Best of 2011, No.2: Daniel Martin Moore – In the Cool of the Day

This time last year, I was freezing just across the road from the English Channel (or la Manche if you’re that way inclined) just a short stroll from the De La Warr Pavillion where I’d seen Billy Brag perform the previous evening.  I’d not gone to see Bill though (enjoyable, funny and stirring as he was), instead I’d driven 270 miles to catch a support act who had come up.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.3: The Head and the Heart

Another fine tip-off from my Washington Correspondent, I said back in February after listening to it for a few weeks previous that “I strongly suspect that this band and this album will be all over the place by the Summer”, and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t that far off.  The Head and the Heart have been quietly and happily snowballing their way through the year, and it’s a.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.4: Dustin O’Halloran – Lumiere

And so on to the next part of this coincidental double-header.  Like the previous entry this, somewhat obviously, features Dustin O’Halloran (who has, by my reckoning, been involved in four of this top 50 in one way or another and is also on two that didn’t end up being included), it’s more minimal neo-classical performances, and it also makes my eyes go funny in the nicest possible way, although this once.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.5: A Winged Victory For the Sullen

  Right, let’s see if I can get the right year this time shall we?  I’ve now changed the year in the title of the last one from 2001 to 2011, wish it was that easy to do my Birth Certificate…  Anyway, the plan is to get two of these out of the way today – partly because I didn’t do one yesterday due to a spot of cold-based bedriddening,.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.6: Screaming Trees – Last Words

If I had allowed pure sentiment to run the rule over this Top 50, this would be Number 1 for the sheer amount of memories I have accrued whilst listening to this band.  In the spirit of fairness however (I know, that I have one of those came as a surprise to me as well) I’ve had to put it purely in the contextual vacuum of this year alone, and.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.7: Erland and the Carnival – Nightingale

I have one of those brains that tends to work on the basis of “if it’s a bit strange, then I like it”.  This record (and, indeed, band) are very strange, and I like them a lot.  No great surprise there, then.  To be merely a bit strange in the context of this record would be to mention that this is one of two albums in my Top 50  that.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.8: Black Whales – Shangri-La Indeed

I have to admit that I have have had a little bit of help this year.  Much as I wish that I could, I don’t sit here, sage-like, plucking unheard-of records out of the air.  It’d save me a fortune for a start.  But no, I have been assisted on more than one occasion this year with handy recommendations, pointers and samples from a friend over in the Pacific Northwest.. Read More

Best of 2011, No.9: Matthew Ryan – I Recall Standing As Though Nothing Could Fall

  Of all the new music I prattle on about here, almost all of them are written about while they are being played for after very few spins – usually I write during the second playthrough, sometimes it’s the first (the latter made obvious by mentioned tracks appearing in chronological order).  The reason I do this is because I want to write about the new stuff as a polar opposite.. Read More

Best of 2011, No. 10: Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys!

After that stunning array of punctuation in the subject header, I suppose that I’d better get on with it.  My top ten of this year was fairly easy to decide upon in terms of pretty much who was going to be in it, the tricky bit was (and still is – it’s a bit fluid) working out in which order to place them.  I’d better get a shift on then.. Read More