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The Best Albums of November 2011

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Mike Diver Mike Diver | 13:40 UK time, Wednesday, 30 November 2011

BBC Album Reviews Editor Mike Diver selects his favourite LPs of November 2011...

Drum roll, please: Now, that's what I call the best albums of November... at least until I look back in a year and realise I've omitted a couple of humdingers. Happens all the time. Nevertheless, below are some of the month's very best new album releases. This is my last monthly round-up of 2011 - instead of a similar entry for December, the BBC Music Blog will host the BBC Music Writers' Best Albums of 2011, compiled from votes cast by our many critics. Look out for that at the end of this week.

- - -

My album of the month

Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica
(Software, released 7 November)
Recommended by: Late Junction

"Oneohtrix Point Never's Daniel Lopatin distinguishes himself from the current glut of analogue worshippers lazily setting their impotent tribute before the altars of John Carpenter and Cluster. While they seem content to wallow in shallow retrospection, Lopatin voyages on beyond the merely mimetic. Replica recognises the value of disenfranchised pasts, but redesigns our barely-there reminiscences to imbue a singular vision with the subliminal effects of the lost."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video for Replica (external YouTube link)

- - -

The best of the rest

Atlas Sound - Parallax
(4AD, released 7 November)
Recommended by: 6 Music Album of the Day, Marc Riley

"Parallax is Deerhunter vocalist Bradford Cox's most coherent solo record to date - but nothing is quite what it seems in his world. Yet, whichever way you look at him, he is currently the most gifted, fascinating and beguiling songwriter around, as well as the most prolific. There's only one Bradford Cox, but how badly we need more of his ilk."

Read the full BBC review
Listen to the track Terra Incognita on 4AD's official YouTube channel (external link)

- - -

The Dø - Both Ways Open Jaws
(Village Green, released 14 November)
Recommended by: Nick Grimshaw, Lauren Laverne, Bethan Elfyn, 6 Music Album of the Day

"An easy genre-tag is impossible, as this second album from the French-Finnish duo - tipped to wow Britain - leaps between hip hop and folk, rock and glitches. Strings, horns, chants and electronica interweave seamlessly. The Dø gracefully pull off the kind of intriguing 'oddness' the likes of Florence Welch strain and wheeze for, and with better tunes."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video for Too Insistent (external YouTube link)

- - -

Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow
(Fish People, released 21 November)
Recommended by: Jarvis Cocker, Bethan Elfyn, 6 Music Album of the Day

"Six years after Aerial's bursts of summer sound, Kate Bush's winter album arrives, each track exploring the long Christmas months. They reflect a season which brings out the profound and absurd in equal measure - the feelings of longing and loneliness that emerge as the dark nights bed in, the party-hat silliness that pops up when the same nights stretch out. It treads an exceedingly fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous - but this is classic Kate behaviour."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official still video for the radio edit of Wild Man (external YouTube link)

- - -

Luke Haines - Nine and a Half Psychic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s and Early '80s
(Fantastic Plastic, released 7 November)

"Nine and a Half Psychedelic Meditations... is, perhaps, a work of art about the ordinary person's ability to reinvent themselves, and the sad fact that that achievement doesn't necessarily mean that they won't spend most of their lives eating bad egg and chips in grim Midlands towns and being screamed at by psychopathic old ladies."

Read the full BBC review
Watch Luke Haines @ The Greasy Spoon (external YouTube link)

- - -

Cass McCombs - Humor Risk
(Domino, released 7 November)
Recommended by: 6 Music Album of the Day

"Humour Risk is as gorgeous as it is disturbing. The opening Love Thine Enemy reprises that Velvets-y two-chord throb while paraphrasing Tim Rose's fatalistic folk-blues Morning Dew, and The Living Word taps McCombs' Big Star Sister Lovers/Third album gene, the quintessential 4am-and-lost vibe, deadpan but not masking the pain."

Read the full BBC review
Watch the official video for The Same Thing (external YouTube link)

- - -

Chris Watson - El Tren Fantasma
(Touch, released 14 November)
Recommended by: Late Junction

"It's during the points of human absence that El Tren Fantasma works best. Here Watson's ability to create whole worlds, entire lifetimes in the listener's imagination, beyond the moment of recording, comes to the fore. Brushwood and tall grass sway beneath the breeze crossing canyon slopes, while constant cicada chatter is punctuated by the distinctive calls of woodpecker and crow."

Read the full BBC review
(No official video material available)

- - -

Tiny Ruins - Some Were Meant for Sea
(WooMe, released 14 November)
Recommended by: Gideon Coe, Tom Ravenscroft

"Whether or not you're sick of craning your neck to hear moulding singer-songwriter tales, there are pockets of interest aplenty to enjoy here. There are also forerunners aplenty to the style, but if anything works in Fullbrook's favour it's that she's obeyed the rules of the genre and managed to tautly weave her stories within it. So lean in close and pay attention to all those gorgeous vignettes - you'll be glad you did."

Read the full BBC review
(No official video material available)

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Zomby - Nothing
(4AD, released 28 November)
Recommended by: Benji B

"A nebulous set of hyper-stoned musings on bass tethered together in the hard drive of one man's mind. Zomby loves overtly leaving his finger marks across the DNA of our dance scene, and it's becoming increasingly fun dusting his path for prints and watching his obsession swell with every break-in."

Read the full BBC review
(No official video material available)

- - -

Peter Broderick - Music for Confluence
(Erased Tapes, released 28 November)
Recommended by: Tom Ravenscroft

"Who would have thought the musical accompaniment to a film about a series of Idahoan murders could be so beautiful? There's such an abundance of fragile sweetness here - delicate piano arpeggios, whispered tones, glacial strings - that the incremental creep of wickedness pervading beneath the sleepy surface can go undetected, until you find yourself fully entangled in its hex."

Read the full BBC review
(No official video material available)

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