We’ve just published a gallery of our top 25 albums of the year so far, and I’ve decided to cherry pick my favourites from the list.
The pole position is taken by Kurt Vile’s stunning opus of discontent ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’ which Alex Denney rightly, called ‘electrifying’.
It’s a tough call, but our personal favourite is ‘Runner Ups’.
In second place, it’s PJ Harvey with her multi-faceted triumph ‘Let England Shake’ which Mike Williams gave a rare ‘10’ to when it came out in February.
It’s also been a great year for debuts.
Yuck gave us their deeply loveable self-titled album. And while it couldn’t be more in debt to 90s grunge unless it was sporting a plaid shirt and a truckers cap emblazoned with the words: ‘Oh hi! I’m J Mascis!’ on it, with tunes of this calibre who really cared? Jamie Fullerton called it “some of the most effortlessly hard-hitting, heart-hitting pop of 2011”.
Anna Calvi’s self titled album was lush and compelling, surprising in its depth and musical jump off points, Leonie Cooper said it was “thrilling and chilling”.
With an equally otherworldly charm were Brighton’s Esben And The Witch. ‘Violet Cries’ was a spooky spectre of an album. See the unsettling video for ‘Marching Song’ below.
There’s nothing more cheering than a good come back, is there?
Doing a victory lap this year was Mike Skinner who, after a couple of albums that were just a bit ‘meh’, gave us ‘Computers And Blues’; an excellent parting shot which Jaimie Hodgson called “vintage”. Here’s ‘Going Through Hell’:
Lykke Li also returned; seemingly transforming from a melancholy singer-songwriter type into a menacing vamp. Or as Jazz Monroe saw it: “older and wiser” and “frankly terrifying”. Watch ‘Get Some’ below:
It has yet to be unleashed, but the list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Wild Beast’s ‘Smother’; the musical equivalent of a previously coiled spring exploding into an, ahem, well of passion. It’s out in May and as co-frontman Tom Fleming told usit sees the band ‘spread (their) wings’. They’re not the band we knew and are all the better for it.
Here’s an exciting trailer thingie:
So how about you? What are your favourite records of the year so far?
Stream our top 25 albums of the year so far via We7: