WMSE Picks of 2011

POSTED:: December 23, 2011

FILED UNDER:: Top Airplay


Maybe there are almost too many a best-of list by years’ end, but it must be said, that as far as Milwaukee music aficionados go, no group of people knows music, front-to-back, across all genres, than the DJs of WMSE. You see it on our weekly top charts and hear it for yourself on your radios and through your headphones and computer speakers. WMSE DJs are volunteers because they love music, and it shows: each three-hour program is designed, per DJ, to introduce the listener to both old favorites and newly-becoming classics.

Already got a favorite WMSE DJ? Take a peek at what they liked this past year, then check out the rest. You might find your own tastes aligning with DJs whose shows you might not be familiar with. Here’s the best of the best from us, to you. Thanks for another great year of Frontier Radio.

Grasscutter Andy: The Five & Dime Show, Thursdays, 9am-12pm

Peaking Lights: 936 (Not not Fun Records)

The Caretaker: An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (History Always Favors the Winners)

Master Musicians of Bukkake (Important)

Grails: Deep Politics (Temporary Residence)

Void: Sessions:1981-83 (Dischord)

Moon Duo: Mazes (Sacred Bones)

Erkin Koray: Mechul:Singles & Rarities (Sublime Frequencies)

Horseback: The Gorgon Tongue:Impale Golden Horn & Forbidden Planet (Relapse)

Russian Circles: Empros (Sargent House)

Horseback/Locrian: New Dominions (Utech)

Mike “Buzz” Bereiter: Buzz’s Garage, Mondays 6pm-9pm

Davila 666: Tan Bajo (In the Red)

Cerebral Ballzy: Cerebral Ballzy (Williams Street)

Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds: Gorilla Rose (In the Red)

The Reatards: Teenage Hate / F*** Elvis Here’s The Reatards (Goner)

Burning Sons: Reduced to Equality (Mystic)

The Liminanas: The Liminanas (Trouble In Mind)

Ivan Julian: The Naked Flame (Royal Potato Family)

Thee Cormans: Halloween Record with Sound Effects (In the Red)

The Gaye Blades: The Gaye Blades (Norton Records)

The Black Lips: Arabia Mountain (Vice Records)

What can I say? In the Red totally killed it in 2011 with new albums!

Susan Million: Female Focus, Sundays 10:30pm – 12am

Top local:

Kelly Zullo: Firecracker

Blue Sky Hour: Hot Sun & Sun Shorts

Martha Berner & the Significant Others: Fool’s Fantasy

Jessi Lyn: A Little Bit of You

Jayme Dawicki: Love, Love

Vic and Gab: Vic and Gab EP

Nora Collins: Run Away With Me

Heidi Spencer & the Rare Birds: Under Streetlight Glow

Haley Bonar: Golder

Tret Fure: The Horizon

Local honorary mentions:

Edie Carey: Bring the Sea

Zoo Animal: Zoo Animal

The Addy Janes: Made For You EP

Emily White: The Resolution EP

Ellis: Right On Time

The Embraceables: Stories

Top twenty national:

Melissa Ferrick: Still Right Here

Pieta Brown: Mercury

Rachel Yamagata: Chesapeake

Natalia Zukerman: Gas Station Roses

Kyler England: Electric Hum

K’s Choice: Little Echoes

Rose Polenzani: The Rabbit

Ria Mae: Under Your Skin

Kris Delmhorst: Cars

Raining Jane: The Good Match

Nervous But Excited: You Are Here

Camille Bloom & the Recovery: Never Out of Time

Coyote Grace: Now Take Flight

Carrie Elkin: Call it My Garden

Jen Foster: Venice Beach, Live at Speakeasy Sound Studios

Sarah Sample: Someday, Someday

Ana Egge: Bad Blood

Amber Rubarth: A Common Case of Disappearing

Brandi Carlile: Live at Benroya Hall

Ember Swift: 11:11

Tom Michalski: Mondo Radio, Wednesdays 3am-6am

Black Lips: Arabia Mountain

Another raucously trashy missive from the kings of flower-punk, Atlanta’s Black Lips’ Arabia Mountain feels like something akin to a drug-fueled road trip through American popular music. Be prepared to have highlights like “Spidey’s Curse” stuck in your head for days at a time.

Big Freedia: Scion A/V Presents: Big Freedia

The queen diva of New Orleans bounce, listening to Big Freedia is a bit like getting punched in the gut; the force of his personality and his beats is just that great. You’ve got to cringe a little at an EP funded by a youth-oriented car brand, but as long as Scion keeps financing projects this good, I don’t mind the discomfort.

Blaqstarr: The Divine EP

Though he certainly enjoyed his widest exposure to date by working with M.I.A., Baltimore producer, vocalist and DJ Blaqstarr doesn’t need high-profile collaborators to win anybody over. Rich, moody and funky, this EP packs a lot of goodness into a brief running time.

Catacombz: Catacombz

Local boys done good! It’s sometimes frustrating how people are always telling you to support local music as if it were some kind of chore, but there’s no reason to like anything made in Milwaukee unless it’s good, and Catacombz’ mind-bending tidal wave is quality from start to finish.

Deerhoof: Deerhoof Vs. Evil

Perfect for fans of Cibo Matto or Cornelius, Deerhoof’s latest long-player is wiggy enough to be called arty or experimental, but also sweet enough to rot your teeth right out of your head, which is not an easy combination to pull off.

The Go! Team: Rolling Blackouts

This is probably the final album from everybody’s favorite indie pep squad, but if that indeed turns out to be the case, at least they went out on a high note. Featuring a greater number of more easygoing tracks than you may expect (they do have an exclamation point in their name, after all), this turns out to be an ideal, if unlikely, chill-out record.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks: Mirror Traffic

Pavement fans are a diehard bunch, so any release from former front man Stephen Malkmus is cause for celebration, but put Beck in the producer’s chair and the 90′s nostalgia shoots into the stratosphere. Thankfully, this is a case where anticipation didn’t build to a disappointment. Beck’s production is crisp and unobtrusive, leaving Malkmus’ characteristcally obtuse pop song craft as enjoyably enigmatic as it ever was.

Wiley: 100% Publishing

One of the biggest names to emerge from the London grime scene, Wiley’s skills on the mic should be beyond question by now, but for this one, he not only spits his rhymes, he also produced every track and even mastered the damn thing, himself (hence the album title). It’s a portrait of an artist fed up with the industry, looking back on a career full of triumphs and failures to inform a brighter, more self-possessed future.

