OK, so now the New Year starts proper.
Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you like the blog’s crisp new look.
I can’t look to 2012 until I’ve glanced back mournfully at 2011 one more time and thought a bit more about what it gave us, musically first, as is the tradition. You obviously have good taste in music to be milling about on David Gilmour’s webspace still, so who better to ask: what did you enjoy about last year? Albums, singles and gigs, I want it all.
I thought it was a highly respectable year, actually. We had the final album from R.E.M. (Collapse Into Now); welcome returns to form from Kate Bush (50 Words For Snow) and Paul Simon (So Beautiful So What); more catchy little numbers from Kasabian (here’s ‘Days Are Forgotten’, from Velociraptor!, to ‘ahh’ along to) and the one I had on my Christmas wish list because I knew it was going to be good: Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes.
Yet there was so much more. The self-titled Big Talk, the solo album from drummer Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers was a rather nice surprise; Tom Morello returned with impeccable timing as The Nightwatchman with World Wide Rebel Songs; I heard shades of Syd Barrett in Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring for My Halo; and the Black Keys followed on from 2010’s triumphant Brothers with El Camino. So what if they sound like Free? They rock! Here’s the album’s first single and, amusingly, a man dancing. Try not to laugh too loudly. I don’t know the story behind the video, so can’t say whether he’s a good sport or just a silly fool. Either way, it works for me.
I also embraced Charles Bradley’s soul revival (No Time For Dreaming) and enjoyed occasional moments from folk-rock quartet Dawes’ Nothing is Wrong. The best of the bunch for me, though, came from White Denim. For making music to listen to in a darkened room with eyes shut and thoughts wandering perhaps a little too freely, I found the sometimes dreamy, sometimes trippy D ticked all the right boxes.
The chatroom is open on Wednesday this week, by which time I hope we all will have acquired a list of new music to track down thanks to your recommendations. Then, and only then, can we turn our attention away from music to the books, television and film of 2011, so do drop by if you’d like to reminisce for a little longer with me; I’ll be there from 2pm (UK).