FILTER’s Top 10 of 2011: Alex Winston
By Staff; photo by Nick Dorey on December 28, 2011
Back in issue 44, we talked with Detroit songstress Alex Winston about her mini-LP Sister Wife, a set of songs spun from Winston's Motown roots and her very early experiences opening for Chuck Berry (yes, that Chuck Berry) and Ted Nugent (yes, that Ted Nugent). For 2012, we will be graced by the multi-intrumentalist's debut full-length, cleverly titled King Con, on March 6. The LP will see the return of her faithful production team The Knocks, as well as production contributions from Bjorn Yttling (Lykke Li) and Charlie Hugall (Florence and the Machine). We are really looking forward to that, and in the meantime, Ms. Winston sent us over some commentary on her personal favorites from 2011. You can also check out the brand-new video for "Velvet Elvis," a cut from the upcoming King Con, below.
Alex Winston's Picks
PJ Harvey, Let England Shake (VAGRANT)
Not only is PJ Harvey one of my all-time favorite artists, but Let England Shake is by far my favorite album of the year. What impresses me most about PJ and this album is that you never really know what to expect next. Her formula seems to be not having one, and I think its really rare these days to find an artist that can do that as confidently as she can.
Girls, Father, Son, Holy Ghost (TRUE PANTHER)
I first discovered them through the Internet with the songs "Lust For Life" and "Hellhole Ratrace." I love their ability to deliver a short 2–3-minute burst of an anthemic tune and then come at you the next moment with a long, drawling 6–7-minute sypmhony-esque piece that leaves you feeling spellbound by Christopher Owens' heartfelt and honest lyrics. Recently, "Vomit" has become my favorite tune of theirs off of the most recent full-length album.
tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l (4AD)
This album brings such a wonderfully eclectic mix of so many different styles and textures that it makes for such a fun and unique listen. I can't remember that last time I was so excited about discovering an artist. After hearing "Fiya" for the first time, I was instantly hooked.
Grouplove, Never Trust a Happy Song (ATLANTIC)
We've been able to play together before; actually in my first-ever show in Paris. They are great people and put on a hell of a show. What I love most about this record is that it captures how much they truly love playing together and their abundance of raw energy.
The Joy Formidable, The Big Roar (ATLANTIC/CANVASBACK)
I've always had a an admiration for three-piece bands, especially the ones that generate loudness and the sounds of a 4- or 5-piece band. Having witnessed them live, I was immediately impressed by their full-throttle attitude and the way they totally rock out, they seem to always be turned up to 11 and it's not different on record.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Wolfroy Goes to Town (DRAG CITY)
It's very rare BPB does anything less than a brilliant album, but even against his tarnish-free backcatalogue, I think this is some of his most beautiful work yet.
Foster The People, Torches (COLUMBIA)
This is what pop music was meant to. It's proof that incredible songwriting and really catchy hooks don't just need to be overproduced, repetitive drivel.
Gotye, Making Mirrors (SAMPLES-N-SECONDS)
Another act I've had the pleasure of playing with and seeing live. He's really something special and really integrates that idea of artistry into his music. I think that's pretty evident even in his videos. Everything about this project is Gotye and his vision.
Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes (LL)
I really liked Lykki Li when her first record came out, but I think what drew me in most was her unique voice. However, with this second record, I think she's really come into her own and developed a cohesive, interesting strong sound, with great songs.
Cults, Cults (COLUMBIA)
Not only do I love this band because they sample actual Peoples Temple footage and audio in their work, but because "Go Outside" is possibly one of the catchiest songs I've heard in the last few years. This album makes me nostalgic for those few adolescent moments I was actually fond of.