The end of 2011 is tomorrow and that means many things. Time to wrap up this sorry excuse for a year (loss of a job, loss of respect for several schmuckos and the loss of six family members from both sides) and get ready for what I think will be a great New Year. However, new music did not suffer at all and there were some killer new releases in 2011. This was the second year in a row I have had the opportunity to contribute to the Stinkweeds annual Best of book.
Since I already completed a brief review of each album for the book I just copied those entries into this post. If I happened to review the album on the Stinkweeds reviews page those will be linked on the name of the album. The list is in order from #10 to #1 and I am very stoked my two favorite local bands made this list.
So without further adieu, here we go, starting with my #10 pick. Enjoy!
10. Odonis Odonis – Hollandaze – Fans of A Place to Bury Strangers and Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain seriously need to check out this disc. Feedback drenched surf music pierces the eardrums, done in a manner that still features of plenty of pop hooks.
9. The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules – I am still shocked with how much I like this album because I was never a fan of the Get Up Kids. However, There Are Rules features a much different sound than what the band created during its original run. This album shreds and the opening track “Tithe” was very close to being my favorite track of 2011.
8. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues – The band’s second full length effort is even better than their spectacular debut. Crisp songwriting created an album of impeccable indie folk rock highlighted by the best vocal harmonies in rock and roll. The incredible closing track to the album “Grown Ocean” is worth the price of the entire disc.
7. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto – An outstanding return to form for this Britpop band. Some people try to slag Coldplay for being too mainstream. Coldplay is an example of the mainstream catching up to great pop music. “Charlie Brown” showcases a more up-tempo sound while “Paradise” is classic Coldplay – great songwriting, tremendous harmonies, tight musicianship.
6. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light – My favorite disc from the Foo Fighters since the band’s watershed second album The Colour and the Shape. Wasting Light has the most intense opening 45 seconds to any album of 2011 with “Bridge Burning”, an amazing guest appearance from the legendary Bob Mould on “Dear Rosemary” and pop hooks galore mixed with awesome power.
5. Source Victoria – Slow Luck – This album was well worth the wait, a beautiful piece of work that travels the musical spectrum of subtle indie rock, dream pop and mellow alternative pop. Mid-tempo rockers such as the incredible “Nobody Knows But Me” blend exceptionally well on this album with the gorgeous “Acetylene Torch Song” and “Once I’m Dead”, a track that is guaranteed to inspire some level of emotional reaction. Riveting piece of work!
4. The Father Figures – Lesson Number One – The first of two local bands to make the list. The debut from The Father Figures is a strong post-punk release that possesses some incredibly unique song structures and an amazing variety of tempos. It has been a long time since a skate punk album sounded legitimate rather than terribly generic. Lesson Number One contains early Father Figures work such “Typical Bible Beating Hypocrites” with newer classics such as “Fe Fi Fo”. Outstanding effort.
3. Elbow – build a rocket boys! – The greatest band in the world released another stellar effort with its fifth album. “Neat Little Rows” is easily my favorite song of 2011 and “Lippy Kids” is not far behind. The musicianship from these lads is incredible and no one comes close to Guy Garvey for best vocalist. This album is the blueprint for what pop music is supposed to sound like. If it wasn’t for a three song lull leading up to the magnificent “Open Arms” this would have been my top pick of the year.
2. We Were Promised Jetpacks – In the Pit of the Stomach – The second straight band to make my Top Ten again, up one spot to #2 this year. The second full-length from WWPJ is incredibly intense, yet so melodic at the same time. This album goes for the jugular on the opening track, maintains that momentum for tracks 2-9 and brings things to an incendiary end on track 10. Simply stupendous.
1. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar – The dreaded “sophomore jinx” did not plague this band at all. The band’s debut EP A Balloon Called Moaning was my #5 pick last year. The Big Roar comes in at #1 in 2011 for this listener. The Joy Formidable ramped things up considerably on this disc, twelve tracks of indie rock bliss that possess some of the best pop hooks I have heard in years.
Cheers! More “Best Of” posts to come!