Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011

Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Image edited by Ben Kramer

Yesterday we posted our annual feature in which our favorite artists list their top albums of 2011. Today we’ve enlisted some of our favorite music bloggers, music supervisors, comedians, DJs, journalists, and various industry music professionals to list their top albums of 2011.

ABBIE LISTER – MUSIC SUPERVISOR
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
James Blake : James Blake
Kate Bush : 50 Words For Snow
Radiohead : King Of Limbs
Cats Eyes : Cats Eyes
Wu Lyf : Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
PJ Harvey : Let England Shake
Elbow : Build A Rocket Boys!
Metronomy : The English Riviera
Laura Marling : A Creature I Don’t Know
Arctic Monkeys : Suck It And See

ALYSSA – KXLU
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- S/T
2. Ty Segall- Goodbye Bread
3. Delicate Steve- Wondervisions
4. Ducktails- III: Arcade Dynamics
5. WU LYF- Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
6. Jeff the Brotherhood- We Are The Champions
7. Future Islands- On The Water
8. Wet Illustrated- S/T
9. Mikal Cronin- S/T
10. Amen Dunes- Through Donkey Jaw
Delicate Steve – The Ballad of Speck and Pebble

AMANDA KRIEG – REVEILLE STUDIOS – TADPOLE AUDIO
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Laura Marling – Creature I Don’t Know
Other Lives – Tamer Animals
Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
The Kills – Blood Pressures
TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Thao & Mirah – S/T
Motopony – S/T
The Belle Brigade – S/T
AgesandAges – Alright You Restless
AgesandAges – So So Freely

AMY – FLAMGIRLANT
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
3. Widowspeak – Widowspeak
4. The Shivers – More
5. Yellow Ostrich – The Mistress
6. Real Estate – Days
7. tUnE-yArDs – W H O K I L L
8. Megafaun – Megafaun
9. Peaking Lights – 936
10. Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island
Amy’s Top 5 EPs
1. Crystal Stilts – Radiant Door
2. White Denim – Takes Place In Your Workspace
3. Chapter 24 – Chapter 24
4. Each Other – Taking Trips
5. Continents – Spiriting
Chapter 24 – Hepcats

ANDREA NARVAEZ – FILTERMAGAZINE.COM
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute)
2. The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart (Sub Pop)
3. Gotye, Making Mirrors (Samples ‘N’ Seconds)
4. The Naked and Famous, Passive Me, Aggressive You (Somewhat Damage/Universal)
5. Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)
6. NERO, Welcome Reality (MTA)
7. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light (RCA)
8. The Glitch Mob, We Can Make the World Stop EP (Glass Air Records/TCM)
9. Drake, Take Care (Young Money/Cash Money/Universal Republic)
10. The War on Drugs, Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)
Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever

ANDREA VON FOERSTER – FIRESTARTER MUSIC
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Nerves Junior – As Bright As Your Night Light
Chase & Status f. Liam Bailey – Blind Faith
Jai Paul – BTSTU (edit)
Various Cruelties – Cold As You
Alex Clare – Damn Your Eyes (Etta James cover)
Penguin Prison – Don’t Fuck With My Money
The Vaccines – If You Wanna
Woodkid – Iron
Class Actress – Keep You
Fitz & The Tantrums – Moneygrabber
New Look – Relax Your Mind
Gotye f. Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
Adele – Someone Like You
Charli XcX – Stay Away
James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
Alex Clare – Too Close
Alex Clare – Treading Water
Lana Del Rey – Video Games
TV On The Radio – Will Do
Liam Bailey – You Better Leave Me

ANDRIANA ALBERT – GLUTTONY IS THE NEW BLACK
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Evenings – Lately
Bilinda Butchers – Regret, Love, Guilt, Dreams
Holy Other – With U
Peaking Lights – 936
Run DMT – Dreams
Wye Oak – Civilian
Braids – Native Speaker
WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Timber Timbre – Creep On, Creepin’ On
Widowspeak – Widowspeak
Widowspeak – Gun Shy

ANGELA WATERCUTTER – WIRED
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. The Weekend – House of Balloons
2. Jay-Z and Kayne West – Watch the Throne
3. Adele – 21
4. Beyonce – 4
5. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
6. Drake – Take Care
7. James Blake – James Blake
8. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
9. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
10. Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream

ASHLEY KNOTTS – 40 WATT CLUB + THE BUCKHEAD THEATRE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
AA Bondy – “Believers”
David Lowery – “The Palace Guards”
Charles Bradley – “No Time for Dreaming”
Lykke Li – “Wounded Rhymes”
Future Islands – “On The Water”
Kurt Vile – “Smoke Ring For My Halo”
Yuck – “Yuck”
Youth Lagoon – “The Year of Hibernation”
Black Lips – “Arabia Mountain”
M83 – “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”
Washed Out – “Within and Without”
Youth Lagoon – Montana

BEN HOCHSTEIN – MTV
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
The Vaccines- What Did You Expect From…
Washed Out- Within and Without
Juicy J- Blue Dream and Lean (mixtape)
Atlas Sound- Parallax
Tyler The Creator- Goblin
Portugal The Man- In The Mountain In the Cloud
Pusha T- Fear of God (mixtape)
Blitzen Trapper- American Goldwig
M83- Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
CBG- S/T (mixtape)
Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

BEN KRAMER – EVENTBRITE + AUTUMN TONE RECORDS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. White Denim – D
2. Shakey Graves – Roll the Bones
3. Monster Rally – Crystal Ball
4. The (Alabama) Shakes – Collected Works
5. Future Islands – On the Water
Alabama Shakes – I Found You

