Records of the Year: 2011/I'm not quite dead edition!
I haven’t posted on this forum in a long time, maybe since the last Record of the Year post, but since I put this together every year, I may as well post it here as well. Hopefully some of you will read this and check out some bands that you wouldn’t otherwise and hopefully all of you guys are still doing well. Let’s begin.
The Strokes – Angels
The Wonder Years – Suburbia
Battles –Glass Drop
Set Your Goals – Burning at Both Ends
Foo Fighters –Wasting Light
10. Death Cab “Codes and Keys” – this is not Death Cab’s best record, and I’d be surprised if I’d even put it in their top 3, but this is still a great record. When you have had the success that Death Cab has had, it’s hard to maintain those strong roots and drive that made your band successful to begin with. With that, this is no longer an indie rock band but just a pop band and Codes and Keys is a pretty great pop record. What to expect: Easy listening meets indie credibility. Stand out Track: You Are a Tourist.
9. Bon Iver “Bon Iver” – Inventiveness, atmosphere, and progression all appear on Bon Iver’s newest release. After being featured on a Kanye West track last year, Bon Iver was ready a larger audience. Front man and general creative behemoth Justin Vernon was ready for the leap. This year my pick for stand out track (Holocene) is up for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the Grammys. Additionally, its music video is a gorgeous connection of the song’s meaning and artistic interpretation. What to expect: An atmospheric and unfamiliar musical journey. Stand out Track: Holocene.
8.Childish Gambino “Camp” Although bogged down only slightly by Glover’s penance for one-liners and the listener’s pre-conceived ideas of what Camp is and Gambino/Glover are going to be, this is a great record. As I first listened to the record, I, and others I’ve talked to about it, expected a lighter comedy/hip hop album. What we got instead was a beat laden divisive album that attempts to cover some intense topics, although frequently not giving them the seriousness they deserve. However, is this a great debut record? Definitively, and you can start to see the MC that Glover is going to become. What to expect: A less comical more vulgar style of hip hop than you would think. Stand out track: Bonfire.
7. Four Year Strong “In Some Way Shape or Form” – I’m going to be honest, I don’t know if this record deserves to be on this list. Is it really the 7th best record of the year? No, probably not, but after following the band for several years, I want it to be so bad. Four Year Strong, known for their ‘beardcore’ or ‘melodycore’ styling, took a huge risk with ISWSOF and unfortunately it did not pay off. The band’s sound changed too drastically for most, and what previously made this band so loveable has been stripped away. There are some great tracks on this record though; I’m just not sure they overcome the few terrible ones. It’s obvious the band is torn between progression, invention, and faithfulness to their original sound. What to expect: Driving, aggressive, arena-type rock-n-roll. Stand out Track: Just Drive
6. New Found Glory “RadioSurgery” – God, I love me some power pop. Most people dismissed this album simply because they’re tired of the pop punk genre, and after disappointing efforts from Blink 182 and All Time Low this year, I understand why, but please do yourself a favor and listen to this record, it’s really easy on the ears and your feet will start to tap before you even realize it. What you should expect: Poppy rock-n-roll that’s best while driving with the windows down. Stand out Track: I’m Not the One.
5. Adele “21” – is it too early to call Adele this generation’s Patsy Cline? After an impressive debut record two years ago, waiting for this sultry blues songstress to record a follow up was well worth the wait. If I hadn’t had ‘Someone like You’ repeated at every turn by every radio station across the country this year, it may have went down as my favorite song of the year, as it’s such a haunting and beautiful song. What you should expect: A soulful emotional roller coaster that is much better than pop stations would have you believe. Stand out Track: Someone Like You
4. Bayside “Killing Time” – Although a pretty dividing band that draws either intense adoration or childlike hatred, Bayside has been one of the most consistent bands of the last ten years. There’s not a lot of flash, or show, and whether it’s good or bad, there’s not a lot of change. What you’re going to get is 10-13 songs a record that just rock. This punk band takes some heavy influences from The Clash and from Alkaline Trio and mix together a darker, brooding mix of punk and rock. What to expect: An album filled with 3 and a half minute songs that mix rock riffs and punk rock time and feel. Stand out Track: Already Gone
3. Kanye + Jay Z “Watch the Throne” it’s definitely a different step from both of these artists but one of the better hip hop collaborations in the last several years. This wasn’t really meant for mass consumption but seemingly meant for true fans of the genre and for these two friends to have an excuse to experiment, challenge each other, and step out of their comfort zones. What you should expect: A tougher to digest yet lighter hip hop record than the parts would suggest. Stand Out Track: Niggas in Paris
2. Black Keys “El Camino” – getting over the irony of putting a woodchuck station wagon on a record entitled El Camino is tough, but damn it if it isn’t worth it. Black Keys hooked me with last year’s “Brothers” and this year they surpassed any and all expectations anyone had of a follow up. What you should expect from the record: Driving, soulful, bluesy, gritty rock and roll. Stand-Out Track: Little Black Submarines or Gold on the Ceiling. I can’t decide
1. Manchester Orchestra “Simple Math” – If you’ve read previous installments, you know my affinity for this band. Simple Math was as ambitious of a record as a moderately successful indie band from small town Georgia could possibly create and through that ambition a tragic and thrilling record was created. The record, formed from Andy Hull’s struggles with his Christian upbringing, the constant touring, and his devotion to his family throughout, focuses on questions he asks to his god, his wife, and to his family on how to deal with those struggles. What to expect: Challenging indie rock with the utmost reward for those who give it a listen. Stand out Track: Apprehension
As always, thanks for reading.