Dec 25 2011

Honorable Mention Albums of 2011

We’ve discussed the overrated and the disappointing, but there were also a ton of albums in 2011 that were absolutely great. Since I only make a Top 50, there were several I felt deserved recognition, but had strong superior competition. Here, in alphabetical order, are 25 of the best albums of this year that just missed the final cut. Spotify/Download/Buy links provided below.

Battles – Gloss Drop

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

The Cars – Move Like This

Cheeseburger – Another Big Night Down the Drain

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Clams Casino – Rainforest EP

Cults – S/T

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

DJ Quik – The Book of David

Dom – Family of Love EP

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

J Mascis – Several Shades of Why

Cass McCombs – Humor Risk

Panda Bear – Tomboy

Pictureplane – Thee Physical

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now

Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What

Martin Solveig – Smash

Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream

Shugo Tokumaru – Port Entropy

White Denim – D

Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers

Dec 21 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 100-51

100. The Strokes – Under Cover of Darkness

When the band sticks to what they know, they sound great. Angles is a hot-and-cold album, but this is the first of two tracks that showcases the former.

99. Born Gold – Wrinklecarver

Originally released as former project Gobble Gobble, nothing has been done to this track in terms or re-mixing or mastering, but it just sounds better in context within the new album Bodysongs.

98. St. Vincent – Cheerleader

Another highlight from Strange Mercy – here Annie Clark shows off her knack for start-stop surprises around what sounds conventional at first, then grows to be beautifully unusual.

97. Drake – Lord Knows (featuring Rick Ross)

The snare hits, the booming bass, the background vocals, that “Just Blaze!” intro, the use of the phrase “Murdercedez Benz.” What’s not to love here?

96. Wiz Khalifa – The Race

One of the more down-tempo tracks on the fun Rolling Papers, Wiz drops a chill-out anthem for the end of the night when you just wanna light one up and take it easy.

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Dec 19 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 200-151

There are quiet moments, but overall this year’s song countdown is crazy upbeat; you’ve gotta be an uptight jerk not to enjoy at least some of what’s here. For the most part, this collection of songs from 2011, while decidedly less diverse than in past years, still perfectly captures my mood and preference. I’ll be counting down until Friday – feel free to browse, listen, discover, disagree, etc. I’ll publish a Spotify playlist at the end with most of the tracks on there; the rest can be found via YouTube below and on subsequent posts.

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Jul 12 2011

Five Overlooked Albums From the First Half of 2011

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

The Nashville duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White have delivered a stripped-down, beautiful debut LP most critics have ignored, with the exception of the always South-of-center Paste Magazine.

The Civil Wars – I’ve Got This Friend

Ringo Deathstarr – Colour Trip

The Austin shoegazers have honed in on their songwriting knack to bring a pretty stellar, exciting new take on the Loveless-esque, 80’s craze that’s been all the rage these days, resembling a more lo-fi Pains of Being Pure At Heart.

Ringo Deathstarr – Do It Every Time

Witches – Forever

The Athens group will likely receive a plethora of R.E.M. comparisons, and while the Buck/Mills influence is certainly heard, Witches prefer an even gloomier, simpler approach, and the results, eventually spellbinding, will grow on you.

Witches – Creature of Nature

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

LA-based, ATO-repping Dawes continue their Laurel Canyon rock on this, their second album, a more polished, sonic production with simpler arrangements, focusing on sharp melody and a theme of being restless.

Dawes – How Far We’ve Come

Not In the Face – Bikini

Emulating the finest traits of guitar/drum duos before them (Black Keys, the White Stripes), Austin’s Not In the Face (coolest band name ever) have concocted a lo-fi bluesy, punky, poppy ear assault.

Not In the Face – Way To Go Baby