Best Albums of 2011 – Bubbling Under


It is December, I write a music blog, that means it is list season. That time of year when the blogging community spend too long trying to remember what albums came out this year, which ones were good, which ones were rubbish, which ones it is cool to like, which ones we haven’t heard but have to pretend we have, and so on.
It is also the time of year that we all suppress a snigger while looking at other people’s best of lists while saying to ourselves “REALLY? That album was SHITE!”, and silently judging each other’s taste in music.
It’s a fun time of year.
I’ve been obsessing over my list for too long already, trying to cut it down into a manageable length, and having the nagging feeling that I’ve missed something out.
Eventually I decided to pick a Top Twenty to run as my best of, but since I liked more than twenty albums this year, and since I don’t know what the difference between #33 and #45 in a top 50 is, here’s a bunch of albums that I want to mention somehow, and on a different day could easily have swapped places with something in the Top 20. Go ahead and start judging me, just remember that “best” always means “favourite” really.

In no particular order, The Aye Tunes Best of the Rest Albums 2011

Scroobius Pip – Distraction Pieces
Quantum Leap reference in the first song equals instant inclusion. That and Death of the Journalist, which has been one of my favourite songs of the year, even if I’m one of the targets. The rest of the album is pretty swell too.
Dad Rocks! – Mount Modern
Suffering slightly from only having been released fairly recently, Mount Modern is an album that started off good, and grows on me a bit more with each listen. Had it had more time it would rank higher, but as it is still a gorgeous thing, and worth a few of your pounds.
Eureka Machines – Champion The Underdog.
Power-Pop Punk from Leeds. Their first album won an Aye Tunes award back in the days when no one read the blog (no, not yesterday you cheeky bugger) and this, their second album, is no slouch either.
The Antlers – Burst Apart.
Never quite fell in love with the whole thing, and less taken with this than I was with Hospice, but there’s some really great bits on there.
Le Reno Amps – Appetite.
We’ve swapped some pandas for Al Nero now I think, but before the band went on hiatus they gave us a new, really good, album.
Something Beginning With L – Beautiful Ground.
A right good debut album, this .Fuzzy, poppy, shoegazey, and fragile all at once, tis a lovely wee thing.
the douglas firs – Happy As a Windless Flag.
It was a good year for releases from Armellodie Records really, this was another fab album from their stable
Milk Maid – Yucca.
Scummy sounding lo-fi rock that sounds like it cost about a fiver to record? Yes please. Not as good as PAWS but.
Edinburgh School For The Deaf – New Youth Bible
Album opener Of Scottish Blood and Sympathy gets things off to a great start, from there it gets a wee bit rough in spots, but ace in others, certainly a good enough album to be included in here.
Comply Or Die – Depths.
One of far too few albums that I actually got round to reviewing this year, and one of several that took advantage of me being a bit sick of acoustic folky stuff – though there’s plenty of that in my end of year lists too – by making an almighty exciting noise.
Loney Dear – Hall Music
Fragile, melancholy, and quite gorgeous. Not the most immediate of albums, but a good one.
The Moth And The Mirror – Honestly, This World
The Sons(s) – The Son(s)
I may have mentally marked The Son(s) and The Moth and the Mirror down slightly in the year end ranking because both were released by my pals, Olive Grove Records. Both are smashing albums.
Piet Haag – Countryside Walks With Piet Haag
Very little amused me this year as much as this did, so it’s in.
The Great I Am – Real Capital
Another I actually remembered to review. Real Capital is a very schizophrenic album, swapping from electro to folky from song to song, but that just endeared it to me even more. The Great I Am have switched names to Machines In Heaven now, but are still making wonderful noises.
Evil Hand – Huldra
A bit dreamy, a bit shoegazey, entirely gorgeous. One of the hardest albums to omit from the top 20 really. Ask me again another day and it would be in there.
Tiny Birds – Hymns For the Careless
“Sad songs with happy music”. I touched on Tiny Birds a bit (that sounds slightly wrong) in one of my wanders down south earlier in the year, and the album is still one I keep going back to regularly.
The Wiggle Room – I Presume
Really, really enjoyable pop. One of my favourite albums that randomly popped up in my inbox this year that I’m kicking myself for glossing over until now.
I Build Collapsible Mountains – The Spectator & The Art
In a year when I largely got bored of “man with guitar” music, I Build Collapsible Mountains still produced something good enough to remind me that there are tremendous artists out there doing that thing.
Trips and Falls – People Have To be Told
Song, by Toad Records released an awful lot of good stuff this year. This Trips and Falls album is awfully good. Smart, witty, and sounds great, what’s not to like?
Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
It’s a bit jangly and twee at times, but that’s fine with me. It’s a fun album, and there’s some lovely boy/girl harmonies in there, which I’m always a sucker for.
Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers – Luck
Imagine Glasvegas weren’t shite. That doesn’t have a lot to do with this album, but imagine it anyway, just to make yourself feel better. Anyway, filthy sounding doom-wop from a man and band that sound like they could crush you like a paper cup and thoroughly enjoy doing so. Brilliant then.
Zombie Girlfriend – Music For Porn
MORE lo-fi noise pop? Oh go on then. I know virtually nothing about Zombie Girlfriend other than there is two of them, they come from Hungary, and they please my ears. That’s more than enough information for me.
Loch Lomond – Little Me Will Start a Storm
Chemikal Underground released a lot of good albums this year, including this one from Portland’s Loch Lomond.
Luke Haines – 9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations On British Wrestling Of The 1970s & Early ’80s.
I like Luke Haines, I like wrestling, how could I not like a concept album about British wrestling in the ’70s and ’80s? There’s plenty of ways I could have hated it I’m sure, none of them came to pass though. It’s a weird beast, but a good one.
Come On Gang! – Strike a Match
Quite willing to admit to the inclusion of Strike a Match being one tinged with bias and nostalgia, since Come On Gang did an Aye Tunes Vs Peenko gig, then had Peenko and I along to DJ at their last gig. Not entirely a nostalgic entry though, as there’s some right good stuff on the album anyway.
Dead Boy Robotics – Dead Boy Robotics
A very late entry to the list, on account of it having only just been released. If I’d sepnt more than a week or two with my copy it might have ranked higher, but as it is it deserves inclusion somewhere. I particularly like it when they get all shouty.

So, there you go. Most albums are available to buy from Amazon,HMVand iTunes.
My twenty favourite albums will follow in a few days.