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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Late Night with Cal. Music Edition.

The title of this post is pretty much the most straight forward title. You already know what I am about to do here. But, you gotta cut me some slack. I came up with that baller title of “Adele; Adieu” …Straight up gangsta. So, here’s another music post. It’s all about those late nights. When you’re out and bumbling your way to your house. And you got your iPod, and you are too tired to search for something different, and so you settle for your favorite band. Which ain’t no bad thing. But there are some great albums that match late night drives. I am gonna try and hit the no-brainers, but then enlighten you with some stuff that you might have missed.

Rules: Top 15. And we’re talking: you’re in the car, by yourself, on your way to sleepy sleep. And you’ve got at least a fifteen minute drive and you are tired.

Here they are:

This music video is so cool, that it should be in my blog.

There you go. A quick little blog. Not a review on any of them. Just great albums that you should get, and then jam out to while driving.

A quick anecdote: My buddy J-Tables totally looks like Justin Vernon (lead singer of Bon Iver).

J-Vern of Bon Iver

J-Tabes of Two Tables. They totally look alike. Danger Zone.

Who am I missing? Let me know, In the comments. Online.


Adele; Adieu

Adele won six Grammy Awards this year. And to that I say, rubbish. Even more prestigious, she came in fifth on VH1’s Top 100 Greatest Women in Music. I know, you all support her and everything. She’s every woman’s role model. And she speaks for all of you. But here’s the deal. She’s really not that great. I am all about artists coming out of no where and taking the world over. But here’s a thing: she isn’t even the best one out there right now. So here we go. In classic Cal Mader fashion. A list of female artists better than Adele. Also, please note that this is in my opinion. Not Adam’s. We had to have a conversation about Amy Winehouse after this post. Her jazz stuff doesn’t impress me. Sorry, Holmes McHolmesDawg.

Rules. Had to have had an album in the 90s/ 00s/ 10s. Has to be a girl. I ain’t gonna remember or care to even grade all of them. Examples include Rihanna, Tori Amos, and Barabarabra Streisand.

Female singers that should be mentioned in any article talking about female singers:

Stevie Nicks – You wanna turn your face into a not-face? Tell me you hate Fleetwood Mac.

–You should probably listen to this song while reading this post. Just saying.
Karen Carpenter

Karen Carpenter (1950 - 1983)

Aretha Franklin – Did you know RESPECT is a cover? You do now. Expect a post on great cover songs soon.
Joan Jett
Janis Joplin
Etta James
The Pussycat Dolls

Female Singers who should not be things:

Nicki Minaj

Not a thing.

Amy Winehouse
Christina Aguilera
Liz Phair
Yoko Ono – Only because of what she did to the Beatles
Queen Latifah
Danity Kane – One of their albums went platinum. I hate this.

Female Singers of the last twenty years who are worse than Adele, but still deserve some serious recognition:

Regina Spektor

A good smile is one of the most beautiful things women can do. I believe that love starts with a woman's smile.

Madeline Follin of Cults – April 16 2012: First Ave.
Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Imogen Heap
Kelly Clarkson
Whitney Houston
Elly Jackson of La Roux
Ke$ha – Almost not a thing. But she’s kind of a thing. Not close to Adele, but a thing.

Zooey Deschanel – We love Zooey here at theFwaah.
Katy Perry AKA Katy Hudson. The Christian Singer.

Shirley Manson of Garbage
Sinead O’Connor
Lady Gaga
Alanis Morissette
Enya – I wanted to put the Enya scene from Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. But the scene is kinda late in teh movie, so it’d give some stuff away. So. Watch the movie, because it’s phenomenal. And the Enya scene is absolutely perfect.

Colbie Caillat
Kimya Dawson – She’s coming to Winona for the Midwest Music Festival.
PJ Harvey – She’s big in England, becuase all of her songs are love songs to England. Regardless, really cool indie rock songs.
Taylor Swift

Here’s the deal. Singers who are better than Adele. And I don’t care what you say.

Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer
Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine

A definite thing.

Ellie Goulding – Here‘s a dubstep cover of an Ellie Goulding song.

Her looks match her name. Ellie Goulding.

Norah Jones

Alison Krauss (27 Grammys)
Joy Williams of The Civil Wars
Gwen Stefani
Alicia Keys
Ingrid Michaelson
Hayley Williams

I have a thing for redheads. In case you haven't noticed.

As you can see. Adele is better than most. But she certainly isn’t the best female singer out there right now. Not even close. She’s like middle of the road of the best female singers. That’s still… amazing. But it ain’t six Grammys good. I liked 21. I thought it was a good album. But I wasn’t about to say it was better than every album out there. Please people. Let’s take a step back and say goodbye to our relentless rapture with Adele.

Adele, you ain't bad. You're actually pretty baller. You just arent's six Grammys good. I hope you have a great career filled with heartbreak, so you can continue to write music.

Adele, adieu.

