Thursday, December 17, 2009

Monorail Poll 2009

I spent quite a lot of this year vacillating over whether Camera Obscura’s My Maudlin Career was the best thing I’d ever heard, or the worst. It wasn’t just the occasionally sloppy lyrics; a more serious flaw was the masochism of the songs, which saw Traceyanne goading herself ever deeper into unreciprocated affection. They didn’t seem to be part of any healing process, they were there to prolong the hurt, pick the scab, deepen the wound. This rang a bell I would rather had kept quiet (mostly, except...), but there was no denying the record’s power. I’ve put it as near to the middle of my list as possible. I love it, I hate it. Those peaks in ‘The Sweetest Thing’, oh my.

In contrast, the other records are all anti-inflammatory. They are like taking a hot bath on a cold evening. Maybe the Frànçois record is more like a Turkish bath than the others. The Eddie Marcon bath looks out through plate glass on to a frozen lake, upon which wild cats prowl. Gok’s bath is in a gentleman’s club, and Jeeves is on hand with cocktails. There is a television with windscreen wipers showing Tom and Jerry cartoons. Bill Callahan’s bath is at home, to which you have just returned after recovering from a car crash (this is his best since Red Apple Falls, right? I haven’t been paying too much attention). Directorsound’s bath is in a field, as a starry night turns slowly into dawn, complete with chorus. Spare Snare have never had a bath, do not be ridiculous.

These are records which refuse to be hurried by the century in which they find themselves, and of course Pastels / Tenniscoats come out top, how could they not? This year, slow slow slow didn’t suck.

My votes in the poll (results ‘To be announced at our late night shopping event / belated birthday on Monday evening’):

  1. Pastels / Tenniscoats – Two Sunsets
  2. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
  3. Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains – Plaine Inondable
  4. Eddie Marcon – Wata No Kemuri No Syotaijo
  5. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
  6. Bill Wells and Maher Shalal Hash Baz – Gok
  7. Directorsound – Minstrels for Sleepless
  8. Spare Snare – I Love You, I Hate You
  9. Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – ’Em Are I
  10. Pants Yell! – Received Pronunciation

Kristin Hersh – Flooding


Kraftwerk – The Catalogue


brogues said...

Ooh...interesting list, squire! The Bill Callahan record totally passed me by (as did Smog!) but on the basis of the intros I just listened to on Amazon it sounds smashing. 'The Wind and the Dove' sounds especially pretty. I'll post my hastily assembled list in a wee while. As with Black Time last year, though, one of the contenders arrived too late: Box Elders. Sheesh!

Anne said...

Must listen to Pants Yell and Box Elders although it's too late for the list. Here's mine:

2. GOD HELP THE GIRL God Help The Girl
3. YO LA TENGO Popular Songs
4. GIRLS Album
5. THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
6. RAY RUMOURS Le Pont Suspendu
8. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Merriweather Post Pavillon
9. REAL ESTATE Real Estate
10. CASS McCOMBS Catacombs

and CAMERA OBSCURA would be my single of the year with French Navy

Anonymous said...

Here's my list:

1. Two Sunsets - Pastels / Tenniscoats
2. Yahno no Potori - Eddie Marcon
3. Real Estate - Real Estate
4. Plaine Inondable - Francois & The Atlas Mountains
5. Gok - Bill Wells & MSHB
6. Wata No Kemuri No Syotaijo - Eddie Marcon
7. My Maudlin Career - Camera Obscura
8. Minstrels for Sleepless - Directorsound
9. Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age - Broadcast & The Focus Group
10. 'Ere Am I - Jeffrey Lewis

Reissue: Crazy Rhythms - The Feelies

Single - First e.p. - The Gummy Stumps

I feel like a chump for putting two Eddie Marcon records in, but, hey ho, I couldn't leave either out.

I love end of year polls. Records I now need to buy:
- Smog, from Chris's list
- Box Elders, from Brogue's list
- Ray Rumours, from Anne's list

How did I manage to miss a Ray Rumours record?

I realised after I submitted that I should have included Ducktails, and Chain and The Gang, and...

...but that's part of the fun, isn't it?

Chris said...

This should convince you about the Bill record, Brogues. Don't think I've ever been sold on a song by the shape of the lyrics before!

Thanks a lot for the lists, plenty of extra stuff to investigate there. This is shaping up like Election Night Special. Think there might possibly be a landslide...

Pants Yell! were really too late for my list too, I only heard their album a fortnight ago. But I love it already. 'Alison Statton' was such a slow burner.

How did you miss the Ray Rumours record, Chris? We saw her support it! And didn't all three Gummy Stumps singles come out simultaneously?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. I really am a chump; and a prize chump at that.

Every time I've been in Monorail since that Ray Rumours show I've been nagged by a persistent feeling that there is something that I really should pick up, but I've never quite been able to put my finger on what it might be. Had I remembered that it was the Ray Rumours record, I should have saved a fortune - I must have purchased a dozen records by people tangentially related to the Tenniscoats in the hope of hitting on whatever it was that I was forgetting. Ho hum.

