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Album of the Year 2011

Welcome to the Album of the Year article for the year 2011! 
As always, this list is a collection of records that moved ME - records that left an impression on ME. I am a big believer in the fact that music is a personal experience, and we all have different tastes - different likes and dislikes. My only purpose for compiling this list is to, perhaps, point you in the direction of something that might move you, and also to give you a glimpse at what moved my life musically during the twelve months we called 2011. This is not about debating which albums are "better," this is simply about the music. It's always about the music here at Dr. Music's Weekly Checkup.
With that said, let's talk about my list for the past year....
Album of the Year
1.   Worship Music - Anthrax
2.   Vices & Virtues - Panic! At The Disco
3.   21 - Adele
4.   Alma Vieja - Russ Hewitt
5.   Dying Breed - Dan May
6.   Under The Influence - The Flying Ryan Brothers
   7.   The Great Divide - Tommy Shaw
8.   Born This Way - Lady Gaga
9.   Autumn Sky - Blackmore's Night
10.   The Black Forest - Agents Of Mercy
Honorable mention: Break The Spell - Daughtry, Evanescence - Evanescence, Nickelback – Here & Now, Eli Cook – Ace, King, & Jack, Jon Anderson – Survival & Other Stories, Beyond Magnetic – Metallica, Seether – Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray, Bowling For Soup – Fishin’ For Woos
     The past year was one of the most surprising for me on a personal level. I would have never imagined putting Lady Gaga on my Album of the Year list. I would've laughed at you if you said I would end up listening to Katy Perry throughout most of this past year. Honestly, I'm a bit worried about myself. What the hell is wrong with me? I was raised on classic rock and metal. It's what I know best, and I have an undying adoration for it. I'm always open to all kinds of music, but Gaga and Katy Perry?!! Believe it, folks.
     Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" album came out in 2010, which is why you don't see it on the list. But I can tell you, if I had the 2010 list to do over, "Teenage Dream" would be near the top of it. Call me whatever you like, I'm just being honest with you. The thing has more hooks than a tackle box, and there's something sensual about the way Perry squeals "Damn!" and tells about a manage a trois she had last Friday night. Alright, I apologize, but I just can't help myself. Try to bear with me.
     Yeah, I really was surprised by how much appreciation I had for the mainstream artists. Adele still blows me away. I thought I was going to hear the same ol' R&B Top 40 crap, but this was different. The Lady Gaga record wasn't your typical pumped up, over-produced, dance club remix album. She really can sing and write songs. And Katy Perry, well..... 
     I thought this was a great year for music. I found all kinds of things to like. I am disappointed that I didn't get the chance to check out a lot of things I wanted to, like Wishbone Ash, Chickenfoot, Disturbed, The Cars, Bootsy Collins, Black Stone Cherry, Queensryche, Black Country Communion, Yes, Edwin McCain, Dream Theater, Michael Schenker, and many many more.     
Let's take a closer look at this year's picks........

1.   Worship Music - Anthrax 
      I almost ignored this one, initially. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Joey Belladonna variety of Anthrax. I thought the band was greatly improved when John Bush took over vocal duties. Not only did the vocals get grittier, but the music got stronger as well. So, the return of original vocalist Joey Belladonna didn’t really excite me. Frankly, I was pretty disappointed…..until I heard this.

 This is definitely the best material the band has ever done with Belladonna, and it rivals even the best Bush material. Belladonna is very sharp here, and the music behind him is stronger than ever. The band knocks that New York chip off its shoulder and sounds like a serious thrash metal threat. I think what I dislike about the older “classic” material is the goofy attitude that runs through a lot of it. You could tell they had their caps turned sideways just by listening to some of that stuff. The band has always been tight and talented, but I had trouble taking a lot of it seriously. There’s a reason they open the Big 4 shows. Until now, I always had a few doubts about putting them beside the likes of Slayer and Megadeth, especially, but this release vaults the band into that league. This record is serious and heavy - not to mention seriously heavy. The band wasn’t messing around when they went in to record this one. This is a brilliant thrash metal record.

