One of the highlights of seeing the Villagers play live in Oxford about 18 months ago was the final song of the set, a poignant and heartbreaking song called Cecelia Her Selfhood. It turns out it has long been a live favourite, but only recently has it been finally recorded in the studio and an accompanying video made. Although we are a little late with it, we wanted to post it because the video (which is more of a short film) is truly superb. It even lives up to the press release blurb: “The film charts the development of a young man as he navigates his way through an impressionistic landscape in search of an elusive monster which is intent on destroying his childhood home”
And so it does – in brilliant animation which provides the perfect visuals for the song.
And so here we have our top ten albums of the year. To be honest the order is fairly arbitrary – on another day it could be a completely different as really these ten records have so little between them in turns of the pleasure and enjoyment they gave us. If you’ve not acquainted yourselves with any of these then we’re pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
The last Friday of 2011. And so begins a slow walk to the end of another year.
Ambushed by Christmas (my own fault, of course: same date every year, nothing to be scared of), tending sick animals and children, reigning in the oldies while fighting the desire to sleep spontaneously with bouts of manic activity that appeared to achieve very little, I am reminded that the best things in life are three.
When I was a (lot) younger, and Martin O’Neill was no more than a twinkle in my footballing eye, and I still got a satsuma in my stocking from the big man (and while satsumas may not be the only fruit, they are a damn fine one), I never thought life could still be so complicated.
Good job I got a number of fine books this year to distract me, as well as a little bird and some flying saucers (filled with sherbet, not aliens I might add), not to mention the tunes… Music remains as ever an original soundtrack to life, offering guiding lights, signposts and memorial stones to our experiences. Comfort and joy.
Wishing you a musical bounty in 2012, as well as some Lovehearts in your pocket.
So, as the New Year approaches, here are our favourite albums of 2011 for your consideration. Feel free to dispute, argue, or otherwise put us right because, if nothing else, music is as about as subjective topic as it is possible to get. Some of these may not be the “best” albums of the year as far as the critics are concerned, but that matters not, as they were the ones we enjoyed listening to most – give them a try, you might feel the same.
Back in March we posted about a band called Rat Trap and they have returned with a new single Iowa, which has some pleasing echoes of 90s inspired indie rock in the style of Pavement or Modest Mouse, but believe us when we say it is more than good enough to stand on its own two feet.
Redanda is a full-on, fully greased up member of the garage rock brotherhood. This, of course, is a very good thing indeed as far as we’re concerned.
In the DIY spirit their latest EP Carl, was recorded in a dirty house full of cat shit. No surprise then that lead track This Bed Is A Rock is bursting with a brashness and sneered vocals that recalls vintage Strokes (remember that?) and has more attitude crammed into its two minutes and a few seconds of whiplash drumming and guitar that many bands manage in a career.
Meryll is the project of Andrew Hernandez (who is also the touring sound engineer for Balmorhea).
Haunts, Volume 1: The Palace will be released digitally on January 31st. It is a dark record, mixing ambient washes with sparse folk and calls to mind artists such as Grouper, Tiny Vipers and Mt. Eerie.