heard on the wire

This spoon in my drawer, a reminder of childhood

I do have a spoon in my drawer that reminds me of the kind of spoons my grandparents had. There is only one band on Earth who could possibly have been alive to that fact. They are, quite obviously, among the nominees for 2011’s song-from-each-year-of-my-life.

Any year that sees the release of a new Half Man Half Biscuit LP is a good year. Wirral’s finest released their 13th studio LP in 2011. While 90 Bisodol (Crimond) isn’t as musically inventive as some of its procedures, its lyrics are among the very best that Nigel Blackwell has ever written.

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We’ll always have Venice ’till it falls into the sea

I could stay forever hanging out, to quote Allo Darlin, but time is short and there are still at least half a dozen more nominees for 2011’s song-from-each-year-of-my-life, including my favourite folk-, country- and dance-tinged tracks of the year.

But first the aforementioned Allo Darlin’ and a version of a song by Darren Hayman, no stranger to these parts. Like an increasing number of independent artists and labels, All Darlin’ are selling the single through their Bandcamp page, whence they may actually get a fair share of the proceeds. Spotify it ain’t.

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Four in the morning

This morning brings four more nominees for 2011’s song-from-each-year-of-my-life, as I try to squeeze the remaining 14-or-so tracks into the next couple of weeks. Then maybe I’ll have time to post a few holiday faves for the festive season, before announcing 2011’s winner. Oh, the suspense…

First up a track from Married to the Sea, a free LP from Canadian musician Charlie Berger’ With Hidden Noise project. It’s lovely.

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My family tells me no

The cover may be one of the year’s worst, but Acid House Kings’ second LP, Music Sounds Better With You, was one of 2011’s highlights for fans of Scandinavian indie pop.

And who isn’t.

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This much delight fills columns

I could have picked any of several tracks from The Big Roar, one of the finest LPs of 2011, but while this contender for this year’s song-from-each-year-of-my-life is perhaps the most predictable, it’s also the most worthy.

And the video is filmed in a bike shop.

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Don’t say turtles don’t carry their record collections on their backs…

One of the loveliest, most touching things that The Becster ever did for me.

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Sometimes it snows in April…

…is my favourite Prince song, just edging out Sign o’ the Times in the battle of the only two Prince songs I really like. It’s also a metaphor for the arrival of heart gladdening tracks that first graced iTunes with their presence in April 2011.

I know little about any of these bands, though Vivian Girls have received quite a lot of attention on one or two blogs. What I do know is that these were nice tunes that beckoned the longer, warmer days ahead. And they’re all candidates for 2011’s song-from-each-year-of-my-life.

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The clock is ticking…

They’re chiefly known for their louche covers of new wave classics such as Love Will Tear Us Apart and Teenage Kicks, which gave the band its name; The Becster calls them Vaguely New, which rather fits; and they’re astonishingly good live.

The band’s array of singers also have a musical life apart from revisiting the music of the late seventies and early eighties. The two producer-musicians behind the band, Marc Collin and Olivier Libaux, collected some of those recordings into an LP released in March 2011.

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