Our music round up just keeps getting more and more exciting! Have any of your favourite albums made it to our bands’ lists yet?
We have Ross Mcnae and Craig Kneale from this year’s critically acclaimed Glasgow rockers Twin Atlantic, pop rock outfit fun.‘s Jack Antonoff, Matthew Covington from CA indie rockers Lakes, Fueled By Ramen’s A Rocket to the Moon drummer Andrew Cook and bassist Eric Halvorsen, and TX singer-songwriter Jake Germany.
Ross Mcnae, Twin Atlantic
Feist – Metals
The record sounds super interesting and is an interesting step from the last record. Love the layers and use of every instrument in the palette!
Florence & the Machine – Ceremonials
Covers so many themes across the 13 songs and goes places she hadn’t gone before. Some really uplifting moments and big vocal hooks as always.
Noah and the Whale – Last Night On Earth
Great pop tunes & a real laid back vibe. It was the perfect record for my summer.
What I appreciate most about music in 2011 is that even more than ever before the barriers between genres have been beaten down. My musical taste has always been extremely eclectic but this year I feel that the past stigmas of certain genres have continued to disappear and we’re coming towards a place where no artist or genre has to be a guilty pleasure be it pop or metal.
Craig Kneale, Twin Atlantic
Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
Their last album ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’ is one of my favourite albums of all time and I think this is the perfect follow up. It doesn’t try to copy the formula for it, but every song is so solid and Guy Garvey’s voice is just so nice to listen too. I don’t usually concentrate on lyrics much when i’m listening to music, but there’s some really clever and funny lines on this that even a numbskull like myself can appreciate.
Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
I was worried that Explosions In The Sky had split up because they’d been gone for so long but this appeared just before summer and I think it’s up there with anything they’ve done before. I just love how the music can fit with so many moods, and it’s also one of the only bands I can listen to when i’m trying to sleep. The drums as usual are a highlight, and unlike most instrumental bands where the drums tread water so the rest of the music can take centre stage, the rhythms on this album are so clever and are maybe even more important that the guitars themselves.
Eddie Vedder – Ukelele Songs
Pearl Jam are my favourite band and Eddie Vedder is my favourite singer so this was going to be an easy win for me. I think you either love or hate his voice, but I think anything he turns his hand at always sounds unbelievable. Ukelele Songs soundtracked most of my summer because all the songs just sound so nice, and it’s nice to hear Eddie singing about love rather than kicking against the government.
Smith & Burrows – Funny Looking Angels
I only got this a couple of days ago but it’s fantastic. I’m a big fan of Christmas albums, and that chap from Editors voice has a real wintery quality to it.
What I appreciated most about music in 2011 is that if you do focus on your own music and fully believe in it then you can block out all the crap stuff that you have to put up with from being in a band. We were starting to worry that the music itself was only a small part of what it takes to play music for a living, but this year has taught us that you can make the songs themselves be the only thing that matters to you.
Jack Antonoff, fun.
- Sleeper agent / celabrasion – love blood
Saw them in florida recently and it was mind blowing. so amazing and fucked up sounding. the record is just as aggressive as the live show and I just love it all.
- lianne la havas / lost and found – age
Unbelievable singer. I mean, probably the best live voice I’ve ever heard. also, it’s hard to notice what a fascinating guitar player she is (because you can’t stop thinking about the vocals)… but seriously, she plays like a sad sack tom waits.
- tegan and sara / get along- divided
Tegan and sara are my favorite band, so when they released a career spanning live album you can only imagine how thrilling it was for me. this track in particular is sp painful and heart wrenching that its borderline impossible to listen. in the good way….
lykke li / wounded rhymes – sadness is a blessing
Love this album. particular this song is an amazing mix of Mazzy Star and classic early 60′s female pop groups. it’s a bizarre blend that sounds like nothing i’ve ever heard. rep crazy conflicting styles coming together. fascinating. brilliant video as well.
- vivian girls / share the joy – I heard you say
I’ll love anything they put out. one of those bands that you listen to and wish you were with it enough to have been in a band like that. make sense?
