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Best Of: Mike Wood’s Top 10 Albums of 2011

posted December 19, 2011, 8:49 am by dscanland | Filed Under Editorial, Top Albums | comment Leave a Comment

Tags: Bill Orcutt, Heart Failure Research Unit, Drift, Richard Buckner, Red Plastic Buddha

Top Albums of 2011

This week we are going to take a look at all of our reviewers Top 10 album picks of the year. Please pipe up down in the comments with any that we may have missed or if you don’t agree with any of our picks.

First up, one of our longest and most persistent reviewer and also our most eclectic, patchen AKA Mike Wood from Rhode Island.

Various Artists, “This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-82”
Soon to be legendary compilation featuring rare tracks that work as powerful music as well as historical artifacts. Totally essential.

Bill Orcutt, “How The Thing Sings”
Bill Orcutt sails into the mystic with a set of songs that build off of his abstract, ringing tone, to incorporate eastern rhythms and deeper connection to the blues. Haunting, challenging and unforgettable.

Heart Failure Research Unit, “Young Animals”
Humble but powerful bedroom music, one that touches on many a deep and uncomfortable emotion but with music that faces them full-on with wit and compassion.

The Drift, “Blue Hour”
A sort of requiem for a departed band member, yet not morbid or self-indulgent. These are deep instrumental drones that express their emotions sparsely but with moving sincerity. This is a record that reaches epic with ease and grace.

Richard Buckner, “Our Blood”
Buckner proves that just maybe he has understood every moment of his life, and even the ones in which he fucked up gave some wisdom to pass on. He does, in his gritty, stripped down style.

Ice, Sea, Dead People, “Teeth Union”
Shitty name for a band, but what a band! This is a young, snotty and melodic mess, ie glorious. Power pop meets punk meets smartass delinquent.

Eternal Tapestry and Sun Araw, “Night Gallery” EP
A trippy, improvised psych masterpiece, with long tracks to fall into and not want to climb out of.

The Red Plastic Buddha, “All Out Revolution”
Power pop/psych kings do it again, only with richer harmonies, groovier melodies, and a controlled but surging use of volume and distortion. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere, this is a winner.

Tindersticks, “Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009”
If you know either the band or the director, you know why this is on the list: the perfect marriage of rainy day romanticism and jagged emotional intrigue. Tindersticks’ music, this time around, is the engine behind the brilliance, though the words of Stuart A. Staples and his 19th century French decadence are never buried in the mix.

The Cambodian Space Project, “2011: A Space Odyssey”
This shouldn’t have worked but it did. Cambodian-American funk band uses Asian folk and pop as a basis for heavy and fun jams. It is party-like atmosphere that burns off and hints of cynical cultural swiping. Their groove is truly in the heart.


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