I should say up front that there were way more than just five albums I didn’t hear in 2011. Five is just a convenient number. It’s half of 10, prime, odd, easily multiplied, etc. I could probably do a top 20 if I felt like it, but frankly, I don’t. Much as I (apparently) enjoy making a show of my ignorance, even that thrill has its limits.
Reactions varied to this year’s top 20 list when it went up, which was to be expected, and I appreciated it that people felt strongly enough to point out things I missed or things they felt deserved inclusion. That’s awesome. It gives me more records to hunt down, and well, what the hell is the point of all of this if not that?
Reserving the right to either purchase or not purchase these albums in the future depending on my cash flow, momentary impulse and fluctuations in taste, here’s the list. You should probably note that, since I didn’t hear any of them, the numbers are basically meaningless.
1. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Blood Lust
When this didn’t make the top 20, the response was so immediate and horrified that I actually went and bought the damn thing off eBay. Import price, no less. Seriously, people were pissed. Windows were broken by flying bricks of disgust. Cars were flipped over and set on fire. “Oh my god it’s retro British occult doom how could you not have it on your list?” The hype being as massive as it is, I only hope my contrary nature (read: prickishness) doesn’t get the best of me and actually prevent me from enjoying it when it comes. Either way, I’ll write on it. Not a full review, but something.
2. Orchid, Capricorn
One of several releases on The Church Within Records that I would’ve preferred to have been able to review (looking at you too, Serpent Venom and Lord Vicar), but I’m only one man, I only have so much money, and I feel bad chasing stuff down when there’s a list of records waiting to be written up. Plus, after a nasty one-liner about their performance at Planet Caravan in 2009 and a meh writeup on their Through the Devil’s Doorway EP, I don’t think I’m even on their radar for people whose opinions they care to hear about a full-length. Fair enough. I’ll probably pick up Capricorn eventually regardless.
3. Tombs, Path of Totality
Years ago, I interviewed Mike Hill for the Aquarian when the former Anodyne guitarist/vocalist was releasing that band’s The First Four Years compilation on his own Black Box Recordings. He was a nice guy, and he talked about starting a new band in Brooklyn that was in a heavier direction. That turned out to be Tombs. And then they signed to Relapse, and then they were really popular. I wasn’t too huge on their first record, and this one just kind of fell through the cracks, but by all accounts it’s fairly amazing. I don’t doubt it.
4. Hammers of Misfortune, 17th Street
While I’m reliving irrelevant memories (see #3 above), at SXSW in 2007, I was at a merch table for a show Weedeater were playing. Maybe it was Om. Or both. Slough Feg were also on the bill, though I’d missed them, and I wound up drunkenly buying everything Hammers of Misfortune had for sale from Sanford Parker, who assured me they kicked ass. I don’t recall ever finding out one way or the other, and neither did I manage to keep up with the band’s 2008 double release, Fields/Church of Broken Glass, but each time they put out a record, I feel like I should get aboard, and this one’s no different.
5. Argus, Boldly Stride the Doomed
I was given a free download of the album, I got the .zip file, and then it sat there. And in the end, I didn’t not review it because I didn’t want to listen — I didn’t review it because I didn’t want to listen, dig the hell out of it and then have to go buy it. That’s the truth. It’s nothing against Pittsburgh trad doomers Argus, whom I’ve seen live and whose sound I dig a lot — I just didn’t want to have to shell out the cash for another record. Would be a different scenario if they were playing a show, and hopefully I’ll run into them over the course of the next year and be able to make fiscal amends for my neglect.
Honorable mention goes to Seven that Spells, The Heavy Eyes and probably six or seven others I can’t think of. You know, I was kind of hoping that doing this feature would make me feel better about missing out on some of this stuff, but nope. I just feel lame and out of touch. Maybe in 2012 I’ll be cool enough to keep up, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Tags: Argus, Hammers of Misfortune, Orchid, Tombs, Top 20 of 2011, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats