Top 10 2011

Favourite album of the year

  1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
  2. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
  3. The Drums - Portamento
  4. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
  5. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re new here
  6. Radiohead - King of Limbs
  7. Gillian Welch - The Harrow & the Harvest
  8. Metronomy - The English Riviera
  10. tUnE-yArDs - who kill
  11. James Blake - James Blake

Film of the year

  1. Black Swan
  2. Submarine
  3. The Fighter


Declan Bates  Enda Bates  Garbhán Blake  Mark Butcher  Gerard Cagney  Tom Corcoran  Tony Corrigan  Richie Evans  Ronan Hickey  Chris Louca  Niall Lynch  Dave McGuinness  Nathan Morehouse  Derek Murphy  Mary Naughton  Martin O'Gorman  Caroline O'Reilly  Enda Ruddy  Barry Ryan  Mat Thomas  Peter Ward  Colin Waugh 

All time Contributors

Declan Bates

Dec's top ten 2011 (no particular order):

10. The National – Alligator/Boxer
2010 was the year I belatedly discovered The National through High Violet, this year I went backwards and fell in love with Boxer and Alligator, Guest Room was probably my most listened to song of the year. Sorry to be so slow ;-)

9. Teen Dream – Beach House
Seductive music I found via someone's Top Ten list from last year. Seemed to go so well with sunny summer afternoons. Thought the singer was a bloke until late this year (again, sorry etc)

8. Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack
Worth a top ten place for "I was young when I left home" alone. Recorded by someone in his bedroom when he was just a kid, amazingly moving

7. Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
Scary beautiful sexy music

6. Reggae Music other than Bob Marley
2011 was also the year I discovered the above – Blackheart Man by Bunny Wailer, Marcus Garvey by Burning Spear, and The Harder They Come by Jimmy Cliff, all absolutely classic albums

5. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Got it after reading one of those Guardian "my favourite album ever" series reviews and wasn't disappointed – lovely sunny music that totally belies the cocaine induced insanity that produced it

4. Jordi Savall – The Celtic Viol
Catalan early music scholar uncovers the grandeur of some largely-forgotten Irish traditional music

3. Sigur Ros – Inni
Stripped down live Sigur Ros loses some of the grandeur as a four-piece but also reveals intimate, fragile and ferocious details.

2. Radiohead – The King of Limbs Live from The Basement
Makes the original album sound like a rough demo – unbelievable live versions of some of their best ever music

1. Vladimir Ashkenazy- Mozart Piano Sonatas K475, K457, K570, Fantasie in C Minor, Adagio in B Minor
Late night music – lonely, dark sounds that ring like a bell

Enda Bates

Music Top Ten
1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
2. Foals - Total Life Forever
3. Crash Ensemble - Gra agus Bas
4. Cian Nugent - Doubles
5. Voches de Sardinna - Voches de Sardinna
6. Efisio Melis - Les Launeddas En Sardaigne
7. Jape - Ocean of Frequency
8. Wilco - The Whole Love
9. Iarla O'Lionaird - Foxlight
10. Ben Frost - Theory of Machines

Top Ten TV
1. Breaking Bad
2. Treme
3. Boardwalk Empire
4. Game of Thrones
5. Metalocalypse
6. Homeland
7. Curb your Enthusiasm
8. Archer
9. The Hour
10. Sons of Anarchy

Garbhán Blake


1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
2. The Black Keys - El Camino
3. Bill Ryder-Jones - If..
4. Tom Waits - Bad as Me
5. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
6. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - Scandalous
7. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
8. Gardens & Villa - Gardens & Villa
9. Radiohead - King of Limbs
10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical

Honourable Mentions
Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest
Yacht - Shangri-la
White Denim - D
Gil Scott Heron & Jamie XX - We're new here

Track listing for Blocker's Best of 2011 (coming to Dropbox soon if anyone is interested).

01 The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

02 Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – Black Snake

03 Tom Waits – Bad As Me

04 Drive by Truckers – Everybody needs Love

05 Gillian Welch – The Way it Goes

06 Bill Callahan – Baby’s Breath

07 Bon Iver – Towers

08 Atlas Sound – Mona Lisa

09 Decemberists – Calamity Song

10 PJ Harvey – The Glorious Land

11 Gardens & Villas – Spacetime

12 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Same Mistake

13 Gil Scott Heron & Jamie XX - Running

14 Cut Copy – Need you now

15 M83 – Steve McQueen

16 Four Tet – Locked

17 Burial / Four Tet / Thom Yorke - Ego

18 Radiohead – Lotus Flower

19 Panda Bear – Tomboy

20 Bill Ryder-Jones – By the Church of Appollonia

Mark Butcher



  1. DELS – GOB
  2. The Black Keys - El Camino
  3. Lack of Afro – This Time
  4. Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo
  5. Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
  6. Grouplove – Never Trust A Happy Song
  7. Tune-Yards - WHOKILL
  8. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
  9. Cashier No 9 – To The Death Of Fun
  10. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs


Hot Sauce Committee Part Two – Beastie Boys
Little Roy – Battle For Seattle
The Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Alex Turner - Submarine OST
Cornershop - Cornershop and the Double 'O' Groove Of
Y Niwl - Y Niwl
DJ Andy Smith - Jam Up Twist


  1. Video Games – Lana Del Rey
  2. Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
  3. GOB (Dave Sitek Remix) – DELS
  4. Sensations In The Dark – Gruff Rhys
  5. Colours – Grouplove
  6. Lotus Flower – Radiohead
  7. I'm Getting Ready – Michael Kiwanuka
  8. Raw Meat – The Black Lips
  9. The Last Living Rose – PJ Harvey
  10. Make Some Noise – Beastie Boys


  1. Pulp - Glastonbury, The Park
  2. Primal Scream - Camp Bestival, Castle Stage
  3. The Vaccines - Birmingham Institute
  4. Grouplove - Glastonbury, The Park
  5. Gruff Rhys & Y Niwl - Birmingham Glee Club
  6. Primal Scream - Glastonbury, Other Stage
  7. Aloe Blacc - Birmingham Institute
  8. Radiohead - Glastonbury, The Park
  9. The Bees - Glastonbury, The Park
  10. Gentlemen's Dub Club - Camp Bestival, Castle Stage



  1. Monsters
  2. Senna
  3. Submarine
  4. Source Code
  5. 13 Assassins
  6. Attack the Block
  7. Restrepo
  8. Exit Through The Gift Shop
  9. Black Swan
  10. The Fighter


Secrets In The Eyes


Black Mirror
The Shadow Line
Holy Flying Circus

Gerard Cagney

things i liked 2011:


amina alaout - arco iris
captain black big band
francois couturier - tarkovsky quartet
migeul zenon - alma adentro: the puerto rican songbook
rene marie - voice of my beautiful country

anita albus - on rare birds
jm coetzee - scenes from a provincial life
pv glob - the bog people
stefan zweig - beware of pity
winston churchill - my early life

campra - requiem
kaija saariaho - l'amour de loin
stephen hough - chopin waltzes

bon iver, gang gang dance, girls, james blake, destroyer, andrew bird, martin simpson, kur
t vile, nicolas jaar, lcd soundsystem

Tom Corcoran

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.

  1. B-Movie Lightning - Rain on a River
  2. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  3. Nicolas Jaar - Space is only noise (Vinyl album of the year)
  4. Portementu - The Drums
  5. The Jezabels - Prisoner
  6. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
  7. James Blake - James Blake
  8. Bjork - Biophilia
  9. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
  10. Various - Back & 4th (Hotflush recordings, vinyl)
Honourable mentions 12" Disappointment of the year Tune of the year Nicolas Jaar - Mi Mujer by one_ggl

Listen back of the year Gigs

Once again the Electric Picnic defined live music for me this year, here's my blog post on this wonderful festival.
  1. P.J Harvey - Mainstage, Electric Picnic, 2 September
  2. Arcade Fire - Mainstage, Electric Picnic, 3 September
  3. The Jezabels - Cosby, Electric Picnic, 3 September
  4. The Drums - Crawdaddy, Electric Picnic, 4 September
  5. The Rapture - Electric Arena, Electric Picnic, 2 September
  6. James Blake - Mainstage, Electric Picnic, 3 September
  7. Mic Christopher tribute, Vicar Street, 29 November
  8. Flying Lotus - Little Big tent, Electric Picnic, 3 September
  9. Ghostpoet - Body and soul, Electric Picnic, 3 September
  10. Mogwai - Electric Arena, Electric Picnic, 4 September
  11. Donal Dineen's Parish - Body & soul, Electric Picnic, 3 September
Live song of the year Music Tech discovery of the year
Moving Pictures
Big screen films

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.

  1. Senna
  2. True Grit - The Cohen Brothers
  3. The ides of March - George Clooneyx
  4. Preludio – Eduardo Lucatero
  5. The Fighter
Disappointment of the year Small screen films
  1. Black Swan
  2. Control
  3. The Guard
  4. The Secret in their Eyes
  5. Get him to the greek
  6. When Harry met Bob
  7. Stieg Larsson Millennium series
  8. The kids are alright
  9. Another Year
  10. Bridesmaids
  11. The Namesake
Disappointment of the year Turkey of the year TV series
  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Breaking Bad
  3. Boardwalk Empire
  4. Nurse Jackie
Live events
You Tube clip

Tony Corrigan

1. My Wedding! City Hall
2. The Lion in Winter, Robert Linsey, Joanna Lumley, Haymarket
3. Nigel Kennedy & Kroke, NCH
4. Richard III, Kevin Spacey, Old Vic
5. Three Sisters, Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgaard, NYC
6. Billy Bragg, Button Factory
7. The Childrens Hours, Kiera Knightly & Elizabeth Moss, The Comedy Theatre
8. Joanna Newsom, Grand Canal Theatre
9. Tori Amos, Grand Canal Theatre
10. Roger Daltry, Marley Park

Top 10 Albums
1. Kate Bush, 50 Words for Snow
2. Billy Bragg, Fight Songs
3. Nigel Kennedy & Kroke,
4. Robyn Hitchcock, Goodnight Oslo
5. Bjork, Biophelia
6. Tori Amos, Night of Hunter
7. Florence & the Machine, Ceremonials

Richie Evans

Top 10 Albums
1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
2. Gillian Welch – The Harrow and the Harvest
3. Destroyer - Kaputt
4. Other Lives – Tamer Animals
5. I Break Horses – Hearts
6. The Drums – Portamento
7. Wye Oak – Civilian
8. The Field - Looping State Of Mind
9. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
10. Girls - Father, Son & Holy Ghost

Top 10 Gigs
1. Sufjan Stevens @ Olympia
2. Bon Iver @ Grand Canal Theatre
3. Gillian Welch @ Grand Canal Theatre
4. Owen Pallett @ Cross Linx Eindhoven
5. Other Lives @ Academy 2
6. Bill Callahan @ Academy
7. Agnes Obel @ Sugar Club
8. Iron & Wine @ Olympia
9. Decemberists @ Vicar St
10. Echo & The Bunnymen @ Olympia

Viewing wise, it was TV that really did it for me this year rather than movies. I loved Breaking Bad, illuminated by the wonderful Bryan Cranston. I also fell hard for Friday Night Lights, great characters, believable story lines and soundtracked by Explosions In The Sky! How about that!

Ronan Hickey

Ronan Hickey

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:-)

Albums - Top 5
  1. Glowing in the Darkest Night - Pretty Lights
  2. Hot Sauce Committee Part II - Beastie Boys
  3. King of Limbs - Radiohead
  4. Passengers - Lisa Hannigan
  5. Virtue - Emmy the Great

Other Songs

  1. The Hold Steady @ The Academy, 10 February
  2. Robert Glasper Trio & Mixtapes from the Underground @ The Workmen's Club, 12 November
  3. Owen Pallett @ Whelan's, 27 June
  4. Throwing Muses @ The Academy, 10 November
  5. The Riptide Movement @ No Place Like Dome, 19 June

Honourable mentions
  1. Submarine
  2. Brighton Rock
  3. Black Swan
  4. The Third Man (Yeah I know I should have seen this years ago, but brilliant to see it in the cinema for my first viewing!)
  5. The Tingler

  1. Man of Valour @ The Samuel Beckett
  2. Trade @ (Site specific work in a B&B on Gardiner Street)
  3. Raoul @ The Abbey
  4. When Irish Hearts Are Praying @ Smock Alley

