Q‘s 50 Best Albums Of 2011

50 Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
49 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
48 Noah And The Whale – Last Night On Earth
47 Mastodon – The Hunter
45 Miles Kane – The Colour Of The Trap
44 Death In Vegas – Trans-Love Energies
43 King Creosote – Diamond Mine
42 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
41 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
40 Danger Mouse & Danielle Luppi – Rome
39 James Blake – James Blake
28 Feist – Metals
37 Washed Out – Within And Without
36 Katy B – On A Mission
35 Cass McCombs – Humour Risk
34 Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo
33 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
32 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
31 Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two
30 Lady Gaga - Born This Way
29 Kasabian – Velociraptor
28 Gillian Welch – The Harrows And The Harvest
27 Ed Sheeran – +
26 Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
25 Wild Beasts – Smother
24 Real Estate – Days
23 Björk – Biophilia
22 White Lies – Ritual
21 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
20 The Weeknd – Thursday
19 Cass McCombs – WIT’S END
18 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
17 Metronomy – The English Riviera
16 Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings For My Halo
15 Baxter Drury – Happy Soup
14 The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
13 Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
12 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
11 The Horrors – Skying
10 Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys
09 WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
08 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
07 Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
06 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
05 Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
04 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
03 Adele – 21
02 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
01 Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials

MOJO‘s Top 50 Albums Of 2011

50 Joe Henry – Revere
49 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra
48 Wire – Red Barked Tree
47 Radiohead: The King Of Limbs
46 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
45 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
44 Glen Campbell – Ghost On The Canvas
43 Gwilym Simcock – Good Days At Scholss Elmau
42 Booker T. Jones – The Road From Memphis
41 Destroyer – Kaputt
40 Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming
39 Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
38 The Sand Bag – All Through The Night
37 Duane Eddy – Road Trip
36 Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
35 Tinariwen – Tassili
34 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
33 Glenn Jones – The Wanting
32 Björk – Biophilia
31 Nick Lowe – That Old Magic
30 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
29 Wilco – The Whole Love
28 Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
27 Arbouretum – The Gathering
26 Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
25 The Stepkids - The Stepkids
24 EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
23 Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
22 Beirut – The Rip Tide
21 The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
20 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
19 James Blake – James Blake
18 Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
17 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – Everything’s Getting Older
16 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
15 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
14 King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
13 Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes
12 Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings For My Halo
11 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
10 Wild Beasts – Smother
09 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
08 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
07 Josh T Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
06 White Denim – D
05 Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
04 Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit
03 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
02 The Horrors – Skying
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Uncut‘s Top 50 Albums Of 2011

50 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
49 Arbouretum – The Gathering
48 Cornershop Featuring Bubbley Kaur – Cornershop And The Double-O Groove Of
47 The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
46 Iceage – New Brigade
45 Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin
44 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
43 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
42 Jenny Hval – Viscera
41 Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
40 Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
39 Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
38 His Golden Messenger – From Country Hai East Cotton
37 Little Dragon – Ritual Union
36 Jonny – Jonny
35 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
34 Fatoumata Diawara – Fatou
33 Low – C’Mon
32 Gil Scott Heron & Jamie XX – We’re New Here
31 Destroyer – Kaputt
30 Tim Hecker – Ravendeath, 1972
29 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
28 King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
27 Björk – Biophilia
26 The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
25 Bill Callahan – Apocolypse
24 Real Estate – Days
23 Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
22 Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
21 James Blake – James Blake
20 Ry Cooder – Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
19 Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
18 Tinariwen – Tassili
17 Feist – Metals
16 Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit
15 Wilco – The Whole Love
14 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
13 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
12 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
11 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
10 The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
09 Bon Iver – Bon Iver
08 Wild Beasts – Smother
07 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
06 The Horrors – Skying
05 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
04 White Denim – D
03 Metronomy – The English Riviera
02 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

Cover of the day

Franklin J. Schaffner:"Papillon" (1973)

Although it's overly exhaustive as it catalogues its protagonist's many attempts to regain his freedom, Papillon remains the mother, or at least the master, of all prison-escape flicks. Less of a straight-up procedural than such heirs to the throne as Escape From Alcatraz, the film tempers its unashamedly psychological approach (dream sequences, tests of will, and triumph-of-the-downtrodden hokum) with enough gritty realism (knife fights, guillotines, malaria, and leprous smugglers) to appease those who want their depravity served up extra stark. Escape-film vet Steve McQueen showcases his range both physically and mentally as his character seems to age forward and backward and go in and out of sanity depending on the barbarity of his method of incarceration at any given time. Dustin Hoffman, meanwhile, gets to have it both ways, outrageous vocal and physical tics and subtle psychological shadings, as the rich counterfeiter whose colonic stash of cash finances several of Papillon's attempts to bust out. Viewers may watch the closing credits incredulously, unable to believe that after 150 minutes, director Franklin J. Schaffner still has to resort to a spoken-word epilogue to wrap up loose ends, but for devotees of the genre and fans of McQueen's tough-guy oeuvre, Papillon is worth the investment of time.

Anna Calvi:"Anna Calvi" (2011)

When one of the most successful independent record labels of the past decade puts out only a mere smattering of work by female solo artists, you can’t help but feel that they’ve got something of a mental block. However, it seems that Domino were just waiting for the right woman to come along.

Anna Calvi is certainly that. Rather than the Brit School background that seems par for the course for any hotly tipped British female solo talent, Anna Calvi is instead the product of a rather more traditional music degree at Southampton Uni. Evidently, her obsession with the multi-textured work of early 20th century impressionist composers was allowed to flourish there, rather than be dampened by lessons on how best to impress dead-eyed X Factor judges.

As such, Calvi’s sumptuously gothic debut is shot through with more references than an encyclopaedia. Thrilling and chilling in equal measure, this self-titled collection of 10 songs is perhaps the first great record of 2011.

Instrumental opener ‘Rider To The Sea’ is an updated echo of the groove of ‘Riders On The Storm,’ yet stripped of Jim Morrison’s macho posturing and replaced with a virtuosity that’s neither indulgent nor dull.

Vocals kick in, somewhat ironically, on ‘No More Words’, where Calvi offers up a cut-glass English accent that’s a little sister to Sarah Nixey of defunct pop pervs Black Box Recorder. This is the prefect purr that nuzzles up against her own take on Ry Cooder’s slide guitar and Angelo Badalamenti’s atmospheric work for David Lynch across haunting tracks such as ‘Love Won’t Be Leaving’.

The upshot is a more cultured and studied take on Florence Welch’s baroque operatics. Calvi is a diva, no doubt, but instead of a speaker stack-humping, sparkly hotpant-wearing dervish, she treads a more reflective, refined path. Even considering such sophistication, she’s not afraid of an all-out hit, like the standout, chiming ‘Blackout’. Her glistening croon is placed centre stage in ‘The Devil’ as flamenco guitar trickles like a waterfall that’s been wired for sound. The Cure make their presence felt in the ‘80s jangle of ‘Suzanne And I’ and she goes seriously Siouxsie on the thunderous ‘Desire’.

It’d be hard not to draw parallels between Calvi and her co-producer Rob Ellis’s near constant collaborator of the last 20 years, PJ Harvey. Yet while both women ooze an elemental kind of passion, Calvi is unashamedly slicker, especially when compared to Harvey’s earlier, grungier work. Like Harvey though, we have a funny feeling that Calvi is in this for the long haul.

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