Bonus: My favorite three female singers:
1. Stevie Nicks
2. Hayley Williams
3. Soprano from University of Chicago’s Voices in Your Head. During the recording of Magic off of Ben Folds A’Capella album. Check out ALL of it, but at least 2:50 on…

If you disagree with me, hit it up in the comments section. Stand up for your fav girl!

fwaah, cal

Becoming a musician or GarageBand made me who I am.

Yet another expedition into the Grinsell archives yields a fruitful bounty of blogs and Nesquik mix. However, as I shuffle through the darkness my ears catch a faint whistling echo in the distance. ”Merely the wind,” I say as I brush off my dusty memories of old sheriffs and Barney Fife. I continue my journey, with the determination of a guido at a nightclub, but I can’t help but think that some music would indeed lighten the mood as the cold dark surrounds me…

Oh, so it’s Thursday? That means the only class you have is a discussion for an introductory course on scratching your butt. You already have a B in that so there’s really no reason you should wake up before ten-thirty. Once the relentless sunshine rustles you from your slumber, you realize you got nothing to do today. You could sit on the couch and doing homework scratching your butt and it wouldn’t even matter! So you whip out the Mac Book and suddenly it hits you. Today, you are becoming a musician. And it’s all thanks to this little guy.

Actual guitar and talent not included.

A Day in the Life of a GarageBand Musician.

Phase 1: Optimism.

Optimism. A deadly first timer's mistake.

As the little guitar icon bounces up and down in eager anticipation to destroy your hopes and dreams, an almost overwhelmingly strong wave of positivity cascades over the Musician. Thoughts wander to back stage parties, hotel foam parties, and Bob Saget Parties. The program finally loads and gates of musical paradise have opened. It’s time to make some music.

Phase 2: Snack Break.

We recommend Gushers. After a grueling fifteen minutes setting up GarageBand with the new Billboard chart topper, a musician wants food that gushes flavor in the same way their fans will be gushing adoration for the rock star’s tight pants. Everyone loves fans. Except for the groupies. Groupies are nasty.

These ladies are definitely not smuggling narcotics... in their noses... and in their bloodstreams.... Okay, they do cocaine.

Phase 3: Choosing a genre.

Usually when someone makes a song, they like to stick with formulas and styles they are comfortable with and have proven successful in the past. Since an up-and-coming musician doesn’t want to make a potentially career altering move so early in the game, a GB Musician must at all costs throw in a hint of every genre they have been exposed to in the last five years. EVERY. GENRE. No exceptions.

June is also my birthday month. This is not a coincidence.

This decision allows the artist to remain “hot and fresh” so as not to become old, stale, and irrelevant like that Bob Dylan guy. If Owl City can hit number one with his monster hit, “Koala Bear Skylines Behind Electric Eel Sunsets” than anyone can, right?

Phase 3: Smoke Break.

If you don’t smoke, skip this step. If you do smoke, this will be the first of many. I hope you bought a new pack of Camel Crushes, because you are going to need them.

Phase 4: Looking around the house for lyrical/band name inspiration.

At this point, the musician understands that the next sentences they write must be the most insightful they have ever penned. They must write something that shows off their caring, thoughtful side, while establishing themselves . The closest thing to them is a lamp, so their song must be about being a light in the darkness.

Watch your back Adele.

But mostly, it’ll come across like a song that was written about a lamp. Also, band names that contain the word Mud or Mudd or any other spelling are gonna have it rough. A musician must spend more time naming the band than actually being in the band. Crucial step.

Phase 6: Lunch Break.

A musician must be careful with their diet. Their body is now a national treasure along the lines of Monica Lewinski’s blue dress. No longer can one eat what they want, but rather, they are confided to the brown-bagged lunches of champions and diplomats.

Coming back! Netflix 2013, baby!

Anything with unnecessary syllables or accents is now their bread and butter. Goodbye chunky chicken noodle with a Snickers, hello Ayam Bakar with a side of Achaar. Which may sound like a plateful of jihad, but actually is quite the tasty Indonesian dish. (We do not condone the eating of snickering puppies. That’s something a meanie pants would do.)

Phase 7: Actually recording musical sounds.

Now that their belly is full of top shelf delicacies, the music must be made. The next two hours will be spent with the tinkering with the distortion on the bass. This is not a fruitful phase. Nothing gets done. Another Camel Crush is consumed.

Phase 8: Talent Haters.

Any successful GB musician will say that a fundamental part of becoming a successful entertainer is addressing those who don’t share the same artistic vision as you. You have to address these people in as many songs as possible, so you can let them haters know who has the true skills. Be sure to reference the haters at any given opportunity, even if there are no haters. The people who say, “We aren’t haters, we just want you to shut up,” are secret haters, and are not to be trusted. When it appears there are no haters, that’s when people hate the most.

Nothing more should be said.

Phase 9: Taking a step back to admire the work.

Another day of music laid to rest.