Live events
Running Races
  1. Wicklow Way Relay - Teams of 7 people run the whole Wicklow Way in relay. It's an amazing, amazing day. The craic is unreal, people get lost, positions are changing the whole time and it's the most inclusive race you'll ever run.
  2. Tonelagee and the Lake - IMRA Leinster Championship race. Only 6K but with nearly 1900 feet of ascent. Straight up Tonelagee from the Wicklow Gap carpark, down the other side, around heart-shaped Loch Iolar, back up Tonelagee and back down to the carpark. Savage!
  3. The Lakes 10Km - A brilliantly organised race. They enforce a small field, the roads are closed and they give free 99s and muffins at the end!!
  4. Jingle Bells 5K - The new course in the Phoenix Park is lightning fast. As always Donore put on a brilliant race.
  5. ARC Men's Mini-marathon - Stupid name but run on the same 10k course as the Great Ireland Run but with a fraction of the participants it's a gem.
YouTube Award
Awesome Person Award

Brendan Jennings

Chris Louca


In no particular order:

1) Jonathan Wilson - Gentle Spirit
A cracking album, filled with laid back tunes echoing shades of Devandra Banhart, Elliot Smith and even Pink Floyd! A true masterpiece for blissed out guitar folk/rock - would love to see him live!!!!

2) White Denim - D
Another corker, with short spiky but singable tunes!

3) Metronomy - The English Riviera
Hailing from Devon, i've tried to champion these amongst friends and colleagues. A quirky album of great pop tunes with a slight danceable feel. I can imagine them being great live!

4) Fuyija & Miyagi - Ventriloquizzing
A little above minimalist electro, this is filled with beautifully whispered stories amongst great beeps and blips!

5) Colourmusic - My ____ is pink
A shock to my system when I first heard this. It's a definate grower and just get better and better!

6) Danger Mouse & Danielle Luppi - Rome
Probably the most gorgeous album of the year (if you love Spaghetti Western soundtracks and Morricone!!!!)

7) Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Another album of beautiful songs, particularly 'Just A Song'

8) Black Keys - El Camino
Another brilliant Black Keys album, full of dirty guitars and upbeat blues rhythms!!!!

9) Steve Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic
A return to form for Steve Malkmus (IMO!) sooooo good, it could be a Pavement album!

10) The Horrors - Skying
An album, I didn't give much credit to and the first few listens but it got under my skin and grew and grew into a corker!

Notable mentions:
Justice - Audio, Video, Disco
Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo
The Antlers - Burst Apart
Akron/Family - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts

Apologies, if not all films were indeed released in 2011 - having a young family certainly trashes chances of going to the cinema so I have to rely on Lovefilm!
(again in no particular order!!!)

1) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Makes glasses cool again!!! An acting film unreliant on special effects or gadgetry - just big heads on the big screen acting it out - awesome!

2) Submarine
Great directorial debut by Richard Ayoade, a touching comedy with an outstanding performance by the mulletted Paddy Considine!

3) Cedar Rapids
I never knew Insurance Conventions could be so much fun. Quality kooky comedy (and another great showing by John C Reilly!!!)

4) The Fighter
Deserved all it's plaudits at the Oscars - a great film (watched eventually in September!!!!)

5) True Grit
As per The Fighter - great return to form by the Coens, well shot and typically brilliant dialogue!

6) The Way Back
Amazing tale of escapees from a Siberian Gulag walking to freedom to India - astonishing cinematography

7) The Animal Kingdom
Aussie based family crime thriller - great performances, particularly the family patriach in a film that doesn't leave you with the feel good factor afterwards!

8) Morning Glory
A rom-com (I know, I know) but a great comedic turn from Harrison Ford in a movie set around morning television! (The weather man story is worthy alone!)

9) The Secret In Their Eyes
Argentinian thriller spanned across decades, following a prosecutor tracking down the murder of a young woman. The ending is jaw-dropping!

10) Buried
How can a film about a man in a box keep you captivated for 90 minutes.....? this one can!!!

Notable Mentions:
Captain America
Red Hill
Going The Distance

Live Music:
Totally limited to just the one outing - BUT WHAT AN OUTING!!!!!

The Eden Project, Cornwall:
The Flaming Lips
The Go! Team
OK, Go
Badly Drawn Boy
The Travelling Band

Great day out in the sunshine and probably the most perfect location for a Lips gig - full of lasers, explosions, balloons, streamers, not to mention a barage of Wizard of Oz characters dancing either side of the stage - truly hypnotic and crazy!!!!

