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torsdag den 29. december 2011

Beat 2011. Kommenteret (4 af 4)

Af Jamie Mason

1. P.J. Harvey: Let England Shake

Never been a great Polly Jean Fan, but this (by far her best album) is stunning effort.  Harvey's vocals and arrangements, the songs themselves (her most melodic yet) and her complex feelings of love, pride and disappointment in her own beloved England show an artist at the peak of her powers

2. Vetiver: The Errant Charm

The 10 tracks on the album offer an uplifting vibe from beginning to end. This is quiet chilled summer music. Mostly, the songs are about love - particularly past relationships. Mellow beach music (I've tried works!!)

3. Iron & Wine: Kiss Each Other Clean

A surprising and majestic triumph for Sam Beam.  Songs about good and evil, love and death.  Alternatively toe-tapping, funky and even radio friendly.

4. Cults: Cults

Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion have only been together, as couple and band, for a year,  and the New Yorkers' music has a fresh pop sweetness to it. They are not the first US indie band to be in love with 1960s girl-pop, but their take on it has all heart-on-sleeve honesty of the originals.

5. The Black Keys: El Camino

Released late in the year but after several listens around the xmas tree, I'm hooked. Cool, classic rock music that places heavy emphasis on the guitar. El Camino is an 11-song exercise in garage rock that's just as dirty as Santa Claus after a night of chimney climbing!!


6. Tinariwen: Tassili

Always a pleasure.  This time accoustic songs.  They have produced their most sparse, gentle album to date. Recorded in a desert town in southern Algeria, it's a set that, at its best, is as equally absorbing as their electric masterpieces.

7. Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down

Often angry,  humouristic and ironic. This is about as good a reply to the greedy, grabbing times we live in as any artist has mustered, which makes it essential listening. The "Last Great American Socialist" sings like a modern Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie for our times.

8. Gillian Welch: The Harrow & The Harvest

Eight years have passed since Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings released 'Soul Journey'. The wait as they say, has been worth waiting for. A stunning  American folk album. Sad, beautiful, always compelling and steeped in the roots of the American South. Rarely have two voices, two guitars and the occasional banjo and harmonica sounded so right.

9. Tom Waits: Bad As Me

Welcome back Tom. Always a pleasure. It has been said the album is a "Greatest hits" of Tom's various voices and styles. Perhaps, but it is also so much more.

10. Jonathan Wilson: Gentle Spirit

A new name for this reviewer.  A lost vibe from  1970s Laurel Canyon. There is enough musical invention and innovation in 'Gentle Spirit' to hold your attention. The songs of Jonathan Wilson will attract admirers and detractors in equal measure. Early 70s pastiche or a triumph of cosmic Americana. You decide!

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