Guest Post: Seven Albums That Came Out in 2011 That Mike Listened To and Enjoyed the Most

[ Every year, my friend Mike, of Land of Absurdity, contributes his list of favorite albums.  It almost makes up for the fact that I never bother to put these sorts of lists together anymore. Such is life. -S ]

Another year, another list. See I like lists, and I can make them much more efficiently than Ms Sarah up there, mostly because I don’t amass so much music and then listen to a song or two a day between fits of Andrew Bird and Mumford and Sons. Seriously, check her lastfm page, she’s listened to Little Lion Man more times than recommended by the FDA. But I digress, it seemed to me that everyone I liked released an album or EP within the first half of the year, and then new music sort of petered off for the year for me. But thanks to the magic of the Spotify, this year did have the biggest pool of albums to pick for the:

Seven Albums That Came Out in 2011 That Mike Listened To and Enjoyed the Most

Butch Walker and The Black Widows – The Spade
Every one of Butch Walker’s albums has a different sound, and this one may be the best since Letters. More of a straight up Tom Petty style rock and roll album than previous offerings, and every song is good. Synthesizers is by far the best song on the album and would be best song of the year if not for Innerpartysystem (whose song was written using synthesizers). Saw him perfom 90% of this album live, and he did not disappoint. Even grabbed my arm with a very sweaty hand. Butch is amazing. This album cements his legacy.

The Spade was released August 30 on Dangerbird Records.

Butch Walker: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Store

The Antlers – Burst Apart
This album isn’t the sort of thing you can listen to everyday, but if you’re settling in for the night, or you’re in the midst of a rainy drive, this album is aces. When I saw them at Lolla in 2010, I mentioned that I thought that Paper Route was a better example of the style of music… well that was until I heard this album. An interesting side note, if you ever are watching the old French produced Anime The Mysterious Cities of Gold, No Widows synchs up pretty nicely to the cartoon.

Burst Apart was released May 10 on Frenchkiss Records.

The Antlers: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Store

Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction/Ghost

The first two albums from this project made the list two years ago, so it’s no surprise that the last two get in too. Deconstruction is Devin’s toungue in cheek humor brought to the forefront, and Ghost is ambient bliss. Not everyone can pull of ambient bluegrass and songs featuring the Big Mac jingle. Devin can. Most entertaining Canadian offering since Strange Brew.

Ghost and Deconstruction were released June 20 and 21 on Inside Out Records.

Devin Townsend Project: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Store

The Naked and Famous – Passive Me, Aggressive You
For some reason, despite the fact that I don’t really like MGMT, I really like bands that sound like MGMT. I bought this album the same day I bought Torches, and really can’t understand why Foster the People gets more buzz. This album is leagues ahead. It’s not everyday that a bunch of Kiwis can make music that gets noticed outside of New Zealand. Which just goes to show how awesome this album is. Great trade offs between male and female vocals, and just pure awesome from start to finish.

Passive Me, Aggressive You was released on March 15 (in the US) o

The Naked and Famous: Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter

The Chain Gang of 1974 – Wayward Fire
If you have been following me on the twitter or my website, you will know that I’ve followed TCGO1974 ever since the beginning. Now he has a true debut album released by a real live record label. This album perfectly captures an 80s groove, while not singing about things that only mattered in the 80s. Tell Me is a great breakup song. Taste of Heaven should be in the next Cameron Crowe movie. And of course, Heartbreaking Scream is probably 3rd best song of the year.

Wayward Fire was released on June 21 on Modern Art Records.

The Chain Gang of 1974: Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter

Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones
So I made a faux pas on my last list, putting Sleep is For the Week on there even though the actual album (not the mp3 rip) came out 3 years previous. Not so This year. England Keep My Bones was indeed released in 2011 and it was quite awesome. Much like with Butch, I saw Frank perform 90% of this album live and it was truly amazing. I Still Believe and Glory Hallelujah are seminal songs of Frank’s outlook. One Foot Before the Other shows off his hardcore roots, and English Curse and Rivers show his great English pride. Clearly one of the most underrated artists of our day.

England Keep My Bones was released on June 6 on Epitaph

Frank Turner: Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | Store

INNERPARTYSYSTEM – Never Be Content
After a near collapse of the band, they started working on new music. Got noticed by Red Bull Records, and put out this absolute gem of an electronic EP. Then they toured for a few months before going on “indefinite hiatus.” The album is more straight up housey goodness than previous IPS offerings, and is their best work to date. We can only hope that Patrick conquers LA, Kris Chicago, and Jared NYC and in five years we get a supreme IPS reunion. This EP also features what is like my favorite electronic song of all time now, Not Getting Any Better. When hearing that song live for the first time (a week before the ep dropped) my tweets were all caps and had ten exclamation points.

Never Be Content was released on March 29 on Red Bull Records.

Innerpartysystem: Official Website | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter | Store

Honorable Mentions
LMFAO – Sorry For Party Rocking
This album has Party Rock Anthem, Champagne Showers, and Sexy and I Know It on it, so that’s good. But also has a shitton of other tracks, so that’s bad.

Ella Riot – Love Child
Another band releases an EP and then goes on “indefinite hiatus.” This does have Clubbin on it, though, which is pretty much an electric bagpipe solo. Who doesn’t like electric bagpipes?

Lady Gaga – Born this Way
I feel like this album is way too long, and the songs are way to simple. Could be an outstanding dance album but just has something missing. Also, if I have to hear the Pittsburgh version of You and I six or seven more times I’m going to flip out.

And of course the Worst album of the year.
I had this award pegged for Lil Wayne for Tha Carter IV, but then I listened to Patrick Stump’s album. White people should not sing autotuned rap unless led by Andy Samberg. I guess when you take someone who used to be in Fall Out Boy, and he tries to put out a soul album, you should expect horribleness. And boy does Patrick Stump deliver. Who greenlighted this thing?