Granite & Tumble versus Others Top in 2011

Out of curiosity, I compared my top 23 albums of 2011 with some of the other popular lists to see how much overlap there was.   The answer is not much.  So, if nothing else my list could be some new music for you.

  • No overlaps with the 50 from Pitchfork.
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Spin
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Paste
  • No overlaps with the 50 from NPR
  • No overlaps with the 50 from Stereogum
  • No overlaps with the 30 from GorillavsBear
  • One overlap with the 20 from Punknews (Joyce Manor is #1 at Punk and #9 on GT)
  • No overlaps with the 40 from MetaCritic
  • No overlaps with the 100 from eMusic

Favorite Albums of 2011

I bought 134 albums in 2011, since 2009 that is a typical year for number of albums.

I decided to list every album that had average song rating greater than 4, since they would all be worthy of mentioning and buying.   I have 23 albums that earned that distinction.

Using my album formula, here were my favorite 23 albums in 2011:

1.  Damien Jurado’s Live at Landlocked (Secretly Canadian) – 9.805


2.  The Dark Mean’s Self Titled (Bandcamp) – 9.729


3.  Mixtapes’ How To Throw A Successful Party (Self Released) – 9.724


4.  The Dodos’ No Color (Frenchkiss) – 9.696


5.  Ramshackle Glory’s Live the Dream (Plan It X) – 9.648


6.  P.S. Eliot’s Sadie (Salinas) – 9.518


7.  Cloud Nothings’ Self Titled (Carpark) – 9.411


8.  The Front Bottoms’ Self Titled (Bar None) – 9.388


9.  Joyce Manor’s Self Titled (6131) – 9.377


10.   The Wooden Birds’ Two Matchsticks (Barsuk) – 9.232


11.  Al Scorch’s Tired Ghostly Town (Self Released) – 9.220


12.  High Dive’s Self Titled (No Idea) – 9.165

high dive

13.  Fionn Regan’s 100 Acres of Sycamore (Heavenly) – 9.142


14.  Michael Jordon’s Touchdown Pass’ Baby Steps (Bandcamp) – 9.113


15.  Monument’s Goes Canoeing (Tiny Engines) – 8.821


16.  Wavelets’ Athaletics (Tiny Engines) – 8.815


17.  Waxahatchee + Chris Clavin Split (Plan It X) – 8.722


18.  Signals Midwest’s Latitudes & Longitude (Tiny Engines) – 8.146


19.  The Rural Alberta Advatage’s Departing (Saddle Creek) – 8.079


20.  Time New Viking’s Dancer Enquired (Wichita) – 7.914


21.  The Hotel Year’s It Never Goes Out (Bandcamp) – 7.884


22.  Owen’s Ghost Town (Polyvinyl) – 7.720


23.  Laura Stevenson & the Cans’ A Record (Asian Man) – 7.335


Favorite Songs of 2011

I changed my process this year for picking favorite songs.   While most frequent listens is a good barometer of my favorite songs, it is clearly not the only measure (particularly with high counts coming to songs my wife or kids love).

So, I adjusted the process.   I had two rules when assembling the list:

  1. Song must have 5 stars (177 songs)
  2. Could not duplicate artist

Then I listed to the songs and picked the ones that stuck with me the most.    I really did my best to pair the list down (I did cut 137 5-star songs), but still have 40 phenomenal songs.    This list of my favorite songs of 2011 is below in alphabetical order.    All great songs, I hope you enjoy.   Let me know your thoughts on any standouts or omissions.

Al Scorch’s Tired Ghostly Town from Tired Ghostly Town (Self Released)


You can listen to it here.

Bombadil’s The Pony Express from All That The Rain Promises (Ramseur)

Case Studies’ Dagger from The World Is Just a Shape to Fill The Night (Sacred Bones)

The Cave Singers’ Swim Club from No Witch (Jagjaguwar)

Cloud Nothing’s For No Reason from I Will Talk To You / For No Reason (Carpark)

Damien Juardo’s Thax Douglas #1 from Live at Landlocked (Secretly Canadian)

Dark Mean’s Happy Banjo from Self Titled (Bandcamp)

David Bazan’s Don’t Change from Strange Negotiations (Barsuk)

The Dodos’ Don’t Try And Hide It from No Color (Frenchkiss)

Ducktails’ Killin’ The Vibe from Arcade Dynamics (Woodist)

Football, etc’s Mouthguard from the Draft (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Frightened Rabbit’s Scottish Winds from Self Titled EP (Self Released)

The Front Bottom’s Rhode Island from Self Titled (Bar None)

High Dive’s Tennessee from Self Titled (No Idea)

Into It. Over It’s The Frames That Used To Greet Me from Proper (No Sleep)

J.  Mascis’ I’ve Been Thinking from Circle (Sub Pop)

Joie De Vivre’s Vicodin Lite from Four Way Split (Count Your Lucky Stars)

Joyce Manor’s Constant Headache from Self Titled (6131)

M83’s Midnight City from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute)

Mannequin Men’s Hobby Girl from Self Titled (Addenda)

Matt Pond PA’s Love To Get Used from Spring Fools (MRI)

Mixtapes’ Hey Baby from Castle Songs (Death To False Hope)

The Mountain Goats’ High Hawk Season from All Eternals Deck (Merge)

Owen’s No Place Like Home from Ghost Town (Polyvinyl)

P.S. Eliot’s Shitty and Tragic from Sadie (Salinas)

Purple Seven’s On The Corner from Volume One (Bandcamp)


You can listen to it here.

