I’ve always had a hard time ranking music or any other creative work because of its such unique nature. If something is making your “Best of” list, you probably shouldn’t be able to compare it realistically with everything else on your list, let alone rank it based on some sort of merit. So having said that, I give you my ten favorite releases from 2011 (unranked) and a sample of each.
HOT WATER MUSIC - The Fire The Steal The Tread/Adds Up To Nothing 7”
The truth is, there probably isn’t much from HWM that I wouldn’t become totally attached to. This is the first new material from them since reforming a couple of years ago and I think both tunes are so solid. It’s an EP, but it’s probably the most listened-to thing for me this past year.
FOO FIGHTERS – Wasting Light
This was the first Foo Fighters album that I was truly excited about in many many years. Every song on this one is special and has renewed my position on the Foo’s being one of the most important bands of modern rock music.
TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET – Mutilate Me 7”
I always wanted to like this band more than I ever did and finally in 2011, it was an EP that finally pulled me in.
JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT – Here We Rest
I have to give full credit to WXPN’s David Dye for introducing me to this record from the former Drive-By Trucker. Just the right amount of twang and honesty.
HA HA TONKA – Death of a Decade
It took seeing Ha Ha Tonka live a few years ago for me to fully get on-board, but now I’m in. Incredible musicians and extremely nice fellas that are so representative of where they come from, that Anthony Bourdain included them in his Ozarks episode of No Reservations.
THE WONDER YEARS – Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing
This is record is the only true example of the internet being right (on my list). Having read so many people talking about this band and album, I decided to check it out. Thank you internet. As always, I’m still a sucker for interesting pop punk stuff and I like the way these dudes do it. Plus, they’re from Philly and kinda bearded.
WUGAZI (DOOMTREE) – 13 Chambers
This is worth the hype. The talents of Doomtree put together such an interesting marriage of Fugazi and Wu Tang Clan, that it could stand alone as its own record. I read that Fugazi didn’t exactly love it, but I know that I do.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE – Torches
I think this album will define 2011 for a lot of people. I also think that “Pumped Up Kicks” reminded everyone how important a great bass line can be to a song’s longevity.
THE HORRIBLE CROWES – Elsie
Unmistakably Brian Fallon and unmistakably not the Gaslight Anthem (in a good way). I love the way that Brian Fallon writes music and it’s refreshing to hear him take things in this direction. I hope this project continues for many years.
WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – In The Pit Of The Stomach
Having loved the last album so much, my expectations were through the roof for this record. And like the last album, with a bit of time – it grew on me. I think these guys make music that is interesting, undoubtedly their own, and able to attach specific emotions to musical notes.