Premier Guitar

December 2011 Staff Picks

November 15, 2011
The year’s end is always a good time to take a musical inventory of the albums you couldn’t stop spinning
over the past 12 months. Joining the PG editors this month to discuss their favorite tunes of 2011 is the
chart-topper himself, Unknown Hinson. Feel free to send your “best-of ” lists to info@premierguitar.com.

Angela Cox
— Senior Art Editor
What am I listening to?
Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues. The compelling acoustic performances drive the perfectly blended vocal harmonies and soul-searching lyrics of this album.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
Atmosphere’s The Family Sign opens with strong guitar riffs introducing a new tone for the hip-hop group by shedding a heavily-sampled past in favor of an almost mournful guitar and piano sound. It surprised me in all the best ways, especially when paired with their signature sharp and insightful storytelling.



Andy Ellis
— Senior Editor
What am I listening to?
Chrysta Bell and David Lynch, This Train. Not a guitar-heavy record, but the mystery and ache in Bell’s voice and the brooding, surreal, and sometimes sinister sounds that frame it are addictive. Imagine Portishead wrapped in Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
Harvey Reid’s Capo Voodoo: Solo Guitar, Kenny Vaughan’s V, and Duane Eddy’s Road Trip.



Tessa Jeffers
— Managing Editor
What am I listening to?
An online stream of Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials while awaiting its release when I can finally physically buy it. And James Brown always—for the rough days.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
It wasn’t the album I gave the most rotation this year, but the Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 was the one I most deeply anticipated and was stupid giddy to experience. AWOLNATION’s debut, Megalithic Symphony, is my favorite find of 2011.



Chris Kies — Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
I’ve been reintroducing myself to the classics via my new record player. The two getting the most spins are the Stones’ Let it Bleed and Zep’s Houses of the Holy.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
I loved William Elliott Whitmore’s Field Songs—an acoustic, folky-blues ode to the farm; the Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light—a rockin’ masterpiece built on walls of superb riffage; and Raphael Saadiq’s Stone Rollin’—a Big Bopper-approved, twist-and-shout, R&B throwback.



Rich Osweiler
— Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Though R.E.M.’s Monster essentially ended a multi-year run in which I thought this band from Athens was by far the best in the world, I’ve been spinning their farewell compilation, Collapse into Now, almost non-stop. With a nicely representative selection of songs from the beginning to end of R.E.M., it’s been a cool trip down memory lane.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
The new supergroup Wild Flag’s self-titled debut still has me in awe.



Charles Saufley
— Gear Editor
What am I listening to?
Gene Clark, Roadmaster. Sundazed just reissued this lost gem from the Byrds tunesmith on vinyl. The songs are joyful-to-melancholy stunners and feature contributions from Clarence White, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, and the original Byrds lineup.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
Sic Alps’ Napa Asylum; Meg Baird’s Seasons on Earth; White Denim’s D; and Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo.



Unknown Hinson
— Guest Picker
What am I listening to?
Faron Young, Best of Faron Young. He was a for-real country western troubadour who was hell-raisin’ handsome and his voice drove the womerns wild. I don’t think he got anywhere near the credit he deserved.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
I don’t have no favorite record, but I do listen to books on tape in my recreational vehicle and in the studio. This Wheel’s on Fire by Levon Helm is my favorite 2011 read.



Jason Shadrick
— Associate Editor
What am I listening to?
Anthony Wilson, Seasons. Commissioned by archtop guru John Monteleone, this album features the Four Seasons quartet of guitars in an amazing song cycle written by Wilson. No amps, no effects, just pure acoustic music written specifically for one-of-a-kind instruments.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
It was a tie between Death by Stereo by Umphrey’s McGee, and Levon Helm’s Ramble at the Ryman.



Rebecca Dirks
— Web Content Editor
What am I listening to?
Remy Zero, “Smile.” From an often-overlooked band that wrote some very cool songs, this one makes good use of a Whammy pedal and jangly guitar sounds.
What was my favorite album of 2011?
I listened to Bon Iver’s Bon Iver constantly this year. After that, I’d pick a compilation of my favorite tunes from Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers, Adele’s 21, and Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light.