Albums of the Year 2011 – The International Edition (30-16)

30. The Disciplines – Virgins of Menace

Ken Stringfellow and his norwegian pals have some serious rock’n’roll action going on. If I have to choose I prefer the first The Disciplines album, but Virgins of Menace is also damn enjoyable.

29. The Jayhawks – Mockingbird Time

I admit that this is shockingly low position for one of my all-time favourite bands. But it wouldn’t be an honest thing to do to lift them to top 10, because I haven’t listened to this as much as I should have. I can’t really even give a proper reason why, because every time I do listen to it, I’m enjoying every minute. Louris & Olson singing together sounds (and feels) so amazing.
28. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest

High quality album from start to finish, but even though I enjoy every moment maybe only Scarlet Town and the stunningly beautiful Way It Will Be really stand up from the crowd. Maybe partly because one tends to expect something divine from Gillian Welch, who still is one of the greatest.

27. Mike Viola – Electro De Perfecto

The list continues with my big heroes. A great pop singer-songwriter Mike Viola returned with a new album Electro De Perfecto. There’s a couple of “just ok” -tunes in there, which is usually the case with power pop albums, but mostly it’s an excellent pop album.

26. Fountains of Wayne – The Sky Full of Holes

A welcome return from the pop maestros. Maybe none of the tracks reaches my all-time top 12 FOW songs list, but Sky Full Of Holes was a really strong and consistent album (Unlike Traffic & Weather that had a few songs I didn’t like at all).
25. Bonnie Prince Billy – Wolfroy Goes To Town

The last addition to the list. I just bought this a couple of weeks ago and haven’t spent enough quality time with it. And Bonnie Prince Billy demands one’s attention. Of course it does work wonderfully also as background music, but to really locate all the beauty & the detail one needs to dig deeper. Given time this might have risen closer to top 10, but I’m already captivated.
24. Robert Ellis – Photographs

Robert Ellis, a new singer-songwriter from Houston, gave us some traditional country songs and beautiful folk songs. There’s a song or two in here that i’m not a big fan of, but most of them are astoundingly beautiful. I’m especially fond of I’ll Never Give Up On You and Photographs. A couple of great vintage country ballads.
23. The Red Button – As Far as Yesterday Goes

Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg are blissfully stuck in the past and deliver some of the finest 60’s influence pop music these days. The second Red Button album maybe doesn’t have as mindblowingly brilliant (should-be) hit as Cruel Girl was on the debut, but it’s still a really great album and one of my favourite pop albums of the year.
22. Wilco – The Whole Love

Ok, so Art of Almost is more like art of crap. Or art of how to kill a great melody with useless shit. But mostly the new Wilco album is extremely good and Wilco is still floating my boat.

21. Jonny – Jonny

Two great pop songwriters behind this album. Jonny is Euros Childs and Norman Blake. Unlike Teenage Fanclub and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Jonny isn’t one of the greatest things in the world. However, Jonny’s debut is still an excellent little pop album and I love listening to it. The song Circling The Sun is a big favourite of mine.
20. Butcher Boy – Helping Hands

I’m not the biggest Butcher Boy fan in this household, but I like them a lot as well. I’ve kind of lost touch with the indie pop world during the recent years, but thankfully I’m still familiar with the great scottish indie pop group Butcher Boy, because my girlfriend always buy their records. This has been playing a lot around the house during the year and I fell in love with it.

19. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Iron & Wine’s latest album Kiss Each Other Clean doesn’t seem to get too much love on these year end lists and I find that somewhat surprising. Ok, I struggled a bit myself, because it does have a song or two that I don’t like that much, but the vocals. Oh my. I could just listen to the vocal tracks all day long. Sam Beam’s voice sounds like the sweetest work of ark. And of course the songs are mostly great. Especially Tree By The River and Rabbit Will Run.
18. Have Gun, Will Travel – Mergers & Acquisitions

Have Gun Will Travel was one of my big finds last year and I’m still very much into them. The new album Mergers & Acquisitions is again full of great folk/americana songs. Lyric department is also in good shape. Especially Katharine, Don’t Fall Off that Wagon is a really marvellous song.

17. Brown Bird – Salt for Salt

Brown Bird’s David Lamb would be a big contender in the beard of the year contest, but Brown Bird will do just fine in the album of the year contest as well. Very fond of their new album Salt For Salt even though the darker side of their folk music almost goes out of my comfort zone. The opening trio of Fingers to the Bone, Chairkickers and Bilgewater is truly stunning.
16. Lauderdale – Moving On

Lauderdale from Muscle Shoals, Alabama released quite a stunning album that can compete with any of the big boys in the genre. The perfect way to end this first part of the international albums of the year list, is their brilliant song Stars Fell.


(Top 1-15 either later today or sometime tomorrow)

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