Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 Listening Snapshot

As I'm a slow listener, I've no idea what the best albums of 2011 are at this point. However, there was a poll of the regulars at Christgau's Expert Witness blog, and I didn't want to sit on the sidelines. So, I assembled a relistening list, and, as usual, I didn't get through all of it. Think of what's below as a snapshot and don't take the order too seriously. I don't. For instance, I think the Tune-Yards album (which won the Village Voice poll) is interesting and challenging. At this point, I don't love it, but that may come in time. Or not. I would say the same thing about Das Racist and Shabazz Palaces, which I didn't have time to relisten to. As always, I recommend anything on the list below, although you might want to start with the first two Go! Team albums before this one.

Teddybears - Devil's Music
Todd Snider - Live : The Storyteller
Buck 65 - 20 Odd Years
Terakaft - Aratan N Azawad
Lobi Traore - Bwati Kono
Bottle Rockets - Not So Loud
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
Pistol Annies - Hell on Heels
Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Fountains of Wayne - Sky Full of Holes
Yuck - Yuck
Russian Futurists - The Weight's on the Wheels
Frank Ocean - Nostalgia/ultra
Those Darlings - Screws Get Loose
Drive-By Truckers - Go-Go Boots
Low Cut Connie - Get Out the Lotion
Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What
Tune-Yards - WhoKill
Middle Brother - Middle Brother
Peter Stampfel & Jeffrey Lewis - Come on Board
Hayes Carll - KAMAG YOYO
Wussy - Strawberry
Eric Church - Chief
Wild Flag - Wild Flag
Stephen Merritt - Obscurities
Blaqstarr - Divine EP
Jens Lekmen - An Argument With Myself
Baseball Project - Volume 2: High and Inside
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Carolina Chocolate Drops/Luminiscent Orchestrii
Dave Alvin - Eleven Eleven
Garland Jeffreys - King of In-Between
Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'
Withered Hand - Good News
Let's Wrestle - Nursing Home
The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts
An Horse - Walls
Lucinda Williams - Blessed

Although I hadn't heard enough of the albums to include them in the above list at the time, I would add Miranda Lambert, the B-52s live, Tom Waits and Jeffrey Lewis to the list. There are some others I expect to add to the list, but I'm in no rush.

The following albums were not included because I couldn't figure out if I was voting for this album or the work they were an echo of (an arbitrary rule I invented for myself):

Wussy - Funeral Dress II
The Rolling Stones: Some Girls (Deluxe Edition Disc Two)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Tell My Sister (Demo Disc)
Rockpile: Live at Montreaux
John Prine: The Singing Mailman Delivers
Dessa - Castor the Twin

If you're asking why these are out and the live Todd Snider and Bottle Rockets are in, well, consistency is the hobgoblin of etc. I've only played the second disc of Some Girls after the first disc, and it sounds great then. Is that the proximity of Some Girls rubbing off on it? I love, love, love Wussy's Funeral Dress, so why wouldn't I love an acoustic version of it? There's another Rockpile album? Yes, please, and what do I care if they're rushing the tempos a little. I'm not a critic, just a listener, so I made some rules for the way I played the game. It's my list.