All time Contributors
HONOURABLE MENTIONSHot Sauce Committee Part Two – Beastie Boys
HONOURABLE MENTIONSSecrets In The Eyes
Albums 12" Gigs Live Song Music Tech Film TV Book Live Events You Tube
This didn't happen me with CDs but I have noticed it happening with downloads where I forget I have downloaded something. It happened with some purchases this year, the lesson for me has been to immediately add to a playlist for that year's purchases. I only bought 2 CDs this year, quite a lot of Vinyl and the rest downloads.Albums
I've always gone to the cinema on my own so having kids has not changed that but in Athlone there is just a main stream cinema and if gets a non mainstream film it's come and gone in a week, so you have to be on the ball.
Music Gigs Films Plays Book Live Events Running races You Tube Person
Looking back at this year it was a quiet year for me album-wise. Not a lot floated my boat. There were a load of great gigs though! I'm taking the lead from Mr. Corcoran's 2010 lists to include lists of other things that might(?) be of interest other than just music. And not just because Caroline and Niall hold my music taste in contempt! Happy New Year everyone:-)
|1.||Pj Harvey||Let England Shake||Without a doubt the best album of the year, haunting, poetic and an amazing unique sound probably due to that fact that it was recorded as a band in an old church in Dorset, not a sound booth in sight. It had me dusting off a few old history books too, which is never a bad thing, we should not forget how bad it was for our forefathers.|
|2.||The Drums||Portamento||I just love this band, the modern generation Smiths, lots of dark lyrics, happy jangly tunes. They sounded even better live when we caught up with them at the start of the month.|
|3.||Sun Kil Moon||Admiral Fell Promises||On the surface it appears to be like any other Mark Kozolek album, but I initially couldn't figure out why it resonated more with me and why I kept and keep going back to it. Then it was all explained by mark himself in a documentary about him on tour. He rediscovered the nylon string classical guitar and some old classical guitar cds he had. The album is peppered with that sort of intricate finger work, really embellishes the songs giving them a more lush sweeping sound that really got me hooked. The album is 2010 but I only discovered it this year after his wonderful perfomrance in St. Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny.|
|4.||The Middle East||I want that you are Alway Happy||What a shame this band are no longer together, this is a truly beautiful debut album, a little bit like The Low Anthem and definately influenced by that american alternative country sound. Hard to believe they're from Australia. The song Very Many is epic I had that on repeat for days.|
|5.||Bon Iver||Bon Iver||Still makes my top 5 in spite of that awful song at the end. Still gutted I missed the grand canal theatre show.|
|6.||Patrick Kelleher and his Cold Dead Hands||Golden Syrup||Donal Dineens favourite album of the year, that's a pretty good recommendation. Heavily influence by the 80s electronic sound I grew up with, maybe that's why it hits a certain nostalgic cord. Stand out tune Broken up Now|
|7.||Metronomy||The English Riviera||This band only came to my attention this year with the excellent song She Wants, which is not on the album, but is definately worth checking out. The album is brilliant, lots of catchy electronic tunes such as The Look which will stay in your head long after you stop listening.|
|8.||The Tuneyards||Whokill||The uber talented one woman band Merrill Garbus does it again with her second album, it takes a few listens to bed in cause there's so much going on, but it's worth it, gets better and better.|
