After a so so year for albums in 2010, this time around I actually have enough candidates for a proper top 10.
1. Pink Strat — Bahamas
This record came out in Canada in 2009, but just came out in the US in 2011. (Yay, time travel!) Quietly snuck up on me as my go to album this year. And I love that the band is named after a lyric in that old Wreckless Eric song.
2. Circuital — My Morning Jacket
Felt like a shoo-in for album of the year upon release and sustained that for most of the year. Majestic and fun rock songs that go really well together.
3. Fixin’ To Die — G. Love
G’s best work since The Hustle. Whenever I start to think he’s all washed up he goes and does something like this to win me back.
4. Kiss Each Other Clean — Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine & Electronica & Orchestration…and it works really well.
5. The Whole Love — Wilco
Some are calling this a comeback record or a return to form, but I don’t think Wilco ever really left.
5.5 An Argument With Myself (EP) – Jens Lekman
I have this weird and arbitrary rule that an EP doesn’t qualify for album of the year. But if it did, this one would rank right around here. Very excited for the new full length Jens to land sometime in 2012.
6. Rome — Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi
Super group alert! Danger Mouse continues his impressive run, while splitting vocal duties between Jack White & Nora Jones was just about perfect.
7. Yes and Also Yes — Mike Doughty
Not quite as good as Sad Man Happy Man, but Doughty is still the infallible band for me.
8. Celebration, Florida — The Felice Brothers
2011 will go down as the year I began to embrace the Felices on my own outside of them being my wife’s favorite band. This guy has a review that’s better than anything if have to say about this record, so I’ll let him speak on my behalf.
9. Rave on Buddy Holly — Various Artists
Heck of a compilation. Hearing Paul McCartney go crazy at the end of “It’s So Easy” might be my favorite individual moment in a song this year.
10. Minnesota — Mason Jennings
Had high hopes for this going in and initially felt a little disappointed, but warmed up to it more with each listen. But just 9 songs? More, Mason, more!