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Catchgroove’s Best of 2011 Part Two – The Top 10

December 31, 2011

Yesterday I posted 20-11 and today it is 10-1.  In reality order does not matter that much.  Depending on my mood any of these final 10 could be my favorite album of 2011.  For the most part the top-10 is dominated by artists I have a long relationship with.  But there are a couple of new faces – and that is what keeps me in the game – hoping to discover that artist you have never met who will blow you away.  Everyone on this list was a new friend once.

Looking forward to what music I will discover in 2012.  But one last time, let’s savor 2011.


Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks -Mirror Traffic: Malkmus and Beck together at last and what do you get?  A great Pavement album.


Robbie Robertson – How to Become Clairvoyant: It took Robbie to make a great Clapton album.  This is classic rock with bit of a modern twist. It is mellow; yet there is a lot of rock percolating under the surface. Very cleverly arranged, but disguised as easy.   Listen carefully there is a lot going on here.


Lady Gaga – Born This Way:  I am a latecomer to Gaga.  I saw her in the summer of 2010 at Lollapalooza when she was an up and coming curiosity and in my mind a merely a refreshed Madonna.  She put on a good show and what stuck me then was that she had a much Elton John as she did Madonna, and I guess that is what makes her special.  She is a real musician and not just a pop star.  “Born This Way” is a pop masterpiece – it is dance, it is rock, it is pop.  It has deep messages and it is fluff.  As a pop star Gaga is as good as it gets – genuine, but still a put on.  This album is a wonderful calling card and foundation to her pop stardom, because no matter what you must have great songs and Gaga’s got great songs.


Grieves  – Together Apart:  I am not much of a hip-hop guy, but being around Pwelbs has rubbed off on me.  I like my hip-hop melodic and I like good stories.  And it better invoke old school soul and funk grooves.  Grieves meets all my requirements.


Greg Allman – Low Country Blues: I like that this is not an Allman Brothers album, but a real solo album.  The great T Bone Burnett brings out the best in an over the hill rock star and reminds us what a great blues artist Greg Allman is.


Miles Davies Quintet – Live in the Europe 1967 (the Bootleg Series Vol. 1): Why is this on my list?  Because it is Miles and it was released in 2011.  Enough said, see full review.


Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire: Ryan Adams pressed the pause button and saved us from his prolific output and allowed us to anticipate and then enjoy a new album.  For a while I just could not digest the volume.  It was like eating a fine dessert when you are already stuffed – it might be gourmet, but it just doesn’t taste good when you are full.  I don’t know if this is his best work in years, but I enjoyed it because I was hungry and craving it. Nothing new and innovative – just finely crafted.  See full review and Minneapolis solo show review.


Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator: I have been waiting for Derek Trucks to put out a great record and this is it.  I am true fan and have all his albums.  They have all been good, but a bit disappointing – until this one.  Derek never seemed to have the right vocalist for his foil and there it was right under his nose – his wife Susan Tedeschi.  Add to that is a full band –  I am true sucker for guitar and horns.  Great arrangements, great songs, great vocals and tasteful guitar solos.  As talented as Derek Trucks is his greatest asset is his restraint – lets call it taste. PS – special thanks to my brother-in-law Steve for getting me the cool autographed poster for Christmas!


Paul Simon – So Beautiful, So What:  Simon is a genius.  He had hit a bit of a dull patch for me, but he pulled this one out of his ass.  I would put it up there with Graceland – not as shockingly good (Graceland opened the pop world to African pop when the average rube had never heard it – I am an average rube).  This is just well crafted pop magic.  Youthful yet mature.


Wilco – The Whole Love: Wilco has been on the top of my list for about 10 years now.  Frankly I was starting to get bored.  Then this album made me fall in love again.  There is nothing notably different about this album from other Wilco albums – it is just damn good.  It does everything they do best – it is weird, it is Beatleseque, it has great players, it is Wilco.  See full review.


From → Best of (music)

One Comment
  1. Tom Lynch permalink

    Nice list. I was thinking how can you leave off Wilco the whole love, but then I see listed last. Very nice old friend. Tom L.

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