BLAKE ANDERSON – WORKAHOLICS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Panda Bear – Tomboy
Juicy J – Rubber Band Business 2
Death Grips – Exmilitary
Spaceghostpurrp – Blvcklvnd Rvdix 66.6 (1991)
Thee Oh Sees- Carrion Crawler/ The Dream
Danny Brown – XXX
Thundercat – The Golden Age Of Apocalypse
Pure X – Pleasure
Tyler the Creator – Goblin

BRIANNA SARACENO – NU RAVE BRAIN WAVE
bri
1 the babies – s/t
2 bass drum of death – gb city
3 mellowhype – blackenedwhite
4 school knights – all dawgz go 2 heaven
5 shannon + the clams – sleep talk
6 the castillians – show your teeth
7 cosmonauts – s/t
8 mind spiders – s/t
9 royal headache – s/t
10 kanye west and jay z – watch the throne
Cosmonauts – Electric Chemicals

BRUCE WARREN – WXPN + SOME VELVET BLOG
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
The Weeknd – House of Balloons
Drake – Take Care
Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch The Throne
Black Keys – El Camino
Frank Ocean – nostalgia/ultra
Adele – 21
Foster The People – Torches
The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient

CHAD RADFORD – CREATIVE LOAFING – ATLANTA
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. The Beach Boys – The SMiLE Sessions
2. Panda Bear – Tomboy
3. J-Live – S.P.T.A.
4. Balkans – Balkans
5. Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee pt. 2
6. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
7. Chris Connelly – Artificial Madness
8. Moon Duo – Mazes
9. Iceage – New Brigade
10. Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972
Moon Duo – Mazes

CHARLES RAGGIO – CURRENT TV
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Middle Brother
Kurt Vile
Wye Oak
Jonathan Wilson
Tycho
Blitzen Trapper
Charles Bradley
Deer Tick
AM & Shawn Lee
Ty Segall
Lumerians
El Rego
Tune-Yards
The Fucking Wrath
Wye Oak – Civilian

CHARRA BELLE – ECHO & ECHOPLEX
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
The Horrors – Skying
The Vaccines – What Do You Expect From The Vaccines?
Future Islands – In Evening Air
WULYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain WULYF
Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
Arctic Monkeys/Alex Turner – Suck It And See/Submarine Soundtrack
Naked & Famous – Passive Me Agressive You
Austra – Feel It Break
Cults – Cults
Youth Lagoon – Year of Hibernation
The Horrors – Moving Further Away

CHRIS BUDD – BEARSUIT PUBLISHING + INDIE MUSIC FILTER
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. M83 – “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
2. The War On Drugs – “Slave Ambient”
3. Bon Iver – “Bon Iver”
4. Youth Lagoon – “The Year Of Hibernation”
5. Washed Out – “Within Or Without”
6. I Break Horses – “Hearts”
7. Miracle Fortress – “Was I The Wave”
8. St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy”
9. Young Galaxy – “Shapeshifting”
10. Generationals – “Actor-Caster”
Generationals – I Promise

CHRIS PARISH – HARMON DRIVE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Megafaun
2. Vetiver – The Errant Charm
3. Real Estate-Days
4. The War on Drugs-Slave Ambient
5. MMJ-Circuital
6. Gillian Welch-The Harrow & the Harvest
7. Alexander
8. J Mascis-Several Shades of Why
9.Wilco-The Whole Love
10. The Bees-Every Steps a Yes
Alexander – Glimpses

DANE SUNDSETH – NEW COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
01. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
02. WU-LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
03. Tristen – Charlatans at The Garden Gate
04. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
05. Destroyer – Kaputt
06. Alexander – Alexander
07. Roadside Graves – We Can Take Care Of Ourselves
08. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
09. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
10. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
Kurt Vile – In My Time

DAVID GREENWALD – RAWKBLOG + BILLBOARD MAGAZINE + LOS ANGELES TIMES
DG
1. Destroyer – Kaputt
2. ARMS – Summer Skills
3. Real Estate – Days
4. Minks – By The Hedge
5. Twin Sister – In Heaven
6. Seeker Lover Keeper – s/t
7. North Highlands – Wild One
8. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
9. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
10. Beyonce – 4

ERIC MILLER – MAGNET MAGAZINE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Death Cab For Cutie “Codes And Keys” (Atlantic)
2. Yuck “Yuck” (Fat Possum)
3. R.E.M. “Collapse Into Now” (Warner Bros.)
4. Tom Waits “Bad As Me” (Anti-)
5. Bright Eyes “The People’s Key” (Saddle Creek)
6. Bird Of Youth “Defender” (Inebriate)
7. Wild Flag “Wild Flag” (Merge)
8. Wye Oak “Civilian” (Merge)
9. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks “Mirror Traffic” (Matador)
10. PJ Harvey “Let England Shake” (Vagrant)

ERIC WEINER – WILD HONEY PIE + MTV
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
10. Caveman – CoCo Beware
9. You Won’t – Skeptic Goodbye
8. Pepper Rabbit – Red Velvet Snowball
7. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
6. The Dodos – No Color
5. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
4. The Antlers – Burst Apart
3. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
2. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
You Won’t – Dance Moves

JEN – LEVITATION RADIO (KXLU)
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
10. White Denim – D
9. Real Estate – Days
8. Gardens & Villa – S/T
7. The People’s Temple – Sons of Stone
6. Cass McCombs – Wit’s End
5. Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread
4. Extra Classic – Your Light Like White Lightning, Your Light Like a Laser Beam
3. Hanni El Khatib – Will the Guns Come Out
2. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo.
1. Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over
Hanni El Khatib – Build. Destroy. Rebuild.

