Record of the year: ‘Dye It Blonde’ by Smith Westerns
Live concert of the year: The Antlers – Bristol’s Thekla
‘Dye It Blonde’ by Smith Westerns
The mixture of glam rock and slacker pop is a winning combination for me. The glue that holds it together is the brilliant lead guitar work by Max Kakacek and Cullen Omori’s droll lead vocals. A great second album from one of the most exciting young bands around.
The Antlers – Bristol’s Thekla.
The Antlers show was an astonishing gig to witness. The venue was packed but the audience was wowed into astonished silence by the musicianship on show. The band played the enchanting ‘Epilogue’ for the first time in months but it was ‘Putting the dog to sleep’ that brought a tear to my jaded old eyes. This gig was a close to perfect as it’s possible to get. Unforgettable.
Record of the year: Glassjaw – ‘Coloring Book’
Live concert of the year: Jamie Woon – Birmingham
Glassjaw – ‘Coloring Book’
The so called cherry on the musical metaphorical cake for me however was the re-emergence of Long Island’s very best Glassjaw who left audiences stunned as they ripped through their phenomenally heavy and brooding EP ‘Coloring Book’ without warning. This 6-track effort has gone largely under the radar so if you are a fan of the NY music scene make sure this is on you ‘things to get after’ Christmas list.
Jamie Woon – Birmingham
Without a doubt 2011 has been an impressive year in music from the slightly camp house sounds of Toronto’s AZARI & III to the spectacular return of Florence to Jamie Woon’s long time coming but promising debut ‘Mirrorwriting’ with the latter also boasting a terrifically dark and beautiful live show which was as intimate as you are ever likely to see.
Record of the year: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
Live concert of the year: The Black Angels – Scala, London 19th Sept 2011
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
The king of indie-rock returned with a brilliant album produced by Beck, marking the departure from the psychedelic melodies of its predecessor Real Emotional Trash in favour of the directness of his early solo works and even some of Pavement’s last hits.
The Black Angels – Scala, London
When you see this Texan quintet live, the wave of sound created by their fuzzy guitars, dramatic arrangements, retro keyboards and spacey vocals is so forceful that you find yourself immersed in a simultaneously mind-expanding and darkly unsettling experience.
Record of the year: The Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It And See
Live concert of the year: The Black Lips at The 1,2,3,4 Shoreditch Festival
The Black Lips (below)
I’ve attended many gigs this year which have all been amazing, from your giants, such as Pulp and Gary Numan to lesser known gems, such as The Brute Chorus and The Moons. But the gig that took me by surprise and had me leaping around like a trapped mouse in a box of cobras? …That would be The Black Lips at The 1,2,3,4 Shoreditch Festival.
The Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It And See
The album which I’ve pretty much been listening to on a weekly basis since it’s release is their 4th album and for me, their best. In the past, Alex Turner has been pretty much close to ‘godlike’ genius with his witty, charming songwriting. But with SIAS, Turner adds maturity and a generous sprinkle of love with impending danger. He’s embraced his influences such as Drake, Hazelwood, Cohen, Cave and Hawley and created an album that has surpassed the songwriting talents of many prima donnas around today.
PS Here is my Single of the Year too. Forget all the rubbish that comes from the ghastly orifice that is the X Factor. 2011 has been awash with musical greatness. The single that has stood head and shoulders since it’s release, back in January is The Lovely Eggs’ Don’t Look At Me ( I Don’t Like It). An absolute bonkers record that makes absolute no sense but that is part of it’s charm.
Get this song in your head and it’ll stay there for eternity, but in a good way!
Flush the Fashion is expanding in 2012, if you love music and love writing get in touch.
Many thanks to all our writers for their contributions in 2011, see you next year!