Wire: Red Barked Tree

Wire’s twelfth studio album may be a far cry from their 1977 debut Pink Flag, but it’s not the sound of a band trying and failing to recapture the good old days (Buzzcocks, I’m looking at you), but rather of a group who’s long since stopped trying to please anyone but themselves. The stately pop contained here may not be as pioneering as those early, ultra-short blasts of angular, noisy punk, but that doesn’t make Red Barked Tree any less charming.

The Wu-Tang Clan: Legendary Weapons

WU! TANG! WU! TANG! WU! TANG! Nuff said.

Paul Cebar: Way Back Home/Urban Fantasy, Wednesdays, 9am-12pm

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down

Tom Waits: Bad as Me

Jon Rodine: Last Star

Nick  Lowe: The Old Magic

Ray Bonneville: Bad Man’s Blood

Paul Simon: So Beautiful or What

Kid Creole and the Coconuts: I Wake Up Screaming

Betty Wright and the Roots: Betty Wright:the Movie

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings: Soul Time

Dayna Kurtz: American Standard

Soundway compilation: The Original Sound of Cumbia

Ryan Asche: Industrial Noise Core, Saturdays, 12am-3am

[:SITD:] Icon: Koru

Aesthetic Perfection: All Beauty Destroyed

Binary Park: Worlds Collide

Caustic: The Golden V***** of Fame and Profit

Ghost + Writer: Shipwrecks

God Module: Seance

Haujobb: New World March

Imperative Reaction: Imperative Reacion

!Vardensphere: APOK

OhGr: Undeveloped

Studio-X: Neo-Futurism

Shiv-r: This World Erase

This Morn’ Omina: l’unification des forces opposantes

VNV Nation: Automatic

Also put out amazing releases, but out of my genre: M83, Zola Jesus, Gary Numan and Hecq

Sonia, the Blues Drive, Fridays, 3pm-6pm

Greg Allman: Low Country Blues (Rounder)

Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Brand, Lurrie Bell and Carlos Johnson: Chicago Blues: A Living History — The (R) evolution Continues (Raisin Music)

Jeff Beck: Rock ‘n’ Roll Party:Honoring Les Paul (Atco)

Rory Block: Shake ‘em On Down (Stony Plain)

Cash Box Kings: Holler & Stomp (Blind Pig)

Warren Haynes: Man in Motion (Stax)

Hot Tuna (Steady as She Goes (Red House)

Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton: Play the Blues:Live From Jazz at the Lincoln Center (Drumlin LTD./Jazz at Lincoln Center)

George Thorogood: 2120 S. Michigan Avenue (Capitol)

Johnny Winter: Roots (Megaforce)

Faux Eyes: Armed Fauxes Radio, Mondays 12pm-3pm

PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (Vagrant)

Crooked Fingers: Breaks in the Armor (Merge)

Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti-)

Game 5 NLDS: Friday, October 7th (thanks, Andy)

The Horrors: Skying (XL)

Sway Machinery: The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1 (J-Dub)

Packers post-season run / Super Bowl

Curb Your Enthusiasm: “Palestinian Chicken”

St. Vincent: Strange Mercy (4AD)

Smith Westerns: Dye it Blonde (Fat Possum)

Joseph Huber: Bury Me Where I Fall (self-released)

Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin On (Arts & Crafts)

Dagons: Upon the Dull Earth (Dead Sea Captain)

Head On Electric: Ghost Hunter 7″ (Terror Trash)

Russian Circles: Empros (Sargent House)

Final round of the 2011 Masters at Jamos: a tradition like none other

Zola Jesus: Conatus (Sacred Bones)

Burning Sons: Reduced to Equality 12″ (Mystic)

Brief Candles: Fractured Days (Guilt Ridden Pop)

Mary Bartlein: Instrumental Saturdays, Saturdays, 6pm-9pm

Ken Elkinson: Music for Commuting

This is essentially a 6-CD set of ambient commuter music. It’s great.

Paul Spaeth: Redemption

Paul is a local musician/composer (West Bend) who is currently out in LA trying to break into the film soundtrack world. I’m pretty sure he will have a long career in film. Beautiful CD!

David Helping and Jon Jenkins: The Crossing

Another great effort by David and Jon — the follow-up to Treasure.

Kavi: Breath of Fire

Great world beat dane music.

M.K. Sol: The Guild

I love this CD!

Stevin McNamara: Prana Groove

Everybody loved this one. I got calls every time I played it.

Bombay Dub Orchestra: 3 Cities

I’m a big fan of Bombay Dub Orchestra and I got a lot of use out of this CD

Loga Romin Torkian: Mehrab

This is a beautiful CD. I did an interview with Loga after this came out and it was really fun and informative, if I don’t say so myself!

Sensitive Chaos: Seeker After Patterns

Interesting new addition to the WMSE shelves. I played a lot of the tracks from this. Nice, long tracks.

Cyberchump: Their Moment of Perfect Happiness

The long-awaited new CD by local boy Mark GE and Kansas boy Jim Skeel. You can’t beat this double CD set. Another good interview, too, by the way.

Jason Ellis: Team Metal, Wednesdays, 9pm-12am

Primordial: Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand

No band on the planet touches Primordial right now. What they do is all their own. Intense, sincere, honest, powerful. Simply put, this is about as awesome as it gets.

In Solitude: The World, The Flesh, The Devil

Unabashed Mercyful Fate plagiarists who do it so right. It’s a little shocking how good this record is. If you like old heavy metal and don’t like this record, you don’t like old heavy metal.

Deceased: Surreal Overdose

I am honestly a latecomer on Deceased. Over the last six years, it has started sinking in. This is them in prime form. If you listen close, you can hear nods to post-punk and death rock within these tracks. Never a misstep, Deceased always delivers.

Anhedonist: The Drear

Life-crushing doom. Executed with utmost sincerity. Trust me, with doom like this, that is huge.

Loss: Despond

It took a long time for this to drop. Worth every moment of wait. I’ve been waiting since first getting the Life Without Hope…Death Without Reason CD in ’07 for a follow-up. And that release saw the light of day in ’04. So, with the exceptions of three splits between these releases, it’s been seven years waiting for this record. Truly miserable doom. Recommended.

Vanhelgd: Church of Death

Old school worship death metal. Reminiscent of Privilege of Evil/Karelian Isthmus-era Amorphis. Awesome.

Dodsfer: Spitting With Hatred the Insignificance of Life

Exactly. Straight-forward black metal. Long songs, with some oddball nuances. Best 55:29 you will spend with black metal this year.

Taake: noregs Vaapen

Taake is probably the most consistent black metal act since the release of their Nattestid Ser Porten vid in ’99. Traditional Norse black metal with very little frills.

