best albums of 2011, so far: april edition

adam arcuragi & the lupine chorale society @ local 506

I meant to do this at the end of March, and then it slipped away from me, and now April has slipped away from me, as well, leaving me at the end of the first … third of the year instead of the slightly more standard first quarter. But it’s all the passing of time all the same, and so let’s mark it by talking about your favorite albums that have been released thus far. Topping my list?

  • Slingshot Cash — From Aftermath to Exile. I’m biased, obviously, but I genuinely think this is a phenomenal record that way more people need to hear. It won’t go on any of my year end lists for lack of objectivity, but worth mentioning.
  • Ha Ha Tonka — Death of a Decade. My most anticipated album of 2011, and it hasn’t disappointed. “No Great Harm” makes me cry in my car regularly.
  • Dave Hause — Resolutions. Following on the 2010 theory that everything needs more Dave Hause. At Pinhook Monday 4/26, Triangle locals!
  • The Booze — At Maximum Volume. The best rock and roll album nobody’s going to hear this year. You love Sticky Fingers? You’ll love this record. Holy cow.
  • Smith Westerns — Dye It Blonde. So bad live. Such a phenomenal record.
  • The Low Anthem — Smart Flesh. This band breaks my goddamned heart sometimes.

My iTunes ratings inform me that I’ve also really dug on Hayes Carll’s latest, KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories), Des Ark’s first full length, Don’t Rock The Boat Sink The Fucker, the new Decemberists, and the newest Ezra Furman & the Harpoons (reviewing upcoming next week). It’s been a quietly, steadily excellent year for music, as opposed to last year which was noisily and crazily good for music, and I’m delighted to discover all these albums lurking around in my iTunes, reminding me that there’s plenty I’ve been really excited about this year. There’s still things I haven’t heard — everyone in the Triangle is raving about the new Mount Moriah, which I need to pick up, and I just got the new Steve Earle yesterday — but those are the big ones doin’ it for me right now, in no particular order but how I thought of them first thing this morning. At the end of June, I’ll put together my first half list, subject as always to change in December.

I tried to think of stuff that I’m excited about coming up, and it just must still be too early in the day for thinking, because all I can think of is Frank Turner’s new record in June (the English language is not actually capable of conveying my feelings about Frank’s new album and subsequent tour, but Pam might be able to) and the new Felice Brothers, Celebration, Florida, which is due in a few weeks.

What are y’all digging thus far? What are you excited about, coming up? Can you convince me that the Smith Westerns are capable of being as great live as they are on their record, because I’m still unconvinced?

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