Wednesday, December 21, 2011

8 damn good albums that I bought in 2011

Let's face it...when it comes to fresh, new Rock N' Roll music, there's getting to be less and less to choose from in this sometimes dismal world.  That's why I'm so ecstatic when I hear something that actually moves me, in one way or another.  Most of these albums listed are from artists that I was already, it seems that finding new artists with music to rock out, raise hell, and do "the deed" to is getting awfully rare.  It's too bad.

With that said, I picked up some great albums this year.  All hope is not lost!

[BTW-I BOUGHT all of these albums! Support Real Music, my friends!! Our lives depend on it!]

In no particular order:

1. The Twilight Singers-Dynamite Steps

Jesus, this album should have been called, Greg Dulli Does It Again.  "Whenever you're here, you're alive," he sings in the first lines of the album opener, "Last Night In Town."  Evidently, he believes in what he sings, because he delivered an album this year with more passion, angst, attitude, guts & heart-crushing melodies than I've heard from Dulli since 1993's (Afghan Whigs) Gentleman album....and that is certainly saying something.  Check out "Get Lucky", "On The Corner", and "The Blackbird & The Fox" (w/ Ani Difranco).

Get it on Amazon:

2. Kasabian-Velociraptor!

I don't understand why these UK geniuses haven't caught on more in the US.  They one of the most vital bands in the world today.  For my ears, that's because they are so extremely creative & daring with meshing genres (Rock, Brit Pop, Trip Hop, etc) while still managing to be catchier than gum on your boots...with some damn brilliant lyrics to illustrate it all! If you haven't given this album a listen, you are seriously missing out.  Check out "Days Are Forgotten", "Goodbye Kiss", & "I Hear Voices." 

Get it on Amazon:

3. Tom Waits-Bad As Me 

I don't know how many fucking great albums this cat has made, but my mind is blown once again.  What's great about this album is that Waits demonstrates all of the many reasons why you love Tom Waits in the first place - making it among his career-defining albums.  What ties it all together is that all of the songs are coming from a dark, candle-lit cavern of his imagination, and they move you right in!  Pretty much every song on here makes you say to yourself, "Holy FUCK this is FUCKING GREAT!"   The first ones that struck me were the titled track, "Face To The Highway", "Chicago", and "Kiss Me"....but you can't go wrong at all here.

Get it on Amazon:

4. Vain-Enough Rope

For my money, Vain were THE best band in the Late 80's/Early 90's Hair Metal genre. Yes, you read that right; I like them better than Skid Row, LA Guns, Poison, or what-have-you.  That's just me; the hooks, sexually-charged-but-not-cheesy lyrics, screaming guitars, and devastatingly huge rhythm section speak to me.  Unfortunately, they got screwed by a variety circumstances, and never achieved the fame of those bands.  Despite that, they have continued to release albums periodically, and occasionally tour overseas.  This album is just as powerful as their debut (No Respect).  Check out "Cindy", "Worship You", and "Stray Kitten Burns."

Get it on Amazon:

5. Kopek-White Collar Lies

I was playing in Orlando, FL last spring with The Dirty Pearls, on my way to get lunch, when Kopek's "Cocaine Chest Pains" played on Sirius Satellite Radio.  "Who the fuck IS THIS?!!!!," I said, very loudly!  It turns out that they are from Ireland, and are an extremely talented trio.  They're one of the only new bands that I've discovered in the past year that I really dig. I think that these guys have a real shot at making it. Check out "Cocaine Chest Pains", "The Easy Way (DB Cooper)", & "Love Is Dead."

Get it on Amazon: 

6. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

One good thing about the demise of Oasis (one of my favorite bands) is that we get to listen to two spin-off projects from it, one obviously being from their leader & main songsmith, Noel Gallagher.  It's a no-brainer that this album is going to be damn good; he gives us what he always does - a set of kick-ass songs. What the fuck else do you want?  Check out "Soldier Boys and Jesus Freaks", "AKA What a Life", & "The Death of You and Me".

Get it on Amazon:

7. Beady Eye-Different Gear, Still Speeding

The other Oasis spin-off, of course, is Beady Eye, with Liam Gallagher and long time Oasis sidemen Gem Archer & Andy Bell. It's not quite as consistent as Noel's album, but there are some gems on here, and is about what you'd expect if you heard the last couple of Oasis albums (which were quite good). Check out "The Roller", "Beatles and Stones", and "The Beat Goes On."

Get it on Amazon:

8. PJ Harvey-Let England Shake

This is an extremely ambitious album, even for PJ Harvey.  In fact, it's so ambitious, that I still don't fully "get" all of it.  It's not like some of her previous albums, like Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea or  To Bring You My Love, which grabbed me & pulled me in right away....and probably isn't supposed to be.  This is an album that has to grow on you, I think.  That said, the title track, "On Battleship Hill", & "In The Darkest Places" are my favorite songs on here, and are worth the price of admission alone.

Get it on Amazon:


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