Sunday, 18 December 2011

Top 20 Albums Of 2011

1. The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?

Britain's biggest rock'n'roll hopefuls since The Libertines

 If it's 'tunes' you're after, look no further. London quartet The Vaccines burst onto the scene in August of 2010, with their demo of If You Wanna surfacing on You Tube.Within days, Zane Lowe made the song his 'Hottest Record In The World' and the band was soon signed to Columbia Records. The Vaccines' iconic debut is full of the short and sharp indie anthems that we have been longing for since the days of The Strokes and Justin Young's emphatic vocal style tears through the album. Freddie Cowan's ingenuity in the lead guitar department never fails to amaze, with fast paced chord sequences in songs such as Norgaard and a guitar sound that defines the band, nothing compares.

Album opener Wreckin' Bar is one minute and twenty-eight seconds of adrenaline powered indie rock. Catchy as hell and magnificently written, it's an awesome start to the LP, setting the pace for what's to come. Lead single from What Did You Expect... is Post Break-Up Sex, like many of the songs on the record it's about relationships and as NME so wisely put it, 'mildly creepy', but that's why people like it. The raw, energetic atmosphere that surrounds the band is inevitable. Both lyrically and musically, The Vaccines have got it, whatever 'it' may be.

The Vaccines are here to remind us that Great British rock'n'roll has still got it. The Vaccines are here to stay.

2. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

Everybody's favourite singer / songwriter's patriotic album about his grandmother, the English Channel and Winchester. Marvellous.

3. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Beautiful second full length from Bon Iver, Justin Vernon's voice is an instrument in itself.

4. Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See

High Green's lads fourth LP. With awesome guitar licks and Alex Turner's lyrics, Arctic Monkeys are laughing.

5. Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind Of Fix

North London sweetheart's third release, prepare for a new BBC.

6. Frankie & The Heartstrings - Hunger

Sunderland band fronted by Frankie Francis, catchy guitar pop and an ace singer.

7. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

The Oasis songwriter's superlative debut effort. A step away from the old band, but still rock'n'roll.

8. Miles Kane - Colour Of The Trap

60's inspired garage rock, guitar riffs that will make your hair curl.

9. City And Colour - Little Hell

Alexisonfire's Dallas Green continues to feed the need for acoustic ballads (successfully).

10. Smith Westerns - Dye It Blonde

An LP that will blow you mind, Smith Westerns take you on a journey to the future of American guitar rock.

11. Metronomy - The English Riviera 

A wonderful long player from Devon's greatest offering since Ambrosia custard.

12. Noah And The Whale - Last Night On Earth

Charlie Fink writes another classic album, upbeat and up-tempo ditching the ukuleles for electric guitars.

13. Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm

22 year old Yorkshireman Leftwich's stunning debut, folk songs for the fans of Elliot Smith

14. Little Comets - In Search Of Elusive Little Comets

Newcastle four-piece feed our ears with jangly 'kitchen sink' indie pop. Absolutely BRILLIANT!

15. The Wombats - This Modern Glitch

Tales of growing up in the nineties, catchy tunes and clever lyrics. What's not to like?

16. Kasabian - Velociraptor!

Influenced by dinosaurs, Kasabian step forward into the experimental rock that everyone loves.

17. The Horrors - Skying

The Southend band's astounding third LP, furthering into the experimental. NME Award Winner for Album Of The Year 2011

18. Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia

Pop songs with a hook in every song and piano lines that make you want to dance. LET'S DANCE!

19. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo 

Ex-War On Drugs guitarist and Pennsylvanian troubadour's fourth solo record. Nostalgic, melancholic, fantastic.

20. The Drums - Portamento

The Drums second offering, an LP that puts the spotlight on Jonathan Pierce's upbringing. Jangly guitar pop all round. Magnificent.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Howler - Cover Version

In addition to an earlier article about Howler, here is my cover of You Like White Women, I Like Cigarettes. Great song, say no more.

Friday, 2 December 2011


The saviours have arrived. Camden four-piece Tribes, a brand spanking new indie rock outfit formed in 2010 are Island Records' latest offering. With Libertine-esque hype surrounding the band with XFM, NME and even Zane Lowe singing their praises in recent months, it's time to see what it's all about - the songs, the image, the band.

Set to rock the country and even the world with songs of childhood and adolescence and looking like they've walked straight out of Kurt Cobain's wardrobe, these guys are the true cool kids in town. Although influenced by a period of American 80's and 90's indie, the likes of Pavement, REM and Pixies, Tribes are still a "very British band" according to lead vocalist Johnny Lloyd. They know what to do. Let's put it this way: the future of rock'n'roll is in safe hands.

April saw the release of Tribes' first EP, We Were Children, which proved a huge success, provoking huge crowds and spine tingling singalongs at Reading festival this year. We Were Children is a melody that will really hit home, a tune that is bound to make you want to sing out loud as soon as you hear the opening guitar riff. The lyric "These things happen / we were children in the mid nineties" just oozes a devil may care attitude, the effortless songwriting ability of Lloyd is undeniable.

Even indie icons the Mystery Jets have christened them "the future of rock'n'roll". Let's hope they deliver eh? Debut LP Baby is released on 16 January.

OUT NOW: We Were Children EP
OUT NOW: When My Day Comes EP

PRE-ORDER "BABY" SIGNED COPIES$ja=tsid:11516|prd:island


Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Howler to release debut album in January 2012

Hailing form Minneapolis, Minnesota and newly signed to Rough Trade, Howler look like the next big thing in the indie world. Taking huge influence from bands such as The Strokes and touring with The Vaccines, their sound which they themselves describe as 'thrash' gives us a glimpse of the next generation of guitar bands.

Charismatic frontman Jordan Gatesmith looks the part, with his effortless rockstar appearance, all skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors. With France Camp (bass), Ian Nygaard (guitar) Max Petrek (keyboard) and drummer Brent Mayes completing the line up, a tight new indie outfit is soon to be unleashed.

Their best known song, Told You Once is a surf pop anthem, undoubtedly one of the best tunes of the year. Gatesmith's unique vocal style and a catchy chord sequence that would make the hair on the Back Of Your Neck stand on end, 2012 looks like it could be Howler's year.

In this week's NME, Howler's debut UK gig upstairs at the Garage was applauded, saying that the "hype is entirely justified". Debut LP "America Give Up" is released on 16 January. KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED!

OUT NOW: "This Ones Different";0;-1;-1;-1&sku=177017