This final episode of 2011 reviews our favourites (such as The Pack AD, Smith Westerns, and Beirut) , and consensus picks (such as M83, Bon Iver, and PJ Harvey) from the popular and no-so-popular presses.
Having to settle on 24 albums (plus two from 2010) in the independent/alternative oeuvre was far more difficult than it sounds. Culture progresses towards the musical singularity unabated, so behold a broadly genre-less future where you have no idea what you’re listening to, but it still sounds pretty damn good! In the end, this show is actually overflowing with music, including a pared down tracks by The Field and Toronto’s own Sandro Perri (and a tip of the hat to Impossible Spaces, which landed on Pitchfork’s list).
This isn’t a countdown, but we do end with our unqualified favourites of the annum: The Vaccines are a presence at the top with their shapely punk-rock re-boot What Did You Expect from the Vaccines?; and No Joy’s fuzzy dream-pop is a nominally Canadian, nominally 2011 release that compliments that sound nicely.
But it’s two ladies who steal the show this year. St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) continued her ascent to the top of the inscrutable-pop-charts, and Little Scream (aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer) emerged out of Iowa to become Montreal’s most well-connected young musician.
We’re on break for a couple of weeks, but here’s one last song for a year that began a Tiger, and ended a Rabbit. Thanks for listening, and all the best in 2012!
- jj – Still (Kills)
- Cut Copy – Need You Now (Zonoscope)
- M83 – Midnight City (Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming)
- Miracle Fortress – Everything Works (Was I the Wave?)
- John Maus – The Crucifix (We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves)
- Atlas Sound – Parallax (Parallax)
- The Field – It’s Up There (Looping State Of Mind)
- Beirut – A Candle’s Fire (The Rip Tide)
- Timber Timbre – Bad Ritual (Creep On Creepin’ On)
- Girls – Love Life (Father, Son, Holy Ghost)
- Smith Westerns – Weekend (Dye It Blonde)
- Sloan – Your Daddy Will Do (The Double Cross)
- Whitehorse – Emerald Isle (Whitehorse)
- Dan Mangan – How Darwinian (Oh Fortune)
- Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Helplessness Blues)
- Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers (Wounded Rhymes)
- The Pack A.D. – Pieces (Unpersons)
- PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder (Let England Shake)
- Sandro Perri – Wolfman (Impossible Spaces)
- Destroyer – Savage Night At The Opera (Kaputt)
- Bon Iver – Towers (Bon Iver)
- Real Estate – All The Same (Days)
- The Vaccines – Wreckin’ bar (ra ra ra) (What Did You Expect From the Vaccines)
- The Vaccines – If You Wanna (What Did You Expect From the Vaccines)
- No Joy – Mediumship (Ghost Blonde)
- No Joy – Heedless (Ghost Blonde)
- St. Vincent – Hysterical Strength (Strange Mercy)
- St. Vincent – Year of the Tiger (Strange Mercy)
- Little Scream – Amahl (The Golden Record)
- Little Scream – Cannons (The Golden Record)
- Little Scream – The Heron and the Fox (The Golden Record)