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The Quietus List of Lists: Albums, Tracks & Ephemera Of 2008
John Doran , December 19th, 2008 04:52

The Quietus isn't just about stern power ambient and arboreal black metal. To prove this we invited writers and pals to share their best-of-lists. Thanks to our friend Sam Scott Hunter for the main pic.


10. Max Tundra Parallax Error Beheads You [Domino]
9. The Wave Pictures Instant Coffee Baby [Moshi Moshi]
8. Heroes Of Switzerland Comfort In Fear [Music To Bleed To]
7. The Week That Was The Week That Was [Memphis Industries]
6. Portishead Third [Mercury]
5. Wild Beasts Limbo, Panto [Domino]
4. Los Campesinos! Hold On Now, Youngster . . . [Wichita]
3. Aidan John Moffat I Can Hear Your Heart [Chemikal Underground]
2. Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid [Polydor]
1. Dan Le sac vs Scroobius Pip Angles [Sunday Best]

Editor's note: The Gentleman Lord of Camden Iain Moffat once moved house entirely so he could be within strolling distance of the Dublin Castle. We're not sure what this says about his mental wellbeing, but we are certain that it demonstrates an admirable commitment to the tune. As well as putting together excellent pieces for the Quietus, Mr Moffat contributes to the likes of Attitude and Rock Sound.


10. Amanda Palmer Leeds United
9. Alphabeat Fascination
8. Black Kids I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You” (The Twelves Remix)
7. Britney Spears Womanizer
6. Manic Street Preachers Umbrella
5. Lykke Li Breaking It Up
4. Ladyhawke Dusk Till Dawn
3. Yelle Je Veux Te Voir
2. Heloise And The Savoir Faire Odyle
1. Emilie Autumn Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Editor's note: Stay Beautiful is the extraordinarily enjoyable glam/electro/punk/goth . . . other club that our good mate Simon Price (and friends) run. Here's what he says about it: "Stay Beautiful club happens at The Purple Turtle in Camden Town on the first Saturday of the month (excluding Jan), with DJs Simon Price, Cherry Foxxx, David Ryder Prangley and guests spinning sleazy glam, hi-voltage electro, glitter rock, shouty grrl music, fucked-up disco, ‘77 punk, new wave, alternative anthems and pop trash for a flamboyantly dressed-up crowd, and a live band every month. The next SB event is the New Year’s Eve party (tickets £10 advance from venue), and the next regular SB is the All-Grrl 8th Birthday Party (female vocals only!) on Sat 7th Feb…

Stay Beautiful Website
Stay Beautiful MySpace
Stay Beautiful Face Book


10. Murcof The Versailles Sessions [Leaf]
9. Luomo Convivial [Huume]
8. Evangelista Hello, Voyager [Constellation]
7. The Advisory Circle Other Channels [Ghost Box]
6. Ryoji Ikeda Test Pattern [Raster-Noton]
5. Luciano Fabric 41 [Fabric]
4. Wire Object 47 [Pink Flag]
3. People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz Rhapsody In Glue []
2. Oh Astro Champions Of Wonder [Illegal Art]
1. Philip Jeck Sand [Touch]

Editor's Note: If you haven't seen the redoubtable David Stubbs (belly full of fine wine, adorned with fake 'tash and bowler) singing 'It's Raining Men' in the manner of Terry Thomas then you haven't lived. If only some good soul would upload it to You Tube so everyone could see it. In the meantime let's celebrate the return of Mr Agreeable. It's good to have you back Sir.


10. Pretending to understand the differences between the policies of John McCain and Barack Obama
9. Displaying interest in 'toxic debt'
8. Public displays of disgust at the imprisonment and death of Shannon Matthews and Baby P
7. The reluctant idolisation of Wikipedia
6. Apathy about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the 'Vietnamisation' of said conflicts
5. Feeble outrage at the price of petrol -- but ignorance about the price of oil and its concomitant effect
4. Cynicism about the public face of China during the Olympics; lack of interest about its private face when 69,000 die in the Chengdu earthquake
3. General alarm at the continued existence of Robert Mugabe
2. Blame of Gordon Brown's government for the current financial crisis, despite considerable individual ability to minimise its effects
1. The willingness to accept Facebook as an appropriate discussion forum for the above, despite obvious contraindications

Editor's note: Man/machine and Superman's dad, Jor El McIver is so prolific that he makes Steven King look lazy. The first of the 12 books he will have published next year is The 100 Greatest Metal Guitarists which is out in January. We'll have more on this nearer the time but for those who want a sneaky peak, visit his website here.

