Snubbs
Scott Hayden
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12.21.11 Top 10 Albums Of 2011

Top 10 Albums Of 2011

It is that time of year. Everyone is releasing their end of the year lists. Here is mine. I don't profess these to be the best 10 albums of the year, just my favorite. There should be a little something for everyone in here. Enjoy.
1Defeater
Empty Days and Sleepless NIghts


A shocker to myself and probably anybody that mildly knows me. Somehow, someway, this album was able to top Major/Minor. Empty Days is hardcore music at its best. One part The Who's Tommy, one part pissed off late 90's hardcore, Defeater's new album tells a story about two brothers in a post WW2 era New Jersey. The lyrics are so strong it is easy to get swept up in the story in a very cinematic way. The ten song album also includes an extra 4 song ep of sorts of strictly acoustic songs. These 4 songs are phenomenal. If you aren't into hardcore at least check out the link below for Brothers. Did I mention they put on a hell of a live show too?
2Thrice
Major/Minor


Most everyone that knows me is not surprised to see this album on my list, however they are probably surprised its at #2. Major/Minor picks up where Thrice left off with their last album Beggars. What they have added is more layers and a slightly upgraded production. Major/Minor is a bit more dynamic than its predecessor as well. This is an album I would feel comfortable recommending to pretty much any one.
3Manchester Orchestra
Simple Math


Simple Math sports what is probably my favorite song of the year in its title track. The album as a whole takes the listener on quite a journey. It is definitely reminiscent of my favorite Brand New album, Deja Entendu, but with more layers and a slicker production. Some reviews I read were not fans of the string arrangements placed in some of the songs, but I actually was a big fan of them. If you are looking for a good alternative rock album that is ready for the radio but offers a bit more than what is being offered on the radio then this album is perfect for you.
4Nick 13
Nick 13


This album is definitely the dark horse in my top 10. Nick 13 is usually heard as the lead singer for Tiger Army, a punk/psychobilly band. On his first solo album, Nick 13 offers an album full of country gems that would satisfy any fan of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, or Hank Williams Sr. What makes this album stand out is his voice and the stellar backing band. I don't presume to know anything about country music, but from what I have read, Nick 13 has assembled a who's who of country backing musicians (peddle steal, drums, fiddle) and it definitely shows. Anyone with an open mind would love this album. It is a very timeless record and one I will be listening to for years to come.
5Balance and Composure
Separation


Oh Separation, this album still confuses me. I can't decide if it is a rock album with a hardcore edge, or a hardcore album on Xanax. At times Balance & Composure remind me a lot of the late 90's "emo" acts like early Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, and Texas Is the Reason. At other times though, Balance & Composure channel their inner hardcore and put up some pretty heavy rock tunes. There isn't any screaming per se, but it is heavy nonetheless. I saw them a few months ago and all the songs sound just as good, if not better, in a live setting.
6Touche Amore
Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me


Talk about emotion. Touche Amore gives probably the most emotionally draining release of the year. At its heart, this album is essentially a punk rock album. As far as I can tell, there is only one chorus in the whole album. One of my favorite things about this album is that it is 13 songs, but the album length is only a tad over 20 minutes. That means songs that are short and sweet.
7La Dispute
Wildlife


Wildlife might be the most unique album I listened to all year. The strange thing is that it is vaguely familiar to material by one my favorite bands in At the Drive In. Wildlife is a concept album where each song is essentially a short story. This is one of the albums where you want to pay close attention to the lyrics. The vocal delivery is a large part of the greatness of La Dispute. Watching them open for Thrice was a treat.
8The Devil Wears Prada
Dead Throne


Heavy. Not for those with sensitive ears. The Devil Wears Prada have followed up last years purely awesome Zombie EP with probably their best album. DWP are doing their best to separate themselves from their peers in what has become a watered-down joke of a metalcore scene. For those who like themselves from metal, this is an album for you. Everyone else need not listen
9Make Do and Mend
Part and Parcel


Talk about your last minute inclusions. This was barely released at the end of November. Part and Parcel is an acoustic EP consisting of acoustic versions of 4 previously released full band songs, a cover of a Touche Amore song, and one new song. I had low expectations for this release for some reason. I guess I didn't think they would pull it off. Boy was I wrong. MDAM's last album(End Measured Mile) came out in December of 2010, but was not discovered by me until January. If I was going to include December 2010 in this list, End Measured Mile would have been #1. I am glad I loved Part and Parcel so much because it gives me a reason to put them on this list anyway.
10Junius
Reports from the Threshold of Death


This album snuck up on me in 11th hour. I just came across it in the second week of December. That will tell you how much I enjoy this album. Two ways to describe this album. 1.) It sounds like The Smiths if they formed a metal band. 2.) Kind of a cross between the Deftones and Isis. Either way, its slower, its heavy, and its melodic. I like it.
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