I know I should probably give this post a little more time, but to be honest, I doubt anything else will be released this year to make any notable difference…yup finally time to compile my top 10 albums of this year. Every year I think about it and I always think that I won’t be able to make 10 choices, but then you get to number 8 and realise a lot more albums were released this year that you totally forgot about it. Most of the albums I have been listening to a lot this year are not from this year at all, but the same could be said of last year, and again, I’ll get to the same spot where I’m having to reconsider choices, to make way for something I had forgotten.
1. Caro Emerald – Scenes from the cutting room floor
HUGE in The Netherlands apparently, this young lady was brought to my attention by my friend Shehzad, and I instantly thought she was awesome. She’s for Electro Swing what Imelda May is for Rockabilly, except Caro hasn’t sold out yet! Scenes from the cutting room floor is pretty much perfect; there’s only one track I don’t especially care for, but the rest more than make up for it.
2. Heaven’s Basement – Unbreakable
I have to admit that I find it weird when my sister introduces me to music I end up loving; it has always been my place to introduce her to awesomeness, and not the other way around. I ended up seeing these guys at a gig my sister took me too, and they were the support and I liked them more than the headliners! This is proper rock music, loads of big choruses and catchy riffs, and they’re all like 12 or something 🙂
3. Chrysalide – Don’t Be Scared, It’s About Life
This band can do little wrong in my eyes. They basically take everything I like about industrial, electronics and digital hardcore, and do something completely awesome with it. More Ministry than Atari Teenage Riot, although that changes from song to song. This album didn’t grab me as much as their first album, but, after a few listens it finally got me and I’ve listened to it a lot this year, and very much looking forward to seeing them live in Germany next year.
(Epilepsy warning with this video, so please don’t watch it if you have it)
4. Innerpartysystem – American Trash
UTTER BASTARDS! They split up at possibly one of their finest moments. Luckily I got to see them live a few times before this happened, but I still find myself getting quite sad at their loss. It doesn’t seem fair as the amount of remixes going round the internet now it was only going to be a matter of time before one of these remixes hit big. Nothing much has come out of their single endeavours as yet, so I will hold my tongue until then, but ‘American Trash’ is a filthy beast of electro if ever there was one.
5. Tom Waits – Bad as Me
Tom Waits is someone I should have been in to since birth! The man is amazing! And his new album further secures that reputation in my mind. A man half his age and then some couldn’t sing with such passion and swagger as this man can. His music seems to have been the soundtrack to my depression, which in some ways is a bad thing, but ‘Bad as Me’ came along as I was starting to feel a bit better, and trying to sort stuff out, and his music keeps me going, and ‘Satisfied’ is blues joy as far as I’m concerned, and if this can’t take you from a down to an up, I don’t know what can.
6. William Fitzsimmons – Gold in the Shadow
I think a tiny part of myself totally fell in love with William this year. I’ve been listening to him for a few years now, but seeing him live twice, both with a band, and just him and his guitar just gelled it all together for me – that and the fact I’ve seen him do his Go West cover live now 🙂 meeting him was a real pleasure as well as he was really sweet and had plenty of time to talk. Gold in the Shadow has some beautiful songs on it, but I think my favourite has to be this one… (even though there are two versions, one with Julia Stone, and one with Leigh Nash…remember Sixpence None The Richer? Her!)
7. Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire
Keeping up with the lo-fi indie (call it what you will!) Ryan Adams latest is a beauty, and considering I’ve been listening to his music for near on a decade, that takes a lot. I find it funny that a lot of reviewers have been praising this particular album, as his previous works have all been brilliant in my eyes, but Ashes and Fire certainly feels a lot more personal, there’s a lot more emotion there that his usual bluegrass tinted indie thing he does so well. ‘I Love You But I Don’t Know What To Say’ made me cry the first time I heard it, and if it doesn’t tweak a heartstring somewhere, well you’re a bit wrong 🙂
8. Näo – Näo
Ever had that moment at a live gig where it feels like you’ve been smacked across the mouth, and are left there stunned?! Got that at this years Maschinenfest. I knew absolutely nothing about Näo when I first tagged along with some friends to go and watch them, but live they were immense. Loads of live guitars and samples and loops, and other live instruments, and the lighting was utterly spectacular. I think there were quite a few others who hadn’t heard of them either as within minutes of their set finishing, most CD stalls had sold out of their CD. Another band I shall be seeing next year, and very excited by it to 🙂
9. ∆AIMON – Amen EP
∆AIMON are so hard to define, and I imagine they would want it that way. The Amen EP was a mystery for me when I first heard it as it had so much about it, that I needed to find out more, and I ended up interviewing them for Connexion Bizarre, and it was a real pleasure putting the pieces together and finding out more about them. Their cover of Swans ‘A Screw (Holy Money)’ is pure sex!
10. Ahnst Anders – Home
A man I never really thought much of until this year. I certainly thought he was good at what he did, but nothing ever really caught my attention with him – as far as I was concerned it was electro idm by numbers – Home is a little different. More hooks, more interesting sounds and his live set is really tight. Was definitely impressed enough by his live set at this years Maschinenfest to go straight to the CD stands 🙂
Done 🙂 I think I can safely go to bed now, satisfied that is done for another year. Thanks 2011 for being musically interesting and varied. More of the same for 2012 if you please 🙂