JEN MALONE – MTV
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Girls – Father Son Holy Ghost
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Washed Out – Within and Without
Razika – Program 91
I Break Horses – Hearts
Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!
Pictureplane – Thee Physical
Gross Magic – Teen Jamz EP
Drive Soundtrack & Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack– tie
M83 – Midnight City

JIM CARROLL – THE IRISH TIMES + PHANTOM FM
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
2. Tune-Yards – Whokill
3. Adele – 21
4. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
5. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
6. Tieranniesaur – Tieranniesaur
7. SBTRKT – SBTRKT
8. Active Child – You Are All I See
9. Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
10. Wild Flag – Wild Flag
tUnE-yArDs – Bizness

JOHN – THE MAD MACKEREL
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10 Twilight Hotel – When The Wolves Go Blind
9 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
8 Roadside Graves – We Can Take Care Of Ourselves
7 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
6 AA Bondy – Believers
5 Cave Singers – No Witch
4 Deer Tick – Divine Providence
3 Tom Williams & The Boat – Too Slow
2 Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida
1 Middle Brother – Middle Brother
Middle Brother – Middle Brother

JUAN EDGARDO RODRIGUEZ – THE DELI LA
Pic R&G
1. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
2. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
3. Real Estate – Days
4. Iceage – New Brigade
5. tUnE-yArDs – W H O K I L L
6. Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place
7. Wild Beasts – Smother
8. Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler
9. James Blake – James Blake
10. The Field – Looping State of Mind
Real Estate – Its Real

JULIE – THE OCMD
julie is hot
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Self Titled
Widowspeak, Self Titled
Vetiver, The Errant Charm
Thurston Moore, Demolished Thoughts
Mikal Cronin, Self Titled
Washed Out, Within and Without
Blouse, Self Titled
Jeff the Brotherhood, We are the Champions
Ty Segall, Ty Rex
Tune-Yards, WHOKILL
Abbe Mae, Design Desire
Fungi Girls, Some Easy Magic
Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring for My Halo
Lia Ices, Grown Unknown
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – FFunny FFrends

GARY CALAMAR – GO MUSIC SERVICES + KCRW
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011

FAVORITE COVERS
Dum Dum Girls “There’s A Light That Never Goes Out” (Smiths)
Secret Sisters “Big River” (Johnny Cash)
Kurt Vile “Downbound Train” (Springsteen)
The Wellspring “The Ballad Of El Goodo” (Big Star)
Wye Oak Strangers “Strangers” (The Kinks)
Au Revoir Simone “Boys Of Summer” (Don Henley)
Allison Mosshart “Tomorrow Never Knows” (Beatles)
Adele “Love Song” (Cure)
Florence and The Machine “Not Fade Away” (Buddy Holly)
Jack White “Love Is Blindness” (U2)
PLUS VERY HONORABLE MENTION
from TRUE BLOOD VOL. 3 (produced by this list maker)
Neko Case & Nick Cave “She’s Not There” (Zombies)
Karen Elson and Donovan “Season Of The Witch” (Donovan)
The Heavy “And When i Die” (Laura Nyro, Blood Sweat & Tears)
BRMC “Bad Things” (Jace Everett)

GREG VANDY – KEXP
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside- Dirty Radio
Hayes Carll- KMAG YOYO
Gillian Welch- Harrow & The Harvest
Charles Bradley- No Time For Dreaming
Alabama Shakes – self titled (EP)
Wooden Wand & The Briarwood Virgins- Briarwood
Lydia Loveless- Indestructible
Frank Fairfield- Way out West
Tom Waits- Bad As Me
Denver- self titled
Frank Fairfield – Call Me a Dog When I’m Gone

JASON MANTZOUKAS – THE LEAGUE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
panda bear – tomboy
weeknd – house of baloons
james blake – james blake
st vincent – strange mercy
juliana barwick – the magic place
tape – revelationes
destroyer – kaputt
real estate – days
tshe-tsha boys – ni famba na wena
oneohtrix point never – replica/ford & lopatin – channel pressure
m83 – hurry up, we’re dreaming

JASON “JR” ROBERTS – KASTNER & PARTNERS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
My Morning Jacket – Circuital
Jeff the Brotherhood – We are the Champions
Deer Tick – Divine Providence
Those Darlins Screws Get Loose
Jimi Hendrix – Live @ Winterland (reissue)
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming
Tyler the Creator – Goblin
Wild Flag – Wild Flag
Jimmy Cliff – Sacred Fire (EP)
Deer Tick – Main Street

(PESCI) JEFF GRAY – FOX SPORTS MUSIC
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Butch Walker – The Spade
2. Butterfly Boucher – Butterfly Boucher
3. Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”
4. Drive By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
5. JD McPherson – Signs and Signifiers (FYI I gave this record to Jason Kramer at KCRW. I got it before most and put it on the radar)
6. Iggy Azalea – “Pussy”
7. Vanaprasta – Healthy Geometry
8. Megan Slankard – Token of The Wreckage
9. The All Ways – “My Name Must Taste Good”
10. Vuvuvultures – “I’ll Cut You”

JEFF WEISS – PASSION OF THE WEISS + LA TIMES + PITCHFORK
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
10. A$AP Rocky – LIVELOVEA$AP
9. Sepalcure – Sepalcure
8. Open Mike Eagle – Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes
7. Shlohmo – Bad Vibes
6. Danny Brown — XXX
5. Peaking Lights – 936
4. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
3. DJ Quik – Book of David
2. Nicolas Jaar — Space is Only Noise
1. Kendrick Lamar – Section 80

JIMMY MORRIS – HEAD UNDERWATER
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Braids – Native Speaker
Ducktails – III: Arcade Dynamics
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
Panda Bear – Tomboy
Peaking Lights – 936
Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin On
The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
Wye Oak – Civilian
Real Estate – Days

