|2011's Rash Albums|
Alright, so this is my last year end list. I put a fair amount of work into it so feel free to not comment to your heart's desire. This was a very good year for me musically. A lot of my favorite bands put out some excellent albums, there were a lot of good concerts, and I traveled around Europe for three months. Actually, those last two cancel each other out. I missed a lot of good concerts because I traveled around Europe for three months. Just read the stupid list. Or just glance at it. Either one.
|50||The Milk Carton Kids|
So minimal, so chill, so damn folky. I love it.
This is where I pretend to have more diversity in my tastes. But this really was actually very good. Super catchy with some fun beats. Yo.
The Ghost You Gave To Me
Everyone's favorite progressive band that they haven't listened to. I really don't know why these guys aren't bigger than they are. I think it's the name. Another very solid release by 3. See? It just sounds weird.
|47||Into It. Over It.|
The concert I most regretted missing while I was in Europe was Frank Turner with Andrew Jackson Jihad, and then I had to discover Mr. Evan Thomas Weiss and really get into this pop punk album with it's clever title and catchy songs. Turns out Mr. Weiss opened for Mr. Turner and AJJ. Yeah. I live such a troubled life.
Bad Time Zoo
Funny story. I knew nothing about this guy when I heard it, so I became convinced that this was actually POS. I knew there was a connection to Doomtree so I honestly thought it must be him. I mean, he sounds so damn similar! You know you can hear it.
|45||The Rural Alberta Advantage|
This is one of those bands that makes me wonder why I've never heard of them before. Their sound is so mature and polished that it seems like they've been around forever. And as I've gone further and further into the realm of loving folk, this hit just the right spot this year.
|44||The Lonely Forest|
Let me just say that Be Everything is an amazing song and this album might not be here without it and Coyote leading the way here. That being said, the album really grew on me and is definitely worth checking out.
|43||We Were Promised Jetpacks|
In the Pit of the Stomach
Heavy Scottish accent reminiscent of Frightened Rabbit? Enough said. Though I liked their previous album better.
Another folky album. Yeah, I have a problem. It's just so exuberant and energetic while keeping a more mature tone. It's lovely.
Come on. It's Butch Walker. The guy can't make bad music. I'm not the biggest fan of his more rock-oriented sound, but he sounds good no matter what sound he's going for, so obviously he's going to be on my list.
The Rip Tide
Not my favorite album by these guys, but Beirut's unique and interesting sound still makes for a great album worthy of praise.
|39||A Lot Like Birds|
So Kurt Travis departs from Dance Gavin Dance so they can make a mediocre album with Johnny Craig and A Lot Like Birds are free to make another album that's just not quite there. ALLB has so much potential, but both of their albums so far have fallen just short of it in different ways. Despite this, Conversation Piece is still a very good album and I'm still watching these guys for greatness in the future.
|38||Balance And Composure|
I want to like this album more, but it's just not consistent enough. There are some great songs on here, and there are some mediocre songs. When it's good it's great though.
Yeah, so I love Somebody That I Used To Know with a disproportionate frenzy. Unfortunately, this is another album that is bogged down by it's inconsistency.
|36||The Gentle Good|
Tethered for the Storm
More soft folk music. Only this time there are a couple of amazing a cappella songs thrown in like Deuawd, which is apparently influenced by traditional Welsh music. So that's cool.
There's something really appealing to me about Tim Baker's vocals. His upper range is just so pretty and powerful at the same time. Just listen to Yer Fall. This is indie rock done right. Once again though, more consistency could have made this much higher on the list.
|34||The Dangerous Summer|
Some good ol' pop punk. I feel as if these days it's more difficult to find quality pop punk, so this album was very welcome.
|33||Memphis May Fire|
Post hardcore fun. This year wasn't a great year for the genre, so it was good to see something polished and catchy come out. These guys really stepped up their game with The Hollow.
Good For Me
There was a lot of good punk music that came out this year, but I'm guiltily much more of a fan of the more poppy side of punk. So The Swellers really came out with something I could like. This is seriously catchy.
Paint it Golden
No, it's not as good as Illuminate, but Paint it Golden has some great moments and they've still got their great sound.
Holy God. She's so good!
I Was Here For a Moment, Then I Was Gone
There wasn't a lot of post rock I could get into this year. It was really more of an electronic year and that's not really my thing, but Maybeshewill was able to offer the most straightforward post rock I heard this year while still being immensely enjoyable.
|28||King Creosote and Jon Hopkins|
Oh, this is so pretty. King Creosote has this marvelously fragile voice and that damn Scottish accent again. I seriously don't know what it is about Scottish accents that make them sound so good when they're being sung, but I want one.
