As the end of 2011 approaches, it’s tradition (except for last year when I was too lazy) for all music websites to reflect on the year gone by and present a Best Of list for everyone to argue over (and I encourage robust debate in the comments section). Not wanting to break with tradition (again), here is a list of stuff I enjoyed in 2011.
There have been plenty of good albums this year, and rather than make an arbitrary top 10, I’m going to mention a range of albums I liked this year, and a few words on why. So here we are, in no particular order my favourite albums of 2011:
I listened to this one just the other day after hearing they were supporting Tool in 2012. I’d heard their name before, and knew they were doom metal, but never quite got around to checking them out. Anyway, it took only one listen to work out this album was excellent, and I’d be pretty damn happy to see them supporting Tool out my way. Favourite track for me is the closer Adrift in the Ocean.
I reviewed this album in one of the threads in our forum, and at the time I gave it a 9/10 and said it was a better rock album than the recent Foo Fighters one. I still stand by that claim. Maybe not the best of 2011, but one I’ve listened too more than the rest.
Red Fang are a great stoner rock band, somewhat well known for their excellent videos. As well as delivering a great albums, they also created a great video for the single Wires, which is both my favourite track and video of the year. The sooner they tour Australia the happier I’ll be…
These guys have never quite topped their Cavalera days, but I usually find post-Cavalera Sepultura to be better than Soulfly and Max’s other work. This album was a solid metal album with some great riffs. Includes a nice Ministry cover!
I don’t listen to much electronic music (as you can tell from this list) but this is a great sounding album, which accompanied by an apparently great live show.
The last couple of Beastie Boys albums were just ok, and I was beginning to feel like they were starting to outstay their welcome. Hot Sauce Committee surprised me when I first listened to it, and I really enjoyed what I thought was the best albums of theirs since Paul’s Boutique. After further listens, I’m not so sure about that statement, but it is good enough to make my list!
Some of you will know that love a good grindcore album, and this group from Singapore has put out the best for 2011. In fact if forced to order them I’d put this in my top 5 of 2011. Listen to it if you dare. Apparently touring Australia sometime in 2012, so check them out when they do!
Revocation have a great guitar player, and consistently come up with some damn fine metal riffery. Another band I’d love to see touring Down Under…
Dank Death Metal, which far surpasses their previous releases. They may seem like a joke band, but musically that’s certainly not the case!
I couldn’t really get into Crack The Syke – it had its moments, but to me just seemed a little too indulgent. I just enjoy Mastdon rocking the fuck out. On this album they wound back the progressive side of things, and delivered a “straight” hard rock album, and I think it’s their best album since Leviathan.
I’d pretty much sworn off Foo Fighters after 4 crap albums in a row, but hearing the opening single and a couple of other snippets suggesting this was heavier than past efforts I decided to take a listen. I was unimpressed on first listen and am not convinced it’s any heavier than their previous few albums, but will admit that upon giving a few more tries it got better each time. Has a couple of awful songs on it, but generally is a good rock album and definitely their best album in years.
I thank Blender for getting into this album. No real stand out songs on the album for me, they all kinda belnd into each other, but a consistently good album. Nothing like a great fuzzy psych rock album to help me coding.
Some great post-hardcore from these Michigan punkers. Probably not for everyone, but I really dug this album and look forward to checking them out live in February.
With Liam out of the equation, Noel is now free to write more Oasis-like hits for us to enjoy. And enjoy them I did. I always thought Noel was a better singer anyway…
Other albums I listened to during the year, which I enjoyed but didn’t quite make the list include Steel Panther, PJ Harvey, Rotten Sound, Fucked Up, Russian Circles, Origin, Primus, Steven Wilson, Black Cobra, Dub Trio, William Shatner, Crowbar, Cage The Elephant, Janes Addiction, Animals As Leaders, This Will Destroy You and of course Puscifer. All good albums, but didn’t really make it into my favourites list.
As far as old musical discoveries go, I got into a bit of Queen this year. I really enjoyed the Devonshire Mixes of Nirvana’s Nevermind reissue – they made the album listenable again. And the Pearl Jam and U2 re-issues were good fun as well. I discovered that 7 Year Bitch, Royksopp are pretty good. I rediscovered a love for the Rollins Band. I listened to plenty of Australian music I’d never heard before (or to in years) such as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Midnight Oil, INXS, Cog, Kim Salmon & The Surrealists, You Am I and Magic Dirt. And of course The Melvins released a shitload of live stuff that was fun to listen to!
As far as live music goes 2011 was an excellent year for Aussie Fourtheye concert goers, as we got to see Tool, as well as The Melvins gracing our shores early in the year. The obvious highlights for me were the two Tool shows I was lucky enough to see, one at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, where I was lucky enough to go backstage, and then a couple of nights later at the Adelaide Big Day Out (featuring a surprise performance with Rammstein). Both were fantastic shows, and despite one being a festival set, it’s very hard for me to pick the better performance. Tool were excellent on this tour, much better than back in 2007 and this bodes well for future tours in my opinion.
Speaking of the Big Day Out, I also checked out Deftones, who were disappointing due to poor sound (though I’m told were fantastic at their side shows), Die Antwoord, who were great for a laugh, and another favourite of mine Rammstein.
Soundwave was the next festival for 2011, and it featured a few bands I was keen to see, most importantly The Melvins. It was the first time I’ve been able to see the double drum setup for the Melvins, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. In fact they came really close to topping Tool’s performance a month earlier. Perhaps if they had another 30 minutes on stage they may have. Highlights were few and far between that day, but Trash Talk were great early in the afternoon, and Primus put on a great set as well.
The rest of the year was reasonably quiet for me. A few bands I planned on seeing I never got to, but of those that I did, Front End Loader and Grinderman stand out as the best ones. I also got to see Propagandhi & Suicidal Tendencies, both of who put on solid shows, and Helmet as well, who were a little disappointing compared to their last excellent show here in Adelaide.
2012 is already starting to look good with Soundgarden, System of a Down, Meshuggah, Gojira, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, Bad Religion and La Dispute already on the cards. I’ve even had it suggested to me that a certain band could be going back to back…