1. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
It’s not about winning, but this wins. I am very comfortable calling this my favorite album of the year. A friend convinced me to pay $10 to see this band in March and it was an incredible investment. Perfect harmonies & tight percussion. A+.
2. AM Taxi – We Don’t Stand A Chance
I’m from Chicago & I think this is the best band Chicago has produced in years. All of these dudes come from other Chicago bands & the result is mature & powerful. It’s a modern twist on classic punk rock. The Clash, The Replacements, The Ramones, etc… Gang vocals rule!
3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Speaking of Chicago… Kanye! We see so much of him as Kanye the person, I think we forget how talented he is as Kanye the musician. He’s arrogant because he’s great & he’s great because he’s arrogant. It’s a formula that not many can pull off. “Monster” is the best song ever.
4. The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang
One of my favorite bands! “Never make the same record twice” is something I’ve heard Brian Fallon (singer) say a few times & it’s very obvious that he means it. This is their third album and it’s completely different than the previous two. They’ve morphed from a punk rock band into a straight up American rock n’ roll band. They love Bruce Springsteen and they want to tour with Pearl Jam. I think, they can save rock music.
5. Against Me! – White Crosses
This brought Against Me! from one of my favorite bands, to my favorite band. Someone needs to make a movie about these guys. Their story is waiting to be told. This record is a perfect representation of a young anarchist growing into a professional musician. It’s far from the gritty sound I fell in love with years ago, but it’s the type of record I expected them to put out. They’ve matured as people, and it wouldn’t be authentic if their music didn’t mature as well.
6. Bear Hands – Burning Bush Supper Club
Finally! I’ve been so excited for this band to release this record. It was worth the wait. There are a lot of bands trying to sound hip and inventive, but this is legit. This album is strong lyrically, vocally & musically. I believe that it has the power to bridge the gap between hipsters and everyone else.
7. The Black Keys – Brothers
It’s the sixth from these guys and they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve! The cream rarely rises in music, but this is a band I’m happy to hear on the radio & happy to see on the list of Grammy nominations. 2 dudes, blues, rock & Danger Mouse! Perfect! Listen to this on a cold day.
It wasn’t easy for me to narrow my list down to seven, so I’m gonna cheat and throw in some honorable mentions. Check ‘em out after the jump!
Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam
Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
Sage Francis – Li(f)e
Kings Of Leon – Come Around Sundown
I’m probably just ruining the meaning of the list at this point, but I need to give recognition to another few albums I discovered this year, even though they came out in 2009:
We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
Polar Bear Club – Chasing Hamburg
The Riot Before – Fists Buried In Pockets
I’m done. Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, make a list and share it in the comments section below. Here’s to 2011 and another year of great music!