Well, that was my year in Entertainment!!!!!

Niall Lynch

Nialls Top 10

It has been a particularly tough year in the Lynch/O'Reilly household but music has remained a necessary diversion and perhaps even more so with all the other difficulties life throws up.

GrooveShark play list
Artist Album Ramblings
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 next best 10 or 11 or 12

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)

Dave McGuinness

Dave McGuinness

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...

Albums of the Year

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...

  1. Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow. Another classic album, up there with her best. 32 years since she toured though (hint: if you happen to read this Kate...)
  2. Feist - Metals. The Reminder was a tough act to follow, but this one is even better. A nearly flawless album which just grows with each listen
  3. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse. Sensational, beautiful album and like nothing else you'll hear this year
  4. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake. Fabulous album, she's just getting better & better
  5. Gillian Welch - The Harrow & the Harvest. She's not breaking any new ground - the formula remains the same, just gorgeous songs with amazing lyrics
  6. Wilco - The Whole Love. Obviously one of my favourite bands, but this is a real return to form. Still pushing the boundaries of alt-country (I'm sure they love to hear that)
  7. Yuck - Yuck. Derivative in the extreme - think of any band you love from the 90's and it's probably an influence. And that's why you'll probably love them too
  8. James Blake - James Blake. What a voice, what an album. Feist cover "Limit to your Love" is a standout track
  9. M83 - Hurry up we're dreaming. Just to prove I'm still 'down with it' and 'current'
  10. Wild Beasts - Smother. Another top album from these lads

Albums: Honourable Mentions

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...

  1. Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings - Grand Canal Theatre. Who would have thought a bluegrass gig would top my list this year? Brilliant performers - 3 encores says it all. Johnny Cash and Neil Young covers were a bonus
  2. James Vincent McMorrow - The Olympia. Homecoming gig, the crowd were well up for this, and so were James and his band. Hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck type of evening
  3. Tim Minchin - Vicar Street. I've seen Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard & Bill Bailey in the flesh, but Tim Minchin is the best of all these wrapped up in one - wickedly talented singer, commentator, musician and entertainer. Not convinced? Try this
  4. Elbow/Villagers - O2. Elbow - I'm a fan, and have all their albums, but concede they are somewhat MOR. Flawless & surprisingly powerful live act though, and Villagers were brilliant in support
  5. Bill Callahan - The Academy. Charismatic and grumpy in the extreme, but what a voice and what great songs too (and I know you still regret not buying the new album beforehand Garbhán!)
  6. Seasick Steve/Rodrigo y Gabriela - Marlay Park. Loved both of these performances, actually Seasick marginally better even though supporting
  7. Villagers/Beach House. Marlay Park. Really great to be able to stoll down the road for a lovely chilled out evening with the missus
  8. The Frames + Mary Janes + guests - Vicar Street. Certainly the best value for money! (~4 hours). Hardly a dull moment, and cameos from Mike Scott, Paul Brady, Mundy, Scullion and many more. Thanks for the heads-up Tom, and great to be there for your birthday Christine
  9. Katell Keineg - Odessa Club. Intimate (<50 people, when it got busy later). Richenda saw her in the early 90's, I saw her in the late 90's. Great to see her close up together in 2011. Her voice is still amazing
  10. Pugwash - Whelans. Knew nothing about them beforehand, but bought the new album on the strength of the show. Neil Hannon came on stage for the encore. Great night (and saw them again in Tower Records a week later when I popped in to buy the album!)


The Field - Olympia. Worth going if only to witness how awful Brian Dennehy was

Events, Activities, Sports...

Live (in no particular order)

Not live

  1. Ireland - Australia. Rugby world cup. What. A. Match. Unforgettable.
  2. New Zealand - France. What. A. Final. Extreme drama



Not so new



A good year for reading... Over and out

Nathan Morehouse

Nate's favorite 10 albums of 2011 (in reverse alphabetical order just for the hell of it)

Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation
- I still enjoy this melodic lo-fi sound, even after constant radio play nearly ruined Beach House's 2010 album. Hits my sentimental side just right on a cloudy day.

WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
- I'd heard many of the songs off this record already in demo version, but their more mature and filled out versions on the full length made them all feel fresh again. No disappointments here, just great passionate expansive music. Songs you my belt out after too many drinks with a good friend.

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l
- Jangled revelatory music, inhabiting the space between MIA, Dirty Projectors and Fela Kuti. There's a whiff of hipster striving in the presentation, but it doesn't undermine the genius of the music. Worthy of repeated careful listens.

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
- Well, there's all sorts of backstory to the concept of this album, from organs played in empty cathedrals to the annual tradition of a dorm at MIT pushing a piano off its roof. Musically, it's the huge and shimmering soundscapes Tim has been making for some time now. This is perhaps my favorite of his to date.

Panda Bear - Tomboy
- I love this guy. His splay of Beachboys inspired harmonies and intricately layered sounds repeatedly uplifted my heart through a dreary French spring. Alsatian Darn makes you feel like wherever you're walking is worth going to.

Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
- Nice to see this rising star put out a mature full length. Intelligent and elegant, makes you wonder about calling it "home" instead of "house".

Morning Teleportation - Expanding Anyway
- I have to admit to being uninspired (or uninterested?) in much of what happened this year in the indie rock scene, but this one's a standout exception. Reminds me of the energy, precocious skill and sheer creative breadth of early Modest Mouse. Equal parts challenging and melodic, these guys won't run out of good ideas anytime soon.

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
- An old fave (King Creosote) pairs with electronic sound artist Jon Hopkins to stunning effect. These are songs of life's simple sadnesses and surprises. Best King Creosote album in years and one of the best whole records of the year.

James Blake - s/t
- Yeah, I still love this guy's music despite the ensuing hype and the slight queasiness (for me) induced by the heavy usage of other people's songs. He knows how to use his warm voice to inhabit the open spaces of his music.

Chancha Via Circuito - Rio Arriba
- Released in 2010, I didn't catch this one until this year. Industrial clanks reminiscent of scrubbed Tom Waits paired with traditional Argentine folk songs and cumbia, all produced to memorable effect. Wish this guy came for another tour in the US, I'd love to see how the dancefloor moves to this hybrid material.

Derek Murphy

Murph's Top Ten 2011:

'JASPER JONES' by Craig Silvey

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Brilliant.. as I'm sure half the world already knows...


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,".


Re-read these again after many years and was virtually crying with laughter in places... All three are classics of their time.

MUSIC: (In no particular order... Just albums I've listened to a lot this year!)
Mariachi El Bronx - Mariachi El Bronx II (Love these guys sooooo much. It's not everyday one of your favourite punk bands transform into a mariachi side-project!)
Little Barrie - King Of The Waves (This almost slipped under my radar...)
Great bluesy, funky soulful rock n roll)
Eric Burdon & War - Eric Burdon Declares War - (1969 classic...)
The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang - (from 2010 but been getting a pounding on the Murphy stereo this year)
Drapht - The Life Of Riley (Quality Aussie Hip Hop with a pop edge)

The Limp Twins - Tales From Beyond The Groove (Funky and phat... Not new but new to me)
Bliss n Eso - Running On Air - (Fantastic Aussie Hip Hop again...
Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know (Refreshing folky female)
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi - Rome (Ennio Morricone-esk... A nice change from the norm)
Kasabian - Velociraptor (Kasabian keeping good form)

FILMS etc... Again... In no particular order and off the top of my head
- Kill The Irishman
- The King's Speech
- The Fighter
- Town
- Exit Through The Giftshop
- Griff The Invisible
- Cowboys & Aliens
- 9
- Cop Out
- Love Birds
- Bridesmaids

Live events a bit of a no-starter again I'm afraid... Really must make more of an effort!

Mary Naughton

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!

Martin O'Gorman

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

Martin musical top ten - a Gil Scott-Heron tribute

  1. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re new here
  2. B-Movie Lightning - Rain on a River
  4. Mount Kimbie – Crooks & Lovers
  5. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam
  6. Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
  7. Little Dragon – Ritual Union
  8. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
  9. Thundercat - The Golden Age Of Apocalypse
  10. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

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

Gigs of the year

  1. McCoy Tyner Trio with Jose James at the Barbican
  2. Abdullah Ibrahim at the Wigmore
  3. Ornette Coleman at the Royal Festival Hall
  4. George Clinton at the Camden Jazz Cafe


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.

