Words: Simon Opie
It’s time to celebrate the failure of Guy Fawkes to eradicate all the MPs in seventeenth century England. These days maybe we’d all celebrate a rather different outcome but more importantly, it’s also time to check in again on what are the best albums of 2011 so far. This playlist showcases albums that will certainly make my ‘Best of 2011’ listing. Listen to all the tracks below.
YOUTUBE EMBEDDED PLAYLIST:
TRACKLISTING AND NOTES:
1) Ghostpoet – 'Survive It'
I love this, the leadoff single from the utterly brilliant 'Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam' album. I missed it off the Solstice playlist and now redress the error.
2) Kill It Kid – 'You’re In My Blood'
I was encouraged to check out 'Feet Fall Heavy' by Emily Arc’s review and fell under its PJ Harvey meets The Black Keys spell. This opening track is my favourite on the album. It’s edgy as f*ck.
3) WATERS – 'O Holy Break Of Day'
Anthemic tune from 'Out In The Light', a rather special album that rewards repeated listening. Maybe the best Americo-Norwegian cooperation ever. Download the track for free here.
4) Cake – 'Federal Funding'
Cake must have pissed someone off really badly since they’re a band always damned with faint praise. But, along with They Might Be Giants, they have perfected the knack of ensuring that every album they produce has at least three great songs, thereby laughing all the way to the bank – this is one of them from 'Showroom Of Compassion'.
5) Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – 'Cardinal Rules'
From the panoramic 'Tape Club' album this is a short, sharp feel good tune with seaside organ to the fore encouraging us all to go downtown and have a really good time. What’s not to like?
6) Richmond Fontaine – 'Lost In The Trees'
Unsettling song from the weird trip that is 'The High Country' – a creepy narrative about goings on in the remote forests of North West USA. The atmosphere and characterisation are terrific and unusually for a concept album you can pull out the individual tracks.
7) Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – 'No One Is (As I Are Be)'
My favourite, reflective moment from 'Mirror Traffic' - with tremendous acoustic guitar picking, brass energy and the revelation that sit-ups are bourgeoisie [sic]. Lovely piano led outro makes it a terrific chill out tune.
8) Manic Street Preachers – 'Kevin Carter'
Always been my favourite Manics’ track and the new, beautifully put together and truly comprehensive singles collection release gives an excellent excuse to play it again.
9) Wilco – 'Sunloathe'
Wilco doing what they do best here and demonstrating that they may just be the last great American band standing. Jeff Tweedy gives a fine vocal performance on all of 'The Whole Love' and especially on this song.
10) CSS – 'City Grrl'
So lets start with the welcome return to form of CSS and from 'La Liberacion' the 80’s influenced 'City Grrl', with the catchiest chorus ever and great keyboard and trumpet work.
There you have it – perfect soundtrack to light sparklers to. Keep an eye out for the FG writers' albums of the year list, which will be appearing next month.
View the playlist in full in the embed above or on YouTube or Spotify.