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 haven’t paid much attention to bands coming out of the UK for the past few years but with bands like The Vaccines and Viva Brother starting to make a splash in the U.S., things are looking up for another British Invasion.
Marines are a relatively new band that seems to follow the same path as their fellow countrymen – record and release a few singles, shoot a few videos, get the buzz going before work on a full-length has commenced.
I do believe that I’ve fallen in love with “Tiny Little Tom” and you can hear hints of influences like The Smiths and The Wedding Present in Marines’ decidedly UK-sounding rock.
Not sure when we’ll get a full-length (or even be able to snag Marines tracks off iTunes) so to get your fix, you’ll have to tune into the band’s YouTube channel where they’ve posted a few different songs.
A hundred years ago, or so it seems, Andy – the local Sony college rep at the time – called me and said, “I’m heading to Cleveland to see this new band from the UK called Oasis. They’re playing at the Grog Shop. Want to go?” In the pre-internet days, I couldn’t go online to see what this band was all about so I asked, “Who would you compare them to?” Andy said, “Kind of like Pearl Jam. Not the way they sound, but the way they just blew up over night. They won’t be playing places like the Grog Shop very much longer.” As a Pearl Jam fan, I was intrigued but then I heard a very non-grungy Oasis single and decided it wasn’t worth a trip to Cleveland to see this new band.
Here we are in 2011. I don’t know if this new UK band Viva Brother is going to blow up like Oasis and Blur in the U.S. Not too many bands really have that capability these days but I’ll be damned if “Darling Buds in May” isn’t my pick for “Best Song of the Summmer (2011 edition)”. I might even say it’s my favorite single of the YEAR if I really think about it.
I’m calling this a “Don’t Miss Show”. I’m saying this might be one of those “I saw them when they played in a really small venue” shows. I’ve been wrong before, but I don’t want to make the same mistake I made by missing Oasis in their infancy.