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Music Liberation: Best of 2011 & Tips for 2012

Do you know what I told myself on New Year’s Day, 2011? I promised that after burning myself out in 2010 attending endless gigs, squandering (the majority of my) funds on an unnecessary eight festivals, clogging up my accommodation with CDs that were only used once (to upload to my iPod), and destroying my Mac with an addiction to downloading new music, that I would take it a little easier – music-wise – in 2011. Do you know what I will tell myself on New Year’s Day, 2012? I will promise myself that since 2011’s equally relentless musical year not only burnt me out, but actually gave me tinnitus, I WILL take it a little easier in 2012…

We have had some huge records this year: Metronomy, Machine Head, SBTRKT, James Blake, Bon Iver, letlive., Jamie Woon, Radiohead, Mazes, Gil Scott Heron & Jamie XX, City and Colour, Mastodon, etc. However, some of the most enjoyable music I have encountered this year has been from the underground, in the form of independent albums or debut EPs and whatnot. Here is my TOP 3 from the releases I’ve covered for Music Liberation in 2011:

1. Quick and The Dead ‘For The Rhythm’ – This little, pop punk-tinged emo EP came armed with a surprisingly full production, and some massive, massive vocal hooks. The epic title track rivals anything Taking Back Sunday, Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses etc. have done.

2. Vetoes ‘Ritalin/Ritalout’ – I’m still none-the-wiser about whether the term ‘post-prog’ has actually become a fully fledged genre, but the urgency of this progressive mash-up of math-rock and alternative indie has stayed with me all year. ‘Sonic Turge’ is a tune!

3. Shapes ‘Monotony Chic’ – The debut album from this noisy post-hardcore mob may lacked real originality (sounding a fair bit like letlive., who sound more than a fait bit like Glassjaw), but they made up for it with punishing technicality and an impassioned vocal performance. Check out ‘Vacancy Ape’ – the album highlight.

*A special mention must be made for We’ll Go Machete‘s album ‘Strong Drunk Hands’, which only just missed out on the TOP 3.

Now for the Tips for 2012: new artists I think are going to have a great year.

1. Drive – This Hertfordshire quartet are shrouded in mystery. Having only formed this year, they released a dreamy little demo called ‘No Feel’ (after only having been together a month!), which was picked up by the blogosphere with all it’s heart. I mean, this replication of shoegazing-tinted, noise-rock, alternative bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth was addictive in its authenticity – the word ‘nostalgic’ didn’t even come to mind. Little is known about the band (as they have pretty much no online presence), but i’m sure we’ll be hearing more from them in 2012.

2. Blue Daisy – The London producer’s recently released, debut album ‘The Sunday Gift’ has received critical acclaim, but it’s one of those slow-burners – electronica fans are only just starting to really pick up on the moody dubstep-laced triphop, and it’s 2012 that is going to see his name truly made.

3. Casitas – The quirky indie-party-pop band from Devon have been quiet since releasing their independent, self-titled debut, and winning a plethora of ‘battle of the bands’ comps.They are apparently in the process of (slowly) making their follow-up, and are dedicating 2012 to radically expanding their fanbase. Check out their track ‘Lykke Lii’.

 Originally published by Music Liberation here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on December 30, 2011.

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