Friday, December 2, 2011

My Top Ten Records of 2011

10. Frank Turner "England Keep My Bones" On this record, we hear Frank tell us that "anyone could take this stage." We also hear him mention Elvis, gramophones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Whiskey, his grandmother, blood, the blues, Thames, Mississippi, Patty Hurst, Cowboy Boots, nightmares, Hemingway, King William, Bruce Springsteen, blood, desire, mud, blood, beer, decomposition, bars, drinking too much, pirates, hitchhiking, redemption, faith, friendship, blood, our souls and rock 'n roll. So we also know that, in a perfect turnabout, he'd be a great addition to my favorite spots on the internt where I find friends who want to talk about music.

9.Wilco "The Whole Love" You know I love this band. If you don't, then "Hi, my name is Fred. I love Wilco." We also know that they evoke passions, both positive and negative, amongst many of us that love listening to music. But I'm telling you, and now you've been told, this is one of their best records. Yeah, I get how "The Art Of Almost" and "One Sunday Morning" put off and perplex some/many of you. Didn't "Misunderstood" "Sunken Treasure" "Via Chicago" and all of YHF do that very same thing?

8. Tim Easton "Since & w/ the Freelan Barons" The only thing that perplexes me more than Centro-matic not being as huge as Wilco is Tim Easton not being as big as Centro-matic.

7. Deer Tick "Divine Providence" This is a record that is about as sophisticated as the humor in a Junior High locker room. There is the sound of a guy puking, someone calling someone else a douchebag, and, most importantly, rock and roll. I usually don't go for albums like this, but the raw power of Rock 'n Roll is here in all it's glory. It is really undeniable. I'm reminded of The Replacements when they were at their most reckless and awesome.

6. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings "Soul Time" I just got this a few days ago, and I've played it 100 times.

5. Tom Waits "Bad As Me" I loved this record instantly. If I were more of a man, I would wish to be Tom Waits. The "Most Interesting Guy In The World" guy wishes he could be Waits. Chuck Norris shows Waits his soft, white underbelly. Waits is every beat poet crossed with every ideal about masculinity. Then he wrote the songs on this record.

Anyone one of the following records could have been in my top spot:

4. Glossary "Long Live All Of Us" I keep pulling for these guys to take a step up and become a national touring act. If anything can get them there, this record can. I think they can.

3. The Low Anthem "Smart Flesh" I'm late to the Low Anthem party; This record is my entry point for 'em. I had already heard it prior to seeing them at "Hardly Strictly Bluegrass," but after seeing these songs live, I came to love them more and more with each listen. I like these guys for a lot of the same reasons I like Califone, who had my #1 record from last year.

2. Centro-matic "Candidate Waltz" This is a concise, sharp record that sounds brand new. Nothing is too long, and everything makes you want more. I liked the last few Centro records quite a lot, and this is leaps and bounds better. But by this record's standards, I go "on and on."

1. Joe Henry "Reverie" Henry recorded "Reverie" in his home studio, and with the windows wide open. The noises from outside nearly become another instrument in the line-up of "Reverie's" all acoustic arrangements. What is captured here is magic. Sparse and raw, it somehow manages not to sound at all primitive, thanks to Henry's layering of Jazz, Folk, Blues and Classic Rock influences. The only record that I can think to compare this to is Donald Fagan's "Nightfly," but that one falls short by comparison. Perhaps that is because "Nightfly is much more polished than "Reverie." Still both bring the sense of an era, passing of time, the love of music and claustrophobia (or wide open windows). It is all full of complexity, sophistication (and dichotomy). As always, Joe Henry's lyrics can stand as poetry, and his vocal delivery is nuanced and complex, perhaps his best ever. This is a record that I'll be listening to for a long, long time.

1 comment:

Gene Goodale said...

Nice list Fred. I'll have to check out a couple of these.