As you’ll probably be aware it’s very much that time of year when we start getting bombarded with album of the year lists left, right and centre. One of the first off the blocks this year was independents chain of record shops Rise Music. With our lists due to start running on Monday we thought it’d be a good amuse bouche if we share Rise’s list with you now – and give you details of the special in-store they’ve lined up to celebrate it.
It’s funny, until I took on editing chores here at Louder Than War I used to be terribly sniffy about anyone who posted an Albums of the Year list before 31st Dec. Having said that though, I always exempted record stores from my sniffs because, y’know, a well-constructed list of top picks for their punters (or their punters loved ones) to choose from at this time of year can only serve boost the number of records they sell and who knows, maybe make the difference between their surviving and not? Any way to get people to part with their cold, hard cash and spend it on records in an actual record shop can only be a good thing eh?
Rise is a chain of three stores and was founded in 2007 in Cheltenham. Bucking the general trend of record shops closing all over Rise have, thanks to an ever-changing approach to retail and a belief that you can’t branch out too much, actually opened two more shops since then; one in Bristol in 2009 another in Worcester in 2011.
Rise won a lot of support earlier in the year when their approach to record sales was questioned (i.e. that their focus wasn’t exclusively directed towards selling music) by a punter. Their boss, Lawrence Montgomery, quickly shot off a brilliant email which later he published as a blog post (keeping said punters identity anonymous of course). Basically it was a gentle yet impassioned defence of their approach to selling stuff, explaining clearly that not only are the majority of their sales still music, but also that they simply wouldn’t be able to exist if they hadn’t diversified into also selling books, clothes, DVDs and food / drink etc. from a cafe that now occupies what used to be their ground floor. The email should be required reading for everyone who claims to support music but still buys their physicals from the likes of Amazon, or, indeed, anyone who wants a rough idea of how hard life is for a record shop owner these days. Check it out here: Let Me Explain… .
Rise’s albums of the year list was compiled democratically by everyone who works at Rise. It could be argued to matter more so than any #aoty list you may see in blogs or the music press (Louder Than War excluded, natch) because this list is compiled not by people whose opinions of the year’s music are formed by the wearying amount of press releases they get bombarded with (from people who are paid to be enthusiastic about stuff rather than by people who just like the stuff), but rather by people whose opinions are formed by each other (passionate music fans one and all), punters and what they actually listen to.
At number one in the list is Factory Floor’s very eagerly awaited debut album, so and it must have given them great pleasure to also be able to announce that…
… the experimental techno / industrial three piece will be playing an exclusive full live show at Rise Bristol on 8th December.
The show will feature support from other favourites chez Louder Than War, Spectres, (who it was recently announced have an upcoming EP being released on Too Pure Singles Club) & The Fauns, whose album, ‘Lights’ just came out on Invada Records and which we reviewed here.
The top ten is:
- Factory Floor, ‘Factory Floor’ DFA
- Julia Holter, ‘Loud City Song’ DOMINO
- Parquet Courts, ‘Light Up Gold’ WHAT’S YOUR RUPTURE
- Oliver Wilde, ‘A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Light Years’ HOWLING OWL
- Hookworms ‘Pearl Mystic’ GRINGO
- Daughter ‘If You Leave’ 4AD
- Unknown Mortal Orchestra ‘II’ JAGJAGUWAR
- The Knife, ‘Shaking The Habitual’ BRILLE
- Flume, ‘Flume’ TRANSGRESSIVE
- Mattew E. White ‘Big Inner’ DOMINO
(Before anyone accuses them of nepotism by placing Rise employee Oliver Wilde at number 4, check out our review – I sent the album blind to one of our writers who’d not heard of Olly before and he still gave it 8.5 / 10.)
The full top 50 list can be found on Rise’s Website: Records Of The Year 2013, where you can also buy records etc. should you be unable to go to the shop in person and buy from the knowledgeable staff, many of whom you’ll like as not recognise from various Bristol bands.