As 2010 draws to an end it is required of all blogs to list their favourite albums, it is in fact, the law. And so, croaking from my sick bed I attempt to reflect upon the music that inspired and moved us this year . In one way trying to rank your favourite albums numerically is a little silly. On any given day any of the top 10 these albums could have been classed as our ‘ album of the year’, but for the purpose of much revered VPME Awards, we have put logic to one side and attempted to list our favourites in some sort of order. As ever we award the victors a rather magnificent statuette, made from purest pixels.
ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
“WYWH”- The Concretes.
“My Ways” – The Concretes
‘WYWH’ emphatically proves that anybody who has previously written the band off following the departure of former vocalist Victoria Bergsman will soon be choking on large slices of humble pie because ‘WYWH’ is without doubt, a triumphant return. The Concretes have reinvented themselves and in doing so produced an album that sparkles with a fragile beauty and a sense of yearning which is perfectly communicated by former drummer and lyricist Lisa Milberg’s airy, delicate ethereal vocals.” Also, the NME wasn’t too keen on it which, by definition, means it must be good!
“I Will Be” – Dum Dum Girls.
‘I Will Be’ – Dum Dum Girls.
“Dum Dum Girl’s début album for the legendary Sub-Pop label, “I Will Be” is a raw, adrenaline fuelled white knuckle ride through heartbreak and B-movie cool which employs Ronettes style vocal harmonies allied to discordant Mary Chain guitars and old school garage punk.”
“Songs For Swinging Lovers” By The Indelicates.
“Songs For Swinging Lovers” is a musical and poetic tour de force that tackles subjects with the sort of brutal honesty that would give most traditional record labels coronaries. Make no mistake this is a magnificent album that enthrals, shocks and delights in equal measure, full of dark poetic lyricism whilst demonstrating an unerring ability to cut through the bullshit and dismantle accepted societal truisms.”
Listen to and download album here .
I always found Blur a tad overrated, and conversely often found Gorillaz a mite underrated. Often dismissed by many as a clever clogs, art school ego trip, ‘Plastic Beach’ is Albarn’s opus and proves finally that he really is a clever clogs, art school, ego-tripping genius. Like him or loathe him, the musical world would be a lesser place without him.
5. ‘The Hundred In The Hand- The Hundred In The Hand.
This really is a marvellous début from the seemingly endless stream of bands that appear to be pouring out of Brooklyn at present. Dark electro pop that manages to be seductive yet stand offish, and is as you’d expect from a hip Brooklyn duo, achingly cool without really trying.. A bit like me.
6. Grinderman 2- Grinderman.
7. Stridillium II- Zola Jesus.
8. Crazy For You – Best Coast.
9. Slide Over – The Kiara Elles.
Release a great début and split up in the same year, that’s proper rock n’roll innit. In an industry that is unwilling to take risks and one which will generally always go for the safe bet, maybe the Kiara Elles fate was inevitable. Mike Sizemore’s tweet referencing The X Factor loving public, possibly summed up the current state of play best “I wish all the real musical talent that we’ve lost over the years could rise from the dead and tear you all limb from limb for watching shit.” Or as the band said ” Unfortunately the record industry machine prefers to plug away at Scouting for Girls and other shit we hate to have time for us so there you go”
‘Laser Shot’- The Kiara Elles
10. ‘I Speak Because I Can’ -Laura Marling.
Still only twenty, Ms Marling sings as if she’d experienced a thousand lifetimes in an album that covers heartache, betrayal, death and redemption. All the good shit.
11. Sex With An X – The Vaselines.
12.The Fool – Warpaint
13. The Family Jewels- Marina And The Diamonds.
Possibly not achieving the longevity I’d anticipated upon first hearing the album, it’s still an excellent ‘pop’ album. Maybe in retrospect if I was being honest, I’d have preferred an edgier approach in terms of the production, as it can seem a little too polished at times but hey ho . The real winners on this album are the slower numbers such such as Obsessions, Numb, Rootless, and of course Iam Not A Robot as these contains the seeds of potential greatness.
14. Boo- Dag For Dag
“Hands & Knees” By Dag For Dag
15. “In The Wooded Forest’ – Savoir Adore
16. “Sugar For My Soul” -Sweet Jane
17. “Total Life Forever” – Foals
18. Treats – Sleigh Bells
19. “Release Me” – The Like
20. ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ – The Manic Street Preachers
Despite appearing on “Strictly Come Dancing” - (“We destroy light entertainment” ) and despite the overblown duet with Ian McCulloch, which in theory I should of loved ,there’s still enough in this album to merit a place in my cynical jaded old heart. So there. ‘Don’t Be Evil‘ is possibly my favourite, and lets face it the lads are getting on, you can’t be a ‘Generation Terrorist’ for ever.
