Music List 2011!

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Jan 2 2012, 5h11

Alternative title: Wood you like to know what I listened to in 2011?

Another year, another list! 2011 was the year of the mustache, buying a car, running races, and it was the first year that I haven't been in school since 1990. I worked a lot this year, and didn't put in quite as much effort in seeking out new music as I did in 2010, so this list will be a bit shorter. However, There were quite a few enjoyable records put out this year by bands I've already been listening to.

3nd ANNUAL BEST ALBUM ART AWARD:

Earth - Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1

This is pretty badass. Earth has always had good album art, and this is no exception. Continuing with last year's theme of 'Demons and Evil Shit', this cover features two evil looking dudes with horns. What's not to like?

THE LIST:

1. The Wooden Birds – Two Matchsticks

Favorite Track – Too Pretty To Say Please

Andrew Kenny's band isn't American Analog Set, but it's still pretty damn awesome. This album is full of slow, soft, tender, catchy songs. This was my go-to album for much of this year. Because, you know, I can't listen to metal all the time. Which brings us to...


2. The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual

Favorite Track – Moonlight Equilibrium

My favorite metal album of the year by far. Their previous effort, Deflorate, was pretty good, but this is AWESOME. On par with Nocturnal and Unhallowed. Ryan Knight (the guy from Arsis) really makes this album shine. Great lyrics, great guitars, great rhythms, great album.


3. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Favorite Track – San Pedro

This is definitely my favorite album title of the year. These guys have always had fun song titles (see: I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School), but this is the first time they've let it spill over into an album title. Mogwai have remained consistent and laid on the crunch extra thick for this album, just the way I like it.


4. Scale the Summit – The Collective

Favorite Track – Balkan

Their previous album was one of my favorites of 2009. This album is full of great, catchy instrumental metal tracks. Their playing is noticeably tighter and more technical.


5. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Favorite Track – Postcard From 1952

This band's previous release (All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone) was waaaay back in 2007, so I was definitely anticipating this record in the few months before it came out. I think I preordered it as soon as the website went up. What can I say, this band makes awesome records, and this one is no exception. Each track is filled to the brim with raw emotion.


6. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

Favorite Track – Sim Sala Bim

Okay, I'm not going to lie. I wasn't really into Fleet Foxes until this album. I feel like, being the Seattleite that I am, I should have started listening to them in 2006 when their EP came out. But man, this is a really good album. Horray for Seattle bands!


7. Wooden Shjips – West

Favorite Track – Black Smoke Rise

This was definitely a surprise find for me. I was browsing the website of San Fansisco record store Aquarius Records on the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Patty!) when I came across this album. They had a few of the songs on the album available for streaming and I was instantly enamored with the crunchy psych guitars and groovy beats.


8. Russian Circles – Empros

Favorite Track – Mladek

Another solid instrumental metal release from these guys. Expect more of the same great layered guitars and sweeping, extended compositions.


9. TOKiMONSTA – Creature Dreams

Favorite Track – Bright Shadows

I found out about this instrumental hip-hop DJ due to her presence on the Coachella lineup. However, I didn't get to see her performance at said music festival because it was early in the day and I slept in. But I made up for that by going to see an in-store performance at Amoeba, which was great! Lots of electronic bleeps and bloops over solid, catchy beats.


10. Mastodon – The Hunter

Favorite Track – Spectrelight

Mastodon appears to be finished with their introspective concept album series and has now released Mastodon: The Mixtape. While this is in no way a bad thing, it seems that they've gotten tired of writing serious songs that tell some sort of story across the whole album. Now, they just want to have fun and write songs about the creature from the black lagoon (Creature Lives) and lonely cephalopods (Octopus Has No Friends).


11. Cut Copy – Zonoscope

Favorite Track – Pharaohs and Pyramids

Another band I decided to check out before their appearance at Coachella, Cut Copy released Zonoscope just in time for me to ingest its delicious beats before seeing them live. Their set was one of the better ones of the weekend, with all of the energy from the album spilling out and into the crowd.


