing “Prince with a Thousand Enemies” on the John Peel show in 1997, I have followed the Texan art-rockers ever since. Even their widely derided fifth album So Divided holds a place on my CD shelves (admittedly it doesn’t get the same amount of replay as the other 7). So whenever a new album appears I’m all over it like a cheap suit! The last couple of albums have been tinged with a fair amount of prog but newie Lost Songs harks back to their early few albums in that it eschews the more fantastical elements and has been stripped back to an album full of downright bangers! In fact you’ve got to go back to their peak around albums like Madonna or Source Tags & Codes to see a similar album structure to Lost Songs, and all the better for it! Regardless of how good recent albums have been, those two albums are up there as the best in their ouvre.

4. Crippled Black Phoenix - (Mankind) The Crafty Ape

In 2010 I, Vigilante the third album from post-rock/prog collective Crippled Black Phoenix made it to number 5 in my end of year favourite 50. With their latest (Mankind) The Crafty Ape they have  moved up a place to number 4! This 85 minute double album was one of those rare albums that I needed to listen to every day for a week so after I first got it, not something that happens very often these days. One thing I didn't discover until I listened on headphones was, what I thought was five minutes of silence at the end of the last track is in fact the quiet sounds of a thunderstorm, rain pattering on a roof, gradually fading out. Giving, in headphones, a marvellous feeling of closure to what is their finest album to date. Also, while writing this I have just discovered they have just released a new 50 minute EP called No Sadness or Farewell! Like I didn't have enough new stuff
still to listen to! :-)

3. Goat - World Music

Off the wall, joyous chaos from Sweden's Goat. I wrote more about this album in a review a few months ago ( but in short; Imagine, if you will, a strange universe where Can, The Go! Team, Grails, Comets on Fire, Alexander Tucker and A Hawk and A Hacksaw are all trapped in a room with an infinite array of instruments and a large helping of psychedelics. It would not be a huge stretch of the imagination to see this album as the result of such a get together.

2. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

Five years after I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, Brooklyn hip-hop artist El-P (aka Jaime Meline) returns with the spectacular Cancer 4 Cure. I am not a massive hip-hop fan, my tastes are usually more rock/guitar oriented, but now and again certain hip-hop artists really light my fire so to speak. Roots Manuva, The Roots, Cypress Hill (many years ago!), Jurassic 5, Buck 65 and more recently Death Grips and Doc Waffles are pretty much the only other hip-hop acts that grace the shelves of my CD collection. But since its release back in May this CD has been (and still is) consistently blowing me away each time I listen to it’s dark but downright groovy beats and sharp as a razor, spat out rhymes! Seriously, listen to this album, you can thank me later!

1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Following their reunion last year I was not expecting to see any new material released, yet in October we were treated to the news that a new album was imminent and two weeks later this appeared, fully formed and fearsome! The furious building guitars of the first epic track Mladic convinced me immediately I had my potential favourite of the year right here, and numerous enraptured listens later, nothing has given me cause to argue with my initial reaction. This is, for me, the album of the year.

For the other 45 albums from my fifty, please have a look here; 50-31
( and 30-11 (

Rich Pollard (@ricardopollardo)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

My Top Five - @SessionBlogger

Those beautiful people at @LPGrp have asked their twitter followers to gas about their Top 5 albums of 2012 in a blog post. So, without further ado, and in descending order to provide a bit of excitement (even though you're just going to scroll down to No.1 first to have a peak - that's what I'd do anyway!) here are mine :

5. 'Other People's Problems' by Breton
I feel Breton were cruelly denied a shot at the Mercury Prize with this album as it's a beauty. There's nothing I've heard in the last few years that compares to it genre-wise. I suppose, if you're looking for a comparison, they sound a bit like the Audio Bullys, only better. Oh and there's a new band called The Neighbourhood but they're nowhere near as good.

If you want a starting point, listen to their song 'Jostle', it's a corker.

4. 'Django Django' by Django Django
A fellow Blogger introduced me to this lovely band and we went to see them together at Xoyo in London earlier in the year. When I first heard 'Waveforms' and 'Default' they blew me away and live they're equally as good.

Unfortunately there's no massive Django Django love-in in my household as my wife just reckons they're a Beta Band / Hot Chip rip off. I can definitely see similarities, to be honest, and it will be interesting to see what direction they go in on their next album.

3. 'Given to the Wild' by The Maccabees
Released around the same time as the Django Django album, this was less instant than that but after a few listens I couldn't put it down.

Apart from the obvious classics on there like 'Pelican', 'Ayla' and 'Feel to Follow', songs like 'Forever I've Known' are just so beautiful. I just love the way their music builds up slowly and then...erm...ahem...goes sort of 'pow!'

Anyway, moving swiftly on...

2. 'Jake Bugg' by Jake Bugg
Again, I was introduced to Jake Bugg's 'Lightning Bolt' by a fellow Blogger on twitter (aren't blogging & twitter great?!) and I haven't looked back since. Again it was so fresh sounding and just didn't sound like anything else around at the time.

