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2011 Year End Best Of

 
 
Minion Name:
  Indoor Miner  
         
 
45s:
 
  1. Quiet Birds Have Ears by Woodcraft Folk
    Early bleeping gives way to a droney, atmospheric backdrop and hypnotic vocals before some keyboards cut through your heart like a knife through butter two thirds of the way through. On gorgeous half white, half clear 7 vinyl, too.

  2. The Sorrow Of Two Blooms EP by Tropic Of Cancer
    Long drawn out doomy synth noises play over a relentless beat whilst an echoey voice wails something indecipherable on lead track A Colour. The same description pretty much applies to the other two tracks, too. Reminds me of the Virgin Prunes for some reason.

  3. Slave Walls by D. Watusi
    There aren't, when you think about it, enough thrashy surf records with a sitar on them, are there?

  4. Old Man by Harrys Gym
    There's an icy, almost early 80s feel to these Norwegians, with big bold synths underpinning the female vocals. Imagine a mid-way point between The Ravishing Beauties and The Cardigans and you won't be far off.

  5. Be Brave by Tropic Of Cancer
    See the description for their The Sorrow Of Two Blooms EP above and imagine a slightly faster beat and some almost Ian Curtis-like vocals. Includes a Richard H Kirk remix although, thinking about it, there's something a bit Cabaret Voltaire about the ordinary version in any case.

  6. King Corpse EP by Lil Daggers
    The title track is a corker. As I wrote in the review here, it builds like The Mekons classic Where Were You before some 60s organ bursts in. Fans of the early Fall will surely approve!

  7. Ghost Songs EP by The Rain Kings
    This has been compared to the likes of Spacemen 3, but the mighty lead track is actually droney psych folk, not a million miles away from what Big Blood are doing. The second track, Wolves, deserves a mention, too. More full-on and clangy with some great noisy, atonal guitar playing.

  8. Thar She Blows by The Night Marchers
    The Night Marchers are a Rocket From The Crypt off-shoot featuring some almost Lemmy-like bass playing. So in a nutshell - nothing you haven't heard before but kinda fun all the same!

  9. Monad by Bruce Gilbert
    Former Wire man returns with a couple of typically abstract numbers that throb, scrape and pierce at various junctures to an unsettling effect.

  10. Roman Roads EP by Land Observations
    There's an Appliance connection here (guitarist James Brooks) and it doesn't go un-noticed. Three lovely instrumentals with Viae (in C Major) , sounding like Neu in one of their quieter moments, being the pick of the lot.

Bubbling under...
A Guide To Healing by High Wolf
I Would Not Know The Devil by The Fresh & Only's
Bad Feeling
by Veronica Falls
My Pale Garden by Acid Glasses
Coyote by Martin Rev
Bending The Rules Of Time by Savaging Spires

Re-issue
Glamorous Glue
by Morrissey

 
     
 
LPs:
 
  1. C'mon byLow
    Following the experimental and slightly disappointing Drums & Guns and the ensuing four year break, Low return to doing what they do best. It obviously helps that C'mon features material that ranks amongst their best.

  2. Red Barked Tree by Wire
    Apart from the odd raucous moment like Two Minutes (a cross between Parklife and Spacemen 3's Revolution!), this is more textured and melodic than Wire have been since they got back together some years ago. There are even some gentler moments that sound unusually pre-punk for Wire.

  3. Apocalypse by Bill Callahan
    Another Bill Callahan album. Another great collection of songs. All sung in that deep Leonard Cohen-like voice.

  4. Coldest Winter In A Hundred Years by The Wild Swans
    There was a danger that this was going to be something of anti-climax. It's been a long wait after all! But fear not - Paul Simpson is on great form here with melodies to die for. And his reference points be it geographical or musical are ones that chime well with me. The young Wild Swans keyboard player Richard Turvey has done an excellent job production-wise, too.

  5. Dead Legs & Alibi's by Dark Captain
    The band formerly known as Dark Captain Light Captain may have lost half of their name, but musically this is more of the same - quality songs, hushed vocals and gorgeous harmonies.

  6. Rome by Danger Mouse & Daniel Lippi
    American producer and Italian composer collaborate on album inspired by spaghetti western soundtracks, using some of the original musicians to breathtaking effect. There's something almost regal about what's on offer here.

  7. Galaxsea by Lunar Dunes
    Lunar Dunes return with expanded line-up and an album that is full of tasty basslines, great beats and, well, lots and lots of atmosphere!

  8. Ventroloquizzing by Fujiya & Miyagi
    Lovely throbbing electronic pop with glam beats. Kinda like Black Cherry-era Goldfrapp but without the kitsch sex appeal.

  9. Hotel Shampoo by Gruff Rhys
    Solo set from the Super Furry Animal mainman that oozes quality pop.

  10. No Thyself by Magazine
    Howard Devoto's post-punk legends finally follow up those live dates a couple of years ago with new material. And it's not bad! I'll probably never rate this as highly as their first three classic albums, but it's definitely better than their admittedly disappointing fourth! It's great to hear Howie's voice again, and Noko has done a great job stepping in on guitar.

Bubbling under...
Inside The Ships by Tarwater
Corner Of The World
by Solus 3
Sniper
by Marc Hurtado & Alan Vega
Ersatz GB
by The Fall
Night Gallery
by Eternal Tapestry & Sun Araw
The Stone Turntable
by Transglobal Underground

Re-issues / live etc
Smile Sessions
by The Beach Boys
Black Session by Wire
Jehovacoat Demo's
by Julian Cope

 
     
 
Live:
 

(Listed A-Z)
BILL CALLAHAN (Manchester Central Methodist Hall)
JULIAN COPE (Liverpool Stanley Theatre)
IGGY & THE STOOGES (Chester Rocks Festival)
LOW (Manchester Club Academy)
MAGAZINE (Wolverhampton Slade Rooms)
MOTHER OF SIX (Wrexham Horse & Jockey)
THE NIGHTINGALES (Wolverhampton Slade Rooms)
ROXY MUSIC (Manchester M.E.N.)
THE WILD SWANS (Liverpool Stanley Theatre)
WIRE (Liverpool 02 Academy)

 
         
 
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