As an editor at GuitarWorld.com, I listen to tons of music -- all sorts of weird stuff. One day in the summer, I even found myself listening to an album recorded by a bunch of nuns chanting in Latin. I'm still not sure why that happened.
Anyway, my point is, amid the beatings my poor ear drums withstand on a daily basis, it's still pretty easy for me to choose my favorite albums of the year; they're the ones I found myself listening to over and over again in 2011.
A few of these choices sort of flew under the radar this year -- such as the long-awaited comeback album (reunion album, actually) by The Jayhawks (Hey, I sure as hell was waiting for it) and even the latest by the former Pavement frontman, Stephen Malkmus; it's probably his best solo album since his self-titled 2001 solo debut (which is freakin' awesome).
And then there's No. 10 on my list -- Le Tour Du Chapeau ("hat trick") by Les Dales Hawerchuk, a heavy, hockey lovin', French singin', French screamin' band from Quebec, Canada. What can I say? I'm seriously into the whole Keb rock scene -- and Montreal is a mere 6.7777777 hours away by car! Anyway, if you haven't heard it yet, it's worth checking out -- as are the other nine albums in the photo gallery below.
Thanks for reading, Happy Holidays, Joyeux Noël, etc. -- and here's to an awesome 2012! A new Jeff Beck studio album, please!
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World.