Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Well Did I Do It?

Following in Schonberg's footsteps I attempted to buy 12 albums during 2011. Did I do it? Well as I type this I honestly don't know, so together let's have a look at the albums I bought and see how I got on. As I think it will be close, I'm going to count all albums I bought, whether they were released in 2011 or not - I may revise this if I easily make it!

So first up was Vampire Weekend's Contra which I bought in January. Meh. I last listened to it in June probably tells you all you need to know.

Next, also in January was Two Door Cinema Club. Tourist History is a great pop album, I also managed to see them live. Indie pop live is never as good as rock live plus most of the audience probably couldn't buy alcohol in the venue (18 in the UK). Beware this album is catchy.

Early February saw me purchase My Chemical Romance: Dangers Days... I wouldn't recommend it. Reminded me of Green Days last album. Like Green Day's album it had all the features of the previous album but with none of that special ingredient that makes you want to listen to it again and again.

Thankfully MCR were followed by the perfect antidote, Frankie and the Heartstrings. I know I've mentioned them a few times in the past year but their album got me through some solitary times as I worked by myself for nearly 8 months. I also managed to see Frankie et al live, sadly it was on a rescheduled Monday night and there was a poor turnout. The band and songs were great and were let down by a lacklustre atmosphere.

Their latest single came out on the 28th November. Preview it below.

Frankie & The Heartstrings - Everybody Looks Better (In The Right Light) by Wichita Recordings

Now on to the first album that both myself and Schonberg both bought. No surprises that it was White Lies album Ritual. This didn't get the same kind of play time that their debut album got and I think it's not because the overall album isn't as good I just don't think it has the stand-out tracks that the first album did. There's no Death or Unfinished Business.

The Vaccines is another album we both set our hearts on and I think I was happier than Schonberg, much more the singalong indie rock/pop that's my scene. I've run to this album, I've sang along in the car. Definitely in my top 5 albums of the year. My favourite track is Wetsuit, at a festival it would be awesome with the crowd joining in.

My patience is struggling with Elbow. Album after album I have bought of there's and every time I put a lot of energy in to listening to their albums. I know that all sounds like a chore but I know that if you give them time they will grow on you and become a really comfortable jumper that you put on at just the right moment. However, in a world of instant downloads it's hard to keep putting in that energy when I have such instant gratification at hand with the likes of The Vaccines and plus I've got four other comfy jumpers of theirs that I can put on at any time I want. I'll still buy their next album though...

Now Noah and the Whale was an album I really enjoyed when it came out, with a sound of Tom Petty and a couple of catchy singles that I couldn't get out of my head it was my kind of music. Yet for a reason I can't explain it's not an album I go back to often. I think it's just a bit slow at times without being beautiful or touching. However you look at it though Noah has grown up since his days at the zoo.

The Airbourne Toxic Event I believe are A LOT bigger in the States than they are in the UK. If I hadn't been careful they could have past me by altogether. All At Once is their second album and I love it, it's another one I like running to or driving fast. I particularly the combo of listening to The Kids Are Ready To Die followed by Welcome To Your Wedding Day. Like a great line out of a horror film "and the sign says run". Check it out.

Hard-Fi's Killer Sounds was downloaded rather than bought on CD as it was to be taken on holiday and studied. Sadly my daughter's love of Postman Pat seemed to win out and I didn't get much chance to listen to it. Without a physical CD in my hand I forgot about it on my iPhone and by the time I did remember about it my enthusiasm had gone. It just isn't anything new and if you stand still you go backwards.

Eleven already! I bought The Whip's album purely on the back of the strength of the first album and without expecting another stand-out track like Trash. As I was going to see them live I wanted to give the five "preview" tracks heavy rotation and those tracks came across fairly well, is it as good as the first album? No.

Cosmo Jarvis my main man! The gay, kiddy fiddling pirate/priest (you have to listen to his music to get what I'm on about) comfortably takes me over the finishing line. He's albums not bad, a real mixed bag of music styles and quality. As a debut album it's a good marker in the sand and I have big hopes for his next album, if he can refine his writing skills and choose a sound he is happy with I'll think he'll nail it. We could all be talking about him in 2013.

Kasabian's fourth album Velociraptor! took me by surprise in more ways than one. I'd not heard rumbles that they were about to release another album in what felt like a short time since the last album. It was in fact two years since the great W.R.P.L.A. had been released. It has seen a fair change in style with a more experimental and mellow style and it took some time to grow on me (to be fair all their albums have). Yet now I rank it amongst the best albums of the year. Don't get me wrong they show some of the old style and finesse but anybody who thought they might be getting stale will enjoy this new direction. For me the stand out track is Goodbye Kiss, a real departure from the hard rock of the Kasabian of old but it really shows their amazing range and why they look set to dominate for years to come.

I didn't buy this album but I'm still counting it as it was given to me before 2011 was up. Grouplove were brought to my attention last year with the excellent Colours. A real strong indie track. Then in 2011 Schonberg also ran the Lovely Cup and Tongue Tied tracks past my ears and despite being poppier (Tongue Tied reminds me a bit of Black Kids at times) I put them on my shopping list for January's pay day. Thankfully I didn't have to pay for it and incredibly I've already listened to it more than half the albums on this post. Buy it, you know you want to.

P.S. I did of course listen to other albums over the year, The Strokes, Coldplay, Noel Gallagher, Pete and the Pirates, The Horrors and Foo Fighters amongst others all had their chance but ultimately I didn't buy them for one reason another (I might still buy Noel's). However if I (and Schonberg) have missed some albums that we should definitely bought, let us know.

1 comment:

Schönberg said...

Kudos Jal. Between us we bought over thirty albums, which I'm guessing is a three-fold increase over the previous year. BUT, will we look back on 2011 as a classic year of music, like I do for 1991 and you probably do for 1996, and like we both probably do for 2001? Only time will tell. Great post by the way.