Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Records of the Year, part two:

Wiley - Treddin' On Thin Ice
This one was all about the anticipation really. Like most people who are far too un-hip to catch a movement early on, I only got wind of grime, garage's delinquent little brother, in the late stages of 2003, but apart from Dizzee's 'Boy In The Corner', I didn't hear any until I started rooting around on the web and pretending that I knew my stuff. From then on, it was pure anticipation waiting for the Wiley album; I collected up all those Sidewinder CDs, the N.A.S.T.Y mix, the Wiley slews from Limewire and about twenty give takes on his bewildering, mangnificent 'Eskimo'. When the album finally hit the shops it was nothing like I expected; none of the tunes I knew, none of the rude attitude, just a raft of minutely perfect beats and a strangely loveable persona. This was Wiley going for mass appeal. Six months on, he didn't make it and it's all about Dizzee still. But 'Treddin' still documented most of my year, and it's an awesome album.

Dogs Die in Hot Cars - Please Describe Yourself
This one totally missed me by. I listened to half a track on an HMV listening post in the summer and inexplicably thought 'quirky, twee indie' and turned it off. And I didn't get round to listening to it again 'til November, when I downloaded a couple of tracks and began backtracking wildly, and wondering why on earth I didn't notice (as I did immediately the second time, with the same track) that the singer was an Andy Partridge ringer and the rest of the band were in the middle of creating an exotic mid-period XTC stew around him while he yelped endearingly about history, apples and oranges (a real giveaway) and Paul Newman's eyes. At times it seems too devoted to that wilfully varied mid-80s period when XTC and The Talking Heads were ploughing complicated, solitary furrows either side of the atlantic, and I concede that it's sometimes, well, naff... but it's also joyous, funky and irreverent. Now, what I wouldn't give for a real XTC record...

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