Recommended: Best of 2011

What a fantastic year for music in our little world. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen James Blake go from supporting Everything Everything at RNCM to headlining The Warehouse Project, and the likes of Wild Beasts release their best albums to date and headline festivals as a result. Some of our favourite labels – Weird World, Tri Angle, Captured Tracks – have proven utterly inescapable, consistently shining the spotlight on the most innovative and exciting new music in the world. And what’s more, we’ve been lucky enough to bring many of this year’s best album artists to the stages of Now Wave, be they in Salford or Manchester: Death Grips’ extraordinary, visceral show at Islington Mill; the aforementioned James Blake’s pair of matinee shows at Band On The Wall; Peaking Lights’ glorious headline set at The Deaf Institute to finish our 2011 programme.

Our Best Albums of 2011, then. Purely subjective and in a very loose order. Limited to 25 each, it was a tough job – many of our favourites had to be put in the ‘Honourable Mentions’ pile; The Horrors, The Field, Oneohtrix Point Never, Ghostpoet. Too many to mention. We hope you enjoy them regardless. (You can hear many more of our favourites from 2011 in this special bumper Spotify playlist)

As a thank you for a year of support and love, we’ll be offering via competition an exclusive Now Wave Christmas Hamper, with a heap of our favourite albums of the year in CD and Vinyl going to the lucky Now Waver who tells us their favourite album of the year. To get involved, ‘like’ our Facebook page and comment on *this post* on our page to be in with a shot. Good luck!

With love

Wesley and Jon – Now Wave

Wesley:

1) Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7lLfYBGRaA?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

2) Pure X – Pleasure [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4ckV-s__Bc?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

3) Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_g0TpTmIIk?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

4) James Blake – James Blake [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOKXHzL6UVs?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

5) Craft Spells – Idle Labor [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a5v_XhoO-4?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

6) Timber Timbre – Creep On Creeping On [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3qEMl1v6Yg?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

7) Widowspeak – Widowspeak [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxaviqSWrlE?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

8) Balam Acab – Wander/Wonder [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cldM8R8IgWE?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

9) Bon Iver – Bon Iver [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWcyIpul8OE?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

10) Holy Other – With U [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k3qlkOBd9o?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

11) Other Lives – Tamer Animals [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfnGHRVCik0?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

12) Wild Beasts – Smother [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZaevasFRUg?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

13) Peaking Lights – 936 [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRJO5lVYEPU?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

14) Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxuDoYhQI2o?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

15) Panda Bear – Tomboy [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plWq_XMT5i4?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

16) Wu Lyf – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaZ4voI4zA4?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

17) Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells – Everything’s Getting Older [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu_qjcsF6Gs?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

18) Yuck – Yuck [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz7vyrFhFE8?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

19) Clams Casino – Instrumentals [Free Download]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1WKRxWzilY?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

20) Shabazz Palaces – Black Up [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUYaa7_Osik?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

21) Various Artists – Drive Soundtrack [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K7rmxjk5RQ?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

22) Tim Hecker, Ravedeath, 1972 [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytQLA77X6Qw?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

23) Still Corners – Creatures Of An Hour [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3OJMRi66A0?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

24) Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yYwKoWe1PE?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

25) Spectrals – Bad Penny [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-zmk1PiSkE?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

Jon:

1) Shabazz Palaces – Black Up [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTxuXToEYOA?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

2) Pure X – Pleasure [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76206w6AfXs?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

3) Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9tn1Fs6C4w?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

4) Wild Beasts – Smother [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-qZgIz79ts?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

5) James Blake – James Blake [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOT2-OTebx0?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

6) Radiohead – The King Of Limbs [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfOa1a8hYP8?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

7) Balam Acab – Wander / Wonder [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_BmgT8DrJg?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

8) Atlas Sound – Parralax [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rY5Uf4E0e4?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

9) Holy Other – With U [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LacbQ4Lh7wk?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

10) Craft Spells – Idle Labor [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qfQvBOdLi8?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

11) Elite Gymnastics –  Ruin 1 & 2 [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGY5pqANpZs?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