12. Wild Flag – Wild Flag

Favorite Track – Romance

When I heard that a band was forming with both Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss as members, I was naturally excited. Sleater Kinney's last album (The Woods) really grew on me and I was hoping that sound would carry through to this album. I was not at all disappointed. This self-titled debut takes Sleater Kinney's signature overdriven, fast, heavy sound and infuses it with more intricate backing and chorus vocals. A solid album.


13. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

Favorite Track – Heart In Your Heartbreak

I was a little late to get on board the TPOBPAH bus, but I eventually got both of their 2009 releases (an album and an EP), and was immediately whisked away to some fantasy land where everyone is 18 and plays synth and listens to My Bloody Valentine. Fun and whimsical as it may be, this is still a great album. The production is much cleaner and more polished, which takes away a bit of that "we recorded this in our parents' garage" sound, but that's okay.


14. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

Favorite Track – Northern Lights

I was a big fan of the awesomely crunchy, overdriven, poppy guitar sounds of Actor, and I was pleased to find that they're even more prominent on this album. The songwriting is definitely more bold and experimental than on previous releases, and Annie Clark's vocals are great as always.


15. Maritime – Human Hearts

Favorite Track – Annihilation Eyes

Having not released anything since 2007, I really thought this band was dead and gone. Not so! My friend and former roommate (and the only other guy I know who likes old emo, hi Steve!) alerted me to the release of this album. I'll never get tired of Davey von Bohlen vocals, having been a fan of The Promise Ring and Cap'n Jazz.


16. Skeletonwitch – Forever Abomination

Favorite Track – Of Ash and Torment

What can I say, I love blackened thrash metal, and Skeletonwitch is one of the best bands with fast, heavy, blazing guitars and those raspy black metal vocals. Bang your head and raise the horns!


17. YACHT – Shangri-La

Favorite Track – Shangri-La

Oh man, the fucking chorus on that last track. So. Catchy. I've never been to a west-Texas desert, but I have experienced Los Angeles and summer in Oregon, and they're both pretty damn awesome. I wasn't crazy about all of the tracks on this album, but the first two (Utopia, Dystopia) and the above track are some of my favorites in this list.


18. Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues

Favorite Track – Specular Reflection

This EP is only 3 tracks long, but clocks in at almost 30 minutes of face-melting prog-death metal as only BTBAM can deliver. Their previous release, The Great Misdirect, was one of my favorite releases of 2009, and this EP is a continuation of that sound. Lots of time signature and tempo changes, switching between death/clean vocals, and awesome lyrics.


19. M83 – Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Favorite Track – Steve McQueen

The immense length of this album (22 tracks!) sort of discouraged me from playing it in heavy rotation, because seriously, I don't want to sit through 22 M83 tracks all at once. That being said, this album is great if taken 5 or 6 tracks at a time. It has more of the spacey, echo-ey sound of Before the Dawn Heals Us and less of the dream-pop sound of Saturdays = Youth.


20. Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Favorite Track – Father Midnight

This is the first part of a double album, with the latter half coming in 2012. The more upbeat sound (compared to the old drone-doom Earth) is present on this album, with the addition of a cello. Lots of ride cymbal and long, drawn out melodies. A soundtrack to the desolate, post-apocalyptic future.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Punch – Nothing Lasts
Wugazi – 13 Chambers
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
The Appleseed Cast – Middle States
Blue Scholars – Cinemetropolis
Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence


STUFF THAT WAS GOOD THAT I DIDN’T QUITE GET TO IN 2011 (this stuff might have been in The List if I had more time to listen to it, sorry!):


Boris – Heavy Rocks
Helms Alee – Weathered


THE END!

Comentários

  • irishtim

    Very diverse list you got there. Good call on Mastodon. I have it in my top ten on my list too. I really enjoyed the Explosions, Russian Circles and BTBAM releases too. You should give Helms Alee a few more listens. I wasn't all that impressed at first either. It's a grower for sure. Nice work

    Jan 10 2012, 16h33
  • Nix42

    Hells yes, great list here sir!!!

    Jan 26 2012, 22h43
  • JFK112263

    Nice list. I'll have one made up for myself soon and I'll send it over. Hope all is well, main.

    Fev 11 2012, 19h14
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