What records have caught my attention so far 2011??
The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
Going for a more folk/REM sound on this record (with a couple of blatant REM rip off tunes – but at least they get Peter Buck to help play them!). A string set of songs and an album that is a grower. Good vocal support from Gillian Welsh. [Visual Companion piece to album video]
Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts
This is their third album (and last if the band are to be believed). It sticks to the musical formula that the band created on their first album taking parts of hip-hop, 60s pop, brass bands and stage musicals and mixes it all up to make infectious pop music. Whilst it could be argued the trick is wearing thin, I think this is one of the more uplifting records of the year thus far. [Secretary Song video]
The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow
The Civil Wars are Joy Williams and John Paul White, and they make simple voice and guitar music that it at times quite beautiful. If you like the stripped down stuff Robert Plant has been up to of late, of just like good folk, then worth checking out. [Poison and Wine Video ]
Abigail Washburn - City of Refuge
With Fleet Foxes, Low Anthem and other set for new album this year, and The Civil Wars and Decemberists records already out, Folkie/country is where it is at in the first half of 2011. Because of that you really should check out this lady. Great voice , and some nice musical touches: esp if you like a bit of bluegrass and banjo! But also if you like the likes of Lizzie, there are also some more 'commercial' moments.
[Bright Morning Stars at The Slaughtered Lamb, London]
Gang of Four – Content
8th Album and first of new material for 16 years from seminal UK political indie band. Taking that into account it's amazing how good this is. Have influenced a lot of bands over the years, even if most people I know haven't heard of them! The whole jarring choppy guitar sound is still present, as is the angst on what for me is their best album since the their first couple back in the late 70s. [Never Pay for the farm on Letterman]