Friday, December 23, 2011

Best Music of 2011: Part 2

In case you missed it: Best Music of 2011: Part 1

You may or may not have noticed, but in Part 1, each of the album titles was a link to the Frequent Spins post where they appeared earlier in the year. Part 2 introduces three of the four albums that show up on this list but, for various reasons, were never covered in Frequent Spins.

25. Feist - Metals
Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist's latest was released in early October, but it wasn't until I started working on this list that it started to really make an impact on me. There's no iPod commercial material here—a la "1234"—but overall this is a better album than The Reminder. What about our national pastime, you ask? All I have to say is this adds new meaning to the concept of fantasy baseball.

24. Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit - Here We Rest
This one should have been included in the latest Frequent Spins, but since I characterized that as a catchup post, it shouldn't be terribly hard to understand I overlooked it. Isbell, the former Drive-By Trucker, is a pretty big Atlanta Braves fan, but apparently liked the Dodgers as a kid, and even recalls (sort of) being carried to his parents by Fernando Valenzuela's mom after passing out waiting for an autograph.

23. Those Darlins - Screws Get Loose
These female rockers from Tennessee faced the difficult task of being the opening act for the Drive-By Truckers at a show in St. Louis on Friday, October 28. What could possibly be so hard about that? It was the night of Game 7 of the World Series. You may or may not have heard, but the Cardinals won that game. The DBTs were able to move their set time to coincide with the post-game celebration, but Those Darlins were not afforded such a luxury.

22. Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest
There are 4 1/2 female-fronted acts that grace this year's list, not counting a handful of others with prominent—but not band-leading—female members. Other than the 1/2, Ms. Welch is the highest ranking of the group. David Rawlings is Welch's musical and life partner. As far as I know, he has nothing to do with the sham that is Major League Baseball's Gold Glove Awards.

21. The Baseball Project - Volume 2: High and Inside
I probably don't need to explain that this side project, led by Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey, has an affinity for baseball. Since I wrote quite a bit about this album earlier in the year, I'll let you read about it here and here.

20. The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
These roots rock pioneers are from Minneapolis, and while Mark Olson may not be a big sports fan, Gary Louris is. And, of course, his loyalties are to the hometown Minnesota Twins.

19. Beirut - The Rip Tide
Beirut's Zach Condon is from New Mexico. My good friend and the most ardent follower of my year-end best music list, El-Squared—who, incidentally officiated my wedding to KJ—travels to Albuquerque for work somewhat frequently and has attended quite a few Albuquerque Isotopes games. Sorry, that's the best I can do.

18. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Departing
This band's moniker, for some reason, reminds me of The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, the lesser-known novel by Shoeless Joe author W.P. Kinsella. Kinsella, it just so happens, hails from Edmonton, Alberta.

Next: Best Music of 2011: Part 3

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