21. The Noyelle Beat – Standard Fare
22. “Disconnect From Desire” – School Of Seven Bells.
“Windstorm” By School Of Seven Bells
23. Frankie Rose & The Outs -Frankie Rose & The Outs
“Girlfriend Island” ByFrankie Rose & The Outs.
24. “The Ballad Of The Big Machine”- Emiile Simon.
“Devil At My Door” – Emiile Simon.
25. ‘In Debt’- Johnny Cola & The A Grades
“The Party’s Over”- Johnny Cola & The A Grades
26. ‘A Coming Of Age’- Lucky Soul
27.’ Fire Like This’ – Blood Red Shoes
28. ‘The Suburbs’- Arcade Fire
29. ‘Without Why’ – Rose Elinor Dougall
30. All0 Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’
Best Songs Of 2011
1. ‘Ill.’- The Indelicates
Really, this kind of sums up my year!
2. ‘Sea Talk’ – Zola Jesus
As I’ve said before, this is the aural equivalent of the sun rising.
3. ‘Nine Lives.’- The Kiara Elles
Maybe not the most obvious choice on the album, but kind of sums up the appeal of the band for me. It’s the sort of music that recalls a young me furtively listening to John Peel under the covers via an old tranny ( that’s a radio, not a transvestite I hasten to add.) The Au-Pairs, Delta Five and The Passions all spring to mind. Which is of course a very good thing.
4. ‘ Melancholy Hill’ - Gorillaz
Reminds me of the stone circle at Glastonbury. Which is nice.
5. Palaces Of Montezuma’ – Grinderman
All you need to know about this song is that whilst Joe Public laps up utter shite like ” “So I got busy throwing everybody underneath the bus /And with your poster 30 foot at the back of Toys-R-Us” Mr. Cave gifts us lyrics such as “The spinal cord of JFK / Wrapped in Marilyn Monroe’s negligee.” That is all.
6. ‘Undertow’ -Warpaint
7. ‘Wreckin’ Bar’ -The Vaccines
8. ‘Get Some’ -Lykke Li
9. ‘Early Bird’ -Savior Adore
10. ‘Crazy For You’ – Best Coast
11. Spanish Sahara’- Foals‘
12. ‘Jail La-La’ -Dum Dum Girls
13. ‘Don’t Ask’ -Blood Red Shoes
14. ‘Don’t Be Evil’ -The Manic Street Preachers
15. ‘Numb’ – Marina And The Diamonds
16. ‘Bleed’ – Sweet Jane
17. ‘Raptor’ – The Horn The Hunt
18. ‘Binary‘ – Ash
19.‘Your Body Is A Machine’ – The Good Natured
20. ‘Confessions’ – Blindness
21. ‘Isles’ -Little Comets
22. “Civilian’-Wye Oak
23. ‘Commotion’- A Hundred In The Hand
24. Kiss Your Lips- Allo Darlin’
25. ‘You Forget So Easily’- Exlovers
26. ‘Five Trees’- Chapel Club
27. ‘Release Me’- The Like
28. ‘I Should be A Communist” - Too Many Boyfriends
29. ‘Carry On’ - Rose Elinor Dougall
30.”Violet’ – H Bird
Video Of The Year
1. “Binary” – Ash.
Ok so the footage wasn’t shot this year, but it’s the first sight we’ve had of the infamous Ash slasher movie. Oh and it features a Charlotte Hatherley shower scene.
2. ‘Isles’- Little Comets
3. ‘Melancholy Hill’ - Gorillaz
You cant watch it here, you’ll have to follow the link.
Compilation/Reissue of the Year.
Need you ask ?
“Upside Down- The Best Of” – The Jesus And Mary Chain,
“All Things Must Pass” – The Jesus & Mary Chain.
Gig Of The Year – Glastonbury - 40th Anniversary
And a couple of nice quotes from the year
“Maybe it’s time for the people who complain that they can’t make enough money from music , to stop making music ?” – Julia Indelicate.
“He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands, Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qa’ida and taliban leaders?” — Sarah Palin on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, proving she’s a fucking lunatic.
‘”When I seen bands like The Drums being fawned over, it makes me feel ill, there is literally no soul in that band. They’ve taken nothing from the depth or poetry or amazing lyrics of Ian Curtis, they’ve just taken his kooky dance. The whole generation is attired in American Apparel, there’s no individualism any more.” - Nicky Wire (Manic Street Preachers) -Amen to that.
- The Concretes: WYWH (pastemagazine.com)
- Concretes Ready to Conquer America With ‘WYWH’ (spinner.com)
- Gorillaz Promise Free New Album on Christmas Day (spinner.com)
- Jens Lekman & Victoria Bergsman DJing in Greenpoint (brooklynvegan.com)