Thursday, December 22, 2011

Carl's top 10 of '11

10) My Morning Jacket - Circuital

MMJ to those "in the know" is a band I first saw live this past summer, then got into their music. More rock than your average jam band and more jam than your average rock band I really dig their style and sound.

9) Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

The Foo Fighters have always been that band for me that I really dig, but just never cross the line into full blown fandom. Dave Grohl is one of the most influential and talented musicians of my generation and is the driving force behind much of their music.

8) Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

Dare I say that Lupe Fiasco is the poor man's Pharrell? Skateboard rap produces another lyrical "bomb" with this latest album. A collaboration with Trey Songz puts out one of the top club/radio tracks in "Can't Get You Outta My Head". Check out my linked video for another great collab effort with Skylar Grey.

7) Drake - Take Care

Whether he leaves Lil Wayne, Niki Minaj, and the Young Money Ent crew remains in question. What doesn't remain questionable is Drake's influence on hip hop and R&B in the last 2 years. Take Care is a lyrical journey through breakups, hookups, and life experiences I can only one day hope to experience.

6) Social Distortion - Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes

Punk rock vets Social D are still at it and 30 years of fine tuning have given us one kick ass album. I had the fortunate opportunity to see them live earlier this year and the only thing I would have changed about the show was the venue. Regardless, the show was rockin and this album got regular max-volume, windows down, summer driving play.

5) 311 - Universal Pulse

Yes, I'm probably the only one with this on their list. Do I care? Absolutely not. 311 has always and will always have a place in my soul. Granted, some of their latest studio albums have lacked that fire, drive, sound that is unmistakably "311"... this album definitely makes up for any slippage of that.

4) Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbows

Wow... the latest album from gifted lyricist Talib Kweli is one mind blowing track after another. Sick beats meet intelligent hip hop lyrics and make something truly special. Collaborations with Sean Price and a dance party ready track with Outasight complete this album.

3) Dropkick Murphys - Going Out in Style

 Punk. Irish. Beer. Bagpipes. More beer. Put all those together and you have a sing-a-long event also known as a DKM show. The South Boston rockers do it again with a great album and dedicate a tune to the teachers and union laborers battling the Walker cronies in Madison. Aside from their well known cover of "Amazing Grace", "The Irish Rover" is the best traditional song cover I've heard in a long time.

2) Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne

Hip hop icons Jay-Z and Kanye West team up for their first full album collaborative effort. I'd say it was a pretty damn big success. They feature the kind of fresh beats and bragging lyrics you'd expect from masters of their respective genre. "Ni**a's in Paris" and "Otis" are the radio bangers but plenty of other tracks are just as hot and support the whole album in diverse quality.

1) The Roots - Undun

Musically and lyrically this album is amazing. Reminiscent of classic Roots albums, Undun sets the bar for any hip hop album to be recorded from now on. Fallon, you are one lucky mf'er...

Honorable Mentions and close calls:

Radiohead - King of Limbs
Wiz Khalifa - Rolling Papers
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committe, Pt. 2
Incubus - If Not Now, When?
Flogging Molly - Speed of Darkness

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