Sunday, 10 July 2011

Halfway House: 6 Highlights of 2010 So Far

6 months in. 

50% of the year gone.

What have been your musical highlights of 2011 thus far?

Here are 6 slices of eargasm excellence that have fueled H-T-A through to these here summer months:

ANR - 'Stay Kids'

A bold and diverse collection of songs about preserving youth and the uncertainty that comes with its erosion, Miami's ANR delivered the unexpected delight that the submissions box throws up a few times each year.

PJ Harvey 'Let England Shake'

The glorious return of Polly Jean provided possibly the high point of the year so far in full length terms, delivering a stirring, skewed vision of the country for which it's titled. Needless to say more, as the full review can be found here.

Okkervil River Live at Terminal 5, NYC

A powerful live set, chock full of classics as well as new gems from 'I Am Very Far', thrust Will Sheff and the boys very much back into my focus just last month. Overcoming the notoriously odd sounds at Terminal 5 in NYC, they delivered everything from the acoustic genteel ('A Girl In Port') to raucous sing alongs ('For Real'), all with a keen assurance that I so briefly glimpsed at an ATP in the UK some years back. Great to see the full show finally.

The Joy Formidable 'Whirring'

A bombastic roller coaster of a song from an album that proves the value of exposure on NPR's First Listen. I've heard these Welsh whizz kids all over since that pre-release stream, so it seems to have worked. Coincidence? Quite possibly.


Again, we have the full review over here, for your reading delight. Suffice it to say here, that MillionYoung mastermind Mike Diaz more than fulfilled the promise of his early EP's with this winding, engaging listen.

Wye Oak 'Civilian'

Last for a reason, the Baltimore duo's latest effort took a surprisingly long time to settle in with me. When it did, however, it was akin to the moment when, on a plane flight, you emerge from the confusion of the cloud line and take in the blindingly clear view for miles around. A review is almost complete and I'm happy to be put in my place by a band that are to be doubted at one's peril.

But that's just my random roaming rambling....what have you fallen for in 2011?

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