10. Cute Lepers- Adventure Time (1-2-3-4 Go!)
Another really good album from one of the best modern-day '77-style punk bands.
9. Tenement- Napalm Dream (Mandible Records)
My mandatory Wisconsin entry. "Classic indie" stylings a la Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. updated for the new punk generation.
8. Amoebas- self titled (Modern Action)
The debut from Grand Rapids, Michigan up-and-comers did not disappoint. Great snotty punk rock. It's like 1997 all over again!
7. Bad Sports – Kings of the Weekend (Dirtnap)
Ramones-inspired punk rock with power pop sensibilities. I was considering this for the #1 position as recently as September 23rd!
6. Barreracudas- Nocturnal Missions (Douchemaster)
Their singles were merely okay, but the album was a beast. A great mix of punky power pop and '70s style rockin' glam. Bonus points for an album title that would make Beavis and Butthead chuckle.
5. Night Birds- The Other Side of Darkness (Grave Mistake)
Breakneck early '80s California hardcore transplanted to 2011 Brooklyn and the Jersey shore- with requisite surf motif. In most other years, this would have easily made my top two.
4. Missing Monuments- Painted White (Douchemaster)
The great King Louie makes his "power pop" album, which sounds to me like rootsy rock n' roll! Classic.
3. The Dahlmanns- All Dahled Up (Pop Detective)
Ramones-inspired female-fronted power pop featuring Andre from the Yum Yums and his wife Cecile Line. This would be a multi million seller in a better world.
2. Sharp Objects- self titled (Modern Action)
From The Crowd to The Adolescents to Smogtown and numerous bands in between, there's been one hell of a California beach punk legacy. "Two guys from The Bodies, one guy from The Briefs, and a guy from
1. Something Fierce- Don’t Be So Cruel (Dirtnap)
Something Fierce was my favorite up-and-coming band when I shut down Now Wave Magazine four years ago. But the Houston trio has grown by leaps and bounds since then, and Don't Be So Cruel is the album that's taken them to the next level. It sounds like the album you wish The Clash had made in 1982, yet at the same time its feel is very "modern". Always skilled at writing simple pop/punk songs, this band has demonstrated that even more sophisticated material can be laden with hooks. Just as impressively, the album's lyrics manage to make serious statements about political and social matters without coming off lame or preachy. And while Something Fierce have something to say, that doesn't mean they don't have fun doing it! Don't Be So Cruel brings a funky, frenetic energy propelled by a playful dynamic between guitar and bass. Niki Sevven is the female Paul Simonon!
There you have it. 2011 will forever be remembered as an awesome year for albums! And just in case you're wondering about EP of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Band, and a host of other high honors, stay tuned! The 2011 Lord Rutledge Awards are coming in ten days!