12) Clams Casino – Instrumentals [Free Download]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3Sn8n0DOs4?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

13) Peaking Lights – 936 [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ryGfukKNxI?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

14) Sun Glitters – Everything Could Be Fine [Download]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgC3F3ZPh00?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

15) Iceage – New Brigade [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESaeX71–B4?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

16) Kuedo – Severant [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N-esR8BAOo?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

17) Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H-m6nO8cyQ?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

18) Walls – Coracle [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIgkLxh4pho?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

19) Vondelpark – NYC Stuff and Bags [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAFKRUQDLnQ?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

20) Beach Fossils – What A Pleasure EP [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsj2iipPPts?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

21) Bon Iver – Bon Iver [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo6lKQYVUBU?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

22) Death Grips – Ex Military [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orlbo9WkZ2E?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

23) SBTRKT – SBTRKT [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-LEiOzXHWM?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

24) King Krule – King Krule EP [Buy]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi1_GYahCSs?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

25) A$AP Rocky – LiveLoveA$AP [Free Download]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuZ2QZKYj7c?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

News: Dry The River set sail for Academy 3

Now every cool, exciting band has a synthesizer or drum machine in their arsenal, it takes something special for a straight-laced guitar band to take everyone’s attention. Folk upstarts Dry The River, though, manage to carve out a pretty exciting sound from a well-worn formula, making anthemic pop with a refresh angular bounce. Sort of like a rock opera Maccabees.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwztNYeeUh8?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

Buy tickets for Dry The River from See Tickets and Skiddle

News: Niki & The Dove for first Now Wave show

Like Dry The River and Spector, Niki and the Dove have been shortlisted for the BBC’s Sound of 2012. And now, what is likely a doubly impressive accolade, all three have now been added to our listings for the coming year.  The Gothenburg pair – Malin Dahlstroem and Gustaf Karloef – have released two EPs in the last year and featured as part of the NME’s Radar Tour, so it’s clear their star is in the ascendant.

Not only has their recorded output been applauded as “sultry, ‘Purple Rain’-drenched synthpop” (NME) but their live show has fast gained a reputation as showcasing a “formidable twosome with enough kinesis in their bellowing, sparkling pop to shatter every preconceived notion about them.” Sure to be a sight to behold.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnexkG4RrtA?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

Tickets for Niki & The Dove at Islington Mill are now onsale at See Tickets and Skiddle

News: Now Wave to curate Umbro party

Umbro’s ‘Tailored On Dale Street’ series has already had events curated by our friends at Hoya:Hoya and Murkage this Autumn and next week we’ll be putting on our night at the fashion label’s design studio in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Filmed for Umbro’s website, we’ll be having three of our favourite local bands perform on Monday 19th December – Ghosting Season, The Cold One Hundred and Brown Brogues. The event is free to attend but RSVP to nowwaversvp@hotmail.co.uk is necessary to be on the guestlist. Did we mention there’ll be a free bar, stocked by Jack Daniels? Yeah, there’s another incentive.

Find the Umbro design studio here: [googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=+&q=umbro+dale+street&ie=UTF8&hq=umbro+dale+street&hnear=Manchester,+United+Kingdom&ll=53.480052,-2.231908&spn=0.006295,0.03524&t=m&vpsrc=6&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

News: Spector are back

Suited and booted four-piece Spector have already been picked out by BBC’s Sounds of 2012 as ones to watch next year, so we’re chuffed to get them up to Manchester for a headline show at The Deaf Institute. After seeing them headline our sister night Up The Racket’s birthday party this July, and having them play for us twice in recent months, we’re sure it will be a gig to get excited about.

The Londoners – led by ex-Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man and Les Incompetents frontman Frederick Blood-Royale – sit alongside Salford chanteuse Ren Harvieu and previous Now Wave acts FriendsDry The River and Jamie N Commons on the shortlist, voted for by tastemakers and pundits in every aspect of music. After releasing 3 singles last year, including ‘Grey Shirt and Tie‘, they were part of the first Field Day announcement for this summer’s festival and look set to release their debut album later this year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMV8-cp_y34?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=315]

Tickets for Spector are now available at See Tickets