JON SIDEL – SIDEL SERVICES LLC + CHRYSALIS RECORDS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Cults – Cults
Diego Garcia – Laura
Dirty Beaches – Badlands
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
Other Lives – Tamer Animals
Panda Bear, ‘Tomboy’
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
The Treatment – This Might Hurt
Black Lips – Modern Art

JOSH JACKSON – PASTE MGAZINE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
2. Middle Brother – Middle Brother
3. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
4. Wye Oak – Wye Oak
5. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
6. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
7. Seryn – This Is Where We Are
8. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
9. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To the Mountain
10. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

JUSTIN GAGE – AQUARIUM DRUNKARD + AUTUMN TONE RECORDS + SIRIUS FM
gage justin aquariun drunkard
Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me A Tale EP
Richard Swift – Walt Wolfman EP
Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler EP
White Denim – Takes Place in your Work Space EP
Alabama Shakes – EP
Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler

LARRY LITTLE – TALENTHOUSE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
The Horrors – Skying
The Shivers – More
Adele – 21
The Black Keys – El Camino
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Radiation City – The Hands That Take You
Tuneyards – w h o k i l l
Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr – It’s A Corporate World
Wye Oak – Civillian
Middle Brother – Middle Brother
Radiation City – Mammals

LEE LEVIN – KNOX ROAD
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation
Gem Club – Breakers
Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind of Fix
Snowmine – Laminate Pet Animal
Adele – 21
Miracle Fortress – Was I The Wave
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Folly and the Hunter – Residents
Emma-Louise – Full Hearts and Empty Rooms (EP)
Youth Lagoon – Cannons

LIZA DARWIN – NYLON MAGAZINE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues
M83- Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
EMA- Past Life Martyred Saints
Florence + the Machine- Ceremonials
Youth Lagoon- The Year of Hibernation
Austra- Feel It Break
Beirut- Rip Tide
Cults- Cults
Adele-21
GROUPLOVE- Never Trust a Happy Song

LIZA RICHARDSON – MUSIC SUPERVISOR + KCRW
Screen shot 2012-01-09 at 9.50.33 PM
Hollie Cook, Hollie Cook, Mr. Bongo
Little Dragon, Ritual Union, Peacefrog
Rival Sons, Pressure & Time, Earache
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Mirror Traffic, Matador
Richard Buckner, Our Blood, Merge
Thao & Mirah, Thao & Mirah, Kill Rock Stars
St. Vincent, Strange Mercy, 4ad
SBTRKT, sbtrkt, Young Turks
Black Keys, El Camino, Nonesuch
Grouplove, Never Just A Happy Song, Atlantic
Liza’s Runners up (in backwards alphabetical order):
Wire, Red Barked Tree, Pinkflag
Jonathan Wilson, Gentle Spirit, Yep Roc
Wild Flag, Wild Flag, Merge
Washed Out, Within and Without, Sub Pop
Tom Waits, Bad As Me, Anti
TV On The Radio, Nine Types of Light, Interscope
tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l, 4ad
Mia Doi Todd, Cosmic Ocean, Domino
John Tejada, Parabolas, Kompact
Motopony, Motopony, Motopony
Thurston Moore, Demolished Thoughts, Matador
Megafaun, Megafaun, Hometapes
My Morning Jacket, Circuital, ATO
Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Smoking In Heaven, Sunday Best
The Kills, Blood Pressures, Domino
The Joy Formidable, The Big Roar, Atlantic
Deerhoof, Deerhoof vs Evil, Polyvinyl
Bill Callahan, Apocalypse, Drag City
James Blake, James Blake, Polydor
Ryan Adams, Ashes & Fire, Pax Americana
TUNE-YARDS – GANGSTA

LINDA PARK – SXSW MEDIA
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
Daniel Martin Moore – In The Cool of the Day
My Morning Jacket – Circuital
Washed Out – Within and Without
Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Slave Ambient – The War on Drugs
Daniel Joseph Dorff – Living Room
Celestial Lineage – Wolves in the Throne Room

MALIA JAMES – DIRTY LAUNDRY TV
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. PJ Harvey: Let England Shake. Hands down, best of the year.
2. Tom Waits – Bad As Me
3. Tamaryn – In Waves
4. Boom Bip – Zig Zaj
5. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
6. Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin On
7. Panda Bear – Tomboy
8. Weekend – Sports
9. The Soft Moon – The Soft Moon
10.Wu Lyf – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
Soft Moon – Breathe the Fire

MARGARET YEN – INAUDIBLE PRODUCTIONS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
2. Real Estate – Days
3. Washed Out – Within and Without
4. Horrors – Skying
5. Vetiver – The Errant Charms
6. John Maus – We Must Become Pitless Creatures of Ourselves
7. I Break Horses – Hearts
8. Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers
9. The Antlers – Burst Apart
10. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
The Horrors – Still Life

MARK SCHONEVELD – YVYNYL + SMALL PLATES RECORDS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
Pure X – Pleasure
Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings for my Halo
Dirty Beaches – Badlands
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Timber Timbre – Creep on Creepin’ on
Twin Sister – In Heaven
Creepoid – Horse Heaven
The Sandwitches – Mrs. Jones Cookies
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – How Can U Luv Me

MATT CARR – EVERYBODY TASTE + ANALOG EDITION RECORDS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Moss of Aura – Wading
2. Natural Child – 1971
3. Pure X – Heavy Air
4. Hunx & His Punx – Too Young To Be In Love
5. The Sandwitches – Mrs. Jones’ Cookies
6. Sonny & The Sunsets – Hit After Hit
7. JEFF The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions
8. Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose
9. The Poison Tree – The Poison Tree
10. Bare Wires – Cheap Perfume
Hunx & His Punx – Can We Get Together?