|9.||Gil Scott Heron and Jamie XX||We're New Here||This was part of my many training runs, well it had to be really when there's a song called Running on it, helped me knuckle down for those solitary miles in the phoenix park. I like the snippets of Gil talking particularly Parents, no truer words said. I'll Take Care of U was the Anthem for Endas wedding another reason why the album is so memorable, what a song what a wedding.|
|10.||SBTRKT||SBTRKT||Bringing the total of Electronic albums to 4 on my list, didn't think that was possible for me but maybe it suits my ever decreasing functioning synapses, easier for my mind to process. Hold On is a classic tune, reminds me of Massive Attack at their best.|
|The Rapture||In The Grace of Your Love||Lots of hand clapping and bass smacking on this uptempo feel good album, will have you tapping you toes.|
|Vondelpark||nyc stuff and nyc bags ep||Another favourite of Donal Dineen small hours, low fi atmospheric electronica. Camels is a great tune.|
|Timbre Timbre||Creep On Creepin' On||Alternative country shenanigans, I like the dark ominous mood the pervades this album, Bad Ritual is a good start.|
|Bell X1||Bloodless Coup||This is my favourite album from the lucan lads. They've really embraced electronica, great beats, Sugar High is a good example. I can identify with 4 Minute Mile, that's the most talking heads they get this time round|
|M83||Hurray Up We're Dreaming||More great electronic sounds, love Midnight City, might have something to do with the Lynch/O'Reilly guilty pleasure that is Made in Chelsea though.|
|Los Campesinos||Hello Sadness||Classic old school indie bandness from these welsh lads and lassies, hard to believe it's album no. 4. I love the college kids' dramas, puking on tuxes etc. Very very catchy, the Lidl version of Arcade Fire?|
|Joan as Policewoman||The Deep Field||I liked this album even if it was slightly MOTR and predictable but there are some really good tunes on it like The Magic|
|Cass McCombs||Wit's End||This is probably one of the darkest albums I have ever listened to, up there with BPB I see a Darkness. County Line is an amazing track, had the good fortune to see the man himself live this year and perform a 10 min version of the wonderful Harmonia.|
|Blake Mills||Break Mirrors||Heard this on KCRW, he's in Cass McCombs band, lots of dark midwest stories smattered through this album, I love Wintersong, something about the female vocal that's really beautiful.|
|Bill Callahan||Apocalypse||Bill shows he still has more songs, just love his voice it has an amazing quality to it.|
|Beirut||The Rip Tide||A very short album but it does have the amazing title track which I could play over and over again and not get tired.|
|King Creosote & Jon Hopkins||Diamond Mine||Another discovery from Donal's show, a bit like Gorky's Zgotic Mynci, the accented vocals were a little off putting initially but then I got to like them. Your Young Voice reminds me of Jesus Blood, they could have kept it going for another 10 mins, beautiful stuff.|
|King Krule||The Noose of Jah City||Dark Northern soul influenced indie sounds from this teenager who first came to my attention with the wonderful Out Getting Ribs as Zoo Kid. You'll find a good few live tracks from him on Soundcloud.|
|Sufjan Stevens @ Olympia|
|Mark Kozolek @ St. Canice's Cathedral|
|Drums @ Village|
|Cass McCombs @ Grand Social|
|Other Lives @ Academy 2|
|Bell X 1 @ Vicar St.|
|Jennifer Evans @ Unitarian Church|
|Bill Callahan @ Academy|
|Nicky Byrne and The Snowman @ Grand Canal Theatre (At least we avoided Disney on Ice)|
2011... Seriously, where did it go? A year of weddings (& stags), landmark birthdays, and some great trips - home & abroad. The usual dearth of cinema trips for me, but plenty of gigs, books and new music. OK...
Not many new acts in my list this year, but a great year for new albums nonetheless. A few below were in others' lists last year, but my top albums of the year are dominated by female artists. Go on the girls...
Didn't quite make the cut, and some older releases...
Didn't make EP this year, but still plenty of great nights out on the town...
The Field - Olympia. Worth going if only to witness how awful Brian Dennehy was
Live (in no particular order)
Not so new
This book was utterly captivating. Silvey manages to capture the excitement, confusion, and wit of the teenage years perfectly and pulled off a fresh love story at the same time. Also a pretty good snapshot into racist small town Australia. I literally couldn't put this down and all else fell by the wayside until this book was finished.'IF A PIRATE I MUST BE...: THE TRUE STORY OF 'BLACK BART' KING OF THE CARIBBEAN' By Richard Sanders
This was an impulsive buy but absolutely blew me away! If a Pirate I Must BeŠ is the true story of the greatest pirate ever to sail the Caribbean, and put a completely new perspective on the pirate phenomenon for me. It also highlighted the fact that they were far more democratic and decent than most of the so-called respectable traders of the time... many of whom were slavers, and who would have a vested interest in large numbers of the crew dying or deserting once on the return journey home, as there would be no need to pay them. Completely fascinating!'GLUE' by Irvine Welsh
Not new, but I've had a bit of a resurgence of interest in Irvine Welsh recently, which just shows you have to be in a receptive mood to tackle his books... But when you are, they are fucking masterpieces of Scottish seediness!! This was a highlight of my book year.'HOW NOT TO RUN A CLUB' By Peter Hook
A 5 star, laugh a minute insight into the genius / ludicrous way in which both Factory and the Hacienda was run.'CLOUD ATLAS' By David Mitchell
Great read with an interesting theme of lives criss-crossing and re-incarnation.'PASSION IS A FASHION - THE STORY OF THE CLASH' By Pat Gilbert
Brilliant biography of a brilliant band. I read this whilst solely listening to The Clash on a trip offshore and I got completely sucked into the book and the music simultaneously.'LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE - THE HISTORY OF THE DISC JOCKEY' By Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton
Finally got round to reading this as I have been meaning to for ages. Fascinating... Though probably not for everyone. You've got to be fairly nerdy musically interested to get through this.'THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO' By Steig Larsson
Brilliant.. as I'm sure half the world already knows...'GENERATION KILL' By Evan Wright
The book that the HBO series was based upon, Generation Kill follows the twenty-three marines of First Recon who spearheaded the blitzkrieg on Iraq. This elite unit, nicknamed "First Suicide Battalion,".THE BARRYTOWN TRILOGY - 'THE COMMITMENTS', 'THE SNAPPER', 'THE VAN' By Roddy Doyle
Re-read these again after many years and was virtually crying with laughter in places... All three are classics of their time.
Unfortunately I didn't get out to many live gigs, but what I did get to was worth a mention. Saw Fleet Foxes in the Marquee in Cork- fantastic absolutely, and their album is my number one for 2011. We went to see trad 'supergroup' The Gloaming in the Opera House ( martin hayes, iarla o lionard, caoimhin o raghalligh and the amazing jazz pianist from new york)- it was magical - I was so lucky to get to see them. And then we got to see Amiina in the opera house as well- how bizarre is that- gorgeous icelandic music- they had barely a word of english between them. it was amazing to see how they get all those sounds.
Also I didn't get to the cinema all year ( I'm embarrassed to say) so I could list all the films I wanted to see but missed, but anyway, I was thrilled to bits with the 2 part Scorsese film on George Harrison 'Living in the Material World' which I watched on the trusty sky plus the other night- I cried when it ended, and I don't cry at movies! Fabulous documentary on my favourite beatle- I'll be watching that one again.I watched a bit of mad men, and just loved Downton Abbey- there's a christmas day special hurrah!
Books, - well I read a nice few if I can remember what stood out.. Oh- Strumpet City- the best book by an Irish author I have ever read- what a tome, but the historical context was all absorbing, it was funny and of course was a real eye opener (why was all of that stuff glossed over in school?). I discovered American writer marilynne robinson - she has written a handful of perfect books- I loved 'Gilead' and 'Housekeeping'. I've just finished 'visit from the goon squad'- it was entertaining I have to say. I seem to be the only one who thought Neil Jordan's 'Mistaken' was completely over written, overly stylised (if that's a word).Fave Bands of 2011: Fleet foxes, The Unthanks. Would you believe I'm listening to Lyric fm now mostly in the car- cd player stuffed with coins, and I don't want to hear anymore bad news!
