Favourite songs of 2011: 40-31

40. John Talabot feat. Glasser - Families

Delorean has been missed. Luckily we have this instead. ‘Strangers in your home’, but ‘it’s the beginning of us and the end of them’. You make your own family.

39. Pandr Eyez - Little Bit

Bass squelch, wall of sound haze, vocals buried under the noise. Weary wisdom about the futility of chasing success. Worth five Video Games.

38. J Majik & Wickaman feat. Dee Freer - Ritual

‘I can't get through to you. You never should have let me go’. Where did those '90s days go? Shout out to my sister for this one.

37. Julianna Barwick - Bob In Your Gait

The massed choirs-of-one dialed back to reveal a lone voice following a simple piano line. Sometimes that’s all you need.

36. Addison Groove - This Is It

O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K build to THIS IS A PROFUSION OF COLOURFUL PULSES. About as playful and fun as the Swamp-Hessle sound gets. And we need more of that.

35. Pistol Annies - Hell On Heels

Shout to Lex for this one. Probably the first country music I've really enjoyed. Interesting hip hop comparisons being made. Argument is that this is also post-recession working class music, except that it comes from white females who live in the Republican-voting South, so are unfairly marginalized by liberal (male) music snobs. I fear that line can sometimes degenerate to more-hip-than-thou posturing, but hey, one-upmanship is an ever-present feature of internet discourse. All I can say is the album is the perfect distillation of what Drive-By Truckers have been trying to do for an entire career, and the title track's smouldering menace is the best example of the Annies' mixture of defiance and desperation.

34. FaltyDL - Hip Love

‘It's getting insane I know... Don't you see I don't need you around... True... Spend more time with me...’ Bad break-ups over muffled clattering 2step drums.

33. Toddla T feat. Shola Ama and J2K - Take It Back

‘Can we take it back to how it used to be, baby’. Where did those 90s days go?

32. Shackleton - Deadman

Same old same old genius.

31. Champion feat. Ruby Lee Ryder - Sensitivity

Kingdom and Funkystepz didn't really hit that funky-vocal sweet spot this year, but Champion did. Ruby Lee is on youtube doing Aaliyah covers, and she brings a bit of the lost legend’s unshowy sensuality to Sensitivity. Producers must love her -- how she blends with the track rather than just sitting over it. And Champion excels here. The beat withholds and teases as much as Ruby Lee’s whispered nothings.


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