This year, I was stupid busy finishing off my new album so I didn’t have time to DJ for the last half of the year. But still, fuckloads of amazing new music came my way, both from new artists and old faves. As ever, although there is an order to this list, just to get on here is doing well as I had to narrow it down to forty albums out of around ninety!
These were my fave albums of 2011, click the bandname for more info!
40. Ladytron – Gravity The Seducer
More floaty than their previous album, glacial with an edge of electronic menace.
39. Roll The Dice – In Dust
Brooding, pulsating, minimal electronic soundscapes. Some bits remind me of Terry Riley.
38. Com Truise – Galactic Melt
The opposite end of electronica, defiantly ’80s, phat and throbbing. In the best possible way, Miami Vice incidental music.
37. Africa Hitech – 93 Million Miles
Dubby, toasty, blobby, farty and wonderful!
36. Little Dragon – Ritual Union
I don’t understand why this lot don’t get more hype – they’ve got lovely little pop songs, clad in the finest of bloopery and rattley reverb.
35. Parts and Labor – Constant Future
Such a fucking great pop band! And to be this shouty and loose but still catchy is a lovely surprise!
34. Her Space Holiday – Her Space Holiday
Marc Bianchi has this knack of being intimate and universal at the same time. Check this out if you’ve ever liked any indie pop/rock ever. Hints of Jon Brion too!
33. Egyptrixx – Bible Eyes
Fuck, I love this album! But how do I sell it to you? It’s beaty, electronic pop that’s a bit askew, like an off-centre wheel. There ya go!
32. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
This is a disco album, a funk album, an electronic album a dance album. Cut Copy keep on flowing, effortless pop.
31. Acid House Kings – Music Sounds Better With You
AHK are mistresses and masters of twee, summery, golden indiepop. And if you like that, you’ll love this.
30. REKS – Rhymatic Eternal King Supreme
I’ve loved Reks for goddamn years and here he ropes in Premier and other luminaries to frame his awesome delivery with majestically awesome beats. Fuck.
29. Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion
Although I’d heard them, I didn’t really “get” CS till I saw them play a storming gig at Indietracks 2011. Now I’m in love with their dour channelling of Echo & The Bunnymen doing Felt covers.
28. Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence
More off-kilter pop. Some of it a bit scary, to be honest. But mmmm…
27. Robag Wruhme – Thora Vukk
This is minimal, intimate electronic music. It whispers in your ear as it strokes the back of your knee. Oh, Robag!
26. Set Your Goals – Burning At Both Ends
SYG rock! Awesome live, too. Standout track, ‘Product Of The ’80s.’ Which I don’t really understand unless they’re all old fuckers like me?
25. Moustache of Insanity – Album Of Death
If you can listen to ‘Talk-Along’ without getting a bit sniffly, your heart is made of dogpoo. Beautiful, heartfelt songs!
24. Beneficence – Sidewalk Science
This is all that’s good about hip hop in 2011: rubbery, flubbery beats that make your head nod coupled with lyrics that echo around your head for weeks.
23. Ochre – Early Learning
Ochre has this knack of constructing nanosymphonies of joy/sorrow, played by happy-faced millipedes. Clicky, leggy, often stridulating electronic beauty.
22. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong
Why haven’t Pains broken through to Radio One? Plenty of people that rip them off shamelessly seem to have done just that this year. But those biters haven’t got their class or, most importantly, knack with a killer chorus.
21. The Ladybug Transistor – Clutching Stems
Seven albums in and TLT sound like a band who find making lyrical, swoonsome pop music easy. The bastards.
20. Cuba Cuba – Where Else Is Safe But The Road?
Welsh popsters CC sound sooo fucking assured on this album, it’s chocker with little twiddly bits, massive choruses and a skipload of heart.
19. Blind Pilot – We Are The Tide
Laid back, country-tinged folkpop. Like being wrapped in a warm towel by your lover prior to a ravishing.
18. The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing
I love pop punk. Sometimes, people take the piss out of me for this. But as if I care ~ it means I’ve known perfect little worlds like the ones shared with me on this album.
17. DTMD – Makin’ Dollas
Beautiful hip hop, can’t fault it. The beats, the rhymes, the life described in precise, sharp detail. Reminds me a bit of Native Tongues which is always good.
16. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
I can’t pigeonhole M83 easily. Yeah, the electro foundations are there but there’s so much else going on. Anguish, celebration, snippets of atmosphere between the songs proper. All of it great.
15. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes And Keys
DCFC (heh) seem to be exploring more Krautrocky directions lately, whether it’s on ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ from the last album or ‘Doors Unlocked And Open’ from this one. Whatever, they twist it into their own shape. When the chorus kicks in, that’s pure sunny delight!
