December 2011 - Every time I look, something breaks

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Dela

6 jan 2012, 14:07

December was a month of discoveries... early on we had I Break Horses, towards the end there was Blouse and in the middle was find-of-the-year Still Corners.

Where to start with Still Corners? I hear David Lynch, Trespassers William, Slowdive, Let Love In-era Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, often within the same song. Album Creatures of an Hour is rammed full of highlights, and I swear if I'd come across it a few months earlier it would probably be top of my album charts by now... Opener Cuckoo sets the mood perfectly: at once it has an autumnal chill similar to Slowdive's Spanish Air AND a hot and bothered American Gothic feel that wouldn't be out of place in an episode of True Blood. Mostly instrumental Circulars picks the pace up, but retains the majesty, and Endless Summer is another stormer, thundering drums not detracting from the mood. Into the Trees then somehow manages to take things UP a gear, sounding like a delicious blend of 80s Cocteau Twins, the Get Carter Ost and a full-on Swallow dream-pop wig out. The fact that this doesn't even make the top 3 on the album gives you an idea of the high quality tunage involved. My personal favourite is gothic I Wrote in Blood, a gentle strum evolving into a whirlpool of beautiful wonder, closely followed by Velveteen, another swirling dream of a tune. Submarine finishes things off nicely with a twangy surf in the dark woods feel, and closes off my "can't believe I just discovered it a week before Christmas" album of the year.

I'd read lots of good things about I Break Horses, and having listened to Hearts I've now heard lots of good things by them. There's a nice winter chill to their brand of shoegaze, and not just because the opening track is called Winter Beats. Like a mix between early droney M83 and late 80s Cocteaus, it is a wonder to behold, and all very lovely. Without wanting to overdo the horsey gags, the album does gallop along nicely, veering it's way between Veronica Falls and Loveless. Wired probably best encapsulates both approaches in the same song, though it's the wonderful Empty Bottles that really steals the show, managing to feel anthemic and intimate all the same time.

Blouse's Blouse was another corker of a discovery. Like a mix of Kaleidoscope-era Siouxsie and the Banshees and Seventeen Seconds-era The Cure, it wears its heart on its sleeve and sounds a great lost early 80s post punk treasure. Sometimes it sails a little too close to the wind (you'd have trouble telling Time Travel apart from A Forest in a police line up after a few drinks), but the best songs on it are absolute belters: opener Firestarter and towering Controller are fit enough to grace any best of year poll. Sure, it ain't going to win any awards for originality, but frankly I think it's f*cking ace!

Should just briefly squeeze in two live albums that I got as Christmas presents: Sigur Rós's Inni and The Cure's Bestival Live 2011. This pairing encapsulates everything that can be great and awful when it comes to live albums: Inni captures Sigur Rós at a time of reinvention, and straddles different aspects of their back catalogue effortlessly. Whether doing the newer, lighter stuff like Festival, old classics like Svefn-g-englar or heavyweight beauties like E-Bow from (), they bring something new and magic to each one. Bestival Live 2011, however, is the sound of a tired band: an amazing back catalogue is here rendered lumpy and limp. I've seen The Cure live several times and they're capable of blowing you away more thoroughly than a rush of post-Christmas sprouts, but either this performance wasn't up to scratch or the recording has let it down...

And a quick shout (or should that be call?) for Nightcall by Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx, from the Drive OST. If you can imagine the computer from Fitter Happier getting sleazy to a sexed up Bette Davis Eyes then you're close, maybe too close... There are a few other corkers on there too, just a shame it's not scrobbling as a proper album...

Anyhoo, the final 3-monther of 2011 looked like this....

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