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Album Of The Year...

Our Favourites Of 2011...




If we were ego-fuelled, self-promotionists, we'd say the best album of 2011 was definitely Feast Of Friends by Feast Of Friends.But we're not, so we won't. So instead, we'd like to present our own "best of 2011" list.

Let's be honest, there has been a distinct paucity of great albums this year, in our opinion. Certainly the touted "best artists/ones to watch of 2011" lists served up at the start of the year didn't offer much, and lists for 2012 we've seen so far are equally depressing.

However, there is now so much music being released, it is becoming more difficult to find the cream. New bands get very little media attention or promotion without having some serious marketing muscle behind them so it is so easy for potential classic albums to get lost in the ether.

That said, it's not just the new bands, new releases from major artists have also been extremly weak (the Chili Peppers and Coldplay un-inspired releases immediately spring to mind). Neverless, we did find some gems to love in 2011, which we have compiled into list. Let the coutdown commence...

6) Jonny - Jonny

An album that will cheer even the biggest Grinch this Xmas. The combination of Norman Blake and Euros Childs is a harmonious match, and this album contains all the best hallmarks of their former bands. Strangely, the combination of a Welshman and a Scot gives a result that is distinctly English pop music. With great songs such as Candyfloss, Cave Dance and Wich Is Wich, there is plenty to enjoy.


5) Fountains Of Wayne - Sky Full Of Holes

OK, bit of a shoe-in this one. If a year features a new Fountains Of Wayne release, it is always going to feature in the Feast Of Friends top albums of the year, we love them! This is yet another superb collection of finely crafted power-pop from the New York quartet. Traffic & Weather was such a brilliant album that topping it was going to be difficult. Sky Full Of holes doesn't quite hit the same heights, but it isn't far off. Their ability to encapsulate the ennui of life and perfectly realise everyday characters in a few simple lyrics, such as the song Action Hero, is a joy to behold.


4) The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

Bit of a late entry to our 2011 highlights as we only "discovered" this band at the start of December. The Civil Wars sort of carry on where Plant & Krauss' Raising Sand left off; country-rock music with fabulous male/female harmonies. Joy Williams and John Paul White convey more emotion and passion than any X-factor winner will ever achieve, just listen to the heartache they emit on Poison & Wine. Simple. Beautiful. Classic.


3) Mirrors - Lights & Offerings

Mixing Kraftwerk-esque backing with New Romantic vocals, Mirrors debut album is a synth-fans wet dream. Lights & Offerings contains track-after-track of hook-laden pop music gems that GaGa would kill for. We seriously can't understand why these guys aren't getting the same sort of attention that La Roux got a couple of years ago. They even released an 11-track E.P of singles, re-mixes and new songs that trounces most of this year's chart successes. Hopefully the band's next effort will see them get some well deserved recognition.


2) Noah & The Whale - Last Night On Earth

After the accesibility of their debut, The First Days Of Spring was a difficult listen, though not without merit, which perhaps would have been better released as Charlie Fink solo album. Last Night On Earth is a complete u-turn back to the joyous, yet dark, sound of their debut. Some reviews complained about its short length, but why fill an album with thirty minutes of filler just because there is room on the CD? There is also a definite step forward in the maturity of their songwriting that we love in Feast Of Friends land. One of the very few major-label acts this year to seriously impress us.


1) Ancestors - Invisible White E.P.

OK, slight cheat here, as this technically isn't an album, nonetheless, we've listened to this awesome three track E.P. more than any other release this year. The Ancestors previous releases were a brand of stoner/psychedelic rock that didn't really do much for us, but when we heard Epilogue for the first time we were blown away by its genius. Ancestors blend of Mogwai, God Speed You Black Emporer and Meddle-era Pink Floyd is irresistable. When you listen to a set of songs and then immediately want to hear those songs again, after repeated listens, you know you are experiencing to something special. Utterly brilliant, Ancestors, we salute you!


Peace & Love



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