Friday, 19 August 2011

The Top 20 albums (so far) of 2011 that you should listen to... Part 2

Braids- Native Speaker

An all to brief debut which tells of child like innocence without being naive, a flurry of photographic flashbacks accompanied by a lush sonic smear. Not too many debuts have been capable of combining so many compulsory feelings in one statement, visceral and blunt, longing and old super 8's.

Cloud Nothings- Cloud nothings

Cleveland golden boy Dylan Baldi is quite simply straight up power punk, a young cousin to Jay Reatard and Wavves, although more consistent, as this debut proper proves, from full on punk rock to some of the albums slower and more sensitive tracks, coulda been the soundtrack to the summer but instead kicked in some january anthems.

Minks- By The Hedge

Another gaze band they arent, Boston resident Minks seem to fit the captured tracks sound (tongue firmly in cheek blogsphere) with a reference to a pre-disintergration Cure, but the insanely creative side of By The Hedge is how they adapt and evolve as the album progresses... the only staple being the usual pop interest of the lyrics and the old basis of what came first the music or the misery.

Say Hi- Um, uh Oh

Eric Elbogen is one of the most underrated singer/songwriters in the world today, Um, Uh Oh is his SEVENTH record but also his most accomplished. It's soulful indie pop at it's finest rooted by some of the most longing songs of the decade. Not every track hits quite as hard as opener "Dots on Maps" or "Take Ya Dancing" But Elbogen remains one of the most vital performers you've never heard of.

Sore Eros- Know Touching

Effortlessly beautiful record which officially came out last year but fuck it! Kurt Vile, Atlas Sound and reel to reel come to mind, but it's spaced out melody are completley their own.

Y Niwl- Y Niwl

Best Surf record ever to come out of wales! says it all really!

Gareth Liddiard- Strange Tourist

Epic Storytelling from Drones Frontman, a slow slug of a record which pulls no punches!

Lia Ices- Grown Unknown

Lia Ices Grown Unknown is a smart pop record far beyond the aforementioned folky longings. There are many great female vocalists set to discover this year, but Ices outshines most of them from the simple glories to epic pop.

Tim Hecker- Ravedeath 1972

Explosive haunting noise explosion from Canadian legend Tim Hecker. Intense, storming and intoxicating.

Grimes- Halfaxa

Grimes is etheral and often atonal (a necessary part of her dream/nightmare lure) but Halfaxa's charm lies in the pop songs that leer underneath, like the hope that despite the horror, a happy ending is in sight...

No Joy- Ghost Blonde

I LOVE No Joy, the most authentic 80s/90s indie noise band... with a record mixed by Sune Rose Wagner (The Raveonettes), hidden vocals provide melody but simply as a part of the bigger picture ("you girls smoke cigarettes?") of static recalling guitars and lush ethereal supreme. A Kim Gordon reference would be unimportant...but she pathed the way for balls out girl fronted bands like this... while a nod to j macis sums up laura lloyd's live performance more than anyone else. Sonic Joy! and Hawaii has the most epic opening i've loved all year.

White Hills- H-P 1

Bands often talk about capturing an elusive "live sound" few ever do it... With their second album White Hills have nailed it... best heard through a shitty bar's violent PA, HP-1 is busy, noisy and nasty, although at times somewhat endless.

Secret Cities- Strange Hearts

their debut was beautiful... and they were one of my favourite bands at SXSW this year. in debt to the sixties flower power definitely but their playful realism always keeps on the ground. Secret Cities maintain a playful bounce with a melancholy march quite like no-one else.

Mechanical Bride- living with ants

Too long in coming, but Lauren Doss' debut is a beautiful affair which seems to be lost in the shuffle, but upstages silmilar female artists (Laura Marling, Bat For Lashes) which she herself pre-dates. Ultimately a clever and inviting warmth that few achieve.

Bearsuit- Phantom Forest
Bouncing all over the place (like they always have) Phantom Forest is the band's finest record if only because it's the sharpest and poppiest.

Julianna Barwick- Magic Place

If Tim Hecker nailed the intensity on Ravedeath 1972, Barwick nailed the Angela Carter nightmare fairytale with an explosion of idealistic vocals, bended within a nightmare. Truly a one-off experience.

Craft Spells- Idol Chatter
Knowingly nodding to it's 80's pop influences, Craft Spells talent lies in the necessary goods to back it up... never missing a moment or hook or geninue sensiblity to do more than just look back.