DS Top 50 LPs of 2011

2011 has been another massive year for music, at least it feels that way. Invariably the availability and access to recorded music is easier and greater than ever with streaming and file sharing available at the click of a button. Each year I seem to increase the size of my list, purely as a result of the volume of stuff I get to hear. The more I hear, the more I like which is a good thing but it makes year end lists a real brow furrowing exercise – painful but fun for a music obsessive such as some of us are.

This year threw up some new albums from favourites of recent years like Girls, Wild Beasts and Wooden Shjips  – all groups that seem to be refining and improving their music with each album they release. I’ve also been listening to a lot more electronic music reflected by appearances from The Field, Robag Wruhme, Gui Boratto and Zomby. Check out our list over at Komputer Music for more great electronic releases. I’ll also be publishing a list in the coming days of some of my favourite songs from 2011. To the list…

Pure X – Pleasure [Review]

Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Wild Beasts – Smother

Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings for My Halo

Destroyer – Kaputt [Review]

Wooden Shjips – West [Review]

Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest [Review]

The Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida [Review]
Wilco – The Whole Love

Royal Headache – Royal Headache [Review]

Leader Cheetah – Lotus Skies [Review]

J. Mascis – Several Shades Of Why [Review]

Okkervil River – I Am Very Far

Zomby – Dedication

The Field – Looping State of Mind

The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

The Field – Looping State of Mind

Bill Callahan – Apocalypse

Melodie Nelson – Meditations on the Sun [Review]

Zola Jesus – Conatus [Review]

Tom Waits – Bad As Me

The Black Keys – Camino

Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Gui Boratto – III

Dick Diver – New Start Again [Review]

Nils Frahm – Felt

Radiohead – The King of Limbs

Real Estate – Days

The Horrors – Skying

Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts

Neil Young – A Treasure

Robag Wruhme – Thora Vukk

Jack Ladder – Hurtsville [Review]

Step-Panther – Step-Panther [Review]

James Blake – James Blake

Twerps – Twerps [Review]

Austra – Feel It Break [Review]

Eleanor Friedberger- Last Summer

The Bats – Free All The Monsters

Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose [Review]

Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire

British Sea Power – Valhalla Dancehall [Review]

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Black Lips – Arabia Mountain

Tiny Ruins – Some Were Meant For Sea [Review]

Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi [Review]

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

The Necks – Mindset

ALBUM REVIEW: Pure X | Pleasure

written by Chris Familton

Psychedelic guitar rock has been going through yet another goldrush of late with albums by Kurt Vile, Wooden Shjips and the tripped-out sounds of Sun Araw all getting a lot of attention. You can add to that list Pure X (previously Pure Ecstasy) and their debut album Pleasure. Their approach is to take heavy lidded narcotic guitars and marry them with hypnotic pulsing bass-lines and minimal Velvets drumming. The end result is a stunning record that operates in its own slow and nodding time zone

Pleasure sounds like a lo-fi record but it isn’t one in the sense of poor sound quality. They have used amp buzz, ‘in the red’ guitar pedals and heavy doses of reverb to concoct a pervasive vibe that replicates that uber-stoned, late night hazy feel. This might sound like a downer of a listen but it is quite the opposite. The vocal melody on Dream Over is catchy as hell while Twisted Mirror marches through swirling phased and flanged kaleidoscopic guitars, constantly changing and evolving rather than being stuck in repetition. Easy doubles the tempo and sounds strangely euphoric while still locking into the dreamy mood of the record perfectly. Surface steps away from the guitars with a dubbed out organic groove that it is gorgeously immersive and hypnotic.

If you’ve had a thing for Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Ros or Neil Young then you’ll revel in Pleasure. Totally dismissive of any need to ‘rock out’ it manages to still sound bold and assertive via its cohesive structure and delivery. In the frenetic world of marketing and ease of access to music Pure X are the perfect antidote. It is transportive, beguiling and mysterious yet totally accessible. An absolute pleasure.

this review was first published in The Drum Media