Best Music of 2011

Here’s a rundown on the best music that came out this year.

Atlas Losing Grip – State of Unrest

State of Unrest album cover

This is my favorite album of the year. The band’s name, an obvious homage to Rand’s classic novel, caught my eye. A description of their music as being melodic hardcore made me take a chance. The music is energetic, but clear enough to sing along with. The lyrics are smart and include unique phrasings that I hypothesize come from a Swede writing in English. At least, it reminds me of Hellacopter, another Swedish band. Aside from name-dropping Nietzsche, the lead track includes a nice little wish.

Let our logic dictate our morality.
It’s a privilege, our responsibility,
’cause in the end we are all held accountable.

They also released an EP recently that includes an acoustic version of Logic.

I really love this band, and I wish they’d come to the Bay Area some day.

The Fucking Cops – Fuck You Up with Some Truth

Another great melodic hardcore band, The Fucking Cops released their second CD this year, a followup to You Have The Right To Shut The Fuck Up.

Tony Sly – Sad Bear

Tony Sly is the lead singer of No Use For A Name, and he’s been putting out solo acoustic CDs, sometimes with Joey Cape from Lagwagon. I’ve been playing this newest album a lot, and it inspired me to go back and get the older stuff.

Saves the Day – Daybreak

Saves the Day is pop punk outfit who really should have a number in their name (like Blink 182 or Sum 41). I hadn’t heard of them until I noticed Daybreak. I found it very strange and couldn’t quit playing it. Vocalist Chris Conley sings so high, I thought the band was fronted by a woman…but all the lyrics is pretty obviously sung from the point of view of a man, which was a puzzle at for me at first. The first track on the album is nearly eleven minutes and has at least five different melodies. It reminds me of recent Green Day stuff, catchy and easy to sing along with.

Cake – Showroom of Compassion

Cake is probably the biggest act to come out of Sacramento. Everything they do is solid, including this album from January.

Nothington – Borrowed Time

Nothington is another Bay Area band. They sound a lot like Lucero.

The Devil Makes Three – Stomp And Smash

I saw The Devil Makes Three open for Social Distortion a while back. They are from Santa Cruz. I’ve been delving in to this realm of punk rockers doing folk styled music, and they are closer to bluegrass than Tony Sly’s straight folk. Stomp and Smash is a live album of older material. I can’t get enough of “Old Number 7”.

Scott H. Biram – Bad Ingredients

Along the same lines, Scott H. Birum plays foot-stomping blues like he’s John Lee Hooker, but with a punk sensibility.

Puscifer – Conditions of My Parole

Conditions of My Parole is another solid release from Maynard’s other other band, Puscifer.

Flogging Molly – Speed of Darkness

Flogging Molly never fails to satisfy. Their live shows are phenomenal.

Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style

Another solid release from the Dropkicks.

Paddy and the Rats – Hymns for Bastards

If you like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, check out Paddy and the Rats. They have

Dead Milkmen – King in Yellow

After a long, long time, Dead Milkmen finally released a new album.

Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes – Social Distortion

I love Social Distortion. I’ve seen them live many times. Compared to other bands, this is a fine album. Compared everything else they’ve done, it’s weak. I am looking forward to the next album that Mike Ness has said he’s been writing on the road this year.

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