Top Albums of 2011 15-11
We all love lists, and we all love sarcasm. Though, I think its important to reflect upon the last year of music, I’m going to do so through the use of a list. It was a fantastic year full of awesome albums, and I’m going to count down a bunch of my favorites, and give you something to listen to while reading.
15. The Middle East - I Want That You Are Always Happy
The Middle East - Jesus Came To My Birthday Party
Darkly toned piano riffs and simple folk structures run deep across this gorgeous album. This being the last album the Middle East will perhaps ever record is one hell of a way to go out. Despite its name, its a somber gloomy rainy day listen that feels as though its searching through souls. Its beautiful in its simplicity, its personal and feels extremely genuine and although its an extremely long track “Deep Water” could be one of the best songs of the year. Favorites include: Jesus Came to My Birthday Party, and Deep Water.
Buy > I Want That You Are Always Happy
14. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
Ryan Adams wrote a seventies Country tinged guitar driven album that is unsurprisingly wonderful due to his song-craft. An album predicated on lyrics and melody, and a newfound maturity that is touching, rockin, and a great listen. Favorites include: Ashes & Fire, Dirty Rain,, and Invisible Riverside.
Buy > Ashes & Fire
13. Apex Manor - The Year of Magical Drinking
Apex Manor - Under the Gun
Ross Flournoy’s album about the gap year between bands is one of my favorites. Infectious tracks, fuzzy guitars, and a dialed down twangy infused power pop sprinkled all over this album give it a warm glow. The album is immediately accessible and not in a bad way, its got this timeless quality to it, every song feels honest and straight forward. If this driving record is the debut, the sky seems to be the limit for these guys. Favorites include: Southern Decline, Teenage Blood, and Under the Gun.
Buy > The Year Of Magical Drinking
12. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Girls - Vomit
From the second that you press play, Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost grabs a hold of you through the use of a large portion of the canon of rock & roll. From The Beach Boys to the Byrds to Pink Floyd, there is a little bit here for all enthusiasts. This album is one that may turn them into cult heroes that will endure time, it is classicism with modernity, truly a fantastic album that you’ll listen to again and again. Favorites include: Honey Bunny, Jamie Marie, and Love, Like a River.
Buy > Father, Son, Holy Ghost
11. Cary Ann Hearst - Lions & Lambs
Cary Ann Hearst - Hell’s Bells
If nouveau country were like this, I’d prefer it to most anything. Cary Ann Hearst, the boisterous and lovely lady from favorites Shovels & Rope released her solo album Lions & Lambs, an album that fuses old classic country, honky tonk and a bit of outlaw in this modern album produced by Butch Walker. Hearst’s voice shines, and displays quite a vast range as she seems to run the gamut of influences, from Patsy Cline to Loretta Lynne. Her spirit and personality comes through on this wonderful record that should be a part of everyone’s collection. Favorites include: Are You Ready To Die, Hell’s Bells, Can’t Say Goodbye, The Thread, and American Made Machine… Aww hell, the whole album is great!.
Buy > Lions And Lambs
Apex Manor is the now defunct Broken West, lead by singer songwriter Ross Flournoy continuing the tradition set forth by the Broken West. Apex Manor released their debut record, The Year of Magical Drinking, to the world on Merge Records this week, and by no stretch is it less than fantastic.
Infectious tracks, fuzzy guitars, and a dialed down twangy infused power pop sprinkled all over this album give it a warm glow. The album is immediately accessible and not in a bad way, its got this timeless quality to it, every song feels honest and straight forward. Although the music is very ‘Broken West’ this is very much Flournoy’s album, if this driving record is the debut the sky seems to be the limit for these guys.
I totally missed the boat on Apex Manor’s release (it was yesterday) but I got a copy of the album, and I really fell for it. Its quite fantastic. Check out the video above for the single My My Mind, then get out there and buy Apex Manor’s The Year of Magical Drinking