Vader: Welcome to the Morbid Reich

A return to form? Eh, not so much. Vader’s best material since 2001′s Revelations? Definitely. Won me over due to the tip of the cap to their awesome demo Morbid Reich? You got it. In all seriousness, Vader is my favorite death metal band, ever and this is a nice addition to their legacy. And there are few bands that kill it live as consistently as Vader.

Cruel Force: Under the Sign of the Moon

80′s black thrash worship. Members of Nocturnal. Awesome and (once again, this is crucial) sincere.

A lot of good things came out this year — keep yer ears to the ground.

Tim Noble and Paul Host (and Chris Twining): Saturdays, Why My Head Hurts/Milwaukee Rock Posters, 3pm-6pm

Tim Noble:

Trapper Schoepp and the Shades: Run, Engine Run

Zola Jesus: Conatus

Dummy Club/Psycho Bunnies: reissues

Cyberchump: Their Moment of Perfect Happiness

Whitney Mann: The Western Sky

Paul Host:

Rust Belt Demons: Fighting 14

Eric Blowtorch: Join Us

Art Paul Schlosser: Woody Guthrie (We Sure Could Use Him Now)

IfIHadAHiFi: Imperial Walker

Melissa Czarnik: Jump Start

A note about the songs I’ve chosen: most of the songs are YouTube-only releases. They are all related to the events in Wisconsin in 2011. I was extremely moved by the creativity and greatness of these songs which I thought might not make it onto the regular releases of these artists. I strongly suggest that the listeners look these songs up on YouTube. The accompanying videos make them that much more enjoyable.

Chris Twining:


Melissa Czarnik


Testa Rosa

Sugar Stems

Kevin Cannon: The Blues Jam, Saturdays 9am-12pm

The Cash Box Kings: Holler and Stomp

Jeff Beck: Rock ‘n’ Roll Party:Honoring Les Paul

Booker T Jones: The Road From Memphis

Warren Haynes: Man in Motion

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Revelator

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne: An Old Rock On a Roll

Roy Gaines and His Orchestra: Tuxedo Blues

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones: Rocket Science

Johnny Winter: Roots

Ray Manzarek & Roy Rogers: Translucent Blues

Brian Janssen: World Music Mondays, Mondays, 9am-12pm

Sola Rosa: Get it Together

The sixth record from the New Zealand quartet that seamlessly blends styles like jazz, reggae, latin soul and funk. It’s already a gold record in their homeland and I suspect it will be garnering awards here as well as in the future.

Ocote Soul Sounds: Taurus

1/2 Antibalas and 1/2 Grupo Fantasma. Killer grooves and fat basslines. Hands down, the coolest record I’ve heard in many years.

Da Cruz: Sistema Subversiva

Some call it ‘tropical new wave’ and some call it ‘sub-urban Brazilian’. I have at least ten of the sixteen tracks on this, and her third records is marked as my favorite. Mix equal parts of Afrobeat, dancehall, samba, jazz and new wave and (as the Jerseytalians say), “forget about it~!”

Rene Lopez: E.L.S.

Lopez electronifies bugaloo, cumbia, jazz and rock to the point that they flicker and blend like the electric spikes on a Tesla Coil!

Joni Haastrup: Wake Your Mind

Afrofunk at its finest…originally released in 1978, it is his one and only true ‘solo’ record. He left Nigeria shortly after the release of this record adn worked as a session musician in London until finally settling in the San Francisco Bay area where he continues today as Joni Haastrup & the Afrikans.

Bombino: Agadez

A Tuareg Tribe member from the city in Agadez, in Niger. Bombino exudes the pain and suffering of his tribe through chilling guitar riffs, similar in ways to Tinariwen and has been compared to Jimi Hendrix. He sings of their fights against inequality, his rich cultural heritage and achieving peace. He recently added a 2nd North American tour after sell-out engagements earlier in the year.

Vicente Garcia: Melodrama

Melodrama is the debut for this Dominican Republic singer/songwriter. He plays multiple instruments on the record which is a heart-gripping blend of bluesy, soulful vocals and bare-bones Dominican bolero, bachata and bossa nova.

Ok…a couple more: Viva Voce: The Future Will Destroy You and TruckFighters. The best record of the year!!!!! Swedish awesomeness.

Jeff and Debbie: The Jeff and Debbie Show, Sundays, 3am-6am

The Horrors: Skying

Viva Voce: The Future Will Destroy You

Handsome Furs: Sound Kapital

Art Brut: Brilliant, Tragic!

Weekend: RED

The Crystal Stilts: In Love With Oblivion

The Death Set: Michel Poiccard

War On Drugs: Slave Ambient

Wire: Red Barked Trees

The Hotels: On the Casino Floor

YACHT: Shangri-La

The Obits: Moody, Standard and Poor

The Underground Railroad: White Night Stand

DJ Bizzon: The Mad Kids, Tuesdays 9pm-12am

Evidence: Cats and Dogs

No other album did I have on repeat more than Cats and Dogs in 2011. This is a HIP-HOP album. Listen to it.

Kendrick Lamar: Section 80

I didn’t know about Kendrick Lamar until Section 80 and after listening to it, I’ll never forget him. Jazz and bass heavily-sampled track “Rigamortis” is an already-classic.

Elzhi: Elmatic

Redoing a classic and making it a classic is almost impossible. It happened.

Phonte: Charity Starts at Home

Out of all the individual former-Little-Brother-member album releases this year, Phonte’s was the best.

Big K.R.I.T.: Return of 4Eva

With an open spot for hip-hop’s king of the south, Big K.R.I.T., made his voice heard as one of the best.

The Roots: Undun

Letting one of the best hip-hop groups in history have full creative freedom on an album can’t go wrong. It didn’t.

Pharoahe Monch: W.A.R.

Pharoahe has always been one of the best lyricists alive and W.A.R. just added to why.

Shabazz Palaces: Black Up

Rap gets experimental sometimes and Palaceer Lazaro (Butterfly from Digable Planets) gets it right.

Black Milk and Danny Brown: Black and Brown

This album bangs and it’s not a surprise with Black Milk on the production.

9th Wonder: The Wonder Years

9th shows why he is one of the best producers in the game and all the guest MCs kill it.

