posted on December 26, 2009 18:00
Have you checked out the CLUAS writers' choice of top 40 albums for 2009? The clear winner was the excellent 'Hospice' by The Antlers, with silver and bronze going to Grizzly Bear and Fever Ray respectively. Read the full list and then let us know what you think of it.
Our various French counterparts have also been choosing their favourite long-players of the year - and the print, web and radio media have more or less settled on the debut album by The XX.
In the French press, Les Inrockuptibles, the most influential music and culture magazine in the country, gave their prize of best album 2009 album to the erstwhile foursome, now a trio.
For second place Les Inrocks picked 'The Turn' by Fredo Viola. The what by who? Well, it's the debut album by a London-born, New York-residing singer-songer who mixes folk, post-rock and a pinch of electronica. The record was shortlisted for this year's Prix Constantin, France's equivalent of the Mercury or Choice prizes, as it was released on French label Because. (It's an okay record but hardly one you'd put forward as the second-best of the whole year.)
Coincidentally, Les Inrocks' third place went to another Because release - 'IRM' by Charlotte Gainsbourg. 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' by Animal Collective was fourth and Phoenix's 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' was fifth.
St Vincent, The Antlers, Dirty Projectors and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were passed over by Les Inrocks but Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear, Bill Callahan, La Roux, Alela Diane, Sonic Youth and DM Stith are among those who made the final cut. You can read through their full Top 50 list here or here. (The print edition of Les Inrocks extends to a Top 100.)
On the radio, listeners to top indie show C'est Lenoir on France Inter also went for The XX in their poll result ahead of gloomy French chanteur Dominique A, Grizzly Bear, Soap & Skin and Wild Beasts. (The show's presenter, Bernard Lenoir, selected Soap & Skin over The XX in his own personal choice.)
And on the web, The XX was also the pick of Sound Of Violence, the French blog that specialises in UK (and Irish) music. Interestingly, the other podium places in their top ten went to The Horrors (NME's top album of 2009) and Muse, with Kasabian making number five.
So, what conclusions can we draw from this? Well, the small French alt-music community appears to have much the same taste as their Irish brethren and, em, cistern. That said, they seem to follow the UK music press and scene more avidly than the US scene, hence the dominance of The XX across the board and lack of consensus on American albums.
Also: to judge by these results Irish acts are not making much of an impact in France. Adrian Crowley's 'Season Of The Sparks' made number 58 in the Les Inrocks Top 100 (thanks to Nat for pointing that out - we had only seen the online Top 50), having received high praise in the magazine the week before. Will any Irish acts do better in 2010?
Our favourite moment from The XX is still their gorgeous cover of Womack and Womack's 'Teardrops':