My Top 20 Artists of 2011

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1. Jan. 2012, 13:03

1. Tom Waits 243 listens
2. Neil Young 230 listens
3. The Damned 213 listens
4. PJ Harvey 195 listens
5. Anathema 169 listens
6. Stiff Little Fingers 165 listens
7. The Gathering 144 listens
8. Katatonia 138 listens
9. Belle and Sebastian 136 listens
10. Bob Dylan 135 listens
11. My Dying Bride 132 listens
12. Mojave 3 127 listens
13. 2Pac 127 listens
14. Low 123 listens
15. Nina Nastasia 112 listens
16. Leonard Cohen 105 listens
17. Opeth 100 listens
18. Bruce Springsteen 98 listens
19. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band 93 listens
20. LL Cool J 92 listens


Even a glance it is clear that I have not been particuarly moved by much 'new' music recently, in fact it has been a while since a new band excited me. Perhaps Arcade Fire was that band but even then it took me until after the hype had settled to realise what a talented group they were. Whether it is due to my own stubborness or simply a lack of interesting music is up for debate. By my own reckoning only three of my top twenty artists released a new studio album in 2011, those three being Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, and Opeth, hardly spring chickens, any of them. PJ Harvey's performance in this list can no doubt be attributed to the excellent Let England Shake while Opeth's can partly be put down to me just trying to get my head around Heritage. I still haven't quite managed that one yet.

Live gigs have also had a heavy influence; The Damned, Stiff Little Fingers and Anathema are three examples of this. Perhaps the most notable though was an unlikely tussle between doom metal giants My Dying Bride and lo-fi legends Low. They both played in Manchester in the same building on the same evening last May and so a quandry of nearly epic proportions was born. Thus ensued a 'listen-off' which took me a month or so to resolve. Eventually I plumped for MDB and I didn't regret the decision.

My last.fm journal on Neil Young and finally discovering Time Fades Away bumped old Shakey up the list while a bout of nostalgia saw me revisit the two men who pretty much single handedly got me into rap music during the mid nineties, LL Cool J and 2Pac.

There really aren't any great surprises here though, even to me. It is easy to be aware of ones last.fm charts but in the myriad ways of sorting and displaying them some do creep through undetected. Others are more deliberate, such as The Gathering. This was the year that I they broke through my consciousness, particuarly their masterpiece Nighttime Birds, it was released in 1997. I keep returning to that quandry about new music. It seems as though the too few great bands that currently inhabit the edge of the mainstream like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes are hardly 'new' anymore. Why are all the main festivals in the UK headlined by bands that really should have seen their day? Download is set to be headlined by Metallica and Black Sabbath this year. Perhaps my favourite moment ever at Glastonbury was seeing Leonard Cohen on the Pyramid stage in 2008 and my all time V Festival high point would be a toss up between Manic Street Preachers in 2007 or Radiohead in 2006.

Perhaps 2012 will open up more possibilities although I cant help the feeling that I am distancing myself further from whatever excuse for a 'scene' we have these days. The truth is I am more likely to move backwards rather than forwards.

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