Monday, January 9, 2012

VII's Top 10 Albums of 2011

I'll keep this short, since none of you probably read these introduction things anyway. 2011 was a really really really good year in my opinion. Definitely better than 2010. There were so many awesome albums, splits, EP's and demos released this year, that listening to them all would be pretty much impossible. However, this year more so than past years I have spent most of my listening time with new music that was released in 2011, and I think I'm finally satisfied with the list I've compiled to show off my personal favorites.

#10: Beastie Boys - "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2" and Danny Brown - "XXX"(tie): I really couldn't decide which of these albums to put as my number 10, so I just copped out and decided to do my number 10 spot as a tie. The Beastie Boys album is on here mostly because of my fanboyness, I'm so glad that the B-boys were able to come back after their disappointing previous album "To The Five Burrows" and release what I think is the best stuff they've done in the last 10 years. Super fresh sounding production and futuristic beats, the Beastie Boys have proven that they've still got it and can still put out interesting and quality hip-hop.

Danny Brown on the other hand is an MC that I was introduced to a few months ago, and I've been playing his 2nd full-length "XXX" constantly since then. Danny is a nice breath of fresh air in the hardcore rap game, with his B-Real mixed with ODB style delivery, comedic and perverse lyrics about sex, drug abuse and street life, while still managing to sound legit and not gimmicky. It's a free album too, download that shit!

#9: Weekend Nachos - "Worthless": "Worthless" is an album that I wasn't that hot on the first few times I listened to it. The breakdowns and lack of variety in the songwriting were some grating pet peeves of mine that pretty much ruined the album for me. However, all my friends were really liking it, so I continued to listen to it throughout the year hoping to get over my annoyances. And I'm glad I did, because "Worthless" developed into a very enjoyable and rewarding listen to me eventually. The riffs are  great, the slow parts are devastatingly heavy, I love the drums, John's vocals are fierce as fuck, it's a super awesome and heavy hardcore record. Though I still skip the title track and the closing song "Future". 

#8: Wormrot - "Dirge": Here's another album that I wasn't in deep, passionate love with the first few listens. I really enjoyed it for the vicious, unrelenting 25-songs-in-18-minuets grind album that it was, but I felt like I was missing something to make me be completely head-over-heels about "Dirge". Turns out that thing I was missing was a fresh pair of ears and a some time off from it, cause after coming back to "Dirge" after several months off, it became one of my favorite albums of last year. Top notch musicianship, outstanding vocals and constant forward momentum, "Dirge" is one of the most solid pure grind albums of 2011. 

#8: Maruta - "Forward Into Regression": The sadly recently disbanded Maruta managed to go out with a bang and make there mark on the modern technical grind scene with "Forward Into Regression". One of the heaviest and grimiest tech-grind albums I've heard, opting to go for a dirtier and more raw sound as apposed to polished and clean like most albums of this style tend to be(thumbs up!). More awesome riffs that I can count, "Failure King" is a sludgy masterpiece, get this album if you haven't already!! RIP Maruta.

#6: Dead Language - "s/t": Powerviolence is a label that gets thrown around as much as "indie rock" nowadays, but the first(and hopefully not last) album from Dead Language is by all accounts, a powerviolence record. A "supergroup" comprised of veterans of the more forward thinking bands of the genre(Iron Lung, No Comment, Running For Cover), Dead Language managed to simultaneously capture the essence of all those bands and still manage to sound exciting and not dated. I definitely think this album will be one of those sought after treasures in the next several years, if you haven't gotten it yet, hurry the fuck up!

#5: Shabazz Palaces - "Black Up": I think the closing lyric of this album sums up the entire vibe of this album perfectly; "this shit is way too advanced". Shabazz Palaces have unleashed one of the most creative, interesting and original hip-hop records of the year, without a shadow of a doubt. The beats and vocal productions are so bizarre and mind-bending, its hard not to admire "Black Up" just by how out-there it is. It's an incredible and adventurous album that I haven't heard a whole lot of people talk about, but those who have are singing it's praises, and rightfully so. 

#4: Rotten Sound - "Cursed": Finnish grind gods Rotten Sound have done it again with "Cursed", probably the catchiest grind album I heard in 2011. While managing to not lose a single drop of intensity and heaviness, Rotten Sound have created one of their most varied albums filled with speed junkie blasters, mid-tempo groovers, d-beat crusters and devastating sludge monsters, and still sounding like Rotten Sound the whole way through. And did I mention that it's catchy as fuck? You know it, bravo Rotten Sound!

#3: Bastard Noise - "Skulldozer": "Skulldozer" is one of those rare albums that managed to live up to all the expectations and hype surrounding it. They said it was gonna be the best BN album to date, and low-and-behold, it is. Hallelujah everybody!! The songwriting is top-notch("Earth on a Stretcher", fuck yeah), the production is loud and heavy as fuck, and the addition of Aimee on vocals and noise is just perfect. Eric Wood and company have created another benchmark in the growing SKULL legacy. Hails!!!

#2: Psychic Limb - "Queens": THE grindcore album that every single one of you should have heard this year, but probably didn't, which is a real fucking shame. While the actual title of "full length" might be questionable(12 songs in 9 minutes) "Queens" is still probably the most flawless grindcore album I've heard in 2011. Everything is perfect, the production, the riffs, the songs, the vocals, the guitar and drum performances, EVERYTHING!! If this band doesn't get some recognition in 2012, I will lose all hope for humanity. Get.this.album!!!


#1: Death Grips - "Exmilitary": Some of you might be dreadfully confused as to why I chose a hip-hop album of all things as my favorite album of 2011. I can hear you now; "you were doing so well listing all those awesome grind albums, but you lost me with your number 1, I don't like this, I want my mommy!". Well, while creating this list and choosing my favorite album of the year, I had to take several factors into consideration; what album have I listened to the most this year? What album have I continuously enjoyed all year? What album have I always come back too, etc. My answer to all of these question is without a doubt "Exmilitary", my #1 album of the year. Holy shit, did this free album blow me away. Mind-bending and heavy as fuck hip-hop that challenges the listener and pummels them into submission at the same time. Everytime I listen to this album I'm satisfied, it's just so good. The production is raw, noisy, heavy and abrasive as all hell, but still memorable. The vocal performance by MC Ride is just awe inspiring. He just constantly goes hard over these tracks, and honestly, would fit right in fronting a heavy hardcore band. Honestly, you've all probably heard all there is to hear about this album already over the year, so I won't waste your time babbling about shit you already know. It's my favorite album of 2011, and that's that. Brilliant.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Fuck the Facts - "Die Miserable"
  • Defeatist - "Tyranny of Decay"
  • Sulaco - "Build and Burn"
  • Mastodon - "The Hunter"
  • Touche Amore - "Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me"
  • Tom Waits - "Bad as Me"


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