- robyn / single – call your girlfriend
Released this year on a technicality, so I’m going with it. basically robyn is just the greatest thing that has ever happened and this sound is everything I love about her all rolled up and packaged. not to mention it’s my favorite music video of all time. like, better than tonight tonight.
- the joy formidable / the big roar – whirring
Saw them recently and they made noise of ten minutes and started destroying things. it was so unpretentious and inspiring. made me feel like I was 15 again at a radio show. I love bands that evoke the 90s. and this song, just perfect.
- julia haltigan / my green heart – my green heart
Amazing new york artist who just put out this beautiful album. she’s the female tom waits to me.
- tom waits / bad as me – bad as me
- beyonce / 4 – countdown
This is the future of pop music for me. so innovative. there are sounds that are happening on this sound that feel like they come from another realm.
My 2011 in music: There felt like no scene was happening and artists were just putting out seriously next level music. sometimes when a big scene is going it stifles creativity because all the artist are trying to find their spot within that. the fact that there was no real fad made for a year of absolutely amazing and inspiring albums, songs and video.
Matthew Covington, Lakes
10. Switchfoot – Vice Verses
9. Middle Brother – Self Titled
8. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
7. REM – Collapse Into Now
6. Mates of State – Mountain Tops
5. Augustana – Self Titled
4. Smoking Popes – This is Only a Test
3. Bayside – Killing Time
2. The Strokes – Angles
1. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
Andrew Cook, A Rocket to the Moon
Parachute “The Way It Was”
This record is pop rock at its finest. Great choruses, melodies, production, etc. “What I Know” is probably my favorite pop rock song I heard all year.
Das Racist “Relax”
I’ve been a fan of this band for a while now, and am thrilled to see them getting the attention they deserve from mainstream media. They’re cover story for Spin reinforced many of the reasons I like them. I like that what appears to be surface-level humor in a lot of their songs actually turns out to be something more impactful and meaningful when you dig into it. Music with a message made to sound like there is no message. Got to love it.
The Dear Hunter “The Color Spectrum”
I’m partial to this release given that I co-manage the band, but this is truly one of the best collections of music I’ve ever heard. Casey turned out 36 songs for this release, spread across 9 EPs that collectively embody a variety of styles and genres. How one man is able to produce that much quality music basically on his own, I’ll never know…
Bon Iver S/T
This was a big record, and one that delivered on the hype in my opinion. His music has always taken me many listens to absorb, and this record was no different. The standout track for me is “Holocene.” I also applaud his audacity by ending the record with the polarizing song “Beth/Rest.” I thought it was a daring, bold move, and I will enjoy this record for years to come.
Active Child “You Are All I See”
A friend sent me this record a while back, and I put it on a lot while I write. It reminds me a bit of Beach House, another favorite of mine in recent years. It’s ambient and ethereal, and puts me in a creative mood when I hear it.
Dom “Sun bronzed Greek Gods”
My best friend Laura recommended this to me somewhat recently, and I’ve been giving it a lot of spins. It has a timeless, sun-bleached throwback pop vibe that I really enjoy, reminiscent of Best Coast and at times even Tame Impala.
Death Cab for Cutie “Codes and Keys”
This is my favorite band of all time. They haven’t let me down with a release since I first discovered “Transatlanticism” and “The Photo Album.” This record is no exception. I love the production, the lyrics, and the overall direction. Plus, the video for “You Are a Tourist” was unique and inspired. One of the coolest lead riffs of the year, by far.
Ryan Adams “Ashes & Fire”
It’s hard to avoid Ryan Adams when you play in a touring band. It seems like every day, someone is either, talking about him, listening to him, or covering his songs. Playing in Rocket has turned me into a massive fan of his. When I heard the song “Lucky Now” from this latest release, it was all over. I was sold. Watching him play it on “Jools Holland” just further cemented my love for this record.
