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timscience: (croppedsausage)
This year’s personal top ten. By and large 2011 was not quite as inspiring as 2010 – there was no “Hidden” or “Tearist” to surprise and enthral me, but on the plus side the sheer amount of good stuff is high – I had to shuffle the top ten around a few times as I kept thinking of new stuff. Contains, now I think of it, a surprising amount of drone-based music. Noise is the new melody, I guess.
Oh, and the PJ Harvey album might well be amazing but I wouldn't know as I have not heard it.

Before we kick off:
On everyone else’s top ten but didn’t do it for me 1) – Skying by The Horrors. Not sure why, loved “Primary Colours”. Just something missing.
On everyone else’s top ten but didn’t do it for me 2) – Gloss Drop by Battles. Too many notes, my dear Mozart.

Could have been a contender prize – Happiness by Hurts. Is prevented from topping the list by the fact that it actually came out in 2010, it’s just I was a bit late getting to it. Never mind, eh? Likewise Body Talk by Robyn.

Disappointment of the year – Living (2009 – present) by Tearist. Some points I guess for reintroducing the concept of the rubbish live album. Some excellent songs including relative newies "Break Bone", "Civilisation" and "Wiped Out", but unfortunaltely it appears to have been recorded with a single cheapo mic out in the audience, rendering it almost unlistenable and certainly getting nowhere close to capturing the awesomeness that is Tearist live. There’s a difference between “raw” and “shit”, people.

Special mentions:
Work Work Work by HTRK. I only discovered HTRK this year but I love’em. Would have got on but the best HTRK album is “Marry Me Tonight” which is ineligible as it’s a few years old.

Tidal Rave by Unicorn Kid. Doesn’t get on because it’s only a 4 track EP. Does however contain the amazing “True Love Fantasy”.

Conatus by Zola Jesus. Although I love Zola Jesus, this album doesn’t get on because it’s exactly the same as “Stridulum”. No, honestly, it’s identical.

New Harmony by Gyratory System. Sounds like an off kilter electro album. Is in fact made almost entirely of treated brass instruments. Contains a guy in his 60s playing the tiniest trumpet in the world.
I thought more people in Oxford would have heard of them, given the excellent reviews in the Guardian and the NME, and their presence on the super trendy Angular label, but when we put them on in the cellar, about 4 people turned up. Oxford’s loss, frankly.

So to the top ten:

10) Polinski – Labyrinths.
65daysofstatic keyboard player moonlighting on solo project. Soaring electro with proper tunes and everything. Specified Bison Grass vodka on his rider (subsequently drunk by Jo). All round nice guy.

9) Cut Copy - Zonoscope.
Pretty much the same as “In Ghost Colours”, got a bit of a kicking for that. Don’t know why. “In Ghost Colours” was ace, and so is this.

8) Future of the Left – Polymers are Forever.
New e.p. from FOTL released rather quietly a month or so ago. The band has had some personnel changes and expanded to a 4 piece and struck out in a (slightly) different direction with a dash of post-punk mixed into the usual acerbic shouting.
I love FOTL. They’re so angry about everything.

7) Mirrors – Lights and Offerings
Let me tell you I was a bit surprised when I looked and found this came out n 2011. I assumed it was a couple of years old, so rapidly have Mirrors dropped off the critical radar since. It seems a little unfair – if it had come out about six months earlier the 80s revival crew would have been all over this. Give it a chance, it’s lovely.

6) Korallreven – An Album by Korallreven.
I actually have NO IDEA why I like this, as it has great dollops of 90s ambient cheese, reverb-y acoustic guitar and cod-reggae stabs. It should be the worst thing in the world ever. But somehow it’s actually rather fine.

5) Blanck Mass - Blanck Mass.
This is one of Fuck Buttons solo project. I assume it’s not the guy who does the beats, because it sounds pretty much like Fuck Buttons without the beats – an hour of uncompromising drones and distortion. Nonetheless, surprisingly tuneful. Sort of.

4) WU LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain.
Ah, Wu Lyf. It doesn't seem like proper Wu Lyf unless you have trawled through a thousand misspelt internet forums looking for shitty 128kbps MP3s. Has the magic gone now we know who they are and have seen their faces and everything?
Answer: No. Although the vocals still sound like the Vic Reeves club singer doing Rod Stewart. TRUFAX.

3) Necro Deathmort – Music of Bleak Origin.
If you saw them at Audioscope you’ll understand. DOOM + techno – how can it be wrong?

2) Metronomy – The English Riviera.
A weird feeling as a band I always felt was MY SPECIAL SEKRIT went overground big time with this. It is slightly annoying that people who I was banging on to about Metronomy five years ago, to general lack of interest, are now telling me how great they are as if I didn’t know already, but you can't hold a grudge against all these latecoming fair weather fans. Not after you've weighted their bodies and dropped them in the Thames.
Anyway, this is a brilliant record, accessible yet still full of the off-kilter strangeness that make Metronomy so compelling.

Which brings me to a surprise number one –

1) Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club – Bag of Meat.
An enormous bass riff. A song about a card trick WITH A CHIMP. Shouting. Other shouting in harmony. Some tunes! (thankyou, I thought you’d forgotten how to do them after “Love On An Oil Rig”). Frenzied drumming. Some more, bigger, tunes. VEGC return to form and come good with their best album so far.

May 2017

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