[sic] Magazine

Brett Spaceman’s Top ‘Moments’ Of 2008

[sic] Magazine has gone list-manic and it’s all my fault. The team didn’t want to do lists but I cajoled them into it. Then when it came to mine I realised they were probably right all along. 2008 was a full year for music. It cannot be compressed into a ‘ten’. We’re already far too much of a sound-bite society. This magazine is supposed to stand against that.

However, for the sake of continuity and in the spirit of the season here are my ten events of the music calendar past.

1. Box Set: Kent 1991-2008.

The legendary Kent outsell U2, Coldplay and Radiohead in their native Sweden and yet remain an enigma elsewhere. The absurdity is, they’re every bit a match for those lauded bands. Their music is a melange of all three with a dash of New Order and Depeche Mode thrown in. This box set compiles the bands seven studio albums, their b-side double and the Hjarta & Smarta EP. Ten discs in total – all with extras.

Kent Box exploded

The Kent Box is still hard to recommend though. Kent’s music is perversely slow burning. Two listens will hook and land you, certainly but a single play won’t do it. It’s bizarre thing to say because their songs are loaded with melodies. Your only hope is to pick one album, such as Isola, and give that it’s regulation two or three spins. Let the rest reveal itself. What a bargain though at 399 Swedish krona, (Circa £35 if you shop around the net.) Christmas came early in Scandinavia.

Compulsory listening: 747

2. Inspiration Award: Cocteau Twins recognised by Q.

We either love awards or love to hate them. The decision is usually based on our level of agreement or otherwise. My God if ever a band deserved an accolade it’s Cocteau Twins. And whatever we think of Q magazine, kudos for this, especially to even get all three band members in the same room again. We wait, we hope, with all our bodily extremities crossed, that they one day play together again. They were amazing. They were peerless.

Compulsory listening: Lorelei

3. Collaboration: The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia.

To unite the tonsils of Mark Lanegan with the testosterone of Greg Dulli may not work well on paper (and is certainly enough to put you off your cornflakes) but on record it purrs. Lanegan’s ground coffee growl injects some necessary bitterness back into Dulli’s dark soul oeuvre.

Compulsory listening: My idle hands

4. Single: MGMT – Electric Feel.
Guilty pleasure I’m afraid. This was my ‘Young Folks’ of 2008. Sure, the album was neither spectacular nor oracular but the singles…ah. Anyone feeling uncomfortable about those videos just think of them in terms of the BOOSH. That ought to do it.

5. Concert: Girls in Hawaii, Circle Royal, Brussels.
I guess there are plenty of people outside Belgium and France who haven’t heard of Girls in Hawaii. The music is a giddy blend of Fleet Foxes and Pavement. Vocals are somewhat challenging but it works, especially live.

Compulsory listening: Flavor

6. TV Ad: Gears of war II.

Kick-ass future solider fare set to Devotchka’s mind-blowing ‘How it ends’

7. Remixes: port-royal – Flared Up.

Hearing the Royals re-imagined by their natural peer group (e.g. Ulrich Schnauss, Manual, and Stafraenn Hakon) is both thrilling and utterly befitting of the Italians. The best mix collection since Mogwai’s Kicking a Dead Pig. Now we look forward to p-r returning the favour.

Compulsory listening: spetsnaz

8. DVD: Sigur Ros, Heima
Recordings have been patchy since Takk but this documentary/live DVD is worth all the compromises the band offered EMI regarding albums. The imagery is every bit as stunning as the bands music, capturing Iceland at it’s most quintessential (although it must be said, before the banking crisis struck)

Compulsory viewing: Icelandic splendour, knitwear and beards.

9. Comeback: Wire – Object 47.
Wire’s latest incarnation is a continuation of the bands post-punk keywork, 154. They pioneered most of what is good about today’s scene. This album has its imperfections but when they hit the target they still blow everyone else away.

Compulsory listening: All fours

10. Book: The Olivetti Chronicles.
John Peel remains, for me, the biggest loss to music. This book helps…a little.

Heima still photo

and for the purists – Ten Albums:

1. British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
2. Glissando – With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards the Burning Sea
3. The Search – Saturnine Songs
4. Black Tie Dynasty – Down Like Anyone
5. Bitcrush – Epilogue in Waves
6. RAY – Death in Fiction
7. Portishead – Third
8. For Against – Shade side, Sunny side
9. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
10. M83 – Saturdays = Youth

NB. The following two records would have made it were it not for the fact that I believe they were 2007 releases or at the very least right on the cusp of 2007/2008.

Ø Working For a Nuclear Free City- Businessmen & Ghosts
Ø Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover