We are very busy here at HDD HQ comparing tall boys of various domestic light canned beers, reading angry letters from people who don't think rap music is punk, watching lots of basketball (which will also piss off the ponx,) creating new zines, and putting together our year-end best-of lists. The last two of which, will be coming along shortly...plug-plug. As well, we have brought a couple new contributors into the fold: Ashley, who tells us her first installment of Ashley's Thrash Zone is on its way (So, like, where is it then Ash? Hint, hint. -Ed.), and a friend of the family, who has yet to decide on a handle, who we will refer to in the interim as, ah, Friend of the Family. The latter of which, will be covering some of the more rootsy, folky, Americana-tinged extensions of punk that fall outside of the crust/black/thrash/D-beat/doom/sludge/hardcore yada-yada realm normally discussed in these proverbial pages. As always, we are open to ANY ideas from you. There is virtually no topic we are afraid of. I mean, if you're all like, "I'd like to do 'This Month in Child Pornograpy'", we'll politely decline, but you get the idea--we're open. It you'd like to throw something down, whether it be one time, or on the regular, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. Now without further adieu, Friend of the Family, take it away...
So here's the skinny: every couple weeks I will run down on whats hot, what you should avoid, and talk about upcoming new music--punk, rock, folk and the like. I officially start after the new year. But in the meantime, here is my recommendations of 2011 records that you should be adding to your iPod or vinyl collection...
Top 7 albums of 2011
1. Nothington-Borrowed Time
Third full length from the bay area quartet, first on Brendan Kelly from Lawrence Arms fame, new label Red Scare Industries. To me it could be the punk rock's Nebraska. It's honest, working class punk rock at it's finest! Now if Rancid could give us another good album.
Reminds me of: Social Distortion Key Track: "Where I Can't be Found"
2. The Horrible Crowes- Elsie
It could be called a Gaslight Anthem homer, the everyday band of Brian Fallon. With the help of his guitar tech Ian Perkins, Falllon writes some goddamn depressing shit. It's usually what Ryan Adams writes about, sad bastard music. Fallon is one of this generations most important up and coming songwriters. He is the jukebox romeo, but with his side project he moves away from the Springsteen comparisons, and lays down layered "night time music" as he describes, in his own words. It is heavily influenced by The Afghan Whigs, and Tom Waits, with a touch of the heavily underrated band The Cure.
Reminds me of: Bob Mould-Workbook Key track: "Ladykiller" (My favorite track of 2011)
3. Dave Hause-Resolutions
Taking a detour from his punk rock band Philadelphia's The Loved Ones, Dave Hause puts out a very eclectic debut solo album. There's piano, keys, and some of the most vivid imagery I've heard since Craig Finn of the Hold Steady. And as a bonus Pete Steinkopf from the Bouncing Souls produces and plays on a few tracks. Dave's passionate about what he does and shows it in the way he carries his voice.
Reminds me of: Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music) Key track: "Time Will Tell"
4. Kasey Anderson and the Honkies-The Heart of a Dog
Now back home in Portland with a new band, Kasey is another great up and coming songwriter in the veins of Steve Earle and Springsteen. This album has it all, blues, rock, folk.
Reminds me of: Steve Earle-Guitar Town Key Track: "My Baby's a Wrecking Ball"
5. Title Fight-Shed
Post-punk hardcore blasts from the speakers and aims to tear the roof off this motha. Their debut record and the best one of the year.
Reminds me of: Jawbreaker Key Track: "Shed"
6. Ryan Adams-Ashes and Fire
On his one millionth album Adams does his best Neal Young Harvest. The songs are simple but Adams always so vivid with his imagery. I'm starting to think of Adams is in the same category as The Beastie Boys and Beck. Whatever they put out even if it was a techno/country record I'd buy and it would actually be pretty good. Ryan goes back to his first album Heartbreakers more stripped down acoustic roots. Norah Jones provides great background vocals and Ethan Johns who produced records for the Rolling Stones, does so here. Sobriety and Mandy Moore have him sounding at his best yet, vocally.
Reminds me of: Ryan Adams-Cold Roses
7. Red City Radio-The Dangers of Standing Still
Oklahoma City has found it's big punk band. They're anthems, foot tappers, and they sound like Hot Water Music!
Reminds me of: NOFX-The Decline Key Track: "50'th & Western"
'Til next year; live the dream!
-Friend of the Family