Erik: Everything That Rises Must Converge, Wednesdays 12am-3am

Craft Spells: Idle Labor (Captured Tracks)

Gold-Bears: Are You Falling in Love? (Slumberland)

Pulseprogramming; Charade is Gold (Audraglint)

Young Prisms: Friends for Now (Kanine)

Ringo Deathstarr: Colour Trip (Club AC30)

Soft Kill: An Open Door (Fast Weapons)

Blouse: Blouse (Captured Tracks)

Motion Sickness of Time Travel: Luminaries & Synastry (Digitalis)

Disappears: Guider (Kranky)

Brief Candles: Fractured Days (Guilt Ridden Pop)

Hal Rammel: Alternating Currents, Sundays, 6pm-9pm

Muhal Richard Abrams: SoundDance (Pi Recordings)

Here we find pianist Muhal Richard Ambrams in duo concerts with, first off, tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson, then trombonist George Lewis. This is Mr. Anderson’s last recording before he passed away in 2010. Remarkably, it is also their first recording together in spite of that fact that they sat around the table together in Chicago in 1964 co-founding the AACM. The first AACM concert I ever attended (in 1966) featured Fred Anderson in Abram’s Experimental Band along with a lineup that was to become a ‘Who’s Who’ list for the future. Nevertheless, there is no recording of them together until now and it is totally open-ended improvising from two masters. The duo with George Lewis ranges from piano/trombone to piano/laptop combinations covering a remarkably varied landscape. Abrams’ responses to Lewis’ electronics are spot-on and I’d be hard put to make any comparison between the two discs worth of music; both are a revelation.

Vijay Iyer: Tirtha (ACT)

A follow-up to his solo CD of last year, is a fantastic trio adding guitar and tabla. This is the piano trio that played at Alverno earlier this year and the interaction between instruments and traditions is fantastic.

Rudresh Mnhanthappa: Samadhi (ACT)

Convenes a very different ensemble for Samadhi this time around — an electric band, if you will, and it’s a powerful follow-up to blazing recordings like the ensemble he organized with altoist Bunky Green last year.

Charles Lloyd: Athens Concert (ECM)

I’m a big fan of the past few Charles Lloyd discs on ECM that have featured his latest quartet that includes Jason Moran on piano. Any session Moran joins will be invigorated by his brilliant concepts and invention. This particular recording features Lloyd’s collaborations with vocalist Maria Farantouri and the results are marked with sensitive musical interaction and great emotional depth. Delmark Records has really stepped forward with remarkable collections by younger players (as composers and improvisers) on the Chicago scene and the two most recent deserve a place in this list.

Jason Adasiewicz: Sun Rooms (Delmark)

This follows his previous Delmark CD with this collection titled Spacer. Same terrific players — Mike Reed and Nate McBride — and once again, great writing. Adasiewicz’s playing with Peter Brotzmann was a highlight of Okka Fest at the Sugar Maple this year and any recordings or performances that include Adasiewicz’s vibraphone are well worth investigating.

Jason Stein: New Quartet

Jason Stein’s New Quartet presents his remarkable virtuosity on bass clarinet alongside tenor player Keefe Jackson, often improvising together reminiscent of the Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh collaborations decades ago. They play beautifully together, and the group also includes Josh Abrams and Frank Rosaly, whose work should be very familiar to those of you who have heard them play at the Sugar Maple or Woodland Pattern this past year.

James Falzone: Klang

James Falozne’s Klang draws on the clarinet traditions from Benny Goodman to Jimmy Giuffre. Their performances at Milwaukee’s Sugar Maple have been a real treat every time. The most recent disc Other Doors (Allos Musica) pays tribute to the Goodman era from a post-Ornette, post-Giuffre perspective and explores these distinct and diverse worlds with great ease and pleasure.

Nuscope is another label presenting consistently high quality adventurous music that challenges the often arbitrary boundaries between jazz, classical and freely-improvised music. Here are two recent favorites:

Lisa Ullen: Catachresis

Swedish pianist Lisa Ullen plays a solo on the recent disc Catachresis. Like all of Nuscope piano CDs, it is beautifully recorded. These are all shorter pieces, fully and richly inventive, with surprising twists and turns that reward repeated listening.

John Butcher: John Butcher and Claudia Ulla Binder

British saxophonist John Butcher played an unforgettable solo set at the Unruly Music Festival a few weeks ago. his duo CD with pianist Claudia Ulla Binder appeared recently. Butcher is expert at playing in spaces between more conventional musical approaches. Binder is unfazed by his unique control of harmonies and their playing together is often both lyrical and provocative.

This past year’s reissue series from Impulse! combining two LPs within one disc has been, to my mind, very uneven (i.e. these have not been the Ahmad Jamal or Alice Coltrane reissues we’ve been waiting for). However, the Elvin Jones’ reissue that includes Illumination! a 1963 sextet co-led with bassist Jimmy Garrison, hosts a great front line of Prince Lasha, Sonny Simmons, and Charles Davis in a set of tunes that reflects the influence of Ornette Coleman more than that of Coltrane. All the Prince Lasha and Sonny Simmons LPs from this period (the mid-60′s into the early 70′s) are worth searching out and this one fills another gap in that invigorating discography.

Dr. Fell: Jing Jong Triple Play, Fridays, 6am-9am

Stepkids: The Stepkids

Alexander: Alexander

Mr. Gnome: Madness in Miniature

Metronomy: The English Riviera

Luke Temple: Don’t Act Like You Don’t Care

tUnE-yArDs: whokill

Radiohead: King of Limbs

Battles: Gloss Drop

Bobby: Bobby

Jack Oblivian

Andy Turner: Zero Hour, Fridays 12pm – 3pm

Jack Oblivian: Rat City

John Paul Keith: The Man That Time Forgot

DM Bob & the Deficits: They Called Us Country

The Booze: At Maximum Volume

The Happy Thoughts: The Happy Thoughts

The Mighty Fine: Get Up to Get Down

Spartan Dreggs: Forensic R&B

Bloodshot Bill: Thunder & Lightning

The Routes: Alligator

Occult Detective Club: Crimes

The Barreracudas: Noctural Mission

The Cute Lepers: Adventure Time

The Gaye Blades: The Gaye Blades

The Monsters: Pop Up Yours

Stupidity: Move

The Insomniacs: Just Enjoy It

The Bad Sports: Kings of the Weekend

The Night Beats: The Night Beats

The Shotglass Killers: Ghost of an Empty Bottle

Glambilly: White BBQ Sauce

E-Form, various shows

PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

TV On the Radio: Nine Types of Light

Cults: Cults

Washed Out: Within and Without


Frank Ocean: Nostalgia

Aloe Blacc: Good Things (technically released in 2010, discovered in 2011)

Tom Waits: Bad As Me

Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee Two

Various Artists: Red Hot and Rio 2

Wild Flag: Wild Flag

Cut Copy: Zonoscope

Jon Blick: The Overnight Sensations, Thursdays 12am-3am

I certainly don’t pretend to have heard everything that came out this year. Of the things that I read about, heard about, or for whatever reason, just caught my eye in the WMSE library, this is what stuck with me from “AB to Zenith”.

