First things first - I forgot to wish you all a happy new year. So here it is! What better way to look forward to the new as we look back on the old. It just doesn't seem right to rank these, so in no particular order, the top things I heard in 2011, old and new. Mainly old, it must be said. I didn't include the 2011 Queen reissues begause that's a blog in itself. Maybe next time.
Rising Of The Lights by William D Drake
The album of 2011 - William D Drake's best album yet, bouncing between uptempo tricky time signature jaunts and long psuedo prog workouts. Bill's rumaging around in his dusty Victorian bookshelves pays off again leaving us swooning and chuckling at the wonderful images conjoured up. The silly sausage.
Barringtone's single Snake In The Grass
A single from, I dunno, 2 years ago? Discovered the band playing live at the Brixton Windmill and couldn't quite believe what I was hearing. Avant-art-power trio indie? No, that doesn't sound right. Far better than their previous band Clor but following the same lines. Would love to get more by Barringtone but they seem slightly internet shy. A cracking hope for 2012.
Catapult by Catapult (1974)
Holy smoke. I like Glam Rock also rans - you know this - but this lot, crown kings of dutch Neder Stomp, really really stir things up. One spin of 'Let Your Hair Hang Down' makes you realise that the landscape of 1974 could've been a whole lot different, and one watch of 'Teeny Bopper Band' will make you want to dust off the clogs and glitter and form your own Catapult. But that's not all - dig deeper and you'll marvel at the soundscapes of 'Nightrake' and 'Springtime Ballyhoo'. I will be blogging more about this lot soon. It seems anything released in 1974 was brilliant and as the tour film shows, a band that can fucking tear it up live is ok with me. Straight in my top bands ever top 10.
David Bowie's long lost Toy album
Read about this here. Not necessarily the best unreleased Bowie record, but a welcome diversion while we wait for the real meat this year when the vaults open under a new label.
MMs Bar on Trunk Records
A collection of announcements from a Midlands Mainline buffet car. Another brilliant release from Trunk.
I Agree With Nick by Special Needs
Recently reformed blah blah blah. Special Needs released their first new material for about 5 years a couple of months ago and it dazzled with a fine addition to their trademark call and response vocals and relentless marching drums. In short, fucking excellent. Not difficult really in a year which almost every single musical style has totally gone to shit. Well done suits. Technically, Special Needs should clean up in 2012.
Two Halves Of The Same Boy by Silvery
Our only release this year (ignoring the much praised and long deleted Bandcamp releases of the 'London Riots Musical' demo selection in the summer and the 'Shimmy Shimmy' meisterwerk) trumped all the previous ones by spending over a month on the BBC playlist and filling Koko for a release bash (well, most of them were already there I think). With the album Railway Architecture stripped of singles already (The best shot 'A Deconstruction Of Roles' was fired off the previous October, laying the groundwork for this filler) follow up options were limited and a reissue of debut single 'Horrors' was vetoed. Label slow to show the money meant the surefire summer smash 'Shimmy Shimmy' never got to the mixing stage and global stardom for Silvery had to wait another year. Again.