And now…le finalé.
20) Patrick Kelleher – ‘Broken Up Now’
Patrick Kelleher followed up his stunning debut with Golden Syrup, an album which took him and his Cold Dead Hands in even stranger and more intriguing directions. Some of these new ventures worked and some didn’t. Surprisingly however, the one which made the most lasting impression on me was the most simple one; a short and sweet little concoction that’s fuelled by anxiety and unsurity.
19) Austra – ‘Lose It’
Flourishing in the wake of last year’s SXSW festival, Austra’s vocal pirouettes captivated many, including myself. Just listen to that voice.
18) Dog And Panther – ‘Giant Hands’
This song came out of nowhere, gripped me by the heartstrings and never really let go. A stirring, emotive little ballad full to the brim with romantic grandeur.
17) Tandem Felix – ‘Canyons’
Another of my favourite home-grown bands to emerge this year and one deserving of much greater exposure. Taken from their Tweedledee collection, ‘Canyons’ is the pinnacle of a band whose hushed, sweeping sound came to dominate many of my late nights in 2011.
16) Outfit – ‘Two Islands’
The debut single from this Liverpudlian lot is a dense, enthralling affair, laden with gothic touches and an absolute belter of a refrain. More please.
15) Tara Masterson Hally – ‘Down We Lay’
One of my favourite finds of the year. A fledgling Irish songstress whose minimal acoustic laments were lined with cathartic rumblings and a beautiful, soul-stirring voice. On first hearing I described it as “music for the late night walk home, with only shadows for company” and nearly a full year on I still feel this sums it up best.
14) Hush War Cry – ‘Lily’
With nods to both the brooding work of Echo and the Bunnymen and the playful duo-vocals of Wild Beasts, the first track from this Cork outfit is incredibly accomplished. A tantalising debut effort.
13) James Blake – ‘The Wilhelm Scream’
Blake’s debut album and I never fully meshed, and only certain tracks did I truly get what all the fuss was about. None more so than on the spectral and haunting ‘Wilhelm’s Scream’. As it transpired this track was in fact a re-working of James Litherland’s ‘Where To Turn’, which Blake’s own Father produced back in the day.
12) – The Gorgeous Colours – ‘Chopped Heart’ / ‘It’s OK To Be Normal’
With two fantastic singles this year it was a difficult choice of which Gorgeous Colours’ track to include…so much so that I decided to join them at the hip. ‘Chopped Heart’ is sprightly and warming, while ‘It’s OK To Be Normal’ is mournfully beautiful. Enjoy them both, according to your current mood. Needless to say – I’m looking forward to that new album immensely.
11) M83 – ‘Midnight City’
Euphoric and intoxicating; this is music made for the late night dash into town, the city lights luring substance-lined veins closer into its jaws.