2011 was a brilliant year for music. Well, if you enjoyed delay-filled loveliness, sci-fi-themed instrumental rock, and sleazy electro. In no particular order, my albums of the year!
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
This was one of the most accomplished, full, and beautiful releases of the year. Tasteful, subtle and layered without sounding pretentious or twee. Also check out the Honest Words remix EP.
65daysofstatic – Silent Running
65DOS re-imagined the score to the fantastic 70s sci-fi flick Silent Running to great effect. The band also performed the film live, alongside the movie itself on big screens.
SONOIO – Red
SONOIO, aka Alessando Cortini, creates fantastic, layered electronic for our amusement. NON SONOIO, a remix album, was released for free download recently. Go give it a listen.
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
The Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake is lyrically unsurpassed, with elegant and delicate musicianship. A work of art.
IAMX – Volatile Times
Chris Corner’s IAMX created a wonderful, sprawling, electro-rock gem for their fourth album.
Deaf Havana – Fools and Worthless Liars
Deaf Havana signed to BMG and released their latest album in November. If you want massive, anthemic choruses, you’ve come to the right place.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Thirty-nine songs, thirty-seven of them instrumental. Cold, sparse, and perfect for the film. Oh, and two of the best cover versions since Johnny Cash’s Hurt.
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Haters gonna hate. This album is boss.
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
I wasn’t sure how Mogwai were going to come back after the brilliant The Hawk Is Howling. I should never have doubted them.
I Break Horses – Hearts
Scandinavians make everything better. In this case: lovely, lovely shoegaze-y loveliness.
Rival Schools – Pedals
A lot of us missed Rivals Schools when they were gone. They were part of a wonderful, vitriol-filled era that popped up and summed up a whole generation’s adolescence. It’s good to have them back.
Saul Williams – Volcanic Sunlight
Saul Williams’ last album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, was industrial-tinged hip hop, and his style has taken a real change since. It’s a challenge to listen to at times, but it’s worthwhile and abrilliant follow-up.
So there we go! Thank you 2011. Let’s hope 2012 brings us plenty more to enjoy.