City Guides » Critics' Picks of the Year

Alison Lang's Top 11 Albums of 2011

Coast writer since 2007

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Bad Vibrations, Black Train (Brotherhood)
Bad Vibrations has what businesspeople would call a "consistency of vision." With Black Train, these straight shooters will take you on a ride that is continually ghostly, tenebrous and spaced-out---brain food for headbangers.

Bike Rodeo, Oh Bla Duh (Independent)
Some bands out there raise their quirks aloft like a giant "hey, look at me!" banner. Meanwhile, Halifax's most underrated and possibly perfect rock 'n' roll outfit has quietly settled into its idiosyncrasies and delivered this little jewel of a record---bedecked with jams.

Dirty Beaches, Badlands (Zoo)
Beneath a layer of carefully crafted lo-fi grime, the voice of Alex Zhang Hungtai, AKA Dirty Beaches, rises towards you---equal parts croon and yowl. This is the music of scratched Victrolas, hands greasy with flop sweat, and fearful prom-night kisses from smokey mouths.

Dog Day, Deformer (Fundog)
Seth and Nancy, drums and guitar, dogs and chickens, strum und drang, wilderness and fear, wildness and comfort, retreat and solitude, dreamscapes and anxieties, records and money, beauty and drone, grit and heart. What else can be said? Deformer is magic.

Jeff the Brotherhood, We Are The Champions (Infinity Cat)

Jon McKiel, Tonka War Cloud (Youth Club/Saved By Vinyl) LOCAL

One Hundred Dollars, Songs of Man (Outside)

Rural Alberta Advantage, Departing (Saddle Creek/Paper Bag)

Shotgun Jimmie, Transistor Sister (You've Changed)

Wild Flag, Wild Flag (Merge)

Alison can play one song on bass: "Genie in a Bottle." Eats sour candy compulsively. Hopes to one day own a fox as a pet.

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