Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top Ten favorite albums of 2011

So this a favorite albums of 2011 list I do not claim these as the end all be all of music that came out this year cause I don't claim to be an expert and am not trying to make that list just sharing my opinion on what my favorite albums I heard this year are...

10. Ha Ha Tonka - Death of a Decade

This album is just plain fun brand of rock n roll with an americana flair, that use some of the best harmonies in rock today. Plus everything just comes together on Death of a Decade, their third release, to make what is their strongest record to date from start to finish.

9. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Does it really matter that their sophomore release was just more of the same from their debut album not when your harmonizing and songwriting is this strong you don't. Plus with that added extra layer of polish that comes from knowing what you are doing better the second time around puts Helplessness Blues as one of the year's best.

8. O'Death - Outside

It was great getting a new O'Death record this year and while not being what I expected it is every bit as good if not better than their older stuff. What is missing in aggression and pure strangeness is given a layer of melody and sophistication that I didn't know O'Death was capable of. But don't expect straight forward fair from this americana/punk/indie/country/altrock hybrid of a band that music defies single or simple categorization.

7. Judson McKinney - Drink the Wine

I don't know what I should say that I didn't put in my glowing review less than a month ago. But just to repeat this is some amazing folk songwriting that draws from the greats from the 60s/70s folk sound while clearly showcasing his own unique voice.

6. One Trick Pony - Try Not to Worry So Much

Wow this album blew me away that music this good and of a polished sound could come from a self-released indie band from the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles. Great hooks and catchy upbeat songs throughout make this a showcase of talented musicianship that I cannot get enough of.

5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

I don't think their is much needed to say about Foo Fighters but I don't think their is a better band in the last decade and half at consistently putting out a great hard rock stadium anthem album that includes at least one classic tune on every release. Wasting Light does not fail to capture their same magic and really has more energy in the recording then usual which could be that this record was recorded to tape in Dave Grohl's garage giving this long-polished act a good raw quality in their sound.

4. Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground

This is longer just Chuck Ragan and his acoustic guitar doing his folk songs with his aggressive punk rock nature and energy infused in but this now a full band doing indie folk rock sure there is some of his punkrock roots still in this album but there is so much more on covering ground and just has an outstanding use of melodies in his great songwrinting.

3. Thrice - Major/Minor

While not the grand opus that was the experimental four E.P. Alchemy Index this latest offering from Thrice is probably the best regular album release from this band. Major/Minor takes all the elements that Thrice have been building towards throughout their career into a perfect showcase of who and what they are as a band highlighted by the track Anthology which reflects this directly.

2. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

What can I say other than say that Justin Vernon outdid himself with his second album and with the added level of production and instrumentation to his second effort showed that he didn't want to just lean on his laurels and repeat what brought him success from his first album but to grow as a musician and make this album it's own unique experience.

1. Manhattan Murder Mystery - Manhattan Murder Mystery

If you follow my blog it should be of no surprise that I think highly of their music. No album dug into my psyche and stayed there like the debut from this explosive band from Los Angeles. If I have one complaint about this album is that coming in at nine tracks and just under 35 minutes that it runs a little short but I forgive them for this and make up for it by listening to it usually at least twice in a row in a sitting.

Honorable mentions in no particular order (all worth checking out in my opinion): Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones, Auditorium - Be Brave, Bright Eyes - The People's Key, Kevin Devine - Between the Concrete and Clouds, Maria Taylor - Overlook, Radiohead - King of Limbs, St. Vincent - Strange Mercy, Ryan Harvey - Ordinary Heroes, Tom Waits - Bad As Me, Tyler the Creator - Goblin, Into it. Over It - Proper, Kaustic - Kaustic, Adele - 21

Did not realize how difficult it would be to come up with my top 10, I left some great stuff off the list. Making this list I realize how arbitrary the order really is as I think I could have put any one of those ten in my top 3 albums of the year. I would love to know what any readers of mine think of my top ten favorite records this year, what did I completely miss on or just missing in general and even more important what did I have that you completely agree with. Also if this led you to any new music you hadn't heard yet I would love to hear wether you liked it or not...

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