++++++++++++++++++++++++ Collings waits. It's what he does.

10. Iron Man
In a year dominated by the laboured histrionics of The Dark Knight, Iron Man relied on the basics - a sharp, well-drawn script and a lead performance from Robert Downey JR that smacked of childish sincerity; hard not to be impressed by the unusually realistic and weighty CGI-effects too.

9. Gomorrah
Welcome proof that film can be as disturbingly immediate and (somehow) less affected and distorted than the news itself. Whilst not as extensively realised as ‘The Wire’ (how could it ever be given their respective running times?), it still manages to combine splenetic, prowling visuals with a bookish take on the sprawling threat of organised crime in Naples.

8. Of Time and the City
A welcome comeback for one of Britain’s greatest and, given the power of the mainstream, understandably neglected filmmakers, Terence Davies, this docu-collage of video and film footage is a carefully orchestrated paean to his hometown of Liverpool. In keeping with his terrific trilogy (just re-released and well worth buying), it pulses with an unfashionably sensitive and sincere heart.

7. Man on Wire
In re-imagining eccentric French tightrope walker Philippe Petit's early-morning trip between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, this powerfully unique documentary flies in the face of modern life’s banal preoccupations with the safety game; and, not for the first time in this list, we’re faced with a bull-headed man who can only see things his own way.

6. The Mist
Frank Darabont’s third Stephen King adaptation, after the masterful Shawshank Redemption and the adult-Disney film that was Green Mile, is a ruthless, sci-fi horror film that takes it conceptual cues from two fine, shock-laden TV series’ – Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. If watched simply as an effective, batten down the hatches/stand-off, suspense story in the mould of early John Carpenter (Halloween, Assault on Precint 13), or even as a warped statement on modern terror; you’ll be fine; but if you dare to watch it as a vision of our own pitiable self worth in the shadow of outside powers - prepare to be demoralized…

5. Garage A lesser low-budget filmmaker than Lenny Abrahamson, could easily have woven a flat and dreary film around the emotional complexities of Garage’s main character, Josie (beautifully played by Pat Shortt); as it is we’re left with a compellingly austere portrait of a small town man who has no obvious place amongst people.

4. Gone Baby Gone Good to see (the admittedly-average actor) Ben Affleck not being bitterly singled out for marrying a beautiful woman (Jennifer Lopez) and getting pissed with his mates, but for directing his brilliant younger brother, Casey, in this assured morality tale about the devastating repercussions that can (and do) stem from one’s own personal decisions.

3. Hunger As with There Will be Blood, artist Steve McQueen’s debut film is another emotionally bleak foray into one man’s extremely stubborn will, tailored around an entrancing central performance - this time from Michael Fassbender as the Belfast-hunger striker, Bobby Sands - and a series of spellbinding images anathema to mainstream cinema.

2. In Search of a Midnight Kiss Every bit as romantically caustic and honestly witty as Woody Allen at his peak (Annie Hall, Manhattan), this tale of two very sensitive and overly self-aware characters seeking companionship and a compassionate ear on New Years Eve, is a true independent beauty; and to think it cost a mere $12,000.

1. There Will be Blood Featuring a central performance of remarkable intensity from Daniel Day Lewis, Director Paul Thomas Anderson, created a work of striking singularity with this, his fourth and best film; and, in doing so, confirmed himself as the most emotionally bleak and daring (living) film-maker in America. And that’s before the knockout one-two of Johnny Greenwood’s mesmerising original soundtrack and a series of poetically captivating visuals to rank with the likes of Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick.