A musician must be aware of the socio-economic environment they are releasing their music into. Are the people ready? Is it too progressive? Will there be enough room in the mailbag for all the letters of gratitude? The answer is always no, to all of these questions. It’s in a musician’s blood oath to change the landscape of music forever, starting with trimming off the nu-metal leaves. It’s really time to kick that one to the curb.

Yes, people listened to Mudvayne at one point. NEVER FORGET!

Phase 10: Party and Wait for praise.

At this point, a musician will want to turn off all their phones, as they will be ringing off the hook. It’s time to spend some alone time with their thoughts and a mountain of drugs, and exotic animals. It’s time to get so weird they turn into corn.

Not KORN, thank Talos. The C/K is crucial.

At this point, all interest is lost in finishing the project, and it becomes yet another shelved work of genius. Years later, a musician will come across their old pieces of work, and upload them various places in an attempt to raise interest and relevance. However… it will still sound mostly like songs about lamps.



p.s. included is my own landscape shaping piece of futuristic art. Let it load, and revel in my mastery.

Nostalgic or Just Sick?

As a selfish way to promote the blog, I would like for you to know that you can open up the ‘comments’ section and click on the ‘facebook’ or ‘twitter’ link. That way it is an easy way to share us with your friends. I know, this is a blatant begging for the views. But I need them. Give them to me. I’ll have Gob follow you to your carThe other thing is, this post is going to relate to about nobody. So my friend like Josh Mitchell is not going to be able to relate to this post. And for that I apologize. But, hopefully he’ll enjoy it anyways. 

Middle School. We all did it. The worst three years of your life. The constant battle with trying to be “normal.” Eh. Whatever. This blog is not about that. We’re about references, and bringing up stuff that you have not thought about in a bit/ever. But here’s where I’m getting at my little confused marmots (last night, Cole and I were chillin and watching Lost when Cole farted. I looked at him and I was all like, “Something is dead in you. A thing died in you!” And Cole was all like, “Yeah man, it’s a marmot.” That was the first rodent he thought of. A marmot. Like, not a rabbit or raccoon. A marmot. Cole’s mind is a scary place). We listened to garbage in middle school and high school. Yeah, you know what else sucked? High School. Like, not all of it. I am not about to rip on high school. It really wasn’t the worst thing ever. As for the music goes, there were some gems in there. But man were there some poop-pies.

The music was either like angsty punk or angsty rock or just angsty angst. Hey the 90’s have been done for a bit. It took us middle-schoolers and high kids awhile to realize it. So here’s what I gotta do. It is my obligatory obligation to oblige you with a list. A list to break down the music we listened, broken down in two categories: 1. Music that is worth going back and listening to again. and 2. Music to bury and repress those memories like a bad camp memory where you were sick because you ate too many uncooked hot dogs and then fell out of your bunk bed because you had to puke, but the fall knocked all the air out of you so you couldn’t make it to the bathroom or even outside so you ended up puking all over yourself and cabin. Or, at least, the memory of your elementary school friend Michael Smith pissing on you. As always, we’re gonna miss some stuff. Let it be known in the comments section. 

I did do some research for this blog. I know, “research” is more like casual conversations. But here me out, interviews are primary sources.


These are some great bands that you might have forgotten ’bout. But, you know, they still exist in many cases, and are worth your time to check out again. Most of these are pop punk bands. My friends and I were all about that. In no particular order, we’ve got:

Motion City Soundtrack.

Commit This to Memory - 2005

These guys are from Minneapolis. And their most recent album, My Dinosaur Life was really really good actually. As far as pop punk goes. But it’d be worth checking out Commit This to Memory Again… again.


My Chemical Romance.

The Black Parade - 2006

Brosephs, I know. It doesn’t get more emo than this. But! The Black Parade is absolutely phenomenal.And I mean that. I still enjoy this album. It’s got guitar solos, and not every song sounds the same, and like… drums… Check these guys out. Adam actually made me listen to these guys back in 2006, and I have never regretted it.



Say Anything.

...Is a Real Boy - 2004. Re-Issue: 2006.

What I mean is, …Is a Real Boy. Check that album out. Don’t listen to In Defense of the Genre. It’s not good. But, knowing my friends, ...Is a Real Boy has never once left our iPods since 2006. It defines high school for me.



Everglow - 2005

Everglow - 2005

Honestly, I forgot about these guys. But they’re still good. Everglow feels like an album. And most music that I lsitened to back in the day ws just a bunch of singles. But Everglow flows really well.




Never Take Friendship Personal - 2005

Hahaha. No seriously, these guys had some good tracks that haven’t aged. I swear. They’re still good. I promise. Is this what false security tastes like?

…Wait, this is what they sound like. I thought they rocked. They were so heavy man!

…Yeah. Still on the fence. I saw Anberlin perform this Summer and they were awesome. So… That counts for something. Shut up.

Linkin Park.

Meteora - 2003

Um. I’m serious. Is this post losing all of the faith in this blog in one post. I’m not even done yet. I am going to crash and burn this site harder than Italian boats captains.