MATT WILKINSON – NME
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. wu lyf
2. milk music (beyond living)
3. arctic monkeys
4. girls
5. smith westerns
6. unknown mortal orchestra
7. strange boys
8.love inks
9. dirty beaches
10. kurt vile
The Strange Boys – Me And You

MAURA JOHNSTON – THE VILLAGE VOICE
mj
Patrick Stump, Soul Punk
PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l
Katy B, On A Mission
Robin Thicke, Love After War
Beyoncé, 4
Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Wild Flag
Pistol Annies, Hell On Heels

MICHAEL GROSS – TBWA/ CHIAT/ DAY
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
10. Drive Soundtrack
9. James Blake – James Blake
8. Strokes – Angles
7. Drake – Take Care
6. Wye Oak – Civilian
5. Wild Flag – Wild Flag
4. Jay Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
3. Girls – Father, Son & The Holy Ghost
2. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

MIKE KING – BERKLEE SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Bambara Mystic Soul – “The Raw Sound of Burkina Faso 1974-1979″
Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring for My Halo
This May Be My Last Time Singing – Raw African-American Gospel on 45RPM 1957-1982
Atlas Sound – Parallax
Wilco – The Whole Love
Anton Newcombe – No proper Brian Jonestown record, but amazing demos this year on www.brianjonestownmassacre.com
Wooden Shjips – West
Sigur Ros – Inni
Real Estate – Days
Strange Mangers – S/T
Atlas Sound – Terra Incognita

MITCHELL FRANK – OWNER – ECHO & ECHOPLEX
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Strokes-Angels
Wu Lyf- Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Youth Lagoon –The Year of Hibernation
Future Islands- On the Water
Cults-Cults
John Maus- We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
Death Set- Death Set Michel Poiccard
Tycho- Dive
Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong
Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital

MOLLY BERGEN – LA WEEKLY
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
2. Mind Spiders – Mind Spiders
3. AgesandAges – Alright You Restless
4. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
5. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
6. FIDLAR – DYI/DUI EP
7. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?
8. The Dodos – No Color
9. TV Girl – Benny and The Jetts EP
10. Other Lives – Tamer Animals
FIDLAR – Wake Bake Skate

NADA ALIC – FRIENDS WITH BOTH ARMS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
David Bazan- Strange Negotiations
tune-yards – w h o k i l l
Little Scream- The Golden Record
White Denim- D
Julianna Barwick- The Magic Place
The War on Drugs- Slave Ambient
You Won’t- Skeptic Goodbye
Jessica Jalbert- Brother Loyola
Real Estate- Days
St. Vincent- Strange Mercy
White Denim – Drug

NEIL SCHIELD – ORIGAMI VINYL
NS
1. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
2. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
3. Tune Yards – Whokill
4. Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming
5. Anika – S/T
6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – S/T
7. The Antlers – Burst Apart
8. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
9. Youth Lagoon – Year of Hibernation
10. Brute Heart – Lonely Hunter

NIALL BYRNE – NIALLER9 + STATE MAGAZINE
niallprof (1 of 1)
1. SBTRKT – SBTRKT
2. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
4. James Blake – James Blake
5. Twin Sister – In Heaven
6. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
7. Zomby – Dedication
8. Wild Beasts -Smother
9. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re New Here
10. Active Child – You Are All I See

ROLLO & GRADY
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. King Tuff – Was Dead
2. Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming (Best album of 2011)
3. White Denim – D
4. Megafaun – S/T
5. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
6. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
7. Shakey Graves – Roll The Bones
8. Guadalupe Plata – S/T
9. Middle Brother – S/T
10. Atlas Sound – Parallax
11. You Won’t – Skeptic Goodbye
12. Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread
13. J. Mascis – Several Shades Of Why
King Tuff – So Desperate
Shakey Graves – I’m On Fire

RYAN MATTESON – MUZZLE OF BEES + C3
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Conrad Plymouth – Comrade Plymouth
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me
Other Lives – Tamer Animals
Wye Oak – Civilian
Caveman – CoCo Beware
Nurses – Dracula
Feist – Feist
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Zola Jesus – Conatus
EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints

SANDRA BURCIAGA – GRIMY GOODS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care – Temporary Residence
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – Mute
Cults – Cults – Columbia
Chelsea Wolfe – Pendu Sound
Shabazz Palaces – Black Up – Sub Pop
Davilla 666 – Tan Bajo – In the Red Records
Other Lives – Tamer Animals – TBD Records
Austra – Feel It Break – Domino Records / Paper Bag Records
Las Kellies – Kellies – Fire Records
The Ettes – Wicked Will – Krian Music Group/Fond Object/Fontana
Davila 666 – Dimelo Ya

SCOTTIE DIABLO – MTV
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Bowery Beasts – Heavy You
Ramsay Midwood – Larry Buys A Lighter
The Peoples Temple – Son of Stone
Buildings – Melt Cry Sleep
Heavy Young Heathens – Scavengers
The Men – Leave Home
Jack Oblivian – Rat City
Diego Garcia – Laura
JEFF the Brotherhood – We Are the Champions
Magic Jake & the Power Crystals – Magic Jake & the Power Crystals
Reigning Sound – Abdication
Big Talk – Big Talk
Pujol – Nasty, Brutish, and Short
Diarrhea Planet – Loose Jewels
Destroyer – Kaputt
Richard Swift – Walt Wolfman
The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient
John Paul Keith – The Man That Time Forgot
Pujol – Mayday

STRATTON LAWRENCE – CHARLESTON CITY PAPER
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1.Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator
2. Carey Murdock and NoStar – Baby Don’t Look Down
3.Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – Rocket Science
4. Wilco – The Whole Love
5. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
6. The Deep Dark Woods – The Place I Left Behind
7. Gaslight Street – Idle Speed
8. Deer Tick – Divine Providence
9. Sol Driven Train – Watermelon
10. Feist – Metals

