The Cream of the Crop for 2011

A bumper year for recorded music, more thriving artists than I can ever remember!  So many bands on small labels producing a myriad of styles and genres, usually within the same song!  We are definitely in a golden age of hybrid music.  Although in amongst all the cross-pollination and post-everything outre there is a refreshing beauty in anything retro or analogue with a strong old-fashioned melody

Here’s my top 5

5.  King Creosote and John Hopkins – ‘Diamond Mine’,  A poignant and bucolic peaen to a boyhood town and romanticized youth.

4.  Washed Out – ‘Within and Without’, Euphoric but melancholic, assured yet searching, chilled while infectious.  So many contradictions in one album!   Forget M83′ s good but overblown long player, this is the definitive sound of Chillwave 2011.

3.  Wild Beasts – ‘Smother’, Scandalous that it didn’t even get nominated for a Mercury Music Prize, ‘Smother’ is an exquisite album full of poise, tenderness, sexual intrigue and lust.  Wild Beasts entered the realm of consummate artists with an album that perfectly encapsulates the thrall of sensuality, with spin-tingling effect.

2.  PJ Harvey – ‘Let England Shake’, So much has been written about this album and deservedly so.  This is PJ Harvey’s masterpiece and will be remembered as one of 2011’s classic albums.  With its harrowing portrayal of war, deprivation and human sacrifice it tapped into the current global dissatisfaction while addressing an age-old truth.

1.  Bon Iver – Astoundingly this album managed to achieve the near-impossible, a cut above the debut album – which many considered a classic in its own right – while creating a new template and never repeating the same trick twice.  An impressionistic tour de force that shimmered and radiated with a myriad of sounds.  This was an album that was undeniably 2011.  Making use of all things digital, the emotion was wrought from woven textures and distorted vocals.  Understanding was ambiguous,  this was all about feeling and the sense of time and memory, embellished with the beautiful spacial arrangements.


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