– Side note: Adam and I watched this music video like every time we hung out from 2003 to 2005.


Riot! - 2007

Hayley Williams.



The Postal Service.

Give Up - 2003

These guys are Indie gods. You all know this. If you haven’t done so in awhile, go back and just listen to this album. Its completely mind-numbing. Ben Gibbard’s best music. This isn’t an argument. Everyone agrees with me. Ben Gibbard’s best life moment: getting Zooey on lock. And then getting divorced is basically like the divorce of Zeus and Hera, only in terms of the future of scene kids everywhere. Ben and Zooey’s kids were going to be the coolest kids ever. I already hated them. And they didn’t even happen.




As before, no particular order.

Relient K

Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek - 2001

Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do - 2003

Mmhmm - 2004

Mmhmm - 2004

This is a weird pick, because they had three albums that I jammed to all the time. And since then, they have sat on my shelf collecting dust and stories. They’re like the Buzz and Woody of my CD collection.

The Darkness.

Youtube video is all that is needed.

– Like, the whole album is worth listening to once more and then leaving alone. But this song should forever have a starting spot on your iPod.

Circa Survive.

This album is worth a check out. His voice was awesome back in high school, and now sounds terrible. Worth one last hurrah!

– Remember when titles of songs could be paragraphs? Thanks Fall Out Boy/ Devil Wears Prada/ Circa Survive….Which Reminds me.

Fall Out Boy.

From Under the Cork Tree - 2005

Their best album, Folie a Deux, came out my freshman year of college. And I still listen to that album quite a bit, actually. But their other stuff is worth remembering.


Okay. There’s too many to like… talk about… So I’ll talk about some and leave the others to just yourself to remember.

First off, let’s just get these outta the way, rock bands:
Decyfer Down
Family Force 5
The Classic Crime
In Flames
Rise Against

Wow. Some of those hurt to look at. Kinda hit me. Because, I’d defend early Trivium to the death man. And Emery was like the first screamo band I ever listened to! And I listened to State of the Union by Rise Against last weekend. But they really are best to just forget about.


My buddy and I were on a two hour car drive. And we got on the topic of high school, and just depressing music that he used to listen to after his girlfriend broke up with him. It was hilarious. check out this list:
Panic! at the Disco
Mayday Parade
and Blue October
…Here’s some videos reminding you to never listen to them again.


You know who else we need to move on from?

Hardcore bands anyone:
A Day to Remember
Sky Eats Airplanes
Bullet for my Valentine

They were on your iPod or Zune. or Zen. Don’t lie. Forgive and Forget.

Oh Yeah. Just a couple more…
Green Day
Good Charlotte
-You listened to them. Don’t lie to me about it. It’s on your xanga.
All-American Rejects
Cobra Starship
Shiny Toy Guns

And one more:


Switchfoot’s army is about to kill me.
I still wanna like Switchfoot. I do. Like. But I can’t. idk. brb. How are these guys still headlining festivals? Same with Skillet. Hey Christians, other bands have come out in the last decade. You can like them too. Switchfoot hasn’t come out with a good all around album since The Beautiful Letdown. Switchfoot fans everywhere are ready to blow up. “Dude! ‘Oh! Gravity’ was so good!” No it wasn’t. And I heard the song Dare You to Move enough times to not listen to Switchfoot ever again. You were fun Switchfoot.

That’s all I wrote. You didn’t read any of this did you? Good thing it took me all morning. Gah. Pathetic. It was fun to take a ride on the nostalgia train.

So guys,
Nostalgic or Just Sick?

fwaah, Cal

2012. Let’s Get it Started.

Welcome back to What the Fwaah! It’s 2012, and I am feeling good about this year. Let’s get it started:

As America continues to become a more and more secular society so does
our media and what is becoming acceptable to us as a mass. If you
don’t believe me, then imagine showing an episode of Family Guy in the
1950’s. Heck, imagine showing anything that was even remotely popular
in 2011 to the 1950’s. It is what happens. Ideals and morals change.
It’s an advancement. It is not anything bad, I promise you my young
readers. But there are sometimes when cleaner is better. And one
band’s career really shows why.

The biggest argument that cleaner is better comes from a simple band
that you might know as the Black Eyed Peas.

Black Eyed Peas

Green Peas

And I know what you guys are thinking, you are thinking, “Cal. You stupid idiot gypsy. The
Black Eyed Peas’ music is full of obscenities.” Well, let me take your
argument and shoot it back at you: they have edited music, and it is
better. Come on. Take the hit song, “Let’s Get Retarded” by the Black
Eyed Peas. Wait. You’ve never heard that song? Really? It reached
number 4 on the charts in 2004. It was used as the NBA Playoff theme
song in 2004
, and has been used to kick-off every party at every effin
frat house and high school get together for the past five years. Oh
wait, that’s right. “Let’s Get Retarded” is a terrible song. Nobody
ever listened to it. The NBA did not use it for a commercial (but,
honestly, I wouldn’t put it past the NBA. Its marketing decisions are
sometimes… well… retarded.). The song we all know and love is “Let’s
Get it Started.” You know, the song that put Black Eyed Peas as more
than just a “Where is the Love?” band. That jump started their career.
The career that, for me, imploded at the 2011 Super Bowl halftime show
(can we quick take a second and analyze that? Of course we can, it’s
my blog.

