THE POWER POP SHOW'S
*** Best Albums of 2011 ***
1. ARMY / NAVY – The Last Place
Hands down; the best album of the year for me. Every track is a full frontal attack of blissfully chimey guitars, sublime melodies, and supremely memorable hooks.
2. BEADY EYE – Different Gear, Still Speeding
When Liam quit Oasis and took the rest of the band with him (sans brother Noel) he made the best Oasis album since What’s the Story…Morning Glory.
3. THE DECEMBERISTS – The King Is Dead
Was never a fan of this band’s earlier, overtly-literate and artfully obtuse style of indie rock, but this album perfectly balances those elements with more focused songcraft.
4. THE WHISKEY SAINTS – 24 Hours
Out of left field…this LA band’s debut is a polished, supremely crafted and produced album full of warm twangy guitars, pitch-perfect vocals and fantastic songs.
5. PUGWASH – The Olympus Sound
The musical genius of Thomas Walsh rings loud and true once again. Pugwash mines the full spectrum of pop music....with big nods big to XTC on this one. Artfully crafted arrangements and meticulously produced.
6. FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE – Sky Full Of Holes
My least favorite FOW record – yet still made #6 on my list. Just goes to show – at their worst – Fountains of Wayne is leagues better than most power pop bands.
7. QUEEN ELECTRIC – s/t
Brand new project from pop mastermind Scot Sax, this fleeting 7-song EP showcases a rich blend of glam-infused rock, soulful melodies, and plucky piano-driven pop songs.
8. BILL SCHULZ – s/t
This Wisconsin native wrote and recorded everything on this album himself. An engaging palette that spans the musical spectrum - from pure pop, to soft, introspective folk/country, to laid-back, jazzy grooves. An amazingly talented virtuoso.
9. THE HAZEY JANES – The Winter That Was
This Scottish band’s 4th album is the embodiment of a perfect guitar pop record…not too ragged and not too gentle, it rocks in the right places and showcases some amazing, often quirky melodic leanings.
10. DROPKICK – Time Cuts the Ties
Let’s hear it for the Scots! Dropkick draws heavy influence from Teenage Fanclub and makes something truly their own. Mellow, subdued melodies and soft strummy guitars abound. Brilliant!
11. NOEL GALLAGHER’s HIGH-FLYING BIRDS – s/t
12. RYAN ALLEN & HIS EXTRA ARMS – s/t
13. PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART - Belong
14. CUT COPY – Zonoscope
15. WIRE – Red Barked Tree
16. THE KOOKS – Junk of the Heart
17. THE WELLINGTONS – In Transit
18. MEYERMAN – Who Do You Think You Are?
19. THE JOY FORMIDABLE – The Big Roar
20. WILCO – The Whole Love
21. WIRETREE – Make Up
22. THE WANDAS – s/t
23. THE NINES – Polarities
24. THE SMITHEREENS – 2011
25. ROBERT POLLARD – Space City Kicks
26. BYE BYE BLACKBIRDS – Fixed Hearts
27. SLOAN – The Double Cross
28. BUFFALO TOM – Skins
29. URGE OVERKILL – Rock n Roll Submarine
30. TOMMY KEENE – Behind The Parade
DB BAND (feat. Mick Quinn of Supergrass) Stranger in the Alps EP
EVIL EYE – Vicious Circle (single)
MATTHEW SWEET – Modern Art
Big disappointment here from a pop genius I have high expectations for. Modern Art is strong on texture, psychedelic guitar noodling, and experimentation ....short on songs and memorable hooks. Lazy execution and ideas here that do not seem fully fleshed. A difficult listen.