Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Albums of the Year 2011: Honourable Mentions

First of all, sorry for not posting anything here since 1802.

For anyone who has not followed my writing elsewhere, my albums of the year list this year will appear from out of nowhere. I wish I had time to write about everything I've heard and enjoyed this year, but it's just not possible, especially given that my focus increasingly lies elsewhere (this has been a pretty big transitional year).

Here are some albums that, had I been in a slightly different mood, might easily have made my top 100 this year but, in the end, have lost out. The final list will appear here some time between tomorrow and Christmas Day, but I've still got a fair amount of work to do on it.

Wilco - The Whole Love (I agonised about this - Art of Almost and One Sunday Morning are two of the best songs this remarkable band have yet produced, but much of the ornate Beatles and Stones-y stuff in between doesn't quite do it for me).

Ry Cooder - Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (a fine album but not on the level of Chavez Ravine or the Chieftains collaboration in the latterday Cooder stakes)

Olafur Arnalds - Living Room Songs (lovely, as always with Arnalds, but I've included certain other examples of the neoclassical genre).

Jenny Hval - Viscera (still deciding exactly what I think of this very weird, possibly wonderful record).

LV & Joshua Idehen - Routes
JuJu - In Sound
Tamikrest - Toumastin
Alex Garnett - Serpent
Vladislav Delay Quartet - Vladislav Delay Quartet
Master Musicians of Bukkake - Totem Three
Sebastian Rochford and Pamelia Kurstin - Ouch Evil Slow Hop
Zun Zun Egui - Katang
Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin’
Matthewdavid - Outmind
Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming
Pat Metheny - What’s It All About
Fringe Magnetic - Twistic
Atlas Sound - Parallax
Matthew Shipp - Art of the Improviser
Gyratory System - New Harmony
Container - lp
Paul Simon - So Beautiful Or So What (lovely in places, but I'm not sure it's quite as good as everyone is making out. To be honest, I'd rather listen to the unfairly maligned Hearts and Bones).

Majiker - The House of Bones

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic (definitely his crispest, most enjoyable post-Pavement album since the debut, well worth a listen)

Shelby Lynne - Revelation Road

The Roots - Undun (I've listened to very little hip hop this year and am not sure where to place this. On first few listens I'm intrigued).

TV On The Radio - Nine Types of Light
Sam Crowe Group - Flood Tide

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (I really liked this on release, but haven't listened to it for quite a while now)

Metronomy - The English Riviera
Peter Gabriel - New Blood
Me’Shell Ndegeocello - Weather
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything’s Getting Older
How To Dress Well - Love Remains
White Denim - D
White Denim - Last Days of Summer
Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts
Bibio - Mind Bokeh
Panda Bear - Tomboy
13 & God - Own Your Ghost
Dark Dark Dark - Wild Go
Youth Lagoon - The Year Of Hibernation
The Necks - Mindset
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don’t Know (by far her best yet and pretty much enough to convert me)

The Weeknd - House of Balloons/Thursday (an astonishing word of mouth hipster success this year - do I actually like it? I'm not sure)

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Tell Me

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact (Glass Jar is amazing - what comes after kinda doesn't quite match it).

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
The War On Drugs - Slave Ambient
Beirut - The Rip Tide
Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jams
The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh

Wild Beasts - Smother (I admire them for doing something different, but I can't quite get into it - at the very least, I'd rather listen to the bands that supposedly inspired it - Talk Talk, Japan etc)

Washed Out - Within and Without
Cindytalk - Hold Everything Dear
Goldmund - All Will Prosper
Pete Swanson - Man With Potential
The Leisure Society - Into The Murky Water
Martyn - Ghost People
Little Dragon - Ritual Union
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Other Lives - Tamer Animals
Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler
Emmylou Harris - Hard Bargain
Junior Boys - It's All True
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 1