Dalliance Albums of 2011 – Someone said to me I’m coming to your dream and speaking to you, I already knew
- I Am Very Far - Okkervil River
The best live band you will see doing Rock n' Roll shows have put out an album that shows the emotional range of one of their performances. Weaving between melancholia and pumped guitar stylings I Am Very Far is a band hitting the targets that it sets for itself, and very high targets those are. Lyrical, intelligent, excellent.
- Welcome To Condale - Summer Camp
Out of the ethereal and onto record it has taken a long time for Summer Camp to emerge after some curious shows and a few hints towards obscurities. What emerges is an album recollecting a time not lived in a place that probably never existed but with a feel that is universal. Songs of heartache and loss are always played out well to a catchy beat.
- (I Can't Get No) - Stevie Jackson
Or, if you will, the guy out of Belle & Sebastian doing his own thing and doing it so very well. The references are sixties pop of course but the immediacy of the guitar driven pop and the cute smartness of the lyrics are surprisingly effective.
- Nursing Home - Let's Wrestle
It is thrashing guitars and sarcastic lyrics but that has never been something that upset me and Nursing Home manages not only to power through its running time in an indecent haste but also includes some laugh out loud funny moments. Superb.
- Collapse Into Now - R.E.M.
Or if you will the end of an era. The last R.E.M. is another addition to the catalogue that adds breadth but lacks the depth of the earlier work of legend. Still a cracking listen and they will be missed.
- Obscurities - Stephin Merritt
A collection of Merritt's offcuts from projects is always going to be a sketchy affair but the great stuff is really great stuff.
- Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 - The Radio Dept.
A singles collection, so perhaps it should not count, but unseen by most this Swedish band have been making a cerebral music that aches with a heartbreak unspeakable.
- An Argument with Myself EP - Jens Lekman
An EP is half an album so Lekman only gets half points for this brilliant collection of songs about friends dying, getting lost in Melbourne and looking for movie stars in Sweden.
Just eight this year, there were others which are worth a listen but eight was the number we halted on.