It's that time of year when we announce our Top 10 albums of 2011. In reverse order...
10 - WHITE HILLS - H-p1
Featuring exclusive-to-rough trade bonus disc 'Oddity II: Night Scene On Mill Mountain ''H-p1' - a 7 track, 68 minute disc featuring a 27 minute collaboration with Julian Cope. 'H-p1' manages to distill 40 years of guitar terrorism in all its forms into one mammoth work. There are recognisable rock forms present but the way White Hills use them invigorates the listener like no other rock record this year 'H-p1' channels a collective anger, a seething distrust of control into a swirling psychedelic, brutalising record that mainlines the thrill of the renegade straight to the listener's heart.
Order White Hills here.
9 - THE HEAD AND THE HEART - The Head And The Heart
With their gorgeous harmonies and upbeat country and folk tinged songs, this is just the ticket for lifting spirits in the gloomier months of winter, and catchy enough to be singing along in the car, on the bus or train whatever the time.
Exclusive 3 cd set including a super exclusive bonus disc only available from Rough Trade.
Order The Head And The Heart here.
8- JOHN MAUS - We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves
Featuring an exclusive bonus disc of rarities and early cuts from John Maus' career. A pulsing, hypnagogic synthesised pop invested with both Maus' sense of humour and a pensive insight into the human condition. Maus' music boasts a rewarding duality; it is complex melodically but carried out with a directness that stirs the heartstrings.
With exclusive rough trade bonus disc featuring a multitude of unreleased demos and recordings from through out John Maus' career.
Order John Maus here.
John Maus will be performing a live in-store gig this Wednesday 16th November, 1pm at Rough Trade East. More details here.
7 - ZOMBY - Dedication
Featuring the 'Nothing' album on cd, only available through Rough Trade. a perfectly crafted essay in less is more production and composition, this delicate slab of electronica at times employs little more than atmospheric whirrs, one finger synth lines or subtle clicks and samples to create a rich, brooding masterpiece. Think Burial meets Steve Reich.
Order Zomby here.
6 - VERONICA FALLS - Veronica Falls
A gloriously morose blend of melancholia, gothic gloom and a set of tuneful, snarling post punk pop nuggets, all rendered with beautifully structured boy/girl harmonies and a searing, energetic, muscular guitar sound. a melancholy, ghostly lyrical pre-occupation and a taut, distinctly punk aesthetic raise this high above their indie-pop peers.
Order Veronica Falls here.
5 - PJ HARVEY - Let England Shake
A ghostly, misty soundscape that perfectly mirrors the ideological spectres of england, war and history that permeate this album, 'Let England Shake' centred around guitars shrouded in echo and reverb, mutated musical samples and a set of tunes as good as any Harvey has presented to date.
Order P J Harvey here.
4 - GILLIAN WELCH - The Harrow And The Harvest
Although the musical palette is spare and rustic; all expertly arranged harmonies and exquisite acoustic guitar duels, Welch and guitarist David Rawlings manage once more to fashion something entirely modern and original that still resonates with the honesty of the archaic.
Order Gillian Welch here.
3 - KURT VILE - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Exclusive bonus disc featuring the full live set from Kurt Vile's instore at Rough Trade East. Meandering through delicately picked glacial ballads to more direct, strummed rockers this is a patchwork of American classics, brilliantly re-interpreted through Vile's signature guitar work, world-weary melancholy, and laconic vocal delivery.
Order Kurt Vile here.
Check out a performance by Kurt Vile earlier this year at Rough Trade East here.
2 - NICOLAS JAAR - Space Is Only Noise
'Space Is Only Noise' is a beautiful combination of classical, electronic and sampledelic sounds, with slow paced, delicate beats, producing a truly wonderful mixture of the digital and analogue worlds colliding in perfect harmony. Includes an exclusive 5 track bonus mix cd.
Order Nicolas Jaar here.
1 - JOSH T PEARSON - Last Of The Country Gentlemen
With an exclusive bonus disc featuring Josh T Pearson's set of Christmas songs recorded specially for Rough Trade. A man who engenders an almost religious fervour in his followers (a band that has grown considerably throughout what has been a remarkable year) this was one of the most eagerly anticipated albums in recent memory, and it was more than worth the wait; a magical, intense and cathartic journey into, and out of, darkness.
Order Josh T Pearson here.
On Thursday 1st December Josh will be taking part in a Q&A session with Stevie Chick followed by a signing session. Alongside this, a new exhibition of photographs by Steve Gullick charting the past decade of Josh's career will be displayed in-store.
Josh will also be performing at our Rough Trade On Tour chez agnès b shop on rue du Jour, Paris 75001 on Monday 12th December at 19h30.
Check out a performance by Josh T Pearson earlier this year at Rough Trade West here...