And onto March, the magical time of year for SXSW, where I saw some amazing people this year from, Chelsea Wolfe at Beerland, Murray Lightburn's birthday at the dears show for under the radar to secret cities in someone's backyard (won a raffle!) to bright eyes in the park. NXNE for me next year but March soundtracked the beginning of the journey around America.
Here's The Twenty and once again for you spotify fans out there... playlist of these 20 (and a lot more) as follows: http://open.spotify.com/user/joefordy24/playlist/4b7xZ3P0y9kbznYrvvCVdV
1) Wye Oak- Civilian
Wye Oak have always been a force to be reckoned with but finally public attention soared with the release of the Civilian... Amazing Live, Amazing Record, Amazing Band.
2) The Dears- Degeneration Street
Montreal's if not Canada's most underrated band, who have yet to release a disappointing album, so it's unfair to say the Degeneration Street is a return to form. But it is, capturing perfectly the grand live sound of The Dears. One of the best bands I saw at SXSW this year too.
3) Julianna Barwick- The Magic Place
No-one mastered the dreamscape sound better this year than Julianna Barwick.
4) Thousands- The Sound of Everything
Another overlooked gem!
5) Grimes- Halfaxa
Back to Montreal for the Hard to specify, Hard to Define, Grimes' noise pop was a true revelation of 2011.
6) Mother Mother- Eureka!
Hot pop from Vancouver, obviously with a wink to the New Pornographers (yes that good) with which they share clever pop hooks and huge harmonies. Really suprised they did not blow up in 2011. Those vocals kill me! So good! Below my song of the year...
7) Rival Schools- Pedals
Finally an example of a band reunion which excels beyond so many lame reunions. Pedals made Rival Schools hugely relevant in 2011, unlike many of the returning peers.
8) King Creosote & Jon Hopkins- Diamond Mine
The Mercury Nominated duo of King Creosote & Jon Hopkins created a Heart-Breakingly gorgeous debut which was robbed from victory.
9) The Dodos- No Colour
Another fine fine record from The Dodos, effortlessly brilliant as per usual.
10) Hype Williams- One Nation
11) Naked On The Vague- 12 Dark Moons
Probably not quite an album, but any NOTV release deserves attention.
12) Sin Fang- Summer Echoes
Dazzling lo-fi pop from Iceland
13) Magnus Ostrom- Thread of Life
Love A Drummer, and Magnus Ostrom must be at the top of that list.
14) The Naked & The Famous- Passive Me, Aggressive you
Usually turned off when bands are subject to the buzz that naked and the famous were at the end of 2010, wasn't expecting such an impressive debut from them.
15) Erland & The Carnival- Nightingale
Another great album from Erland, released so quickly after 2010's debut.
16) Tom Williams & The Boat- Too Slow
Not a fan of the acts he's usually compared to (Mumford etc) but Tom William's got it just right with this impressive debut.
17) Akron/Family- S/T II
Even Akron at their average is still a excellent record by most band's standards
18) Brown Recluse- Evening Tapestry
Pretty confident Slumberland records does no wrong, named after a rather nasty spider... You'd be suprised at how Evening Tapestry is a shimmering array of the best pop of the year.
19) Kurt Vile- Smoke Ring For My Halo
Not nearly as good as you've been lead to believe nor even near the best record Vile has released, SRFMH was still a bold, brave statement from a stunning artist.
It's all got to start somewhere...
20) Brave Irene- Brave Irene
Rose Melberg. Legend! Brave Irene! Awesome!