JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound “Sister Ray Charles” from Want More (Bloodshot www.bloodshotrecords.com 2011) N —80. Kicking off the annual FLGH Top 80 Countdown of best albums of the year. JC Brooks avoids the sophomore slump on this fine album of original (mostly) soul songwriting.Buy it!
Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi “Problem Queen” from Rome (EMI 2011) —79. Featuring Norah Jones on the vocals.Buy it!
The Middle East “Dan's Silverleaf” from I Want That You Are Always Happy (EMI Australia 2011) —78. Australian band, led by Rohan Jones and Jordan Ireland, who put out this fine full-length and then promptly split.Buy it!
Wild Flag “Something Came Over Me” from Wild Flag (Merge 2011) —77. Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony, Rebecca Coleand Janet Weiss.Buy it!
Mount Moriah “LAMENT” from Mount Moriah (Merge 2010) —76. Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller with an excellent effort of catchy, country influenced rock.Buy it!
The Walkabouts “Thin of the Air” from Travels in the Dustland (Glitterhouse Records 2011) —75. Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson still going very strong after a quarter century together.Buy it!
Martin Simpson “Strange Affair” from Purpose + Grace (Topic Records 2011) —74. Whenever Martin Simpson releases an album, anyone who loves the sound of the acoustic guitar, needs to hear it. This track features a killer vocal from June Tabor on the Richard Thompson song.Buy it!
Ryan Adams “Lucky Now” from Ashes & Fire (CAPITOL 2011) —73. Who would have guessed Ryan still had it in him? A gorgeous, modest, catchy acoustic album.Buy it!
Sunbears! “Give Love A Try” from You Will Live Forever (1-2-3-4 GO 2011) N —72. Jonathan Grant Berlin and Jared Chase Bowser from Jacksonville FLBuy it!
The Horrible Crowes “Black Betty & the Moon” from Elsie (Side One Dummy www.sideonedummy.com/ 2011) L —71. Gaslight Antham front man Brian Fallon with guitar tech Ian Perkins.Buy it!
Willie Nile “Far Green Hills” from The Innocent Ones (River House www.willienile.com 2010) —70. The veteran tough-luck songwriter still has it.Buy it!
The Mountain Goats “Never Quite Free” from All Eternals Deck (Merge 2011) —69. Probably the weakest Mountain Goats album in a few years but still compelling, in image and arrangement.Buy it!
The Low Anthem “Love and Altar” from Smart Flesh (Nonesuch 2011) —68. Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky et al. with a fierce but moody album of mostly hushed basement tapey songs.Buy it!
Duke Garwood “Jesus Got A Gun” from Dreamboatsafari (Fire Records 2011) —67. Lo-fi indie blues album of the year, like Will Oldham and Daniel Lanois jamming in a cabin in remote Maine.Buy it!
Jeff Black “Wounded Heart” from Plow Through the Mystic (Lotos Nile Music 2011) N —66. The Nashville veteran with a quietly released masterpiece.Buy it!
Ron Sexsmith “Get In Line” from Long Player Late Bloomer (Thirty Tigers 2011) —65. Song for song, one of Sexsmith's best albums.Buy it!
Mayer Hawthorne “It's A Long Time” from How Do You Do (Universal Republic Records 2011) —64. Strong songwriting makes the difference on this album of Motown soul pop.Buy it!
Wanda Jackson “RIP IT UP” from the party ain't over (Nonesuch / Third Man Records 2011) —63. This album is a total, deliberate mess, but a ton of fun. Wanda put on one of my favorite concerts of the year too.Buy it!
Blind Pilot “Keep You Right” from We Are the Tide (Expunged Records 2011) —62. Not as strong as the Portland band's debut album but still lovely. Blind Pilot will be appearing at Plush in March 2012.Buy it!
Roadside Graves “Hank Williams” from We Can Take Care of Ourselves (Autumn Tone 2011) —61. Rich Zilg, Jeremy Benson and friends from New Jersey.Buy it!
