Ah, 2011. Gotye doffed his clothes, donned body paint AND cleaned up at the ARIAs with an all-killer, no-filler album, Boy & Bear gave Mumford & Sons a run for their banjos, and Metallica angered the rock gods by teaming up with Lou Reed for the shambolic Lulu.

It’s been a year of hits (sayonara Video Hits) and misses (Lady Gaga’s 10 remix albums released this year and arriving in an egg to the Grammys). So in homage to 2011, here is my countdown of the good, the bad and the ugly.

(Yes, I am aware my choices are slightly pop, slightly indie, but I this is the edited version of what I originally had. Tell me any you think I’ve missed.)


Gotye – Making Mirrors
Marimbas and xylophones never sounded so cool. And body paint will never been interpreted the same way ever again. Listen: I Feel Better, Somebody That I Used To Know

Boy & Bear – Moonfire
Swept the ARIAs clean and has Joe Chicarelli’s stamp all over it, but this record still has a lush, crisp, banjo-plucking sound. Listen: Feeding Line, Percy Warner Park

Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
How mainstream pop music should sound – majestic, glorious and glowing. Thanks Flo. Listen: Only If For A Night, Shake It Out

The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
Well, expect a smidge of The Strokes, a bit of The Ramones punky angst and some pop thrown in. Listen: Wetsuit, If You Wanna

Kimbra – Vows
The pint-sized Kiwi poppet with the big voice shows off her lyrical flair and love of found objects to make a pop frenzy on her first album. Listen: Settle Down, Two Way Street

Pnau – Soft Universe
Elton John helped Nick Littlemore and Pete Mayes hone their boogie. Listen: Unite, The Truth

Joan As Police Woman – The Deep Field
Jeff Buckley’s girlfriend churns out soul-embracing, beautiful, soaring pop with a lot of heart. Listen: The Magic, Flash

The Kills – Blood Pressures
Written by Jamie Hince as the other half of the Kills – the sexy and illusive Alison Mosshart – was busy fronting and touring with The Dead Weather, this record is perfect booty-shaking rock in every way. Listen: Baby Says, Future Starts

The Vines – Future Primitive
The comeback kids of rock give it their all on their fifth album and get back to basics. Listen: Future Primitive, Gimme Love


Lou Reed and Metallica – Lulu
WTF? Enough said. Listen: Don’t bother with this one.

Vanessa Amorosi – V
Too broad, too many genres stuffed into one – from ska, rap, pop, rock, the list goes on – and with lines like “I love you/ love you like ice-cream… Yum” it’s about as deep as Paris Hilton’s underwear drawer. Listen: Ice-Cream

Sleeper of the Year

CAKE- Showroom of Compassion
I don’t know why this album flopped here, but it’s a great CAKE record with all the vibraslap idiosyncrasies you could ever want.

My picks for 2012

Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
Dirty rock, hard fast and low with a soft, soul-tearing centre of regrets and beautiful melodies. Listen: Sweet Sour, Bruises

Chairlift – Something
Brooklyn pair master electro-pop madness, sounds like an Eighties party bash minus the kitsch and koala earrings. Listen: Amanaemonesia, Met Before

Ladyhawke – Anxiety
Kiwi lass Ladyhawke furthers her dance-pop dominance with her perfect blonde locks and gorgeous honeyed pop splendour.

Wolfmother – As yet untitled
Those Wolfies are back with a “hard-driving and catchy” third bite at the ‘70s rock pie. I, for one, am excited.

What are your hits and misses for 2011?

Which releases are you hanging out for in 2012?

Peace out Superman!

Mascara and Monsters is Angela Allan's blog covering music and mayhem. She's also the founder and editor of Soot Magazine.

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