The Year in Music was pretty damn good to us locals, with noteworthy, often nationally-recognized albums created right here in our backyard. Here we feature some of our favorite albums from the past 12 months, a painstaking task that made it abundantly clear that we'll once again have our hands full narrowing down nominees for the 2012 Best Music Poll. Roz Raskin, Steve Allain, Makeupbreakup (The Italian Nightmare is a beast), the Reverend Bastien — we salute you. Allysen Callery and the Can't Nots released must-have EPs, and once again we cued up a bunch of good stuff from the 75orLess Records camp (Vertical Twin, Broadcaster, and a split 10-inch from the Blood Moons/Six Star General), and don't forget the Tower & the Fool (drummer/producer Mike Poorman also stayed busy with a Hot Rod Circuit reunion). Hell, just the quality rap releases alone (shoutout to Meta P, Falside & Juan Deuce, ESH & Dox, Zumo Kollie, Big Rush, DirtyDurdie, etc.) could warrant a full feature (check back next week).
And I'm looking forward to new stuff from local heavyweights, including Villainer, Knife Party, Panther Moderns, She Rides, Lolita Black (bring it on, Bob Otis!), Mouth of Flowers, and Sweet Love. Clearly, 2012 is gonna kick ass, but first thing's first.
Here we go — a nod to some of our favorite local albums from 2011, in alphabetical order:
JOCIE ADAMS | BED OF NOTIONS
Between international headlining tours and cutting critically-acclaimed albums with her Low Anthem mates, singer/multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams quietly released a solo record earlier this year, and it's a beauty. Clarinet, harmonica, and cello are gorgeously orchestrated across Bed of Notions ("I'll Follow You Home" and "Darlin'" are particularly stunning), but it's Adams's vocals that shine brightest. Available on iTunes.
BROWN BIRD | SALT FOR SALT | SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Brown Bird partners David Lamb and MorganEve Swain seem to have perfected their unique, ramshackle folk sound on Salt for Salt. The entire BB catalog is worth looking up (including 2009's The Devil Dancing and The Sound of Ghosts EP), but newcomers may be instantly floored by Salt cuts "Ebb and Flow," "Bilgewater," and "Fingers to the Bone," with Lamb waxing poetic about his days as a Warren shipyard worker. Their recent homecoming show at the Met was hands-down one of the year's best.
CHACHI | IN DUST REAL EVOLUTION | CHACHIHIPHOP.COM
Pawtucket rhyme legend Chachi Carvalho digs into his personal journal, written just days prior to his father's death. Carvalho reads touching journal entries between quality tracks like "Car Keys," "Last Dollar" (nice cuts from DJ Therion here), and "Ocean State of Mind." Chachi usually rips bars and verses with a spirited Cheshire cat grin, but the standout track "Never Say Never" is all business, and remains my Song of the Year pick (regardless of genre).
DEER TICK | DIVINE PROVIDENCE | PARTISAN