So we’ve reached that time of year again when it’s time to start figuring out who’s made the best music of the year and which albums have stood out the most throughout the twelve months of twenty eleven. For the most part, this year’s been a strong year. There’s not been that many albums that have blown me away, but at the same time, I’ve always had a few fresh albums to listen to throughout the year. As such, up until the top end, these albums aren’t going to be numbered, simply grouped in as some of the nominees that didn’t quite make the top for me. Where possible, I’ll also attempt to find streams online for your benefit.
We start off with three albums that I can’t think have ever gone together before.
Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys
After the huge reception that came for Seldom Seen Kid, Elbow were never going to be able to pull another out of the bag. What they have made however is one of the best “growers” of the year. Gone is the bombacity of Grounds for Divorce, instead the serenity of openers The Birds and Lippy Kids and the glory of Open Arms has wafted over ears both through iPods and festival sites through the year, including Reading (video here). Not bad for a bunch of lads you’d see in a northern pub. STREAM HERE
Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
The Texan post-rock group have slowly but surely been producing incredible music for over a decade now. It’s only been in the last few years that their genius has really been appreciated though. Whilst Take Care… may not be their best album to date, Last Known Surroundings stands out as a magical introduction to a band and genre that many are still switching on to. Listen back through their catalogue any evening this month to be blown away. STREAM HERE
Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX – We’re New Here
Whilst cheating in more than one way being on this list with the late-great Gil Scott-Heron’s original album I’m New Here being released in 2010 and Jamie XX working his golden touch on it as a remix record for re-release. Those two things in mind however, it would be criminal to leave such an important record off this year’s list as the album’s been completely re-worked and taken in by a whole new generation of fans and for that, I can only thank both artists. STREAM HERE
More tomorrow 🙂
Take care of each other