Matt’s 5 Favorite Albums of 2011 – #2 Sloan – The Double Cross

Here is number 2 of my 5 favorite albums of 2011…

SLOAN

The Double Cross

In 2011, Sloan’s 20 year anniversary was celebrated with their 10th full length album, The Double Cross. Needless to say, it didn’t dissapoint.

The album opens with a loud pounding drum beat on Follow the Leader, led by a Chris Murphy vocal (I don’t think he can do anything wrong at this point). The song transitions with a beautiful piano glide into The Answer Was You. The first two tracks are worth the price of the album alone.

My favorite Sloan album is 2006’s Never Hear the End of it. This was their longest album by far, clocking in at over 70 minutes with 30 songs! The Double Cross goes in the opposite direction, coming in at only 34 minutes, proving that Sloan can easily deliver their rock in both long and short doses.

The vinyl has beautiful highs and lows and includes a free MP3 download of the album. I realized that every vinyl I have from Sloan sounds absolutely stellar, so I hope they keep doing whatever it is they’re doing to get these records sounding better than bands selling hundreds of thousands of albums in the US.

Check out the video below – the first 3 songs on the album!

#1 coming up tomorrow…

Matt’s 5 Favorite Albums of 2011 – #3 Wide Mouth Mason – No Bad Days

Here is number 3 of my 5 favorite albums of 2011…

WIDE MOUTH MASON

No Bad Days

In 2011, Wide Mouth Mason parted ways with their long-time bass player and were rewarded with Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar fame, who produced their 2000 album Stew. Since they seem to be on an upswing, both in musical output and popularity, it seems to have paid off.

On No Bad Days, the funky blues reigns supreme in songs drenched in distorted slide guitar and wandering bass riffs. Touring and drinking with ZZ Top seems to have dirtied up their unique blend of blues rock.

The sexy r&b of Shut Up and Kiss Me and Sweet Little Thing keeps things diverse and the last song on the album, The Night Fell, is a perfect two-part album closer. All three are quickly becoming some of my favorite Wide Mouth Mason tracks.

I’ve seen this band twice live, each time just before the drop of a new album. Both shows were of course heavy in new material, which can sometimes be a drag with some bands. Not with Wide Mouth Mason. The energy in everything they play keeps you bopping and focused on guitar-virtuoso Shaun Verreault waiting to see if his guitar is going to melt.

This was the only CD I had to buy this year. Why is this not available on vinyl? I’m still waiting patiently.

Stay tuned for #2

Matt’s 5 Favorite Albums of 2011 – #4 The Sheepdogs – Five Easy Pieces

Here is number 4 of my 5 favorite albums of 2011…

THE SHEEPDOGS

Five Easy Pieces

Ok, so I’m only selecting this 5 song EP from The Sheepdogs because I can’t choose their latest full length album, Learn & Burn, since it technically came out in 2010. I didn’t hear about them until they broke through with the whole Rolling Stone cover thing, but I’m so glad I did.

Sure, there really isn’t anything new and groundbreaking on a Sheepdogs album and that’s the way I like it. Sometimes you need a band to go back to the well and pay tribute to the great music in our past. While listening to the Sheepdogs, you’ll here respectful homages to The Allman Brothers, Buffalo Springfield, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Beatles and more, sometimes in one song. The EP starts off with blues in your face on the stand-out track, Who?, combining oh so perfect vocal harmonies.

On Five Easy Pieces you’ll also hear the radio version of their single, I Don’t Know, a different recording than on Learn & Burn. The recording quality in general is higher on Five Easy Pieces but I’m not sure I can say I prefer it, since the low-fi sound of Learn & Burn fit the feel of the record perfectly. With their new-found fame they’ll have to find ways to cope with the gloss that will inevitably be forced on top of their next record.

Stay tuned for #3

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