Sardless Reviews
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Here is part one of the 2011 annual best of the best (see also part two). Read on after the break to find out who the big winners were.

Macron1's Picks Too many great albums, mixtapes, EPs, greatest-hit collections, re-issues, spoken word albums, elevator music records etc. to narrow it down to just 5, so here is a list of things that this reviewer listened to frequently this year and had something to write about come December! Links to the album, free or streaming, are provided where possible!

5. Hella - Tripper

After several years in the wilderness, the dudes Hella reunited for one of thee most anticipated albums in the field of experimental / noise / math rock / chin-stroking genre. It was vintage Hella, VINTAGE! Right from the get-go, 'Headless' blew minds with its non-stop building and collapsing rhythm that you know no one else would be capable of, and it continued on in a way that was both familiar but also insane and mind blowing and great. Tripper is a bunch of beautiful moments to be enjoyed by the numerous bearded shut-ins who have waited so, so long for it. Full album stream here.

4. Alright The Captain - Snib

Liked it because it sounded like / was reminiscent of old good Don Cab but not really but a little bit. Snib was a solid début from the Nottingham/Derby based badgers that mixed up some intricate noisy post rock / jazz / special school / math rock with some clever catchy technical work. So interesting was it that this reviewer, in rather flowery language, described Snib as sound[ing] big and crazy and at once careful and unstable, like trying to cram a bunch of acorns into a sock filled with Jello. But yeah, Snib is really good and I have listened to it over 220 times in 2011. Full album stream here, free collection of remixes from the album here.

3. Flash Bang Grenada - 10 Haters

For some reason this album was a little bit divisive, however by this stage any shit Busdriver does we/I will be interested in or HIGHLY ANTICIPATING. 10 Haters is a collaboration between Busdriver and the master Nocando that kind of sprang out of the blue. Having frequently collaborated in the past, this was in this reviewers opinion, basically a slam dunk from the outset—just watch this and you will see that these two work so well together and have more imagination, and for that matter manage to cram more words into a single track, than an entire library of Charles Dickens novels (or something). Some of the jokes and puns on 10 Haters wear a little thin and / or are lame, but then tracks like 'Good Cop, Bad Cop', 'I Can Teleport' and 'Aphrodite' smack you in the face and remind you that you have done nothing interesting with your life, so shut up.

2. James Pants - James Pants

The album this reviewer had been waiting for from James Pants since at least 2006. Mixing disparate sounds ranging from riff-heavy psychedelia-inspired electro / disco / calypso / chillwave to West Coast lo-fi garage rock (c.f. esp. 'Beta', 'Darlin') to funked out Prince-influenced sex jams ('Every Night') while at the same time managing to drop in the creepily delicately brilliantly chilling "Clouds Over The Pacific", James Pants is a tear-jerking coming of age tale of a dude who is good at this shit and kind of knows it.

1. Big Baby Gandhi - Big Fucking Baby

For about 11 months of this year Big Fucking Baby was not the hottest pick of 2011, then in late November Big Baby emerged to punch everyone in the dick and steal NUMBER 1. Big Fucking Baby is an almost flawless introduction to the hip-hop / performance art rap music / robot time travel rap / broke coke joke rap genre and features stream of conscience rapid fire talking bullshit, sexual moments, stupid shit, and rhymes about cum on jackets and 50 cent cucumbers. Nothing else this year touches it in terms of shear ludicrous originality. All that and it was recorded on a mobile phone for 8 dollars. Free download.

Honourable mentions

Kaigen - Re: bloomer (sardless review), Blu - Open, Thundercub - Thundercub (full album stream), Das Racist - Relax (full album stream), Boogie Monster - Zechimechi (free album; sardless review), Death Grips - Ex-Military (free album), Shabazz Palaces - Black Up (full album stream), Russian Circles - Empros (full album stream), GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES! - Pink Magick (full album stream) and Dimlite - Grimm Reality (full album stream).