Reviler Best of 2011: Local Albums
Snow is falling, people are spending money on crap they don’t need and you are starting to dread all of the time you will be spending with your in laws in the next couple weeks. Cheer up. It is also that wonderful time of year where music sites like yours truly pontificate even more than usual, although in a more orderly and concise manner than we normally do (numbered lists!). For the next week we will be presenting you with a plethora of lists covering our favorite (and least favorite) things from calender year 2011. Today we look at our favorite albums from our always amazing local scene. Tomorrow we will take a look at our favorite songs from 2011.
Jon Jon Scott (Sound Verite/Black Corners)
- Greg Grease – The Giving Tree
The city’s quiet secret weapon, the multi-talented Greg Grease not only writes throwback rhythms over warm J Dilla-inspired beats, he makes the beats, plays drums, directs video and has a line of fine garments & accessories. Check out The Giving Tree’s highlights “Love It Or Leave It Alone”, “Dreams”, “Got Till its Gone” , “Flying Kites” and “Your Welcome”. (download)
- Villa Rosa – Blue Diamond Island
Muja Messiah and Maria Isa join forces, sample Nina Simone on “Blindfolded”, shout out Fela Kuti on “Watch Out”, they even had production of Doc McKinney (Drake/The Weeknd/Muja Messiah) on “Uma Thurman”. NPR’s All Things Considered called them “Something rare in hip-hop”.
- Manifest – Immigrant Chronicles: Coming To America
Ghana’s favorite son in Minneapolis spreads his wings with a thorough effort . With hits like “Fiyah”, “Suffer”, “Motion Picture”, “Asa” and “Heaven” Manifest should be getting even more love. The man recently went on tour with Damon Albarn (Gorillaz/Blur), Tony Allen ( Fela Kuti) and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, expect big things from chale.
- Buffalo Moon – Selva Surreal
Lead by Ecuadorian singer Karen Freire and her mates from South Dakota take a trippy indie ride into the bomba nightlife with gorgeous melodies via Stereolab and echoes of Astrud Giberto. Released on local powerhouse indie Moon Glyph.
- Sims – Bad Time Zoo
Doomtree’s Sims grabs heavy production from Lazerbeak, a mask and off to the races.
- Malamanya – Malamanya ep
This group seemed to come from nowhere with a unique take on Cuban son. With a fascinating lead vocalist Adriana Rimpel, and a grant from American composers, the future looks bright.
- The Cloax Ox -Prisen
Andrew Broder, Dosh and friends.
- Elite Gymnastics – Ruin
The city’s first official entry into “chill-wave”, Pitchfork notices.
- Illuminous 3 – Montessori
Spirited south siders’ revisit their elementary school, wag out over production by Mike Swoop.
- Pink Mink – Pink Mink
A nice look back at the Riot Grrrl movement. Chrissy Hunt and Arzu Gokcen make like their record collection and visit Babes In Toyland, Sleater-Kinney and early Hole, take notice.
- Marijuana Deathsquads-Crazy Master
Experimental jet set squad led by Gayngs wizard Ryan Olson, aided by P.O.S., 2 drummers and chaos.
1 Brute Heart – Lonely Hunter
2 Blind Shake – Seriousness
3 Doomtree – No Kings
4 Condominium – Warm Home
5 Sims – Bad Time Zoo
6 Food Pyramid – III/Omni
7 Claps – Wreck
8 Gay Beast – To Smithereens
9 Buffalo Moon – Selva Surreal
10 M.anifest – Immigrant Chronicles
Runner Up: Marijuana Deathsquads’ Crazy Master. Also, Lighted’s “Queendom” would probably rank highly but I have only heard it live
Ali Elabbady (Background Noise Crew, Egypto Knuckles)
- Lighted- Kingdom
- Skoal Kodiak- Kryptonym Bodliak
- Marijuana Deathsquads- Crazy Master
- M.anifest- Immigrant Chronicale II: Coming to America
- The Cloak Ox- Prisen
- Buffalo Moon- Selva Sureal
- Brute Heart- Lonely Hunter
- Velvet Davenport- Summer Island CS
- Food Pyramid- III & New Omni-Directional Healing Techniques
- The Blind Shake- Seriousness
–No quite local but put out by local label Moon Glyph and really good— Deep Earth- House of Mighty & Dead Luke- Meanwhile….In the Midwest
(Honorable Mention- No Bird Sing- Theft of the Commons, Sims- Bad Time Zoo, Doomtree- No Kings, Daughters of the Sun- Ghost with Chains)
1. False – s/t
2. Gay Beast – To Smithereens
3. Dreamless – All This Sorrow, All These Knives (stream)
4. Total Fucking Blood – Real Demons (download)
5. The Bombay Sweets – s/t (review)
6. Teenage Strangler – Dark Sun
7. Cloak Ox – Prisen
8. Shane Vader – Grapes
9. Sleeping In The Aviary – You And Me, Ghost
10. Brute Heart- Lonely Hunter
Writer / co-founder
Any guidance through the local forest is always appreciated. I came to inquire why Mayda was a complete no-show. I haven’t heard it, and someone told me it sounded like “bad Prince.” Did she miss the mark, or did you all? Just askin’. Keep on.
