Nix Crichton’s Top 10 albums of 2011
It’s left to me to pick my top 10 of 2011. This was no easy task. I could have given you 30 albums, a few dozen EP’s and a couple of singles. But one must restrict oneself. So here is a plethora of albums that have made my year. Enjoy. Merry Christmas, one and all.
1. Eureka Machines – “Champion The Underdog”
This is such a good album so I have to make it my number 1 for 2011. After a great debut with ‘Do Or Die’ a couple of years back, they’ve pulled this gem out of the hat. To top it off, they reference Basil Fawlty in track 1 and ‘mouses under the floor’ in track two. Splendid.
Highlights: “These Are The People Who Live In My House” and “Beginning Of The End Of The World”
2. Black Spiders – “Sons of the North”
Without sounding ‘fan-girly’ I’d been waiting for ages to get my paws on the ‘Spiders debut album and as suspected it turned out to be a rumbling bastard of frenetic rock n’ roll.
Highlights: “KISS Tried To Kill Me” and “What Goods A Rock Without A Roll?”
3. Wolfsbane – “Wolfsbane Save The World”
A triumphant return for the ‘Howling Mad Shitheads’. Good solid rock songs that will stick in your head for days (trust me, I’ve had ‘Blue Sky’ on repeat). Blaze and co. may be a little tiny bit older this time round but they rock harder than ever. ‘Technically’ this album isn’t out for general release until Jan but has been available on the band’s recent UK tour. If nothing else, I’ve given you a good album to head towards in 2012!
Highlights: “Blue Sky” and “Smoke and Red Light”
4. Illuminatus – “Glasnost”
You can take Illuminatus one of three ways – as the soundtrack to your own personal breakdown or just indulge in the social and political observations of the album (on Division: “The Endless chant of the war machine on your TV screen. The future of our way of life depends on this”) … or you could just enjoy it. It’s a good album to smash shit up to – or stuff envelopes.
Highlights: “Murdocracy” and “Keep Calm and Carry On”
5. Michael Monroe – “Sensory Overdrive”
Apart from having my favourite cover art for the year, this is a solid album of brilliance that brings a lot of ‘proper rock n’ roll masters together on one album. You’ve got Hanoi Rocks, The Wildhearts and New York Dolls. Lemmy even makes an appearance. Case closed.
Highlights: “78” and “Bombs Away”
6. Terrorvision – “Super Delux”
Albums like this make you proud to be British. This album slipped under the radar of the major glossies but their loss is our gain. While Tony Wright channels a slightly more indie vibe into his other band, Laika Dog – Terrorvision is all out, slap you in the face rock.
Highlights: “Shiny Things” and “Neighbourhood”
7. Skindred – “Union Black”
Skindred have been relentlessly playing the ‘toilet circuit’ for so long, some bands would have just got jaded and given up to work in their local bank – this lot have stuck at it. No longer just a support band, they have earned their stripes and with ‘Union Black’. No skipping this CD. Just pure track by track cross-over brilliance.
Highlights: “Doom Riff” and “Cut Dem”
8. Electric Six – “Heartbeats and Brainwaves”
This is a bit more electro rock (and even a little hip-hop) than their other offerings, but the hardcore Electric Six fans will not be disappointed. It’s not as guitar heavy so may turn off the more rock inclined – but if you have a bit of an open mind, it’ll sit nicely in your record collection.
Highlights: “Hello! I See You” and “Bleed For The Artist”
9. Chickenfoot – “III”
Is it any wonder that Chickenfoot produce nothing short of solid goodness? Well if you’ve got Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Chad Smith and Michael Anthony on the same recording it shouldn’t surprise you. With downloads of albums being more common these days, the band have a special edition version with 3D pictures of the band inside the pack and a pair of Chickenfoot glasses. With this album, it’s more than just good riffs that pop out at you.
Highlights: “Big Foot” and “Different Devil”
10. Foo Fighters – “Wasting Light”
The Foos are one of those bands stuck in the ‘top bands in the world’ trap. Thus, they have many lovers and haters. Their videos end up being overplayed and they end up on a lot of stations. However, this delightful morsel has been recorded in Dave Grohl’s garage using only analog equipment (and still sounds fifty million times better than the quality of Metallica’s “St Anger”). It’s hard, fast, stripped down Foos – it’s fab.
Highlights: “Dear Rosemary” and “White Limo”