Best Music of 2011 List (Nashville Shows edition)

We started this blog when I returned to Nashville in May of 2011.  Since then, I’ve been to see LOTS of shows and met lots of great people.  I’m excited about all the comments, emails, tweets, and facebook posts that we have gotten, and the general enthusiasm that people are showing us for our work to spotlight independent music here in Music City.  So, first off, I want to say THANKS for all your support and your continued interest, and secondly, we are looking forward to meeting more of you and continuing to grow in the coming year.  We are currently working with web dudes to get a better blog with more features up for you (and for us!).

Ok, thank you’s aside, you know that there are tons of “Best of” lists that are coming out this time of year.  You can check out the lists from Paste, Rough Trade, Stereogum, Gorilla vs. Bear here, and you just know that a ton more list-makers are waiting for The Black Keys new record to drop tomorrow.

As I have been going through all of these lists, I’ve noticed just how many of these bands have played Nashville this year.  So, I broke the initial lists down, and made my own list of “Best of” artists that have played the Music City since I started this blog in May.  There are 65 of them (I think), and I have linked back to the pages where I talked about them.  There is also a list of another 10 records that I really dug this year, that are still worth some of your time even though they didn’t play the Music City.  Let me know if you think I left anything off, and get in touch…  (update: The list keeps growing… I initially forgot about Black Lips Arabia Mountain, Givers In Light, and Dawes Nothing Is Wrong).

Thanks again for your support, and I can’t wait to see you at a bunch more shows next year!

Top 65 New Releases from 2011 who played in Nashville (since May)… and in Alphabetical Order

The Alabama Shakes – The Alabama Shakes
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
Battles – Gloss Drop
Beirut – The Rip Tide
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Blind Pilot – We Are The Tide
Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Caveman – CoCo Beware
Childish Gambino – Camp
Cloud Nothings – Cloud Nothings
Cults – Cults
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jr. – It’s A Corporate World
Das Racist – Relax
Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
Deer Tick – Divine Providence
Diarrhea Planet – Loose Jewels
The Donkeys – Born With Stripes
Dreamers of The Ghetto – Enemy/Lover
The Ettes – Wicked Will
Feist – Metals
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (it was already sold out before I moved here, so I linked you to the Cream)
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
Gang, Gang, Dance – Eye Contact
Generationals – Actor-Castor
Girls – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Givers – In Light
Grouplove – Never Trust A Happy Song
Here We Go Magic – The January [EP]
Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep
Hunx and His Punx – Too Young To Be In Love (I never wrote this up, so back to The Cream)
JEFF The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions
Jacuzzi Boys – Glazin’
Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over
The Kills – Blood Pressures (this one was actually before I began my blog, and the show was great.)
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Mirror Traffic
Nikki Lane – Walk Of Shame (I haven’t had the honor to see her yet)
Cass McCombs – Wits End and Humor Risk
Megafaun – Megafaun
Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Moonface – Organ Music, Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped
Mr. Gnome – Madness In Miniature
My Morning Jacket – Circuital
Of Montreal – thecontrollersphere [EP]
PAPA – A Good Woman Is Hard To Find
Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
Phantogram – Nightlife
Real Estate – Days
Gruff Rhys – Hotel Shampoo (I could have sworn I wrote this up?)
The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low (also opened for Bon Iver at The Ryman)
Sleeper Agent – Celebrasion
Starfucker – Reptilians (I couldn’t make it to this one, and I guess The Cream couldn’t either)
The Strange Boys – Live Music
Surfer Blood – Tarot Classics [EP]
TV On The Radio – Nine Types of Light
Those Darlins’ – Screws Get Loose
Times New Viking – Dancer Equired!
Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine and Freaking Out [EP]
Trombone Shorty – For True
Twin Sister – In Heaven
tune-yards – w h o k i l l
John Vanderslice – White Wilderness
White Denim – D
Wilco – The Whole Love
Wye Oak – Civilian
Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
Yuck – Yuck
Rachael Yamagata – Chesapeake (post coming – she’s playing 12th & Porter, Thursday Dec. 8th!)

Honorable Mention even though they didn’t play Nashville (or, at least, not on my watch)

The Antlers – Burst Apart
The Black Keys – El Camino
(technically releases tomorrow, but we have already heard half of it’s badassness)
ExitMusic – From Silence
Hoorary for Earth – True Loves
I Break Horses – Hearts
Iceage – New Brigade
The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
Los Campesinos! – Hello Sadness
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Tom Waits – Bad As Me


  1. I do not get people’s fascination with Das Racist. Is it just because it’s trendy? How on earth did it start to trend? By people wanting something “different” for the sake of it being “different”?

    • Thanks for the comment, Joe. I kind of agree with you here. It is really novel and “different” stuff at first, but it kinda wears out on me after a while. That being said, it’s catchy in a weird way too. I’ve been known to walk around my place chanting, “Michael Jackson. A million dollars. You feel me? Hollar.” just because it feels good. Anyway, it is a fun show to see live, it’s on a bunch of lists, and they did play Exit/In this fall. Sidenote: I just realized that I didn’t put Givers on there. Time for an update!

  2. Great list, but don’t forget Dawes!

  3. Oops. I forgot Black Lips “Arabia Mountain” and their show at Exit/In back in August. What else did I forget?


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