SEAN STENTZ – ORIGAMI VINYL
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Little Dragon – Ritual Union
2. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
3. Anika – S/T
4. Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island
5. British Sea Power -Valhalla Dancefloor
6. Gardens & Villa – S/T
7. Veronica Falls – S/T
8. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die…But You Will
9. Metronomy – The English Riviera
10. Future Islands – On The Water
Gardens & Villa – Black Hills

SHAUN CHRISTIE – CBS RECORDS
SC
10.US Royalty – Mirrors
9. The Streets – Computer & Blues
8. Black Keys – El Camino
7. 1,2,3 – New Heaven
6. FOUND – FactoryCraft
5. The Coasts – Self Titled
4. Wolf Gang – Suego Faults
3. Middle Brother – Middle Brother
2. Hanni El Khatib – Will The Guns Come Out
1. Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
The Coasts – Poltergeist

STEVE KNOPPER – ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
Britney Spears – Femme Fatale
Pistol Annies – Hell On Heels
Teddybears – Devil’s Music
Anthony Hamilton- Back to Love
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Tinariwen – Tassili
Wild Flag – Wild Flag
Barbara Panther – Barbara Panther
Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over

THOMAS GOLUBIC´ – SUPERMUSICVISION
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. OTHER LIVES ‘Tamer Animals’ (TBD Records)
2. ALEXANDER ‘Alexander’ (Vagrant Records)
3. THE WEEKND ‘House of Balloons’ (self-released)
4. FOSTER THE PEOPLE ‘Torches’ (Columbia/Startime)
5. TIMBER TIMBRE ‘Creep On Creepin’ On’ (Arts & Crafts)
6. THE ANTLERS ‘Burst Apart’ (Frenchkiss / Transgressive Records)
7. THE BLACK KEYS ‘El Camino’ (Nonesuch)
8. APPARAT ‘The Devil’s Walk’ (Mute Records)
9. ELBOW ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ (Fiction/Polydor)
10. SMITH WESTERNS ‘Dye It Blonde’ (Fat Possum Records)
THOMAS GOLUBIC´ – FAVORITE SONGS OF 2011
A$AP ROCKY “Trilla (feat. Twelvy & Nast)” (from forthcoming 2012 debut)
ADELE “Rolling in the Deep (Jamie XX remix)” (from ‘Rolling in the Deep’ single)
ALEX CLARE “Caroline” (from forthcoming 2012 debut)
ALEXANDER “Truth” (from ‘Alexander’)
APPARAT “Goodbye” from ‘The Devil’s Walk’)
AZEALIA BANKS “212 (feat. Lazy Jay)” (from forthcoming 2012 debut)
BATTLES “Ice Cream (feat. Matias Aguayo)” (from ‘Gloss Drop’)
BRIAN LOPEZ “El Vagabundo” (from ‘Ultra’)
CASS MCCOMBS “County Line” (from ‘Wit’s End’)
CULTS “Go Outside” (from ‘Cults’)
Cass McCombs – County Line

WESLEY HODGES – LIVE MUSIC BLOG: NOLA + JAMBASE
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
2. Washed Out – Within and Without
3. Charles Bradley – No Time For Dreaming
4. Gregg Allman – Low Country Blues
5. Atlas Sound – Parallax
6. My Morning Jacket – Circuital
7. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming
8. Man Man – Life Fantastic
9. Garage A Trois – Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil
10. Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine

JOHN ANDERSON – OLE SONGS INC. + HUNNYPOT UNLIMITED
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
Gzus Piece – Expensive Shit. Hands down my most listened to album of the year. Gzus Piece is from Chicago and runs with Million $ Mano, Mic Terror and Hollywood Holt. So many great songs,”95″, “Bounce”, and “Big Girl” are a few musts.

ASVA – Presence of Absence. From the incredible mind of G. Stuart Dahlquist, Bassist who has performed with Burning Witch, Goatsnake, and Sunn O))). This is an intensely hypnotic and truly magnificent album you most likely never heard of. I encourage you to explore the majesty of the full length release.

Big K.R.I.T. – Return of 4Eva. Big K.R.I.T. is a force to be reckoned with. A multi-talented rapper, writer, producer who’s popularity continues to rise. Is he the next Kanye, Def Jam think so and with what he has coming he’s certainly on point.

The Death Set – Michel Poiccard. Fantastic live and my favorite rock album of the year. Who can resist the official hand shake fury of “Slap Slap Slap Pound Up Down Snap”.

Spank Rock – Everything is Boring and Everyone is a F***ing Liar. You know I loves to party and Spank Rock always puts me in that special place.

Iggy Azalea – Ignorant Art. Busting out of Australia with great videos and solid swagger. The moment I first heard Pu$$y I was hooked and have been bumpin’ the Ignorant Art album ever since.

Lindi Ortega – Little Read Boots. I had to choose a country artist and this Toronto native nailed it with her debut full length release. Lindi is beautiful, writes fantastic songs and plays a mean acoustic guitar with real rockabilly swagger. Imagine Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash having a baby together and give Lindi her first pair of little red boots.

Lil B – Everything Based, Illusions of Grandeur. Lil B released these 2 compilations containing so many of my favorite singles. Start your cookin’ with “Charlie Sheen”, “Ellen Degeneres” and “Pretty Boy”!

Robotanists – Plans in Progress. LA kicks out some great bands and since 2008 I’ve been following this outfit, This years release is a complex album, Sarah Elquist’s beautifully sultry vocals are perfect for a makeup sex session. A mere five days after the release of Plans, the group ambitiously reinterpreted, recorded and released their own version of RADIOHEAD’s controversial The King of Limbs LP in its entirety, just 24 hours after its release.