Ramshackle Glory’s Your Heart is Muscle The Size of Your Fist from Live the Dream (Plan It X)

The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Good Night from Departing (Saddle Creek)

The Sea and Cake’s Up On The North Shore from Moonlight Butterfly (Thrill Jockey)

Signals Midwest’s Family Crest from Latitudes and Longitude (Tiny Engines)

The Smith Street Band’s Southeast Facing Wall from Southeast Facing Wall (Jacknife)

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s Bigger Than Your Yard from Tape Club (Polyvinyl)


You can listen here

Spraynard’s Spooky, Scary from Funtitled (Asian Man)

Thurston Moore’s Benediction from Demolished Thoughts (Matador)

Timber Timbre’s Black Water from Creep on Creeping On (Arts & Crafts)

Times New Viking;s Fuck Her Tears from Dancer Equried (Wichita)

Wavelets’ Kelly Hewitt Loves Waterworld from Athaletics (Tiny Engines)

Waxahatchee’s Whisky and Math from Split with Chris Clavin (Plan It X)

Wild Flag’s Future Crimes from Self Titled (Merge)

The Wooden Birds’ Criminals Win from Two Matchsticks (Barsuk)

Favorite EPs of 2011

The EPs of 2011 were quite impressive.  I picked my 14 favorites that were all noteworthy.

We had the debut album from the Smith Street Band, who have been on an impressive run since.    We had the Mixtapes continue to dominate the extended play format.     Matt Pond back on the list after a brief hiatus and many other interesting beginnings or new offerings.

Here is the list – all worth a pickup or a listen.

1.  Cheap Girls & Lemuria Split (No Idea) – 9.502


2.  Mixtapes’ Hope Is For the People (Animal Style) – 9.234


3.  Smith Street Band’s South East Facing Wall (Jacknife) – 9.229


4.  Surfer Blood’s Tarot Classics (Kanine) – 8.548


5.  Big Awesome’s Better Than Numbers (A Reaction) – 8.283


6.  Frightened Rabbit’s Self Titled EP (self released) – 7.443


7.  Wild & Run Forever Split (Solidarity) – 7.332


8.  Mixtapes’ Companions to Maps (Animal Style) – 7.152


9.  Matt Pond PA’s Spring Fools (MRI) – 7.122


10.  Silian Rail’s Acoustic Music EP (Bandcamp) – 7.067


11.  Hard Girls & Kudrow’s Boo (Asian Man) – 6.995


12.  Elvis Depressedly’s Disgraceland (Bandcamp) – 6.942


13.  Annabel/Empire! Empire!/Joie De Vivre/The Repilian 4 way split (Count Your Lucky Stars) – 6.938


14.  For Serious This Time’s Weird Life (Bandcamp) – 6.507


2011 in Music

Its that time again, the annual best lists.  It truly is a labor of love, going through all the music of a particular year.   Remembering and enjoying the standouts, listening and rating the ones that were overlooked.

For those not initiated,  my lists are always for the period two years ago.    I believe that favorite album compilations should lag by two years for two primary time constraining reasons:  to address the staying power of the album and to acquire a suitable number of fine albums.

2011 was a great year.  I bought 134 albums and have just under 2000 songs from 2011.   So, a lot of music to go through and I have nearly rated all of it.   I will spend the next week finishing the rating and selecting my tops from 2011.

Let me know your thoughts on the hits and misses.

Artists of 2012

Here were the artists that I listened to the most times in 2012.

1.  Ghost Mice (856 listens)



2.  Paul Baribeau (795 listens)


3. Defiance, Ohio (770 listens)



4.  The Chinkees (604 listens)



5.  Toby Foster (475 listens)



6.   Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains (448 listens)



7.  The Wild (446 listens)



8.  Eric Ayotte (437 listens)



9.   Folk the System (408 listens)



10.  Mixtapes (404 listens)


Updated All Time Favorite Record Labels

What a difference a year makes.  Last year after I posted my all time favorite record labels, I went out and bought a lot more albums from labels that ranked high but had few albums. I also continue to rank music resulting in some movement.

The updated list of all time favorite record labels is posted here.

