Friday, December 30, 2011

Scott's Top 10 of 2011 (plus 50 other great records)

Here’s my Top 10 records released in 2011 that I truly enjoyed (plus another 50 because they deserve some love too). This year I had over 175 albums to choose from (otherwise known as records that I purchased). I heard plenty more via Spotify and other such services, but if I didn’t go out and get them, they obviously weren’t worthy of my consideration. Live and best of records were not considered.

Here’s the soundtrack to my year (with some video goodness!).

The Top 10

1. (TIE) Miranda Lambert/Pistol Annies – Four the Record & Hell on Heels – OK, I couldn’t decide which one of Miranda’s records released this year that I liked more, so I’m just going to call it a tie. Hell on Heels is a gritty effort from three great country singer/songwriters (Lambert is joined by friends Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley…who both had a number of writing credits on Four the Record as well). Four the Record is classic Miranda. Stylistically, it's her most diverse record. I saw her this summer as she was finishing her Revolution Tour (this also included a short Pistol Annies set) and I’m seeing her again for my birthday later in January.

2. Civil Wars – Barton Hollow – Hard to believe that Taylor Swift’s Twitter feed is responsible for me first hearing about this band (well before Barton Hollow came out). This record is simply stunning. Joy and John Paul’s voices sound so good together. I got to see them twice this year and the live show is unbelievably good.

3. Sunny Sweeney – Concrete - I seriously got Sweenered this year. Went head over heels for Concrete’s lead single, From A Table Away (a love song gone wrong -- from the perspective of the other woman who finds out that her man is going back to his wife).

4. Old 97’s – The Grand Theatre Volume 2 - The Olds have long been a favorite of mine. They are my “go-to” band whenever I need to hear something great.

5. Adele – 21 - This little-known Brit soul singer…LOL. Adele has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. I’d recommend songs by her, but who are we kidding, y’all know them already.

6. Alison Krauss and Union Station – Paper Airplanes - About three years ago I ordered the double live Alison Krauss and Union Station disc. I’ve pretty much been obsessed with her music since then. Alison possesses one of the most comforting voices I’ve ever heard.

7. Ashton Shepherd – Where Country Grows - A little bit sassy, a little bit homespun, and one of the finest country albums made this year.

8. Chris Connelly – Artificial Madness - I’ve been a fan of Chris since 91. He’s performed on and released some of my favorite industrial records over the years. Whether it be with Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pigface and his extensive solo catalog, I’ve remained a fan. On Artificial Madness he ditched the acoustic sound of his last few records (which I thought were quite good) and went back to his industrial roots.

9. The Decemberists – The King is Dead – I never get tired of this band. After a couple well-done concept albums, this year they simply put out a record of great songs. Was happy to see them again this summer (which seems to be an every other year event).

10. Christina Perri – Lovestrong - The first time I heard Jar of Hearts I was parking my truck. I sat in my driveway and impatiently waited to hear who sang the song (surprisingly the DJ obliged…doesn’t really happen much anymore does it?). The song still gives me chills and I found the rest of the album to be a great listen.

50 other records that I spent a lot of time enjoying (in no particular order...the numbers are simply proof that I can still count to 60)…

11. Crooked Fingers – Breaks in the Armor

12. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys

13. Deer Tick – Divine Providence

14. Those Darlins –Screws Get Loose

15. Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down

16. Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style

17. Wild Flag – Wild Flag

18. Jason Isbell –Here We Rest

19. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me

20. Lady Antebellum – Own the Night

21. Lori McKenna – Lorraine

22. Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine

23. Sierra Hull – Daybreak

24. Mighty Mighty Bosstones – The Magic of Youth

25. Rise Against –Endgame

26. Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire

27. Sara Evans – Stronger

28. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Mirror Traffic

29. Tom Waits – Bad As Me

30. CJaye Lerose – Date With The Tub

31. Ida Maria - Katla

32. Vanessa Carlton – Rabbits on the Run

33. If Not For Dreaming – Awake and Asleep

34. Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

35. Lenka - Two

36. G Love – Fixing To Die

37. Cass McCombs – Humor Risk

38. Nicole Atkins – Mondo Amore

39. Shelby Lynne – Revelation Road

40. Luke Bryan - Tailgates & Tanlines

41. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

42. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

43. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

44. Rachael Yamagata - Chesapeake

45. Mike Doughty – Yes and Also Yes

46. New Found Glory - Radiosurgery

47. Brad Paisley – This is Country Music

48. Julie Roberts - Alive

49. Sondre Lerche – Sondre Lerche

50. Blake Shelton – Red River Blue

51. Kelly Clarkson - Stronger

52. Telekinesis - 12 Desperate Straight Lines

53. My Brightest Diamond - All Things Will Unwind

54. Thompson Square - Thompson Square

55. Eric Church - Chief

56. Gillian Welch - The Harrow and the Harvest

57. Real Estate - Days

58. Jolie Holland - Pint of Blood

59. The Joy Formidable - The Big Roar

60. Brantley Gilbert - Halfway to Heaven

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