A B and the Sea: Run Run Run

A band from San Francisco by way of Weyauwega, Wisconsin that apparently grew up listening to their parents’ Beach Boys records. Great set at Mad Planet last winter. “Take It Easy” is probably my favorite song of the year. I’d much rather listen to this than yet another reworked “Smile”.

Dum Dum Girls: Only in Dreams

Great reverbed-drenched, 60′s-influenced pop. There are a lot of bands doing a similar thing, but the songwriting here is distinctive and avoids the ‘sameness trap’, as in “I think I just listened to the same song fourteen times.” Except for the drums.

Marianne Faithful: Horses and High Heels

I read that Marianne wanted to record a ‘fun’ album, but this is still pretty dark stuff. Her voice is as powerful as ever, and the song selection is excellent.

Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down

These guys have been around for a few years and a few releases, but I first heard them this fall. Wow! This is kickass rock ‘n’ roll from start to finish. They had me at “Dishonest John” (always a soft spot for Beany and Cecil).

Paul Kelly: Songs of the South:Volumes 1 & 2:Paul’s Greatest Hits

A star in Australia, Paul Kelly is an amazing pop craftsman and songwriter in the style of Nick Lowe, or maybe Ray Davies. I’m only familiar with a few of his many albums, but what I’ve heard is excellent. This is a great introduction, including tracks from Paul Kelly & the Messengers as well as his solo work.

Imelda May: Mayhem

What a voice! I’m not sure what to call this. It’s sort of rockabilly, sort of high energy lounge, sort of jump R&B. I’ll just call it fun.

Middle Brother: Middle Brother

An indie-folk super group of sorts, featuring members of Dawes, Deer Tick and the Delta Spirit. It’s more upbeat than Dawes, tighter than Deer Tick, more consistent than Delta Spirit. I like it.

Trolley: Things That Shine and Glow

There are lots of bands that play rock ‘n’ roll, but this is a band that rocks like they truly mean it. Each Trolley release has moved the band a bit more from the punk rock influence towards a more 60′s psychedelic pop sound. This album was recorded a few years ago and was happily finally released this year. It’s the little unexpected things that really grab you. Check out the last bit of the guitar solo on “She’s the Kind of Girl”.

Waters: Out in the Light

A wonderful debut album of straight-ahead guitar rock. I thought this was Alberta Cross when I first heard them on Dr. Fell’s show the morning of the Alberta Cross show at Turner. I’m looking forward to more from them.

Wilco: The Whole Love

My favorite Wilco album since Summerteeth. Stylistically, this one is all over the place. Not a bad song on it.

Honorable Mentions:

Boy With a Fish: I Put My Tongue On a Window

Pieta Brown: Mercury

Cage the Elephant: Thank You Happy Birthday

Wanda Jackson: Party Ain’t Over

Old 97s: The Grand Theatre Vol. 2

Sleeper Agent: Celebrasion

Those Darlins: Screws Get Loose

Wild Flag: Wild Flag

YACHT: Shangri-La

Yellow Ostrich: The Mistress

Zenith Myth: Zenith Myth

Craig Mertes: The Shape of Rock, Tuesdays, 6am-9am

Northless: Clandestine Abuse (Halo of Flies)

Brilliantly heavy and absolutely gorgeous all at the same time. Northless mixes their doom metal with math rock undertones to a wonderful effect. A challenging listen that is worth every minute.

The Kills: Blood Pressures (Domino)

Insanely catchy, the Kills create glitchy and sexually tense garage rock at its best. The slower songs that comprise the middle of the album (“DNA”, “Baby Says” and “The Last Goodbye”) may be the best Kills work, yet.

Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti-)

A highly anticipated album that delivers. One of Tom Waits’ best and most consistent albums. Waits mixes his trademark carnival atmosphere with fantastic slow tunes. “Hell Broke Luce” is nothing short of blistering.

The Hussy: Cement TOmb Mind Control (Slow FIzz)

Catchy pop tunes wrapped in raucous, echo-soaked garage punk. Think of a poppy version of The New Bomb Turks turned down just a notch, who hail from Madison!

Yellow Ostrich: The Mistress (Barsuk)

The vocal harmonies and samples caught my ear and never let go.

Zola Jesus: Conatus (Sacred Bones)

Zola Jesus knows how to create a mood.

The Dirt Daubers: Wake Up, Sinners! (Colonel Knowledge)

J.D. Wilkes of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers’ project with his wife is throwback bluegrass. This album is a combination of original tunes and covers. An extremely fun listen.

Absolutely: Learns to Love Mistakes (self-released)

Careening punk rock (but so much more than just punk rock) that wears a love for Unwound on its sleeve. A fantastic, abrasive rock ‘n’ roll record.

King’s Horses: Polis (self-released)

Soaring, meandering guitar-driven indie rock.

The Black Lips: Arabia Mountain

The Black Lips continue to hone their songwriting chops and additional production value on Arabia Mountain helps out (who would have thought). This is a jangly pop record and the Black Lips at their best.

Deserving recognition (no particular order):

Protestant: Stalemate (Halo of FLies)

Angry, technical hardcore from Milwaukee.

The Black Keys: El Camino (Nonesuch)

The Black Keys at their most poppy.

The Midwest Beat: Gone Not Lost (Dusty Medical Records)

Jangly 60′s-styled garage pop. The Midwest Beat add a little grit to their sound this time around.

The Customary Silence: Foul Thoughts (self-released)

Jesus Lizard-informed, bombastic post-rock. It’s a raw nerve all of the way through the album.

Danger Mouse & Danielle Luppi: Rome:The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Parlophone)

This another album that really sets an atmosphere. The inspiration is that the album is a soundtrack for a fictional spaghetti western, but the music would also work as the best soundtrack to a James Bond film in years.

EMA: Past Life Martyred Saints (Sourtrain Transmission)

A sparse, tense and personal album.

The United Sons of Toil: When the Revolution Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful (Phratry)

Politically-motivated noise rock from Madison in the vein of Unsane.

Melissa: The Melissa Show, Wednesdays, 12:30pm-3pm

I really don’t have a ‘list’, but I have a favorite album of the year…hands down, The Jim Jones Revue, Burning Your House Down.  Holy crap!  That’s all I’ve got to say.  Amazing from beginning to end.