        2nd Place                         3rd Place                     


2.   Vices & Virtues - Panic! At The Disco

      They took the Album Of The Year title with their last one. The Pretty. Odd. release was a modern pop masterpiece, and this one is just as good, perhaps even better. This time around the band hires power pop songwriting genius Butch Walker, and they make memorable pop anthems together. After a couple of spins, this is an album that had me singing all day long. I’m a sucker for infectious pop with an edge, and these guys are the cat’s meow.

3.    21 - Adele

       It was the best selling album of the year, and there’s a reason for that. This thing is great.  You can read the full review here.
   Alma Vieja - Russ Hewitt 

     Hewitt puts together another brilliant instrumental guitar record that pushes the envelope.  You can read the full review here.


5.    Dying Breed - Dan May

       If you're looking for a thick slice of "Americana" by way of a modern day Gordon Lightfoot, then your order is up. Every syllable on this record is heartfelt and pure, delivered by a singer with an incredibly warm tone. Listening to this is similar to wrapping up in a fuzzy blanket by the fireplace, and watching the snow cover the pine trees outside your window. May's voice is second only to his songwriting prowess. Each song comes packaged with a great hook and a meaningful message. It's comfort music that touches the soul.

Under The Influence - The Flying Ryan Brothers

       The Flying Ryan Brothers carry on their legacy of dual harmony guitar rock with yet another impressive effort. Nobody does guitar harmonies like these guys.

       You can read the full review here.

The Great Divide - Tommy Shaw

       This is the first venture into bluegrass music for the Styx/Damn Yankees guitarist/vocalist, and he sounds right at home. This was a record that proved to me just how great Shaw is. To do something so completely different from the rock stuff he’s become famous for and have it be just as vital is a real feat.

       You can read the full review here.

Born This Way - Lady Gaga
       Oh stop it. There’s nothing funny about my putting Gaga on the list, just stop it.       In all honesty, I was blown away when I realized that I actually liked this record. Her $.99 Amazon deal sucked me in, and I got hooked on the stuff shortly after that.

       This sounded a lot like Madonna to me, but I saw that as a positive thing. She has a lot of elements on this record that add integrity to her sound. The addition of Clarence Clemons on sax is a good start. How ‘bout Brian May on guitar for a track or two? She mixes up her styles a lot on this one, too. A song like “Americano” really pushes the envelope as far as her vocal abilities, and her boot kickin’ , Shania Twain-like hit “You And I” really had me captivated with the variance in style. The deeper I dove into the record, the more interesting and adventurous it became. This release proved to me that this is no teenie-bopper, fly by night, fad rocker. Gaga is a legitimate force in today’s pop world, and with efforts like Born This Way that status is well deserved.


9.    Autumn Sky – Blackmore’s Night

       I know a lot of people miss the Deep Purple Ritchie Blackmore, and I think to myself, maybe they’ve never heard this stuff. Blackmore is a great musician, and this music puts his talents on display just as much as anything else. Pairing Blackmore with his angelic vocalist wife Candice is something that can be extremely powerful when it’s done correctly. In the past, Blackmore’s Night material has hit the mark, and at times it has fallen short. With this album, Ritchie and Candice and their merry men of minstrel music have put together a very solid set. Soaring vocals and rousing instrumental interludes kept me jigging for hours (in my imagination, at least). Don’t miss out on great music from a great musician. Be not afraid. If you like Ritchie, you just might like this record too.
10.     The Black Forest - Agents Of Mercy
          This is a CD that arrived at my door one day; I'm not even sure if it had a bio sheet with it. I get stuff like this all the time, with a lot of it below average at best. This one spoke to me, though. The sepia tone cover art. The long-haired figure standing with his or her steed. I found the fact that it was difficult to determine gender on the figure to be a little intriguing. Then the title, The Black Forest.  I loved everything about this one before I heard a note. When I did get it played, the sound was a great throwback for me. I was instantly reminded of early Genesis with Peter Gabriel. This has a vocal very similar in style to that early Genesis material, with music that is a more modern, more guitar driven adaptation of that classic era. I also noticed that the CD is on "Foxtrot Records," which tells me that the similarities are intentional. Instead of a bad rip-off of something great, I found this to be a fresh and accomplished tribute to the classic sound of early Genesis.

