2011 IN REVIEW: Revolt Of The Apes's Top 10 Records Of The Year

Posted by: Necci – Jan 03, 2012


Swahili – Swahili (self-released)
All I really need to do is think about the first time I heard the ghostly, longing vocals of “Soma” and I deliver myself the chills. Uplifting, strange and radical. We don’t really have to still listen to people who say electronic music is void of a soul, do we?

Weird Owl – Build Your Beast a Fire (TeePee Records)
From the opening intergalactic-busking of “No Time Nor No Space” to the repeating, retreating, revolving refrain that gives the album its title, this is an incredibly welcoming album, especially if you find songs about saucer-shaped shadows that leap pyramids in a single sound welcoming. And we do. Why this hasn’t sold a million copies, I have no idea.

Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler (Box of Cedar)
In which Ms. Nadler again wears her “reliquary eyes” and “diadem frown,” now coupled with “phantom limbs” and “eerie hymns.”

White Hills – HP-1 (Thrill Jockey)
The space race is on! Who will be crowned “Greatest Space Rock Band of All-Time” – Hawkwind or White Hills? And the winner is… White Hills by a nose! Unlike Hawkwind, they choose to race without a saxophone, giving them just enough thrust for the victory! Bow down and kneel to the ones who call you slave.

Canary Oh Canary – Last Night In Sunway Knolls (self-released)
Does this count as an album? Is it an EP? Does anyone care? When you stand up and spit your first song into the world and that song is the ten-minute-plus soul-cleansing of Canary Oh Canary’s “Embrace,” you make my top-ten albums list (what an honor!). Someone play this at my funeral, please.

Ga’an – Black Equus (Captcha Records)
The experience of listening to Ga’an is something like if a bunch of wackos from the Midwest slowed down their Bauhaus records to 17.5 RPMs before welding them to a shrine built out of Tangerine Dream bootlegs, and eventually blasting light-speed through a Voivod-timewarp before recording the first note. I’m talking a mystic, technology killing, “Piper at the Gates of Dawnrazor” trip.

Amen Dunes – Through Donkey Jaw (Sacred Bones)
Angry, hypnotic , strange, honest and beautiful. What else do you want an album to be? Amen Dunes can only give you everything.

Gnod – InGnodWeTrust (Rocket Recordings)
You could easily take this monstrous, mental hydrogen bomb of a record and replace it on this list with their OTHER equally stunning album released this year (Chaudelande Volume 1) and I couldn’t blink an eye. By turns, the music of Gnod is punishing, dramatic, ecstatic, frenzied and – wait for it – danceable.

Master Musicians of Bukkake – Totem Three (Important Records)
For longer than I am comfortable admitting, I avoided this band, assuming they are something of a joke, given their – ahem – descriptive choice of a name. But they are no joke. By the cleansing twilight of Kali Yuga, they are no joke. Still not sure I can bring myself to wear the t-shirt, though.

Spindrift – Classic Soundtracks, Vol. 1 (Xemu Records)
It’s just shy of impossible to think of Spindrift without thinking of the past. There’s a strange, sweaty, sideways energy in their utter musical and cinematic commitment to reanimating and reverb-ing the ghosts of the conflicts of the West. But the latest confirmation of this commitment – the instant classic, Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1 – doesn’t sound anything but timeless to me.

By Ryan Muldoon of