Half time report – Albums Of The Year 2009 so far

TODAY is halfway through 2009 – my hasn’t time flown – so I thought the time was right for a recap.
Because, on average, around half of my Albums Of The Year 2009 should have been released by now.
But however much as I’d like to be some sort of omniscient music resource, I’ll wager a lot of damn good albums have already passed me by this year.
So here’s my plea – if I seem to have missed any releases you really think I should have covered by now, drop me a comment below or visit the Sound Off forum and let me know your favourites so far.
For your reference, here is a list of my five-out-of-five-rated releases from January through to the end of June –

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – The Century Of Self
Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve – Re-Animations Volume One
Bronx – Bronx III
Daby Toure And Skip McDonald – Call My Name
Daniel Merriweather – Love And War
Decemberists – Hazards Of Love
DJ Food – One Man’s Weird Is Another Man’s World
Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
Fighting With Wire – Man Vs Monster
Fink – Sort Of Revolution
Frightened Rabbit – Liver! Lung! FR!
Future Of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another
Grammatics – Grammatics
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Jo Webb And The Dirty Hands – Acrobat
Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Killswitch Engage – Killswitch Engage
Marmaduke Duke – Duke Pandemonium
Mulatu Astatke And Heliocentrics – Inspiration Information
Prodigy – Invaders Must Die
Qemists – Join The Q
Spokes – People Like People Like You
Wave Pictures – If You Leave It Alone
We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
Yppah – They Know What Ghost Know

Keeping track of Omega Code tracks

CHATTING on the new forum Sound Off today I was reminded of Omega Code, the metal band-cum-international art project I blogged about here in February.
And I was pleased remember that I promised then they were set to give away their first release – because true to their word you can now log on to their site and download their EP 0.1 free of charge.
Click here to visit their website, or click here, here, here, here and here to get the five tracks.

Tasty treat for fans of Food


AFTER almost a decade in hiatus, DJ Food – who is both a solo artist, Strictly Kev, and a collective of Ninja Tune artists, depending on what period of Food you are sampling – is laying on the first course of a veritable feast in the form of six new tracks.
And judging by this starter, One Man’s Weird Is Another Man’s World, we’re in for a gourmet selection of turntablist hip hop over the coming year.
This release sees extras added to expected sublime use of ingenious samples – where does he find them? – and the trademark atmospheric jazzy breaks.
Brilliant opener The Illectrik Hoax features Broken Keys member Nathaniel Pearn under the guise of Natural Self dishing out Lyrics Born-style vocals over a frenetic beat, while elsewhere Ken Nordine and Dr Rubberfunk join in on Covered In Darkness’ parts one and two respectively. It’s tasty stuff – in fact, I recommend forking out for this, as well as the next two EPs being dished out soon, ahead of the new album Stolen Moments next year.

Carroll’s rock doesn’t rock the boat


NOW that’s what I call rock!
I say that because Dust Of Rumour, Irish troubadour Marc Carroll‘s third studio album, ticks all the boxes for being the sort of AOR you’d find three quarters of the way down a Now! double album propping up the track listing.
There’s hints of Paul Weller and his Britpop cohorts, nods towards Bob Dylan, shades of The Levellers, a twist of The Edge‘s epic guitar work etc. etc.
You get the idea, Dust Of Rumour is nothing new – but that’s not a massive complaint, because after all, if it ain’t broke…

Enjoy the glide


ALI Campbell, the voice of UB40, claims to be Flying High with his new solo album – but it sounds like his pop-reggae is merely coasting.
At first the signs are promising, getting off to a flying start with Nothing Ever Changes and surefire single choice Out From Under.
But then a gaggle of guests flock in, and effectively clip Campbell’s wings – the Craig David collaboration is limp, and you can’t have Shaggy as a guest artist and expect your album to be taken seriously, surely?
And they keep coming, from all over the place – rapper Sway here, the Soweto Gospel Choir there, disturbing the overall flow of the album, which isn’t all that bad overall.
But while the title is Flying High, there’s a fair amount of flap here as well.

Saw without teeth


TRENDY young folk singer David Saw‘s new CD Broken Down Figure is unlikely to cut it in many end-of-year best-ofs.
Because nice as it is, there’s nothing here that’s likely to make a lasting impression.
The album is mostly sub-Damien Rice, particularly opening salvo Don’t Call, Simple Song and title track Broken Down Figure, and when it does pick up on single Buy My Record, it merely heads down an even more regularly trodden path.
So although there’s not a lot you can directly say is wrong with this album, David Saw’s lack of a cutting edge really lets it down.