Our sixth guest top ten comes courtesy of our very own Chris T Popper, a small but perfectly formed (and often irritating) younger sibling who has been stealing my records since he had invisible friends as a small child.
Chris T Popper’s Top 10
10. Little Barrie – Tip It Over
The Nottingham trio start off my top 10 with the fabulous Tip It Over. Heavy guitar providing a great riff coupled with a momentum that creeps up on you. There’s some storming guitar solos too that never get self indulgent, which is quite an achievement in itself. The album was produced by Edwyn Collins who’s very name could send an old flat mate of mine in to a frothing rage. Merely humming A Girl Like You in his company could send him puce coloured. Which is why I did it. A lot.
9. Wye Oak – Civillian
Jenn Wasner’s eerie vocals are a revelation to me – she has a wonderful delivery and a quality I can’t quite put my finger on. That keeps me interested alone. The song’s pace is something to admire too, keeps you right on the edge until a second half that is nothing short of epic. Great fuzzy guitar reverb (Velvet by Big Pink was a former number one of mine so you can tell I like a bit of feedback…) and that pounding drum just beats you in to submission.
Download Wye Oak – Civilian mp3 (from Civilian)
8. Young The Giant – My Body
Chiming guitars with a sing along chorus… anthemic you could say.
These words would usually have me running for the hills. Not this time, no sir. In fact I metaphorically run with arms wide open towards Young The Giant ready to embrace them. Why? Because sometimes you need to give in, admit defeat and just sit back and enjoy. Is it Simple Minds and Matt Cardle’s bastard love child? If that’s the case then two wrongs did make a right.
Download Young The Giant – My Body mp3 (from Young The Giant)
7. Smith Westerns – All Die Young
Heard this one really late. but it still forced its way in to my affections. Unlike Young The Giant this ticks all my traditional boxes. Has a lazy blissed out vibe, like it’s been down a coffee shop in Amsterdam for a while before rocking up red eyed to eat all your biscuits. Also feels a bit 70s which frankly I like, happens to be my favourite decade for lots of things – Punk, The Wicker Man, the 3 day week… And it has a wonderful Hammond organesque start, which I always enjoy.
Download The Smith Westerns – All Die Young mp3 (from Dye It Blonde)
6. Natural Child – Hard Workin Man
The guitar riff alone is addictive, enough to make you realise how great it must be to be able to play it. I wish I could. I have a ukulele and a games console guitar in the cupboard so I’ll move on. The room can sometimes fill with a faint smell of bourbon and sweat when this gets played and always has me reaching for a beer. Not good when listened to in the car… I keep the cans in the back and it’s dangerous reaching over when negotiating oncoming traffic.
Download Natural Child – Hard Workin Man mp3 (from 1971)
5. Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual
The sheer originality of this song, in harness with the hypnotic beat that plods mercilessly in to your brain, has got me. I give in. It’s a bad ritual, but it calms me down. Another latecomer that gate crashed the top ten, this wonderfully dark offering always makes me stop what I’m doing (which to be fair isn’t usually a lot) and listen. There is always room for an air of menace in my top ten.
4. Dennis Hopper Choppers – Good To Me
Mariachi horns, violins, trumpets galore – what is there not to like? A magnificent vocal from Ben Nicholl sends the whole piece off to soar in to that vast Americana sky (pretentious, moi?). An instant hit with me – and everyone I’ve ever played it to… which is quite a lot of people. In a parallel Earth somewhere this is the year’s biggest seller.
3. Country Mice – Morning Son
There’s something strangely comforting about this song. I genuinely love country music… and when it’s done so perfectly I could listen to it on loop. Has a melancholic beauty which can send me a bit dewy eyed.
Which is exactly what I’m after quite frankly.
Download Country Mice – Morning Son mp3 (from Twister)
2. Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl
Lyrically this is a tour de force. I won’t repeat my favourites here because there’s too many. Although ‘dead as a rat’ and ‘smoked like a borrowed car’ might just get a mention. Toby Burke is also a writer so it comes as no surprise he’s so skilled with words. I just need to get hold of one of his books now because if there anything like this I’ve found my new favourite author.
Download Toby Burke – Cantina Crawl mp3 (from Mexico City)
1. Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano
Not only song of the year it’s my favourite song for… well ages. Sometimes something comes along that sounds pretty close to perfect. I am in absolute awe of Darren Hayman, it’s quite simply a work of genius. Lyrically it bobs along on the back of that piano playing in the background, Hayman delivering each line so perfectly. I guess it can be instinctive when a song gets to your heart – your absolute favourite place, and that’s The Ship’s Piano. From about the third listen I knew I had found something I will always love listening to. And considering how many times I’ve played it the last three months that’s quite a relief…
Download Darren Hayman – The Ship’s Piano mp3 (from The Ship’s Piano)
Bubbling Under – 5 that came so close…
Monument Valley – Dear John Letters
Danny Brown – Die Like A Rockstar
Roadside Graves – Double Feature
Violet May – What You Say
Vacant Fever – Heavy Leather
Best Song Heard But Not This Year:
White Buffalo – Black & Blue
Song That Was In My Top 10 All Year Until I Realised It Was 2010:
Al Lover & Gus Cutty – Part Of The Game
Download Al Lover & Gus Cutty – Part Of The Game mp3 (from Part Of The Game / All Mine Single)
Siskiyou – Revolution Blues
The Dirtbombs – Shari Vari
Download The Dirtbombs – Shari Vari mp3 (from Party Store)