I wasn't really a fan of Eisley until this album, but they really perfected their sound here. The sisters in this band really do have amazing voices too.
What The Night Delivers...
This is a very, very good folk album. If you haven't checked it out, you're doing yourself a disservice. So Long, My Moonlight is wonderfully sublime. This is just one of those albums that is perfectly atmospheric while still being soft and understated.
Oh Thrice. Major/Minor is the perfect mix of their softer, Beggars sound with a heavier, catchier edge to it. Still nowhere near their best, but they've gone out on a strong note and I much prefer this to Beggars.
|24|| ||Jen Buxton|
Don't Change Your Plans
If you're into folk, you really need to check this out. Jen Buxton sings from a personal place with some great storytelling kind of lyrics. It's what folk music should be and she does it very, very well.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
I don't know how Justin Vernon does it. He completely recreated his image and thrust himself into the mainstream this year. However, most impressive of all, he managed to do all of this while still putting out an amazing album.
Mr. Daisuke is a God among men. Program Music I was inspiring. This year, Mr. Daisuke decided to do something a little different; he went for a straight-up classical album. No tricks, no electronics, just pure, beautiful piano. The outcome is, needless to say, soothing, peaceful, and wonderful all at once.
|21||Protest the Hero|
Speaking of soothing, peaceful, and... wait. No wait, the other way around. Chaotic, fun, and kind of annoying. That's how I could describe Protest the Hero, and their new release is just a more polished progression of this. Oh, do I have a soft spot for them though. They've lost their concept album concept (yeah, that was on purpose) and have just gone all out with this one and they're as fun as ever.
After the Tides
If you read my list last year (I can pretend; just like I can pretend people are reading my list this year. I'm good at pretending), you will remember that I loved cssc's The Lonely Robot. You might also remember that it happened to be number 20. I swear I didn't do that on purpose. That's all I really had to say about cssc this time around. Check him out.
Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
I have a lot of love for The Wave and Touche Amore did not get enough credit for this excellent album. "If actions speak louder than words, I'm the most deafening noise you've heard."
|18|| ||Old Man Markley|
Guts N' Teeth
There's too much to say about Old Man Markley and yet, nothing can really explain how good it is. It's like bluegrass with a little bit of punk and country mixed in. But then it's also kind of folky, but at the same time incredibly catchy. Got that? Just listen to it, it's amazing.
|17||The Mountain Goats|
All Eternals Deck
What can be said about The Mountain Goats that hasn't already been said? I don't really know, 'cause I haven't read much about them. But I assume that a lot has been said. So suffice to say, these guys are excellent.
This really blew me away. Electronic music usually isn't really my thing unless it has something more to it, and Ravedeath has ambience, electronic stuff, and a hint of awesomeness, making it one hell of a good album.
Good & Evil
Brilliant. It's absolutely brilliant. Tally Hall has made a masterpiece of an album. It's catchy and interesting and absolutely unique. This would have been even higher if it hadn't lost momentum in the second half, but absolutely needs to be checked out by those who haven't heard them yet.
A I A
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
|13||Andrew Jackson Jihad|
When have these guys not made something I've loved? The answer is never my imaginary reader. Never.
|12||Fair To Midland|
Arrows and Anchors
This album wins grower of the year for me. I didn't like it when I first listened to it. But I kept listening to it for some inexplicable reason and it grew into number twelve of the year. I'm so proud of it. Very easy to listen to and catchy once it's full grown.
The Hope In Forgiving & Giving Up Hope
I love what's going on with CityCop. I love their sound. I love the vocals. I love their low-key instrumentals. And the lyrics are great. With a little maturity and some cohesiveness, they could really put out something incredible.
Andy Hull is awesome. Manchester Orchestra is awesome. I wasn't as much of a fan of Mean Everything to Nothing as most people, but I've always loved I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child. Simple Math was the perfect melding of these two sounds. Remarkably consistent, powerful, and emotional, Simple Math made me happy to be a Manchester Orchestra fan.
|9||City and Colour|
This one came out of nowhere. I've never liked City and Colour, I've listened to Dallas Green's other albums and have not cared for them. I decided to give this a chance anyway and was blown away. The thing is, I don't know why. It's not that much different from his previous output, but somehow the little changes he's made to his sound have made a vast difference. I couldn't stop listening to this album. The Grand Optimist and O' Sister especially.
|8||The Horrible Crowes|
I like The Gaslight Anthem. I do. But The Horrible Crowes are better. That's an indisputable fact. You know, in a sarcastic way. But Brian Fallon has never sounded better and he's really allowed to shine here. This was one of my most played albums of the year.
