It’s the time of year when every music outlet in the galaxy publishes its list of the year’s most notable music. Lists are to music fans what salt is to cooks–you can’t enjoy one without the other. We here at TNB Music are loathe to spurn a tradition as hallowed as a year-end list, and as 2011 has given us a truly stunning amount of fantastic music, we commemorate the year’s greatest sonic accomplishments.

The TNB Music Big Serious Awards

Best Pop Album of 2011: Dom--Sun Bronzed Greek Gods

80s pop reinvented into hip-swinging party jams from these Midas-fingered hook technicians from Worcester, MA.

Best Rock Album of 2011: Black Spiders--Sons of the North

Nasty, electrified, blues-rooted, bottle-throwing anthems. Key lyric: “KISS tried to kill me–it wasn’t Ace’s fault.”

Best World Music Album of 2011: Gatto Fritto–Gatto Fritto

Balearic beats, liquid rhythms and spaced-out melodies make this far more than a simple chill-out album.

Best Singer/Songwriter Album of 2011: Sophie Hunger–Sophie Hunger

Combining the best of two prior solo albums, Hunger’s eponymous album dabbles in a number of genres, all quite well. In two languages, no less.

Best Blues Album of 2011: Gregg Allman--Low Country Blues

Not the strongest year for great blues albums, but Allman edges out Bonamassa simply because Allman always sings like he just sold his soul to the devil.

Best Punk Album of 2011: Cobra Skulls–Agitations

Catchy as hell, full of punk attitude and songs that are deceptively well-crafted. Notable production, but the songwriting stands on its own.

Best Metal Album of 2011: Machine Head--Enter the Locust

The first two minutes of this album will raise the hair on the back of your neck. The best of an inordinately strong year for metal.

Best Tribute Album of 2011: Ben Waters–Boogie 4 Stu–A Tribute to Ian Stewart

This Dixieland jazz tribute to former Rolling Stones keyboardist Ian Stewart is more danceable and fun than anything in the Billboard Top 200. Fact.


The Infinite Glory of Musical Musicness Awards

Best Cover Song of 2011: Bobaflex–The Sound of Silence

Best Nostalgia Song of 2011: Butch Walker–Summer of ’89

Best Song I Don’t Want to Admit That I Really Like of 2011: Adele–Rolling in the Deep

Best Song to Play in Your Head While Walking Down the Street of 2011: Fujiya & Miyagi–Cat Got Your Tongue

Best Song About California of 2011: Social Distortion–California (Hustle & Flow)

Best Sparse Pop Song That Almost Makes You Feel Warm and Fuzzy But Ultimately Doesn’t of 2011: Cass McCombs–County Line

Best Song Featuring Bill Wyman Reuniting With the Rolling Stones That Nobody Noticed of 2011: Ben Waters, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman–Watchin’ the River Flow



The Howard J. Kirchbaum Memorial Circle of Creative Achievement

The 2011 Howard J. Kirchbaum Golden Dove Recipient: Buffalo Tom–She’s Not Your Thing

The 2011 Howard J. Kirchbaum Bronze Falcon Recipient: The Vaccines–Post Break-Up Sex

The 2011 Howard J. Kirchbaum Platinum Hawk Recipient: Beastie Boys–Nonstop Disco Powerpack

The 2011 Nancy Feldstein-Kirchbaum Memorial Excellence in Songwriting Award: Foo Fighters–Bridge Burning



The TNB Jiffy Awards

Best Showcase of a Danish Drummer Giving it Hell of 2011: Volbeat–The Mirror and the Ripper

Best Song by Early Twentieth Century-Era German Soldier Vampires of 2011: Stuka Squadron–We Drink Blood

Best Song for a Fall Drive of 2011: The Feelies–Should Be Gone

Best Song for Letting Someone Know You Really, Really Like Them of 2011: The Donkeys–I Like The Way That You Walk

Best Song for Sitting on a Couch with Your Pet of 2011: The Fleet Foxes–Helplessness Blues



The Brad Listi Vanguards of Heavy Metal Awards

Best Heavy Metal Song of 2011: Machine Head–I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)

Best Song for Standing on a Mountaintop and Beating Your Chest of 2011: Whitesnake–My Evil Ways

Best Song for Chasing an Intended Victim Through the Woods of 2011: DevilDriver–Black Soul Choir

Best Drug Song of 2011: Duff McKagan’s Loaded–Cocaine

Best Song for Experiencing a Nervous Breakdown in Rush Hour Traffic of 2011: American Heritage–City of God

Best Song for Lifting Weights in the Garage on a Saturday Afternoon of 2011: Lazarus A.D.–American Dreams

Best Acoustic Song that Still Sounds Heavy of 2011: Wino–Adrift



The 2011 Zeppies

Best Song by a Swedish Group that Sounds Exactly Like Led Zeppelin of 2011: Graveyard–Ain’t Fit to Live Here

Best Song by an American Group that Sounds Exactly Like Led Zeppelin of 2011: Rival Sons–Pressure & Time



The TNB Music Little Acorn Awards

Best Song for Embracing a Bold New Perspective About Life of 2011: Twin Atlantic–Make a Beast of Myself

Best Song for Burning One Down on the London Tube of 2011: Skindred–Guntalk

Best Song for Driving Along an Open Stretch of Highway on a Friday Night at Sundown of 2011: Slash–Been There Lately (live)

Best Song to Make You Feel Like a Kid Growing Up in a Chicago Suburb in 1989 of 2011: Cold Cave–Confetti



The 2011 Balloon Boys

Best Rock Song That Makes You Wanna Dance of 2011: Alice Cooper–I’ll Bite Your Face Off

Best Not Safe For Work Song of 2011: 17 Girls–Steel Panther

Best Album for Walking Through the Woods Trying to Figure Shit Out of 2011: Anathema–Falling Deeper

Best Sunday Morning Album of 2011: Buffalo Tom–Skins


Happy Holidays to all music fans across the globe, and even the seven people who aren’t.

See you in 2012…

-Joe Daly

TNB Music Editor

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JOE DALY writes for a number of publications, including the UK's Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines, Outburn, Bass Guitar Magazine and several other print and online outlets. He is the music and cultural observer for Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor site and his works have been published in several languages. When he is not drafting wild-eyed manifestos, Joe enjoys life in San Diego's groovy North County, teaching music journalism, doing yoga, running, playing guitar and spending tireless hours in deep and meaningful conversations with his beloved dogs, Cabo and Lola. You can check out his rants at http://joedaly.net and follow him on Twitter: @JoeD_SanDiego

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