Well, what a turn-up. Recent experience at this time of year tells me that I am either losing patience with new music, or else new music is getting less and less essential, particularly in long-playing form. I usually struggle to come up with a meaningful Top 10 albums at the end of the year, as you’ll see from previous year-end roundups. Individual songs, yes, but not full albums, which have come to disappoint me more often than thrill me this century.

Not this year. It’s only November, and I’m only gathering contenders together at this point, but look at how many albums of 2011 I’d call brilliant. I won’t even list them all yet, but I’ve counted 24 so far. In any other year, I’d be grateful for a substandard Radiohead album to make the numbers, but King Of Limbs, which I must have listened to about three times since it came out in February, doesn’t even make the longlist. As for Arctic Monkeys, not this year.

I put a call out on Twitter for music of black origin, ie. hip-hop, earlier this week and thanks to your recommendations – and Spotify – Death Grips and Das Racist are the most recent additions to the runners and rider. I am only really just discovering their albums, Ex Military and Relax, but I love them already.

Still plenty of time, but if you think I’ve missed something, by all means give it a shout-out, as they say. (Oh, and I should thank Josie Long for her positive influence on my appetite for forlorn-looking indie music, an almost random selection of which I now force myself to listen to on a weekly basis; thus far, it’s mostly given me individual tracks to love, such as singles by Fireworks Night, Rob St John and Ian Humberstone, but Jonnie Common is a great example of an artist I might never have listened to a year ago, and whose exquisite Deskjob album I have come to adore. Lymes are another example of the potential riches of the tiny label netherworld.)

Without planning it, I seem to have a lot of Mercury nominees in here, too. I will never again dismiss the Mercury prize. They clearly got something right this year.


8 thoughts on “24

  1. Wow, Lymes and Jonnie Common are great! Thanks for the tips. In return you could try The Moth and the Mirror – Honestly, This World; Active Child – You Are All I See; Rudi Zygadlo – Achtung! EP; Reigns – The Widow Blades. And you are right about Radiohead!

  2. Some really good choices there: Metronomy and TV On The Radio are particular favourites of mine, and although I only got the Los Campesinos! record a few hours ago I know I’m going to end up loving it.

    Bit surprised not to see PJ Harvey in your list (an obvious critic’s choice but nonetheless a worthy one). As for albums you might have missed, I’ve spend the past week playing and replaying my promo copy of Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything, out on Monday, and if you like Los Campesinos! chances are you’ll like their record. You can stream the whole album here if you’re interested: http://www.artrocker.tv/mp3s/article/world-exclusive-stream-of-johnny-foreigner-vs-everything

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. If you have time, could you add a list of the albums as well as the covers? I’ve searched for some but haven’t been able to identify them.


    PS Thanks for recommending Breaking Bad in a blog a while ago. What a great show.

    • And for anyone else who wanted the titles of all the albums … (by the way, I wasn’t trying to be coy or secretive, I merely fancied the idea of making a wall of sleeves, for now, until I decide on my Top 20).

      BATTLES Gloss Drop
      ADELE 21
      FRANK TURNER England Keep My Bones
      THE DRUMS Portamento
      JOHNNIE COMMON Deskjob
      DEATH GRIPS Ex Military
      DAS RACIST Relax
      BON IVER Bon Iver
      ANNA CALVI Anna Calvi
      THE WILD SWANS The Coldest Winter For A Hundred Years
      TV ON THE RADIO Nine Types Of Light
      THE KILLS Blood Pressures
      THE HORRORS Skying
      ALEX TURNER Submarine
      METRONOMY The English Riviera
      GHOSTPOET Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
      LUKE HAINES Nine and A Half Psychedelic Meditations On British Wrestling of the 1970s and early 1980s
      KATY B On A Mission
      LITTLE DRAGON Ritual Union
      LYMES Goodbye Bangkok
      CHRIS T-T Disobedience
      LOS CAMPESINOS! Hello Sadness
      ELBOW Build A Rocket Boys

  4. Good list!

    My favorite album this year is Stricken City’s LOSING COLOUR. They broke up after releasing it which is kinda sad since its such a strong album.

    Also, I’ve really been enjoying your random picks on the show as well.

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