1. De Rosa - Prevention (Chemikal Underground)
Like labelmates Aereogramme and the Delgados, a band too 'good' to hit the commercial heights. Yes, it probably is musical snobbery, but swapping guitars for electronica on this still folk-tinged album, Martin Henry's evocative lyrics married with meandering yet structured tunes make for a masterpiece.
2. Cruiser - Northern Electric (Devil in the Woods/KFM)
'Unique' is an over-used description of modern music, but Cruiser's collection of sounds and influences was, at a time predating the recent folk explosion, unusual - especially with shoegazing and electronica-influenced pop tunes married to dance beats and lazy trippy vocals. Chuck in a pipe band, strings and a Jimmy Shand sample and you have something truly special (Personality Goes A Long Way).
3. Josephine - This is Not An Advertisment (Lithium)
4-piece who made the mistake of coming from Aberdeen/Fife rather than New York. The Strokes may have stolen their crown as kings of hooky, angular pop, but Josephine had the depth and ambition that the much-hyped US act lacked, even chucking flute into the mix over 15 tracks that never got dull.
4. Odeon Beatclub - Odeon Beat Club (Beatclub)
Pals with one Pete Doherty it seems, but unlikely to be found in the Camden shooting alleys - their eventual debut album included singles Behind My Eye, Past Gone Mad and Being Realistic, each one easily bettering anything Babyshambes and indeed The Libertines produced, for exuberant intelligent guitar pop.
5. The Delgados - The Great Eastern (Chemikal Underground)
Realising the ambitions aims of the near-hits of Pull The Wires from the Wall and Everything Goes Around The Water, and throwing the kitchen sink at them production-wise this audacious plan paid off - with numbers swelling to double-figures at times the swelling strings and rousing melodies made for a deserved Mercury prize nomination.
6. Y'all is Fantasy Island - In Faceless Towns Forever (Panic in Year Zero)
Recorded in a 24-hour session in an abandoned house in their native Falkirk, YiFi's debut is, frankly, as downbeat as that description sounds - melancholy and sparse acoustic, it’s one to wallow in.
7. Won Mississippi - Welcomes Careful Drivers (self-released/Hackpen)
With shouty loud-quiet emo as its blueprint, the Berwick quartet took that one stage further, their evocative lyrics soundtracked by crushing guitars and jangly pop melodies.
8. Aereogramme - Sleep And Release (Chemikal Underground)
Adding to their loud/quiet blueprint, the band chucked in big production, ambient sounds, samples, choral passages, items of faith, dark, dark metal, weeping nuns and sweeping vistas, the soundtrack to a thousand tortured souls. And big guitar hooks.
9. Flying Matchstick Men - vs grnr The Sleeping Sonqztq (2MF)
Something is seriously wrong with music (continued elsewhere on the site) when the most perfect 3-minute pop band the country had produced since, well, bis, somehow floundered on the rocks of the major label industry. An album lies unreleased somewhere, but this isn’t it. Instead, stripped-back electronica versions of some of their early tunes were produced in conjunction with producer grnr (who later helped found Findo Gask) and made for an dreamy slice of ambient pop.
10. Frightened Rabbit - The Greys (Hits The Fan/Fat Cat)
Self-released a couple of years before Fat Cat came a-calling, the at-the-time Selkirk trio debuted with a self-released, DIY mini-album which contained the frantic title track, the almost sleepy 'Yawns', the acerbic NME-baiting 'Music Now', all bound together by the electronic vignettes of 'Incident 1-3', and all paving the way for the band’s rise to folk-rock greatness.
Author's notes: while opinions have been canvassed among various people including the Facebook group and is this music?'s writers, I eventually decided to base the 'chart' solely on personal preference. Plus, narrowing it down to a final list, deciding what was due in the top 10, and deciding which was top were next to impossible. Inded, De Rosa may have benefitted from being a recent release, and Mend could probably have taken its place in the 10. Any of the 10 top albums could have sat proudly in pole position. And there's another 40 albums that could have on another day made the top 10.
Oh, and aparently Microsoft Explorer has some problem where it may not play the audio. To fix this would involve putting some Microsoft software on the server as well as changing all the code. i figure that it'd be easier for us if you simply downloaded Firefox or something (oh, and better for you in the long run - no, we're doing it for your own good).