Unlike the dickheads who are paid to write about free CDs for newspapers, i think 2011 was a year when a lot of great music got made. I, like everyone else in the world, only got to hear a tiny fraction of it, so this is in no way a ‘best of’ list for the year, just a handful of things that I heard that constitutes my favourites from that tiny selection. Also in no particular order. I’ll start with the ones you can hear straight away, and then list a few that aren’t available to stream online…
Calamateur – The Quiet In The Land
Andrew Howie’s been making brilliant music for years. I love pretty much everything he does. Here he gets angry, he tackles doubt and confusion head-on and writes music to match. It’s at times unsettling but is nothing short of brilliant. (if you get it pay lots for it, so Andrew will send you the hour long ambient track that comes with it – it too is marvellous)
Rob Szabo – Rob Szabo
Rob’s an outstandingly great singer-songwriter. He’s one of those people who like Tracy Chapman, will suffer in his career from being consistently brilliant – there’s no big story in ‘great musician puts out another great record’. Fortunately, we no longer need big stories. We just want great music. and THIS is truly masterful music. I love it.
Lower Case Noises – Migratory Patterns
Andy Othling creates amazing soundscapes that on headphones will make any place you walk through while listening to it feel like a whole new landscape. I love all of his music that I’ve heard, and this is his best so far, IMHO.
Deborah Jordan – What You See
Soulful IDM/Electronica gorgeousness from an incredible singer. Love it.
Fer Isella – #Cosecha
A pure twitter discovery – Argentinean post-jazz experimenter making utterly gorgeous music. A bit fusion-y but without the unnecessary twiddles. Some 70s Miles, some ECM, and then a few songs to finish. Great stuff.
FreekBass – Concentrate
Supremely funky goodness at the intersection of old school funk, hip-hop and electronica. Magic.
Of those that were made by people who don’t put their music on bandcamp, I’d recommend checking out a few of my favourites:
- The Waterboys – An Appointment With Mr Yeats
- Bruce Cockburn – Small Source Of Comfort
- Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
- Tiger Darrow – Hello and You Know Who You Are (two amazing albums, released by an 18 year old, on the SAME DAY.)
- Animals As Leaders – Weightless
- Yvonne Lyon – More Than Mine
- Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
- Kt Tunstall – the Scarlet Tulip EP
- Bela Fleck and The Flecktones – Rocket Science.
That’s a fair chunk of the new music I’ve been enjoying this year. Google ‘em, find ‘em on a streaming thing if they’re there, or just buy the indie ones by people who are nice enough to let you hear the stuffs you’re about to buy 😉by