True Widow's As High As The Highest Heavens & From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth bagged the #1 spot on my best music of 2011 list over at The Guardian because I have rinsed that album like no other this year; narcotic riffs, echoing harmonies, bone-rattling bass lines and aching tempos. Seeing them live at The Macbeth was probably my favourite gig of the year.
2011 was good year for guitar albums: True Widow, St Vincent, EMA, Japanese Voyeurs and Anna Calvi all upped the game in diverse, inspiring ways (courtesy nod to PJH's harp/guitar work on Let England Shake). Progressive danc/electro-types also did well, with Austra, Planningtorock, Gazelle Twin, Katy B and Emika, and undergroundish hip hop came big, with THEEsatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, Danny Brown and UK vet Jehst.
A lot of the gals I didn't get to include on this list will end up on the Wears The Trousers end-of-year list, but honourable mentions of all genders include: Azaelia Banks, Lana Del Rey, Beyonce, SBTRKT, Machinehead, Yelawolf, Rihanna, Rustie, Colleen Green, Chelsea Woolfe, Tu Fawning, Hollie Cook, La Sera, Planningtorock, Love Inks, Pettybone, Nitty Scott, THEEsatisfaction, Grimes, Veronica Falls, Razika, Drugstore, Ghostpoet, Katy B, Wiley, Left Lane Cruiser, Daedelus, Jamie Woon, James Blake, Paul White, Danny Brown, SBTRKT, Blood Orange, Little Roy, Samiyam, Wild Beasts, Amon Tobin, John Maus, A Dancing Beggar, Canibus, Tom Waits, Willy Moon, Gang Gang Dance, Factory Floor, Tyler The Creator, Kreayshawn, Nicola Roberts, Mastodon, Cosmic Dead and Lasers From Atlantis.
Grau top 10 tracks of 2011 in video:
I'm New Here - Jaime xx and Gil Scott Heron
2. Hudson Mohawke - All Your Love
3. Active Child - You Are All I See
4. Japanese Voyeurs - Couldnt find a good live version of Smother so here's my favourite 2012 JV track, Milk Teeth
5. Michael Kiwanuka - I'm Getting Ready
6. Jehst - Starting Over
7. Emika - Count Backwards
8. DELS - Violina
9. PJ Harvey - The Last Living Rose
10. Barbara Panther - Moonlight People