Can’t speak for anyone else, but I think she is a fun performer live but came away underwhelmed by her recordings. I think “bad Prince” is over simplified but probably isn’t too far off the mark. A bigger thing for me is that there are at least 10 (probably closer to 30-40) records released by Minneapolis artists that I think are much better than her work. There are lots of bands who I enjoy but simply never were close to being in my top 10….just another sign of our really great, diverse scene.
I regret not having enough time to type something up about each of my choices for anyone who might not be familiar but I will try.
Browsing through our lists I see that there’s not a ton of overlap which I think really points to the fact that there are a lot of great things going on in town right now all over the map.
I would definitely echo Josh’s sentiment regarding Mayda live but I can’t actually speak to her recent album since I haven’t heard it. So many great local albums to listen to this year – that is one I never made it to
My favorite local album this year is missing from y’all’s lists: “Space is the Corpse of Time” by Zebulon Pike. The Midwest is the land of doom metal, and we have the genre’s unheralded masters.
This ain’t over. Please list 10, 20, 30 or 40 records you prefer to Mayda, or better yet, specify why you don’t endorse hers. I realize nobody likes a single-issue voter, and obviously there is no accounting for taste, but I’m gonna try anyway. And clearly you are not alone. On the contrary, I’M alone on her, apparently. I think she made CP’s 50-some honorable mentions, and Walsh put one of her songs in his Strib poll. I’ve been around a long time and I have rarely been so baffled by “the community.” Are we all soooo deathly afraid of a little mainstream commercial sound and sensibility? I’m not saying there aren’t grounds for criticism or disagreement about her style, substance and approach. I’m just curious if we agree what they are.
Yours in deeper local-music appreciation and analysis.
p.s. Love the site.
Mayda’s live show is fantastic.
not a big fan of her records myself however, i feel like she’s still trying to find her own sound/thing a bit.
Jim, Thanks for your interest/perseverance. It may not be entirely satisfying, but I am standing by my assertion that I don’t fundamentally have any problems with her, she just didn’t make anything that jumped off the page for me. Will I see her if she is playing a free show on a nice summer night and enjoy it while drinking beers with friends? Absolutely. Will I listen to her record when I have a stack of CDs, records and tapes that I like more sitting by my stereo? Nope.
Nothing against her…just kind of gives me the old “meh” feeling.
To your question, a quick look on my music folders and writings finds, for starters, these albums/tapes that I would for sure choose over Mayda (after the 14 listed above):
Albert LP, Ghostband CS, Big Quarters- Party Like a Young Commie, Building LP, Miami Dolphins CS (2x), Audio Perm- In Full Effect, Elite Gymnastics- Ruin, Falcon Arrow- Axehandle Hound, Red Pens 7”, Blind Shake/Michal Yonkers LP, Fire in the Northern Fires CS, A Loud Heart EP, Chelsea Boys- Night Sweat CS, Nytowl- Tokyo EP, Cage III- Michael Jordan CS, Grant Cutler- 2012, Take Acre LP, Unknown Prophets LP, Villa Rosa LP, Gay Beast LP, Night Moves LP, Teenage Moods LP, Hollow Boys CS, Paper Tiger LP, Bombay Sweets EP, Glebfest CS, Oask CS, Low LP
Thanks for YOUR perseverence. I think I’m ready to let go. She probably tries a little too hard but I really admired her range and daring to go over the top of pop. May I delicately point out that you double-listed Low and Bombay Sweets. No wonder you thought it was a strong year; you were on drugs for most of it apparently. ;}
That’s our Josh
Drugs, or you just really like Bombay Sweets and Low.
There are also two Ghostband CSs, but if indeed Jon Davis released six albums last year, listing just two could be considered restrained. Oi, oi, oi oh boy oh boy.
List got on there twice, so all bands were up there twice. Oops. It is corrected.
As for my wild life…I pretty much live the pages of the Motley Crue book Dirt seven days a week.