That half time show was terrible. It started off with the
Black Eyed Peas fully relying on electronics and special sound
technologies to make them sound even close to good. Come on guys, you
guys used to be a band. You used to be doing something new and
original, and you have slunked ((just made up that word)) to new lows
as a complete sell-out and just crap music. On the biggest stage in
the entire world. In the words of the great Chris Berman, “C’mon,
Not to mention that the Super Bowl has been relying on oldies
(but goodies) since the nipple thing ((I love that we as a society have a ‘nipple
thing’)). And, to add, Fergie did the Guns n’ Roses thing with Slash.
Gah. Words can not express the amount of vile that shit was. Fergie
looked like a mix between Jocelyn Wildenstein and Leonidas.


That performance by Fergie ended the debate Fergie Vs. Gwen Stefani (never
a debate. Gwen is a Goddess, and Fergie pees her pants.) And Slash was
possibly the worst one out there. Completely devoid of a care. Imagine
that conversation, “Hey Slash, we need you to look like you usually
do. Play the riff you have been playing a kajillion times, and just
stand on a platform as Fergie attempts to sing like Axl, but
ultimately takes a dump on your best song.” Slash, “eff that. Go
away.” Super Bowl, “we will pay you a million dollars, and for two
days, you will be relevant.”

You can feel Slash's apathy towards all of this.

If it was not for Usher coming in and
saving the day the Super Bowl would have been a COMPLETE bust.
Fleetwood Mac needs to do a Super Bowl. I have
been saying it for years, and I don’t mind if the Super Bowl goes back
to pop bands, but the oldies weren’t so bad either. Fleetwood Mac:
Super Bowl 2012 should be a Facebook thing at the very least.) Black
Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get it Started” made them totally cool at parties,
sporting events, and every other time where pop music is accepted. It
ALL came because of their hit Grammy-winning song, “Let’s Get it
Started.” The song was played live at the 2004 Democratic National
Convention. You think John Kerry would have been down with the B.E.P.
if the Peas whipped out the “Let’s Get Retarded” to kick off their
event? Can we please just take a second and realize that the clean
version of this song is phenomenal. Everybody can totally dig it. It’s
been a pop song staple for over five years, and I would still throw it
out there if I was the DJ at a wedding, or whatever. Cleaner may not
ALWAYS be better, but in this case, it definitely was.

The 2011 Post

This is it. The 2011 post. We have been preparing this post for quite some time now, because you guys are worth it. What we wanted to do was take all of our favorite things of 2011 and make it into one great long post. And this is it. We will trade off talking about our favorite albums, songs, movies, and whatever else that just might have happened. So, sit back and enjoy 2011 with us. We will be starting it now, and adding to it as the month moves along. Also, please tell us what we missed in the comments section!

Best Albums of 2011 – Cal

You are first going to notice that I have a much different music style choice than my co-writers. I’m a huge metal fan, but I also dabble in pretty much everything. So let’s get after it!

10. House of Balloons – The Weeknd

House of Balloons - The Weeknd

This album does not disappoint. Abel Tesfaye’s voice ascends through the clouds, with some of the fattest snare sounds in the history of music. His voice surrounds the area like a poisonous gas.  Songs like “What You Need” start out with some of the most sexy grooves that bring an immediate smile to your face. Easily, the most straight up sexy album I have ever heard. You know how everybody says that James Brown is “baby makin’ music”? Listening to The Weeknd makes me realize exactly what that term means. House of Balloons is the sexiest and most pure hip hop albums I have heard in a long time.
Recommended Songs: What You Need, Wicked Games.

9. Dead Throne – The Devil Wears Prada

Dead Throne - The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP)

Dead Throne - The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP)

Here we go, straight into the metal. True metal heads would never acknowledge the existence of TDWP, but I am not really a true metal head. TDWP is generally the best produced metal band out there. And Dead Throne kept up with its predecessors. Everything just sounds so pure and crisp. Devil is taking the forefront of the hardcore/metalcore scene, and this album shows why. They have been abandoning their emocore sound, and embracing metalcore at its finest combing a fury of breakdowns, chugging, blast beats, synth, chorus chants, and they even left behind their auto-tune. This album has some of their best guitar work yet. “Constance” has a riff in the middle that both bounces and chugs better than anything I have heard them release to date. Having thought out rhythms and riffs that stack perfectly on top of each other that creates song flow that they have always been phenomenal at. Songs like “Born to Lose” and “Mammoth” really exemplifies Chris Rubey’s maturing as a lead guitarist, and Jeremy DePoyster’s settling into his role as not only the clean vocalist, but as a strong rhythm guitar player as well. “We’ve put the world up onto a dead throne.”
Recommended Songs: Born to Lose, Constance