2011, what a year… we started with a beautiful cycle through Andean forests on the way to Bariloche, we are ending the year with a baby on the way, a new life in London, a wedding on the horizon. The year was about trips, finishing a 15 month bike ride from Mexico to the ends of the earth on Tierra del Fuego, getting back to reality in London, new jobs, new home and now looking forward to another trip of a lifetime in 2012
Music site of the year: Beyondjazz – for any music lover with a passion for broken beats, hiphop, house, nujazz, funk, soul, dubstep …
I was lucky enough to see four brilliant performances in two week around the jazz festival in November, the live highlight of the year along with the Field Day festival in East London
I came across another masterpiece in the guise of Dermots Healy's Long Time No See but apart from that I have spent perhaps the least amount of time for years with a book in hand.
Cycling three thousand kilometers to finish our Camino Latino, bringing us up to the end of February, March in London looking for jobs, lucky to have Dereks empty apartment and an open ended contract with my old company. We cycled to Stratford through the rolling Cotswolds but then the bike were put away, waiting for Africa or India or a trip to Greece, who knows. I turned 40 this year, twenty or so turned up at Hannahs place in Swansea for a long Easter break, walking in the hills, Kayaking and an Argentinian barbeque, a memorable weekend. Settling into London, finding a new job, discovering a great city... wow
Top to the Ten, 2011, no particular order, mostly music…
Field Day 2011 – I miss Field Day in Hackney’s Victoria Park every year, despite living just around the corner, as it coincides with the birthday of a close friend who isn’t interested…this year was different, as I managed to attend with Martino and some other good friends, including Hannah from back home in Swansea who I hadn’t seen in 3 years. Starting with Sun Ra Arkestra, I also took in Electrelane, Mount Kimbie, The Sea and Cake, Konono No.1, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, SBTRKT and more for £40…what a day, narrowly beats the two incredible All Tomorrow’s Parties I attended this year for the best music weekend of 2011, bring on 2012!
Lone Wolf and Cub - I read all 28 volumes of this epic tale years ago when I worked in a comic shop, but this year I started buying them for myself and re-reading without being interrupted by geeks needing service…wow. A Shakespearean tale of jealous court intrigue and loss mutates into a road trip rumination on family, justice, respect, class, and responsibility both to others and oneself, told though wonderfully-rendered cinematic linework, painstakingly researched top to bottom historical scene-setting, and oodles and oodles of blood. You may have seen the Babycart or Shogun Assassin (Liquid Swords samples!) film adaptations, but they don’t hold a candle to this epic, epic tale…
Torche – I’d been left cold by a live show at ATP a couple years back, but blundered across their 2011 tour while stuck music-less in Washington DC this summer…and wow. Awesome support by Helms Alee and Big Business, but after this show it was Torche that had blown me away I went back and discovered that their 2008 LP Meanderthal is a masterpiece of catchy, singalong, punky, heavy guitar music that I've constantly been spinning ever since…
Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes are a relatively obscure Canadian band who combine the Canadian post-rock flavour with big 70s rock, slow, inertia-heavy rhythms, and blissful guitar fuzz…I discovered their wonderful 2010 album The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night just in time to catch them play live a couple months ago, and got to chat to them at The Lexington up the road later on, lovely record-signing folks. Accidentally called the drummer ‘American’ as we chatted at the urinals later that night, but as we were drunk he took it with excellent grace…if you check the album listen to Like The Ocean; Like The Innocent and Land of Living Skies, the two songs split over two tracks each…
SBTRKT – In a year or two of brilliant bass-beats from such artists as Flying Lotus, Amon Tobin, Thundercat, Tokimonsta and more, the new SBTRKT album stands very tall, with interesting rhythms and layers, deep grooves, tons of hooks, and very tastefully chosen guest vocalists. Finding my friends right in front of the speakers in the tent he was playing at Field Day this year, when none of us were in a state to find anybody, and then dancing for what felt like hours was a real highlight of this year’s Field Day festival…good times!<
