Tracy’s Top Albums of 2011

2011 was a great year for music.  So many discoveries and so many great albums.  Here are my top 11 favorite albums of the year.

11. Foals – Total Life Forever

An album that is exquisitely complete.  Songs from this album keep finding their way onto my weekly mixes.  “After Glow” and “Blue Blood” are my favorite songs off their album.
10. Middle BrotherMiddle Brother

1/3 of Middle Brother is Matt Vasquez lead vocalist for Delta Spirit.  I became a fan of Delta Spirit back when they toured as support for The Shins in 2009.  Middle Brother is a great project.  “Wilderness” and “Blood and Guts” are good songs to check out.  I also really enjoy their song about my favorite city, “Portland.”


9. Wild BeastsSmother

The Wild Beasts are a band that will grow on you.  I was hooked from the time I was lucky enough to catch them at the Echoplex in Los Angeles.  “Albatross” and “Reach a Bit Further” are two songs that are on my mix this week.  This is a fun album you can play all the way through and never get tired of it.


8. ROBBERS- Fear to Face Beauty

ROBBERS are my favorite musical discovery of the year.  I’m so glad that Brand New took them on the road.  They put on a great live show.  Among this album they have 2 other EPs that are incredible.  Their music ranges in styles but they all flow very well.  I encourage you to check their bandcamp page out, listen to their work, and tell everyone.  “Wild/Letter” and “Dogs” are also on my mix this week.


7. Moving Mountains- Waves

Waves was a nostalgic album for me but it was a great one.  I can never skip a Moving Mountains song when it comes up on shuffle in my car.  Seeing Moving Mountains perform this year was also a highlight.  Their guitar work is awesome and the vocals on this album carry a lot of emotion.  I’m looking forward to what Moving Mountains will do in the upcoming year. “Alleviate” and “Furnace Woods” are good songs to check out.


6. O’BrotherGarden Window

If I was a wrestler my theme song would definitely be “Sputnik.” I think my signature move would be elbowing people off of ropes or like, hitting people with chairs.  Seeing O’Brother this year was another highlight and I’m anxiously looking forward to seeing them again on their next tour. Another one of my favorite songs off the album is “Bear.” O’Brother is a band I would recommend you keep tabs on in the next year. So good.


5. Thrice – Major/Minor

I’ve been a Thrice fan since the first time I heard “All That’s Left” back in 03.  Since then I’ve been blown out of the water by each album they put out and the band just keeps getting better. Their eighth release Major/Minor is another awesome release by the band.  “Promises” and “Words in the Water” are on my current playlist.  I’m super sad about the hiatus the band announced but I will probably be at all the west coast shows on their upcoming spring tour before their break.


4. Kevin Devine – Beneath the Concrete & Clouds

Beneath the Concrete & Clouds is an album I was super excited for.  Kevin Devine had been posting the lyrics to the songs on this album as Facebook notes for a while.  So a lot of fans had read the words to the songs on this album before we ever heard any music.  Kevin Devine made countless demos and did tons of touring to back up the release of this album.  I am still proud to say that I have never missed a single Kevin Devine show in Southern California since 2007 and I hope I can keep it up in the upcoming year. “A Story, A Sneak” and “Sleepwalking Through My Life” are two of my favorite songs on the album.


3. Man Man – Life Fantastic

Man Man is one of the most underrated bands out there right now.  A band that is beautifully unique in their sound.  A little on the dark side but upbeat at the same time.  They are also a band that plays amazing live.  Every single song is fun and complex in the lyrics.  Honus Honus is one of the most original and nicest front men I’ve ever had the luck to meet. When I first heard Life Fantastic “Bangkok Necktie” was kept on repeat for about an hour on this road trip my friend and I took.  “Knuckle Down” is on my mix for this week.  I hope they tour in the upcoming year.


2. Mister Heavenly – Out of Love

I can’t wrap my head around how cool Mister Heavenly is. 1/3 Man Man, 1/3 Modest Mouse/The Shins, and 1/3 Islands/Unicorns.  Nick Thorburn and Honus Honus’ contrasting voices and Joe Plummer’s “tasty high-hat-work” came together to form some of the coolest songs put out this year. Currently “Wise Man” is my favorite Mister Heavenly song but it changes all the time. They toured quite a bit this year and even had Michael Cera on bass for a few dates.  I hope they tour again in 2012.


1. Campfire OK – Strange Like We Are

Campfire OK hails from Seattle and they are doing beautiful things with music.  The first Campfire OK song I heard was “Brass” and I instantly loved it, it was a song that definitely hit close to home along with “Not Young Not Old.”  The band toured mostly the North West this year but they mentioned that they’re going to be coming down the coast in the next year.  This is an album that you should check out.  It is the most played album according to my iTunes and an album I can’t stop telling people about.


Favorite Concerts of the Year:

Thrice, La Dispute, O’Brother, and Moving Mountains

Mister Heavenly, WATERS, and  Niilo Smeds

Man Man, Grandchildren, and Cgak

Wild Beasts and EMA

Brand New, Sainthood Reps, and ROBBERS

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