Published Dec 21, 2011There's way too much music in the world. Sure, we're obsessed with it and we love collecting, listening to and talking about it. Still, despite all of our best efforts, we music fans are able to easily let something great slip through the cracks. That's why we've taken a moment to compile a list of some top-notch releases that you may not have noticed this year. These span across many genres, and this is no way meant to be a definitive list, so make your suggestions for other albums that deserved more lovin' in the comments section below.
10 Great Albums You May Have Missed in 2011:
La Vida Es Un Mus
London quartet Hygiene openly declare "It's all been done before" over and over again on "Done Before," the second track of Public Sector. But that's hardly the point. Raw, brash performance collides with often atonal melodies here, resulting in the one of the year's best post-punk records. Actually, it's more like one of the year's best punk records, as there's no pretension or desire to impress with their succinct playing. This lack of bullshit just makes room for hooks aplenty, giving Public Sector the needed forward momentum to satisfy on repeat listens.
Public Sector's "Things to Do":
9. The Bats
Free All the Monsters
Sure, long-running Flying Nun act the Bats are hardly what you'd call super obscure, but chances are more than a few lo-fi/twee-loving listeners missed this one this year. It hardly made a bang on the indie pop landscape in 2011, but that doesn't take away from the fact that Free All the Monsters stands as the Bats' strongest album in a good decade. Going back to the more acoustic set-up seen on their classic 1987 debut Daddy's Highway, Robert Scott and co. breathed some welcomed warmth back into their approach, knocking out melancholic sad-pop hit after hit and packing in some of the best rock melodies we've heard in ages. In many ways, Monsters makes a lot of this year's contemporary indie pop releases come across as, well, kind of weak. Yeah, the Bats are hardly "cool" and "hip" anymore, but everyone living off a steady diet of Slumberland and Woodsist, owes it to themselves to dig into Monsters. And a tip to the younger generation: if there is a way to age gracefully, this is how you do it.
Free All the Monsters' "Simpletons":
8. Rational Animals
Bock Rock Parade
Rochester, NY group Rational Animals have been holding it down since 2006, but they finally released their debut album this year and set the bar high for modern hardcore punk. With heavy riffing that borrows heavily from Blacks both Flag and Sabbath, there's a touch of metal to their abrasion. But that doesn't stop it from being a balls out punk record that will have you starting fights and kicking holes in the wall. It's rare that a punk record this raw stays fresh on each listen, but Bock Rock Parade is a consistently rewarding debut that deserves much more attention than it's received.
Bock Rock Parade's "Crumbling Buildings":