Fifty favourite albums from 2011 so far.

June 17, 2011

Julianna Barwick

Everybody’s at this sort of thing right now, so why should I be any different? These are in no order, and there have been lots of albums I’ve enjoyed very nearly as much as the ones you see listed below. But 50 is a nice, neat number, so 50 is what you – I – get. Inevitably there are some records that I just haven’t had time to listen to properly; I expect some of these will appear in my favourites come the end of the year. Some, I just haven’t clicked with, like the latest PJ Harvey album and Anna Calvi’s debut (on paper I should love them, but…). Several of these here, though, are really special: Julianna Barwick (pictured, above), Wild Beasts, Bon Iver, Tim Hecker, FaltyDL, Dark Dark Dark, Ghostpoet. Says me, anyway. Click the links to travel to BBC-published words on the respective long-players.

This list covers studio albums released in the UK between January 1 and June 30, 2011. Due to professional association with the band, I have not listed Esben and the Witch’s Violet Cries. But it’s very good, too. Obviously.

Admiral Fallow – Boots Met My Face
…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Tao of the Dead
Austra – Feel It Break
Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
Beans – End It All
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Boxcutter – The Dissolve
Braids – Native Speaker
Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes
Colourmusic – My ____ Is Pink
Daedelus – Bespoke
Dananananaykroyd – There Is a Way
Dark Dark Dark – Wild Go
Dels – Gob
Destroyer – Kaputt
Diddy Dirty Money – Last Train to Paris
Dutch Uncles – Cadenza
FaltyDL – You Stand Uncertain
Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
Grimes – Halfaxa
Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972
How to Dress Well – Love Remains
J.Rocc – Some Cold Rock Stuf
Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
Katy B – On a Mission
King Creosote and John Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Kode9 & The Spaceape – Black Sun
Letlive. – Fake History
Lia Ices – Grown Unknown
Lupe Fiasco – Lasers
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me
Metronomy – The English Riviera
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
Planningtorock – W
Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re New Here
SebastiAn – Total
Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Sister Crayon – Bellow
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
Three Trapped Tigers – Route One or Die
True Widow – As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Centre to the Circumference of the Earth
tUnE-YaRdS – w h o k i l l
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older
Wild Beasts – Smother

Five great music videos from the year so far.

June 14, 2011

If only to distract me from the 17th play of Rill Rill on 6 Music in the last half-hour.

Slugabed Moonbeam RiderYouTube

MetronomyThe BayYouTube

FaltyDLGospel of OakYouTube

Bill Wells and Aidan MoffatThe Copper TopYouTube

Esben and the WitchWarpathYouTube

(Yes, I am allowing myself that last one.)

Five song titles that go some way to explaining just how shit Kasabian are.

June 14, 2011


Look at this fellow. He reckons he’s got a pretty sweet deal, fronting a rocking rock band before rocking rock fans. But the fellow’s going to have a shock when he realises – around album six, perhaps – that his band is a Certifiable Sack Of Shit With Nary An Ounce Of Originality Bouncing About Their Vacant Bonces. But the clues, man, the clues: they’ve been here for you to find. Just look at these song titles.

Man of Simple Pleasures – no shit.
Acid Turkish Bath (Shelter From the Storm) – wow.
Let’s Roll Like We Used To – like a shit-awful band that sound like other shit-awful bands to have come before them?
I Hear Voices – and copy the songs they’re singing.
Neon Noon – again, wow.

And these are just from your new album, sir! You managed to title your last collection West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum without twigging that it was a Truly Dogshite Title That Should Be Stamped Out Of Rock And Roll History By Any Means Possible. Congratulations! You’re an idiot!

In short: I don’t particularly rate Kasabian. I want them to stop. I need them to stop, or else daytime radio – across Radio 1, 2 and 6 Music, not to mention the commercial stations – will forever be burdened by their barrel-scrapings, denying others their rightful spot on playlists of diamond dust and gold leaf. Can you make them stop for me, please? I will send you a hamper of cheeses and biscuits.

Loving this right now…

June 9, 2011

Fallout thumb up

Because obviously you care about what’s dominating the stereo (iPod, whatever) right now. Obviously.

Zomby – Dedication (4AD, out July 11)
Listen to Things Fall Apart

Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa EP (Decon, out now)
Listen to National Anthem (Fuck the World)

SBTRKT – SBTRKT (XL, out June 27)
Listen to Something Goes Right

Samiyam – Sam Baker’s Album (Brainfeeder, out June 27)
Listen to Understanding

The Horrors – Skying (XL, out July 11)
Listen to Still Life

Clams Casino – Rainforest EP (Tri-Angle, out June 26)
Listen to Gorilla

Esben and the Witch – Hexagons IV (Olugbenga Edit)
This isn’t up for you to listen to. Yet. But it’s great. Believe.

E3 2011 – A top five games that I am looking forward to seeing/hearing more about…

June 6, 2011

BioShock Infinite

BioShock InfiniteHomepage / Wikipedia

Mass Effect 3Homepage / Wikipedia

Driver: San FranciscoHomepage / Wikipedia

Deus Ex: Human RevolutionHomepage / Wikipedia

Batman: Arkham CityHomepage / Wikipedia

The new Tomb Raider looks pretty interesting, too. Watch the trailer for it HERE.

Find the official E3 2011 website – for news and stuff when it happens – HERE.

And the best albums of May 2011 are…

June 6, 2011

Beastie Boys Make Some Noise

…on the BBC Music Blog RIGHT HERE.

If the above image doesn’t give away one of my ten picks from the month that was, clearly you’re not someone who could be said to “enjoy music”. Fair enough. I don’t enjoy aubergines. But I don’t read blogs about them – so why are you here?

On a related BBC Music Blog note, I wrote a fairly lengthy piece on the various contenders for this year’s Mercury Prize last month – the shortlist of 12 is issued next month. Read about the latest releases from the likes of Katy B, Wild Beasts (they might just be in that there best of May round-up, too), Ghostpoet, PJ Harvey, Mount Kimbie and Zomby BY CLICKING THESE WORDS.

I’m not sure this new Arctic Monkeys album is making either my best of June or the Mercury shortlist. It’s a bit… tired.