The following are my top 10 albums of 2011. While this year has featured some great reissues and live albums, I’m only including CD’s of new music. So, here goes…
- Riverside, Memories In My Head
A mini-album clocking in at just over a half hour that is simply brilliant!
- Steven Wilson, Grace For Drowning
While I really like this and find more that I like on repeated listens, I don’t think I like it as much as most.
- Yes, Fly From Here
Easily the band’s best album since 90125.
- Jakszyk, Fripp & Collins, A Scarcity of Miracles
Essentially a mellow King Crimson ProjeKct.
- Opeth, Heritage
Abandons the death metal vocals altogether for a 70s prog vibe.
- Pendragon, Passion
The second excellent album in a row from a band I never really cared for in the past.
- Airbag, All Rights Removed
A solid sophomore release that isn’t quite as good as the debut.
- Lunatic Soul, Impressions
An instrumental affair from Riverside’s Marius Duda.
- Tommy Shaw, The Great Divide
The Styx guitarist/singer pulls off the bizarre - releasing an album of original bluegrass songs.
- Blackfield, Welcome To My DNA
The weakest of Blackfield’s three albums, likely owing to Steven Wilson’s lack of input (he was saving his best work for his solo album).
I want to give a special mention to the Beach Boy’s Smile Sessions release. This album, originally recorded in the last 60s but never released in its entirity (individual songs have appeared on various Beach Boys albums and Brian Wilson released a solo version of the album in 2004), it’s great to finally hear the full Beach Boys version. So while not really a new CD per se, it does deserve a special mention.
And the usual disclaimer - I’m sure in a few months I’lll hear something from 2011 that I hadn’t heard yet that I’ll love, bumping something off of this list.
Happy New Year!