Timmy Awards- The Best Albums of 2011

So this list was done in 2012 and put on the Timmy Awards Facebook page, but never compiled in one easy-to-digest list. Until now (saind in best movie trailer narrator voice.) Leaving out links to videos for each, but you can get them all in this YouTube playlist. And hey, there's a playlist for 2010 also. If you click "play all," it will play them from 50 right on down to #1.


 50. Iceage - New Brigade: Very young Danish punks tear through 12 songs in under 25 minutes.


49. Barnstar! - C'mon!: Self-described "Bluegrass for People Who Hate Bluegrass", Barnstar! bring a rock and roll spirit and sense of humor to the genre. A handful of covers, my favorite being their take on Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand."

E-40- OT

48. E-40 - Revenue Retrievin': Overtime Shift and Revenue Retrievin': Graveyard Shift- Bay Area rap veteran puts out 2 albums of solid rhymes and sinister beats.


47. Sloan - The Double Cross: Sloan continue to crank out solid power pop with hooks to spare.


46. Boris - Attention Please and Heavy Rocks and New Album: Japanese noiseniks release 3 albums in 2011: the spacey, female-vocal driven Attention Please, the says-what's-is-in-the-title Heavy Rocks, and the best of both worlds New Album. This video combines Attention Please's Hope and Heavy Rocks' Riot Sugar to give you a taste of where this ever evolving band is today.

Panda Bear

45. Panda Bear - Tomboy. A little more subdued than Person Pitch, still a lot of that "Beach Boys being covered by aliens" sound to it.


44. Radiohead - The King Of Limbs. Even an "OK" Radiohead album is a darn good album.

Ah, Ma, You're Just Jealous...

43. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Volume 2. A good throwback to some of their classic sounds, and their half hour, star studded, not suitable for kids or polite company video shows their sense of humor is still intact.


42. Obits- Moody, Standard and Poor. A little punk, a little garage and a lot of guitar, they remind me of the bands on Homestead Records in the late 80's...

Effed Up

41. Fucked Up - David Comes to LifeFrom the band's name, you can probably tell they are loud and aggressive, but beneath the punk sludge and behind the larger than life lead singer Pink Eyes, lies powerful hooks and decent lyrics. The video goes into band history and explains the album's loose concept.

The Horrors

40. The Horrors - Skying - A little shoegaze, psych, krautrock and 80's britpop combine on this band's third album, and they are really starting click and make their own sound.

St. Vincent

39. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy - If Feist had a sister with a really dry wit, a killer pop sense, a dark side and a love for odd sounds.

Balkan Brass Battle

38. Boban & Marki Markovic Orchestra and Fanfare Ciocãrlia - Balkan Brass Battle - The two top Balkan Brass Bands have a friendly competition- playing the same song in their own styles and sometimes playing together. Quite possibly the most energetic music in the world.


37. Wilco - The Whole Love - After not tickling my fancy for a few years, W#ilco is back in my brain again. Poppier than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, but some of that weirdness is seeping back in..


36. Liturgy - Aesthethica - I only thought I'd be mentioning black metal in the Timmys as "this sounds nothing like black metal." Well, here is Liturgy, who is basically black metal, although they are the cause of much debate in that community. They play in t-shirts and jeans and reach beyond that genre's cliches. Loud, intense and challenging.

White Denim

35. White Denim - D - A return Timmys artist, White Denim takes psych, southern rock and prog rock and makes their own blend. I hear a little Allman Brothers, some Dead and a lot of Meat Puppets.

Kurt Vile

34. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo- One of those guys I read and heard a lot about before I actually heard and wondered what all the fuss was about. I get it now. Great guitar playing, catchy hooks, nice vocals and lyrics.


33. Allen Clapp and his Orchestra - Mixed Greens - I love music blogs. Through them I learn about artists like Allen Clapp, who plays great breezy pop that harkens back to Burt Bacharach and orchestral pop of the late 60's/early 70's. Kinda reminds me of Badly Drawn Boy too, which is high praise from me.


32. Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong - Perhaps it's a cliche' to talk of bands who sound timeless, but Dawes harkens back to the sound of early 70's California rock like Crosby, Stills and Nash, with a lot of similarities to The Avett Brothers. Solid songwriting and great harmonies.

JC Brooks

31. JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound - Want More - Chicago's very own purveyor of Stax-style 60's soul, JC and the boys would have had a shot on this list with their cover of Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", but this album is chock full of heavy-hitting soul.


30. TV On The Radio- Nine Types Of Light - These guys will always have a place in the Timmys, it seems. This was not their best effort, but TVOTR is never boring and often brilliant. The video linked from my playlist is their entire album as a movie- very cool.

The Men

29. The Men - Leave Home- Loud, sloppy, beer-soaked goodness from a Brooklyn combo who takes bits from hardcore, metal and krautrock and makes their own beautiful noise out of it.

Raphael Saadiq

28. Raphael Saadiq- Stone Rollin'- Raphael has carved himself a nice niche in his post-Tony! Toni! Tone! solo career, and here he takes the ne0-soul about further by added some more blues elements.

Kurt Vile

27. Eleventh Dream Day - Riot Now! - What a pleasant surprise it was to see a new album for these folks, 5 years after their last effort and a good 22 years since the excellent and very under appreciated album Beet (perhaps I should do a hidden gems edition of the Timmys?) Good solid guitar driven alt-rock with hooks to spare.

The Black Belles

26. The Black Belles - The Black Belles - Jack White released the album by this all girl group and they share a lot of his retro-rock and fashion sense. They look like they shop at Morticia Adams' garage sale and they play a fun blend of rockabilly and alt-rock, with a little extra darkness thrown in.

Janice Whaley

25. Janice Whaley- The Smiths Project- How's this for a high concept- a frustrated musician and mother decides to record covers of every track by The Smiths in one year. Oh, and she's doing it all a capella, multi-tracking her voice as many times as required over the course of 71 songs. The end result exceeds the concept, and Whaley's version brings new depth to some really great songs.

Lykke Li

24. Lykke Li- Wounded Rhymes - In 2011, Florence & The Machine decided to soften up a little and aim for the pop charts. Fine with Sweden's Lykke Li, who sophomore effort fills that dark, somewhat tribal but melodic void.


23. SBTRKT - SBTRKT - This may indeed mark the first time a "dubstep" album made the Timmys. Masked DJ Aaron Jerome hosts a number of guest vocalists and incorporates a lot of different dance music styles to create a really catchy album.

Hayes Carll

22. Hayes Carll - KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories) - First I heard of Hayes Carll but this is his fourth album. He's a country-folk singer songwriter in the vein of Townes Van Zandt or Jerry Jeff Walker. Funny at points, too- check out the excellent video to "Another Like You".


21. Yuck - Yuck - What a flashback to 1989, which was my senior year in college, so it holds a soft spot in my heart. These guys somehow tapped into a Dinosaur Jr./early Teenage Fanclub vibe perfectly. Melodic as all get out, with a little feedback in all the right places.


20. tUnE-yArDs - W H O K I L L - Experimental through and through but in its own twisted way, catchy, this is probably the most either love it or hate it album on the list. 

The Knux

19. The Knux - Eraser - Their seond album and second appearance in the Timmys. The Knux shifted their sound from De La Soul/Tribe Called Quest late 80s backpack rap to guitar driven rock/rap/pop hybrid with a live band. It won’t inspire anyone to greatness, but it's a good fun listen.

18. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Belong - Poppy, peppy, catchy and with more of hit of the poppier side of late 80's alternative, TPOBPAH are like the soundtrack to a lost John Hughes movie.

17. Mariachi El Bronx - Mariachi El Bronx II - Another Timmys repeat, punk band The Bronx's alter ego of a mariachi band are back with another round of rock driven mariachi tunes sung in English.