Editor's note: Austin co-wrote Renegade: The Lives And Times Of Mark E. Smith with the Hip Priest himself. Click here to read our take on this spiffing book.


10. KNOWING that 2009 will begin with Mickey Rourke’s performance in The Wrestler, the greatest film in the entire history of mankind, by a distance.
9. SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE TALK TALK on Shearwater’s album Rooks.
8. SOMETHING THAT SOUNDS LIKE GHOSTS on The Organ’s glorious and criminally overlooked posthumous EP Thieves.
7. TINA FEY retaining her wit despite one of her lamest skits in years giving her a sudden burst of global fame and winning a historic election.
6. PROPER CLOTHES on Strictly Come Dancing.
5. CHAINSMOKING as an art form in TV’s MAD MEN. Or in the ten square metres outside gigs.
4. INNOCENCE in The Rev. AL GREEN’s face as he sang - not at his best but still better than anyone else alive - 'Let’s Stay Together' on Later.
3. ROMANCE in the flawless lyrics to Elbow’s bizarrely popular 'Starlings'.
2. RESIGNATION in Kristin Scott Thomas’ sad eyes in the good but not great French film I've Loved You So Long.
1. POETRY proving it’s alive and well on the blazing Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip album Angles.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Battle metal maniacs Los Camp! are unleashed in the east (of Hertfordshire)

David says: "Can we say something like how they started the year as the first casualties in Steven Wells' Quietus-waged war against twee, ended up recording and releasing two full albums in one year and even eventually won our critics over?"

10. Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks
9. We Are All Accelerated Readers
8. Drop It Doe Eyes
7. Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats
6. Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #7
5. Knee Deep At ATP
4. We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
3. Ways To Make It Through The Wall
2. My Year In Lists
1. Death To Los Campesinos!

Editor's note: It's a good job David is such a good writer and I like him or I'd be forced to kill him. If you'd like to visit his excellent Borrowed & Blue (or all the songs I never knew) blog then click here.

This is what he has to say about it: "An OCD documentation of my non-existant life. A one-side-of-a-c90 mix of songs I'd heard for the very first time that day, a picture I've taken, and if I feel like it some text. Also, a weak attempt at trying to get people to listen to music with their fucking taste radar turned off, by not presenting any information about the songs other than the year in which they were released. I view it as an imaginary radio show, without any talking."

That's the spirit David! (Actually though if like me you feel dirty even reading about Los Campensinos! you'd better watch the following You Tube clip just to act as emotional and psychological sheep dip before you visit his fine web log.


10. Madlib The Beat Konduktah, Dil Cosby Suite [Stones Throw]
9. Cheap Time Cheap Time [In The Red]
8. Kasai Allstars In The 7th Moon... [Congotronics]
7. Ponytail Ice Cream Spiritual [I Am Free]
6. Howlin' Rain _II_ [American]
5. Koushik Out My Window [Stones Throw]
4. Cadence Weapon Afterparty Babies [Big Dada]
3. The Bug London Zoo [Ninjatune]
2. Abe Vigoda Skeleton [Bella Union]
1. Erykah Badu NuAmerykah Part One: The Fourth World War [Motown]

Editor's note: Do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of the Sonic Youth book that the band themselves have been enjoying. Stevie's Psychic Confusion: The Sonic Youth Story is published by Omnibus. Read an extract here.


10. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds More News From Nowhere
9. Clinic The Witch
8. Deerhunter Never Stop
7. The Fall 50 Year Old Man
6. Hercules & The Love Affair Blind
5. David Holmes I Hear Wonders
4. MGMT Let's Pretend
3. The Soft Pack (nee The Muslims) Parasites
2. Tricky Far Away
1. Vampire Weekend Walcott

Editor's note: Now in its eighth year, the never less than great fun Uptight specializes in the glistening peaks of alternative rock, indie and strange gems, leaving the landfill to other lesser clubs. If you're in love with rock and roll and want to stay out all night, check the Uptight website for details.

Also, tickets for their New Years Eve Party are available here.


