Readers Poll 2011: The Shame Cauldron Decides Pt 1

Today, we reveal your picks for Biggest Controversy, Best Comeback, Best New-Ish Act, Best Live Act, Best Reissue/Retrospective and – for the first time – Best ?Indie? Label of 2011. Tomorrow, it’s your Top 50 albums of the year.

Biggest Controversy

1. Expired Meat Loaf stinks up the AFL Grand Final

Angry Anderson’s [?Batmobile incident?](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=c7J2madZVFA) at VFL Park in 1991 seemed like [Prince at Superbowl XLI](http://www.youtube.com/watch’v=ohwSNRhYWAo) compared to Meat Loaf’s atonal medley of hits at September’s AFL Grand Final. The performance, which cost a reported $500,000, once again [stirred up calls](/news/4341205) for the AFL to pick a homegrown talent for pre-match entertainment on Grand Final day, and led to a [slanging match](/news/4359793) between the veteran singer and the AFL, which at some point involved the word ?jerks?.

2. Angus & Julia win the Hottest 100

An Australian artist topping our national youth broadcaster’s much celebrated poll is something to celebrate. The fact it was for a song that sounded like the aural equivalent of downing a bottle of Xanax was certainly not. Full story [here](/news/4177495).

3. Royal Headache get a bad review

It’s true. Read it (and the ensuing vitriol) [here](/releases/2000931).

4. The Arthouse closes in Melbourne

While 20,000 people didn’t [march down Bourke Street in protest](/articles/3882468), North Melbourne’s much-loved punk haunt the Arthouse Hotel certainly didn’t go quietly into the night. The pub [shut its doors](/news/4215365) after 20 years following a lease dispute, but it was farewelled with a month of sold-out shows culminating in a teary final gig, where a [$150 beer was sculled](/articles/4250513). Tom Lyngcoln from The Nation Blue said it best. ?The Arthouse felt more like a family home than a pub,? he wrote in a [tribute piece](/articles/4244632) published on M+N.

5. Fabulous Diamonds cover used to promote hair removal business

When Karl Scullin snapped a photo of Jarrod Zlatic’s back for the cover of Fabulous Diamonds? 7 Songs in 2008, he probably didn’t expect it to turn up (without permission) in two hair removal ads. Then again, how could he not? Full story [here](/news/4312609).

Best Comeback

1. Icehouse

Icehouse came out of the cold once more (sorry!) for a new singles compilation and a [free show](/galleries/4293665) at Melbourne’s Esplanade Hotel, which featured the most expensive light show the pub has ever seen. The forward momentum continued with festival slots at [Homebake](/articles/4386412) and last weekend’s Meredith Music Festival in Victoria, which saw frontman Iva Davies and his cohorts dish [?out the hits like volunteers in a soup kitchen?](/articles/4392274).

2. Jebediah
3. The Grates
4. Underground Lovers
5. Cold Chisel

Best New-Ish Act

1. Harmony

What began as a newlywed jam between The Nation Blue’s Tom Lyngcoln and ex-Remake Remodel drummer Alex Kastaniotis became one of the most unique musical propositions on the planet: a ferocious apocalyptic rock band tempered by a three-part gospel choir. The band’s [self-titled debut]( /articles/4291356) states a pretty good case for album of the year – M+N contributor Ren? Schaefer described it as a [?darkly magnificently Australian work of art?](/releases/2000901) – while their live show is at turns confronting, beautiful, cathartic, shambolic, harrowing and intense. A festival-defining set at next year’s [Golden Plains](/news/4351011) beckons.

2. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
3. Kimbra
4. Lanie Lane
5. Oscar + Martin
6. YIS
7. Bleeding Knees Club
8. Iowa
9. Stonefield
10. Baptism of Uzi

Best Live Act

1. Wagons

It wouldn’t be an M+N Readers Poll without Wagons topping a category now, would it? While The Drones stopped them from going back-to-back in this category [last year](/articles/4152242), the Melbourne ?outlaw-country? outfit won their way back into your hearts and minds following an expansive national tour, culminating in a [huge hometown show](/galleries/4296774) at the 1500-capacity Forum Theatre. Frontman Henry Wagons [could never be Tom Petty](/articles/4259078), but he sure knows how to rustle up an online street team.

2. Royal Headache
3. Drones
4. Laurels
5. Grinderman
6. Graveyard Train
7. Witch Hats
8. My Disco
9. DZ Deathrays
10. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

Best ?Indie? Label

1. R.I.P Society

For the first time in M+N* Readers Poll history, we asked you to name your favourite independent label (let’s confine the debate about what constitutes ?indie? [here](/articles/4058863)), and in a close run race R.I.P Society emerged triumphant. The Sydney-based label founded in 2008 by Nic Warnock had another excellent year: a clutch of 7?s by Bitch Prefect, Naked On The Vague, Woollen Kits, Bed Wettin? Bad Boys and Dead Farmers; the [debut album](/releases/2000861) by Perth’s Golden Staph; and the all-conquering *Royal Headache by Royal Headache. The run looks set to continue in 2012 with releases by [Woollen Kits](/news/4392461), Whores, Raw Prawn, Southern Comfort, Bed Wettin? Bad Boys and Model Citizen all in the works.

Special praise should also be reserved for third-place getters Chapter Music, who closed out the year with three album-of-the-year contenders: [New Start Again](/releases/2000956)* by Dick Diver, *[Twerps](/releases/2000947)* by Twerps and *[Vanity Is Forever](/releases/2000962) by Geoffrey O’Connor.

2. Spunk!
3. Chapter Music
4. Mistletone
5. Two Bright Lakes
6. I Oh You
7. Shock
8. Inertia
9. Spooky
10. Bedroom Suck

Best Reissue/Retrospective

1. Rowland S Howard – Teenage Snuff Film

With copies routinely being flogged for upwards of $600 on eBay, Liberation made the wise decision to reissue Rowland S Howard’s Teenage Snuff Film* on vinyl for the first time since its release in 1999. Limited to 500 copies, demand was expectedly high, but as producer Lindsay Gravina told Andrew Stafford in a [retrospective](/articles/4366011) piece published on *M+N* the album was buried not praised when it first came out. ?The album seemed to go unnoticed,? Gravina said. ?Obviously it has finally been accorded some kind of cult status and is a much-loved album [now], but back then no one wanted to know about it.? It’s probably worth mentioning that *Teenage Snuff Film was the overwhelming winner here, polling 41.6 percent of votes.

2. Cold Chisel – All For You
3. Underground Lovers – Wonderful Things (Review [here](/releases/2000975))
4. X – X-Spurts (Review [here](/releases/2000961))
5. Essendon Airport – Palimpsest (Review [here](/releases/2000935))


TOMORROW: Your top 50 albums of 2011.

NEXT WEEK: Our critics weigh in on the best albums of 2011.