April 1, 2012

My Favorite Songs and Records of 2011



So originally I was going to post this around the beginning of the new year. Then extreme laziness mind-numbing force known as “life” took over and I couldn’t quite finish the task at hand. I had a arbitrary Valentine’s Day date set but I quickly decided that there was no reason to post this list in the middle of February. One morning at the end of February while I was doing dishes I decided I would wait until April Fools Day to post this blog entry. Why? Because I have a poor sense of humor and thought that these bands/musical acts should once again know of my appreciation. Bands, Musicians, Human beings that happen to do musical things, I just want you to know, I have a thing for you…..and I can’t let go. Some records I don’t discuss at length because they were already were talked about here on Sound on the Sound.


Grenades/Mercy Ties Split 12″ on Echolalic Records – These delicately crafted songs remind me of autumn leaves slowly turning from a pleasant mixture of auburn, gold and chestnut to a darkened brown indicating their impending death.

Just kidding. For a majority of the year, this was my thoroughbred racing horse. When it wasn’t racing past the competition, it was mounting them to show absolute dominance.

I loved this record so much that I ended up doing the copywriting for it on Robotic Empire’s website. Grenades is currently in the process of mastering their new record should be releasing new material by the end of the year. Mercy Ties re-recorded some of the songs that appear on this split and recorded a few new songs as well. The newer tracks can be found here. You should be stoked on both. Let it be known, from the deepest crevice in the darkest depths of the ocean, to the mountain tops of some very tall mountain that none of you are athletic or determined enough to climb, THIS WAS PRETTY MUCH MY FAVORITE RELEASE OF THE YEAR 2011.

Standout Tracks: “Get Wise” and “Chrononaut” by Grenades || “Harla” and “Stretched Like A Drum” by Mercy Ties

“Owen Heart” by Earth Control…or is it “Earth Control” by Owen Hart…? (Whatever. It Rules.) I had to say “pretty much” in terms of “record of the year” because this record “totally slays.” I thought this came out in 2010 but apparently it came in January of 2011. I’m not going to lie. I slept on “Owen Hart” for two years because…they were called Owen Hart. For all of you old school WWE WWF wrestling enthusiasts, Owen Hart (the character, god rest his soul) was by far the weakest link of the “famous” Hart wrestling family. He was about ten percent of the wrestler his older brother (BRET “THE HITMAN” HART — deserving of all caps) was. Owen Hart wasn’t even as cool as his weird brother in-law Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart or his other brother in-law “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith. So when you’re an awesome hardcore band named after a third rate wrestler (You might even say fourth rate, he was tag team partners with Koko B. Ware for crying out loud!) that often plays shitty bills at El Corazon…how am I supposed to figure out how devastating you are? Anyway. Whatever you want to call this record, it is the most satisfying piece of “metal” that I came across this past year. It’s like Pig Destroyer grindcore combined with Pantera-esque breakdowns and Crestfallen’s, (Ask my old neighbor from Virginia Will from the Comet about his old band, so good.) “We’re going to thrash and not give a fuck about whatever” attitude. If you are into things that are dark, fast and heavy — then you must start and end your days with this record.

Standout Tracks: “44 Black,” “Poor White Straight Guy,” “The Vertigo of Murray Morgan” and one of my favorite songs of the year, “Fuck Morrisey. Fuck The Smiths. Fuck The Cure.”


BOAT – Dress Like Your Idols

I’m guilty of not talking about BOAT nearly enough and I feel other writer’s are guilty of the same inexcusable act. For the first quarter of 2011, this record was in contention for my favorite record of the year. People, there are some pop gems on this record. “(I’ll Beat My Chest Like) King Kong” is not only a great first single, it’s a great single period. “Landlocked” is the strongest song on the record and reminds me of Nerf Herder in its nerdy frankness. However, my favorite song on Dress Like Idols is “(do the) Double Take.” The narrative pretty much summed up my life for a decent amount of 2011. Being fucking miserable in a bar Sitting quietly at the end of a bar, smiling at a girl as she walks by…and there’s where it ends. Do you know why? Because I didn’t have a job. Men who don’t have jobs should be taken out behind a bar and shot aren’t allowed to date. It’s actually considered a social felony in most states. BOAT plays their first show of 2012 at the Sunset on April 13th, with the Bismark and Police Teeth.

Police Teeth – Awesomer Than The Devil

I kept on telling my friends (the ones that didn’t like Police Teeth) that this was a dope record. They didn’t listen to me. They kept on insisting, “We don’t like pop punk.” I told them to shove it. I don’t like pop punk either. Eventually they actually listened to the record and saw things my way. Some great tunes on this record, notably “Rock & Roll Is A Pyramid Scheme (Parts 1 & 2)” and “Public Defender.” You know what? While you’re at it, you can also add “Send More Cops” to that list.

