Here it is, my favorite albums of 2011. If you missed Part One, you’d better go back and check that out as well. With the holiday right around the corner and some household emergencies, I didn’t quite feel like writing much about these albums even though they are all great. Ok. Check the list and pardon the typos. Thanks.
25. Elway – Delusions (Red Scare)
I saw Elway earlier this year in Chicago before the album was released I was blown away. This album combines punk tempos and tones with some of the twang and heartache of country music… and whiskey. Lots and lots of whiskey… and beer.
24. Michael Dean Damron – Plea From A Ghost (Suburban Home)
Brutally honest and emotional folksy and/or country rock that’s as real as it gets. A stunning record.
23. Dave Hause – Resolutions (Paper + Plastick)
A solo album from the frontman of the Loved Ones? Yes please. It’s a little less punk and a little more heartland rock than the Loves Ones and I’m just fine with that. It’s earnest, it’s memorable and really really good.
22. The New Rochelles – It’s New! (Bright & Barrow)
Twelve catchy Ramones-core pop punk songs in under 15 minutes that begs for repeat listens. That, folks, is how it should be done. You know, the same way the Teen Idols did it.
21. Signals Midwest – Latitudes And Longitudes (Tiny Engines)
Catchy emoey punky post-hardcore goodness. Trust me when I say, everything/anything that Tiny Engines puts out seems to be gold.
20. Spraynard – Funtitled (Asian Man)
This is some seriously catchy Latterman-esque punk rock from Pennsylvania with some noodly (but not really emo) guitar parts thrown in for good measure. It begs to be screamed along to in basements. Also, this doesn’t sound anything like Plow United.
19. Banquets – Top Button, Bottom Shelf (Black Numbers)
This is pop punk the way that modern pop punk is meant to be played. Just enough grit and just enough melody.
18. Junior Battles – Idle Ages (Paper + Plastick)
JB made last years list with just a 4 song 7″ so that should tell you something. Seriously great pop punk from Canada that’s equal parts of The Weakerthans and early Fall Out Boy, but even that’s a bad comparison. It’s poppy but intelligent.
17. Great Cynics – Don’t Need Much (Kind Of Like)
A little bit pop punk and a little bit rock and roll. You’ll be humming these songs for days. Sometimes simplicity is the best answer.
16. Wilco – The Whole Love (dBpm)
This is a return to form for Wilco after the misstep that was Wilco The Album. It’s everything I could have asked for in a new Wilco album. Really, it is.
15. Polar Bear Club – Clash Battle Guilt Pride (Bridge Nine)
I wasn’t sure that PBC could top Chasing Hamburg but they did. It’s stronger in every way with zero wasted notes. This is hook-laden post-hardcore at it’s finest.
14. Patrick Stump – Soul Punk (Island)
Patrick Stump played and sang every note on Soul Punk himself and it’s clear he knows what he’s doing. Sure, I bashed this before I ever heard it (apologies to Chris) but this the best pop album of the year for sure.
13. Dude Jams – How To Abuse Everything (ADD)
These is some good punk jamz. #punkthefuckout
12. Young Statues – Young Statues (Run For Cover)
The best indie rock album of the year.
11. Fucked Up – David Comes To Life (Matador)
At 18 songs and almost 78 minutes long, David Comes To Life is the most exhausting album of the year, but with it’s melodies and intensity, it’s also one of the most rewarding.
10. Bomb The Music Industry – Vacation (Quote Unquote)
On Vacation it’s the the same crazy BTMI! you’ve grown to love but this time around, it’s like they’re all growed up… and stuff.
9. Good Luck – Without Hesitation (No Idea)
More noodly and anthemic pop punk from everyone’s favorite Bloomington-based trio. So so good. I’ve probably mentioned before, but I think that Ginger once stayed at my house.
8. White Wives – Happeners (Adeline)
Literate and arty indie punk featuring members of Anti Flag and American Armada. Never lacking for huge choruses and killer hooks but never satisfying for the easy way out.
7. Andy Wagner – Silos & Smokestacks (self-released)
I’d never heard of Andy Wagner before the summer. He’s a Chicago-based singer songwriter and this album is filled with bleary-yet-hopeful working-class alt-country jams. It’s so good, and the pedal steel…
6. Joyce Manor – Joyce Manor (6131)
Dane (Switchboard Sessions) put these guys on a mix CD he made for me back in February and introduced me to these guys. The music is noisy, dissonant and colored with shades of Midwestern emo. It pushes the boundaries of what pop punk is but it’s also insanely catchy.
5. Restorations – Restorations (Tiny Engines)
Resto-fucking-rations! Is it post-hardcore? Is it Americana? Is it indie-pop? Yes.
4. Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones (Epitaph)
Either Frank Turner came out of nowhere this year or I just hadn’t been paying attention before. I mean, there’s seriously not a bad song on this incredibly captivating album. He is THE troubadour.
3. The Copyrights – North Sentinel Island (Red Scare)
North Sentinel Island isn’t much of a change from what the Copyrights have always done, but there’s a subtle maturity to these songs, easily the strongest batch that the band has yet put together. Also, probably my wife’s favorite album of the year.
2. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)
Imagine a cross between the folksy melodies of Bob Dylan, the rock of Tom Petty and the swirling atmospheric synth-pop of M83 and that’s sorta what this sounds like, but better.
1. Red City Radio – The Dangers Of Standing Still (Paper + Plastick)
It’s kinda fitting that this album tops my list. I initially was a tad critical of the album on the Rock and Roll Brunch podcast, but quickly realized my error in judgement. RCR delivers non-stop balls-to-the-wall gruff-yet-melodic pop punk with some of the best harmonies I’ve heard in long time.