Monday, January 16, 2012

Looking Back At Looking Back

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

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