Skull Tape – The Invisible Hand And The Descent Of Man. I loved The Mae Shi and Brad Breeck’s newest incarnation hits all the same nerves. The group has made a pop album about Social Darwinism, it couldn’t have come along at a more suitable time. Occupy this release!

BOB SCOTT AND JANELLE HOLLYROCK – MONGREL ZINE
BOB SCOTT AND JANELLE HOLLYROCK IN ROT N HELL'S SPACE JUNK ART CAR PHOTO ANDREA TUCKER
1. B-LINES – s/t LP (Deranged/Nominal)
The fastest, shortest, tightest punk band in Vancouver have produced a perfect representation of their sound. There isn’t a song on this album that doesn’t get stuck in my head.

2. Bloodstains Across BC 7″ (Mammoth Cave)
13 of my favourite local Vancouver bands each with a 1 minute-long song together on one slab of vinyl.

3. BURNING ITCH – Satisfied 7″ (Goodbye Boozy)
Perhaps the best to date of Italian label Goodbye Boozy’s One Side Fucking Records. Their singer delivers payload like a hardcore porno on FFWD.

4. INDIAN WARS – Walk Around the Park LP (Bachelor)
A perfectly pristine debut LP by country/garage band INDIAN WARS. Best LP to come outta Vancouver recorded in local studio Little Red Sounds. It makes my heart soar like a hawk.

5. JACK OF HEART – In Yer Mouth LP (Born Bad)
Sexually depraved rock’n’roll from the South of France.

6. MARK SULTAN – Whenever I Want LP (In the Red)
One of two simultaneously released albums (with Whatever I Want). MARK SULTAN still manages to up his game, keeping his work both fun and inventive.

7. QUINTRON – Sucre du Sauvage LP (Goner)
Double LP recorded in a nature preserve at New Orleans Museum of Art during QUINTRON’S Parallel Universe exhibit.

8. RED MASS – Suicide / Crawl Space 7″ (Certified PR)
BDSM Rock: Music to flog your gimp to!

9. RICCARDO LUCCHESI – When They Are Dying, People Sing… CASS (Los Discos Enfantasmes)
Superb experimental music from the RED MASS electronics wizard.

10. YUNG MUMS – s/t CASS (Scumbuzz)
It’s no coincidence that this Vancouver trio has a poster of The Dishrags up in their jamspace!

11. Bloodied but Unbowed – Special 3 Disc Limited Edition DVD (thepunkmovie.com)
The main Bloodied But Unbowed feature on Vancouver’s ‘70/’80s punk scene is incredible enough on its own due to the sheer amount of documentation available on bands like DOA, SUBHUMANS (Canada), THE DISHRAGS, THE POINTED STICKS, MODERNETTES and others, but then director Susanne Tabata throws in two more discs with a shitload of bonus material including the TUNNEL CANARY documentary by Eric Lohrenz, a photo diary by local photographer Bev Davies, plus tonnes of music performance extras and a Vancouver punk family tree insert. Full review coming up in Mongrel Zine #11!

DOMINIC BERNACCHI – BOOTY GRAVY PRODUCTIONS
Rollo & Grady :: Industry Picks Best Albums of 2011
10. My Morning Jacket – Circuital

It’s rare these days that anything has staying power. Look around… we live in a disposable society with everything from technology, ideas, and art holding meaning for only a matter of days (at best). What seems to be driving this is a lack of craftsmanship; people rushing to turn a dollar and cutting corners at any expense. It’s now 10 years since the release of “At Dawn” and as with their second album, My Morning Jacket continues to prove they’re more than a Neil Young & Crazy Horse-wanna-be gimmick. In fact, with Circuital I believe they’ve stepped into the circle of exceptional musicians like Neil Young. With 6 solid albums under their belt and a sound all their own, I’ve finally given Jim James and the boys the credit they justly deserve. If you haven’t given them a chance yet, I really think you should do yourself the favor.

9. Theophilus London – Timez Are Weird These Days

It’s been a long time since hip-hop and R&B felt like it came from the soul, and not the bank account. I’ve pretty much given up on the whole genre and focused my efforts on 60’s and 70’s soul artists, but every now and then something comes around that reminds me of the golden days of the late 90’s. Although Theophilus London’s major-label debut Timez Are Weird These Days has a few mainstream trappings, the vibe and sound are so familiar that you’ll quickly forget about the pitfalls. Pulling his style from the rock/funk rawness of Prince to the smoothness of Pharrell Williams and adding a touch of style all his own, there is clearly something in this for anybody that knows how to cut a rug. *And since you’ll find that I’ve been listening to a load of singer/songwriter stuff, I felt the need to give you something with a touch of soul.

8. Cults – Cults

Upon listening to the first three songs that Cults released on their debut 7” in 2010 I was immediately hooked. It can’t be all that easy to create such dreamy pop music like this, otherwise we’d be drowning in a half billion MGMT sound-a-likes by now. After signing to Columbia and working with the producer from last year’s breakout stars, Sleigh Bells, it was clear Cults were going to make something of themselves. Their sound is rather current with the names listed above and pretty difficult to dislike, but what surprised me more was the ability of a major label band to act like an indie band. After seeing them at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, it made immediate sense to me… they could care less what record label or music blog is singing their praise, because they’re still trying to figure it out. Regardless of their ability to play the game, this album shines. Soak it in as long as you can, for I really question if their next release will reach such a warm spot, but for now it’s just perfect.

7. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Alright, admit it… you’re questioning me now. What happened? Have I grown so old that I can’t tell the difference between the mainstream and the truly original? Maybe, or maybe all that time I’ve been spending at Urban Outfitters looking for skinny jeans has finally caught up with me. Whatever it is, I’d have to rank the latest Sam Beam (aka Iron & Wine) album as his best. Every artist hits a point in their career when they get sick of doing the work that made them famous, and they struggle. It happened for the Beatles in the Revolver era, and for the Stones in the Beggars era. For singer/songwriter Sam Beam it’s clear that he’s approached this bridge and successfully driven an 18-wheeler across it. It’s been 4 years since he’s released an album, and with Kiss Each Other Clean he broke away from the “dude with a guitar” recording style to incorporate a full list of instrumentation and production tricks that create a rich sound to marry with his remarkable lyrics. This happily caught me off-guard and luckily I was willing to accept it for what it is. Now if I could just find the perfect pair of jeans maybe I’d find further acceptance.

6. (tie) Shannon & The Clams – Sleep Talk + Hunx & His Punx – Too Young To Be In Love

That’s right kids; No. 6 is a double feature… two albums at for the price of one. There’s been some pretty amazing garage/psychedelic rock coming out of the San Francisco Bay Area these days (The Fresh & Onlys, Gris Gris, Thee Oh Sees, etc). If you remember, a few years ago Hunx made the top ten with his collection of “Gay Singles”, but this year I got the chance to see him and his Punx at the Cactus Club in Milwaukee. It was amazing (of course it left some speechless and questioning themselves) and can only be summed up in one simple way… if John Waters were to create a punk band and rip off the Ramones, it’d be Hunx & His Punx (concept courtesy of Kevin Meyer). We skipped the opening act that night, but upon later discovery I learned that the deep, soulful female voice that I’d fallen in love with on the Hunx album was that of Shannon Shaw (the Divine-looking woman that played bass with Hunx). Thus I checked out Shannon & The Clams, and the love affair continued. So with this pick you’ve got the option… gay or straight.

5. O’Death – Outside

I came across this album while foraging the web, and downloaded it simply based on a killer name and reasonably interesting cover art. Typically when I listen to something that I downloaded with no basis, I give it a 2-3 song listen and delete it without haste. That clearly wasn’t the case with O’Death; their dark folk instrumentation mixed with a haunting presence quickly caught my attention. Apparently this album is a departure from their pervious two, which had more of a manic presence, but it sounds like they’ve simply grown into their sound. I found myself going back to this record quite often, there’s something in it that’s truly original. It’s not for everyone, but if you find solace in waltzing down a dark alley, then you’ll be right at home with Outside.

4. Deep Dark Woods – Place I Left Behind

As with O’Death, I randomly downloaded Deep Dark Woods’ Place I Left Behind (again based on looks and other ancillary shallowness) and was quite surprised when I dug deeper. The songs have a familiarity that I can’t totally place; some say it’s Robbie Robertson & The Band and others Gram Parsons, but I have yet to put my finger on it. Their songs are steeped in a country/folk structure, but there’s something happening behind the guitars and vocals that immediately feels approachable. This album sat in my new music playlist after The Decemberists (another surprisingly good album from a band that’s well into their career) and before Deer Tick, and every time it would play I’d stop what I was doing to see who the band was. I guess it really means something when you pull attention away from the doldrums of the day to find beauty in a song, even for a brief moment. But that’s why we love music, isn’t it?

3. The Vaccines – What Did You Except From The Vaccines?

Ahhhhh, youth. I think there may be some sort of unintentional thread in these ten albums this year: songs about cults and growing old (maybe that’s a premonition of what’s to come in 2012 ;) . There’s an unadulterated swagger in The Vaccines’ debut album that I just can’t shake. The London based quartet has that classic Television/Strokes sound, but their album sonically covers a number of bases with a youthful belligerence in the lyrics that creates the perfect storm. After being released in February, I found myself listening to it now and again, but it took the release of their Instagram/Crowd Sourcing video for “Wetsuit” to rekindled the fire for me ( http://youtu.be/5tr5ptnUoDE ). It takes a lot of things to cut through the clutter these days, and when a gimmick is backed up by quality work then it’s all worth playing the game.

2. Jeff The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions

Nashville’s Jeff The Brotherhood was a very 2011 concept for me. Sure, they existed well before this year and their best release (Heavy Days) came out last year, but it’s clear these brothers are hitting their stride. The simplicity of a two-piece band seems to be something that I latch onto; if the core is solid, it doesn’t take much to make great music. Jeff The Brotherhood clearly takes a stance on creating solid, driving rock with a penchant for the heavier grooves. On the surface their music is more complex than two brothers in a basement cranking up the amps, but when you get deeper it really is just two brothers in the basement. They’re not trying to hide anything here. With sophomoric lyrics and catchy guitar riffs Jeff The Brotherhood is what it is, and I, for one, am sold.

1. (tie) Deer Tick – Divine Providence + Middle Brother – Middle Brother

This year belonged to John McCauley. If you haven’t heard of Deer Tick or are just mixing them up with the abnormally large grouping of bands with “Deer” in their name, then it’s high time you gave it a chance. Deer Tick has been an evolution as John McCauley defines his career in music; the first album was great, the second not so much. As McCauley weaves his path he’s been teaming up with a number of musicians and doing what talented people should do… create. Earlier this year he partnered with Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Matthew Vasquez (Delta Spirit) to create Middle Brother, which was a solid album to say the least. A few months later he released the third Deer Tick album, Divine Providence, and it was apparent that he’s more than just a front man for a Deer-band. Although McCauley shares the stage and songwriting duties with others in his bands, it’s quite clear who’s running the show. McCauley has a talent and wisdom that you don’t find in many 25 year olds, and combined with youth that’s a recipe for excellence and disaster. Musically speaking the music falls under the labels of rock and country influences, but with more edge than you’d expect. After seeing them live last month it was clear to me that McCauley is a cut above the rest, and if he can successfully ride the young rockstar roller coaster he’ll continue to create great music.
Deer Tick – Miss K.
Middle Brother – Me Me Me