This past year had to be one of my hardest years deciding what was the best in music. I’m your typical music nerd, ask me my “Top 5″ anything and you’ll have a pretty fast response. But no, not 2011. No, 2011 without a doubt gave me a run for my money and in the best way possible. Now I know I haven’t posted anything in a while and that this list is, for lack of a better word, late, so consider this as my triumphant return. With that being said I present to you my “Best Of 2011″… enjoy!
Before I present my list I wanted to point out the following bands for putting out awesome records this year as well. I felt the albums by these artists should not go unnoticed. (As I stated before, 2011 just had too many options.): Aficionado, All Pigs Must Die, Balance And Composure, Between The Buried And Me, Big D And The Kids Table, The Black Dahlia Murder, Bomb The Music Industry!, Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, The Carrier, Childish Gambino, Circle Takes The Square, Common, The Dear Hunter, Former Thieves, Foundation, The Get Up Kids, Iron & Wine, Lemuria, LIGHTS, Lupe Fiasco, M83, Mariachi El Bronx, Mastodon, Mogwai, Mother Of Mercy, Neon Indian, New Lows, Night Birds, Oathbreaker, Polar Bear Club, Retox, Ringworm, Rival Schools, Rot In Hell, Title Fight, Trap Them, Trapped Under Ice, Unearth, Washed Out, Weekend Nachos and The Wonder Years.
7. Code Orange Kids “Cycles“
6. Punch “Nothing Lasts E.P.”
5. Swamp Thing “S/T”
4. Self Defense Family “I’m Going Through Some Shit b/w All Fruit Is Ripe“
3. Converge/Dropdead Split 7″
2. Against Me! “Russian Spies b/w Occult Enemies”
1. Trash Talk “Awake“
10. Cold Cave “Cherish The Light Years“
As a long time fan of pretty much anything Wes Eisold has been involved in it’s fair to say I was more than excited about this album. Comparing it to former bands he fronted (American Nightmare [Give Up The Ghost], Some Girls and XO Skeletons) it’s so great to seem him succeed with synth pop music. It’s catchy, still depressing, nihilistic and dandy. Think as if Morrissey was from Boston and did an album with New Order. Definitely the soundtrack to getting lost in a city.
9. Joyce Manor “Joyce Manor“
This is the one album I regret not looking into sooner. 6131 Records who is a label I treasure for putting out great albums by amazing bands did not lose momentum at all with putting out this release. I had heard some hype regarding this band and the thing that intrigued me was people compared them to bands like Jawbreaker but if they were faster. The album is almost 20 minutes long which by standards in an EP but I more than got my money’s worth and I’m glad the band got the attention they did for this album and I’m excited to hear their Asian Man Records debut for 2012.
8. Defeater “Empty Days & Sleepless Nights“
The best way to describe how I feel about Defeater is that they’re a band that has never cheated on me. It’s no secret I love hardcore music and it’s no secret that Defeater are a different kind of hardcore band. With this album they really stepped their game and on such tracks such as “Dear Father” and “White Knuckles” it really shows where this band has progressed to. With that being said Side C of this record showed off a different side of Defeater. 4 acoustic tracks but with the same tone as the other songs which really took me by surprise. Particularly “I Don’t Mind“, which is literally about being in love and wanting to spend your life with the person you care most about. Such a brutal and emotional album.
7. Thursday “No Devolución“
I honestly don’t think there is one album by Thursday that sounds the same and that’s honestly one of the reasons I followed Thursday and still bought their records. A lot of my friends who liked Thursday reacted very differently to this record and all thought “This is Thursday?“, which kind of cut me deep. But I think this album is such a perfect album for them to end their career on. SO much progression over the years and this album really shows that off. I’m gonna miss Thursday but I’m always gonna have their records and I’m glad they made an album like this.
6. La Dispute “Wildlife“
There really aren’t enough nice things I can say about this band and this album. I thought their previous album “Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair” was incredible and it is, but this album. Holy shit. Every song made me feel exhausted after I heard it, as if I had performed them myself. The storytelling in each song really makes you feel as if you are there in the moment especially during such songs like “Edit Your Hometown“, “King Park” and “I See Everything“. I honestly hope they tour in support of this album for a while because I don’t know if I can handle another album anytime soon.
5. Deafheaven “Roads To Judah“
I literally have played this album at least once a week since Deathwish Inc. released the digital download I got when I pre-ordered the album, which was way back in February. I love all types of metal and when I heard Deathwish Inc. signed Deafheaven it made me so happy because that label takes care of their bands but also because Deafheaven are a black metal band. Like most black metal records there are only a few songs but fuck if each song doesn’t stand out, I honestly don’t know how they sound so good with such a basic formula. I recently talked to lead singer George on their most recent U.S. tour and I was very happy to tell him that their album made my “Best Of 2011″ list and with that he told me they are very happy to start writing their next album for 2012 that it would be heavier and bigger in sound and that it would be next on Deathwish Inc., awesome.
4. Pianos Become The Teeth “The Lack Long After“
I really gotta give it up to these guys for putting out one of the saddest records I’ve ever heard. Every song seriously felt like a therapy session, and it’s awesome. Everything about this record is great. The lyrics, production, song assortment really just everything. But I really feel that Side B of this record seriously stands out. It’s honestly a roller coaster. This is the second time this band has made my “Best Of…” list for the year, last year being with their first full length “Old pride” and honestly if they keep making records like this I can promise you they’ll always make my “Best Of…” lists.
3. Tom Waits “Bad As Me“
I honestly owe so much to this man. Hands down one of the best writers of all time who more than deserves every bit of attention he gets and then some. To me this album felt like he took my favorite parts of “Rain Dogs” and “Mule Variations” and put it into one album. Without a doubt Mr. Waits should be proud of this album and definitely refer to it as one of his best. Cheers to him for being in his early 60’s and still making classic albums.
2. Fucked Up “David Comes To Life“
Like Thursday this a really awesome for Fucked Up to make as their last. Honestly I’m sure Fucked Up will release more 7″s but I can understand wanting to be with you families after years of writing, recording and touring. Now when I heard this album was going to be a rock opera surrounding a relationship I had my doubts but god damn did they make one of the best albums of this year not too mention they actually made it on the Billboard 200. Which is insane for a hardcore band. But I’d be lying if I sad Fucked Up didn’t deserve it. Cheers to them for making one hell of a record and I wish them the best for whatever is in store for their future.
1. Touché Amoré “Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me“
Finally we have my #1 album of the year, which honestly is one of my favorite albums of all time now. I remember being on a road trip last year and looking on twitter to find out that they released their first song off this album stream and the song was “~“. I listened to this song probably over 30 times that weekend. I’m not even close to joking. This album was my most anticipated of the year and for not one second did it disappoint me. It is a very personal album for me and every time I listen to it I have to listen to it all the way through, it’s like therapy. It’s one of the best sounding records I’ve ever heard, it’s got some of the best personal lyrics I’ve ever heard it’s honestly such a solid record. The band is full of some of the nicest guys I’ve ever come across and they deserve everything they’re getting right now. I can’t wait to hear what they will release next. I recently talked to lead singer Jeremy on their tour with Pianos Become The Teeth that he made my #1 of the year and what to expect in 2012. He assured me that what they hope to work on and release is definitely going to be awesome. I believe him.