8. Goblin – Tyler the Creator

Goblin - Tyler the Creator

The only other hip hop album to crack my top ten, Goblin is a barrage of hate strewn together and thrown right into your face. I am not sure I have ever heard anything filled with so much hate. Which, personally, I do not mind. Tyler the Creator is a twenty year old rapper who has been making quite a storm in the hip hop scene. Not taking crap from anybody, he writes and raps about what he feels. Which is an incredible amount of hate, sex, and just general lack of morals really. With that said, I enjoy a good album to put on and escape from the world. And that’s exactly what Goblin does. Talking about how much he hates having to be anything other than yourself, Goblin is a strewn baggage of lyrics that exclaim that I am what I am, and nobody can tell me otherwise. Tyler’s lyrics are honest, and that is missed by a lot of rap artists nowadays. I am sick of the rap artists that rap about how great they are over and over again, and how rich they are ….ahem, Drake, Kanye, Jay-Z, and Eminem, how many more albums are you going to tell me how great you are? Tyler does not do that. He honestly tells you that he is a normal guy just writing lyrics about dealing with people that irritate him, and just anything that irritates him (“I’ll stab Bruno Mars right in his —- esophagus, and won’t stop until the cops come in” – Yonkers).  His voice is hurtful and harsh, and it can shoot through the listener’s ears straight to their inner emotions. I recommend this album to the people who are strong enough to deal with it. Warning, this album is hard. Really hard. The hardest album I have ever listened to. After all, Tyler the Creator says himself in the opening track, “The devil doesn’t wear Prada; I’m clearly in a f–king white tee.”
Recommended Songs: Yonkers, Sandwitches

7. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – M83

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming - M83

When Adam first heard this album, he texted me to tell me to give it a listen. His initial thoughts were that it was the “Passion Pit album of 2011.” Meaning that it was an electronically lead album. This is high praise from Adam, who loves Passion Pit’s Manners quite a lot. I did give it a listen. Casually listening to it with my housemate while we played MW3. At first, I wanted to compare it to M83’s album from 2006, Before the Dawn Heals Us. However, they are significantly different and yet keeps the M83 flair. Keeping with their electronic sound, but I found this album to be a perfect blend of rock, ambiance, Halloween music, dance, and a strong 80’s pop resemblance; quite the eccentric blend. When I think of M83, I think of their encompassing electronic sound with limited lyrics. They even released an instrumental album in 2007. But this album was not that. They still created a wall of noise with the compassing synth noises and drums, but this time Gonzalez’s beautiful rhythmic and French voice soars through most of the album. Zola Jones sings beautifully on the Intro track, conveniently titled “Intro.” Honestly, as soon as I heard “Intro” I was hooked, and Gonzalez and M83 did not let me go through the entire dual albums. That’s right, this album is two CDs of over 70 minutes of music. Usually, I am put off by dual albums. I’ve been let down by them before (Say Anything, Showbread), but M83 did it correctly. A beautiful wall of noises that titillates all emotions of your body. They will make you want to party, and then take you somewhere else where you want to cry and be alone. That’s why music is so fantastic, and M83’s understanding of music is timed perfectly in this fantastic album.
Recommended Songs: Intro, New Map

6. Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

Helplessness Blue - Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes’ sophomore album was ultimately a struggle for me. Fleet Foxes had to live up to, in my opinion, the best folk album of all time: their own. Although this album was not as great as their first self-titled album, this album was great. It is hard for a band to come back from an album that defined themselves, especially when it was their first album (Say Anything, Fall Out Boy), but Helplessness Blues is still a fantastic album that does not disappoint the listener. This is a beautiful album. That’s basically it. It’s beautiful. The harmonies, and singing, and guitar parts, and the small army of instruments makes everything fit perfectly to create a perfect composite of beautiful music. This album makes you want to walk among roses with a pretty girl, and never look back. It makes you want to quit your daily grime and move out west and start a farm. Literally, this album is so ‘homey’ that I feel like I am in the 1930’s listening to music on the old radio. But without the cheesy lyrics and add even better melody lines. Fleet Foxes harmonies as a band are the only harmonies that could come close to Bon Iver’s. They are beautiful, that blends perfectly to create a loud and focused sound that resonates and is still catchy. A fun blend of folk instruments make you realize that you are listening to a fantastic folk album, but at times you forget and it blends perfectly into the background music of your daily life. However, this album is a quiet and subdued album that is a perfect way to end your day and rest up from your daily life. Lyrically, this album is much stronger than the first. Taking stances on real issues, and calling out capitalism and economic growth. Another reoccurring theme is the need to leave behind all your cares for wealth and riches that pressure you all the time. “Helplessness Blues” offers some of the best lyrics of 2011. Fleet Foxes are an amazing band, and this album proves that their first album, Fleet Foxes, was not luck. Fleet Foxes are a real band to be remembered and “reckoned” with.
Recommended Songs: Helplessness Blues, Montezuma

