DS Staff Picks – Best Albums of 2011 (jaystone)

What’s up rude boys and rude girls. It’s Jay here, and it’s time for my favorite albums of 2011.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that 2011 was one of the better years for new releases in recent memory. Choosing a “Top Ten” proved insanely difficult. I decided to keep this list to just my Dying Scene-related favorites (leaving out killer releases from bands like Mastodon, The Black Keys, the David Wax Museum, The Roots, Radiohead, Foo Fighters, etc).

The first thing that jumps out at me in looking at the final copy of my list is that it is comprised of a lot of either pre- or post-hiatus albums. Not sure why it broke down that way, but it’s kinda cool I think.

Okay, enough of my long-winded introductions. Have a gander at my ten favorites here and, like Johnny says, take to the comment section to let me know how badly my list sucks.

Honorable mentions:

Thursday – “No Devolucion”

The Copyrights – “North Sentinel Island”

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “The Magic Of Youth”

Chuck Ragan – “Covering Ground”

Thrice – “Major/Minor”

10. Social Distortion – “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes”

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The band’s first album in seven years (and their first for Epitaph Records) is also their best work since 1996’s “White Light, White Heat, White Trash.” Great sounding, guitar driven punk rock.

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9. Vacation Bible School – “Ruined the Scene”

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Great album from a band that successfully combine high energy, chunkier-than-average (Gimme Gimme-sytle) pop punk melodies with the sort of ‘fuck you, fuck me, fuck society’ ethos that spawned the genre thirty-plus years ago.

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8. Frank Turner – “England Keep My Bones”

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Shows more soul and inspires more drunken pub room singalongs than any of the other frontman-gone-solo acts that flooded the punk scene this year (Chuck Ragan is a close second).

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7. Banquets – “Top Button, Bottom Shelf”

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The first of two releases from Jersey-based Black Numbers Records, this four-piece (also Jersey-based) swings for the fences on their debut ten-song, waaaay-too-short full-length. Their intensity and attention to the finest melodic punk details belie their brief time together as a band.

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6. Andrew Jackson Jihad – “Knife Man”

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The razor sharp wit and self-deferential sense of humor is always enjoyable, but it’s the occasional glimpses of  heart-attack seriousness and “it’s funny because it’s true” moments (take “Sad Songs (Intermission)” or the closing line in “Fucc The Devil” for example) that give “Knife Man” its depth and importance.

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5. No Motiv – “Winterlong”

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Though it’s only an EP, the band’s first release since 2004’s semi-breakthrough, appropriately named “Daylight Breaking” album serves as (hopefully) a forceful return to the game, and proof that there is still room in the game for the old guard of the emo game.

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4. The Horrible Crowes – “Elsie”

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The smoky blues-bar Waits-ian vocal stylings and solo Springsteen inspired sound give The Horrible Crowes the feel of more than just a throwaway, between-Gaslight filler album.

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3. Samiam – “Trips”

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In spite of (or perhaps because of) the fact that it touches on a broad spectrum of sounds, Samiam’s first album in five years (and only their second in over a decade) is the most polished, best sounding , most accessible album of their long career. Let’s just hope they don’t go away for so goddamn long this time…

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2. The Reveling – “Tributaries”

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The Reveling provided me the biggest “holy crap these guys are good” moment from the beginning seconds of the album’s opening track, “Revival.” That feeling hasn’t let up one bit (and has, in fact, only gotten stronger) upon what is probably a couple hundred successive listens over the year. The Reveling are THAT GOOD, and it really is a shame that more people don’t know of them

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1. Face to Face – “Laugh Now, Laugh Later”

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A lot has changed in the nine years since f2f’s last album was released. They’ve got a new drummer, they reunited with guitarist Chad Yaro, they’ve got a new label and new production partners. But the sound of “Laugh Now, Laugh Later” is every bit as strong and vital as it has been at any point in their twenty-plus year career.


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2 Comments

  1. Andy Donakey1/3/2012 6:56 PM | Permalink

    First of all great list. The only thing I would add is The Darlings album The New Escape. That album personally blows me away, and seeing them open for Face to Face is one of the best live performances I’ve seen this year or any other year.

  2. jaystone
    jaystone2/3/2012 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Damn. You’re right…forgot to put the Darlings’ album in my honorable mention list. Saw them twice on the f2f tour last summer…hell of a great young band. Thanks!

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