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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.
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?

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
5Balance and Composure

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 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.
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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