Well it would appear that 2011 is coming to an end. With that said, it’s time for a “Best Of…” Broken Headphones 2011 edition.
There were a ton of amazing releases throughout the year as well as live shows that I was able to attend. Below is just a various list of bands that caught my attention, be it a recording or live show, over the past 12 months.
I should add that some of my favorite releases were from local Akron/Cleveland acts. I am not just dropping their names because we are pals or anything, they all worked hard and put out some excellent releases. If you have not heard of any of them, you really should check them out.
I may have missed a band here or there, but the following were the ones that stood out over the rest.
Albums of the Year:
Seahaven – Winter Forever
*Hands down this is one of my favorite albums to drop this year. They just have this indie punk rock sound that is ever so likable – trust me on this. The first time I listened to it, I was hooked. I see big things happening with this band in the near future.
Nothington – Borrowed Time
*This is another album I favored over the rest this year. Catchy lyrics layered over wholesome punk rock is what this album is all about. To make matters even better, they kick ass live. They are coming back to Cleveland next month and I can not wait to see them again. Listening to this band brings me band to the punk rock 90s I grew up on.
All Dinosaurs – Paranoid Indigenous
*So maybe the music was released in 2010, but the LP dropped this past Spring so I consider it a 2011 release. This Cleveland act is beyond fun to listen to plus they put on one of the best live shows ever. They are funny, quote 80s movies and are in it for the fun. It helps they are also all super cool dudes. If you are a Cleveland native, you should already know how amazing this band is.
Dave Hause – Resolutions
*I was a little late checking this album out as it was released in early 2011, but am glad I did not pass it up. Hause (The Loved Ones) is an amazing musician and proves it in this killer solo release. With help from his friends, he put together one hell of a release. Do me a favor, if you like music, listen to this.
Living With Lions – Holy Shit
*Words can not really describe how impressed I was when I heard these guys. All I know is I will have this album playing regularly for a long long time.
Deer Tick – Divine Providence
*The boys in Deer Tick changed it up a bit and put forth a bitching rock album that I really dug.
Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
*Oh Dawes…you’ve done it again. What a solid release. You guys are on your way to being huge. Keep it up.
Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose
*The girls and Lynwood dropped a impressive follow-up to their debut this year and I adore it. Still kicking around the country-punk attitude, the foursome toyed with a more indie / garage rock sound and did a fine job doing so.
Old Man Markley – Guts n’ Teeth
*This self-proclaimed “New Grass” band was one of the more fun releases I had have the pleasure of checking out this year. I can not wait to see what happens next with these guys and gals.
Banner Pilot – Heart Beats Pacific
*Impressive release by a great punk rock band. They need to play Cleveland soon.
White Wives – Happeners
*This was the surprise release of the year for me. Featuring members of Anti-Flag, this album is far from a pop-punk rock album. On the lines of indie rock, White Wives needs to be heard.
A.A. Bondy – Believers
*This guy really outdid himself. You really have to check it out for yourself to realize why I appreciate it so much. It’s a really beautiful release to listen to.
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
*Not normally something I would listen to, but holy shit – it rules.
The Black Keys – El Camino
*Yeah yeah yeah… The former Akron, OH boys once again put out a release I admit I love. I do not love the fact that the next time they hit Cleveland, they will be playing an arena. It is safe to say they made it big time. Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
Signals Midwest – Latitudes & Longitudes
*And yet another local act. These guys are a big deal though…to me at least. The dropped a really good record. For serious.
EPs of the year:
Luther – Siblings & Sevens
*Folk / Punk / Rock awesomeness. I was caught off guard by this band. They rule. Sadly they had to cancel their Cleveland show after the band was involved in an accident in Chicago. Luckily no one was seriously injured. I can not wait for their full-length to drop.
Harvey Pekar – Thirty Ghosts
*Dear Harvey Pekar (the band), thank you for existing.
Worship This! – Demo
*I normally do not mention bands that I am really good friends with the members, but I adore this band. That’s all I have to say about that.
Two Hand Fools – Believeland
*These guys better get signed in 2012 or else I am going to fight someone. Another Cleveland act with plenty of talent.
Cherry Cola Champions – EP
*I remember the first time I saw these guys live. I was not into them during their first song, and once their second song started, I was blown away. Looking forward to seeing what this duo has up their sleeves next year.
