BEST LOCAL ALBUMS OF 2011
The response to this year’s roundtable has been incredibly gratifying, and I’d like to thank everyone who’s read and shared the posts, as well as everyone who showed up to The Earl for our show on Wednesday night. It was amazing to see that many people show up on a weeknight for an all-local lineup. People even showed up on time! Big thanks to Little Tybee, Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, New Animal, and Spirits and the Melchizedek Children for performing. Bands like those are the reason we bloggers have something to talk about in the first place.
Finally, I’d like to thank my fellow bloggers for indulging this idea for the second year in a row. This project wouldn’t have gone anywhere if the Atlanta blogging community wasn’t filled with such awesome people. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
Bret (Hijacking Music): I’ve got two albums in mind, Cloudeater – Sun and Sidearm and Ethereal – Abstractica.
By chance I got a hold of Sun and Sidearm a little early and could not stop playing it. They did a great job of mixing electronic and organic instrumentation, and the vocals are on point. No need to drench them in reverb and hide them under guitars because the dude can sing for real. At this point in my listening career it takes a solid piece of work to not only keep my attention, but to make me want to hear it more and more until I am sick of it. That is pretty much what happened with this album and I am excited to see what they are up to next.
Ethereal – Abstractica was an easy one for me to get in to. From the first notes of the first track, you can tell this music is coming from a good place. Not only is the production stellar, the kid brings some fresh raps to the table. ATL is such a great place for hip hop, it’s unfortunate that the wack hop is what ends up getting most of the limelight. It’s time for artists like Ethereal to come to light.
Denton (Little Advances): Lyonnais’ Want For Wish For Nowhere is my local album of the year, and it’s probably one of my top 5 albums of the year, period. They managed to synthesize shoegaze, drones, and rhythmically intense post-punk into a near-perfect set of songs that shows off considerable range while still cohering into a unified whole. It’s hard to believe this is their recorded debut; it sounds more like a third or fourth effort from a band that has already figured out what works and accordingly excised all the unnecessary fat from its sound. Lyonnais is the best band in Atlanta.
Spirits and the Melchizedek Children’s We Are Here To Save YOU! and New Animal’s self-titled debut are also albums that I feel can stand toe-to-toe with anything else released this year, local or otherwise. Spirits found the perfect balance of haunted folk beauty and swelling shoegaze guitars, crafting an album that’s soft even when it’s loud. New Animal released a 75-minute chunk of bedroom-pop that sounds bigger than the bedroom.
Other highlights: Wizard Smoke’s The Speed of Smoke is a ridiculously satisfying piece of stoner metal that hits all the right reference points. On Humorous to Bees, Little Tybee made adventurous folk-pop that is as intricate as it is accessible. And I’m a sucker for the synthesizer-based soundscapes on Warning Light’s Wild Silver. Finally, Places deserves some kind of body of work award for releasing three full-length collections of songs in 2011. March is my favorite of the three, but Half-Done’s and The Future are both nearly as good.
To finish reading this discussion, please visit Little Advances.