Top local albums of 2011

Monday music writer Nick Lyons' top picks from Victoria's music scene this year.

Kudos go to Slam Dunk and their album'The Shivers' picked by Nick Lyons as the party album of the year for 2011.

Kudos go to Slam Dunk and their album'The Shivers' picked by Nick Lyons as the party album of the year for 2011.

1. Blackout Beach, Fuck Death

Frog Eyes front man, Carey Mercer takes a break from rocking out and crafts a wonderfully complex, multifaceted beast of distilled beauty.  Victoria’s Megan Boddy lends her vocal talents on a few tracks, most notably “Deserter’s Song”, a brief, but immaculate meditation on the nobility of pacifism in the face of war.  This is not only the best local album of the year; it is the best release world wide.  Buy it now.

 

2. Slam Dunk, The Shivers

The Shivers is the party album of the year.  Weighing in at just over a half an hour long, Slam Dunk’s debut LP is more than capable of rousing even the most reluctant of partiers to, at the very least, tap their toes in time.  The album provides ample evidence that this is a band which will continue to grow: tracks such as “Bearcub” reference a plethora of multifarious musical genres.  Rumour is that the band has enough material for a follow up, but The Shivers will surely keep us occupied and dancing until the next album drops.

 

3. Himalayan Bear, Hard Times

With Hard Times, Ryan Beattie proves that hard work leads to amazing albums.  Beattie can boast an amazing catalogue of work.  His other band, Chet, bears the unfortunate distinction of having recorded a complete masterwork (Chelsea Silver, Please Come Home), which somehow managed to, for the most part, slip under the radar of hip taste-makers (ahem, Pitchfork).  Beattie also plays guitar for Frog Eyes.  Hard Times is a musical blossoming of a number of things, namely, Beattie’s unparalleled work ethic, attention to detail, and restraint.  Beattie firmly establishes himself as one of the best songwriters in Canadian history with this album; it has been the soundtrack to my winter. M

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