Patrick M. - Massachussetts, USA
2011 was a weak year for rock music in fact Lady Gaga's Born this way was had more impact than many of us would care to admit. Artist's like Whitesnake and Elton John/Leon Russell gave us music that was not worth the price of admission. The best rock music that was played was on the stage.
My favorite CD's of 2011:
*Jeff Beck Rock & Roll Party - Honoring Les Paul
   It's only fitting that one guitar legend honors another guitar legend. Jeff puts together a room full of talent to do early rock-n-roll and Mary Ford/Les Paul songs. Great music loads of fun.
*Wilco - The Whole Love 
   These guys are a very talented bunch who write and perform great songs. My friend and I were stuck in traffic going to a concert in Boston and these guys just made the time pass away seamlessly.
*Gary Hoey - Utopia
   This is a hard rock album that reminds me of the 80's in a good way. Gary has come along way from his surfing tune covers. Check out "Only Human" and "Walk Away."
*Journey - Eclipse
   When was the last time you heard Journey put out a guitar driven album? In the 70's they used to do it before they hit the power ballad circuit. Neal Schon's guitar is front and center of this CD. Check out "City Of Hope" if you don't believe me.
Like I said earlier that the best music of 2011 was done on the stage. Here are the three shows you should of caught:
*Styx - The Grand Illusion & Pieces of Eight Tour.
   This one actually started out late in 2010 and ran until the fall of 2011. I caught them when they came to Lowell, Ma. They sounded great. If you want to see what I am talking about a DVD is being released later this month.
*John Mellencamp - No Better Than This Tour
   I caught this twice one in Lowell and Boston, Ma. John puts on a great show. He is one of the few artists who will play the new album and play many of his hits to satisfy him and his audience. And, he does two different set lists. If you like his music you will love seeing him live.
*Steely Dan - The Shuffle Diplomacy Tour
   I saw these guys all three nights when they rolled into Boston. They had a different theme for every night. They played early Dan, they had the fans make up the set list, they had the Royal Scam, and they were always "reel-ling in the years." In short, they were the best show of 2011.

Dean H. - Chicago, Illinois, USA
Hey Doc, what a year for music!
I tried to keep it to five, but ended up with a couple of honorable mentions. Check this list out! In no particular order:

  -Gary Clark, Jr. - The Bright Lights EP
  -Mastodon - The Hunter
  -The Black Keys - El Camino
  -Radiohead - The King of Limbs
  -The Kills - Blood Pressures
Honorable Mention:
  -Hank Williams - The Lost Notebooks
  -Black Country Communion - 2

Leon T. - Maryland, USA
Doc,  I only have 3 that I believe qualify:
1: Wishbone Ash – Elegant Stealth
2: Nightwish – Imaginarium
3: Flyin’ Ryan Brothers – Under the Influence
Honorable mention: 
The Catholic Girls – Exposed
Raised on Radio – Various Artists

Timothy D. B.
I’ve been listening to Wishbone Ash's new CD “Elegant Stealth” and Ivy’s “All Hours” – both very good and true to form.
Craig D.
No contest:
Chevelle, "Hats off to the Bull". Every album they do is better than the last. I was hoping for Jane's Addiction, but not to be. 

Other notables:
My wife would vote for Incubus. While great, and "mature", it will isolate their fan base.
Most fun new band: Middle Class Rut
Album I hoped to be AOY but wasn't: Gang of 4 - "Content"
Album that I liked better than I thought: Mr Big - "When Pigs Fly"
R&B, the way Motown intended: Raphael Saadiq
Band that grew the most from obscurity: Black Keys with "El Camino"
Finally... interesting yet not interesting: Superheavy
     Jury is out: New Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I haven't heard enough of it yet, but what I've heard so far is interesting.

