[sic] Magazine

Michael Henaghan’s Top Ten Records of 2008

1.Our Brother the Native – Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels (Fat-Cat)
Ambient, Forest-Folk, Post-Rock, Electronics, Psychedelia and Grindcore, this record had it all yet remained so cohesive and so very compelling. OBTN truly arrived in 2008, barely out of their teens and already a career defining album under their belts. A later EP (Parting Marrows) showed that this enigmatic band are already moving in other circles. The Our Brother collective can seemingly do anything.

2.Portishead – Third (Go Beat!)
What a return! 10 years out yet Portishead hit 2008 as if they’ve never been away. Some subtle differences in their sound, with much of the ‘trip-hop’ gone in favour of Silver Apples homaging grooves. Beth Gibbons has never sounded better.

3.Rudi Arapahoe –Echoes From One to Another (Symbolic Interaction)
Sadly over-looked gem from the mysterious English-based musician/composer, recalling the haunting atmospherics of Deaf Center and the Miasmah collective, while adding his own ghostly mystique to proceedings. A concept album featuring some of the most beautiful sounds put to record this year.

4.Peter Broderick – Float (Type)
One of 3 releases that young Master Broderick has put his name to in the last year and a half. It’s a wonder how he finds the time, with a fair chunk of 2008 spent on tour performing with Efterklang. “Float” is the pick of his discography, choc full of wintry soundscapes and heart-breaking melancholia.

5.Her Name Is Calla – The Heritage (Gizeh)
My favourite young British band whose songs redefine the word epic. This release feels as though they are only scratching the surface. Vocalist Thom Corah possesses a range to rival Thom Yorke, while the guitars simply snake around your body before locking you in a stranglehold. Watch this band go in 2009 when they return from a self-imposed hiatus

6.Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling (Matador)
I have to admit I was left feeling a tad uninspired after hearing leaked versions of ‘Batcat’ and the horrible ‘Sun Smells To Loud’ and I feared Mogwai were going to be another Sigur Ros for 2008. But both tracks turned out to be filler, while the rest of the record is undeniably killer. All the hallmarks of previous records are still present, but the mighty ‘Gwai seem on top of their game right now.

7.Bohren & der Club of Gore – ‘Dolores’ (PIAS)
My first foray into the Club of Gore and what and adventure it was. Impossibly dense and ridiculously slow, this funereal sound of apocalyptic jazz and rock dynamics should be required listening if the world does eventually implode.

8.Stray Ghost – ‘Losthilde’ (Highpoint Lowlife)
A lot of demos have landed on my doorstep this year. The majority are usually competent, but generic and repetitive stuff. Stray Ghost was different; from the first moment I listened I was transported to another dimension. Some of the most expansive, all-consuming sounds I have ever heard. Like Godspeed doing drone, the symphonic nature of ‘Losthilde’ finds Ant Saggers operating in a stratosphere of his own.

9.Volcano! – ‘Paperwork’ (Leaf)
I still do not know what to make of this band. Live they’re incredible, on record they’re…. an acquired taste. Like the key experimental elements of Radiohead caught in an electromagnetic storm with the nuances of Deerhoof and Dirty Projectors, one thing true of Volcano! is that they are a unique outfit. A thoroughly engaging record, just don’t expect to be won over instantly.

10.Marconi Union – A Lost Connection (MU Transmissions)
Cruelly panned by Wire Mag, but what do they know?. This digital only release reminds me why I love slow, melancholic and atmospheric sounds. Students of both Eno and Budd, Marconi Union are as captivating as they are mystifying. For fans of the much missed Labradford and electronic pioneers like Tangerine Dream

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra.. – ’13 Blues for Thirteen Moons’ (Constellation)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – ‘Dig, Lazarus, Dig’ (Mute)
Ekca Liena – ‘Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement’ (Dead Pilot Records)
Arc Lab – ‘The Goodbye Radio’ (n5MD)
Apalusa – ‘Obidiah’ (Low Point)
Grails – ‘Doomsdayer’s Holiday’ (Temporary Residence Limited)
Glissando – ‘With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards The Burning Sea’ (Gizeh)
Jonny Greenwood – ‘There Will Be Blood’ OST (Nonesuch)
Soft Temple – ‘Living Tradition’ (Parasomniac Inc
Fall Electric – ‘Measure and Step’ (Hidden Shoal Recordings)