Top 10 Albums:
25. J. Mascis – Several Shades of Why
24. Ruby Coast – Whatever This Is: They made their first EPs while still in high school, but their first LP is mature, polished, and a blast to dance or drive to. (free music alert)
23. Algernon Cadwallader – Parrot Files: Rips off Cap’n Jazz the way Colossal ripped off American Football. The first midwestern emo analogy on ninebullets? I dunno.
22. Tin Armor – Life of Abundance: Smiths meets Big Star, a gorgeous and fun album that fans of Frank Turner will love.
Tin Armor – Plain Limbs
21. Bomb the Music Industry! – Vacation: How do you like your Brian Wilson worship–from tip-toeing nerds like Animal Collective or from the endlessly savvy band geeks of BTMI who actually have something to say? (free music alert).
20. Elway – Delusions: Rock from Fort Collins CO, think Arliss Nancy played for punx in basements instead of drunx in bars.
19. The Underground Railroad to Candyland – Knows Your Sins: Horrible band name, amazing sound. What a “teenage symphony to god” sounds like these days.
18. The Decemberists – The King is Dead: Without changing all that much, they expanded their appeal to a whole different kind of pretentious people. Those swayed by this album, check out Meloy’s flawed-but-lovely college country band, Tarkio.
17. Tommy Stinson – One Man Mutiny
16. Austin Lucas – A New Home In the Old World
Austin Lucas – Darkness Out Of Me
15. Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground
Chuck Ragan – Wish On The Moon
14. Joey Cape’s Bad Loud – S/T Demo
13. Sharks – The Joys of Living 2008-2010: They’ve toured with Ragan. For fans of Gaslight, Social D, Psychedelic Furs.
12. Jon Snodgrass & Friends – Tri-State Record, or Five-State Record, depending on where you live or how much you like imports
Jon Snodgrass & Friends – Campaign
11. Josh Small – Josh Small’s Juke
Josh Small – Everyone’s Daughter
10. Laura Stevenson & the Cans – Sit Resist: Brilliant pop that swings between indie and roots rock. Glorious voice.
9. Matt Woods – The Matt Woods Manifesto: A better album than Steve Earle’s.
Matt Woods – Port St. Lucie
8. Shane Sweeney – Shane Sweeney – The Finding Time
Some Hope, Somewhere
7. Guy Clark – Songs and Stories (Live): Document of how great his recent songs really are. How does a band still have this much fun 30 years into the game, after they’ve already mastered it? This could be what Lucero sounds like in 20.
6. One Hundred Dollars – Songs of Man
5. Wild Flag – Wild Flag: Two of the best guitarists in the world and, by far, the best drummer.
Wild Flag – Something Came Over Me
4. P.S. Eliot – Sadie: Alabama lo-fi college rock. They’ll be broken up by the time you read this. Seriously. I’m sad. (free music alert)
3. State Champion – Deep Shit
State Champion – Bottom Of The Bleak
2. Madeline – Black Velvet
1. Glossary – Long Live All of Us
Top 10 Lyrics:
8. “This is why we fight, this is why we lie awake…” ~ Colin Meloy/The Decemberists, “Why We Fight“: Because he didn’t finish the line with “at night.” The whole album is a textbook on restraint, which is so much more exhilarating than excess.
7. “My sister lost a friend over something like an invitation.” ~ State Champion, “Old Green Room”
6. “My heart aches, but only on the third beat.” ~ Madeline, “Hurry Up, Pronto”
5. “Like a Roman, you lived it.” ~ Jon Snodgrass, “Weighing in on St. Michael“: Simple and beautiful and never sung before.
4. “Never trust a hotel clock!” ~ Joey Cape, “Montreal“: That’s how you make a road song relatable. Take note, touring bands writing only about touring.
3. “I know your pain and share your pain, let’s have soup together.” ~ The Pack a.d., “8”
The Pack AD – 8
2. “If there’s two things that I hate, it’s having to cook and trying to date. Busting ass all day to play hurry-up and wait.” ~ Jason Isbell, “Codeine“: A response to the Pack a.d. line.
Jason Isbell – Codeine
1. “I cannot even do one sit-up, sit-ups are so bourgeoisie.” ~ Stephen Malkmus, “No One Is (As I Are Be)”
Top 10 Daytrotter Sessions (pony up):
5. Cheap Girls
4. Naughty By Nature
2. Frank Turner
1. Caitlin Rose
Top 10 Books (that I haven’t read yet):
3. Diane Keaton – Then Again
2. Bob Mould – See A Little Light
1. Chris Bachelder – Abbot Awaits
Top 10 Web-Comic Strips (of the handful that I follow):
2. Liz Prince – Alone Forever #42: “Aloneth Forever”
1. Mitch Clem – Nothing Nice to Say #450: “Jaded Asshole!”
♥. Liz Prince – “I Don’t Know How to Say Goodbye”
Top 10 Guitar Hooks:
1. Oh No Oh My – “Again Again”
Top 10 Things Ever:
1. Drag the River name-your-own-price digital store. Finally hearing the b-side of the out-of-print Gabba Gabba Hey Buddies!
Top 10 Things Coming Next Year:
8. New albums from Gaslight Anthem, Cheap Girls, Sharks, Menzingers, Hot Water Music, Magnetic Fields, John K. Samson (of the Weakerthans), Teenage Bottlerocket….
7. The Promise Ring reunites and releases rarities album.
6. Tim Barry left Suburban Home, but if he had to go somewhere else, Chunksaah Records, run by The Bouncing Souls, is the sweetest destination. Barry’s first album on his new label is due next year. The Bouncing Souls themselves are going into the studio with Bill Stevenson and should have a record out in 2012, as well.
5. This year, Craig Finn of the Hold Steady shacked-up in Austin, listened to some Nick Lowe, saw Alejandro Escovedo live (a Texas rite), and recorded. So his solo album next year has a chance to be incredible or just the same.
Craig Finn – Rented Room
4. The DTR full-band album that was supposed to be built off the 2010 DEMOnS sessions?
3. The long-homeless Cory Branan album to “drrrrrop this Spring?”
2. Lucero – Women and Work
1. Franz Nicolay – Do the Struggle: Prepare for the next Sign ☮ the Times