Best Albums of the Year as of Yet

It’s almost 6 months into the new year (let’s pretend that it’s later in June so this statement is more accurate), and to be honest with you I don’t feel like talking politics or world events tonight. It could be the few beers (though the buzz has worn off) but I feel like writing about music and the albums that, thus far, have made me fall in love with music all over again.

I don’t really want to put any order to this since I feel that, while I have an idea (already) what my favorite album/albums of 2011 are/will be, there is still a lot of time left for these opinions to change. So instead, here are 5 albums that I would very much recommend you listen to. They deserve your attention.

Manchester Orchesta-Simple Math

The boys from Georgia have done it again. Their 2009 offering, Mean Everything to Nothing, was my favorite album of that respective year. To be honest, that album is still without a doubt in my top 10 favorite records of all time. Simple Math is a telling of age tale, so to speak. It follows the relizations of lead singer/frontman Andy Hull’s growing up. Being a 23 year old, only a few months younger than Hull, I have found myself in a similar situation of pondering my place in the world. Hull questions pretty much everything that he held sacred and he does so in such a universal and brilliant way. Something that makes you wonder just how someone who is 23 is able to have such a grasp of the such significant subjects such as love, faith, sex, God, and everything that goes along with it. So, so, so good.

The Mountain Goats-All Eternals Deck

If I had to pick out the most prolific singer/songwriter in music today, it would definately be John Darniele of The Mountain Goats. Their previous record, 2009’s The Life of the World To Come was a tour de force of brilliance. If I wasn’t so blown away by Manchester Orchestra’s 2009 release, this record would have been the one that no one could surpass. With All Eternals Deck, the group continues to change it’s sound and yet stays familiar. Being someone who likes when a band experiments with their sound (see The Clash, Thrice, Brand New…), I like knowing that when I pick up a Mountain Goats record that I’m going to be in for something slightly different. They don’t fail to disappoint me with this venture of theirs either. I can also say with certainty (or certitude if you’re a certain New York congressman who likes to show his weiner) that the one-two punch that closes this record is the best you’ll find this year.

Bayside-Killing Time

Bayside just may be the best punk band out there today. They, to me, are a band that gets better with each release and with their fifth full length they have crafted their best record. It’s hard not to be taken aback by the sheer verocity that you hear in the albums first two tracks, Already Gone and Sick, Sick, Sick. It recalls their first record, Sirens and Condolences, but with a much more polished and confident sound. The record never loses it’s replay value either. Months later I am still finding new things that I love about this album.

Sharks-The Joys of Living 2008-2010

Fair enough. This release is actually a compilation of the Royal Leamington Spa, UK foursomes first two EPs, a seven inch and the inclusion of two newly released tracks. As a review on the site says, it’s hard not to listen to this release and not be reminded of the brilliant Gaslight Anthem debut Sink Or Swim. The music is infectious and just makes you want to dance. It’s life affirming and in a time where there is so much bleakness being portrayed in the news and various other media outlets, it’s nice to put on a record and get caught up in a band putting out really great tunes. It’s hard to also not hear a slight resemblance to the great Joe Strummer of The Clash (and later the wonderful Mescaleros). Sure, it could be because both hail from England, but it’s more than just the accent that draws this comparison. Both singers show such emotion in the words they spit out that one can’t help but feel that they mean every single syllable that flows forward.

The Get Up Kids-There Are Rules

The Get Up Kids put out one of the most important records when it comes to defining what “emo” is, or what is was, when they released Something To Write Home About back in 1999. After recording Guilt Show in 2004 the band went on an indefinate hiatus, not counting the final live CD they put out in 2005. The members of the band went their separate ways (some recorded a few childrens albums, (The Terrible Twos), while others went on to record/ tour with main stream acts (My Chemical Romance, New Found Glory, Spoon…). Most rumors of the band coming back for reunion shows fell flat, but eventually these predictions did come true. In 2010 the band went into the studio and recorded a 4 song EP entitled Simple Science. It wasn’t the usual sound of the band, but it was The Get Up Kids and fans would take it (except those who felt somehow alienated by the band moving on from their 90’s emo sound that gained them such notoriety in the first place). So along came 2011 and the band released their first proper full length since 2004. And There Are Rules, while not winning back those aformentioned jaded fans, is a reminder that The Get Up Kids still know how to write some solid music. It took a few spins for me to fully appreciate the album, but songs like Tithe, the opening track will have you wanting to jump into a pit, while songs like Automatic will just make you want to move your head and sway to the groove it offers up.

With the annoucnement of new albums coming from Thrice, Weezer, as well as a remixed version of Alkaline Trio songs, there is plenty of good music to look forward to. If I missed something great, please feel free to let me know. I’m always searching for new music and if it’s as good as you say, it may just end up getting plugged on this little blog of mine. So keep your ears open and your body moving.


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