Paul K. - Wisconsin, USA
I couldn't tell you...didn't buy a single CD this year, and most of the new stuff I heard was complete sh*t.
Reijo P. - Finland
These are my favorite albums of the year 2011:
1. Neal Morse - Testimony Two
2. Rihanna - Talk That Talk
3. Anthrax - Worship Music
4. Eini - Mä jään
5. Nightwish - Imaginaerum
6. Jenna Bågeberg - Nyt!
7. Avril Lavigne - Goodbye Lullaby
8. Anna Abreu - Rush
9. Rebecca St. James - I Will Praise You
10. Megadeth - Th1rt3en

It was hard to leave some albums off the list. For example, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Haloo Helsinki's "III" were also very good albums, but I decided to choose only ten.
Johan C. - Belgium
10. School is Cool - Entropology. Let's be chauvinistic. Best album by a Belgian band - sounds like a mix between Arcade Fire and eighties smart-asses XTC.
09. Yes - We Can Fly From Here. The dinosaurs of progrock replace their singer, hook up with über-producer Trevor Horn and come up with a surprisingly good album.
08. Death Cab For Cutie - Codes & Keys. Not a killer album like "Plans" was, but still way above average.
07. Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys. Only album with a song that actually made me cry.
06. Noah & the Whale - Last Night on Earth. Good singer and a nice bunch of melodic songs.
05. Wolf Gang - Suego Faults. A debut album made with guts and style, filled with catchy, multi layered songs and a singer that shifts effortlessly between a UK copy of Brendan Flowers and a indie style Mika.
04. The Feeling - Together We Were Made. Sugary pop that is too irresistible to dislike, with Roisin Murphy, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Freemansons helping a hand.
03. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones. A passionate, no holds barred mix of working class rock and fierce folk.
02. Cold War Kids - Mine is Yours. Kings of Leons last album may have been a bit hit and miss, but here's the alternative. An album I'll never grow tired of.
01. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light. Simply the best collection of songs I've heard this year. Killer riffs, killer vocals, killer production. And with it's total playing time of 50 minutes an ideal start-to-finish companion on my iPod, for when I go running.

Best clip: Foo Fighters: Walk, a lovely reference to one of my favorite movies, Joel Schumachers "Falling Down".
Best rock moment: Foo Fighters: Rope, from 2'49" to 3'29".
Best lyric: Frank Turner - "Peggy Sang the Blues"
It doesn't matter where you come from
     It matters where you go
     No one gets remembered
     In this listless, loveless life
     For the things they didn't do
Looking out for your selection, and that from you readers.

- Wisconsin, USA
Dan May - Dying Breed

Julie A. - Illinois, USA
Here are my pics--Wilco, Black Keys and TV on the Radio!
Nikki T. - California, USA
World War III - Madina Lake is my pick, but that's no surprise to anyone ;)
Mike C. - Illinois, USA
ADELE - 21

Jennie M. - Florida, USA
Adele - Such an extraordinary voice!
Wayne S. - Arizona, USA
My list of the top 6 cd's of 2011:
   1) Disturbed - The Lost Children
   2) Chickenfoot - III
   3) Wayne Static - Pighammer
   4) Machine Head - Unto the Locust
   5) Nickelback - Here and Now
   6) Steel Panther - Balls Out
Didn't buy much this year, but I'm sure I forgot something... The new Cars disc was ok. Early vote for worst album of 2012 - Van Halen!
Vin N. - Arizona, USA
Without a doubt...Neil Young - Le Noise    Absolute Genius!

Colin H. - England
l hearby nominate Dream Theater's '' A Dramatic Turn of Events'' as my favourite and most played CD of 2011. Hopefully they will win the grammy for ''On the Back of Angels." Do they miss Mike Portnoy?
A close second is ''Dust Bowl' by Joe Bonamassa, then third is '' Unusual Suspects'' by Leslie West.
Ed S. - Illinois, USA
I have been struggling with my list this year.  When I think back to what I listened to most, I find that it is a lot of older stuff. 
I spent a lot of time listening to Joe Bonamassa.  I broke out a lot of old Foo Fighters, and spent some time with the new Slayer release.
I will admit.  I think the Adele release will go down in history as one of the best.....
Thevenez T. - Switzerland
For me, the album of 2011 is Leslie West - Unusual Suspects. Of course, being Swiss, I also have to mention Gotthard - Homegrown, Alive In Lugano.

