Wednesday, 21 December 2011

2011: Top 10 Live Shows

As per usual, it was another hectic year in the arena of live shows. I try to get to two gigs per month, and this year I exceeded this average, attending over thirty live events. Below consists of my top ten favourite shows of the year.

10. Mercury Rev @ Harvest Festival, Brisbane
9. Bitch Magnet @ ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Minehead UK
8. Gang Of Four @ The Hi Fi Bar, Brisbane
7. Factory Floor @ ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Minehead UK
6. Archers Of Loaf @ ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Minehead UK
5. Swervedriver @ The Zoo, Brisbane
4. Health @ Woodland, Brisbane
3. Primal Scream @ Selina's Coogee Bay Hotel, Sydney
2. Mogwai @ Splendour In The Grass, Woodford
1. The Besnard Lakes @ The Zoo, Brisbane

Congratulations to The Besnard Lakes. They totally blew me away in front of a crowd that didn't reach the two hundred mark. Only forty eight tickets were sold for their Brisbane show, which was a travesty within itself. Plenty missed out on the goodness this mighty band delivers.

2011: Top 10 Books Read This Year

Okay, so this is not 2011 as such. However, I'm sure I'm not the only one who fails to read new releases predominantly. In fact my list consist of books that weren't released this year. That's right, not one. Anyway, this is what took my fancy this year. I usually get around to reading between thirty and forty books a year. The ten below were my favourites:

Author: Ryu Murakami
Title: 69
Publisher: Oxford 

Author: Hunter S. Thompson
Title: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Publisher: Random House

Author: James Frey
Title: My Friend Leonard
Publisher: Random House

Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Title: Mother Night
Publisher: Fawcett

Author: Jonathan Franzen
Title: The Corrections
Publisher: Straus & Giroux

Author: Truman Capote
Title: In Cold Blood
Publisher: Random House

Author: Jack London
Title: White Fang
Publisher: Macmillan

Author: Roddy Doyle
Title: The Woman Who Walked Into Doors
Publisher: Jonathan Cape

Author: James Ellroy
Title: L.A. Confidential
Publisher: The Mysterious Press

Author: Jonathan Franzen
Title: Freedom
Publisher: Straus & Giroux

So there you have it. Mr. Franzen dominated the list and deservedly so. Although many think The Corrections is his seminal novel, I strongly disagree, sighting Freedom as his magnum piece of work, thus far. He's zeroed on his strenghts that many first witnessed with The Corrections. That's not to say his earlier works aren't up to scratch, however his latest two novels in the above mentioned have really witnessed Franzen step it up and put himself amongst the finest American writers of the modern era. 


Friday, 16 December 2011

2011: Albums Of The Year - Top 30

Below consists of my top thirty albums of the year 2011. Enjoy.

Artist: Baxter Dury
Album: Happy Soup
Label: Regal

Artist: Yuck
Album: Yuck
Label: Fat Possum

Artist: Glasvegas
Album: Euphoric Heartbreak
Label: Columbia

Artist: Real Estate
Album: Days
Label: Domino

Artist: Grouper
Album: A I A: Dream Loss/ Alien Observer
Label: Yellowelectric

Artist: The Joy Formidable
Album: The Big Roar
Label: Atlantic

Artist: The Fall
Album: Ersatz GB
Label: Cherry Red Records

Artist: Eleventh Dream Day
Album: Riot Now!
Label: Thrill Jockey

Artist: Jesu
Album: Ascension
Label: Caldo Verde

Artist: The Rural Alberta Advantage
Album: Departing
Label: Saddle Creek

Artist: Tom Waites
Album: Bad As Me
Label: ANTI-

Artist: Ryan Adams
Album: Ashes & Fire
Label: PAX AM

Artist: Battles
Album: Gloss Drop
Label: Warp Records

Artist: Russian Circles
Album: Empros
Label: Sargent House

Artist: Destroyer
Album: Kaputt
Label: Merge Records

Artist: Fucked Up
Album: David Comes To Life
Label: Matador Records

Artist: Grails
Album: Deep Politics
Label: Temporary Resident

Artist: Wire
Album: Red Barked Tree
Label: Pink Flag

Artist: Wilco
Album: The Whole Love
Label: dBpm

Artist: Wild Flag
Album: Wild Flag
Label: Merge Records

Artist: Mogwai
Album: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Label: Rock Action/Sub Pop

Artist: The Twilight Singers
Album: Dynamite Steps
Label: Sub Pop

Artist: Low
Album: C'mon
Label: Sub Pop

Artist: Julianna Barwick
Album: The Magic Place
Label: Asthmatic Kitten

Artist: Radiohead
Album: The King of Limbs
Label: XL Recordings

Artist: Josh T. Pearson
Album: Last of the Country Gentlmen
Label: Mute

Artist: Parts & Labor
Album: Constant Future
Label: Jagjaguwar

Artist: The Horrors
Album: Skying
Label: XL Recordings

Artist: PJ Harvey
Album: Let England Shake
Label: Vagrant

Artist: The War On Drugs
Album: Slave Ambient
Label: Secretly Canadian

Congratulations to The War On Drugs. They held off some stiff opposition on the way, however Slave Ambient's ability to remain entrenched in my CD player made the decision to award them with the highest accolade was really a no-brainer.


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

2011: Albums Of The Year - Honourable Mentions

It's that time of year. Again. Enough of the platitudes that get thrown around year in year out. You know the ones. There's so much to choose from, yada yada yada. Yes, I've been guilty of it myself over the years. Below are the honourable mentions that narrowly missed out on the final cut of my favourite albums this year. The top thirty will follow next week.

Artist: Buffalo Tom
Album: Skins
Label: Scrawny Records

Artist: Walls
Album: Coracle
Label: Kompakt

Artist: The Boxer Rebellion
Album: The Cold Still
Label: Self Released

Artist: Gang Gang Dance
Album: Eye Contact
Label: 4AD

Artist: Boris
Album: Heavy Rocks
Label: Southern Lord

Artist: Anna Calvi
Album: Anna Calvi
Label: Domino

Artist: Kurt Vile
Album: Smoke Ring For My Halo
Label: Matador Records

Artist: Bon Iver
Album: Bon Iver
Label: Jagjaguwar

Artist: Gang Of Four
Album: Content
Label: Gronland

Artist: M83
Album: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Label: Mute

Artist: The Field
Album: Looping State of Mind
Label: Kompakt

Artist: East River Pipe
Album: We Live In Rented Rooms
Label: Self Released

Artist: Zola Jesus
Album: Contatus
Label: Sacred Bones

Artist: Idaho
Album: You Were a Dick
Label: Talitres

Artist: Jane's Addiction
Album: The Great Escape Artist
Label: Capitol Records

Artist: Akron/Family
Album: Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
Label: Dead Oceans

Artist: Wye Oak
Album: Civilian
Label: Merge Records

Artist: My Morning Jacket
Album: Circuital
Label: ATO Records

Artist: Okkervil River
Album: I Am Very Far
Label: Jagjaguwar

Artist: Crooked Fingers
Album: Breaks in the Armor
Label: Merge Records

Artist: ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Album: Tao of the Dead
Label: Richter Scale

Artist: Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks
Album: Mirror Traffic
Label: Matador Records

Artist: Explosions In The Sky
Album: Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Label: Temporary Residence

Artist: Dum Dum Girls
Album: Only In Dreams
Label: Sub Pop