Choosing your favourite albums is always a frustrating task, you tend to love so many that it’s hard to limit down those albums which in a way define your musical taste. But there will always those key releases which without even thinking about it we can state would be in our top albums list and whose copies whether that be on vinyl or CD are worn out from too much listening.
However how we consume music has changed, we now don’t necessarily always own a physical copy of our favourite albums choosing to download new releases or shock horror, streaming them online!
This year in deciding my top 30 albums of 2011 I was thought about those albums I’ve loved so much I’ve actually invested in the LP and those which if I didn’t spend so much money on dresses I’d love to have stacked with the rest of my records. My list is made up of those albums I’ve been listening to in 2011 but which I can honestly say I’ll still be listening to in years to come. What you won’t see are albums which I’ve liked mainly because of one or two stand-out tracks, including Cults, UMO, I Break Horses and Peaking Lights but which as whole albums I haven’t found that engaging. There’s also albums I’ve really wanted to include due to being fans of earlier albums by the same artist such as Tom Waits, The Antlers and Atlas Sound but which haven’t blown me away in the same way as Rain Dogs, Hospice or Logos.
My number one album this year is Romantic Comedy by Big Troubles. I only came across Big Troubles when they provided live band support for Ducktails during this year’s Primavera Sound Festival. At the end of that gig, Matthew Mondanile aka Ducktails, stated his desire to see Big Troubles playing the festival in their own right in 2012. Being a huge fan of Ducktails and Mondanile’s main musical outlet, Real Estate, I took his word that this band must be worth checking out.
I instantly liked their first album, Worry (their only release at that time) and when I went to see Big Troubles playing The Captain’s Rest in Glasgow a few weeks later, I fell in love with the indie-pop and guitar filled tracks they previewed from their forthcoming album Romantic Comedy which was then released in September by Slumberland Records. I also liked that they genuinely seemed to be friends, had personality without being pretentious and overall enjoyed being in “The Band.”
Interestingly there’s been one record label in particular coming out on top in terms of indie releases and that’s Domino. When I interviewed Matt Mondanile earlier this year he described Real Estate’s delight at signing with the label as they wanted to get their music heard internationally. The label achieved that for them as well as Cass McCombs, Twin Sister, Washed Out, Smith Westerns and Wild Beasts. In 2012, keep a watch on Underwater Peoples, who released early material by Real Estate and this year signed Twerps and Spectrals who if you read these pesky music blogs are set for bigger things next year.
Listen to Big Troubles and another 29 albums you should put on your LP shopping list below.
1. Big Troubles, Romantic Comedy (Slumberland Records)
2. Banjo or Freakout, Banjo or Freakout (Rare Book Room)
3. Real Estate, Days (Domino)
4. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, Everything’s Getting Older (Chemikal Underground)
5. Little Wings, Black Grass (Marriage Records)
6. Sandro Perri, Impossible Spaces (Constellation Records)
7. Bill Callahan, Apocalypse (Drag City)
8. Beach Fossils, What A Pleasure (Captured Tracks)
9. William Elliott Whitmore, Field Songs (Anti Records)
10. Thee Oh Sees, Carrion Crawler/The Dream (In the Red)
11. Beirut, Rip Tide (Pompeii)
12. Youth Lagoon, The Year of Hibernation (Fat Possum)
13. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Mirror Traffic (Domino)
14. Ducktails, Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics (Woodsist)
15. Bodies of Water, Twist Again (Secretly Canadian)
16. T.W Walsh, Songs of Pain and Leisure (Graveface Records)
17. David Bazan, Strange Negotiations (Barsuk Records)
18. Thurston Moore, Demolished Thoughts (Matador Records)
19. Pepper Rabbit, Red Velvet Snowball (Kanine Records)
20. Woods-Sun and Shade (Woodsist)
21. J.Mascis, Several Shades of Why (Sub Pop)
22. Jacuzzi Boys, Glazin’ (Hardly Art)
23. The War on Drugs, Ambient Slave (Secretly Canadian)
24. Widowspeak, Widowspeak (Captured tracks)
25. Papercuts, Fading Parade (Sub Pop)
26. Comet Gain, Howl of the Lonely Crowd (Fortuna Pop)
27. Moonface, Organ Music, Not Vibraphone Like I Hoped (Jagjaguwar)
28. Wake the President, Zumutung! (We Can Still Picnic)
29. A.A Bondy, Believers (Fat Possum Records)
30. Adam Stafford, Build a Harbour Immediately (Wise Blood Industries)