The biggest struggle when putting together this list is how to rank the albums. What exactly is the difference between a #1 and a #2 album? Without doubt, Viva Brother’s “Darling Buds of May” was the song I listened to the most in 2011 and the album it comes from is pretty damn good. But is it my favorite album as a whole? The Damnwells have consistently put out great material and I’m sure I listened to No One Listens to the Band Anymore more, front to back, than any album on the list but did I do that because it’s the best album of the year or because I know the guys personally and listening to them makes me happy?
So, I decided the best way to do it is to list the albums alphabetically, showing no favoritism and not being forced to rank anything. A few comebacks, a few previous favorites, a couple of new UK bands, some metal, some country, some hair metal. Pretty typical for me.
AA Bondy – Believers (Fat Possum)
Not as barebones as early solo material, not as scuzzy as his ‘90s alt-rock band Verbena, AA Bondy split the difference on this moody, late night listen. Listen: “The Heart is Willing”
Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce)
The legendary NYC thrashers pick up where they left off the last time Joey Belladonna sang lead vocals (1990’s Persistence of Time) on 2011’s best (and most surprising considering some internal issues Anthrax had with short-timer vocalist Dan Nelson) metal album. Listen: “In the End”
AWOLNATION – Megalithic Symphony (Red Bull Records)
I would never have checked out this band had my old friend Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon) not been playing guitar. A complete 180 from Blind Melon’s sound, AWOLNATION’s slickly-produced techno-soul-pop shows a wide range of diversity from one track to the next. Listen: “Soul Wars” Continue reading →
I feared the big crowds at Lollapalooza, had no interest or desire to be stuck in the middle of tens of thousands of drunk and sweaty people. I got over that fear and decided to make the most of it, all culminating in Foo Fighters closing set on Sunday night. After a torrential downpour caused Lollapalooza to come to a halt in the early evening (at least it did on the south end of the park, delaying the Arctic Monkeys set), there was some question about whether or not the Foo Fighters would even have time to play.
As a veteran of Woodstock ’94, I’ve encountered muddy festivals and after the rain had ended (not permanently), the field in front of the Music Unlimited stage was nothing but a muddy, soupy mess. This actually allowed me to get much closer than I probably could have had it not rained. I met a couple who had come from Colombia and a guy who had come from Singapore (!!!!) just to attend Lollapalooza. All 3 were having the times of their lives and were excited for their first Foo Fighters show ever.
Feels a little weird to be calling this the 20th anniversary of Lollapalooza even though the festival did make it’s debut in 1991. There was a period of inactivity and the reformatting of the concept, going from a traveling alternative rock circus to an annual 3-day festival in Chicago that features many mainstream acts.
That being said, there’s plenty to see this coming weekend at Grant Park. Last week I spotlighted two lesser known acts performing this year – Midnight Conspiracy and Kyle Lucas & Captain Midnite over on Lollapalooza.com.
Here are ten songs I want to hear at Lollapalooza this weekend.
With thousands of bands descending on Austin a few weeks ago for SXSW, it’s a crapshoot whether or not your band will receive any press. But, when you’re as amazing as Wales’ The Joy Formidable, people take notice in a big way. Alongside Odd Future, The Joy Formidable was one of the most buzzworthy bands playing 6th Street this year and it’s easy to see/hear why. For a 3-piece, The Joy Formidable makes a tremendous noise – pretty female vocals, dreamy yet loud guitars. Think somewhere between Great Northern and Curve.
The Joy Formidable plays The Basement tonight with The Lonely Forest and Mona. Tickets are $12 (as long as they last).