January 10th, 2012

2011: Some of our faves
As another year draws to a close for a great year in music, a couple of members from Team LF eagerly sat down to prep a list of some of our absolute favourite releases in 2011, so here's what Imran Mirza (IM) and Krissi Weiss (KW) think was absolutely awesome...
‘Ceremonials’ – Florence + The Machine [Album]
Florence and her harp-driven, rhythm-heavy Machine managed to create a follow-up to ‘Lungs’ that surpassed that debut with sophisticated songwriting, evolved dynamics and a cohesiveness that was devoid of predictability. (KW)


‘Love and Revolution’ – Nicola Conte [Album]
For My Funky (In)Disposition and the Blue-in-Green Sessions, this is our winner for ‘album of the year’!  Clearly, a huge accolade from us, so it’s clearly an album that needs to be heard as Conte’s versatility in jazz and bossa embraces 60s and 70s soul, and is brought to life by vocalists including Jose James, Nailah Porter and Gregory Porter. (IM)
‘Making Mirrors’ – Gotye [Album]
This whole album took De Backer out of his bedroom and into a world of irresistible left-field pop. While the media has managed to destroy the likes of ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ with their usual formula of saturation, ‘Making Mirrors’ has so much more to offer than flash-in-the-pan singles. (KW)

‘The Bronx’ – Booker T Jones featuring Lou Reed [Song]
‘Road From Memphis’ was an exciting release off the bat as it saw him partnered with members of The Roots, Questlove, Kirk Douglas and Owen Biddle (now former bass player of the band), and the album mixed by Gabriel Roth from Daptone Records.  Strong guest appearances from Yim Yames and Sharon Jones make their mark but Lou Reed’s FLAAVVVVAAAA is the show-stealer here. (IM)

‘Mine Is Yours’ – Cold War Kids [Album]
(V2 Music/Shock)
With a sophomore slump, Cold War Kids had a lot to prove with this album and they came out firing. Gone was the chaotic time-signature changes of ‘We Used To Vacation’ and the irritating repetitiveness of ‘Something Is Not Right With Me’ and enter an album of jangly-indie that was heavy on guitars and a little lighter on piano than previous releases. (KW)
‘New Day’ – Jay-Z & Kanye West [Song]
(Def Jam)
It’s an album (‘Watch The Throne’) with a heckuvalot going for it and hit singles still mounting up in the US, but this one is the unsung hero of the release; and not just because of The Rza’s majestry weaved throughout the excellent production, but Jay and Ye’s letters to their unborn sons show a poignancy we don’t often see from them. (IM)

‘Perfect Darkness’ – Fink [Album]
(Ninja Tunes/Inertia)
Ever since Fin Greenall stepped away from his electronic beginnings (albeit sketches of them into a new concept) and into the land of the singer-songwriter he has truly found his voice. While ‘Sort Of Revolution’ showed signs of great songwriting, ‘Perfect Darkness’ managed to combine heavy lyricism with light melodies. (KW)
‘Stone Rollin’ – Raphael Saadiq [Album]
Despite ‘The Way I See It’ doing incredible things for Saadiq’s career, it’s fair to say there was a portion of his fan base that hoped the follow-up would potentially leave the ‘retro’ stylings on the backburner in favour of a more ‘Saadiq-sounding’ record, and I counted myself amongst that group until I heard just how good this release actually is.  Standouts are far too many to mention so we had to include the whole thing! (IM)
‘Sun Will Rise’ – Shuya Okino featuring Divinti [Song]
(Village Again)

One-half of Japan’s Kyoto Jazz Massive, Shuya Okino, delivered an absolute blinder with his electronic/dance-tinged take on soul captured perfectly on his album, ‘Destiny’, following its mouth-watering anticipation after fans clapped ears on ‘Still in Love’ from last year.  Featured guests include N’Dea Davenport and Pete Simpson and frankly the whole album deserves to be included, but the charging piano pounding on ‘Sun Will Rise’ is too ridiculously good not to have its own solo mention. (IM)

‘Wounded Rhymes’ – Lykke Li [Album]
(LL Recordings/Warner Music)
The emotional purging that Li underwent during the writing of this album is evident at every epic chorus and reverb-drenched strike of a drum. This is an album in the purest sense of the word with no one song prevailing over the other. From start to finish, you enter Li’s world of space and echo. (KW)

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