Hurple Hoopla

Thursday, December 22, 2011

As If Anyone Cares... My Favorite Albums Of 2011

1. The Black Keys - El Camino

This spot really was theirs to lose, this year. This album is what it sounds like when a band hits the height of popularity at the exact same moment that they reach the height of their abilities.

2. Wilco - The Whole Love (Deluxe Edition)

And I do specifically mean the Deluxe Version of this album. That edition contains a few bonus tracks that I think are essential to the overall feel of this album.

3. Tom Waits - Bad as Me

You can always rely on Tom Waits to put out a good album. This one, however, might be my favorite from him... ever.

4. Band of Heathens - Top Hat Crown & The Clapmaster's Son

I had never heard of these guys prior to this album. I won a copy from a local radio station. I also won tickets to see these guys perform at a local club, but couldn't make it. Still kicking myself over that. This album could be a love letter to New Orleans... And then comes the song about the Katrina disaster. Devastating. And the way the singers voices blend when singing about it can bring tears to your eyes.

5. Seasick Steve - You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Another artist I was unfamiliar with until earlier this year. I read an article about this guy in a British music magazine and decided to check him out. I am very glad I did. Pure blues, played by a guy that truly deserves to be singing them. And dud can play the HELL out of his guitar, too.

6. Superheavy - Superheavy

A supergroup that actually deserves the title. This is some of the most interesting music made in 2011.

7. John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns

Welcome back Mr Hiatt. I missed you on those last few albums you released.

8. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

Welcome back Mr Adams. I missed you on those last few albums you released.

9. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

Welcome back R.E.M. I missed you on those last few albums you released.

10. Warren Haynes - Man In Motion

Great music from a great musician with a great pickup band. What more do you need?

Best historical release:

The Beach Boys - SMiLE

Oh. My. GOD!

Biggest Disappointment:

The Who - Quadrophenia (Deluxe Edition)

This could have and should have so much more than it was. From the only bonus tracks being Pete Townshend demos (with newly overdubbed drums) to only getting 7 songs on the DVD-A 5.1 mix supplemental disc, almost everything about this was 2nd rate compared to other "Deluxe Editions" released in 2011.

Speaking of which...

Special Mention:

Jethro Tull - Aqualung (40th Anniversary Edition)

If you are a fan of this band or this album GO BUY THIS NOW! The remixing / remastering is quite possibly the best ever done for a reissue, ever. Finally, this album sounds like it should. Listen especially to Clive Bunker's drums and how they now boom instead of thud. Amazing and revelatory!