Here are the changes…

New Additions

From out of the top 10 to the number 1 spot:  Plan It X Records


Out of the top 10 to the number 7 spot:  Bandcamp (not quite a traditional label, but close enough for this list)



Exits from the Top 10

Was Number 7.  Hush Records (9.410) –> Now 16 (9.070)

  • WAS:  I only have 6 artists, 8 full lengths, and 98 songs on Hush.  What gets Hush into the top ten is the high quality of the releases that I do own.  Of the 8 full lengths, 1 is a 5 star album and 3 are 4 star albums.   50%  of albums good/great is one of the best ratios for any label.  My favorite album is definitely a Kind of Like Spitting album (one of my favorite bands).   Current stats say In the Red.  The other important artist on their label is Super XX Man.  I have not bought a release from Hush since 2007.
  • NOW:  Added 1 artist, 3 full lengths, 80 new songs from Hush since last update (40 still unrated).  None of the albums were 4 or 5 star albums.   Dropping Hush down a few spots.

Was Number 8.  XL Records (9.318) –> Now 15 (9.075)


  • WAS:  I have 14 artists, 7 full lengths, and 94 songs from XL.  My favorite album is Vampire Weekend’s self titled.   My favorite artists are Vampire Weekend and Titus Andronicus.   I did not buy a single album from XL in 2011.
  • NOW:  Added 4 artists, 4 full lengths, and 48 songs.    Rating of new adds brought down the overall average.  Still only one 5-star album and one 4-star album.

The rest of the labels shuffled a bit, but all remained in top ten.   See the whole list here.

Favorite Record Label of 2010

Using my record label formula I analyzed my LPs, EPs, and Singles from 2010 to determine my favorite record labels of the year.

Here is the list:

1.  Bandcamp – 9.703 (10 artists, one 5-star LP, two 4-star LP)



2.  Death to False Hope – 9.175 (7 artists, one 5-star LP)



3.  Asian Man – 9.121 (4 artists, two 5-star LP)



4.  Mom and Pop Music – 8.261 (2 artists, two 4-star LP)


5.  Self Released – 7.713 (37 artists, two 4-star LP)

DIY-No Label

6.  Polyvinyl – 7.446 (9 artists, one 4-star LP)



7.  Arts & Crafts – 7.406 (4 artists, one 4-star LP)



8.  Barsuk – 7.324 (6 artists, one 4-star LP)



9.  XL – 7.307 (5 artists, one 4-star LP)



10.  Thrill Jockey – 7.010 (5 artists, one 4-star LP)


Granite & Tumble versus Others Top in 2010

Out of curiosity, I compared my top 22 albums of 2010 with some of the other popular lists to see how much overlap there was.   The answer is not much.  So, if nothing else my list could be some new music for you.

Favorite Albums of 2010

Here are my favorite albums of 2010.  I bought 133 albums in 2010 (most ever).

Also, I decided to list every album that had average song rating greater than 4, since they would all be worthy of mentioning and buying.   I have 22 albums that earned that distinction.

Using my album formula, here were my favorite 22 albums in 2010:

1.  Mixtapes’ Maps (Death to False Hope) – 9.772


2.  The Wild’s Set Ourselves Free (Asian Man) – 9.763


3.  Cloud Nothings’ Turning On (Speakertree) – 9.714


4.  Sundowner’s We Chase the Waves (Asian Man) – 9.697


5.  Toby Foster’s On Moving and Standing Still (Bandcamp) – 9.658


6.  Rooftops’ A Forest of Polarity (Clickpop) – 9.614


7.  Tokyo Police Club’s Champ (Mom and Pop) – 9.610


8.  Theo Hilton, Toby Foster, & Ryan Woods’ Self Titled (Word Wild) – 9.595


9.  Hoquiam’s self titled (St. Ives) – 9.591


10.  Nana Grizol’s Ruth (Orange Twin) – 9.521


11.  Everyone Everywhere’s self titled (Tiny Engines) – 9.463


12.  Listener’s Wooden Heart (Self Released) – 9.463


13.  Knight School’s Revenger (Make a Mess) -9.455


14.  Paul Baribeau’s Unbearable (Bandcamp) – 9.452


15.  Luke Roberts’ Big Bells & Dime Songs (Thrill Jockey) – 9.439

Luke Roberts - Big Bells and Dime Songs

16.  Defiance, Ohio’s Midwestern Minutes (No Idea) – 9.275


17.  You Blew It’s The Past in Present (Bandcamp) – 9.272


18.  Frightened Rabbit’s The Winter of Mixed Drinks (Fat Cat) – 9.249


19.  Dan Mangan’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice (Arts & Crafts) -9.107


20.  Coffee Project’s Moved On (Paper + Plastic) – 8.840


21.  Eric Ayotte’s Wavering (Plan It X) – 8.751

ayotte wavering

22.  The Taxpayers’ To Risk So Much for One Damn Meal (Plan It X) – 8.545