1. Coheed and Cambria – Year of the Black Rainbow: Coheed’s latest is definitely a grower – it took me, a self-proclaimed fanboy, several months to fully appreciate it. As is standard for the band, the musicianship is of the highest caliber, and what can only be described as audio-oddities (no doubt the influence of producer Atticus Ross, known for working with acclaimed industrial outfit Nine Inch Nails) create a truly unique atmosphere. The songwriting ties in more with an underlying story line, known as The Amory WarsYear of the Black Rainbow as much an experience as a piece of music. and devised by frontman Claudio Sanchez, than previous works. Its companion novel makes
- Four Year Strong – Enemy of the World: Consistent and tight as hell, but doesn’t take enough risks to qualify for the top 5.
- I Fight Dragons – Welcome to the Breakdown: Catchy and calculated, the use of NES and other video game sounds makes Welcome to the Breakdown unique, but the EP lacks the edge that the top 5 albums have.
- Max Bemis and the Painful Splits – Max Bemis and the Painful Splits: Everything Max Bemis writes is gold – even throwaway Say Anything tunes are exceptional. However, I prefer the band dynamic to that of the “solo” artist.
- Orange Caramel – Orange Caramel – the Second Mini Album: Deliriously cute Korean pop tunes. Complete with frilly matching uniforms. Not in the top 5 because if I put it there, someone might actually see it.
- Willow Smith – “Whip My Hair” – I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH (You were doomed to get that implanted in your brain just like everybody else).
- My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: Nobody saw this headline coming – “New Jersey “emo” outfit completely reinvents themselves and puts out one of the best albums of the year.” Haters will still hate, though.
- Not that anyone expects Weezer to release anything good anymore, but as a hopeless fan, I was hoping for better out of Weezer’s latest release, Hurley. On a lighter note, it was better than Raditude.
Best Album Art
- Four Year Strong – Enemy of the World: Buff dudes, wolves, mecha-sharks… yes, that is what Worcester looks like.
Best Live Show
- Say Anything and Motion City Soundtrack at Lupo’s in Providence, RI: Say Anything has one of the most energetic shows of any band around right now, and Max Bemis radiates angst in the most cathartic way. Motion City Soundtrack frontman Justin Pierre’s voice was shot, he still sounded awesome, and it only gave the audience more incentive to sing louder.
Most Anticipated 2011
- It’s a toss-up between The Strokes’ new album and Lady Gaga’s Born this Way. The Strokes are like good cake: You get a hankering for it when you haven’t had it in a while. Gaga is more like cocaine. ‘Nuff said.