An album so unapologetically retro as it evoked the likes of the Allman Brothers and their hairy ilk that its patchouli stink was almost overbearing. Shit, it even contained songs dedicated to Michael Moorcock. But then again, if you’re going to call a song 'Dancers At The End Of Time', who else are you going to dedicate to. Yes, I am a hippy and I feel dirty admitting it.

Following the let down that was Magic Potion, the prospects of a return to form by The Black Keys were slim yet this collaboration with producer de jour Danger Mouse proved to be one the year’s more satisfying slow burning experiences as the blues, country-rock and scuzzed-up rock were dragged through the mangler to stunning and memorable effect.

The naysayers would have you believe that Beck’s only worth listening to when frivolity is the order of the day but, as evidenced on with his half hour burst of freakbeat, psychedelia and conspiracy theories, Mr Hansen delivered his first stone cold classic since the misunderstood and unfairly maligned Sea Change

After the relative disappointment of Love Kraft and Hey Venus!, Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys hooks up with Boom Bip to fashion the musical equivalent of a costume drama with a concept album about a concept car. Executed with a rare eye for period detail, this shows up today’s crop of 80s plunderers as the redundant chancers they are.

Well, whaddya know? A follow-up to a classic album that doesn’t stink like a dog in the midday sun. And there’s humour too: who else but a bunch of progged-out hairies would choose to call a collection extended guitar solos, ruminations on the tyranny of modern day politics and a 16-minute wig out 'In The Future'?

After the soundtracks, cocktails and grimy urban funk comes the best Krautrock album by a non-German since Low from Belfast’s David Holmes. Trippy and mesmorising in equal measure, you’d be inclined to call this cosmiche music if you still laugh at the idea of an Englishman, Scotsman and Irishman walking into a bar for an escapade of stereotyped proportions.

Probably as much at home soundtracking an art installation as it is stinking up the living room and driving the other half up the wall round about 'Okay, Let’s Talk About Magic', this a hugely satisfying vortex of synthesized sound, demonic vocals and deeply disturbing noise that’s as compelling as it is repellent. Even better live.

Few things can touch the giddy irrational buzz of pop at its finest but when you chuck the warm glow of psychedelia and a knowing cynicism that’s beyond its years into the mix, the resulting brew makes for a heady concoction. What’s more, MGMT are proponents of that unfashionable concept known as fun. Surrender is useless so let yourself go.

Part of Dear Science’s charm was TV On The Radio’s continued ability to polarize opinion in the manner that few bands can achieve; many long time observers baulked at the Brooklyn quartet’s canny way with a tune while casual toe-dippers, weaned on a diet of landfill indie and whatever else was twisting Brand NME’s melons that particular week, fled at the seeming complexity on what was on offer.

Well fuck ‘em all because Dear Science was one of those rare occurrences where conventional sensibilities coalesce with sonic experimentation to deliver a thing of wonder and rare beauty. This is what music in the opening overs of the 21st century should like and its only retro concession is that of harking back to an age when music looked forward for inspiration and not over its shoulder for indiscriminate pilfering.


It looked, at the start of the century, as if we’d lost Nick Cave. The four-year gap between The Boatman’s Call and No More Shall We Part saw the once raging singer songwriter slip into a life of domesticity and the effect on his work was palpable. Though containing a fine enough selection of songs, No More Shall We Part made for hard going as an album while it’s follow-up, Nocturama, was something that had hitherto been deemed unimaginable - a rather pedestrian Bad Seeds album.

So whilst fearing the worst, the double of set of Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus found Cave returning with his best collection to date. Hungry, funny and with a whole new lease of life, no one dared imagine that this would be anything than The Bad Seeds’ high water mark. Until Dig, Lazarus Dig!!! that is.

General consensus would have you believe that last year’s Grinderman side project - with its priapic preoccupations and the kind of visceral musical fury not heard of since his tenure with the car crash that was The Birthday Party - was a form of liberation for the singular Antipodean but the feeling remained that Cave was moving away further still from the confessional of a decade ago in favour of characterization (the title track), savage humour (“When I came up from the meat locker/The city was gone”) daring conceits ('We Call Upon The Author') and back to constructing narratives that allowed a variety of characters to wade through his murky world of degeneracy, decadence and sin.

