Posted in SHOFT on Wednesday 7th December 2011 at 9:31am

Vintage Top of the Pops LogoAround this time of year, it's going to be hard to peruse any blog without bumping into an 'end of year list'. I'm undecided on their value in some ways - they are naturally pretty subjective and limited by individual bloggers' tastes and attitudes. It's also going to end up a summary of the content of the blog over the past twelve months if, like me, you write fairly exclusively about music you find interesting or inspiring. Then there are the rules - what qualifies, what doesn't - a veritable trainspotter's delight of technicalities, sub-clauses and exceptions to twist their favourite releases into the framework. In short, it's a complicated and confusing time of year for the christmas party gig-addled blogger. But since the mainstream press will be full of their own backslapping efforts to appear to be defining the zeitgeist, I'm a little less concerned about this happening on blogs and podcasts. It redresses the balance a little, and reading these lists on sites with which I generally find I'm musically compatible provides an opportunity to check what I've missed. It was this sort of thing which led me to Timber Timbre and Aidan Knight in the past. If nothing else I hope that this list points someone to something they've missed and they give it a spin too. I've said it before, but this blog is after all the internet expression of yelling at your pals that you "just heard something amazing!" So what are the rules for the Songs Heard on Fast Trains list for 2011? Pretty simple, this is a list of full-length releases which I've listened to most, returned to most often and which I'll carry forward as essential listening into the new year. It's a very personal, highly skewed list I have to admit. There are some very honourable omissions, and because for the sake of my sanity the list has only twenty places, because as an arguably fairly normal human being there are things I love more than others - but this doesn't stop me loving them too. The order of the list is based on nothing more than the impact the releases have had on me - there is no science here, aside from a cursory glance at to see if my suspicions on what I've listened to most are founded in fact or fantasy. There could equally be a list for singles and EPs, gigs or other stuff - but there are still interesting records being released in 2011, so I might get distracted and write about those instead. So, without further rambling or self-justification here is the list. It's been a strange and interesting year for me, and the music below has been the soundtrack. Here's to the next one!

  1. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
  2. FOUND - Factorycraft
  3. Edinburgh School for the Deaf - New Youth Bible
  4. Rob St.John - Weald
  5. Beerjacket - The White Feather Trail
  6. Conquering Animal Sound - Kammerspiel
  7. The John Knox Sex Club - Raise Ravens
  8. Adam Stafford - Build a Harbour Immediately
  9. The Shivers - More
  10. The Moth & The Mirror - Honestly, This World
  11. Song of Return - Limits
  12. White Heath - Take No Thought For Tomorrow
  13. Slow Club - Paradise
  14. Jonnie Common - Master of None
  15. Pensioner - Yearlings
  16. The Renderers - A Rocket Into Nothing
  17. I Build Collapsible Mountains - The Spectator and the Act
  18. King Post Kitsch - The Party's Over
  19. Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On
  20. Lonely Tourist - Sir, I Am A Good Man
Some honourable mentions too, to Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, Come on Gang!, Edward Gray, Martin John Henry, The Son(s), Happy Particles and United Fruit who made me struggle with the idea of this being a Top 25, or even a Top 30. No doubt these artists will be appearing in lists everywhere - and maybe here in the near future too.

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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