Monday, 17 December 2012

My Top Five - @ricardopollardo

As promised on Twitter, I have finally finished the favourite fifty on
the blog (, and here's basically what I wrote
about the top 5;

5. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Lost Songs

Trail of Dead are one of those bands that I have a long held soft spot for, from first hearing “Prince with a Thousand Enemies” on the John Peel show in 1997, I have followed the Texan art-rockers ever since. Even their widely derided fifth album So Divided holds a place on my CD shelves (admittedly it doesn’t get the same amount of replay as the other 7). So whenever a new album appears I’m all over it like a cheap suit! The last couple of albums have been tinged with a fair amount of prog but newie Lost Songs harks back to their early few albums in that it eschews the more fantastical elements and has been stripped back to an album full of downright bangers! In fact you’ve got to go back to their peak around albums like Madonna or Source Tags & Codes to see a similar album structure to Lost Songs, and all the better for it! Regardless of how good recent albums have been, those two albums are up there as the best in their ouvre.

4. Crippled Black Phoenix - (Mankind) The Crafty Ape

In 2010 I, Vigilante the third album from post-rock/prog collective Crippled Black Phoenix made it to number 5 in my end of year favourite 50. With their latest (Mankind) The Crafty Ape they have  moved up a place to number 4! This 85 minute double album was one of those rare albums that I needed to listen to every day for a week so after I first got it, not something that happens very often these days. One thing I didn't discover until I listened on headphones was, what I thought was five minutes of silence at the end of the last track is in fact the quiet sounds of a thunderstorm, rain pattering on a roof, gradually fading out. Giving, in headphones, a marvellous feeling of closure to what is their finest album to date. Also, while writing this I have just discovered they have just released a new 50 minute EP called No Sadness or Farewell! Like I didn't have enough new stuff
still to listen to! :-)

3. Goat - World Music

Off the wall, joyous chaos from Sweden's Goat. I wrote more about this album in a review a few months ago ( but in short; Imagine, if you will, a strange universe where Can, The Go! Team, Grails, Comets on Fire, Alexander Tucker and A Hawk and A Hacksaw are all trapped in a room with an infinite array of instruments and a large helping of psychedelics. It would not be a huge stretch of the imagination to see this album as the result of such a get together.

2. El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

Five years after I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, Brooklyn hip-hop artist El-P (aka Jaime Meline) returns with the spectacular Cancer 4 Cure. I am not a massive hip-hop fan, my tastes are usually more rock/guitar oriented, but now and again certain hip-hop artists really light my fire so to speak. Roots Manuva, The Roots, Cypress Hill (many years ago!), Jurassic 5, Buck 65 and more recently Death Grips and Doc Waffles are pretty much the only other hip-hop acts that grace the shelves of my CD collection. But since its release back in May this CD has been (and still is) consistently blowing me away each time I listen to it’s dark but downright groovy beats and sharp as a razor, spat out rhymes! Seriously, listen to this album, you can thank me later!

1. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!

Following their reunion last year I was not expecting to see any new material released, yet in October we were treated to the news that a new album was imminent and two weeks later this appeared, fully formed and fearsome! The furious building guitars of the first epic track Mladic convinced me immediately I had my potential favourite of the year right here, and numerous enraptured listens later, nothing has given me cause to argue with my initial reaction. This is, for me, the album of the year.

For the other 45 albums from my fifty, please have a look here; 50-31
( and 30-11 (

Rich Pollard (@ricardopollardo)

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