Top 10 Albums of 2011: Matthew Mayfield

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Matthew Mayfield has long been an artist we’ve appreciated here, covering his career with a few interviews and album reviews over the years. That makes him a natural candidate for us to approach to get his Top 10 Albums of 2011, wanting to know his take on the year in music. Check out Mayfield’s complete list below.

Matthew Mayfield’s Top 10 Albums of 2011:
1. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
Genius songwriting/arrangements. ‘Virgin’ says it all.

2. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Athough I miss the sound of a real drum kit, I’ve come to accept that Radiohead will forever be Thom Yorke’s baby–not a rock band. I don’t need a drummer to convince me that ‘Codex’ is a beautiful song.

3. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
He strikes again. There is no predicting his vibe from record to record. That’s what I’ve always loved.

4. The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow
Regardless of my ties to this duet, I can honestly say that they are the best of the best. There’s not a duo out there that can touch them. Raw talent, beautiful songs, perfect harmony. It’s undeniable.

5. Thrice – Major/Minor
Two words: Yellow Belly. ‘You are less than half a man / yellow belly and crimson hands / you will one day reap your reckoning / maybe then you’ll understand.

6. Needtobreathe – The Reckoning
This is the sound of a southern rock band who have played thousands of shows coming together to make real, fine-crafted music. ‘White Fences’ and ‘Learn to Love’ are brilliant. This band is powerful pop-rock top to bottom.

7. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
I was never a fan of his before this record. I always thought he had a cool voice and decent songs, but I’m a guy who likes production value. The new record proves that he can do both–write beautiful melodies AND bring something interesting to the table sonically besides just a guy and guitar. He’s making it interesting in stereo, which is tough to do. He won me over with this record.

8. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
Dave Grohl is a rock god. Taylor Hawkins is my favorite rock drummer alive besides the singer in this band. He’s busy writing brilliant melodies and playing rhythm guitar in the pocket. No computers–all analog tape. Hats off to these guys for being the real deal.

9. The Strokes – Angles
Although it sounds a lot like Julian’s solo record with guitars, I appreciate his songwriting more than ever on this record. It proves the fact that the Strokes ARE Julian and some buddies. He’s the force. They are a BADASS backing band–but nothing is signature about their sound. Jules is the brains behind the operation–and he doesn’t even play an instrument onstage. I love that.

10. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Surrender to the Throne
I’ve never been a huge Kanye fan. I’ve always thought Jay-Z was the best of the best. I feel like by doing this record as a duo, they’ve won me over on all fronts. Arrogance is on ’10’ for this record. It’s what hip hop is made of. I feel like there should be a sticker on the front that says ‘Don’t get in if you ain’t full of yourself. You’ll lose.’ Love that.