England Keep My Bones
I discovered good ol' Frank a few years ago and ever since, I've been under his spell. Love, Ire & Song was remarkable, and I was so happy when I heard I am Disappeared. It's easily one of the best songs of the year. Luckily the rest of the album followed suit and managed to be exactly what I expect from Frank.
|6||Laura Stevenson and the Cans|
Oh my. So I know Laura has gotten a lot of praise on this site and I know that her cans are very good at what they do, but I don't care; I'm in love. I mean sure, everyone's talking about how they were listening to her this one time and oh, she totally was playing in the closet of Bobby's house at that party. But come on, how can I not love her? Her charming, but powerful voice with her clever lyrics and unbelievable consistency make her impossible to resist. It's just so good! It's really no wonder it gets around as much as it does.
|5|| ||The Wonder Years|
Suburbia: I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing
This was definitely my biggest surprise of the year and my most played album of the year. I mean, wow. This is the best pop punk I have heard in a very long while. Perfectly polished, fantastically catchy, lyrically powerful, and somehow manages to have an excellent moment in nearly every song. It's basically the perfect pop punk album.
|4||Pianos Become the Teeth|
The Lack Long After
And here comes the rest of The Wave. Pianos Become the Teeth upped their game immensely with The Lack Long After. This is the most emotional album I heard this year by far. Singer Kyle Durfey lost his father and as a result, wrote an emotionally devastating album and gave an incredibly powerful performance. The Lack Long After really connected with me this year. I'd like to hear from anyone that was totally unaffected by I'll Get By. Mostly because they don't exist.
Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
Defeater punched me in the gut with this album. They really did. At the end of White Oak Doors, my gut was punched. Hard. It just worked for me. I was completely sucked into the story and to have it end like that was just gut-wrenching. Which is a lot of guts, but that's what Defeater will do to you. They got a lot of flack this year for the four acoustic songs at the end of the album, which I would agree with if they weren't such excellent damn songs. I mean, I Don't Mind is just so good. So good. I can't stand it. Next album.
|2||The Dear Hunter|
The Color Spectrum (Complete Collection)
How? That's the first question that pops into my head when I think about this album. How did they ever manage to do this successfully? I mean, I've always loved The Dear Hunter, but I was totally on board for making fun of Casey when I heard he was going to try to take on this project. I mean, it's in the middle of a six part story told through music. Ambitious much? So how? How is it that this is the best work The Dear Hunter has put out yet? How did they manage to make a nine-part, thirty-six song album that not only can manage to keep your attention for it's entire two and a half hour run time, but is perfect for playlists and mixes? How did they manage to take a journey through a full spectrum of genres so elegantly and effortlessly? And how the hell is Casey so awesome? This band would probably piss me off if I didn't like them so much.
Yeah. La Dispute is number one. And I am biased; I love La Dispute, but I honestly wasn't planning on giving them the top spot this year. After Frank Turner, Laura Stevenson, Defeater, and The Dear Hunter, I was sure that I would have to use all of my fan boy points to put this next to those artists. But damn. La Dispute has again evolved their sound into something new and interesting. They're still a very polarizing band largely due to Jordan Dreyer's vocals, but their sound continues to mature at a rapid pace. Wildlife marks a more cohesive, a more put-together, and a more reflective album by La Dispute and it's their most affective to date. King Park is explosively sublime, I See Everything is devastating, a Broken Jar is filled with such desperate passion, and The Most Beautiful Bitter Fruit is perhaps their most musically sound song yet. The storytelling alone on this album is worth listening to. I mean sure, it's still personal preference that has pushed Wildlife to the top spot this year, but I honestly think that this is good enough to be worthy of the spot regardless. You just have to be ok with a barefoot skinny guy in tight short shorts screaming darling. Honestly, I don't understand why everybody doesn't find it charming. Must be an illness or something.
"I know I knocked the table over because I watched the jar break, and I've been trying to repair it every single stupid day. But won't the cracks still show no matter how well it's assembled? Can I ever just decide to let it die and let you go?"