Ohmpark’s Top 25 Albums of 2011

Back in 2009, I listened to approximately 75 records that came out of Atlanta that year. This year, I blogged about roughly 75 records, and for every album I discussed, there were at least five I listened to and didn’t blog about. The quantity of music being made in this city is growing exponentially, and the Atlanta music scene runs extraordinarily deep. So needless to say, this was the most difficult year-end list to put together yet.

On a technical note, my 2011 year-end list eligibility extends through the 2010 holiday season because I like to be able to spend enough time with a record to properly evaluate it. So, any record that was not widely available before Thanksgiving this year will go into consideration for 2012.

Here are my twenty-five favourite albums from Atlanta this year:

25. Cassandras : Hari Pari Mandala Gosthi

24. Dark Room : Gothic Picnic

23. We The Lion : Boy Oh Boy

22. Easily Suede / Carey : Good Health Guide

21. Cassandras : Cassandras: 3 Songs

20. Book Club : Ghost

19. Warning Light : Wild Silver

18. Djarum : Don’t Let Me Down

17. Places : The Future

16. Nomen Novum / Magicicada / Tree Creature : Three Way Split

15. The Back Pockets : Fast Cloud Slow Cloud

14. Lid Emba : Terminal Muse: Blue

13. Vocabulary : Faded Days

12. Time Wharp : later.

11. Atlas Sound : Parallax

10. Mastodon : The Hunter

9. Places : Half-Dones

8. New Animal : Eleven Songs

7. Places : March

6. Spirits and the Melchizedek Children : We Are Here To Save YOU!

5. Lyonnais : Want For Wish For Nowhere

4. The Electric Nature : Mount Analogue

3. Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun : Wildfire

2. Little Tybee : Humorous To Bees

1. New Animal : New Animal

The story of Atlanta’s independent music scene in 2011 was the rise of a new wave of artists that came out of nowhere and upped the ante on everyone else. Only four acts on this list (veteran mainstays Mastodon, Atlas Sound, The Back Pockets, and Nomen Novum) have appeared on my best Atlanta album lists in either 2010 or 2009. That’s a symptom of the fact that there’s a new generation of local musicians dominating the scene. And at the head of this new class is New Animal.

New Animal‘s meteoric rise over the course of 2011 is unparalleled. Without a label backing them, with very little major publication support, and without even playing a single show ever, New Animal became one of the Internet’s buzziest bands early on in the year solely based on the strength of their 75-minute self-titled masterpiece. It’s hard for me to think of another record with fifteen songs where I love each and every single one. And what’s even more impressive is that they continued to output new material seemingly on a monthly basis, creating a catalog in one year vaster and more compelling than most artists do over a lifetime. There is simply no musical artist in the world that’s had a more impressive year.

My #2 and #3 spots went to outfits that have been on their own upward swing lately, each respectively creating an epic record that delivered on all the brilliance and potential they had displayed in recent years. My #4 is probably the most inaccessible record to come out of the city this year, but if you can find your way inside, it’s a monster. And my #5 goes to a band that I had previously written off, but there’s no denying what an amazing album they’ve put forth.

Of course, everything on this list is spectacular, and if you missed one, be sure to pick it up.

[Mixtape] “New Electronic South” by Double Phantom Digital

Double Phantom Digital just released a stellar compilation called New Electronic South. As the title implies, the record showcases twelve local artists that are pushing boundaries in electronic music. You definitely want to go download this one for free.


Qurious : “Low Tide” (feat. Joe Crabb)
Kinisi : “Weekdaze”
Featureless Ghost : “Data Garbage”
Stranded : “Ritual”
Chambers : “Death, Life, the Divine”
Feast of Violet : “Sudden”
Living Rooms : “Fluke”
Travis Thatcher : “Night Falls”
Kolossi : “Gather”
Warning Light : “Newfound Glances”
Exact Index : “Girl”
Twins : “Come Back”

Download New Electronic South

[Video] Warning Light: “The Universal Rewrite”

[Video] Warning Light: “In The Tidal Break”

Warning Light – In the Tidal Break from D Haddon on Vimeo.

[Video] Warning Light: “High Watershed”

Warning Light – High Watershed from D Haddon on Vimeo.

[Mp3] Warning Light: “Europa by Rail”

Warning Light, the project of Roman Photos member Drew Haddon, just dropped a new release, a five song free EP called New Pilgrimage. It’s a collection of atmospheric pieces that are often beautiful, frequently haunting, and occasionally uncomfortable, exactly the way I like my drone. So if you’re a fan of that sort of stuff, you’ll definitely want to check it out:

Warning Light : “Europa by Rail”

Download New Pilgrimage EP

Warning Light blog

[Mp3] The Runaway Five (Live @ Eyedrum 9/8/10)

The Runaway Five is Lockett Pundt (Deerhunter, Lotus Plaza) and Dan Wakefield (Ominous Castle, Abby Go Go)

The Runaway Five : Live @ Eyedrum 9/8/10

Ifilmbands has video of the performance here.

You can download Warning Light‘s set here and Young Again‘s set here. Photos of the three acts are here.

Thanks to Robby Kee and Nathan Brown for this.

[Mp3] Warning Light: “Further On, Monoliths”

Acts like Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never have steered me back towards more atmospheric and droney stuff lately, so when I finally got around to listening to the newest Warning Light record, Further On, which dropped back in January, I was happy to hear someone in Atlanta doing that aesthetic so well. Further On is chiller than chill, mostly made up of tonal washes, but they are very well composed for such ambient music. You can stream the entire record below, and here’s a cut to preview:

Warning Light : “Further On, Monoliths”

Stream/Buy Further On