Vetiver “Worse For Wear” from The Errant Charm (Sub Pop Records 2011) —60. Another concert highlight of 2011: Vetiver and Fruit Bats at Off Broadway. This album is the definition of grower.Buy it!
Gwyneth and Monko “Found in Benson” from Gwyneth and Monko (self released 2011) —59. Gwyneth Moreland on the lovely country vocals.Buy it!
Gregg Allman “Blind Man” from Low Country Blues (Rounder 2011) —58. A masterful blues album, aided in large part by the peerless T-Bone BurnettBuy it!
Raphael Saadiq “DAY DREAMS” from Stone Rollin' (Columbia 2011) —57. An old-school gospel number from a supremely funky, sexy album.Buy it!
Dawes “Coming Back to a Man” from Nothing Is Wrong (Ato Records / Red 2011) —56. Brothers Taylor Goldsmith and Griffin Goldsmith from Southern California with a very strong sophomore album. Fans of Gram Parsons will dig this.Buy it!
Over the Rhine “Laugh of Recognition” from The Long Surrender (GSD 2011) —55. Karin Bergquist and band with their very best album to date.Buy it!
Tom Russell “Mesabi” (Shout Factory 2011) —54. One of my songs of the year, and a terrific album overall from the crotchety old maestro.Buy it!
The War On Drugs “I Was There” from Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian 2011) —53. Spectacular psych-scapes Adam Granduciel and fellow Philly friends.Buy it!
Sloan “The Answer Was You” from The Double Cross (Yep Roc www.yeproc.com 2011) —52. Nova Scotian power pop band with a concept album of some unknown concept.Buy it!
The Rural Alberta Advantage “North Star” from Departing (Saddle Creek 2011) —51. An album that showed up on many a top 10 list this year, and deservedly so.Buy it!
Alela Diane “Long Way Down” from Alela Diane & Wild Divine (Rough Trade 2011) —50. Just realized that the first third of this countdown features mostly dude. This should take care of that.Buy it!
PJ Harvey “The Last Living Rose” from Let England Shake (Vagrant 2011) —49. A riveting album from Polly Jean, not quite as great as some have made it out to be, but excellent all the same.Buy it!
American Babies “Streets of Brooklyn” from Flawed Logic (Engine Room Recordings 2011) —48. Absolute sleeper rock album, terrific songwriting and convincing vocals from Philly dude Tom Hamilton, formerly of Brothers Past.Buy it!
Dolorean “Thinskinned” from The Unfazed (Fargo 2011) —47. Wonderful songwriting from Al James.Buy it!
Sarah Jarosz “Ring Them Bells” from Follow Me Down (SUGAR HILL ww.sugarhillrecords.com 2011) —46. Wonderful sophomore album from the young, adventurous old time musician.Buy it!
Shelby Lynne “Toss It All Aside” from Revelation Road (Everso 2011) —45. At the Old Rock House on January 12.Buy it!
Feist “The Circle Married the Line” from Metals (Universal Music Division Polydor 2011) —44. After the triumph that was The Reminder, Feist took her time with this album, and I think it paid off beautifully.Buy it!
The Bangles “Anna Lee (Sweetheart of the Sun)” from Sweetheart of the Sun (Model Music Group 2011) —43. This could have and maybe should have placed higher, if I had only 1) spent more time with it and 2) seen them perform at the freakin' Halo Bar, let alone the Pageant. Sigh.Buy it!
Jessica Lea Mayfield “Blue Skies Again” from Tell Me (Nonesuch 2011) —42. This was the year of the not-sophomore-slump. Terrific album from the 22-year-old Ohio native. Be sure to check out her Live at KDHX session from this year at KDHX.orgBuy it!
Ha Ha Tonka “Hide It Well” from Death of a Decade (Bloodshot www.bloodshotrecords.com 2011) —41. A big hit with KDHX DJs, in the top 20 spins of the year, and for good reason.Buy it!
Like everything else, times are approximate.
Spinitron and this station are not liable for errors or omissions.