For the best albums in 2011, SF Critic will highlight each of our staff’s picks, rather than an accumulative 25, 50, 1,000 best album list.
I met Angela Bacca at a publishing company last year. Actually that’s not completely telling: I met Angela Bacca at a publishing company that specialized in marijuana literature. Don’t let that misguide you, Angela is one of the most driven, determined, and self-starters I’ve ever met. Angela finds music, and doesn’t let music find her, which sounds strange, but when you’re pitched music so often–is important. She used to turn to me and say, “Hey have you heard of this..” and of course I hadn’t. These are her picks.
Nerves Junior: As Bright As Your Nightlight
This Louisville, KY’s debut album was a surprise favorite. Although it didn’t enjoy huge commercial success, those that found it, love it. The album is reminiscent of Ok Computer, debatably the best era for Radiohead heads. The cool and modern beats of the tracks are enhanced with Johnny Greenwood style guitar rifts that shred and weave new meaning to the words. Lyrics such as “plastics that last forever is a better lullaby,” harken the dilemma that set the tone for Ok Computer– a modern person navigating their humanity in an increasingly digital age.
Download Mp3 – Nerves Junior: “Champagne & Peaches”
Immortal Technique: The Martyr
If you aren’t familiar with Harlem, NY based Immortal Technique, it is likely because he has never signed to a major label and his following has been personally cultivated through independent album sales. Following Revolutionary Volumes 1 and 2 and the Third World, Tech released The Martyr for free online October 27. It has already been downloaded almost 500,000 times since its release in November.
The opening track “Rich Man’s World (1%),” is nothing short of phenomenal. Tech gives a face to and puts words in the mouth of the faceless 1% the #Occupy movement is protesting against. Fans of Technique already know how sharply poetic and insightful he is (ie: Dance with the Devil) but through embodying an elite one percenter he somehow touches on every single fucked up thing the Occupy protests are protesting and with an eloquent grace that has come to define him. The words are both harsh and refreshing. Immortal Technique has been rapping about global socioeconomic inequality and governmental corruption for years, and it seems that Tech’s revolution is now. He has been a regular presence at the #Occupy protests in New York City. The timing of this album could never have been so appropriate. This album, although clearly a representation of the year, has staying power.
Download Mp3 – Immortal Technique: “Sign of The Times”
Country Mice: Twister
Country Mice came from the Midwest and set up shop in New York City. Twister is a big city reflection on the simplicity of country life accentuated with simple yet catchy blues-y chords.
Download Mp3 – Country Mice: “Morning Son”