Andy’s favourite music of 2011, featuring Lykke Li, Lil Wayne, Lanie Lane, Lana Del Rey… and that’s just the ‘l’s.
These are my favourites. There are many like them, but these ones are mine. And in such a bountiful year for music (especially Australian music), I reverted to the stand-bys of youth: punk, rock, garage, hip-hop. Plus some haunting songs made by ladies.
No objectivity promised. List is subject to change.
Total Control – Henge Beat
Melbourne garage post-punks released an album with the ugliest cover art of the year, and the tetchiest, nerviest new wave rock and synth songs and it perfectly sums up months of frazzled nerves and excess energy.
Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
A long-awaited offshoot of Digable Planets, this blunted psychedelic hip-hop album from Shabazz Palaces was short (30-some minutes) but fully immersive.
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
The Swedes do pop monumentally well. Lykke Li did dark, sad, angry, defiant pop beautifully, melding sweeping electronica and gritty surf-rock and girl-group bittersweetness.
Mutemath – Odd Soul
While everyone drooled in anticipation of the new Black Keys album, New Orleans band Mutemath dropped an ultra-funky slab of soulful blues with alterna-rock anthem choruses and shovelfuls of cayenne pepper.
Brisbane band Dangerous! got signed to Epitaph this year, because they fucking rock. Sounds like: grunge when it was made by young punks and not moaning dads.
Previously Howl from Ballarat, now Hunting Grounds from everywhere. Fuzzy, buzzy rock with balls and keyboards and proper hooks. Responsible for probably the best Australian tune of the year.
Ernest Ellis & The Panamas
On their second album Kings Canyon, Sydney’s Ernest Ellis and the Panamas expanded “indie” to the horizons with deep emotion and ambition. This should’ve been the Australian album that everyone was raving about. Weird.
Das Racist – Relax
Hip-hop variants got particularly weird after 2010, with OFWGKTA, The Weeknd, the aforementioned Shabazz Palaces, and the multi-racial smart-arse Brooklyn crew Das Racist. After a decade of chopped beats and lame boasts, it seems every sound and every lyrical subject matter is on the table. So Das Racist use them all.
Hanni El Khatib – Will The Guns Come Out
LA rocker Hanni El Khatib made a dead-on rockabilly, doo-wop, blues album that’s as slick as a pompadour and sharp as a switchblade.
Lanie Lane – ‘What Do I Do’
Most of Lanie’s debut To The Horses is great. This is best.
PJ Harvey – ‘Words That Maketh Murder’
Most of Let England Shake was great. This is best.
Jay-Z And Kanye West – Niggas In Paris
There’s a reason they’ve had it on repeat (up to 11 times!) to conclude their Watch The Throne concerts.
Abbe May – ‘Design Desire’
Redcoats – ‘Dreamshaker’
Speaking of massive.
Tyler The Creator – ‘Yonkers’
Nihilistic to the extreme, gross clip, Not Safe For Work.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘Ffunny Ffrends’
Very cool. But what else would expect from someone who was in the Mint Chicks?
Lana De Rey – ‘Video Games’
It took an acoustic guitar cover version for me to realize how heartbreaking the song is. Sometimes beauty is a curse.
Lil Wayne – ‘6 Foot 7 Foot’
Like almost everything Lil Wayne does, I can’t work out whether this is supremely irritating and idiotic or absolute genius.
The Kills – ‘Future Starts Slow’
Possibly the coolest song of the year. Why haven’t I got the whole album yet?
Foo Fighters – ‘White Limo’
Please record one complete thrash punk album.
2011 Albums I Liked More Than I Should: Adalita – Adalita, The Black Keys – El Camino, Tyler The Creator – Goblin, Theophilous London – Timez Are Weird These Days, Howling Bells – The Loudest Engine, Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2, Ball Park Music – Happiness And Surrounding Suburbs.
2011 Albums I Should Like More Than I Do: Battles – Gloss Drop, Fucked Up – David Comes To Life, Tom Waits – Bad As Me, Foo Fighters – Wasting Light, Royal Headache – Royal Headache, Foster The People – Torches, The Roots – Undun.
2011’s Biggest Disappointments: The Strokes – Angles, Lupe Fiasco – Lasers, TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light, Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See, Pusha T – Fear Of God II.