Monday, 20 February 2012

Counter Culture '11 has landed!

Rough Trade Shops annual report on the music that passed over the shops’ counters during 2011 has arrived in the form of a double cd, comprising of 42 tracks and full colour sleevenotes entitled ROUGH TRADE SHOPS:COUNTER CULTURE '11. The tracks chosen were either a favourite with our customers, a big seller on the shop floor or a recommendation by a member of the Rough Trade staff.

The Top Ten of the Rough Trade Shops annual chart features heavily as you would expect and this year we have tracks from Josh T. Pearson, Kurt Vile, Nicolas Jaar, Zomby, Veronica Falls, John Maus, White Hills and The Head and The Heart from that list, giving you an idea of the diverse range of styles present.

The collection begins with a set of ten beautifully crafted works from Pearson, Vile and The Head and The Heart alongside Mara Carlyle, Lanterns On The Lake, The Decemberists, Drive-By Truckers, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Richmond Fontaine and Still Corners.

A trio of pop nuggets from Real Estate, The History of Apple Pie and Little Dragon follow closely before this collection takes a turn toward technology with subtle production techniques from Jaar, SBTRKT, Planningtorock, Koreless and Ghostpoet, who melds rap with electronic pulsations. The latter being a good example of where some of the most exciting indie music was at in 2011 - supreme creativity that was unclassifiable in the iTunes sense of the word, further examples of which dominate disc 2.

Holy Other, Clams Casino, Goitia Deitz and Fatima Al Qadiri channel electricity in brand new ways, while Hype Williams, U.S. Girls, Peaking Lights and Maria Minerva deconstruct indie-rock before rebuilding it in their own unique vision. Factory Floor and drmcnt take a similar approach, breaking things down before producing beautifully detailed minimal music, referencing industrial/no-wave and jungle/dubstep respectively.

Flying Lotus’ presence is never far way and quite rightly so, his influential Brainfeeder label is represented here with a hip-hop skit from Samiyam and some cybotron shape-throwing from Martyn. We stick around on the dancefloor with the Queen Diva of Bounce Music Big Freedia and Azari & III whose self-titled debut, one of the big cross-over albums of the year, caught everyone by surprise with a blend of tech-funkiness that is as ‘Detroit’ as it is ‘Minneapolis’. Lastly in this section, VCMG (Martin Gore and Vince Clarke, re-united at the desk for the first time since Depeche Mode’s debut 30 years ago) and their track ‘Spock’. Which is five minutes and forty-two seconds of pure and bubbling minimal techno that would make fans of Kompakt and Basic Channel very happy.

The volume and intensity is turned up to eleven as we approach the conclusion of the comp. Scorching riff-rock from the noise punk quartet Dope Body and weird new-wave brutality from Divorce prepare the ground for Copenhagen’s Iceage as they channel Pere Ubu and Nation of Ulysses to create a fever-causing energy discharge, before White Hills at last unleash their blistering space rock terrorism. The ‘Hills creating a suitable crescendo before David Shrigley tickles our funny-bone with a typically ’quirky’ post script quip.

On sale now here...

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