Album of the Year 2011: Runners up.

Posted on December 22, 2011


05: And So I Watch You From Afar – ‘Gangs’
Aw, instrumental post rock type stuff. It’s a horse that always seems to be attached to talk of being done to death, and how certain bands who peddle the genre aren’t as good as Mogwai, Sigur Ros, Tortoise or whoever. You know what, fuck that. This genre of music is played no more than pop music, metal or whatever else, and people don’t instantly dismiss metal bands because they aren’t Pantera. This album from And So I Watch You From Afar is instrumental save for some sparse vocals in ‘7 Billion People All Alive at Once’, and it is bloody startling throughout. It is equal parts joyous and equal parts enthralling, from start to finish. So don’t let people tell you this stuff is old hat, when its done well it is just as vital as any other type of music. A startling record.
Download: ‘Gang (Starting Never Stopping)’, ‘BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION’

04: Braids – ‘Native Speaker’
Seven songs strong, this album is unlike anything else I heard this year. It is a post rock band playing indie songs, or an indie band playing post rock songs, I’m not quite sure. Either way, it is absolutely magnificent. It is the drawing of hazy landscapes around completely rock solid centres. I suppose this is the musical equivalent of a gas giant. It’s top layers are all swirling, woozy dreams, but underpinning it all is an unmoveable centre that holds everything perfectly in place, just when you assume it is going to fall apart. ‘Glass Deers’ is undoubtedly the centrepiece, and is one of the 3 best songs I’ve heard all years. A fantastic debut record.
Download: ‘Glass Deers’, ‘Lammicken’

03: Red Fang – ‘Murder the Mountains’
One of the best metal bands on the planet right now. And when I say metal, I don’t mean massively serious, we frown a lot, grumpy metal. I mean the type of metal that requires a beer in one hand and a beard. This record picks up where the self titled debut starts off, just ramping up the joyful party mode. ‘Mal verde’ starts it off in decidely slower fashion than the first record, but the chugs are there, the half time is there, the utter glory is there. ‘Wires’ is next, the first single, the best video I’ve seen this year and an absolute massive bastard of a riff monster that has one of the most wonderful outros to any song I’ve heard all year. ‘Throw Up’ is probably the highlight however, which an almost Queens of the Stone Age vibe for the first couple of minutes, complete with chorus hook, before an absolutely viscious last 3 minutes that just gets better and better. And, I ask you, what is better than half time and dangerchord? Nothing. That is the answer.
Download: ‘Wires’, ‘Throw Up’

02: Young Legionnaire – ‘Crisis Works’
There are a lot of things I want from a rock album. I like the riffs to be chunky, the choruses to be large, the odd rhythm to be awkward, the vocals to be superb and the drums to be huge. This album has all of this in spades. You won’t find better written rock songs. ‘Twin Victory’ is an absolutely blinding start to an album, it tells you what to expect and then some. It is utterly relentless. ‘Numbers’, ‘Chapter, Verse’ and personal highlight ‘Black Lions’ continue this anvil-like momentum, with riffs a plenty and choruses bigger than manatees. It is testament to the great things a band can do when they stick to what has served for decades. Reuben knew that all you need are 3 people and desire to rock, and Young Legionnaire are carrying this on. It’s not all bang bang bang however, with ‘A Hole in the World’ and ‘Nova Scotia’ showing an eye for melody that is completely unique. A thrilling album.
Download: ‘Twin Victory’, ‘Black Lions’

Which leaves number one. Revealed on Christmas Day. The words ‘foregone’ and ‘conclusion’ spring to mind.