Garret Woodward

1. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
2. Radiohead - The King of Limbs
3. The Black Keys - El Camino
4. The Bridge - National Bohemian
5. Wilco - The Whole Love
Honorable Mention:
The Bloodroots Barter - The Secret That's Becoming
Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong
Squid City - Welcome to Squid City

Best Concerts:
1. Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble w/moe. - Woodstock‚ NY
2. Phish - Benefit for Vermont Flood Recovery - Essex Junction‚ VT
3. Peter Prince & Moon Boot Lover w/Squid City - The Stone Church - Newmarket‚ NH
4. Orgone - Copperfield's - Boston‚ MA
5. Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs - Champlain Valley Expo - Essex Junction‚ VT
Honorable Mention
Lucid - 20 Main Bar - AuSable Forks‚ NY
Joshua Panda Band - The Green Room - Plattsburgh‚ NY
The Alchemystics - Lucky Dog Music Hall - Worcester‚ MA

Best Festival
Backwoods Pondfest - Peru‚ NY

In 2011‚ I found myself (like many) really trimming the fat around the edges of my wallet‚ my adventures and any endeavors I may have wandered into. With my paychecks becoming smaller (and sometimes nonexistent)‚ I spent more time listen to records than heading to music venues. I focused more on personal projects than pursuing those of others to review or witness in a live setting. Yet‚ this didn't mean I had a quiet year by any stretch.

This year‚ amid all the madness of the music industry‚ I truly reconnected with the Foo Fighters. A band I have adored since childhood‚ I felt their latest release was a modern rock-n-roll masterpiece‚ filled with menacing riffs and poignant lyrical content. Dave Grohl and company are still leading the charge of what true rock is supposed to sound and feel like when it hits you like a ton of bricks.

2012. End of the world‚ you say? Well‚ put on your dancing shoes and show those apocalyptic zombies or invading extraterrestrials how we humans get our groove on.
Doug Collette

In no particular order… all these artists display unusually high levels of imagination
and creative courage on these recordings‚ rendering each album worth playing for years to come. Thus‚ the music speaks for itself…
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
John Hiatt - Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
JJ Grey & Mofro - Brighter Days
Tommy Keene - Behind the Parade
Brad Mehldau - Live in Marciac
Pat Metheny - What's It All About
Corea‚ Clarke & White - Forever
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones - Rocket Science
John Scofield - A Moment's Peace
The New Gary Burton Quartet - Common Ground
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood - In Case the World Changes Its Mind
The Wood Brothers - Smoke Ring Halo
The North Mississippi Allstars - Keys to the Kingdom
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator
Garage a Trois - Always Be Happy But Stay Evil
Honorable Mention:
Matthew Sweet Modern Art
My Morning Jacket - Circuital
Miles Davis Quintet - Live in Europe 1967 - The Bootleg Series Vol. 1
Rory Gallagher - Notes From San Francisco
Grateful Dead - Europe '72 Vol. 2
Jimi Hendrix - Live at Winterland; In the West
Paul Kelly - The A-Z Recordings
Honorable Mention:
Peter Case - The Case Files
Mike McKinley
1. Tristen -- Charlatans At the Garden Gate
2. Yellowbirds -- The Color
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. -- It's A Corporate World
4. American Babies -- Flawed Logic
5. Tied: JFJO -- Race Riot Suite and Akron/Family -- ST II The Cosmic Birth...
Honorable Mentions:
Cheers to the older guys who have continued to make great records: Wilco - The Whole Love‚ Stephen Malkmus - Mirror Traffic‚ My Morning Jacket - Circuital‚ Radiohead - King of Limbs‚ Nathan Moore - Dear Puppeteer‚ Bill Frisell - All We Are Saying
Is it strange that Radiohead's King of Limbs is my probably my favorite record of theirs? Also‚ I skipped the musical event of the year: LCD Soundsystem's final show at MSG because I was going through some kind of mental health/purity thingy that made me think traveling to NYC and raging would be detrimental to my flow. Oh well‚ onward…
New bands treated me right in 2011. Tristen's record was so powerfully addictive‚ I found myself going further and further with each listen. Apollo Sunshine has made some the best records ever‚ so it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Sam Cohen's new project Yellowbirds put out a record (The Color) that completely kicked ass. And Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.'s It's A Corporate World? Gold.
Festival Revelations :
*There's nothing like riding a snowboard down a mountain‚ and the closer you get to the base‚ moe. is getting louder and louder. Yeah‚ finishing your last run of the day at a moe. concert… amazing! (snoe.down come back in 2013!)
*There's nothing like shaking off a night at a festival by participating in a morning yoga/dance class -- my twenty year old self would probably slap the shit outta me‚ but we're still totally on the same page with one another. Seriously. In this case‚ I was at Liberate‚ and during the class I became unhinged and let my guard down with this group of strangers (sort of like some of the best concert experiences I've ever had). It was an intense experience that left me completely elated. And then when it ended‚ I walked into the August sun and Nathan Moore was just beginning his solo set. Perfect.
*There's nothing like a Phish festival… and there's nothing like running a 5k in the middle of 3-days of great music. That "Golden Age" was pretty ridiculous‚ right? (Note: I think I came in like 60th place -- yeah‚ totally crushed the naked guy -- in The 101st Running of the First Annual Runaway Jim Memorial 5k Road Race)
Enough about 2011! It's 2012 -- the end of the world could be coming! And I'm sitting on a stack of music that kicks so much ass! Time to get busy.