Monday, 2 January 2012

Our 50 favourite releases of 2011

2011 provided us with some fantastic albums and EPs. The following list are Blueboy and Popgirly's favourite releases of the year. We witnessed Vivian Girls make their best album to date,  the return of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and something different from the Dum Dum Girls. Help Stamp Out Loneliness and Veronica Falls gave us indiepop classics that we played over and over again. The year was also full of ethereal haze, shoegazey brilliance and noise popping sounds from the likes of Ringo Deathstarr, Crystal Stilts and Screen Vinyl Image. 2011 also gave us slowburning masterpieces from Widowspeak and the aforementioned Dum Dum Girls, and surely the 60s were given a nod to inspire Girls Names and La Sera, among others. Yes it was an amazing year for music. So here they are, 50 of our favourite releases from 2011, in no particular order.

Screen Vinyl Image - Strange Behavior
The darker side of shoegaze, a pure sonic riot!

Blouse - self titled
Beautiful and mesmerizing. Dreampop at its very best.

Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion
With its buzzing surf-rock, thriving keyboards, jangly tambourines and murky rockabilly, In Love With Oblivion solidifies their identity as one of the best noisepop bands around.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong
The Pains have delivered another perfect album for awkward people; an album that is reminiscent of clumsy adolescence and broken dreams, while still being an album that celebrates spinning around in your bedroom until the dizziness brings you to fall on your bed in a fit of laughter.

Veronica Falls - self titled
One cannot deny falling for their lovely doo-wop and boy-girl harmonies, which create an engaging setting throughout the album. Go and get it!

The Raveonettes - Raven In The Grave
Full of ethereal glow, and beautiful vocals with honest lyrics, it is a perfectly crafted masterpiece.

The Blanche Hudson Weekend - You Always Loved Violence
After a string of incredible EPs and a compilation CD, we finally have the debut record. It was well worth the wait. Dark, loud, catchy and heartfelt.

Kids On A Crime Spree - We Love You So Bad EP
Distinctive vocals, excellent songwriting, C86 drumbeats, reverb-soaked guitars and well produced song structure help this 8-track EP flow flawlessly without a missed step. One of the greatest indiepop EPs from the past decade.

Wax Idols - No Future
 Catchy songs with a gritty punk-pop-punch.

Slowness - Hopeless But Otherwise EP
Seamless harmonies are blissfully connected in this glorious EP release.

SPC ECO - You Tell Me
Aural ecstasy - 11 new songs coupled with 4 past classics, we are treated to layered soundscapes and the soft, pure vocals of Rose Berlin.

The Bilinda Butchers - Regret, Love, Guilt, Dreams EP
It's a relaxing EP, one you listen to when you're thinking about being somewhere else.

Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip
A classic shoegaze album full of fuzz, feedback and fun.

Coasting - You're Never Going Back
The drumming from Fiona Campbell (Vivian Girls) is furious and on point, while the power of Madison Farmer is all riot grrrl.

Help Stamp Out Loneliness - self titled
It's clear from the beginning that this is an up-tempo summery album. D. Lucille Campbell's voice is to die for. Her sense of variety and dynamics is masterful throughout the record, and, providing that the listener is willing to be infatuated by her auditory spell, there is never a dull moment.

Swimsuit - self titled
Full of reverb and beautiful pop songs.

La Sera - self titled
It's hard not to like this album; it's too sentimental, too charming and too addictive to stop listening.

Minks - By The Hedge
Understated charm that will have you coming back for more.

Drowner - self titled EP
A modern dreampop marvel, full of atmosphere that engulfs you completely.

Widowspeak - self titled
An extremely engrossing debut album full of blissful and darkened sounds.
Yuck - self titled
A brilliant debut, with sounds that stir up memories from the sounds of the 90s, like Pavement, Dinosaur Jr and Teenage Fanclub.

Memoryhouse - The Years EP
Enchanting dreampop that will have you hooked from beginning to end.

Still Corners - Creatures Of An Hour
Atmospheric and mysterious; it's a dream you don't want to wake from.

Youngteam - Daydreamer
An intriguing release, truly gorgeous and completely alluring .

Manic Attracts - Eyes Wide Shut
Feedback drenched pop that is upbeat, loud and raw.

Brave Irene - self titled EP
Throughout this 18 minute release there is a sense of classic jangle pop, but with Rose Melberg in charge we shouldn't expect any less.

Burning Hearts - Into The Wilderness EP
Passionately created with perfect melodies, dreamy and lovely.

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Paper Crush EP
Shoegazey sounds with a post-punk beat, vibrant keyboards and layered guitars.

Dear Marje - Demos
It may only be a collection of demos, but it's a thrilling ride.

Girls Names - Dead To Me
Relying heavily on 60s garage, Belfast's Girls Names have managed to create a record that sounds like a 60s pop artefact while at the same time sounding incredibly modern.

Edinburgh School For The Deaf - New Youth Bible
Extremely ambitious and intelligent, this band fires on all cylinders.

Vivian Girls - Share The Joy
60s inspired garage pop at its very best.

Brown Recluse - Evening Tapestry
Filled to the brim with plenty of jangle to please any indiepop head.

Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams
Glimmering with intimacy and slow-burning polished classics.

Beach Fossils - What A Pleasure EP
Softly produced drums and gentle vocals are a Fossils trademark, and the band are perfecting it with every release.

Pink Playground - Destination Ecstasy
Soaring synths and distant foggy vocals make this release memorable.

Colleen Green - "Green One" + 3 EP
Guitar fuzz, clapping, glistening chimes and everything else in between.

Seapony - Go With Me
The music reflects innocence and gentle romanticism. Perfect for winding down the busy day and falling asleep to.

The Andersen Tapes - As I Write 'Today' Ten Times
Carefree indie-pop that cannot be faulted.

Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself EP
Lekman as usual, gives us more wicked humour, introspective stories and free-floating love stories.

Big Troubles - Romantic Comedy
An album full of endearing upbeat tempos and lush arrangements.

Zola Jesus - Conatus
This mind-blowing emotional trip is covered with haunting vocals and post-goth opera stylings.

Acid House Kings - Music Sounds Better With You
Their strongest album to date, full of catchy and buzzy indie-pop.

Eternal Summers - Prisoner EP
Sounding like the return of Talulah Gosh can't be a bad thing.

The Arctic Flow - Starflow Lightning EP
With this beautiful EP, The Arctic Flow gave us one of the years most personal and engaging releases.

Yohuna - Revery EP
Songs that sound like they've been recorded in a church at the bottom of the ocean. A work of astonishing beauty.

U.S. Girls - U.S. Girls On KRAAK
Listening to this album is an experience that you won't soon forget.

Grouper - A I A : Alien Observer / Dream Loss
Liz Harris has once again blessed us with a droney work of art, this time in the form of 2-LPs. Nothing short of mesmerizing.

Male Bonding - Endless Now
This album will keep you swaying and singing all day long.

Swearin'- What A Dump EP
Allison Crutchfield's voice is always welcome. Fast tunes that leave you craving for more.

So that's it. 50 releases that we loved listening to throughout the year. Please don't get mad if your favourite album didn't make the cut, perhaps we didn't know about it, or perhaps we did but we didn't feel for it as much as you did. We doubt 2012 will give us a top 50 like this one, but we'll have to wait and see.