A triumph from the first note to the last, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds proved conclusively once again that when on form, they’re absolutely untouchable.

Editor's note: Julian Mars. Bringer of war. And of rock. You are Tokyo. He is Godzilla.

And he's in a band called November Five who will MELT YOUR EYEBALLS! Here's what he says about them: "We've recently had radio support for our forthcoming single, 'Closure', from Tom Robinson at 6Music and Xfm's John Kennedy and Steve Harris at Xfm and is released on our own Montauk Industries label on download and limited edition 7" vinyl on February 2nd. We're headlining Alan McGee's Death Disco at the Notting Hill Arts Bar on February 4th.

For more information on the rockopalypse, visit their myspace.


10. Rex The Dog 'Bubblicious' (Rex The Dog Disco 12'')
9. Florence & The Machine 'Dog Days Are Over'
8. Kylie Minogue 'In My Arms' (Instrumental)
7. Mr. Oizo Ft. Carmen Castro 'Two Takes It'
6. Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk 'Love Can't Turn Around' (Lifelike Remix)
5. Friendly Fires Ft. Au Revoir Simone 'Paris' (Aeroplane Remix)
4. Diplo & Rye Rye 'Wassup Wassup' (Ddpesh Remix)
3. The Infadels 'Free Things For Poor People' (Alex Metric Remix)
2. Lykke Li 'Little Bit' (Auto Erotique Bootleg Remix)
1. Bloc Party - Hunting For Witches (Ruckus Roboticus Remix)

Editor's note: No trip to Manchester is complete without a jaunt to the rainy city's best club night - Clique. Niche Ian and Pisces Damien continue to attract the most discerning and friendly of pop fans and amazingly good guest DJs. For more information visit their website here.


10. TAAKE – Taake [Dark Essence]
9. TORCHE – Meanderthal [Hydrahead]
8. GUNS N'ROSES Chinese Democracy [Geffen]
7. ENSLAVED Vertebrae [Indie Recordings]
6. THE ROTTED Get Dead Or Die Trying [Metal Blade]
5. EARTH Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull [Southern]
4. CENTURY Black Ocean [Prosthetic]
3. BEHEXEN My Soul For His Glory [HAMMER OF HATE]
1. RUSSIAN CIRCLES Station [Suicide Squeeze]

Editor's note: Doom ridden, blackened of the heart, crepuscular and hoar frosted; none of these terms and more can be applied to the politest man in extreme metal scribery, Mr Dayal Patterson. Check out his awesome photo work here.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ NB: This is not Mark Emsley

10. IDC Overthrow the Boss Class
09. Booka Shade The Sun And The Neon Night
08. Portishead Third
07. Goldfrapp Seventh Tree
06. Midnight Juggernauts _Dystopia
05. Harry Beckett The Modern Sound of Harry Beckett
04. Cut Copy In Ghost Colours
03. Lindstrøm Where you go I go too
02. David Holmes The Holy Pictures
01. The Black Dog Radio Scarecrow

10. Unusual & Electric 'Infamy'
09. Grace Jones 'Williams Blood' (Aeroplane remix)
08. Steinski 'The 9000 Number'
07. Luke Solomon 'Spirits' (Prins Thomas Disco-Tek Miks)
06. Absentee 'Bitchstealer'
05. Sarah Nixey 'When I’m Here With You' (Miss Kubelik remix)
04. Missil 'Glitch' (Tepr remix)
03. The Bug 'Angry'
02. The Verve 'Love is Noise' (Freelance Hellraiser remix)
01. Flykkiller 'Shine Out Shine Out' (Edison remix)

WORST ALBUMS Sonny J Disastro
Girl Talk Night Ripper
MGMT Oracular Spectacular (A good album ruined by the mastering. Would have easily been in Top 10, but as it’s unlistenable on headphones wipes this album off the playlist.)

Editor's Note: Our friend Mark E has been setting the world to rights with his blog about the joys of bargain music for years now, with a focus especially on electronic music. Visit his long running blog here!