14. Evidence – Cats And Dogs
Absconding from Dilated Peoples for a minute, Evidence uses his holiday to… well, make yet more fucking great hip hop. THANKS, EV!
13. Comet Gain – Howl Of The Lonely Crowd
CG are perfectly, raggedly raw on this album. ‘Yoona Baines’ just clangs and shreds along, all twisted tendons and bleeding lips. Shows the scope within the pop known as indie.
12. Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing
Fuck, I hate how BT can just launch into a song and within thirty seconds I’m singing along like I’ve been a country rock fan all my life. This album is irresistible pop.
11. Apparat Organ Quartet – Pólýfónía
I love AOQ but this album stunned me. The Kraftwerkian vocoders floating over the intertwining melodies before being battered by distortion, the pounding beach drums, all of it makes me want to jump around till I hit my head. As I said, stunning.
10. Digitalism – I Love You, Dude
I fell in love with Digitalism the day I heard ‘Zdarlight’ and they don’t break my heart here. I fucking love them even more just for bringing a track as stupidly, four-on-the-floor addictive as ‘Blitz’ into my life. I lost myself in this album.
9. Metermaids – Rooftop Shake
Alumni of Sage Francis’ label, Metermaids rock it hard and heavy. But their hip hop is as thoughtful as it is uncompromising. Immense lyrics.
8. Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!
Sublime, sunny synthpop, overflowing with catchy riffs and ‘eh?’ lyrics (the best kind). Do yourself a favour and check out ‘Wait And See’ at the very least.
7. Erland & The Carnival – Nightingale
Brilliant, wonky guitar pop. Whenever I DJed ‘This Night’ earlier in the year, I’d always get peeps asking who it was. That’s great pop for you!
6. Army Navy – The Last Place
Now, I must declare bias here: I loved this album so much that I got in touch with the band. And I’m meant to be remixing a track of it. But, in my defence, I have done fuck-all as I’ve been too busy making my own music. But if you’ve ever loved The Beatles, The Monkees, The Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub or any other amazing guitar (power) pop, buy this album!
5. Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil
Another year, another Deerhoof album in my top albums list. STOP BEING SO FUCKING AMAZING, DEERHOOF! If you don’t like this album, you’re insane.
4. Maritime – Human Hearts
My favourite indie / rock / guitar album of 2011. I have sung along to this sooo many times in the car. Take ‘Annihilation Eyes’ ~ I’ve played this to everyone and every time, they sit up, perk up and want to know who it is. And then they’re singing along by the end of the song. Davey von Bohlen, you are a pop genius and I love you.
3. The Four Owls – Nature’s Greatest Mystery
Pure UK hip hop that makes me sooo fucking proud to be British. The skills on display here are formidable, the imagery is visceral without being literal. If you have ever liked any hip hop ever, you better fucking buy this album.
2. MC Esoteric – Boston Pharoah
Dude’s got to be my favourite current hip hop artist. His choice of samples, his flow, his themes, his humour, his heart, his sincerity. He makes every other rapper look paper-thin and silly. This is what should be on every radio and TV station, not the pimped, preening pretenders who aren’t even fit to suck Eso’s little toe. If you don’t buy this album, your life will be immeasurably more impoverished.
1. Yelle – Safari Disco Club
I have listened to this album more than any other this year. I have driven mates barmy by hitting repeat in my car. I have watched all Yelle’s vids and of course, I’m in love with Julie and would like her to have my fat, brown babies.
This is a perfect electropop album. Nothing is wasted, everything works together. Every note hammers home Yelle’s agenda of (primarily) sexy dance fun. The synths weave around Julie Budet’s incredible voice like lovers’ arms, tickling and teasing. The beats are undeniable, every fibre of your body starts pumping in resonance.
I’ve sung along so many times to ‘Comme Un Enfant’ in my terrible French, it’s ridiculous! How can you not love these lyrics:
“J’aime les fraises tagada et je rêve d’un
Wayne’s world 3, je veux une méga happy
End enlacée dans tes bras
J’en ai pas de dents de sagesse, ça ne me
Manque pas, quand je mords la nuit à
Pleines dents pour faire la nouba
Je suis un enfant, comme un adolescent
Je suis un adulte, comme un adolescent
Faut-il vraiment choisir son camp (choisir son camp)
Le faut-il vraiment, comme un adolescent
Je chante et je pleure, comme un enfant
Je joue à me faire peur,
Comme un enfant, comme un enfant
Je pense tout et son contraire,
Comme un enfant, comme un enfant
Je danse, j’ai le coeur à l’envers,
Comme un enfant, comme un enfant”
Here, sing along for yourself:
Yelle have made the best pop album of 2011 and they have made me sad with their mastery of electropop. It means I have to try much fucking harder!
Enjoy Yelle and the rest of my 2011 albums. But hands off Julie, she’s mine! 🙂 ???