Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shanies: Album of the Year

What a year for rock n roll! I know you were all waiting impatiently for 2011's top ten, but I got trapped in Montreal by a gorgeous woman and didn't get to finish my homework.  Can you really blame me? Without further adieu, I give you:

10. Cunter - Some Really Nice Guy Threatened to Sue Us

What I like about this album is what it doesn't try to be: it doesn't try to be complicated, insightful or groundbreaking. This album is simply old friends getting together to play gritty, in-your-face hardcore. In addition, this album wins the award for most grotesque cover art.

9. Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune
What can I say? I just love this Vancouverite's smooth baritone voice.  While I would agree with anyone who claims that Nice Nice, Very Nice is a better album, I appreciate that with Oh Fortune, Mangan doesn't play things safe.  He experiments a lot on this album and even plays around with some heavier feeling songs.  Unquestionably worth a few good listens.

8. Mastodon - The Hunter
You knew this was making the list.  The masters of modern metal (try saying THAT three times fast) had to crack this list with a very unique album in The Hunter. Almost as a rebellion to their previous prog epics, The Hunter shows its self as a more stripped down, simplistic album (for this band at least) in which the usual barrage of epic riffs are condensed down to short, catchy, even funky songs.

7. The Barr Brothers - The Barr Brothers

A late entry to the year (ok, late September isn't that late, I just had a busy fall) and a late entry to my life, this album floored me with incredibly unique folk songs and eclectic instrumentation. 'Deacon's Son' has a solo section featuring some wicked guitar, harp, and what sounds like steel drums. Also, I swear that in the end of 'Give the Devil Back his Heart', someone is saying "I love the Black Keys"

6. Wide Mouth Mason - No Bad Days
 When one of your favorite bands releases an album for the first time in 5 years, and just so happens to have also picked up one of your musical heroes to play bass... yeah. No Bad Days is another one of those brilliant albums where the trio approached the project with simplicity in mind and allowed each of their individual fortes to shine through in a beautiful blend of soul, funk, rock and blues.

5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Dave decided he wanted to make an album renisicent of the old Self-Titled and Colour and the Shape era.  'Nuff said.
Oh, and riff-genius Pat Smear came back after 10 years.
Oh, and Dave worked with Butch Vig for the first time since nevermind.
Oh, and the whole thing was done analog in Dave's garage.
Oh, and Bob Mould and Krist Novoselic guested on the album.
Getting the idea?

4. The Black Keys - El Camino
Here I need to less justify the presence of this album on the list and more explain why it only hit #4. I LOVE the keys, and have for 8 years, however, the issue with El Camino is that it isn't Brothers. Songs like "Little Black Submarines" and "Gold on the Ceiling" remind me of why I adore this band - continuous evolution of their style - yet it still feels like the songs were rushed. Maybe it feels that way because I'm still not done exploring brothers.

3. MuteMath - Odd Soul

Ahh MuteMath. Just about every year this band puts out an album, they end up in my top ten, usually somewhere very high. They're one of the most original bands of the past 10 years and their percussive-heavy sound always seems to strike a chord with me. That said, Odd Soul feels a bit different from their previous albums. While possibly containing more singles and catchier songs, this album doesn't blend together into a single piece of work quite like their previous. Still, you can flip to just about any track on this CD and have your mind completely blown.

2. The Parlor Mob - Dogs

Are you surprised to see this here? Me too. The Parlor Mob has been a new obsession of mine ever since discovering them earlier this year. While I was a couple years late to allow their debut, And You Were a Crow, to crack the list (and likely end up 1 or 2), their softmore effort, Dogs, is still a tour-de-force which I have been obsessively listening to. Combine one part White Stripes, and one part Led Zeppelin and you'll hear very quickly why this was almost my album of the year.

1. Hey Rosetta! - Seeds

This is a rare occasion. My album of the year in 2011 is not a heavier rock album. Let this speak volumes about just how good Hey Rosetta's latest effort, Seeds, is. Start to finish, this album delivers so many different sounds, emotions and themes. Tim Baker is a musical genius, and after following this band for over 5 years (thanks Andrea), Baker has finally found his comfort zone (not to say that earlier albums were slouches!). This album brings together HR's usual wide instrumentation with cute lyrics, catchy hooks, and the feeling of music that should be sung by a small chorus of friends (and in some cases, it is!)

-Hope you enjoyed the 2011 Shanies! I'm looking forward to providing you with all sorts of new audiophoria in 2012!