Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gary Edwards Top 10 albums of 2011

Bubbling under & honorable mentions in no particular order;

Gazpacho - Missa Atropos
Joy Formidable - The Big Roar
Gorrilaz - The Fall
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Jonny - Jonny
Blackfield - Welcome To My DNA
Saxon - Call To Arms
Michael Monroe - Sensory Overdrive
Dream Theater - A Dramstic Turn Of Events
UNKLE - Where Did The Night Fall


Fujiya & Miyagi - Ventriloquizzing

No they are not from Japan, Fujiya & Miyagi hail from Brighton, England & this is their 4th & 1st to feature an actual producer after handling the first three themselves. With it's deadpan lyrics sung in a monotone voice by David Best, this will be a record that some will find they will have to play several times to fully get the flavour of. Me, I was hooked on first listen & have been listening since it was released almost a year ago. Krautrock comes to mind, for those who want to find musical significance.
Highlights; 'Minestrone', 'Sixteen Shades Of Black & Blue' & the title track.
Yacht - Shangri-La
Essentially a two piece band hailing from Portland, OR, Yacht which stands for 'Young Americans Challenging High Technology' explore everything from utopian dreams to spiritual misgivings, all set to a languid & quirky techo beat, kid of like a cross between early TalkingHeads & post modern Kraftwerk. Uniqually packaged 'Shangri-La' sees the 2 piece Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans bounce their way through standouts such as;
'Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)' with it's offensive MF lyrical content & the trippy (pun intended) 'Tripped& Fell In Love'.
Drive By Truckers - Go Go Boots
Nothing new to report here, just another superb crop of murder ballads culled from Patterson Hoods demented journal. Following on from the more straight ahead rock orientated 'The Big
To-Do', 'Go-Go Boot's' at first seems alittle disjointed, but on repeated listens the subtle nuances of their sound shines through. This is just another chapter in the story that is DBT. Coming off like a redneck Tom Petty the band rattle off 14 gems all deserving a pride of place in anyone's music collection.
Highlights: 'Go-Go Boot's', 'Used To Be A Cop' & 'The Thansgiving Filter'
Opeth - Heritage
No not the dark doom laden metal of albums past, but dark nonetheless. Dripping in 70's nostaglia, complete with cracking Hammond organ tubes, mellotron & flute, the album wears many of the Swedish bands or more to the point Mikael Akerfeldt influenceson it's sleeves. Gentle Giant, Palladin & Focus come to mind. It's almost as though this album was made to be a cult album, reveared by the fans who seek the obscure not those who seek the known.
Standout tracks include; The Devil's Orchard & Famine.
Black Country Communion - 2
As the title suggest this is the 2nd album from productive 'supergroup' Black Country Communion. Featuring two Brits; Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple) & Jason Bonham (yes John's son) along with two Yanks; Joe Bonamassa & Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater), '2' is a continuation albeit a better one from their self titled debut released in 2010. This oozes class, playing, structure & sound is immaculate, Bonham is the real deal, he truly is his fathers son & the Hughes / Bonamassa partnership is worth the price of admission alone. All ofthe boxes are checked here, this is classy, classy stuff indeed.
Highlights; 'Save Me' & 'Cold'.
The Waterboys - An Appointment With Mr. Yeats
A welcome return after a 5 year absence sees Mike Scott & the (Water) boys back in fine form with a lyrical tribute to Irish poet WB Yeats. All the trademarks are here poignant, wistful lyrics, & a sound that if you close your eyes transports the listener to the very emerald isle Yeats was writting about almost 100 years ago. A true musical genius Scott's vision has produced another classic that rivals better known works such as 'This Is The Sea' & 'Fishermans Blues'. An Appointment With Mr. Yeats', truly deserves to be heard by the masses it's that good. So grab yourself a comfy seat in the corner of your favorite Irish pub, order a pint of the black stuff & as Dobie Gray once said 'Drift Away'.
Katie Kim guests on the brilliant 'Before The World Was Made', others include 'The Hosting Of The Shee' & 'A Full Moon In March'.
Airbag - All Rights Removed
Sophmore album from Norwegian progsters, who's sound is well let's face it they sound like Pink Floyd. This is headphone with the lights out stuff, a vast sonic landscape, with soaring Gilmouresque guitars. Following on from 2009's 'Identity' which also made myTop 10 that year too, 'All Rights Removed' doesn't stray to far from their debut album formular with it's mix of Floyd come Porcupine Tree leanings. Don't get me wrong although they do wear their influences clearly on their collective sleeves Airbag do have their own uniquesound one that should be explored as soon as possible. Classic 70's style progressive rock polished to a professional sheen.
Highlights include; the title track & the over 17min closer 'Homesick'.
Those Darlins - Screws Get Loose
The Darlin sisters Jessi, Nikki & Kelley along with drummer & non related male Linwood Regensburg return with their 2nd album. Hailing from Country, country (Nashville, TN) Those Darlins as you might expect do have a twang to them, mixing Psychedelia, Hillbilly &Garage Rock into an alt.Country stew. All Three girls take a stab at the vocals & even Mr. Regensburg gets in on the act on 'Let U Down'. Big things are predicted for Those Darlins & with nairly a dud on the album it's easy to see why.
Standouts include but are not limitedto; 'Mystic Mind', 'Screws Get Loose' & '$'
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Let's face it Noel Gallagher was Oasis, his tunes, his sound, his vision, so it's no suprise that NGHFB is head & shoulders above his brother Liam's Beady Eye release from earlier in the year. There are some true classics on here, bold, atmospheric & songswith more hooks than a bait shop in the middle of summer. This is the natural progression Oasis should have evolved into after 'Be Here Now', but has it come too late only time will tell.
Standouts are numerous but the highlights are; 'Everybody's On The Run','If I Had A Gun' & the sublime 'Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me'
The Sheepdogs - Learn And Burn
Canadian band who sound like they have just woken from some kind of late 60's Woodstock inspired psychedelic dream. This is OLD SCHOOL rock, fuzzy guitars, fuzzy beards played through fuzzy (sounding) amps. No thrills, no pretentions just Grand Funk Railroad, Widespread Panic, Canned Heat style rock. If you're listening to The Black Keys then might I suggest giving this a spin, it is more rock orientated but it is cut from the same cloth, albeit smeared with sawdust and tree sap. Shameless Canuck reference!
Highlights; 'Southern Dreaming', 'Catfish 2 Boogaloo' & 'Right On'. PLAY LOUD & play often!!!

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