-Going to SXSW and seeing bands such as The Dead Milkmen, Flatliners, Dead To Me, Eyehategod, and tons others at various venues in Austin, TX earlier this Spring. It was one hell of an experience to see so many bands cramped into such an amazing city. Sadly when you have that many bands, you tend to miss out on some great sets by amazing bands. Regardless, it was just awesome. Plus…I saw Dale Watson play at Ginny’s. That right there made my trip.
-Hanging out with Ninja Gun for a few days. These guys are some of the best dudes I know. They wanted to play shows on the East coast and I was able to lure them to Kent to play a show in September. We all enjoyed hanging out so much that they kicked it for a couple more days where I took them up to Melt for some cheesy deliciousness.
-Getting Dave Hause to play a house show in Akron. After seeing that Dave Hause was not playing a show in the Cleveland area just 2 weeks ago, I threw him the idea of a house show and he and tour mate Cory Branan were totally down with the idea. The result was a show to remember with Hause and Branan trading off songs all night long.
-Hanging out with friends, new and old, at the Inner Sanctum Pier show on the E. 9th pier. More people could have showed up, but regardless, I had a killer time that sunny day and got to watch Pat The Producer turn into a human tomato.
-Hanging out with Rise Against and doing some charity work them at the Malachi House in Cleveland. The guys were super cool to hang with and really did not have that “rock star” attitude built from success. Props to 92.3 for making that happen.
-Making the trip back to Austin, TX early November and attending Fun Fun Fun Fest. I got to see some of my favorite bands all in one weekend including Murder City Devils, Hot Snakes, Hum, Slayer, Eyehategod, The Damned, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and Russian Circles. This was one of my favorite festivals of all time. It was a festival I had wanted to attend for a a few years now and I decided to go for it. I am so glad I did.
-It’s A Kling Thing House & Girley House. Both houses put on some amazing shows in 2011 with local acts as well as touring bands. Seeing Jeff Rowe over the summer as well as Mixtapes just a month or so ago in a basement is as good as live shows get for this guy.
-Daytrotter’s Barnstormer Tour. What a great evening of music that was. The show was in a freaking barn. Yes, I do not remember much as the beers were going down like water, but I know I had a blast with some pretty special people.
-Ben Weasel’s SXSW blowout. Sadly I was on the other side of town watching Cleveland’s very own Ringworm in a ghetto ass bar. Don’t ask me why I skipped out on seeing Screeching Weasel live, I was under the influence of many ice cold Lone Star beers. Honestly, I am kind of glad I missed Weasel acting like a little girl on stage.
-Danzig’s Fun Fun Fun hissy fit. One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Fun Fun Fun Fest was because the Danzig Legacy was playing it. I was stoked to finally see Danzig sing some Misfits songs with Doyle on stage. Instead I witnessed a diva take the stage late and get their set cut as they played past curfew. I only heard two Misfits songs and left with a bad taste in my mouth. People can think what they want about Danzig and that night. I was in the crowd watching heater being pulled on stage as well as the side of the stage tarped up so that little Glen would not get cold. It was over an hour until the stage met his needs and the dude was fully aware of the curfew. I will say that the two Mistfits songs had me feeling like a kid all over again. Shame I could not witness the entire set that he had planned. Lucky for me Ted Leo did a TV Casualty set the next day and made up for the Danzig drama.
-Seeing NOFX over Those Darlins. I regret that decision a lot. Two of my favorite bands played the same night and I had to choose one over the other. The good news was that I got to see and meet Old Man Markley. Sorry Darlins, I will not miss you next time you all hit up Cleveland. Please forgive me.
-Atari Teenage Riot’s Cleveland show getting cancelled. I was stoked to see these guys and was prepared to lose my hearing that night. Hours before the show, their promoter cancelled the show. Needless to say, I was pissed.
-92.3 and 107.3 changing formats. Cleveland is a lost cause with radio now that both those stations were yanked.
Wrapping it up…
2011 ended with a bang for this music lover. Thanks to all my friends from all over who made this year extra special for me. You all know who you are. From letting me crashing on couches to allowing bands to play in their basements you helped make this year what it was. Also to everyone who attended shows with me and shared the same passion I have for music, thanks.
Happy holidays everyone and thanks for taking a part out of your day to visit this site.
Ok 2012, let’s see what you have in store.