  1. Long Time No See by Dermot Healy
  2. A million little pieces by James Frey
  3. Open by Andre Agassi
  4. Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon

Events of the year

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

Caroline O'Reilly


  1. PJ Harvey, Paradiso, Amsterdam
  2. PJ Harvey, Electric Picnic
  3. Josh T Pearson, The Workmans Club
  4. Toby Kaar, Button Factory, HWCH
  5. Sufjan Stevens and DM Stith, Olympia
  6. Other Lives, Academy 2
  7. Mark Kozelek, St Canices, Kilkenny
  8. Grinderman, Vicar Street
  9. Interpol, Electric Picnic
  10. Drums, The Village
Honorable mentions
  1. Jennifer Evans * 3, at Twisted Pepper, at Whelans and at the Unitarian Church with Halves
  2. The Rapture at EP
  3. Conor Walshe, HWCH, Sheeben Chic
  4. Moths, Workmans Club, HWCH

  1. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
  2. Josh T.Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
  3. Sun Kil Moon - Admiral Fell Promises
  4. Drums - Portamento
  5. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love
  6. Other Lives - Tamer Animals
  7. Hanni El Khatib – Will the Guns Come Out
  8. Dirty Beaches – Badlands
  9. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Honorable mentions
  1. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
  2. Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
  3. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX - We're New Here
  4. Bantum - Slide EP
  5. Thread Pulls - New Thoughts

Enda Ruddy


Gil Scott-Heron with Jamie XX We're new here
PJ Harvey Let England Shake
Metronomy the English Riviera
Bill Callahan Apocalypse
tUnE-yArDs who kill
Girls Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Noah and the Whale Last night on earth


Gold Panda Marriage
Kasper Bjørke Young Again (Whomadewho remix)
Fritz Kalkbrenner Facing the Sun
Little Scream The Heron and the Fox
Little Dragon Ritual Union
Noir & Haze Around (Solomun vox remix)
Jamie XX Far Nearer
Gil Scott-Heron with Jamie XX I'll take care of you
PJ Harvey On Battleship hill
Girls Honey Bunny
tUnE-yArDs Gangsta
Metronomy The Look
The Strokes Taken for a Fool
Patrick Kelleher Coat to wear


Nothing Personal Urszula Antoniak
The Guard John Michael McDonagh
Tinker Tailor... Tomas Alfredson
Drive Nicolas Winding Refn


Melkweg Janelle Monae
Amstel Kerk Bill Callahan
People's place BellX1
Paradiso PJ Harvey
Fusion Festival in Germany

Barry Ryan

Album of the year: Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
Film of the year: Melancholia

Mat Thomas

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...

Peter Ward

1. Baby’s Arms – Kurt Vile
2. Killin’ The Vibe (featuring Panda Bear) – Ducktails
3. Wait In The Dark – Memory Tapes
4. Waiting For My Chance To Come – Noah And The Whale
5. Rolled Together – The Antlers
6. The Look – Metronomy
7. Black Hills – Gardens & Villa
8. Lion’s Share – Wild Beasts
9. The Great Pan Is Dead – Cold Cave
10. Go Outside – Cults
11. Get Some – Lykke Li
12. Graveyard – Feist
13. Written On The Forehead – PJ Harvey
14. California – EMA
15. This Is All We’ve Got – Cut Copy
16. Sunporch – Walls
17. The Wilhelm Scream – James Blake
18. Woman, When I’ve Raised Hell – Josh T Pearson

Colin Waugh

music- in no particular order but Bon Iver got the most plays for sure
1- Bon Iver- Bon Iver
2- Tom Waits- Bad as me
3- The Phoenix Foundation -Buffalo
4- Low- C'mon
5- Radiohead- King of limbs
6- Juliana Barwick- The Magic Place
7- Drive- Soundtrack
8- Trax re-edited (original housemusic from Chicago scene 1980's)
9- Girls- Father, son, holy ghost

Best Film- Tree of Life
runnerup- Drive

Best Sporting moment
Ireland v Australia world cup- best atmosphere at a game I've felt in 10 yrs

Best Gig
Tahuna Breaks/Buffalo foundation christchurch dec 3