Dr. Sushi: Dr. Sushi’s Free Jazz BBQ, Tuesdays, 9am-12pm

The Resonance Ensemble: Kafka in Flight

Wadada Leo Smith’s Organic: Heart’s Reflections

2 Cellos: 2Cellos

Jeff Gauthier Goatette: Open Source

Trombone Shorty: For True

Vijay Iyer: Tirtha

Amir El Saffar: Inana

Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Ensemble: The Prairie Prophet

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Samdhi

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Volume II

Scott Lucey: Digital Dumplings in Analog Gravy, Wednesdays, 6am-9am

Blood Orange: Coastal Grooves

tUnE-yArDs: whokill

Little Dragon: Ritual Union

Youth Lagoon: The Year of Hibernation

Com Truise: Galactic Melt

Zun Zun Egui: Katang

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Unknown Mortal Orchestra


Delicate Steve: Wondervisions

Cut Copy: Zonoscope

John Newhauser (The Good John):  The Chickenshack, Fridays 9am-12pm

Slackeye Slim: El Santo Grial: La Pistola Piadosa

Hayes Carll: KMAG YOYO

Cody Canada & the Departed: This is Indian Country

Lydia Loveless: Indestructible Machine

Kasey Anderson & the Honkies: Heart of a Dog

John Paul Keith: The Man That Time Forgot

Scott H Biram: Bad Ingredient

The Booze: Maximum Volume

Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing

Shin Joong Hyun: Beautiful Rivers and Mountains

Dori: The Girlina Show, Thursdays, 12pm-3pm

Here are the top 11 singles I couldn’t stop listening to in 2011:

“Gangsta”: tUnE-yArDs (whokill)

“Girl Panic”: Duran Duran (All You Need is Now)

“Too Many Rappers”:  Beastie Boys (Hot Sauce Committee Part 2)

“Ice Cream” Battles (Gloss Drop)

“Run the World (Girls)”: Beyonce (4)

“Santa Fe”: Beirut (The Rip Tide)

“Surgeon”: St. Vincent (Strange Mercy)

“Romance”: Wild Flag (Wild Flag)


“Take Me Over”: Cut Copy (Zonoscope)

“No Future Shock”: TV On the Radio (Nine Types of Light)

Mario: The Pit, Fridays 3am-6am

Germ Attack: Fear of the Unknown

Nightbirds: The Other Side of Darkness

Get Rad: Choose Your Own Adventure

Burning Sons: Reduced to Equality

Social Circkle: Expiration Date

In Defense: Party Lines and Politics

Old Firm Casuals/The Last Resort split

Noi!se: This is Who We Are

Rustbelt Demons: demo

Grown Ass Men: Too Old to Die Young

Radio Dave and Bob Midnight: Midnight Radio + Local/Live, Tuesdays 6pm-9pm

Radio Dave:

Tom Waits: Bad As Me

The Decemberists: The King is Dead

Yuck: Yuck

Gringo Star: Count Yer Lucky Stars

Peter Wolf Crier: Garden of Arms

The Rural Alberta Advantage: Departing

Ha Ha Tonka: Death of a Decade

The Celebrated Workingman: Content Content

Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin

Crooked Fingers: Breaks in the Army

Bob Midnight:

The Decemberists: The King is Dead

Fountains of Wayne: Sky Full of Holes

Sloan: The Double Cross

Ponderosa: Moonlight Revival

Tommy Keene: Behind the Parade

Mark Kappel: Sunday Morning Jazz, Sundays 6am-8am

The Jeff Gauthier Goatette: Open Source

Bones & Tone: Bones & Tone

Led Bib: Bring Your Own

Heavy Tin: Space Cats

Gutbucket: Flock

Joey DeFrancesco: One Take Volume 4

Bee vs Moth: Acronyms

High Fidelity: Tell Me!

Jason Adasiewicz: Sun Rooms

New York Electric Piano: Keys to the City

Erin: The Rockleidoscope Show, Tuesdays, 12pm-3pm

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

Catacombz: Catacombz (Organalog)

Wye Oak: Civilian (Merge)

Battles: Gloss Drop (Warp)

Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin On (Arts & Crafts)

Collections of Colonies of Bees: GIVING (Hometapes)

Yuck: Yuck (Fat Possum)

Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 2:Judges (Constellation)

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador)

PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (Vagrant)

Megafaun: Megafaun (Hometapes)

Brief Candles: Fractured Days (Guilt Ridden Pop)

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: Wolfroy Goes to Town (Drag City)

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain’t Over (Third Man)

The War On Drugs: Slave Ambient (Secretly Canadian)

Canopies: Canopies EP (self-released)

True Widow: As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth (Kemado)

Black Eagle Child: Lobelia (Preservation)

Lia Ices: Grown Unknown (Jagjaguwar)

Delaney Davidson: Bad Luck Man (Voodoo Rhythm)

Little Scream: The Golden Record (Secretly Canadian)

John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (Ribbon Music)

Richard Buckner: Our Blood (Merge)

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Fat Possum)

Northless: Clandestine Abuse (Halo of Flies)

Rich Mars: City Rock Showgram, Wednesdays 6pm-9pm

Tom Waits: Bad As Me

The Pack A.D.: Unpersons

Limes: Tarantula!

Silos: Florizona

Lydia Loveless: Indestructible Machine

Art Brut: Brilliant! Tragic!

Felice Brothers: Celebration, Florida

TV On the Radio: Nine Types of LIght

The Kills: Blood Pressures

PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

Jerry Glocka: Tunes From the Attic, Fridays 6pm-9pm

Tom Waits: Bad As Me

Arguably one of the most original and innovative artists working music today, Tom Waits delivers the goods, once again. Perhaps not as daring as Real Gone (his last studio album), Bad As Me offers up thirteen worthy additions to the TW canon. The deluxe version has three additional songs, one of which (“Tell Me”), ranks as one of his all-time best. Backed by harp, honking sax and clanging percussion (all trademark sounds), Tom howls and sputters like a madman, spitting out roiling, blues-soaked stompers like “Chicago”, “Bad As Me”, “Hell Broke Luce” and “Satisfied” (with Keith Richards on guitar). Contrasting sharply are the nostalgia and melancholy of ballads like “Last Leaf”, “Kiss Me”, “Face to the Highway” and “Back in the Crowd”. Overall, a very satisfying effort and one that will surely grow on you as all TW records eventually do. If your brain has been overloaded with too much holiday music, one spin of this disc should clear your head.

R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now

Released in April, this set finds R.E.M. in a relaxed and introspective mood. It is pointless to keep comparing every new release to their older stuff from the 80′s and 90′s but this one does seem to have a lot of the best things we always liked about R.E.M. Peter Buck’s big, bold guitar riffs, his jangly Rickenbacker chords and mandolin flourishes — they’re all here. Great bass lines and background singing from Mike Mills. Yep. Front man, Michael Stipes’ unmistakable vocals and adventurous songwriting. Present. So, why was it so overlooked? What more can/should they do? Retire, apparently. I’ll miss these guys, but they leave behind a lasting legacy of great, original music.