Tom Schulte - Michigan, USA  
Tom "Tearaway" Schulte is the host of the Outsight Radio Hours internet radio program. The following is a list of the most played albums on that show. You can find a podcast of Outsight Radio Hours on iTunes.

-- Great White Caps - Sting Of Death 
     Indie, in-land surf
-- Sun City Girls - Funeral Mariachi
     Last gasp of a great artistic statement
-- Various Artists - What a Way to Die 
     Michigan gold (nuggets)!
-- Various Artists - Pebbles, Vol. 9:
     From the downunder Pebbles
-- Leisure Class - Parents Night at the Leper Colony 
     Criminally unknown Michigan-Manhattan art rock
-- Marilyn Carino - Little Genius
     Buddhist chanteuse
-- The Reverend Glen Armstrong - demo
     Michigan singer-songwriter with an imaginative sense of humor
-- Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks - Beatin' the Heat 
     Great re-discovery of the year
-- The Fall - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong: 39 Golden Greats 
     The Fall are seminal and important, what can I say
-- Various Artists - Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound in 1970s Nigeria 
     One of many graet comps of '70s West Africa funk-rock
-- The Waitresses - Wasn`t Tomorrow Wonderful 
     One of the best post-punk reverberations out of Ohio
-- Trey Gunn - I'll Tell What I Saw 
     This retrospective, two-disc set includes over 2 hours of music drawn from Gunn's catalog
-- Galactic Cowboy Orchestra - All Out of Peaches
     ...But not all out of progressive folk
-- Luka Sulic & Stjepan Hauser - 2Cellos 
     Cello duo converse; awesome
-- Susan Surftone - Shore
     A surf guitarist comes out of the woodshed
-- The Beau Brummels - Magic Hollow
     Found a lot of magic on this when I got prepared to interview Sal Valentino
-- The Band - A Musical History 
     I started down this trek and had a harder time finding what not to play
-- The Dead Weather - Horehound
     So, this is what Jack White has been up to. Nice!
-- The Units - History of the Units
     Money well spent when I post this post-punk artifact
-- Scanner with The Post Modern Jazz Quartet - Blink of an Eye 
     Intriguing and successful collaboration
Here are a few lists from some popular music magazines:

50 The Lonely Island – Turtleneck & Chain
49 Wavves – Life Sux
48 Charles Bradley – No More Time For Dreaming
47 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
46 White Denim – D
45 Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator
44 Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin
43 The Kills – Blood Pressures
42 Destroyer – Kaputt
41 Little Dragon – Ritual Union
40 Gary Clark Jr. – The Bright Lights
39 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
38 Mastodon – The Hunter
37 Panda Bear – Tomboy
36 Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks – Mirror Traffic
35 Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
34 SuperHeavy – SuperHeavy
33 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
32 Big K.R.I.T. – Return Of 4Eva
31 Miranda Lambert – Four The Record
30 Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman – World Wide Rebel Songs
29 Pistol Annies – Hell On Heels
28 Das Racist – Relax
27 Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials
26 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
25 Beyoncé – 4
24 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
23 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
22 Drake – Take Care
21 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
20 Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
19 Eric Church – Chief
18 Feist – Metals
17 TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
16 R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now
15 Cage The Elephant – Thank You Happy Birthday
14 Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2
13 tUnE-YarDs – w h o k i l l
12 The Black Keys – El Camino
11 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
10 Robbie Robertson – How To Become Clairvoyant
09 Wild Flag – Wild Flag
08 Wilco – The Whole Love
07 The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
06 Lady Gaga – Born This Way
05 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
04 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
03 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
02 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
01 Adele – 21