I was so excited about the album release, the most excited I've been about a release in ages, and it didn't disappoint. How someone so young can write something that good is beyond me.  My songwriting skills at that age were pants (still are, to be honest). It's surely already an early contender for next year's Mercury Prize. I reckon Foals will win that though - you heard it here first!*

*please comment below if you've heard this statement elsewhere and I will adjust the number. Thank you for your co-operation.

1. 'Standing at the sky's edge' by Richard Hawley
What an amazing album, eh?! The only thing that would have stopped Mr. Hawley winning this accolade would have been if Cashier No. 9 had delayed the release of 'To the Death of Fun' by 6 months and released it in 2012 instead (that's my most listened to album this year). But it would be unfair to bring that up, even though I already have. Let's move on, shall we?

This album has everything - dirge like guitar sounds ('Leave your body behind you'), beautiful ballads ('Seek it') and two opening songs around the 7 minute mark, without any boring filler bits between them - you don't get that very often nowadays, do you?! But Mr. Hawley pulls it off.

Oh and live, Richard (can I call you, Richard?) is amazing, one of the best live acts I've seen and bloody funny too. After I saw him play Brixton in September, I tweeted how much I loved him (in a man crush kind of way). He never replied, don't blame him. Unfortunately the restraining order means I'll never be able to see him live again but that night will remain here forever *taps heart*

So, there you have it. Thanks for reading and, if you haven't heard any of the above, I recommend you give them a whirl.

Before I go I'd like to thank my wonderful hosts for having me on their blog.

God bless @LPGrp and all who follow them.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

My Top Five - @DarrenMillard1

El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

Hip-hop that sounds harder and smarter than much else I've heard in 2012. I've listened to it more than any other album this past year: El-P's lyricism is so impressive, and that combined with his skill as a producer makes for a potent synergy.

Actress - R.I.P

The whole album is just plain mysterious and haunting: something as magisterial and cavernous as 'N.E.W.' doesn't arrive very often. 'Holy Water' sounds like someone spilling the aforementioned liquid over a U.F.O.'s  bleeping control panel. My experience in listening to this album brings conflicting words like comforting, beautiful and alien to mind.

DVA - Pretty Ugly

Hugely underrated: music like 'Just Vybe', 'Why You Do', 'Eye Know' and 'Fire Fly' are just some of the jams spread out over twelve rugged but soulful tracks. Even with the guest vocalists it's still a coherent listen all the way through, and there's a disorientating quality to the beats that's been effective at keeping me hooked.

Grimes - Visions

The whole of Visions is infectious (in a good way), and a never-ending wave of hooks from one song
to the next just wriggle into your brain like the most determined bunch of ear-worms. I like how scrappy the song-titles and the production sound even though the music itself is so immaculately put together and catchy.

How to Dress Well - Total Loss

It's refreshing to listen to an album that completely embraces emotion and sounds stronger for it,
and not sappy. I love the singer's (Tom Krell) voice, and how much of surprisingly brave step forward
it is after the murky first album, Love Remains.

My Top Five - @another_name

The first album of 2012 that poked me in the ribs was Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave.  Dark, carefully messy, with well timed samples underpinned by skittish intelligent beatitude (‘Not proper music!’ screamed the 14 year old Pitchfork work experience kid as they did an image search for foxes that look like Ed Sheeran).  A ninety odd second a capella tale of mental illness at first seemed a bit odd, but in the context of an album laced with the less desirable thoughts that inhabit many a human mind, it worked well. There are songs within songs within songs so if you’re not too keen on one, don’t worry too much as it will change in 12 seconds. Love it or hate it, elements of this dark, sometimes sinister album will be around for years as it’s sampled, looped and reused by the hip hop community.  Rest assured – there is no morris dancing and the guest glockenspiel solo from the Mumford pig does not materialise.

Dark and sinister are not adjectives that could ever be levelled at Canada’s Kid Koala.  Possibly the happiest and most fun man in the music industry, he embarked on a new project in 2012.  With his college band Bullfrog, Koala played the turntables along with ‘proper’ musicians (*waves at Pitchfork work experience kid who is now licking pictures of Taylor Swift*) meaning his style is far removed from traditional hip hop artist/producers.  Everything, every sound every note is a potential instrument. Imperfection is to be flaunted; it’s all about the vibe.  For this project, the weapons of choice were a couple quarter of a century old samplers picked up from Craigslist. Koala used the 3.5 floppy discs to record 10 second samples, then ditching the sequencer, punched the pads to record live his own interpretation of the blues.  The result? A blues album.  A very good blues album.  A bourbon swilling, tobacco rasping, boot stomping, desperation seeping, finger gnarling, slip sliding, sawdust kicking, thoroughly modern old fashioned blues album.

