By Liz Schiller
My favorites from 2011, in no particular order:
- Fitz and The Tantrums – “Pickin’ Up the Pieces” – I could listen to this one all day, every day, and it never gets old. Their live show is a ridiculously fun, energetic dance party that leaves you with a smile on your face and sweat on your brow.
- Bon Iver – “Bon Iver” – Justin Vernon is an every-man. This album is more introspective than “For Emma,” as it deals with one’s inner battle with emotions on a more general level, but simply, it just works.
- Kendrick Lamar – “Section 80” – Kid’s got skillz. SKILLZ.
- Childish Gambino – “Camp” Don’t believe the haters; this album was in constant rotation on my ipod this past year. It’s a dark comedy, lyricised.
- Battles – “Gloss Drop” – This is experimental rock at its finest. I’m so glad these guys FINALLY released another album!
- The War on Drugs – “Slave Ambient” – Their songs have more layers than a cake. I’d take a piece of this over Duncan Hines any day of the week.
- Yelawolf – “Radioactive” – I’m of the school of thought that Eminem is one of the most talented artists in the genre and a true innovator. His inspiration is evident in newcomers like Yela, who is killing the club scene right now and is one to keep an eye on for sure.
- Cults – “Cults” – Indie-pop at its finest. Every track is delicious.
An aside: My last two are my favorite EPs of 2011. Both of these EPs are shining examples of why I get excited about music. The freshman efforts of these two acts are solid proof that the “it factor” that made the rock and roll of the 60s and 70s “classic” is alive and well.
9. Gary Clark Jr. – “The Bright Lights EP” – He is a BEAST on guitar. I call him a “Stevie Ray Vaughn-alike,” because his riffs are reminiscent of the greats, but with a fresh edge. All of his releases have been great, but this is the most notable for sure.
10. Alabama Shakes – “Alabama Shakes EP” – If Janis Joplin and Robert Plant had a child, she lives in Brittany Howard. Her voice sends the good kind of chills down your spine.
Liz Schiller works as a marketing manager for Live Nation.