. Britney Spears, Femme Fatale
49. Yob, Atma
48. Various Artists, Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
47. Gillian Welch, The Harrow and the Harvest
46. Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
45. Azari & III, Azari & III
44. The Roots, Undun
43. Kendrick Lamar, Section.80
42. Eric Church, Chief
41. Frank Ocean, Nostalgia, Ultra
40. Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne
39. Beyoncé, 4
38. Zola Jesus, Conatus
37. The Field, Looping State of Mind
36. The Black Keys, El Camino
35. Washed Out, Within and Without
34. St. Vincent, Strange Mercy
33. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
32. Hayes Carll, KMAG YOYO (& other American stories)
31. Yuck, Yuck (Deluxe Edition)
30. tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l
29. Lady Gaga, Born This Way
28. Tim Hecker, Ravedeath, 1972
27. Big K.R.I.T., Return of 4Eva
26. Liturgy, Aesthethica
25. Cass McCombs, Wit's End/Humor Risk
24. Deer Tick, Divine Providence
23. Iceage, New Brigade
22. Drake, Take Care
21. Youth Lagoon, The Year of Hibernation
20. Shabazz Palaces, Black Up
19. M83, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
17. Dum Dum Girls, Only in Dreams
16. Das Racist, Relax
15. The Men, Leave Home
14. Bon Iver, Bon Iver
13. The Weeknd, House of Balloons/Thursday
12. Telekinesis, Desperate Straight Lines
11. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Mirror Traffic
10. Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes
9. Wild Flag, Wild Flag
8. G-Side, The One...Cohesive
7. The Rapture, In the Grace of Your Love
6. Danny Brown, XXX
5. Girls, Father, Son, Holy Ghost
4. Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring for My Halo
3. EMA, Past Life Martyred Saints
2. PJ Harvey, Let England Shake
1. Fucked Up, David Comes to Life


50 Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
49 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
48 Noah And The Whale – Last Night On Earth
47 Mastodon – The Hunter
45 Miles Kane – The Colour Of The Trap
44 Death In Vegas – Trans-Love Energies
43 King Creosote – Diamond Mine
42 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
41 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
40 Danger Mouse & Danielle Luppi – Rome
39 James Blake – James Blake
28 Feist – Metals
37 Washed Out – Within And Without
36 Katy B – On A Mission
35 Cass McCombs – Humour Risk
34 Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo
33 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
32 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
31 Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two
30 Lady Gaga - Born This Way
29 Kasabian – Velociraptor
28 Gillian Welch – The Harrows And The Harvest
27 Ed Sheeran – +
26 Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
25 Wild Beasts – Smother
24 Real Estate – Days
23 Björk – Biophilia
22 White Lies – Ritual
21 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
20 The Weeknd – Thursday
19 Cass McCombs – WIT’S END
18 Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
17 Metronomy – The English Riviera
16 Kurt Vile – Smoke Rings For My Halo
15 Baxter Drury – Happy Soup
14 The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
13 Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
12 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
11 The Horrors – Skying
10 Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys
09 WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain
08 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
07 Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
06 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
05 Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
04 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
03 Adele – 21
02 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
01 Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials


This year’s best-albums list offers some curious numerology: three actors, two concept albums, one supergroup, two Chicago bands, Beyonce’s “4” and zero Lady Gaga. It’s also the Nigel Tufnel edition, cranking the picks up to 11 for ’11. (THOMAS CONNER, Pop Music Critic /

1. Wild Flag, “Wild Flag”
2. Ezra Furman & the Harpoons,
“Mysterious Power”
3. Girls, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost”
4. The Roots, “undun”
5. Wilco, “The Whole Love”
6. Beyonce, “4”
7. The Decemberists, “The King Is Dead”
8. Childish Gambino, “Camp”
9. Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
10. Ximena Sarinana, “Ximena Sarinana”
11. F---ed Up, “David Comes to Life”


1. Wild Flag, “Wild Flag”
2. The Roots, “Undun”
3. Tune-Yards, “Whokill”
4. Van Hunt, “What Were You Hoping For?”
5. F--- Up, “David Comes to Life”
6. Feelies, “Here Before”
7. Raphael Saadiq, “Stone Rollin’ ”
8. The Bewitched Hands, “Birds & Drums”
9. Das Racist, “Relax”
10. Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
11. Lydia Loveless, “Indestructible Machine”
12. TV on the Radio, “Nine Types of Light”
13. Sam Phillips, “Solid State: Songs from the Long Play”
14. St. Vincent, “Strange Mercy”
15. Tom Waits, “Bad as Me”
16. Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi, “Rome”
17. Anna Calvi, “Anna Calvi”
18. Cymbals Eat Guitars, “Lenses Alien”
19. Le Butcherettes, “Sin Sin Sin”
20. Low, “C’Mon”