Seefeel – this 90s electronic post punk outfit that I had never even heard of before came back in a major way in 2011 with the thoroughly absorbing and tidal Seefeel on Warp Records. With the addition of a driving yet understated rhythm section from Japan that includes E-Do of The Boredoms (which was the jump-out detail that made me pick of this LP) Seefeel have put together an album that you can easily sink into for days at a time…
Fucked Up – This Canadian hardcore band have a lot more going on than their name suggests, and after building an impressive reputation with intense live shows (including a 12 hour free show in 2008), consistently awesome records, and live and studio collaborations with a huge variety of performers including Owen Pallett, GZA, Jello Biafra, and Ezra Koenig, they have trumped themselves with their most ambitious effort yet, garnering praise from across the underground and mainstream press including an album of the year from Spin. Their most recent album, David Comes To Life is a four act rock opera with four different narrators about a lightbulb factory worker called David who falls in love with a revolutionary called Veronica in a time of war……they bomb the factory as an act of protest, but Veronica dies in the explosion, David is distraught but then is told by his friend Vivian that he is merely a character in a story narrated by the evil Octavio, who actually caused Veronica’s death…David confronts Octavio, who says that he is only evil because he is predetermined thusly as the villain of the piece, and he and David fight for control of the story and Veronica’s spirit…what? Punk rock has come a looong way, listen to this LP. If you're unconvinced by my rambling review try watching this excellent video for album opener Queen of Hearts
Mogwai – Obviously no introduction needed, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will came out this year and reminded me why Mogwai are one of my favourite bands. When so many bands have copied the gentle start, dynamic build, epic crescendo of a lot of Mogwai’s earlier material, it is great to see them rising above a formula and writing music that is so much more realized, rounded, and fully-formed than that…saw them live this year and their live presence is huge, can’t wait to see them again at ATP’s 2012 London summer event…oh, and in case you haven’t seen THAT video yet…
Little Dragon – I’d never heard of this Swedish band until Martino brought their new album Ritual Union round my house…instant hit. I can so see why they have blown up this year, everybody seems to have heard the couple of singles that have come out off this album, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome guest vocals on the SBTRKT album…bouncy, angular, eminently danceable rhythms, beautiful vocals, catchy, catchy hooks, this album keeps finding its way to my speakers again, and again, and again…
Dirty Three – Why did nobody tell me about Dirty Three!? Sitting in our chalet at the Animal Collective curated–ATP earlier this year I saw the Dirty Three segment of the Sticky Carpet documentary on ATP’s weekend TV channel, and I was blown away. When I got back I checked their music out before ANY of the new bands I’d seen live at ATP, and the album I went for was Ocean Songs. Wow. Transportative is not the word, the swirling violin, gentle tidal guitar, and squalls of ramshackle drums drag you under and keep you there until they are done with you, powerful stuff. Particularly The Restless Waves and Deep Waters, both of which feature some remarkable understated and deceptively tight drums by Jim White….like Mogwai, Dirty Three are playing at ATP’s summer event in 2012, see you there if you can make it, it should be special!
And finally, honourable mentions for excellent records or live shows or other things that wowed me in 2011, even if they didn’t miss the final cut: Gillian Welch, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, OFF!, Floating Points, George Clinton, Austin Lucas, Battles, Thundercat, WU LYF, Crippled Black Phoenix, Low, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Iron & Wine, Deerhoof, And So I watch You From Afar, Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century, David Peace's GB84 (an extensively researched and important read in times of rampant tory-ism and union-strife, excellent, excellent “behind the scenes” novel), The Wire (I’d had the DVDs for a couple of years without getting into it, but apparently all you have to do is get hospitalised for a couple of weeks…who knew? Engrossing, ambitious, and near flawlessly realised do not do it justice…), and finally, while not necessarily his finest, few things gave me as much pleasure and sadness as going to pre-order the new Terry Pratchett novel and seeing that it was another Vimes….but potentially the last one. I’ll miss his work when it’s ended, as it's been with me like clockwork sonce I was a teenager...