I probably haven’t been through as much music these last six months as in other years, but I do think I have spent more time with what I have heard. My favorites of 2011 didn’t take much thought. All of these have been in regular rotation in the Ambler household.
Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean. This might be the most impressive record of the year. Sam Beam opened the late 70s AM songbook and picked some of the finest that era has to offer as the basis for this record. He also opened his vocal delivery and recorded with a full band to make the statement. I have been a fan for some time, but I think this project may be near its zenith. I can only hope the next record is even better.
The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar. Iron & Wine might be the most impressive record of 2011 so far but The Big Roar is easily my favorite. This is a great record by a band that satisfies all the hype. Their show this spring at the Earl also was among my favorite of the year so far. I can’t wait until the next time they visit Atlanta.
The Feelies – Here Before. They’re back. I’m happy.
Thai? Dai!: The Heavier Side of the Luk Thong Underground (Various Artists). All credit for this choice goes to WRAS who put this record into heavy rotation this spring. I never would have known of it without but for our great hometown college radio station. I don’t usually go for world music but I love this. Check it out and turn your dial to the left.
Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots. I don’t know if I am out of step or what, but I think this is one of the Truckers best records in years. Tunes like “Used to Be a Cop” and “Ray’s Automatic Weapon” hit the target at center mass. It’s dark, it’s rock, and it’s authentic – Drive-By Truckers at their best.
I Was Totally Destroying It – Preludes. After I first heard it, this was the only record I listened to for three days straight.
Telekinesis – 12 Desperate Straight Lines. Every time I return to this record I like it more (and there have been many returns).
Yuck – Yuck I am still a bit puzzled by the fact that this band hails from England. In some way, Chapel Hill would make a lot more sense. Great record. Thanks to the new multimedia editor at Paste for the recommendation.