50. Trap Them - Darker Handicraft
49. Primus - Green Naugahyde
48. Arabrot - Solar Anus
47. Hammers Of Misfortune - 17th Street
46. Cerebral Ballzy - Cerebral Ballzy

45. Yob - Atma
44. Tesseract - One
43. Steven Wilson - Grace For Drowning
42. Vallenfyre - A Fragile King
41. Times Of Grace - A Hymn Of A Broken Man
40. The Dwarves - The Dwarves Are Born Again
39. Anvil - Juggernaut Of Justice
38. Ken Mode - Venerable
37. Altar Of Plagues - Mammal
36. Blood Ceremony - Living With The Ancients
35. Will Haven - Voir Dire
34. Skeletonwitch - Forever Abomination
33. Wormrot - Dirge
32. Nightwish - Imaginaerum
31. Devin Townsend - Ghost
30. Dream Theater - A Dramatic Turn Of Events
29. Solstafir - Svartir Sandar
28. Foo Fighters - Wasted Light
27. Trivium - In Waves
26. Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
25. In Solitude - The World, The Flesh, The Devil
24. The Damned Things - Ironiclast
23. Pentagram - Last Rites
22. Autopsy - Macabre Eternal
21. Steel Panther - Balls Out
20. Motorhead - The World Is Yours
19. Black Stone Cherry - Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
18. Ancient Wisdom - A Godlike Inferno
17. Primordial - Redemption At The Puritan's Hand
16. Wolves In The Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
15. Devildriver - Beast
14. Amebix - Sonic Mass
13. The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
12. Gentleman's Pistols - At Her Majesty's Pleasure
11. Evile - Five Serpent's Teeth
10. Graveyard - Hsingen Blues
09. Skindred - Union Black
08. Black Spiders - Sons Of The North
07. Devin Townsend Project - Deconstruction
06. Hell - Human Remains
05. Megadeth - Th1rt3en
04. Opeth - Heritage
03. Anthrax - Worship Music
02. Machine Head - Unto The Locust
01. Mastodon - The Hunter


50. Heights - Dead Ends
49. Bury Your Dead - Mosh N' Roll
48. Deaf Havana - Fools and Worthless Liars
47. Blood Ceremony - Living With The Ancients
46. The Swellers - Good For Me
45. Social Distortion - Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes
44. The Computers - This Is The Computers
43. Hell - Human Remains
42. Japanese Voyeurs - Yolk
41. The Answer - Revival
40. Rival Schools - Pedals
39. Blink-182 - Neighborhoods
38. Tellison - The Wages of Fear
37. Hyro Da Hero - Birth, School, Work, Death
36. Cerebral Ballzy -Cerebral Ballzy
35. Exit Ten - Give Me Infinity
34. Evile - Five Serpents' Teeth
33. J Mascis - Several Shades of Why
32. Evanescence - Evanescence
31. Touche Amore - Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me
30. Puscifer - Conditions of My Parole
29. City and Colour - Little Hell
28. Wolves In The Throne Room - Celestial Lineage
27. Arcane Roots - Left Fire
26. Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
25. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life
24. D.R.U.G.S. - D.R.U.G.S.
23. La Dispute - Wildlife
22. Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
21. Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday
20. Twin Atlantic - Free
19. New Found Glory - Radiosurgery
18. Defeater - Empty Days and Sleepless Nights
17. Cage The Elephant - Thank You, Happy Birthday
16. Thrice - Major/Minor
15. The King Blues - Punk & Poetry
14. Mariachi El Bronx - Mariachi El Bronx II
13. Korn - The Path of Totality
12. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
11. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
10. Will Haven - Voir Dire
9. The James Cleaver Quintet - That Was Then, This Is Now
8. The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
7. The Wonder Years - Suburbia: I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing
6. You Me At Six - Sinners Never Sleep
5. Rise Against - Endgame
4. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
3. Machine Head - Unto The Locust
2. letlive - Fake History
1. Mastodon - The Hunter


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