I’ve already blown a couple hundred words on what a good year for music it has been. I had composed a little rant about how, despite the high quality to be found across wide-ranging genres, there really wasn’t a clear high-water mark, and then Stephen Hyden went and wrote a longer, better piece about that very phenomenon in the AV Club. So that sort of boned this introductory paragraph about how difficult it was to crown a number one without a cultural swing (whether generic or broader) to join or rally against. Enjoy this really great top 10 even if it is devoid of material which made Zeus quake or stirred fears of revolution in the late Kim Jong-Il. (more…)

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I didn’t realize how good music was in 2011 until I started making my year-end lists. Though I had trouble deciding just what would make the awards podium, the wealth of remarkable material is, well, remarkable. You’ll probably notice, when it’s all said and done, there are a number of high profile omissions, that says more about the quality of music this year than what may have been “lacking” in those releases–also, I didn’t want to have 30 or 40 honorable mentions in addition to a top 20. Without further ado, let’s open the flood gates with a list of EPs, splits, and LPs that were great but didn’t quite fit in my top 20. In other words, I really enjoyed these and got tired of trying to assign numbers, but felt these in need of a spotlight. (Don’t read anything into the order, it’s all alphabetical, folks.) (more…)