Top 10 Tracks of 2011: Number 10 – 6

13 Dec

As the digital age of music continues its unrelenting march, I am as guilty as anyone of dipping in and out of music like a toddler at the pick n mix. When my blogging partner in crime, challenged me on my top albums of the past 12 months – I had to do a lot of head scratching, blowing out of cheeks and general soul searching. I could barely find three or four albums that I have enjoyed the whole way through, so coming up with 10 would have been a step too far. I’ll make it an early New Year’s resolution to spend more time with the 12” rather than the 7”. In the meantime, here is part 1 of a countdown of my favourite tracks of the year.

10. Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast” (Domino Records)
Released 8 August

Everyone I’ve asked about this one, has said surely “Sutphin Boulevard”? But I found the debut LP from Dev Hynes’ latest incarnation, Blood Orange, so terrifically consistent it was very easy to pick almost any track from the album. I’ve been lucky enough to catch him live on three occasions in 2011 and “Champagne Coast” is always a high point of the set. Funky, sexbeat (copyright – new genre for 2012) drums and synths bubble underneath a hip-shaking, luscious guitar line as Dev croons – “come into my bedroom”. I’m not sure if we’ve seen the last of Blood Orange and 2012 might see Dev morph like a chameleon into his next project, but this was one of 2011’s finest offerings.

9. Metronomy – “The Bay” (Because)
Released 10 June

Joseph Mount has such a quiet, unassuming style that it is perfectly believable that he knocked up “The Bay” in about half an hour. On the surface it all appears so easy, so sassy in style. Repeat listens though, reward the listener with hidden depths that saw their album reach the masses and achieve a Mercury nomination. Sweet harmonies, a swerving bass line and a climatic guitar solo help to make this song appeal whether you are from Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong or even Tokyo.

8. Spector – “Never Fade Away” (LuvLuvLuv Records)
Released 29 April

A Marmite band if ever you heard one. But if I was to name one band who have put the biggest smile on my face over the course of this year it would be Dalston’s Spector. This, their debut single and current closing song in the set – is simplicity itself and its intro and outro of handclaps is unquestionably made for the bigger venues and festival fields that they will surely inhabit soon. Still only 24, lead singer, Fred Macpherson, is now onto his third band, but unlike the more.. er.. avant-garde Les Incompetents and Ox.Eagle. Lion.Man, absolutely huge, crooning choruses are the order of the day. One final footnote, great drumming section ripped off from Joy Division’s “Atmosphere”. Love it.

7. Tom Vek – “A Chore” (Island)
Released 18 April

Such was the worry amongst the caring indie community for the whereabouts of Tom Vek, during his period of hiatus, multiple Facebook groups were spawned – Where is Tom Vek? Tom Vek Detective Agency. After releasing his debut We Have Sound, Vek chose to slip back into the shadows for a period of reflection. Several of my favourite acts of the late noughties (Friendly Fires, Foals) owe his rhythmic, sparse, spunky riffs and stabbing synths a great debt. So it was with huge excitement that within the space of 24 hours in April, we had a single, a video and a promise of a return to the live scene from the man himself.

6. Foo Fighters – “Burning Bridges” (RCA)
Released 12 April

Foo Fighters know how to set the tempo of an album and nearly always come storming out of the traps with a blistering song to kick start proceedings. This effort from their seventh album, Wasting Light, immediately set out their stall. Finding home comfort, in Nirvana producer Butch Vig, recording in Dave’s garage on reel-to-reel tape “Burning Bridges” sounds suitably heavyweight. The return of Pat Smear, means that at full pelt, the Foos have three guitars battling it out for supremacy. If you wanted to define the Foo Fighters to an alien visitor, playing them the first 37 seconds of this song would be just as good as almost anything else in their vast back catalogue.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of the countdown of my favourite tracks of the year as I reveal numbers 5 -1. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my Top 5 gigs of the year and Adam H’s favourite EPs of 2011 as well.

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