Strong KillingsS/T

Best local punk record of 2011.

Youth Rescue MissionS/T

Carissa’s Wierd was my proverbial novocain for the soul in 2010. Youth Rescue Mission won this pretty handily in 2011. With songs like “Floorplan” and “Great White,” it’s easy to understand why. I spent a lot of time staring off into space with watery eyes, then pressing the “repeat” button because I’m really into emotional masochism.


Sleeper Agent – “All Wave and No Goodbye”

I don’t really like this band or the the album Celebrasion, because the album is pretty fucking boring in all honesty but this is a good song. I’ll be interested to hear what the follow-up to this 2011 release sounds like. This band is currently on tour with Fun, they’ll probably make quite a few new fans.

Alpinist - Minus. Mensch

This album actually came out in 2009 but it dominated my Ipods so much that I had to include it in this list. German hardcore that isn’t messing around. I suggest you get familiar.

Shabazz Palaces - Black Up

Duh. Wale ft. Rick Ross and Jadakiss – “600 Benz”

I think the new Wale album Ambition is garbage. Maybe I had set my expectations too high considering some of the slight work he had put in months prior to releasing that record. This song is some FI-YAH (pronounced “fire”) though.

Cat From Hue – “Never Again”

Cat from Hue actually re-released this song on their newer self-titled EP but I think the version found on Forgetters is infinitely more impressive. This is another one of those soul-searching tunes that I can play again and again without ever tiring of it. Be careful, you listen to this song too much and you’ll be stuck in reminiscing mode for the remainder of your day. This song makes you want to call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time and tell them that they’ve forsaken your friendship tell them that you miss them. Great song.

Constant LoversTrue Romance

Admittedly, every time I listen to this record I wonder how the hell that poor chap on the album cover got his finger stuck in a stick of butter.

Helm’s AleeWeatherhead



Nurses – Dracula

You know that guy or gal that shows up late to a party and then completely takes it upon entry? Dracula is kind of the musical equivalent of that.

CastevetMounds of Ash

This album actually came out in 2010 but I didn’t hear it until 2011 (so in my book it qualifies for this list). Do you like heavy and menacing with the occasional twisted time signature? Castevet are your band then. I’ve definitely misaligned my spinal column rocking out to this.  So much for fixing my scoliosis….

Matsuri - Endship

If it weren’t for that legendary self-titled Strong Killings vinyl, this would be my favorite LP purchased in 2011. The word “thoughtful” doesn’t do the packaging justice. It’s like holding a 12″ miracle of wax in your hands. This band reminds me of the reasons why I got into music to begin with as an adolescent looking for something to belong to. This is raw, pure energy that I want you to have.

OCnotes - Medicine

Duh. OCnotes is “the truth,” as kids say these days. He also does some pretty interesting stuff with “The Wiz” as well.


Kelli SchaeferGhost of the Beast

When I was originally compiling this list, I asked myself the following question:

Who on this planet sounds like Kelli Schaefer?

I still haven’t found the answer.

Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas In Paris”

I wasn’t even feeling this song until I saw that Youtube clip of the guy on the NYC Subway. Suddenly everything fell into place and I now go bananas every time I hear this song. All I can think about is, “Fuck. Fight. Win.” Literally. That’s all I want to do when the track hits my stereo, in that exact order.

Absolute, No Bullshit, I’m Not Kidding…Favorite Song(s) of the Year:

BOAT –  ”(do the) Double Take”

This song reminds me of my inability to communicate effectively women and sunshine, kind of like the 2010 winner “Sunshine/Pretty Girls” by The Unnatural Helpers. What can I say? I’m a sucker for sunshine, women and very brief songs. I have no attention span.

Owen Hart Earth Control – “Fuck Morrisey. Fuck The Smiths. Fuck The Cure.”

Honestly, this might be the most perfect song ever written. Clocking in at a fierce 80 seconds, it combines the best two elements of my all-time favorite bands (I have like twenty “all-time favorite bands”) Pantera and Pig Destroyer. The results? A goddamn electric masterpiece.


Hit us up.

  1. Edward Dekema #

    ‘We’ll sing to you. We’ll sing you to sleep. Don’t be afraid of us. We’re just like you…’. I’ll book passage on this Boat trip!

  2. phil #

    Also forgot to mention – The Sea and Cake’s “The Moonlight Butterfly” is also one hell of an album. I love that band.

  3. Jamie #

    i love you phil. i miss you. lets make music together. lets watch hockey together. lets drink hard alcohol together. let’s sleep on floors together. i’m ready. are you?

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