Perfect Sound Forever

PSF's 2011 Writers' Poll
Our favorite things

Left to right: Gillian Welch, Darius Jones/Matthew Shipp, the War on Drugs, Lou Reed/Metallica, Beppe Crovella

Just as we're getting used to the fact that it's another new year, we look back on the old one. Our rabid scribes (well, most of 'em) couldn't hold back with a mere 10 choices for their favorite records of 2011 so we let 'em chose 20 again, and allow them to pontificate a bit if they like. So, see if you agree with 'em or hate what we've chosen and maybe you'll get curious about a few titles that you didn't know about. Enjoy!


Tim Broun

Honorable mention:

Kevin Chesser

A note: though the following list represents my favorite albums that were actually released or reissued in 2011, I will say that this year I was also big on John Fahey, Hank Williams, Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts, Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, Smithsonian’s colossal Mountain Music of Kentucky compilation, Hasil Adkins, Gus Cannon, Desmond Dekker, Lee Scratch Perry, and basically anything put out on Mississippi Records, Sublime Frequencies, or the Static Cult Label. Also, The Natural Bridge by the Silver Jews is still my #1 favorite album, 8 years running. Some music has perennial relevance and vitality; I think 2011 has given us some music that will endure. Not a bad year.

Robin Cook

Michael Freerix

Jack Gold-Molina

Gary Gomes

There are probably quite a few others I should mention....the Moon-in-June label is outstanding in almost all its releases--and I hate not mentioning Magma, but that's it for now.

Jason Gross


Brent Jensen

Dorian Lynskey

Left to right: Group Doueh, Madlib, Low, Colin Stetson, Extra Classic

Domenic Maltempi

Martin Osborne

Nothing recorded grabbed my attention due to be being broke.but two live music events made me cry:

Robert Pally

There is no real order. That is why there are no numbers.

Jack Partain

Jim Rader

Vaughan Smith

Mark S. Tucker

This is not really a Best Of but more a Goddamn But These Are Fucking Great 2011 Discs!!! list because I review way too much in my work as a critic, much of it at such a high caliber within various genres that picking and choosing the "best" is self-defeating labor. STILL, the above are some killer discs and oceanically return the attentions paid them. One question, though: Why isn't Ana Popovic being more roundly lionized here in the U.S.??? Christ but she's good! It appears we're still in a Boys' Club mentality. And, yes, I know the Nice and the ELP releases were late 2010, but, gawdammit, they still aren't being paid sufficient attention and are drop dead mouthwatering, so I'm doing my part to uplevel aesthetics in this sick culture. Good luck to me on that, hm? And I know I'll be thinking "Oh shit! I shoulda included [fill in blank]!!" about 100 times after I submit this, but the above gets ya started.

Richie Unterberger

Kurt Wildermuth

Mike Wood

Logan K. Young

Top 10 Albums of 2011

Top 10 Reissues of 2011

Left to right: Steve Khan, Hudson-Ford, Michael Hurley, Stripmall Architecture, Rikki Ililonga

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