So here we are at the top three. These three were always going to be in the medals, but i’ve been deliberating over the final placements…not that it matters to anyone but me, I suppose !
So laydeezungennelman, I give you The Top Three…
3. Wild Flag – Wild Flag
To call Wild Flag a ‘Supergroup’ is being a bit generous to be honest, sure, Sleater-Kinney were incredible and deservedly legendary, but the Minders? Helium? W(ho)TF?! – it’s like calling Franz Ferdinand a supergroup ‘cos a couple of them were in The Yummy Fur! However, that they are a super group is indisputable. This debut (and I hope it’s not just a one-off project) is packed full of killer indie-rock tunes and is the sound of a group of friends getting together and having a whole lot of fun. There are none of the politics of Sleater-Kinney and no preachy messages, but when it’s such a huge lot of fun to listen to, this angle is not missed. Most of the band members are in their 40s but play with the hunger and sheer wide-eyed enthusiasm for MUSIC of a bunch of teenagers and shouldn’t that be what we all aspire to?
2. Josh T. Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
As fromtman for the much revered (by me especially!) Lift To Experience, Josh T. Pearson is somewhat of a mysterious cult figure. After giving the world just one album in the form of Lift To Experience’s “The Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads” in 2001, a sprawling, psychedelic masterpiece of a concept album, he withdrew from the spotlight. So, us fans had been waiting a good 10 years for a follow-up and here it finally is.
“Last of the Country Gentlemen” is extremely sparse and almost unnervingly intimate. Looonnnng (8 songs on a double LP that comes in at over at hour), s-l-o-w-w-w-w, drawn out songs of breathtaking honesty; love, lament, self-deprecation, self-loathing, and perhaps a touch of self-pity. Like it’s creation, it demands a lot of investment from the listener, but with a bit of patience and an empathetic ear, this is one very very special album.
1. Peaking Lights – 936
I first got a glimpse of the Lights from a track on a NNF singles club 7″ in 2010. I was bowled over and got the album as soon as it came out. I earwormed them back in June as my favourite album of the year at that point, and as the long Japanese summer wore on, the woozy dubbiness of “936″ became a constant presence on my turntable and has remained so even in these chilled winter months. Peaking Lights are a husband and wife duo with an amazing record collection (cheers to GHE for the heads up on the incredible PL mixtapes) who live deep in the Wisconsin woods and build their own analogue synthesisers. They have no boundaries to what they chuck into the cauldron and mix up psychedelic noise and washed out dreampop with proper dub beats and real melody to create instantly hummable and completely original pop music.
So, there you go and it looks like 2011 has been another bumper year for for my beloved Not Not Fun records. My loyalty to the NNF cause was never in question of course, but they did seem to be treading water for a while back in 2010. Thanks in no small part to the influence of Amanda’s amazing new dance label 100% Silk, NNF have reinvented themselves this year to excellent and eclectic effect. Roll on 2012 !