5. Celestial Completion – Becoming the Archetype

Celestial Completion - Becoming the Archetype

Becoming the Archetype is my favorite metalcore band ever. And I do not think I have looked forward to an album quite like I looked forward to Celestial Completion in a long time. The thing about metalcore music is, Christian metal artists are taking the forefront of it. With big name acts like For Today and Impending Doom dropping albums last year there was some metalcore albums to look forward to again this year: August Burns Red, Plea for Purging, In the Midst of Lions, and Becoming the Archetype. Of those, Becoming the Archetype’s album was the clear forerunner for the 2011 albums. Their new guitarist, Daniel Gailey, gave them a new edge that has not been seen in BTA’s arsenal yet. BTA has gone through a lot of line up changes throughout the year (including this year; a couple months after this album released their lead singer and bassist Jason Wisdom and drummer “Duck” left the band), but Daniel gave them something that they have really lacked in the past: a strong writer and solo guitarist. Celestial Completion offers a lot of varying styles in one album. It’s almost a prog-metal album when you sit back and look at its full spectrum. With a ska section led by Five Iron Frenzy’s Dennis Culp on the track “Cardiac Rebellion.” However what should most be remembered from this album is the three part song “Requiem Aeternam.” Starting off with a simple but lovely piano melody the song transforms into a full blooded metal song, and just when you think it’s done it come right back into the midst of the song with operatic vocals over blast beats and guitar sweeps. I apologize for my drooling, but just think about that.  This album offers so much other than a simple metal album that it really should be honored for its impeccable ability to travel from sitars to opera to ska to metal and back again. I strongly recommend this album to any metalcore fans that seem to get bored of the constant chug that is taking over the metal scene nowadays.
Recommended Songs: Path of the Beam, Requiem Aeternam (Parts I, II, III)

4. Agony – Fleshgod Apocalypse

Agony - Fleshgod Apocalypse

Okay. Metal. Italian metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse. This is the best straight up metal album to have come out from 2011. Combining metal gods like Nile and Rhapsody. It is a blend of orchestra and metal. Fleshgod Apocalypse is a symphonic technical death metal band. Like… what? That’s a genre. And when I say metal, I mean metal. There is never a doubt at this band’s ability to shred faster than anybody else out there, as they do so song after song. To be honest, I think a lot of metal heads might get thrown off by this band by their inability to slow down. It is blast beat after blast beat creating a machine gun of noise that shoots right into your face and does not let up until the album ends. Loud enough to make your ears bleed, and musical enough to peak your interest. Fleshgod Apocalypse needs to be on every person’s iPod, because of their band name alone. I love having people go through my iPod and come to Fleshgod Apocalypse and just stop and think about it. There needed to be a metal band named Fleshgod Apocalypse. It’s the ultimate band name ever! You know exactly what you are going to get based off their band name only.  The orchestra value really adds a level of musicality that has been used in meal music for a long time, but Agony finds a way to make it a forefront part of Fleshgod Apocalypse’s sound. It is not just a filler or a instrumental track thrown into the album. On tracks such as “The Deceit” and “The Violation” (“The Violation” is my favorite metal song of 2011) Fleshgod Apocalypse offers a tenor operatic vocal style that soars over the blinding metal base. Honestly, I am usually not a fan of clean vocals in my metal, but the notes he hits are both incredibly impressive and catchy. I strongly recommend Agony to anyone who is thinking about giving metal a chance. It combines near dizzying speed, the fastest blast beats, beautiful operatic clean vocals, and a brutal frontal voice attack. Agony is just a phenomenal metal album that really reignited my love for metal music.
Recommended Songs: The Violation, The Deceit

3. El Camino – The Black Keys

El Camino - The Black Keys

Coming out earlier this week (December 6) El Camino is the newest album on this list. Perhaps I am all about this album because it just came out, but I do not think so. I have listened to this album a good dozen times already. The Black Keys are fantastic. Offering some of the best rock n’ roll since Led Zeppelin. On tracks such as “Little Black Submarines” you might get confused and actually think you are listening to Led Zeppelin. That is an incredibly prestigious comment that I would never just throw out. The Black Keys are combining a blend of blues and rock and heaviness that has yet to be seen in modern rock. Maybe Wolfmother, but Wolfmother is annoying once you get past their singles. The Black Keys are getting back to the roots of music to create sounds that blend from the 60s, 70s, 90s, and modern rock. El Camino combines some of the greatest rock sounds from Led Zeppelin, The Zombies, Kansas, CCR, The White Stripes, and Black Sabbath.  On every track of El Camino there is something to remember. They have not abandoned their sound of their previous album Brothers, but rather refined it. On the track “Gold on the Ceiling” I found myself head banging harder than I do to some metal songs. The song also offers guitar tones that was seen on Brothers, and the guitar riff is so catchy that the song will cloud your brain for the remainder of the day. On the track “Little Black Submarines” you start quietly with an acoustic jam, but then evolves into a full on blues-rock song that you can just jam and air-guitar to. This song change has become sort of a trademark for the Black Keys, and I absolutely love it. To be fair, it reminds me of “Hangar 18” and “Holy Wars” by Megadeth where the songs change halfway through itself.  Their are many great guitar riffs on “Little Black Submarines,” and some of The Black Keys’ most catchy melodies to date. On the opening track “The Lonely Boy” the Black Keys combine a fun guitar riff with their traditional drum sound that really defines the sound of the remainder of the album. The drumming on this album is probably The Black Keys best they have ever done as well. A fun White Stripes sort of loud jam sound and Led Zeppelins fast tom driven drums. Honestly, El Camino is some of the best straight up indie rock music that will last forever. Years from now a lot of the pop music that dominates the radio now will be forgotten and thrown out, but The Black Keys have created an album that will stand the test of time. And I can honestly say less than one week from its release.
Recommended Songs: Little Black Submarine, Gold on the Ceiling

