2011 I’ve Given You All and Now Here’s My End of the Year List

2011 was a great year for music. At least in the scenes and genres that interest me, the sheer number of records released this year is astounding. There was a three week stretch in late September and early October that saw the release of eight or ten of my most anticipated albums. It was one of the most exciting and energetic times I can remember since becoming seriously interested in music. What made it even better was that, for the most part, the excitement culminated in something other than a huge letdown. Nearly all of those albums were good or great (La Dispute, Transit, and Man Overboard’s releases all made my top ten list, and Into It. Over It.’s Proper was a strong contender). And that happened for the entire year. It was probably the best 52 weeks I could have asked for as a fan, although it would have been nice if the Graduate didn’t break up and Thursday wasn’t on hiatus.

The idea of an end-of-the-year list is, I guess, to present what I see as the best records or songs or whatever of the year. But whenever I make something like this, I tend to wonder why I’m making it. My list certainly isn’t significant in any way, and most of the albums listed here aren’t particularly significant outside of the lives of myself and a select few of my peers. There’s no cultural phenomena soundtrack here, no Bon Iver or Adele or whatever it is that has moved the most units this year, because that just isn’t the music that affects me. But the Wonder Years do. Hostage Calm does. And I want other people to experience those bands in the same way that I have. So here’s a bunch of records I like that happened to come out in 2011. Listen to them. Buy a physical copy. Read the lyrics and the liner notes while you listen. Go to a show. Learn an instrument. Write songs.

Sing along.

My Ten Favorite Records of 2011

  1. The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing
  2. The Dangerous Summer – War Paint
  3. Fireworks – Gospel
  4. Transit – Listen and Forgive
  5. Laura Stevenson and the Cans – Sit Resist
  6. Aficionado – Aficionado
  7. The Swellers – Good For Me
  8. La Dispute – Wildlife
  9. Crucial Dudes – 61 Penn
  10. Man Overboard – Man Overboard

Honorable Mentions

  • Candy Hearts – Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy
  • The Get Up Kids – There Are Rules
  • The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
  • Pianos Become the Teeth – The Lack Long After
  • Waxahatchee – American Weekend

My Five Favorite EPs of 2011

  1. Mixtapes – How To Throw a Successful Party
  2. Mixtapes – Hope Is For People
  3. Daytrader – Last Days of Rome
  4. Transit – Promise Nothing
  5. Late In the Playoffs – Everything I Know

Honorable Mention

  • Dowsing – All I Could Find Was You

My Fifteen Favorite Songs of 2011

  1. Hostage Calm – The "M" Word
  2. The Wonder Years – Local Man Ruins Everything
  3. The Dangerous Summer – Siren
  4. Mixtapes – Hope Is For People
  5. Rise Against – Architects
  6. The Hotel Year – An Ode To the Nite Ratz Club
  7. Red City Radio – Spinning In Circles Is a Gateway Drug
  8. The Horrible Crowes – I Witnessed a Crime
  9. Thursday – Stay True
  10. Transit – Long Lost Friends
  11. Balance and Composure – I Tore You Apart In My Head
  12. I Am the Avalanche – Brooklyn Dodgers
  13. Junior Battles – Seventeen
  14. Man Overboard – Rare
  15. Polar Bear Club – I’ll Never Leave New York

Honorable Mentions:

  • Candy Hearts – Good Enough
  • Laura Stevenson and the Cans – Red Clay Roots
  • Warren Franklin – You’ve Never Heard "My Aim Is True"

The Five Best Shows I Attended in 2011

  • All three times I saw the Wonder Years (The House Cafe, Warped Tour, the Egyptian Theater)
  • Against Me! at the Castle Theatre
  • Warren Franklin and the Island of Misfit Toys at a skate shop at Middlewest Fest

Honorable Mention

  • The Dangerous Summer at Warped Tour

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