I posted this list on Sound As Language (my old music blog) earlier today but figured I’d post it here as well.
Will’s Top Twenty List
One thing I hate about year end stuff is people just naming off bands they know or records they are affiliated with in their list. That’s why there will be no Tiny Engines in here. I also must admit I’m being a bit coy with this list cause I’m leaving out one release that I simply loved. Sometimes I just have to bite my tongue to keep things under wraps about future label endeavors though.
Addendum: Said left off record was State Lines’ Hoffman Manor which you can download for free here: http://statelines.bandcamp.com/
Samiam “Trips” (Hopeless)
- In reality, nothing else matters in a year when Samiam chooses to release an album. Trips just cements Samiam even more as one of my all time favorites.
Banquets “Top Button, Bottom Shelf” (Black Numbers)
- If you thought Banquets debut 7” was good, well, this one blows it all out of the water. One of the few bands doing modern melodic pop/punk that I can fully get behind.
Des Ark “Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker” (Lovitt)
- Good god, I never thought this album would see the light of day but it did and it was well worth the wait.
Knesset “Coming of Age” (& Records)
- This was a completely out of the blue album/band for me in 2011. Hell, I still don’t think many people know about these guys but they should. I think I’ve described them as American Analog Set meets True Widow…or something like that.
Mogwai “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” (Sub Pop)
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Mogwai is the most consistent band out there. They do it again. And that album title, best of the year hands down.
Pygmy Lush “Old Friends” (Lovitt)
- I was a bit late with these guys but I’m really shocked I haven’t seen this on more year end lists. I dug the 7” that preceded Old Friends and then saw the band open for Des Ark and was blown away. Pygmy Lush are a modern day Three Mile Pilot.
Shores “To Volstead” (No Idea)
- I feel like Shores get overlooked cause they’re a bit of an odd fit for No Idea. If you thought all bands like this died a long time ago you were dead wrong. Modern day slow-core!
Tin Armor “Life of Abundance” (Self-Released)
- This was an album that took a while. Considering how much I loved the simple indie pop of the band’s past, Life Of Abundance is so much more. It’s like The Smoking Popes got together with Jeff Tweedy and Ben Folds for a songwriting jam session.
True Widow “As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth” (Kemado)
- As much as I liked the first True Widow album this one just seems bigger and better in every imaginable way. A stonegaze behemoth!
Wye Oak “Civilian” (Merge)
- I love when you can see just how much a band matures from a debut album to a sophomore album. And with Wye Oak the jump is incredible.
Balance and Composure “Separation” (No Sleep)
By Surprise “Mountain Smashers” (Topshelf)
City and Colour “Little Hell” (Vagrant)
Crash of Rhinos “Distal” (Triste/Brave Or Invincible/The Audacious Art Experiment)
Mock Orange “Disguised As Ghosts” (Wednesday)
Office of Future Plans “Self-Titled” (Dischord)
Senders “Lucidity / Lividity” (Kiss of Death)
Talons’ “Songs For Boats” (Own)
Tellison “The Wages of Fear” (Naim Edge)
Wilco “The Whole Love” (dBpm/Anti-)
Lots of Honorable Mentions and other albums you should check out:
Ages “Made In The Trade” (Self-Released)
And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead “Tao of the Dead” (Superball)
Beirut “The Rip Tide” (Pompeii)
Bon Iver “Self-Titled” (Jagjaguwar)
Brian Bond “Your Love Is Strange” (Self-Released)
Bry Webb “Provider” (Idée Fixe)
Build Us Airplanes “At The End Of The Day” (Sell The Heart)
Creepoid “Horse Heaven” (Ian)
Cymbals Eat Guitars “Lenses Alien” (Barsuk)
Farewell Continental “Hey, Hey Pioneers!” (Paper+Plastick)
Football, etc. “The Draft” (Count Your Lucky Stars)
I Am The Avalanche “Avalanche United” (Surrender All)
Joyce Manor “Self-Titled” (6131)
M83 “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” (Mute)
Rain Over Battle “These Rocks In Our Bodies” (Self-Released)
Reverse The Curse “Hither Von” (Paper+Plastick)
Rob Crow “He Thinks He’s People” (Temporary Residence)
Run, Forever “The Devil, And Death, And Me.” (Solidarity)
Small Brown Bike “Fell & Found” (No Idea)
The Globes “Future Self” (Barsuk)
The Joy Formidable “The Big Roar” (Atlantic)
The Lonely Forest “Arrows” (Trans/Atlantic)
The Rural Alberta Advantage “Departing” (Saddle Creek)
The Swellers “Good For Me” (Fueled By Ramen)
The War on Drugs “Slave Ambient” (Secretly Canadian)
Thrice “Major/Minor” (Vagrant)