Earlier this month, I hastily threw together a list of favorite CDs from 2011.
I meant to go back at some point and elaborate on my choices. Plus, I encountered Only In Dreams by Dum Dum Girls after the fact, and felt that it really should be in the Top Ten. Rather than kick a previous honoree out, I now have 11 Top Ten Choices for 2011, which is kind of fitting.
So, once again in no particular order, and with a bit more background information, here is the list:
Dum Dum Girls - Only In Dreams - California-based band updates the 1960s girl group sound with twanging guitars, irresistible melodies, and heartfelt vocals.
The Disciplines - Virgins Of Menace - Second effort from Posies singer-guitarist Ken Stringfellow and the Norwegian band Briskeby is hard-hitting, topical, and melodic.
Bad Examples - Smash Record - The Chicago band’s first effort in several years was a pop masterpiece with clever lyrics and Squeeze-like arrangements.
Starry Saints - Serenade - Atmospheric rock with expansive synthesizers and ethereal but powerful vocals. A nocturnal adventure.
Mimi Betinis - All That Glitters - The singer-guitarist from Pezband delivers an impressive collection of guitar-driven tunes.
Beady Eye - Different Gear - Still Speeding - Former Oasis mates create a striking debut by tapping into British Invasion music. Beatles and Stones indeed.
Phil Angotti - People And Places A thought-provoking and tuneful collection from a Chicago singer-guitarist who had quite a busy year.
Smithereens - 2011 - A great comeback that matches anything the veteran power pop band has done throughout its impressive career.
The Handcuffs - Waiting For The Robot - Third album from the Chicago coed band fronted by Brad Elvis and Chloe F. Orwell. Bits of glam rock and funk add to an already winning formula.
Bangles - Sweetheart Of The Sun Bassist-vocalist Michael Steele is no longer on board, but Susanna Hoffs and the Peterson sisters remain a close-knit trio. Their first CD since the overlooked Doll Revolution is filled with 1960s-flavored arrangements and airtight harmonies.
Trolley - Things That Shine And Glow The latest from this underrated Wisconsin band blends classic 1960s influences and cutting edge rock.
And here are some other CDs that hit the mark in 2011. All of these were reviewed on Broken Hearted Toy at some point during the past year and can be found in the archives.
Lannie Flowers - Circles
Smoking Popes - This Is Only A Test
Fountains Of Wayne - Sky Full Of Holes
The Laureates - Spells
Tina Sparkle - Welcome To The No Fun Home
Rachel Goodrich - Self-Titled
The Demilos - Self-Titled
Ultraviolet Eye - Wake Up And Dream
Go Time! - Hit It!
The Webstirs - Smirk Reissue
Cast - All Change Deluxe
The Coathangers - Larceny & Old Lace
Gary Ritchie - Hum, Sing ... Repeat!
Three Hour Tour - Looking For Tomorrow
The Wrong Words - Self-Titled
The Head - Hang On
The Crawpuppies World’s Much Bigger
Various Artists - Rave On Buddy Holly
Mordecai Smyth Sticky Tape & Rust
The Wandas - Self -Titled
Matthew Sweet - Modern Art
The Kooks - Junk Of The Heart
Ivy - All Hours
Givers - Light
Peggy Sue - Acrobats
The Mobbs - It’s The Mobbs
The Perms - Sofia Nights
Tammar - Visits
Gringo Star - Count Your Lucky Stars
Luck Of Eden Hall - Butterfly Revolutions Vol. 1
Team Band - Vodka Thieves
Save The Clocktower - Drip