BC'S Albums of the Year

This lists are only a snapshot of how I currently rate the music I've bought this year.
I'm probably less than convinced about my overall placings and of course there are list of things I never got around to buying (Ryan Adams,Beck amongst others) and a whole list of things I did buy but didn't make the list (Susumo Yokota,Boards Of Canada,Linda Thompson,Pete Yorn amongst them)...........

These are new releases not reissues or such...

interesting sonically and better musically than their previous effort which
sounded like GYBE by numbers-I think Steve Albini's influence has made a
difference-I listen to a lot of instrumental music these days and I like this mob.For those who've never heard them they are a post-rock (semi-classical influenced)nine piece from Canada.Imagine Steve Reich meets Metallica (usually in the same song!)
Decent production.

9.GEMMA HAYES-NIGHT ON MY SIDE-despite a couple of donkeys this a pretty strong debut album.
Does the" left-field melodic "songwriting thing just that a little bit better than most.
Featuring acoustic and rockier numbers.
Good production by herself and Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips)

8.COLDPLAY-A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD-despite Chris Martin disappearing
ever quickly down a big tunnel marked Dickhead Success Ego-it's hard not to love parts of this record,to me it's one step forward from their debut (arrangements/sonics)
and one step back (loss of charm),a couple of clunkers in there too and dropped several places because the lyrics are mostly not up to the quality of the music.Decent production.

7.ROBERT PLANT-DREAMLAND-not a perfect album by any stretch of the
imagination (a horrible murdering of Dylan's One More Cup Of Coffee takes place)-three original songs meets obscurish late 60's West Coast cover versions.
Blinding and original in places these interpretations show Plant sounding in great voice and surprisingly fresh with the backing of a younger band.
The album's highlight is a version of Song To The Siren- the saddest performance of the year if you consider the tragic fate of the Buckleys and Plant's own tragic loss of his son.
Gig of the year too.
Good production but maybe too forward for some tastes.

6.PETER GABRIEL-UP-I feared the worst for this record,US was a disasterous remake of SO imho-I also feared 10 years in the making it would be overblown and overdone-despite the career nadir of The Barry Williams Show (chronic concept/chronic song)-this really is a rather good Peter Gabriel record-quirky,psychotic and beautifully melodic in places,it contains 4 or 5 songs worthy of inclusion amongst his best work.
Best produced record of the year by a mile-sounds awesome to my ears.

5.BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN-THE RISING-this record has too many flaws for me to truly love it. It's too long for one and although most of these songs work on more than one level I can't get away from the fact that the core of it's subject matter (9/11) weighs the record down.
Clearly too an attempt to regain some commercial success therefore some of the songs are little cheesyfor my liking.
However there are some really brilliant subtle songs on here,NothingMan,Empty Sky,The Fuse,You're Missing,Paradise and My City Of Ruins.
More admired overall than a whole record I can love.
Well produced in places by Brendan O'Brien but has some of his typical flaws.

4.WILCO-YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT-I hated Summerteeth but this record is a much better marriage of arrangements/production and songs-spooky written before 9/11 and brilliant mostly.
They sound more like a modern-day Beatles meets alt-country these days
Pretty good production

3.SIGUR ROS ()-more piano based,more ambient and a more mature record than their previous one.I've been playing this a lot.
Icelandic band again mostly instrumental with the oddpiece of singing (apparently a made-up language and not Icelandic as I thought).Beautiful in places,a bit weird,gets rockier at stages and I just really like it.
Good production.

2.TOM WAITS-BLOOD MONEY-more concise than Mule Variations-Wait's lyrics are terrifying funny and his songs brilliantly realised.
A true craftsman and a record imho the equal of his best work.Now why didn't I buy Alice?
Excellent although pretty in your face production.

1.DAVID BOWIE-HEATHEN-again the idea of Bowie going back to record with Visconti filled me with fear-basically this is number 1 on my list because I've played it the most and well it has the best collection of songs.Seems I'm a little out on a limb picking this but it's the record I connected with most this year.
Perhaps it would be a better record without the three cover versions but who cares....Bowie's best record since Scarey Monsters and he no longer sounds like a sad old man trying to be cool.
A record full of convincing songs.....
Great production......

Hope somebody finds something worth checking out on this list.

Hi Ben, thanks for the list, I love it when everyone starts posting their "best of" lists at this time of year. I have only a couple of your top 10's, so I will try to listen to some of the more obscure titles you list. To me, Coldplay is obscure. But--I highly recommend the Beck you were meaning to buy. It's fabulous, his best IMO since his very first album with "Loser" on it. I also like the latest Ryan Adams, Demolition, though he's a complete ass****. His music is superb and heartfelt. Too bad he's such a schmuck.
Nice list, Ben (as far as the albums I'm familiar with). I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of The Rising. I'm wondering how I'll feel about it a few years from now. I suspect it will not age well.

Even though you did not ask, I'll throw out a few more nominees. . .

The Flatlanders "Now Again"--Great Cosmic American Music as someone mentioned in another thread (I believe that term was coined by Gram Parsons). Jimmie Dale Gilmore is in top form here.

Warren Zevon "My Ride's Here"--Not one of Zevon's best, but still quite good. Plenty of amusing lyrics contributed by a variety of unusual guests. The title track is a classic made even more poignant by Zevon's terminal illness. Sound quality is subpar, however.

Paris Combo "Attraction"--If you want something completely different give this a try. I'm not even sure how to describe it. Electric Gypsy Lounge Music? Sung in French, no less. Great sounding disc, too.
Coldplay, obscure? I don't know about that. Coldplay has been my favorite band since 2000 when I first heard them. Especially now, they are getting the respect they truly deserve. Parachutes and A Rush of Blood are both wonderfully done albums and if you haven't checked them out, you really owe it to yourself. They were even Stereophiles' recording of the month in December. Check them out!
Bowie... For me it was a HUGE disapointment.

I would add Flaming lips, Porcupine Tree and QOTSA albums to the list of this year's best records.
I liked Beck's record a lot too.