Metz also hail from the slopey north shores of Canada, and for their eponymous album they went to the crate marked ‘Sup Pop’s early 1990s releases’, found the blueprint, blew the dust of it, looked at it for a few seconds, squinted, realised they were holding it upside down, turned it around, paused, thought ‘Not bad.  But needs stronger tunes and more RAAAH!’ So they added said ingredients, and off they went to create a devastating, yet pleasurable sonic assault. Rather like being punched in the ear drum by a knuckle duster wearing Scarlett Johansson.

Chinese Water Badger’s latest Opus was one that many thought would not see the light of day what with the now near legendary Jonny ‘Two Hats’ McGraw feared dead after overdosing on aviation fuel, on…oh, I’m making this one up.

Grimes.  I thought this was going to be the genre of music rather than as it turns out Claire Boucher’s stage name *closes wiki*.  So I ignored it.  (I rather like artists using their names for bands - and sometimes it can work quite well as *opens wiki* Leslie Feist, Bob Lemonhead or Jeff Fuck Buttons can attest to *closes wiki*).  But Ms Boucher’s fare isn’t post-industrial-grime-step-dub-face but rather a wonderful kaleidoscope of discordant beats, spiralling electronic beeps and squawks combined with several layers of breathy vocal samples (*watches as Pitchfork’s work experience kid self combusts in a cloud of guitar shaped RAGE*).  It’s rather akin to putting a sack on your head, going on the waltzers at the local fun fair and listening to colour yellow.  In a good way.  Fucking hell.  Just found out she’s Canadian as well.

Finally, Flying Lotus with Until the Quiet Comes.  Got to be honest here.  A mate said I would really like it, but I haven’t listened to it properly yet.  Probably Canadian.  Probably doesn’t use proper instruments.  Probably hated by Pitchfork.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

That Was The Year That Was

Please help choose @lpgrp’s Album of the Year. The winning album will be played at 9pm, Sunday 6th January for 2013’s first communal listening session. Last year, PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, er, shook off a strong field to vanquish in @lpgrp’s inaugural year end poll. This scribe has no idea which album will prevail this time but it’s sure to be a hard-fought race. 

There won’t be the usual nomination/vote process this month – it’ll be a straight vote. Please send your five favourite 2012 album titles to the @lpgrp Twitter account (either by a tweet mentioning ‘@lpgrp’ or via a direct message). Place an asterisk by your favourite album and it’ll receive three points. Your other four choices will get one point each. In the case of a tie, the album with the most three-point votes will be declared the winner. 

The deadline for your votes is 6pm Saturday 22nd December. I’d hope to publish the results later that evening - or on the Sunday.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Mickie Most

Here are the nominations for December's @lpgrp session. The theme is My Most Played Album. You can vote for six albums by sending the numbers of your choices to the @lpgrp Twitter account (via a direct message or an ordinary tweet mentioning @lpgrp).

You are allowed to vote for the albums you nominated. 

The deadline for voting is 8pm, Monday 19th November.

The My Most Played Album listening session will be 9pm, Sunday 2th December.

1. Afghan Whigs - Black Love
2. Tori Amos - Under the Pink
3. The Beatles - Abbey Road
4. The Beatles - Revolver
5. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
6. The Blue Nile - Hats
7. The Blue Nile - A Walk Across The Rooftops
8. Boo Radleys - Giant Steps
9. David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
10. David Bowie - Hunky Dory
11. Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
12. Close Lobsters - Foxheads Stalk This Land
13. Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas
14. Elvis Costello - King of America
15. The Cure - Seventeen Seconds
16. Deftones - Around The Fur
17. dEUS - Worst Case Scenario
18. DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
19. Dr. Feelgood – Stupidity
20. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
21. Echo and the Bunnymen - Heaven Up Here
22. Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
23. Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail
24. Kris Kristofferson – Kristofferson (later released as Me & Bobby McGee)
25. Love - Forever Changes
26. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd
27. Manic Street Preachers - Gold Against the Soul
28. Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible
29. John Martyn - Solid Air
30. Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs
31a. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
31b. Mountain Goats - Tallahassee
32. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
33. The National - High Violet
34. New Order - Power, Corruption & Lies
35. Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory
36. Orbital - #2 (The Brown Album)
37. Gram Parsons - GP/Grevious Angel
38. Pearl Jam – Ten
39. Pet Shop Boys - Actually
40. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
41. Queen - A Night At The Opera
42. Radiohead - OK Computer
43. REM - Automatic for the People 
44. Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup
45. Roxy Music - Flesh & Blood
46. Rush - A Farewell to Kings
47. Small Faces -  Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
48. Bruce Springsteen -  Darkness On The Edge Of Town
49. Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans
50. Stray - Saturday Morning Pictures
51. Talk Talk  - Spirit of Eden
52. Tears For Fears - The Seeds of Love
53. Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque
54. Teenage Fanclub – Grand Prix 
55. Television - Marquee Moon
56. The Velvet Underground & Nico
57. Withered Hand - Good News
58. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
59. Neil Young - After the Goldrush
60. Neil Young - On The Beach