The Beach Boys: Smile

Brian Wilson’s pop masterpiece, begun in 1966 and intended for release in 1967 (but shelved for reasons too numerous to get into, here), finally sees the light of day. Bootlegs have circulated for years. Plus, Brian and his current touring band released and performed an interpretive version in 2004. But this is purported to be as close to the real deal as you’ll ever hear — what Brian envisioned over forty years ago. Original writing. Available in vinyl and various CD/DVD mega configurations (with outtakes and alternate versions), playing Smile from start to finish once a week should help stave off the winter blahs.

Nick Lowe: The Old Magic

Having evolved from his late-70′s/early-80′s pub rock ‘Jesus Christ of Cool’ persona to his current role as elder statesman of balladry and tune-smithing-ing, Nick Lowe continues to amaze. Following in the same footsteps as his previous three solo releases, this one’s loaded up with classy, well-crafted pop songs that simmer with a soulful, late-50′s/early-60′s retro vibe. With Lowe’s smooth British vocals riding over a spare, yet crack band that includes the gifted Geraint Watkins on keyboards, these songs, while a bit on the mellow side, will surely bring a satisfied grin to your face.

John Hiatt: Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns

After twenty albums, dating back to the early 80′s, John Hiatt offers up yet another solid collection of exquisite Americana. Some of his recent releases have been hit or miss affairs with each containing brilliant moments but lacking a cohesiveness that his late-80′s and early-90′s records had. That said, here we find John and the band in fine form, delivering tunes that sparkle and shine. “Detroit Made” chugs along with a big rock beat, while “All the Way Under” cooks with a nice, bluesy back-porch feel. Other standouts include “Down Around My Place” and “Hold On For Your Love”.

Johnny Winter: Roots

What a refreshing and unexpected surprise! Johnny and guests collaborate on some timeless, rocking blues classics and manage to breathe new life into almost all of them. Joined by Sonny Landreth, Brother Edgar, Susan Tedeschi, Warren Haynes, Vince Gill and others, Johnny plays and sings like he’s just discovered these tunes for the first time. He and Edgar’s instrumental workout on “Honky Tonk” is a thrilling ride, while Johnny’s solo take on “Dust My Broom” is a joy to behold.

Dennis Coffey: Dennis Coffey

The 70′s hard funk guitarist and studio whiz returns with a collection of new and old soul instrumentals and funk classics from Parliament, George Clinton and Wilson Pickett. Best-remembered for the Detroit Guitar Band’s 1971 instrumental “Scorpio”, Coffey was also part of the funk brothers studio band and provided wah-wah guitar and tape delay echo on Motown gems like The Temptations’ “Cloud Nine”, “Ball Of Confusion” and “The Psychedelic Shack”, as well as Freda Payne’s “Band Of Gold”. Here, he is joined by Milwaukee’s Kings Go Forth for some new, monster funk. Mayer Hawthorne, the Detroit Cobras, Fanny Franklin and Lisa Kekaula (of The Bellrays) all contribute vocals with the latter’s blistering version of 100 Proof Aged in Soul’s “Somebody’s Been Sleeping”, the highlight of the album.

Semi-Twang: Wages of Sin

Originally formed in the late-80′s, Milwaukee’s Semi-Twang reunite and prove they can still produce great, new, original music. “Wages of Sin” has a lot to offer fans of rootsy blues and country-tinged rock. Rallying behind John Sieger’s lead vocals and inspired songwriting, the band sounds tight and focused, imbuing each of the twelve songs with riffs, hooks and harmonies only a band of seasoned pros could produce. Highlights are many but “Do Right”, “Nervous Energy”, “Move It or Lose It” and “Just a Train” stand out. Solid production from Mike Hoffman and great playing from all the guys make this rebirth worth the wait.

Hidalgo & Perez: The Long Goodbye

If you can’t have a full-blown Los Lobos album this year, the next best thing would be this release from David Hidalgo and Louis Perez. A bit more laid-back and tuneful, all the same elements you’ve come to expect are here — from soulful ballads to rollicking, accordion-driven Tex-Mex. Highlights include “Till the Hands Fall the Clock” and “When Love Fails”.

Ray Davies & Friends: See My Friends

Aside from his two solo albums of new material in the mid-2000′s, Ray’s been recycling Kink’s tunes for the last couple of releases. This one has Ray singing on other artists’ cover versions of their favorite Kinks songs. Nothing wrong with that. Ray has written some of the most-beloved and enduring songs of the late 20th century. Some sound great. Others, not so much. The best ones are the obscure tunes that haven’t been beaten to death by classic rock radio. Tunes like “Till the End of the Day” by Alex Chilton or “Long Way From Home” by Lucinda Williams, or “This is Where I Belong” by Black Francis or even “Dead End Street” by Amy MacDonald or Jackson Browne’s version of “Waterloo Sunset”, all sound new and are a real pleasure to to hear. However, “Celluloid Heros” by Bon Jovi, “You Really Got Me” by Metallica or “All Day and All Night” by Billy Corgan don’t capture any magic.

Pat Buckley: The Happy Monday Show, alternating Mondays 6am-9am

Atlas Sound: Parallax

Living Kills: Faceless Angels

Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring For My Halo

Toro Y Moi: Underneath the Pine

PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

Girls: Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Queens of the Stone Age: Queens of the Stone Age reissue

Cut Copy: Zonoscope

Bon Iver: Bon Iver

Zun Zun Egui: Katang

Grant Killoran: The Grant Show, alternating Mondays 6am-9am

Tom Waits: Bad As Me

Bon Iver: Bon Iver

PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

Richard Buckner: Our Blood

Yuck: Yuck

The Black Keys: El Camino

Low: C’mon

Wilco: The Whole Love

Peter Gabriel: New Blood

Beirut: The Rip Tide

But to be honest, I spent a good amount of time this year in the musical ‘way-back’ machine, dialing it back to the early-to-mid 80′s. Here is my current ‘top ten’ albums from that period as well:

Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

Roxy Music: Avalon (1982)

Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980)

The Replacements: I Will Dare (1984)

The The: Soul Mining (1983)

The Suburbs: Credit in Heaven (1981)

Kate Bush: Hounds of Love (1985)

The Smiths: Hatful of Hollow (1984)

New Order: Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)

Lloyd Cole: Rattlesnakes (1984)

Jonny Z: The Chickenshack, Fridays 9am-12pm

JD McPherson: Signs and Signifiers

Tab Benoit: Medicine

Connie Smith: Long Line of Heartaches

Big Boy Bloater and the Limits: Big Boy Bloater and the Limits

Arty Hill: Another Lost Highway

Imelda May: Mayhem

Los Fabulocos: Dos

J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound: Want More

Buddy Miller: The Majestic Silver Strings

Southern Culture on the Skids: Kudzu Ranch

Eric Von Munz: The Von Munz Vinyl Variety Show, Tuesdays 3am-6am

Jacuzzi Boys: Glazin (Hardly Art)

Yeah, you know that girl that knows the lyrics to Crass and wears a Led Zepplin shirt? This would be the best sonic love letter to her. Better buy two…

Mark Sultan: Whatever I Want + Whenever I Want (In the Red)

A.K.A. BBQ from the King Khan BBQ Show, Mark Sultan simultaneously released these two LPs in late 2011. Both get bundled together in the review because they rule. Freshly combining the finest aspects of doo-wop, punk, r&b and garage, these LPs groove.

