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Favorite Albums of 2011: Chip Midnight

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”
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Thursday: True Widow @ The Basement (Columbus, Oh)

You know that really shitty weather we’ve been experiencing in Columbus for the last couple of months? True Widow’s self-described stonegaze is the perfect soundtrack; dark, grey, gloomy, like the rain-filled clouds that have been perpetually hanging low in the Ohio skies. That’s not to say True Widow’s latest (a friggin’ mouthful!), As High As the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth, is shitty like the weather. No, my plodding doom metal friends, this album is far from it and is one of the most haunting beautiful slabs of noise I’ve heard this year. If you thought Hope Sandoval’s last record sounded like Mazzy Star covering Black Sabbath while stoned to the bejesus, this thing will blow yer mind (or melt it or subdue it into submission).

MP3: Skull Eyes

True Widow hits The Basement stage at 8pm on Thursday night opening for Surfer Blood and … And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.