Our favourite new records that we heard this year…
From first hearing it back in February, it was always pretty obvious it would take something special to top this. Indeed it had to be special itself to follow up their previous effort You Can’t Win. Nothing better came. Album of the year hands down. Country Clutter would probably take track of the year too.
The long awaited second full album from Case Hardin didn’t disappoint. UK Americana at it’s finest. Having been used to hearing the live acoustic version of A Lullaby (…Of Sorts), the rocked up full band version took some getting used to but makes for one of the standout tracks alongside Are Those Really The Miles? and the glorious Champeen.
Becoming almost as well known for his novels a the songs of Richmond Fontaine, Willy Vlautin’s musical and literary work met somewhere in the middle for this near concept album. A complete story across 17 tracks that would break the hardest of hearts.
Expect to hear a lot more of Amanda in the UK next year, she’ll be touring this record in April. As we said in Essential Listening back in September “The voice may be sweet, but the lyrics are sharp, bringing old time well and truly into the modern World.”
James Walbourne – The Hill
Debut albums don’t come much better than this. After several years playing guitar for various artists, James finally brought his own voice to the forefront. An EP Drugs & Money followed, expect to hear more in 2012.
An album for our times. Themes of loss and work, often loss of work. Tales of the everyman and their scars and broken hearts, the ones who keep the big wheels turning until the system or their doesn’t want them anymore. Or both.
Our biggest live disappointment of the year was not getting to catch The Revival Tour. Thankfully after being introduced to Chuck Ragan via previous album Gold Country we got to hear this. More proof that punks gone country are making the best ‘roots’ records.
2011 saw this beautiful album finally see the light of day after almost three years in the making. It’s been worth the wait. Hopefully the next one won’t take quite as long.
From the fabulous opener of Fire At The Pageant it was clear The Felice Brothers weren’t resting on any laurels and there was no fear of experimenting with new sounds here. Recorded in an abandoned high school, the album is as packed with atmosphere as it is with quality songs.
We said pretty much everything we could about this album when we reviewed it back here, except to say it’s stood up to repeated listening since. Take a listen for yourself: