End of year and end of blog for a while: It’s time for the annual Music That I Did Like Best blog of lists and that…
Songs of 2011:
Fingersnap: I Wanna Rise: A ruddy big soul anthem from the year’s most played EP (even before it was released, via their Soundcloud page).
CockNBullKid: Distractions: Marvellous album with so many top tunes. This was like a magical All Saints pop song.
Patrick Wolf: Together: Single from the excellent mostly-happy-love album. Patrick’s popstar moment.
Autoheart: Control: Debut free single from The Band Formerly Known As the Gadsdens. Beautiful and intricate.
Stevie Nicks: Secret Love: The largest gestation period ever with a song demoed in the 1970s. Bewitching.
The Melting Ice Caps: Strike in the Dark: The band that keeps on growing released an excellent EP and this is the lead track.
Brett Anderson: Unsung: Mega return to form when Brett came back with a rock band.
Bright Light Bright Light: Disco Moment: The launch night gig was a top memory. Glittery greatness.
Kimbra: Cameo Lover: Classic pop from an artist who hasn’t really launched in the UK yet.
Monsta: Holdin’ On: Bryn Christopher returned with that voice in a band whose Soundcloud has some big songs on it.
Florrie: Experimenting With Rugs: Another one of the top EP artists of the year. Pop gold.
The Original 7Ven: Strawberry Lake: The Time came back and continued where they had left off. Funky.
The Pipettes: Boo Shuffle: New non-album energetic single that sounded like the old days.
James Vincent McMorrow: We Don’t Eat: Lovely album, great for the quiet moments.
Emeli Sande: Heaven: When not with shouty rappers Emeli did good things in my ears.
Foster The People: Call It What You Want: This song ended up everywhere in the end.
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans: ‘Internet Sensation’ whose songs are on every bloody list this year.
Gomez: Song in My Heart: They continually make great albums and make that seem easy.
Bernhoft: Choices: One of Husband Jamie’s discoveries: super-talented Norwegian all-rounder.
Penguin Prison: Don’t Fuck With My Money: This should have been the pop anthem of the year.
Will Young: Safe From Harm: Consistently good artist teams up with Richard X and makes best album of his career.
Back to the ‘awards’:
Best UK album:
Patrick Wolf: Lupercalia : A coherent long-player is quite hard to find these days but Mr Wolf goes from strength to strength.
Brett Anderson: Black Rainbows
Sarah Nixey: Brave Tin Soldiers
Nerina Pallot: Year of the Wolf
Best International album:
Steve Nicks: In Your Dreams: I fell in love with the singles and videos, and ended the year with a load of her Fleetwood Mac albums.
Bernhoft: Solidarity Breaks
Jenny Wilson: Blazing
Foster The People: Torches
Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field
Best UK Group:
Fingersnap: David McAlmont has always been in my musical lists and the addition of Guy Davies led to one of those duos that are more than the sum of their parts.
The Melting Ice Caps
Best International Group:
Foster The People: Earworm singles, fun videos and an album that got played so many times.
The Original 7Ven
Best UK Male single:
Bright Light Bright Light: Disco Moment: Why is this man not a massive pop star? The charts deserve some great acts.
Best International Male single:
Penguin Prison: Don’t Fuck With My Money: American equivalent to the great things I see and hear in Bright Light Bright Light.
Best UK Female single:
CockNBullKid: Yellow: She’s just been excellent all year.
Best International Female single:
Steve Nicks: Secret Love: I’m repeating myself from my Songs of the Year now! Lead single that was just perfect.
Best UK EP:
Winner: Fingersnap: Smokehouse EP: See all my other bloggings about why this is such a treasure.
Florrie: Experiments EP
The Melting Ice Caps: Strike EP
Patrick Wolf: Brumalia EP
The Mummers: Mink Hollow Road EP
The Primitives: Never Kill A Secret EP
Best International EP:
Winner: Beth Ditto: EP: We need an album of this electropop Beth.
Runner up: Uh Huh Her: Black and Blue
Fingersnap at the Jazz Cafe (20th November): Stunning set, great company, chat with the singer, intimate venue. Excellent.
The Melting Ice Caps, Dream Themes and Mr Solo at Buffalo Bar (21st August): David Shah’s Ice Caps got even better and the other acts were pretty good.
Bright Light Bright Light single launch at London Fashion Week (21st September): Surrounded by trendies (eek!) but the music was so exciting.
