Hi, friends and followers! Here’s what caught my attention this past year.
10.) Big Troubles - Romantic Comedy
Romantic Comedy took a lot of heat for being unimaginative, but in my book, it’s got enough content to set itself apart. At the end of the day, it’s a pretty fun listen, easily within all indie pop classifications. On the other hand, its lyrical content darkens the mood and makes the whole album a little more convincing and unique. Sensitive and extremely direct, it dwells on heartbreaks and sadness while still laying down echoed shoegaze guitar riffs and even the occasional surprisingly raw solo.
Favorite Tracks: Misery, Minor Keys, Never Mine
9.) Ponytail - Do Whatever You Want All the Time
No matter how much Ponytail tends to freak people out, I’ll always be a fan. There aren’t many bands around today with such intricate dueling guitar work and fantastic dynamics. This time, Molly Siegel’s mostly-incomprehensible chanting isn’t the main focus of the album but nicely reinforces emotional content and serves to balance out the constant shredding of two lead guitarists. Overall, the album really showcases how Ponytail masters tempo, loudness, and melodic progression.
Favorite Tracks: Easy Peasy, Honey Touches, AwayWay
8.) Yuck - Yuck
Growing up primarily in the 90’s, I was innately drawn to Yuck. Its grungy, fuzzy guitars are reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement but vocal melodies on songs like “Georgia” and “Operation” stay true to post-millennial indie rock.
Favorite Tracks: Georgia, Operation, Get Away,
7.) Gauntlet Hair - Gauntlet Hair
It’s good to see new bands like Gauntlet Hair “keeping it weird.” The amount of noise that comes out on tracks like “Keep Time” and “Overkill” is surprising considering they’re listed as a two-man project. Maybe I’m just a sucker for reverb and jangly, noisy guitars, but I have no reservations about saying that some of my favorite sounds of 2011 can be found within their spacey lead riffs and powerful, half-drum-machine’d percussion.
Favorite Tracks: Keep Time, Overkill, That’s Your Call
6.) Male Bonding - Endless Now
Endless Now is a really solid follow-up to one of my favorite albums of 2010 (and all-time, really). Male Bonding got a little more orderly but kept just enough fuzz and grit to pull it off well. The first song I heard, “Bones,” is an impressive six and a half minutes of familiar loose guitars and new layered vocals. Male Bonding cleaned up well in 2011.
Favorite Tracks: Bones, Before It’s Gone, Carrying, Can’t Dream