16. The People Under The Stairs - Highlighter - The eight album by L.A.'s TPUTS, they keep rollin' with their nice mix of old school samples merged with new energy and cleverness.

15. Wild Flag - Wild Flag - Why should the boys have a ll the supergroups? Members of Sleater-Kinney, The Minders and Helium get together for great collection of guitar driven tunes.

14. The Beach Boys - The SMiLE Sessions - Technically, this is a new release as SMiLE never officially saw the light of day (Brian Wilson's version of the album hit the Timmys at #16 in 2004.) The original sessions finally saw their release this year. Worth the years of hype? Perhaps not, but a solid set of songs and an interesting listening experience.

13. Tom Waits - Bad To Me - A fairly straight-forward set of tunes from ol' Tom, whose voice only suits his material better as he ages. If his mind stays sharp, we could be enjoying new albums from him for years. If he starts to lose it, they might even be better.

12. Butch Walker And The Black Widows - The Spade- Thanks to Victor Ponce for introducing me to Butch and his catchier-than-all-get-out songs. Power pop, americana, straight-ahead rock, Butch does it all so well. Ladies, you may like the video- it does take a minute for the music to kick in.

11. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare - Judges, Volume 2 - Canadian baritone sax player mics his saxophone in several spots to make it sound like a whole band, when it's all just one very creative performer.

10. Kanye West and Jay-Z - Watch The Throne - Sure, they like to talk about themselves ad nauseum and all of their 1% tax bracket spoils, but musically they still blow most of the competition out of the water.

9. William Elliott Whitmore- Field Songs - With a voice that sounds as old as America itself and songs that could have been written anytime in the past 150 years, Mr. Whitmore blends country and folk in a way that sounds both very familiar and fresh at the same time.

8. Bon Iver - Bon Iver - No sophomore slump here, Mr. Vernon is back and fleshes out the intimate sound of his debut while creating a set of songs that follow nicely on what For Emma... started.

7. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake - A big surprise for me as I have not registered Ms. Harvey on my radar for several years. A love letter to England full of surprisingly soft and very interesting sons.

6. The Black Keys - El Camino - Could have been higher if I had more of the year to listen to it (it was released late fall, and believe it or not, my ranking has been done since February). These guys keep impressing as they take the blues and garage rock to new heights. Also, they struck gold with the video for Lonely Boy.

5. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do- The second album by Mayer, the first cracking the Top 20 of The Timmys. More of the same spot-on blue-eyed soul, but with a little AM pop radio mixed in for good measure.

4. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues - What a great year for second albums, here's number three in a row. Maybe not as good as their debut, but damn good, great harmonies, lush strings and solid songs.

3. Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know - Yes, there is a 21 year old female singer from England who is making some really impressive music for her age. And it is most definitely not Adele. Laura Marling's 3rd album recalls Joni Mitchell, British folk and even Neil Young at points. Very impressive.

2. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light - I was not expecting this album to be anywhere near this good. It sounds like a greatest hits album for most bands, the songs are really solid and punchy throughout. Pat Smear is back, the guitars are as loud as they have ever been and even Bob Mould and Krist Novoselic show up for the

The Decemberists

1. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead- The Decemberists often came off just a little too artsy and bookish for me, which is surprising as that usually doesn't scare me off- read through this or any other year's Timmys and you'll see that. But here we are, at the Decemberists' big "commercial" move and I love it. Opener "Don't Carry It All" is a version of Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels" that I actually enjoy. "The Calamity Song" is like a lost R.E.M. song (Peter Buck guests on this and 2 other tracks). Gillian Welch continues to be the 21st Century's Emmylou Harris, her harmonies making any album twice as good. Solid from start to finish, and allmusic.com says "It may sound like a cross between Camper Van Beethoven's Key Lime Pie and R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People." I'll agree with that.



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