This is only going to be a short list, twenty of the best releases of 2011 – containing a very strong top five of the universally critically acclaimed mercury prize winning P J Harvey album; to the pretty much unknown fourth placers Cashier Number 9 with their belfast “baggy” music in the form of debut To The Death Of Fun; on to the infamous WU LYF’s Go Tell Fire To The Mountain; with The Horrors’ epic being very unlucky to have missed out on the top spot and been released in the same year as the flawless second electric record from Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix, an unquestionably clear record of the year.
For the best tracks of 2011: https://codamusicblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/best-tracks-of-2011/
The complete top ten follows:
1. Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
The unrivaled stand out release of the year, shocking topping the brilliance of Bombay’s first album I Had The Blues. A pop record full of beats and nods to The Stone Roses brand of psychedelia. The infusions of guitar based indie and melodic folk makes it Bombay Bicycle Club’s offering clearly a record of its time. You cannot go without listening to this record.
Top Tracks: Take The Right One, How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep, What You Want and Your Eyes.
2. The Horrors – Skying
How have The Horrors reached this point with an unlistenable first album to their third, Skying – a masterpiece and force of nature which although not entirely ground-breaking stylistically is a beautifully created record. The themes of oceans and expanse resonate through an album without a faulty song on it.
Top Tracks: Still Life, You Said and Moving Further Away.
3. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Don’t think for a second that WU LYF are all about the mystery of their image because this album is euphoric undecipherable sound-scapes. They brought something very different to the tale with the success of the contrasting elements of screaming savage vocals and clean poppy instrumentals gives WU LYF a memorising signature sound.
Top Tracks: Heavy Pop, Such A Sad Puppy Dog, 14 Crowns For Me And All My Friends and L Y F.
4. Cashier Number 9 – To The Death Of Fun
Cashier Number 9 haven’y caught many people attention this year, with their top youtube video only reaching 40,000 hits – and god knows why not. They have a really accessible sound and make joyful jangling guitar music which sounds so perfect prticularly well done the three tracks mentioned below.
Please Note: Due to the opening of Codamusic being half way through the year, not all of these albums have been reviewd.
Top Tracks: Oh Pity, The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out and Make You Feel Better.
5. P J Harvey – Let England Shake
As mentioned earlier, the universally critically acclaimed mercury prize winning Let England Shake truly deserves such prefixes. It is an beautifully executed politically based album about the war and ruin which which have caused. The love for a great nation, or what used to be a great nation – not that the album’s beauty can only be realized with this theme. Every song is brilliant so don’t just listen to the tracks below.
Top Tracks: Bitter Branches, The Last Living Rose and Written On The Forehead.
6. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
A return to form from the Arctic Monkeys, with a mature album that is listenable and also lyrically brilliant. It’s not the Arctic Monkeys of old, but really no one in their right mind would want that after listening to this. And one belter of a closing track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9U1r38di-8 (Number 1 on the Best Tracks Of 2011 list as it happens)
Top Tracks: That’s Where Your Wrong, The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala and Reckless Serenade.
7. I Break Horses – Hearts
The first overseas album, from Sweden’s I Break Horses whose electronic shoe-gaze pop is one of this years highlights. A trance-inducing cascade of electronic music, which really seems to have a soul. An under the radar album of other worldly majesty.
Top Tracks: Winter Beats, Pulse and Wired.
8. S.C.U.M. – Again Into Eyes
S.C.U.M., a post-punk outfit who say their music is the manifestation of repressed lust. Their debut album takes influence and mood from Joy Division – a must listen for any post-punk devotee. Although its of a particular taste, the darkness of the music really comes through as euphoria rather than depression.
Top Tracks: Whitechapel, Amber Hands, Cast Into Seasons and Faith Unfolds.
9. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Having assumed the worst after the Beady Eye’s flop, Noel pleasantly surprised with this collection of tracks. If you never liked Oasis these aren’t for you as they are nothing new but if you did, its blood good stuff. If only he had spent a few more minutes thinking of a better name, lets be honest it shouldn’t take long.
Top Tracks: Stop The Clocks, If I Had A Gun and (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine.
10. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
The best of this years influx of brilliant American lo-fi psychedelic rock which includes Smith Westerns and Moon Duo. Trippy, drug distorted vocals and direct punchy guitar. UMO’s debut is also very accessible and relatively easy listening for what it is, making it one of the coolest albums of 2011.
Best Tracks: Ffunny Ffrends, How Can U Luv Me, Biocycle and Thought Ballune.
11. White Lies – Ritual
12. Metronomy – The English Riviera
13. The Crookes – Chasing After Ghosts
14. Yuck – Yuck
15. Glasvegas – Euphoric /// Heartbeat \\\
16. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
17. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
18. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
19. Moon Duo – Mazes
20.The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
Disagree? Missed any of yours? Pray Tell.
Please note that these are not the opinions of the whole codamusic team but of one man.
Oscar B. Wilson