Heather Frarey, owner of East Lansing record shop The Record Lounge, was kind enough to provide us with her lists of favorite local and national records of 2011.
1. Frontier Ruckus- Dead Malls and Nightfalls: This was just a great follow up to the 2008 release The Orion Songbook. From the music that just blows you away with the arrangements as well as the stellar song writing. In this short span of time they have went from a great local Michigan folk band to a worldwide success in the Americana/Folk genre. (This album was re-released on vinyl in 2011 by Lower Peninsula Records)
2. Joe Hertler and The Rainbow Seekers- On Being: This came out later this year and Joe really showed what a great song writer he is.
This music is indie at its best and I expect them to really blow up in 2012.
3. Gifts or Creatures- Pilot House: Husband and wife Brandon and Bethany Foote along with the likes of Seth Bernard and Trevor Hobbs and many other contributors really blew me away with this awesome folk cd. The production as well as all the different instruments that was used in this just shows that attention to detail results in a great cd!!
Here are her national picks for 2011:
Top 10 lp’s 2011
10. Toro Y Moi- Underneath The Pines : One of chillwaves best artists. This lp has great upbeat tracks that almost sound as if they were taken from some of the best pop songs of the 70′s. Great lp to put on, on that great summer day!
9. Battles- Gloss Drop: From the members Helmut, lynx and Don Caballero, brings their 2nd lp that blend great experimental rock w/ some math rock and New Wave thrown in. Fantastic lp!!
8. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues: These guys kept their blend of Folk/Americana rolling with this album. Although the first lp was better all around this does not disappoint.
7. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks- Mirror Traffic : Singer / Songwriter of the band Pavement brings us yet another indie / alt album that is great and this was also co-produced with Beck.
6. Kasabian- Velociraptor: 1st Full length since 2006′s Empire( also had an ep in 2009) This lp brought them back in a major way, in the UK but failed to chart here in the States.reat mix of Brit-pop/synth and new wave.
5. Tame Impala- Inner Speaker:Australian psych/chillwave band who’s awesome lp got me through the long slow summer!!
4. The Horrors- Skying: UK band who takes 80′s/90′s goth, garage and shoegaze to another level!! These guys are huge in the UK and are just starting to break through here in the States. For fans of The Kills, Vaccines, Editors, also Joy Division and Bauhaus.
3. Black Keys- El Camino: This follow-up to 2010′s Brothers lp keep their brand of lo-fi garage with catchy hooks alive well into 2012.
2. Mastodon- The Hunter: Prog-Metal Gods bring it with this tribute to guitarist Brent Hinds brother who died unexpectedly while hunting. I never really listened to this band until this lp and have since made them one of my faves.
1. Tom Waits- Bad As Me: This was Waits 17th lp and the first that consisted of completely new material since ” Real Gone” in 2004.
This lp really brought a great gritty , bluesy vibe and showcased his unique vocal style.