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Top 10 releases & some favorite songs of 2011

I'll start this off with my usual disclaimer that I only heard what is a really small fraction of new releases in  2011. With that in mind, here are my favorite releases of 2011:

1. Gillian Welch  The Harrow & The Harvest (Acony) - Song for song, the strongest release in 2011 hands down.
2. Tom Waits Bad As Me (Anti) - His most consistent release since Mule Variations.
3. Dengue Fever  Cannibal Courtship (Fantasy) - One of the most creative & interesting bands out there.
4. PJ Harvey Let England Shake (Island) - More accessible than her last few releases & a fine collection of well-written songs tied together thematically.
5. Charles Bradley  No Time for Dreaming (Daptone/Dunham) - Real soul played the way it ought to be. Contains 'Heartaches and Pain' which sounds like a lost great Otis Redding song.
6. Mayer Hawthorne  How Do You Do (Universal Republic Records 2011) - The man writes songs which would be hit singles if this was a time when people still cared about hit singles.
7. Abigail Washburn City of Refuge (Rounder) - Her most ambitious album to date along with some of her finest songs.
8. The Low Anthem  Smart Flesh (Nonesuch) - Would I play it to kick off a party on a Saturday night? No. Do I find much of it captivating? Yes.
9. Joe Henry Reverie (Anti New) - See #8.
10. Garland Jeffreys The King of In Between (2:59:00) - His first release in 13 years and as good as ever. Don't believe me? Listen to 'The Contortionist' & 'Coney Island Winter.'

I heard a whole lot of songs I really liked in 2011. Here are just a few of them not contained in the releases above. I'm just barely scratching the surface here.

Jessica Lea Mayfield “Our Hearts Are Wrong” from Tell Me (Nonesuch 2011)
Sam Phillips “Happy Mediums” from Cameras In The Sky (self New 2011)
La Sera “Never Come Around” from La Sera (Hardly Art 2011) 
Jessica Lea Mayfield “Our Hearts Are Wrong” from Tell Me (Nonesuch 2011)
Drive-by Truckers “Everybody Needs Love” from Go-Go Boots (ATO 2011) 
The Baseball Project “Don't Call Them Twinkies” from Vol. 2: High and Inside (Yep Roc 2011)
Buddy Miller “Meds” from The Majestic Silver Strings (New West 2011)
Charlotte Gainsbourg “Memoir” from Set The Tigers Free / Memoir split 45 single (Domino 2011)
Blind Eyes “Hermetically Sealed” from With A Bang (self-released 2011)
Lucinda Williams “Born To Be Loved” from Blessed SINGLE (Lost Highway 2011) 
Raphael Saadiq “Radio” from Stone Rollin' (Columbia 2011)
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi “Season's Trees” from Rome (EMI 2011)
Patty Griffin “I Love” from I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow (Red Beet 2011)
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi “Black” from Rome (EMI 2011)
Black Lips “Time” from Arabia Mountain COMP (vice 2011) 
The Bo-Keys “Jack and Ginger” from Got To Get Back! (Electraphonic 2011) 
Marianne Faithfull “Past Present Future” from Horses And High Heels (Naive 2011)
Marianne Faithfull “That's How Every Empire Falls” from Horses And High Heels (Naive 2011)
Keren Ann “Daddy, You Been On My Mind” from 101 (Blue Note 2011)
The Wombats “Anti-D” from The Wombats Proudly Present...This Modern Glitch (Bright Antenna 2011)
John Paul Keith “Somebody Ought To Write A Song About You” from The Man That Time Forgot (Fat Possum 2011)
Amy LaVere “Damn Love Song” from Stranger Me (Archer 2011)
Magic City “Let Me Go” from Les Animaux Épouvantables (Tower Groove 2011)
Little Dragon “Shuffle a Dream” from Ritual Union (Peacefrog 2011) 
Viva Voce “Analog Woodland Song” from The Future Will Destroy You (Vanguard 2011) 
The Bo-Keys “Sundown On Beale” from Got To Get Back! (Electraphonic 2011)
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter “Ceiling's High” from Marble Son (Station Grey / Thirty Tigers 2011)
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter “Come to Mary” from Marble Son (Station Grey / Thirty Tigers 2011)
Glen Campbell “Hold on Hope” from Ghost on the Canvas (SURF DOG 2011)
Nick Lowe “Sensitive Man” from The Old Magic (Yep Roc 2011) 
Dum Dum Girls “Bedroom Eyes” from Only in Dreams (Sub Pop)
Dum Dum Girls “Teardrops on My Pillow” from Only in Dreams (Sub Pop
Marianne Faithfull “Goin' Back” from Horses And High Heels (Naive 2011)
The Hazey Janes “The Darkness Ends” from The Winter That Was (Armellodie 2011)
Ha Ha Tonka “Usual Suspects” from Death of a Decade (Bloodshot 2011)
Nick Rudd Golden Grass (For Diane) unreleased single

I did a year-end recap on the radio show last Thursday. It also covered some of my favorite reissues & compilations of 2011. The playlist is detailed at It includes lots of songs not detailed above.

Happy New Year, everybody.


Discussion started by John Wendland , on 1091 days ago

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