Saturday, 31 December 2011

BRNLV11: A List of Beautiful Music From the Year 2011

Hello! 7:56pm, December 31st, 2011. In a few hours, it's the end of the year. What better time to post an end-of-year list?

So: here are BRNLV's ten favourite albums of the last twelve months. From icy, weirdly spiritual techno to acoustic punk, from Scandinavian alt-pop to homegrown ambient soundscapes, each of these contains something very special.

Each comes with a standout track to listen to, and you can listen to them sequentially here on Spotify if you prefer not to watch video or get mouse-click related RSI. (Note: Gus Gus has been taken down from Spotify - maybe Kompakt were part of that dance music distro who pulled their catalogue. So no Gus Gus on playlist).

(nb. You may notice both albums released by Brainlove are present. That's because they are two of my favourite albums that came out this year. For a lot of record labels, signing and releasing is as much an extended form of fandom as a business arrangement. And if we hadn't released them, I'd still have given them both 10/10. So, I included them here, as seems fair and just.)

1. = Gus Gus - Arabian Horse Spotify
Dark, sensual, perfect Icelandic techno. Sung from the heart. A rare thing: an emotional, moving 'dance' album.

1. = Dad Rocks! - Mount Modern Spotify
Eleven beautifully humane and melodic songs about real life; family, domesticity and the modern world.

3. Austra - Feel It Break Spotify
Ostensibly a dark, danceable pop album, Austra's record reveals lyrical depth and hidden resonance on repeated listening.

4. Sacred Harp - Window's A Fall Spotify
An album quite unlike anything else, Window's A Fall is an elegant tumble of ideas.

5. Blanck Mass Spotify
Benjamin Power's solo album is rich with warmth, emotion and a sense of enveloping kindness.

6. David Thomas Broughton - Outbreeding Spotify
DTB plays the poet and the clown in a brave and rewarding collection, his best since the seminal "Complete Guide to Insufficiency".

7. When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie Spotify
Several striking high points make this sophisticated alt-pop debut something special. Arthur Russell influenced finale "Add Ends" is one of the songs of the year.

8. Planningtorock - W Spotify
A direct, complete, stylish art-pop album with a pleasingly limited palette revealing a clear vision.

9. John Maus - We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves Spotify
More unhinged, washed out, impassioned earworms from a man who's allegedly a professor of philosophy. In Hawaii.

10. Active Child - You Are All I See Spotify
Pat Grossi's debut is a grower that sneaks in above Future Islands due it's consistency, glossy texture and open-heart lyrics.

JHNBRNLV's gigs of the year:

15/02 - Zebra and Snake - Fisk og Vilt, by:Larm Festival, Oslo
25/03 - Kreatiivmootor - Tallinn Music Week
31/03 - When Saints Go Machine - Ja Ja Ja @ The Lexington, London
20/05 - David Thomas Broughton - Kings Place, London
09/06 - Future Islands - Upset The Rhythm @ Plan B, London
14/06 - Deerhunter - Slottsfjell Festival, Tønsberg
24/06 - Gus Gus - Kompakt Party @ ℅ Pop, Bootshaus, Cologne
24/07 - Portishead - I'll Be Your Mirror, Alexandria Palace, London
14/09 - Battles - Berlin Music Week @ Tempelhof Airport, Berlin
12/10 - Björk - Harpa, Reykjavík

And finally, a double-sided mixtape of BRNLV artists' songs and selections. See the tracklist (and who picked what) here.

Enjoy the music. See you in 2012.

John // BRNLV

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

David Thomas Broughton Announces UK Dates

VIDEO FOR "ELECTRICITY": (Directed by Claire McArdle)

David Thomas Broughton has announced two rare UK live shows in London and his hometown of Leeds, on the 12th and 13th of January.

His mesmerising live show has become the stuff of legend: from his hypnotically strange, mannerism-packed stage presence, to his use of rape alarms, improvised props and unpredictable tactics, always to enthralling effect. His songs appear and retreat through a bed of looped sound both beautiful and jarring. Broughton is an engaging and startling performer truly like no other.

Broughton will play songs from his seminal debut, "The Complete Guide To Insufficiency", and the well-received 2011 follow up "Outbreeding", out now on CD and digital formats via UK indie label Brainlove Records. More information can be found here and here

FREE MP3 - Ain't Got No Sole:

Thu 12 Jan Brudenell Leeds

Fri 13 Jan Lexington London