2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Bon Iver is just perfect all the way through. It’s a journey of music. It’s an adventure for your emotions. This album takes its hand and grabs your heart and does not let go for its entirety. Justin Vernon has encompassed some of the most heart warming sounds that have ever come through speakers in the history of speakers and music. Creating the chillest sounds and yet an enveloping sound of warmth that blankets you. Vernon redefined indie folk with his album For Emma, Forever Ago and again redefined it with his self-titled album. It is a phenomenal album by a phenomenal artist that truly jumped him to the forefront of the music industry. The harmonies are perfect, tasteful, and catchy. The guitar is beautiful. The vocals are angelic and charming. Vernon’s voice is an added instrument that meshes itself perfectly into the overall sound of the album. The songs are arranged perfectly to create an album that does not disappoint through its entirety. Ending with the 80s sounding song “Beth/Rest” you feel as though you understand everything and nothing all at once. Standing alone “Beth/Rest” makes for a rather unusual sound for Bon Iver, but once you travel there through the entirety of the album the song makes sense. On the opening track “Perth” you are filled with a reminder of war times, bringing in a drum beat that would have been used during Civil War marches and then a perfect and singable trumpet line that really punches you right in the face. Also, this song has a catchy drum part that listeners can drum along to. Moving through the album, Vernon’s vocals are amazing and nothing less than perfect. The album comes to a peaceful hiatus between tracks “Michicant” and “Calgary.” You are eventually reawakened by “Lisbon, OH” and reunited with the perfect ending to the album “Beth/Rest.” An incredible sounding album with a plethora of instruments that intertwine perfectly to create a wall of beautiful songs that creates a fantastic experience.
Recommended Songs: Perth, Holocene

1. Olives & Oil – Asunder Minstrel

Olives and Oil EP - Asunder Minstrel

Olives and Oil EP - Asunder Minstrel

For those that know me, this should not be a surprise. For those that don’t; Asunder Minstrel is the best band you have never heard of. The reason you have never heard of Asunder Minstrel is because it is my band. I wish I could say that this number one pick is a joke, but it is not. I absolutely love this album. I love what my friends and I have created. We combine rap, rock, shred, and indie into a dynamic album. Our songs are some of the best songs I have ever heard, and I say that with an honest opinion. You always say to not create an album that you would not want to listen to, and this was not the case at all. I listen to Asunder Minstrel almost everyday. If you want to read background information on every single one of our songs, then I recommend that you catch out our SoundCloud page. On the page you can click on the songs and read about what happened during the recording process and other information about Marshall that I picked up from working with him. You can also download the songs for free off of our SoundCloud or Facebook. Marshall is the singer and writer off AM’s songs. Seeing that Marshall has been in Alaska for awhile now, reading these information tidbits might give you a little bit of an edge to break up your grief for his absence. Marshall’s grimy voice mixed with my heavy electric guitar, and Dan’s technical and spot on drum techniques, and Wes Armbrust’s catchy bass lines make this album truly the best album of 2011, right? Right?! I just love this album. I am proud of what we have created, and I look forward to recording them again someday when we are signed by Ike and Joe Sullivan’s record company, Camaraderie Records. Listen to it, download it for FREE (great for Christmas!), like us on Facebook, and tell your friends. If you like music, then you will love Asunder Minstrel.
Recommended Songs: Temper, Gift of the Fairies …all of them… It’s my number one album!

Honorable Mentions AKA Albums that were close, but did not make the cut:
w h o k i l l – Tune-yards
Dye it Blonde – Smith Westerns
Weightless – Animals as Leaders
Ceremonials – Florence + The Machine
Atonement – Your Memorial

Most Disappointing Albums of 2011:
Scurrilous – Protest the Hero
Take Care -Drake
Watch the Throne – Jay-Z and Kanye West
Th1rt3en – Megadeth

There you go. Albums of 2011.
Written by Cal Mader.

Ringo Starr

Just watch Ringo Starr throughout this video.