10. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Annie Clark is now a VERY BIG DEAL. This hotly anticipated follow-up to 2009’s acclaimed Actor (in turn a successor to the wonderful Marry Me) did not disappoint, capturing both the reflective tone of her earlier work and the pumped up tunes on Actor. Oh, and did we mention we were in love with her?
9. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien
That’s what 2011 needed – some scuzzed up guitar distortion. With J Mascis distracted by his acoustic solo project, a hole needed filling and this Staten Island foursome were just the band to do it. This trumped 2009’s worthy debut Why There Are Mountains, making them one of the most exciting bands in US guitar pop.
8. The Son(s) – The Sons(s)
We tipped the Son(s) for Radar at the end of last year and were delighted to see them, or let’s face it, ‘him’ produce the goods with a lovely little record. Breathless melodies and subtle psychedelia.
7. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
It mattered not that we’d heard versions of no fewer than four of these songs on 2009’s mini album A Balloon Called Moaning. Re-recorded versions and eight new tunes made for a noisy, raucous album full of huge guitars and thunderous drums.
6. Star Wheel Press – The Life Cycle of a Falling Bird
And to think were it not for a chance meeting with a dapper, ginger-bearded musician in the most inauspicious place (Edinburgh’s unsavoury stag party magnet the Three Sisters pub) we may never have come across this album that helped define our year. This album of fifteen well crafted folk melodies was taken from Aberfeldy to Edinburgh for our first gig back in September and it’s still a mainstay on the Tidal Wave stereo.