Okay, I'll go first with an end of the year list. I could do a list of my top ten albums/singles that were released in 2011 but it would end up being a bunch of reggae that I'm sure wouldn't be too interesting to the rest of the group here. Instead, here's a list of what's made the biggest impressions on me this year - including some new stuff but a lot of older things that I'm either rediscovering or discovering for the first time. I thought it would be more interesting than a list of reggae nobody's heard of before. The list is not in order of preference, just a list.
10) Cream - Disraeli Gears - Never heard this album before this year...except for one track they played on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I like this one a lot better than Fresh Cream , which was my only previous exposure to Cream. And if you're curious, they played "Tales of Brave Ulysses" on BtVS. I still think Clapton turned into a wanker but I appreciate him a bit more after hearing this record.
9) David Crosby - If Only I Could Remember My Name - When I'm out digging through the stacks I always keep an eye out for records that have Jerry Garcia on them (yeah, yeah, save it - I've heard it all before). I fell in love with this record from the first drop of the needle. It captures a certain rock/country-ish vibe that appeals to me. Love the long track "Cowboy Movie" on the first side.
8) Misfits - S/T compilation - For whatever reason I never checked out the Misfits in my youth. I listened to many punk/hardcore bands back in the day but never them - what a mistake! I've been making up for lost time by cranking their 1988 self titled compilation frequently. I want your skull, indeed!
7) David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - I'm a casual fan of Bowie and checked this one out from the library this year. I was a little surprised I liked it so much - especially "Moonage Daydream" - put your ray gun to my head...
6) Rolling Stones - Tattoo You - I was already kind of a late comer to the Stones and had sort of dismissed later (can early 80's be considered later?) Rolling Stones. I was in love with their earlier stuff like Aftermath and Out of Our Heads. Someone on Facebook made a post saying Tattoo You was the best Rolling Stones album and, even though I'd never heard it, took umbrage with that opinion. It so happened that the next weekend at the flea market there was a minty copy in the dollar record section of a booth I frequent. I don't know if it was fate or whatever but I gave it a listen when I got home and now I almost agree that Tattoo You is their best...almost.
5) Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Go Down Under - This was actually released in 2011..I just wanted to point that out! The latest from this punk "supergroup." The group is comprised of people from Lagwagon, NOFX, No Use for a Name and one or two other bands. If you aren't familiar with the Gimme Gimmes, their schtick is to do covers of familiar tunes in a punk style to great result, at least in my opinion. They've done show tunes, country music, 60s rock, 70s rock, etc - this release, a 2 x 7" set, is comprised of covers of Australian bands. Love it....and now I know Australia's to blame for Air Supply - something I hadn't know before.
4) Ahmad Jamal - Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal - I really could've chosen anything by Ahmad Jamal but I listened to this one most recently so I went with it. He's just such a force on the piano - swinging but mellow. His playing oozes emotion and the blues.
3) Disrupt / Tapes - Events Occur in Realtime / Atomica Rydim - Another release from 2011, albeit early 2011. Disrupt is easily my favorite current producer and he really shines on this 7" b/w his buddy Tapes (whom my love and respect for is growing). Events Occur is a speaker tester as the bass is unreal. I would love to hear this played out on a good club system - it might shake the building down. I kind of over looked the Tapes side for a while because I was so crazy about the A side but my appreciation for it has grown now that I revisit this release. This was put out by Police in Helicopter - another great German reggae label.
2) Black Chow - Wonderland - I made a post about this one earlier in the year. Haunting vocals by both the Japanese singer on the title track of this 12" and by Pupa Jim, a Frenchman, on the track "Signs." Another great Jahtari release - and it's from 2011 too!
1) Nicodemus - Serious Nicodemus: Nicodemus Meets Roots Radics at Channel One Volumes 1 & 2 - More reggae for the list. Dancehall at its finest. Nicodemus is the real deal - heavy, heavy heavy shit. These two comps may have catapulted him to my favorite dancehall artist - every track on these records sounds fresh and vital.
So there you go - my list for 2011, which was another shitty, shitty year for me personally but which has started to improve a bit towards the end. Hope everyone has a merry holiday season and a great 2012.