2011 Top Local Artists

  1. Donora, Boyfriends, Girlfriends
    The sophomore album from indie-pop darlings Donora is a hit from start to finish. Intelligently crafted but not overworked catchy pop, Boyfriends, Girlfriends, has charisma flowing out its ears. It's all thanks to superstar Casey Hanner, her highly talented brother/producer Jake Hanner and their secret weapon, bassist Jake Churton. The music is tighter and cleaner than their debut; showing growth in songwriting, production, and playing. Aside from the stunning Billy Idol cover of "Untouchables," the highlight of the record is "Champion" the underdog's anthem of the year: "I'm not a champion/but I'll be the one you want." Donora have managed to record an interesting, dynamic, and fun release that you'll want to get your hands on immediately. (CH)

  2. Big Hurry, Gets Me Low
    Gets Me Low punches you in the face, but also cleans you up after the fight. The fight comes from Dani Buncher, who's stellar, unique drumming turns heads. Kelly Tobias soars with soothing vocals and reassuring lyrics; "I tried to tell you/I have been there the whole time" ("This In Between"). Andy Wilkosz's wild guitar demands attention in "Pushing Daises." Big Hurry's core is Lenny Flatley, keeping everything in control with strong, solid bass lines. (CH)

  3. Brooke Annibale, Silence Worth Breaking
    Brooke Annibale's latest record, her third in all, is obsession worthy. Her striking, breathy vocals are what get you first. You'll be pulled in next by the subtle but brilliant hooks. You'll be humming "Under Streetlights" one day and then realize you can't get it out of your head for months. Silence Worth Breaking was recorded in Nashville with producer Paul Moak. He's helped her deliver these deep and thoughtful songs in a powerful way. (CH)

  4. Chet Vincent & The Big Bend, For Everyone
    Chet Vincent's unusual voice draws comparisons to Highway 61 Revisited-era Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Rick Danko (The Band). "East End Blues" is worth checking out simply for Chet's nerve-wracking yet awesome delivery. Backed with a skilled roots-rock band, the songs seem comic, almost lackadaisical. However, they're impressively and smartly written. If they were attempting to record an album that sounds like it was conceived in the back of Steve Earle's pickup truck, they have succeeded. (CH)

  5. New Shouts, Sing New Shouts
    Vintage soul and surf-rock is captured near perfectly on New Shouts' Sing New Shouts. With "The Reins to Your Heart," there's an appreciation for Phil Spector, Shangri-Las, and Beach Boys. The EP is crammed with fantastic harmonies and classic fuzzy guitar. Mario White's drumming really makes the songs exciting, especially in "Bang Slang." New Shouts fit perfectly alongside the ranks of modern bands like Dr. Dog, Deer Tick and Fitz and The Tantrums. (CH)