The Best in Music: 2011

December 31, 2011

Urbane Life music writer MJ Galbraith offers his 4 favorite records of 2011. Happy New Year!

The Flood Brought the Fire

Jeni Lee Richey was left without a band a few years ago when bandmate Adam Arscott up and left for Denver, taking their Bone Orchard Revival name and music with him. The Great Tribulation is a sort of addition by subtraction then as Arscott’s departure for the mountains has given us a band more complete in Richey’s vision. Their debut record, The Flood Brought the Fire, is some of the best smoky, sultry, boozy Americana to stick its head in the door in a while.

Standout tracks: I’ll Be Here, Chinatown

Everything is Good

Everything is Good is Tone & Niche’s baby. Having begun recording it in an on old mansion in Columbia, Missouri back in 2010, the band spent the past year and a half fine-tuning the tracks. The effort put in is only exceeded by the quality that resulted. Everything is Good is Tone & Niche’s masterpiece, a record that finds the band tempering its pop classicist leanings with an edge drawn from their working class roots.

Standout tracks: Everything is Good, Dying Oceans

16 Months

Jonathon Ferris has one of the most classically American songwriter voices I’ve ever heard. Well worn and perfectly suited for his skillfully crafted songs, Ferris’ voice carries through 16 Months. Ferris sings songs that are sometimes world weary but always possessing a wry sensibility and humor.

Standout tracks: Don’t Let the Devil Bring You Down, Leaning Back

It’s a Viral Darling

The 11 songs on LIVY’s debut disc are a culmination of songwriter Dave Shanaberger’s massive garage project in 2010. Having released three tracks a week for ten weeks straight, It’s a Viral Darling is Shanaberger’s top picks from those sessions. The collection does an admirable job of narrowing down the original thirty–nearly all of which were great–even if it doesn’t include personal favorite “Vines”. Put together, it’s a music that is original yet familiar: atmospheric, Americana-inspired rock.

Standout tracks: Slow Motion, Call Me Later Honey Maybe I’ll Catch A Break Next Week

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MJ Galbraith

MJ Galbraith

MJ Galbraith is a songwriter and local musician, freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, lover of travel, and a terrible mechanic. When MJ graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Creative Writing, he was immediately barraged with 'questions' of "What are you gonna do, teach?" He is determined to not get a job teaching. So far, so good. With music, MJ's traveled the country touring on his songs. Having spent time in places from Chicago to Seattle, LA to New Orleans, and Nashville to NYC, he is convinced that Detroit and its 'burbs have the the highest concentration of 'native' songwriting talent anywhere. Eat it, New York. You too, LA. MJ started writing for the Urbane Life in the summer of 2011. He also writes for a handful of other websites as well as an immigration lawyer. He used to work in a publishing house. He's glad he's out.

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