The Soft Close-Ups at Native Tongue (2nd August): Perfect sit-down music with beers.
Best Live Album:
David McAlmont Live From Leicester Square CD & DVD : Even if I hadn’t been to that show I would have to recommend this one.
Best project people complained about but I quite liked:
Winner: Kate Bush: Director’s Cut album : But then I didn’t own all the original albums that got re-jiggled and it came in a nice package.
Runner up: Sophie Ellis-Bextor: Make A Scene album
Best album I know is good but I just couldn’t get to grips with as much as I wanted to:
Wild Beasts: Smother : The music didn’t register in my memory despite multiple plays but the EP that followed it had some songs that I understood far better.
Artist that gets a lot of love but I just don’t feel:
Lady Gaga : A hybrid of Grace Jones and Younger Madonna being all Ooh Controversial with some average pop songs? I’ll pass.
Return to form:
Brett Anderson: Black Rainbows : Glad he went back to what he does best after the previous album was too boring to buy. That seemed so wrong.
Best video downloady thing that’s kind of a single I think:
Miles Fisher: New Romance : It’s apparently an in-joke/tie-in with a film I have never seen but still great fun.
Surprise new song that was number two in the UK Top 40 when I heard it:
Emeli Sande: Heaven : Unfinished Sympathy is 20 years old and still wonderful.
Best Scandinavian import newcomer album:
Bernhoft: Solidarity Breaks : The live video clips don’t really show off the full blown production of the album.
Hamel: Lohengrin : Good old fashioned music and lyrics is sometimes all you need.
Best new artist found via a Facebook posting:
James Vincent McMorrow: Early In The Morning album : Minimal at times but always lovely. Not ‘bland’ like this year’s buzzword.
Best new Antipodean act:
Lovers Electric : I ended up buying both their albums after the new one looked promising on a leaks site.
Soundhog: A Witty Title Involving Rockets & Losing Sleep : Marvellous.
Best Comeback For An English Band Popular In The 80s:
Duran Duran: All you Need Is Now : The most Duran Duran sounding album since Rio, probably.
Human Leage: Credo
The Primitives: Never Kill A Secret EP
Blancmange: Blanc Burn
Best cover of one of my favourite old vinyl singles:
Beverley Knight: Fairplay : Lesser known Soul II Soul debut single done well.
Best modern remix of an old track:
Depeche Mode: Puppets (Royksopp Remix) : I wasn’t all that familiar with the original so this sounded like an excellent new track.
Best modern remix that purposefuly sounds like an old one:
Kylie Minogue: Put your Hands Up (Pete Hammmond Remix) : Sounds about putting hands up in a retro remix style proved popular.
Bright Light Bright Light: Italo Disco Moment
Nerina Pallot: Put Your Hands Up Like It’s 1987
Best Use of the Funky Drummer beat:
A tie between Katy B: Broken Record and Jamie Woon: Spirits : The one where I listen to what the young people and critics like.
Best Deluxes Reissues:
All of the Suede albums : Even if the packaging of these fat products weren’t quite strong enough to prevent spine damage. Second only to those Saint Etienne ones from last year.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Welcome To The Pleasuredome
Mica Paris: So Good
Best New Song That Arrived Out Of Nowhere:
Hologram Heart Parade: Dirty Heart : Massive earworm song that got played a lot on my Czech holiday.
Foster The People: Call It What You Want
Kimbra: Cameo Lover
Best debut Double A Side ‘single’:
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans / Video Games : Was this even a real old fashioned single? Is that concept even relevant anymore?
Best Artist I Always Thought Was OK But I Finally Got Into:
Winner: k d lang : It’s always good to go mad for a bunch of second hand albums by an artist you should have tried before.
Runners-up: Japan, David Sylvian
Best person from a terible TV talent show who made a good album:
Will Young: Echoes : I’m partial to bits of his other releases too but this one actually got purchased in our house.
Rebecca Ferguson: Heaven
Best new song from a Best Of compilation:
Winner: Scritti Politti: A Day Late And A Dollar Short (from Absolute) : Please can we have a new album now?
Runner up: Claudia Brucken: Thank You (from Combined)
Best new Various Artists compilation:
Zang Tuum Tumb: The Art of the 12″ : Excellent double disc ZTT retrospective in 12″s form, with a sequel due in Spring 2012.