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain’t Over (Third Man)

Wanda Jackson and Jack White?!?! Yeah. They nail it. Even the Amy Winehouse cover

Black Lips: Arabia Mountain (Vice)

Exactly one week after this LP hit the bins of record stores, I heard a DJ spin it in Warsaw at the Cycle Courier Championships. Another trusted friend back in the States said they were this generation’s Rolling Stones. At any rate, this is a killer garage rawk record!

The Spits: Kill the Kool (Thrift Store / In the Red)

The Spits are easily my favorite punk band, and have been for a few years. Amazing to see live, “Kill the Kool” was scooped from their merch booth back in May. If the Ramones met Devo ripping at The Turf back in the 80′s, their baby would have grown up to be this band.

Kid Congo and the Pink Monkeybirds: Gorilla Rose (In the Red)

This is the second full-length by Kid Congo’s new band, and it oozes with a sinister punk/surf wave that only a member of the Cramps/Gun Club/Nick Cave could sucessfully ride…

Dirtbombs: Party Store (In the Red)

I’m nearly positive I was the first DJ in the US to play this on-air (well, at least on vinyl…)! Two LPs-worth of Mick Collins and co. reworking electronic tracks with live instruments. Even the 23-minute long “Bug in the Bass Bin” is pretty cool. Track to track, this is a party record…BYOB (Thunderbird ESQ), of course!

The Kills: Blood Pressures (Domino)

This LP hits on so many levels, right from the opening cut. I had this on my turntable for days. An emotional whirlwind of a rock record, for sure.

Wire: Red Barked Tree (Pink Flag)

Much like the aforementioned record, this is a welcome addition to my collection. Wire’s Pink Flag stands the test of time as one of the best 1977 punk rippers, and Wire continues to snarl in 2011.

Gang Of Four: Content (Yep Roc)

First heard “Fruitfly in the Beehive” on Spaceage Oldschool’s set. As soon as I caught the guitar line, I knew that it was Gang Of Four! “I Party All the Time” is my standout track from it.

Zack Holder, WMSE music department assistant

Burning Sons: Reduced to Equality

The Dagons: Upon the Dull Earth

Dead Man Winter: Bright Lights

Goes Cube: In Tides and Drifts

Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion: Bright Example

The Hudson Falcons: Dancing Underneath the Moonlight

Mama Rosin with Hipbone Slim and the Knee Tremblers: Louisiana Sun

The Midwest Beat: Gone Not Lost

Thee Oops: Taste of Zimbabwe

The Swingin Utters: Here Under Protest

DJ Rose: Female Focus, Sundays 10:30pm – 12am & Rock and Blues, Mondays 12:30am – 3am

Mindy Canter: Fluteus Maximus (CDBY)

Magic Pie: The Suffering Joy (Progress (SE))

Kay Kay and the Rays: Best Of (Catford Records)

Dana Fuchs: Love to Beg (Ruf Records)

Etta James: The Dream (Verve Records)

Introitus: Elements (Progress (SE))

Blackmore’s Night: Autumn Sky (Spinefarm/Fontana)

Atsuko: Hashimoto: Until the Sun Comes Up (Capri)

Annie B: and the Vagabond Company: Fancies of a Random Heart

Pistol Annies: Hell on Heels (Sony Nashville)

Various: Kiss My WAMI 2011:West Australia Music Industry

Girl Howdy: Honky Tonk Hair

Stony Curtis Band: Cosmic Connection (Blues Bureau Int’l)

Patti Smith: Outside Society [digital remaster] (Sony Legacy)

Sista Monica Parker: Living in the Danger Zone (MO’ Muscle)

Various Female Fronted Metal Bands: World of Glass Compilation Vol. 1-3

Dennis Coffey: Dennis Coffey (Strut Records)

Nightwish: Imaginaerum (Road Runner)

Indigo Girls: Beauty Queen Sister (IG Recordings/Vanguard Records)

Blue Sky Hour: Hot Sun and Short Shorts

Bangles: Sweetheart of the Sun (Waterfront Records)

Todd Wolfe Band: Live (American Home Ent.)

Ultraviolet Hippopatamus: Square Pegs Round Holes

The Kooks: Junk of the Heart (Astralwerks)

Blue Van: Love Shot (Alliance Import)

Booker T. Jones: The Road From Memphis (Anti-)

The New Red Moons: The New Red Moons

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound: Want More

Ruthie Foster: Live at Antone’s (Blue Corn Music)

Flogging Molly: Speed of Darkness (Borstal Beat Records)

Kintra: Exclusive for Milwaukee 2011

Vic and Gab: Vic and Gab EP

Shopkeeper Ken: The Five & Dime Show, Thursdays, 9am-12pm

A Winged Victory For the Sullen: A Winged Victory For the Sullen (Kranky)

Black Eagle Child: Lobelia (Preservation)…(local artist, for those keeping score)

Moon Duo: Mazes (Sacred Bones)

Peaking Lights: 936 (Not Not Fun)

Hauschka & Hildur Gudnadottir: Pan Tone (Sonic Pieces)

Cave: Neverendless (Drag City)

Tim Hecker: Dropped Pianos (Kranky)

Caretaker: An Empty Bliss Beyond This World (History Always Favors the Winners)

Bill Callahan: Apocalypse (Drag City)

Group Doueh: Zayna Jumma (Sublime Frequencies)


Please tune into 91.7 FM WMSE on Thursday, December 29th as Station Manager Tom Crawford hosts an entire show devoted to these 2011 best-of’s. This very special edition of Radio Drill Time will run from 6pm-9pm. Tune in at 91.7 FM on your radio dial or by streaming live (or in the archives) at WMSE.org.

POSTED BY:: Erin Wolf

TAGGED::WMSE, WMSE Picks, WMSE Picks of 2011