With 2011 coming to an end, we have assembled a list of the best releases put out this year. When brainstorming for this article and determining the criteria for how our list would be ranked, we felt at the end of the day it be best to only feature records that we absolutely loved and listened to all year. Rather than publishing a list in favor of a particular record label, scene, or trend, we wanted to shine light on music that made the soundtracks of our lives here at Ryan’s Rock Show. Here are the records that were played religiously at Bonnerhaus the past 364 days. We call these records the “Best 11 Releases of 2011,” as they include two EPs. We hope they resonate with you as greatly as they do us.
11. Touche Amore
Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
Touche Amore carries the torch for a new wave of hardcore with their album Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Want proof that the band has been unsympathetically destroying everything in its way? Watch this video. They’ll be heading to Europe in March with Rise Against.
Letlive’s Fake History is abrasive and obnoxious, and that’s why we love it. The band has been destructing cities across the world, and seems to be especially killing it overseas (as seen in their latest music video). Fake History will be released on vinyl in January in time for their upcoming tour with August Burns Red.
09. Red Fang
Murder the Mountains
When we found out Red Fang were hosting an air guitar battle for their “Hank is Dead” music video, you best believe we tested our roundhouses and bunny hops (Clearly we can’t hang with this guy). Sludgy and melodic, this shit will straight up make you want to grow a beard.
(Triple Crown/Favorite Gentlemen)
O’Brother is a group that we expect many great things from. Garden Window is dark yet colorful, organic and mysterious, and demonstrates that music can exude feelings of heaviness without lots of screaming or being a recycled “djent” band. Tracks like “Lay Down” and “Poison!” show the level of depth in which the band crafts its songs.
07. Zechs Marquise
Out of all the instrumental bands that released albums this year, Zechs Marquise is our favorite. We watched them tear strippers a new hole at a gentleman’s club in L.A. months back, and have had Getting Paid blaring through our gramophone ever since. Simply put, Zechs Marquise is “Crushin’ It!.”
We should all tip our hats to Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and Far guitarist Shaun Lopez for creating the sexiest nineteen minutes of music in 2011. Seductive and dangerous, the debut EP from Crosses sets the appropriate mood for serenading your one night stand or spicing up your late night solo session. The band will make their live debut in January, and are currently at work on a follow-up EP.
05. The Dear Hunter
The Color Spectrum
We were so obsessed with The Dear Hunter’s album Act III: Life and Death, we didn’t think it could ever be topped. Somehow Casey Crescenzo managed to go above and beyond with the band’s nine-EP offering The Color Spectrum. Tracks like “We’ve Got a Score to Settle” and “Mr. Malum” are some of our favs. They’ll be touring with Circa Survive frontman Anthony Green in January/February.
04. Stray From The Path
When we saw Stray From The Path play Hollywood recently, the crowd didn’t seem to understand it. Those children knoweth not what they see, as Rising Sun lands at number four for its stormy delivery and our infatuation with Tom Williams’ guitar tone. Songs to check out: “Dead Rabbits” and “iMember.”
Coloring Book [EP]
Though Glassjaw put out a handful of singles over the years, the Coloring Book EP feels likes the first true follow-up release to the band’s 2002 album Worship and Tribute – and it KILLS. When we did our Glassjaw interview in 2009 and the band told us they had new material in the works, we had no idea this was what was a-brewing in their New York hideout. Tracks like “Miracles in Inches” and “Daytona White” prove that Glassjaw may in fact be the kings of our generation.
02. Thomas Giles
Last year we were stoked on Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs’ band Orbs; this year we’re ecstatic for BTBAM frontman Tommy Rogers’ pseudonymous project Thomas Giles. His debut solo album Pulse makes the perfect soundtrack for a late night spring drive to destination unknown, stoned of course. Get this dude a doctor (“I need a medic,” he says in one of his tracks), because this record is fucking sick.
Reports From the Threshold of Death
The best album of the year goes to Junius for their record Reports From the Threshold of Death. Dark, spacy, and ethereal, the album is a solid effort from beginning to end. The first time we heard “Dance on Blood,” we knew this record would top our list, as it blows 99% of everything else out of the water. Do yourself a favor and go see this band on their co-headlining run with O’Brother in March.