2011 for me was a very up and down year, but there was one thing for me that stood out over everything else and that was the exceptional music that has treated my ears over the past 12 months. I've been to a number of live shows and purchased various albums both of new artists and old favourites. 2011 was an exciting year music wise, particularly for upcoming artists, so I am most definitely hoping that 2012 will have a whole lot more to offer! For now though these are my top 5 albums of 2011, it was fairly difficult to narrow it down to five, but i am very happy with my choices!
1. Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
my album review already on this album, so i won't go into too much detail here. However this album has not stopped playing on repeat since it was released back in the beginning of October. I am quite frankly in awe of Ben Howard and his musical abilities, his voice is soulful and unique and his guitar skills are some of the best i've seen in a long time. This album is fantastic from start to finish and i find myself getting completely lost in the music, unaware of anything happening around me (sometimes a problem when i'm walking around in public!) His music makes me lust for the country air or a long car journey to an unknown destination. The album suits any mood, high or low so if you haven't yet heard his music or bought the album, i cannot urge you enough to do so, i guarantee that you won't regret it.
2. MONA - MONA
I first discovered MONA at the beginning of the summer and have loved them since. I saw them live on Halloween and despite spending the evening alone i couldn't have been happier. Infront of me stood a group of very attractive Tennessee men, sweating their way through a rock filled set list. It's becoming difficult these days to find some real, talented rock bands, however MONA have reignited the fire and are making people fall back in love with the old school rock sounds we grew up on. Personal favourites from the album include 'Listen to Your Love', ' Teenager' and 'Shooting the Moon'. Take a listen and i'm quite sure after hearing Nick Brown (lead vocalist) say the word "Babydoll" they will have wormed their way into your music loving hearts.
3. Charlie Simpson - Young Pilgrim
I've been banging on about Charlie Simpson for a while now, he was the influence for one of my first posts on here and has made various appearances on Seaside in the City ever since, but can you blame me? Young Pilgrim was released in August and is still the soundtrack to most of my daily life, after seeing him live in Brighton in October my love for him grew even more as the show was just outstanding. Some of you may have already heard his three singles from Young Pilgrim, 'Down Down Down', 'Parachutes' and 'Cemetery' which would have given you a great taster for the rest of the album. But i must urge you all to get you hands on a copy of this excellent debut record, it's full of brilliantly written songs that a lot of people can relate to, Charlie's choice of instruments are spot on and the whole album has such a great vibe to it.
4. Twin Atlantic - Free
Twin Atlantic, a four man, scottish filled, rock beast. These chaps are well on their way in making themselves known in the alternative scene and i am so excited to see how far they will go in the next year. Free is an album that, from start to finish makes you want to jump around in the air screaming along to their songs. I'm quite sure they'll be playing the festival circuit this summer, so if they're playing one of the one's you will be attending, go see them, you will undoubtedly be impressed with what you see and hear. You'll have a sudden desire to have a scottish accent and if like me and my friends, will go around quoting lines from their songs in the most inappropriate of situations. Sam McTrusty's voice is gritty but powerful and really creates an atmosphere with each song he sings. Together they make up a very exciting new approach to rock music.
5. Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm
I reviewed Ben's album back in the summer on here and i still stand by every word i said. This is a beautiful record that stands out amongst the other choices due to it's style and genre. Each of the tracks on the record are fantastic, Ben has one of those husky, soulful voices that makes you melt a little on the inside and go off into a daydream world. Well, that's what happens to me anyway! Definitely an album to put on when you're having a quiet evening to yourself so you can just lose yourself in his music. He spent most of 2011 touring around Europe and by the looks of things is doing the same for 2012, already he has UK dates set for February and i wouldn't be surprised if he's enlisted for every festival going! Benjamin Francis Leftwich is definitely a name to remember and keep your eyes out for, i predict great things!
So there we have it, my top five albums from 2011, these are just my words though, to really believe what i say you need to go buy each of the records and listen for yourself. Of course there were many other albums that i enjoyed which i feel deserve a mention, so if none of the above tickle your fancy then maybe try out one of the below:
You Me At Six - Sinners Never Sleep
Deaf Havana - Fools and Worthless Liars
Kids In Glasshouses - In Gold Blood
Example - Playing in the Shadows
Ed Sheeran - +
Birdy - Birdy
Dave McPherson - The Hardship Diaries
Friendly Fires - Pala
Jessie J - Who You Are
Lower Than Atlantis - World Record
Rizzle Kicks - Stereo Typical
Rihanna - Talk That Talk
Two Spot Gobi - The Sun Will Rise