Adrian P’s 3 from ’11

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key – Double Star (Thrill Jockey)

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key - Double Star

Not content with just releasing creditable albums with their respective mothership bands during 2011, as an inventive and democratic duo Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day) and Tara Key (Antietam) finally delivered a sequel to 2000’s overlooked Dark Edson Tiger, in the shape of the utterly divine Double Star.  Drawing inspiration from each other, their peer group and past experimental masters of all stripes, Double Star is one of the most meticulously-arranged and intrepid instrumental albums of the year.  Through balmy electro-acoustic mediations, via searing art-rock, across alluring Americana back-porches and inside Eno-esque genre-fusing bubbles, Double Star covers acres of musical ground whilst retaining a homely intimacy that is comforting as well as reinvigorating.  A LP worth every nanosecond of its lengthy gestation.

Rick Rizzo & Tara Key – “Hungry”


Savaging Spires – self-titled (Critical Heights)

Savaging Spires - self-titled

Appearing out of nowhere with little or no back story and a deliberate level of author anonymity, came a debut that presented a mysterious outfit already reaching impressive heights of craftsmanship.  Whilst the influences were easy to spot (Espers, Tyrannosaurus Rex, The Incredible String Band, The Wicker Man soundtrack and every acid-folk frazzled source in-between), the Savaging Spires’ eponymous first outing adroitly refashioned its fandom into distinctive bespoke shapes.  Unquestionably a collection that grows with each and every fertile spin, this opening statement proclaims its enchantments predominantly through layered and breath-taking studio arrangements that are richly-detailed without being over-cluttered.  Recording desk mastery aside, the marriage of abstract and harmonious songwriting reveals great potential for future longevity. In essence, this sublime record manages to pit the sophisticated against the arcane with neither losing the battle.  More soon please…

Wilco – The Whole Love (dBpm)

Wilco - The Whole Love

Whilst there is a slightly off-putting arrogance surrounding Wilco these days, it is forgivable when the band puts attitude aside and fuses its six-heads into a lustrous and colourful song-tailoring machine. Harking back to the rich eclecticism and joyful vigour of 1996’s still brilliant Being There and revisiting many of the sonic strands explored over more recent LPs, The Whole Love is an unpretentious yet imaginative pleasure.  Moving through jagged Krautrock, soaring ‘60s garage-rock, effusive country, creamy ‘70s Steely Dan-isms, punchy power-pop, blissful avant-folk and even playful ragtime, with barely a missed a gear, The Whole Love celebrates the album as an art-form that can package up a wide-range of musical aims into an immensely satisfying whole.

Wilco – “I Might” video: