Twenty Five of the Best Songs of 2011 - Part Two

12. Zola Jesus - Vessel
Posted 29th June: "Vessel" is a stunning return for Nika Roza Danilova, harsh metallic beats and Nika's colossal voice create an immediate, menacing atmosphere that's dramatic and chilly."


11. Dum Dum Girls - Coming Down
Posted 20th July: "Coming Down" is a real heart on sleeve lament. Dee Dee's smoky vocals recall more Hope Sandoval than the lo-fi fuzzed-out Shangri-La's of the debut. Languid, echoey guitars shimmer with emotion and longing, complementing the woozy and wistful lyrics perfectly, everything about this track is mellow, luscious, amazing. For those late night, alcohol soaked melancholic moments. Undeniably vulnerable and beautiful, if the album hits me like this track then it's going to be something special."


10. Echo Lake - Sunday Evening
Posted 3rd January and June 15th: "...Their sound highlighted perfectly on the shimmering beauty that is "Sunday Evening", with its hypnotising intensity, chiming guitars and foot-stomping progressive beat..."


9. Daughter - Love
Posted 10th November: "Elena's voice remains pure and beautiful throughout, it's probably one of the most emotionally affecting, gorgeous voices I've heard recently, listening to the opening verse of the heartbreaking "Love" with its wounded, confessional lyrics is a provides a genuine goosebumps moment. If you aren't amongst those 6000 followers perhaps now is the time to stand up and pay attention, I'm sure dozens of A&R guys already have."

8. The Great Wilderness - Dark Horse
Posted 22nd September: "Their most recent (and best) release is the spellbinding "Dark Horse", a sprawling nine minute epic, seamlessly flowing from luscious, dreamy melodies, shimmering guitar rhythms sewn together by vocalist Paola's haunting voice to a shattering cataclysm of pummelling drums and frenetic guitar riffs played with such searing intensity you'll be left gob smacked, then you'll want to press repeat, again and again."


7. The Joy Formidable - Spectrum
Posted 6th February: "Their sound is individual and unique, but recognisable and accessible. Whilst managing to simultaneously sound like and unlike every guitar band you ever heard, The Joy Formidable are a truly astonishing and daunting prospect but fortunately they are blessed with enough style and charisma to create the perfect package".

6. Braids - Lemonade
Posted 6th January: "Lemonade" is the stand-out, a seven minute masterpiece which pushes the boundaries of mainstream psych-pop, swirling, tropical soundscapes and bubbling ambient electronics give the perfect platform for Raphaelle's delicately soft vocals (which hide somewhat of a dirty mouth)."

5. I Break Horses - Hearts
Posted 10th May: "Hearts", for me at least, is the signature I Break Horses track, perhaps because it's what hooked me first, it's simply heavenly. Frozen beats sparkle while pulsating rhythms add a slightly sinister tone (my initial reaction was The Terminator theme) all softly woven amongst echoey drums and the hushed yet, ethereal coos of Maria Lindén. Her voice, as beautiful as it is, acts as another layer of the instrumentation where the lyrical content matters little."


4. Austra - The Beat and The Pulse
Posted 24th January: Austra are Domino's latest signing, the work of Katie Stelmanis whose debut release "Beat & The Pulse" is dominated by a powerful, pounding dance-floor filling dark electro beat"


3. Lanterns on The Lake - I Love You, Sleepyhead
Posted 29th November : "...windswept instrumentation sweeps and swoons while heartbroken melodies tug at your heart strings, the updated version of "I Love You, Sleepyhead" the perfection summation, genuinely gorgeous..."


2. EMA - California
Posted 1st April: "California" is beautifully stark, through grinding, droning walls of feedback, the opening line of "Fuck California, you made me boring" sums up Erika's defiance in one line and it's repeated refrain "I’m just 22 / I don’t mind dying" is almost triumphant."


1. Josh T. Pearson - Honeymoon's Great! Wish You Were Her
Posted 29th November : "The most stunning most though is on the devastating centrepiece "Honeymoon's Great! Wish You Were Her", the longest track in an album of lengthy numbers, at thirteen minutes it's raw, emotional and regretful "I’m in love with another woman, please don’t tell the wife / I cannot seem to stop it and it’s fuckin’ up my fucked up life" (in fact just read the whole lyrics here), a poetic lament to unrequited love and being stuck between two women. I'll repeat myself, an album of such heartbreaking fragility and beauty that I can't say any more than just listen to it."