Top-5 Albums of 2011 - Kelly Knapp

Written by  Published in Album Reviews Saturday, 24 December 2011 20:00

Editors Note: As a special for the last week of 2011, is running lists of our writer's top-5 albums of 2011. Because it's the end of the year and because we want to find out what our writers really like, these albums are not restricted to "New" bands. Here are Kelly Knapp's top albums of the past year.



5. Wild Flag - Wild Flag
This is technically a new band, but we all know these ladies are not new to the scene by any means. They’ve been called a supergroup, and I don’t know how anyone can really argue with that. I do know that it’s pretty satisfying to have a handful of your childhood idols come together to make music that still speaks to you, and is so motivating in such a positive way. These are some all-out rad ladies who really don’t need to command any attention...and that is exactly why they have it.


4. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Simply a work of art.


3. The Twilight Singers - Live in New York
This is the very first live album for this band lead by the captivating Greg Dulli, recorded at their Webster Hall show in NYC this past year. This was one of my favorite shows of the year as well, and to have a documentation of it is a perfect addition to The Twilight Singers' discography.


2. Future Islands - On the Water
Samuel Herring’s lyrics are simply beautiful, and the emotion in his voice makes you believe every word. These guys are one of the best things to come out of Baltimore.


1. tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l
By far the most innovative, intelligent, and inspiring album to come out this year. Merrill Garbus’ commands attention with her voice, her African-inspired percussion, her vocal looping, and of course her ukelele.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 December 2011 15:38
Kelly Knapp

I grew up listening to the music my parents listened to. My mom gave me some of her “Golden Oldies” cassette tapes, and I could sit in my room for hours harmonizing with The Ronettes, and staring at Del Shannon, who I thought was a total stud in his tiny black and white photo on the glossy fold-out insert. I listened to Willie Nelson because my Dad admired him so much, and I wanted to understand what was so great about him too. My first concert wasn’t a huge life changer; I saw Inner Circle at a local Jambalaya festival in Central Florida. Their biggest hit was “Bad Boys,” the theme song to COPS. If anything, that concert should have traumatized me. But, at the time I had no comprehension of any crassness. I just remember the guitarist making eye contact with me and smiling, and feeling excitement over having a brief connection with someone who was making me dance.

It’s the same thing with listening to music with words in another language. It’s not necessary to understand words or literal meanings. It’s the way the melodies and rhythms evoke feeling. It’s like that saying about art, how you may not be able to explain it, but you know it when you see it. I can’t always describe music (although obviously, I sure as hell try to), but I know what I like when I feel it, and I think those who can evoke that feeling deserve to be acknowledged for it. That’s what I want to describe. That’s what I want to share.

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