Music is fun again isn’t it? I’ve had a blast listening, reading, researching and sharing a ton of great sounds with you this year. I decided I’m not going to waste your time with a bunch of numbered lists and explanations of my favorite records of 2011. Instead, I thought I’d put them down for you, in no particular order, without regard for genre or style. Just a list of a handful of killer records. Treat yo’ self 2012 and pick some of these up. You can thank me later.
ASAP Rocky- LiveloveA$AP– Harlem’s newest phenom doing his east coast meets Houston thing over Clams Casino’s space case beats.
Signals Midwest– Latitudes and Longitudes– Ohio stood up and represented on this one, for real though.
Deer Tick- Divine Providence– These Rhode Island weirdos do things one way and one way only. Over the top. Best live band to come through my city this year.
Kendrick Lamar- Section.80- The west coast has a new king.
Foo Fighers- Wasting Light– The post-Nirvana band that nobody imagined would still be rocking this hard after nearly 20 years in the game.
Jay-Z and Kanye West-Watch The Throne– This is what it sounds like when you trap two of hip hop’s most prolific voices in a studio and turn them loose.
The Black Keys– El Camino– Dangermouse grabs the reigns and The Black Keys pump out one of the coolest, most fun rock and roll records of the year.
Real Estate– Days– The easy, breezy sound of slacker-rock at its finest. Pavement for kids who have no idea what Pavement sounds like.
Stalley- Lincoln Way Nights– Easily one of my favorite hip hop records of the year. He calls it “intelligent trunk music”. Enough said.
Rival Schools- Pedals– Walter and the boys can do no wrong, and prove it on their stellar second record.
Shooter Jennings & Hierophant– Black Ribbons- This one is equal parts Pink Floyd, STP and Waylon all rolled into one crazy story narrated by Stephen King.
The Weeknd- House of Balloons/Thursday/Echoes of Silence (3 EP series)- Canadian crooner who captures MJ’s vocal frailty and every ounce of Prince’s inner pervert.
Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire- Lost In Translation- Since I’m a sucker for a lyricist there was none greater than eX in 2011. He’s smart, mean, gritty and NYC to his core.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks- Mirror Traffic– This dude is straight-up funky…and I dig it.
Mariachi El Bronx– II- LA punks who do authentic mariachi as well as they do LA punk.
The Doppelgangaz– Lone Sharks– Can’t say enough to spread the Doppel Gospel. These guys bleed east coast hip hop.
The Horrible Crowes- Elsie- Brian Fallon is carrying the torch for the new wave of blue collar rock and roll.
Joyce Manor- Self-Titled- A sloppy, yet strangely cohesive disaster of a record.
Hanni El Khatib- Will the Guns Come Out- Solid, riff-heavy rock and roll from a rather mysterious bay-area Californian.
Destroyer- Kaputt- 80’s sounding record full of music for the morning after.
Black Lips- Arabia Mountain- Mark Ronson tries to steer these southern mad-men towards sanity, results vary.
Drake- Take Care– The kid sings more than he raps on this one. Yet when he raps he’s meaner than ever.
Gameday Regulars– But It’s Hell In The Hallway– No nonsense, Bronx punk and roll. Take it straight, no chaser.
My Morning Jacket- Circuital- Arguably the best live band on the planet bottles some of that up and puts it on wax.
I’m sure I missed a million wonderful recordings. Feel free to comment and let me know what I should have been listening to. Happy new year and as long and you keep reading and discovering new music with me, I’ll keep ranting and raving. 2012, here we come. Word up.
**Honorable Mentions: Yelawolf-Radioactive, Banner Pilot- Heart Beats Pacific, Bayside- Killing Time, Childish Gambino- Camp, Curren$y- Weekend At Burnies, I Am The Avalanche- Avalanche United, Elzhi- Elmatic and Bon Iver- Self Titled