In attempting to determine the chronology of the Gummy Stumps' releases, I stumbled across this:

Which speaks for itself, I think.

I'm having a lovely day. Edinburgh has spread a pretty blanket of snow out over herself, and I'm tucked up inside, a fire roaring on the hearth, as a hastily-purchased copy of the Bill Callahan record spread (slightly morbid) warmth throughout the house. Marvellous.

Chris said...

*Slightly* morbid? Maybe he has mellowed a bit...

I emusic'd the Real Estate record (sorry Monorail), and am enjoying it a lot more than I did the Panda Bear one last year, though both seem to draw from the same 70s Beach Boys sound.

Hey, it looks as though I'm talking to myself!

brogues said...

Woah! I put Pastels/Tenniscoats at #1, too! If our submissions are anything to go by they're gonna landslide it...hurrah!

That Bill Callahan song is beautiful. The final verse is a work of art! I'm shuffle to Monorail tomorrow methinks :)

I nearly included Ray Rumours in my list but when I bought the Real Estate record it got knocked down. I felt guilty about that. Do 70s Beach Boys records really sound that good? I don't believe it! The Pants Yell! record is awfy good but not a patch on 'Alison Statton'. Plus it only had 9 songs :)

Anonymous said...

Brogues, I give you All I Wanna Do...

brogues said...

Aw, what a beautiful vocal! Thanks for sharing. Makes we want to listen to (American) Spring :)

Anne said...

Oh yeah, Jeffrey Lewis. He was a close contender for my list.

Chris said...

Ray Rumours would have been 11 on mine, Belbury Poly 12. I listened to Meursault's 'Pissing On Bonfires / Kissing With Tongues' loads, but it came out it 2008.

SP said...

In the end we decided to base this year's chart on sales. We put the word out a little bit late so it maybe felt not so representative to compile in the usual way in what was a really good year for us with CO, AC, Pastels / Tennis, Bill Callahan and The Vaselines retrospective all selling 100+.

The Yo La Tengo album was big for us too and has probably been played every single day in the shop for weeks, months. Francois too - what an amazing (coming of age) record he pulled out of some secret Francois place . Girls, Black Lips and POBPH were brat young brothers / sisters - good fun pop records to bring energy to tired days. Tarwater, Eddie Marcon and Directorsound were when we wanted something more timeless, beautiful, unreal. It was sad that based on sales those records weren't quite there because I think that sharing these kind of things is what we all take most pleasure from.

Broadcast / Ghost Box was sound of the year. And we played a lot of old records too (Trunk, Ace we salute you, you're always brilliant) and Doom and Mos Def on rare days when we needed a little swagger. Camera Obscura's My Maudlin Career was brash without too much swagger but its beauty felt for me at least, very permanent: 'I never felt myself so graceful and I never swam so slow'. That's why.

01 camera obscura - my maudlin career (4ad)
02 the vaselines - enter (sub pop)
03 animal collective - merriweather post pavilion (domino)
04 pastels / tenniscoats - two sunsets (geographic)
05 bill callahan - sometimes i wish we were an eagle (drag city)
06 broadcast & the focus group - investigate witch cults of the radio age (warp)
07 malcolm middleton - waxing gibbous (full time hobby)
08 alasdair roberts - spoils (drag city)
09 bonnie prince billy - beware (domino)
10 yo la tengo - popular songs (matador)
11 chain and the gang - down with liberty... up with chains (k)
12 the phantom band - checkmate savage (chemikal underground)
13 aidan moffat & the best ofs - how to get to heaven from
scotland (chemikal undeground)
14 grizzly bear - veckatimest (warp)
15 fuck buttons - tarot sport (atp)
16 god help the girl - self-titled (rough trade)
17 jeffrey lewis - ‘em are i (rough trade)
18 pj harvey & john parrish - a woman a man walked by (island)
19 sonic youth - the eternal (matador)
20 1990s - kicks (rough trade)
21 sunn o))) - monoliths and dimensions (southern lord)
22 inner space - agilok and blubbo (wah wah)
23 wooden shjips - dos (holy mountain)
24 dinosaur jr - farm (pias)
25 bill wells and maher shalal hash baz - gok (geographic)
26 twilight sad - forget the night ahead (fat cat)
27 condo fucks - fuckbook (matador)
28 pains of being pure at heart - self-titled (slumberland)
29 atlas sound - logos (4ad)
30 dirty projectors - bitte orca (domino)

Thanks for all your contributions and thanks for this wonderful blog!

SP / Monorail Music

Chris said...

Thank you! It is of course a pleasure and a privilege. So many great Mono / rail moments this year, I still can't believe the Tenniscoats' performance, months on. Keep it up, we need you.

Anonymous said...

I'd have bought 30 copies of the Vaselines retro and 54 of the Pastels / Tenniscoats record had I only known...!

As Chris says, a fantastic year for music. How wonderful to still be delighted/surprised/warmly cossetted by unusual sounds, at this venerable age.

More power to your Monorail, Stephen, and to your blog, Chris.

Take care, all; and have a merry Christmas.

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