Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Top 20 albums (so far) of 2011 that you should listen to... Part 1

Everyone else is doing it so why shouldn't I... except I will not be mentioning PJ Harvey, Mogwai, Anna Calvi, Decemberists, Panda Bear et al, there's no point you would have heard them anyway and decided you loved them and most of the aforementioned left me cold or at least they were records that I didnt think were anyway near as strong as previous releases...
And there are also so many records to be released in the rest of 2011 which may eclipse a lot of these records... or hell I may relisten to one of these above and decide it's the best thing since Stephen Malkmus picked up a pencil who knows... But here are 20 records you should have heard this year... some you will have, some you wont. There's also a load that I won't mention here, mainly because Ive mentioned them before or will rave about them more later...

FUCKED UP- David Comes To Life

This Record has been raved about by pretty much anyone who has heard it and for those who didn't love it... they've been fitted with hearing aids and have now changed their minds. Fucked Up's opus was a marvellous, intriguing, brutal and beautiful discourse on love and misery. Reject all concepts you have of the band or of their prog hardcore sub-category, sit down with a bottle of whiskey and listen to this record with the lyric booklet wide open, no record this year will have any more of an emotional punch than David...
And this is the sort of school I want my children to go to...


Destroyer finally makes the record of his career with Kaputt, which sounds like a perfect pop record lost somewhere at the 80s synth pop peak with shades of the pet shop boys, spandau ballet and Haircut 100. Despite it's ear catching hooks, its also a sonically closed album with less going on than Dan Bejar's previous ventures. Bejar is an intriguing yet intelligently awkward figure enhancing Kaputt to a beyond beautiful, suggestive and insightful pop album encompassing an ambience far superior to many of the record's it shares traits with. I can guarantee that not many records do quite what this record is capable of... it's closer companion in my mind at the moment is Handsome Furs' incredible Sound Kapitol.


Sticking with Canada is Dirty Beaches' Badlands a creepy little lo-fi release, stylised and noirish nightmare rockbilly fused pop. Sparse instrumentation reminates around what sounds like a bad tape recording of an old 45 but Alex Zhang Hungtai's debut is an atmospheric beast which lead it to being longlist for the polaris prize earlier this year. Not for everyone's ears but an imaginative release which will leave you haunted beyond its short duration.

More Tomorrow....

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Horrors- Skying (XL Recordings)

Oh Hell Yeah! Another Beggars album this time from XL recordings and that band you used to hate The Horrors, Yes they are the same band that released Sheena is a parasite and played earlier tonight at a very intimate show in Dalston's shacklewell arms, Primary Colours was a huge step forward which revolutionized what many (if not most) people thought The Horrors could ever dream of, and Skying attempts to capitolise on that... It's not as huge of a shock as the previous albums but Skying harks to the likes of Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen... but while being nothing new, the band certainly seem to be enjoying themselves...

First single Still Life below....

Zomby- Dedication (4AD)

It may have took you a long time... but now you've figured out where you were in 92... Zomby is back with a new full length album "Dedication" on none other than 4AD, talk about a mainsteam cross-over is redundant after the success of the aforementioned track but Dedication is a cross-genre, mixed bag of treats guaranteed to score highly on many critics picks of the years and like I always say do Beggars ever get it wrong?

Here's the first track to be sneaked from the album (out this week) featuring Panda Bear (Animal Collective- as if you needed me to tell you)

Handsome Furs- Sound Kapitol

Handsome Furs quite frankly get better with every album, basically because every album is stark ravingly different to the other. Sound Kapitol is the most stark release and this leading track displays, the band's most cold, brutal and lyrically explicit... The Band Head to Europe in September.... Looking forward to it.

Warning: Not for the faint-hearted

Handsome Furs - What About Us (uncensored) from Sub Pop Records on Vimeo.

Still Corners- Cuckoo

Based on this single alone.... Still Corners are a contender for album for 2011 


Widowspeak new single Gun Shy is a haunting 90s fuzz/soft rock gem, and the b-side... the cover that keeps on giving (Chris Issak's Wicked Game) perfectly suits Molly Hamilton's Mazzy Star-esque drawl. Widowspeak are the band quietly playing in the corner of some remote smalltown bar in the greatest surreal western never made.

Enjoy, The album is due to be released later in the summer...

Shimmering Stars- I'm Gonna Try

Love a bit of classic 50s inspired tortured love song vibe from canada, full length due out September 13th.... Hopefully over in the UK this summer too! 7" in Rough Trade this week!

Hoop Dreams!

Hoop Dreams are from Blacksburg, VA and the single "XCPR" hits the UK this week, joyous fuzzed up indie pop, that we've come to expect from Captured Tracks, but far surpasses all said expectations...