Friends of DOA – Best of 2011

Various Artists - Drive (soundtrack)

Dean Wareham (Dean & Britta):

Various ArtistsDrive (soundtrack)

My favorite album of the year is the soundtrack to my favorite film of the year – Drive. I came out of the theatre with a few songs stuck in my head — the synthy cues by Cliff Martinez, but above all the track “Oh My Love” by Riz Ortolani and Katyna Ranieri.  I am not the only one; lots of people love this soundtrack and apparently the composer himself doesn’t understand why people like it so much. But I think the right combination of film and music can be a powerful oneiric experience.


Mikael Tariverdiev - Goodbye Boys!

Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld):

Mikael Tariverdiev – Goodbye Boys! (soundtrack)

Okay, so it’s the soundtrack to a 1966 Soviet film but it has been put on CD and I heard it for the first time in a café in Moscow in January.  I am not being wilfully obscure or elitist here; it genuinely took me in a way that is all too rare these days.  Along with other work by the man, it has been on pretty constant rotation here at The House of the Clerkenwell Kid all this year. From the opening bell through the foghorns, distant voices calling and sounds of autumn, the themes develop from haunting solo piano to easy listening, jazz improvisation and a single voice humming on a wonderful journey until the denouement and a moving close. This is widescreen music for the open-hearted.

Tariverdiev was an Armenian and is as well-known and as prolific (actually even more so) in the USSR as Michel Legrand, Morricone or John Barry would be here.  He was responsible for a grand output from the 1950s right through to the 1990s.  There is a great treasure trove of Eastern European music we have yet to discover.  It is not that there have not been great albums released here this year – there must have been  – but I haven’t heard them and to be honest, when I have dug up a treasure like this I want to savour it and not confuse it with too much else.

Wooden Wand & The Briarwood Virgins - Briarwood

Owen Tromans (solo artist / Critical Heights label):

Wooden Wand & The Briarwood Virgins – Briarwood

Well, what can I say? I had high hopes for this record and it’s so good when high hopes get repaid on such a grand scale.  “Winter In Kentucky” signals the intent here: great songs played by a great band.  I dare you not to get goose-bumps when that second guitar kicks into the right speaker and JJT drawls “Beth, when we met you looked like the kind of girl that gets won in a drag race…” And the quality doesn’t let up; the killer one-liners, world-weary narratives and cryptic asides are consistently backed by a muscular and intuitive group of musicians (check the ravaged lead that scythes through “Motel Stationary” three minutes in – Crazy Horse isn’t a term I use lightly but…).  A really wonderful LP that stands up well to repeated plays; how many rock albums can you say that about at the moment?

Wooden Wand & The Briarwood Virgins – “Big Mouth USA”

Julie Holter - Tragedy

Martin Holm (The Home Current / Second Language Records):

1. Julia HolterTragedy

2. PJ HarveyLet England Shake

3. Peaking Lights 936

4. Dustin O’Halloran – Lumiere

5. Tiago Sousa – Walden Pond’s Mark

6. Nâ Hawa Doumbia – La Grande Cantratrice Malienne Vol. 3

7. The Boats – The Ballad Of The Eagle

8. Ghédalia Tazartès – Rapas Froid

9. The Hardy Tree – The Fields Lie Sleeping Underneath

10. Googoosh – S/T

Julia Holter – “Goddess Eyes”