Carter Hulsey “What You Carry”
We just had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Carter and his band for 5 or 6 weeks. He’s a wonderful guy, and a true talent. This record contains some folk-inspired rock and roll at its best, along with some memorable lyrics and melodies. And once you meet Carter just one time, you won’t be able to forget him.
Say Hi “Um, Uh Oh”
I credit my band-mate Eric Halvorsen for this one. He told me about this record, and played me “Devils.” From that song, I was sold. My favorite track now is “All The Pretty Ones.” I really love the singer’s voice. The obvious comparison is to Win Butler of Arcade Fire, which I don’t think anyone would mind. The production is really cool on this record as well.
There are a couple things I really appreciated about this year in music. One is that I’m happy to see fans still coming to shows and supporting the bands they love. In these troubling economic times, we need to turn to things that make us happy and remind us that money isn’t what it’s all about. Music will always be there to pick us up when we’ve had a bad day, and the way ensure it continues to be there is by supporting bands and artists that come through your town or city. Another thing I appreciated was the introduction of Spotify to the US. I realize this may be a wildly polarizing statement, but personally, Spotify has helped me discover dozens of bands with ease, whom I’ve later gone on to support by purchasing merch, music, etc. It’s also made DJing bus dance parties way easier! You can access just about any song whenever you want, to a point where it’s nearly overwhelming. As long as people use these tools to discover new artists they love and THEN continue to support them by buying things, I see no problem with it. Music is always going to be given away for free or stolen, from now until the end of time. It’s the way of the world, so I think it is better that it’s available in a more easy-to-use format that actually pays royalties (however small they might happen to be).
Eric Halvorsen, A Rocket to the Moon
Some of my favorite records from 2011 are as follows, in no particular order cause it’s hard enough limiting this list to just a few…
Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys
I love everything DCFC has put out, for the most part, and this album was no exception. It took me a minute to actually get into it and for me to understand it but once I did, I couldnt stop playing it. It was my “summer record” and the best summers are usually the ones that have a new Death Cab record so that worked out pretty nicely. Its hard to pick a favorite song from C&K but I would have to say “Doors Unlocked and Open”
Wilco – The Whole Love
Ive been a fan of Wilco since high school, starting with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but not until this summer did I really fall in love with the band. I guess it was just one of those times in my life that they fit so perfectly into. I seriously think there was a month straight where all I listened to was their catalog. They have a lot to choose from. So after binging all summer on those records, I was happy to get some new tunes in the fall. The Whole Love is just what I unexpectedly expected from Wilco. Its different than all of the records that came before but still has that great Wilco sound. Favorite song at the moment would probably be “Born Alone” or the title track “Whole Love”
Austin Gibbs – Charlie
For as long as I’ve known Austin, he has been putting out great music. I’ll even go as far to say he is one of my favorite songwriters around right now. Charlie is an honest, straight forward rock record with bits of folk and pop and a bunch of other goods that brings it all together for a great listen, front to back. I think all my friends did an excellent job on this one, biased or not. Favorite song would have to be “Stop”
I dont want to type your ear off so here are some other records that I really loved this year!
Does It Offend You, Yeah? – Dont Say We Didnt Warn You
The Maine – Pioneer
Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
Say Hi – Um, Uh Oh
Music did a lot for me in 2011. Not only did it ease my pains, make me feel good, or give me a pleasant way to kill time, but it also allowed me to travel the world with my best friends, doing what I truly love to do. For the first time, we headlined a full U.S. tour which was incredible for all of us. We played our largest show to date in Jakarta, Indonesia, a moment that still gives me chills thinking about that I will never forget for the rest of my life. And we got to tour the UK with some great friends which was an amazingly fun time. Music has given me so much joy and so many memories with incredible people that I couldn’t have had made without it. This is what I appreciate most.
10 Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
9 Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys
8 Eisley – The Valley
7 Jay-Z/Kanye West – Watch The Throne
6 Beyonce – 4
5 Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
4 My Morning Jacket – Curcuital
3 Bon Iver – Bon Iver
2 City & Colour – Little Hell
1 Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math