Monday, December 26, 2011

Best Music of 2011: Part 3

Previously: Best Music of 2011, Part 1 and Part 2.

Now I'm getting to the point where I can no longer guarantee to continue with the baseball angle, but that's not to say I'm going to completely forsake it, either.

17. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic
The former Pavement front-man and all-around indie rock icon is also a fantasy baseball guru, as well as a Dodgers fan and a hater of the Red Sox and Yankees.

16. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
Waits must be a baseball fan. As evidence, I offer the lyrics of songs such as "A Sight for Sore Eyes" and "Shore Leave." I think he's probably a bigger fan of drinking, though.

15. Neil Young & The International Harvesters - A Treasure
When Neil Young wrote, in 1979, that "'s better to burn out than to fade away," was that somehow foreshadowing the 2011 Red Sox?

14. Crooked Fingers - Breaks in the Armor
Eric Bachmann is the lead singer of Crooked Fingers, a much mellower outfit than his former band, the raucous and edgy indie darlings of the early to mid-'90s, Archers of Loaf. That's why he's sometimes referred to as the Frank Tanana of indie rock. OK, I made that up, but considering he's 6'7" and from the south, I like to think of him as the Lee Guetterman of the indie scene.

13. Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
When I wrote about this album in the first Frequent Spins of the year, I thought I'd end up considering it Sam Beam's best effort since his debut. But, in hindsight, I'm not so sure, as it fell short of the top ten, while The Shepherd's Dog wound up as my #9 of 2007.

12. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
My effort to view this best music of 2011 countdown from a baseball perspective has turned into a quest to determine what, if any, team to which each artist owes their loyalties. Quite often this means just googling the band name, or one or more of their individual members, followed by the word "baseball." When I did so for the lead singer of this band, one of the results was an online forum asking the question "Will Sheff retire or go the Rickey Henderson route?" I honestly never thought I could connect Okkervil River and Gary Sheffield so easily.

11. Wilco - The Whole Love
I like lists and I like statistics. So, of course, I maintain statistics on my year-end music lists. These stats tell me four artists are tied for the most top ten finishes ever: The Hold Steady didn't release an album this year; Steve Earle has already appeared, but not even close to the top ten; Wilco just missed establishing a record, but had they done so, they would not be alone.

Next: Best Music of 2011: Part 4


  1. glad to find this.
    saw you on daniel days new baseball solstice post-comment.
    a wordpress blogger and i started up a short thread on baseball and music a few days ago and then here you are taking it further down river with frank tanana mentioned in reference to crooked fingers. brilliant! that makes my day and maybe the whole damn year. got me wondering where Punchdrunk's Lyman Bostock song (from the 90's) might be found. punchdrunk bass player-galen polivka eventually made it to the Hold Steady. they are all such big baseball fans. happy new year left field!!!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Steve. Funny coincidence...I was just looking at your blog post on the baseball solstice. It showed up in my Twitter feed.

    I was quite pleased with my Frank Tanana/Eric Bachmann analogy, thanks.

    I'll have to check out Punchdrunk. Never heard of them, but I know Polivka's a Brewers fan and Craig Finn is a huge Twins fan.

    Happy New Year to you.