The B’s Knees – Best of 2011

2011 surprisingly made this B’s knees weak on any number of occasions.

And the music was pretty good, too.

Here’s the rundown of our faves with a smattering of the running commentary from the staff and listeners over at the Bubbles in the Think Tank Facebook Fan Page.

If you get the urge to click on the links and purchase any of this fine music for yourself, let them know you heard about it on Bubbles in the Think Tank.  We don’t get anything in return…except maybe a little extra love.  And who doesn’t want that?

Let’s start with the link to the archive for your listening and dancing enjoyment while you’re perusing the list.


We’ll start with the albums…

NRBQ Keep This Love Goin’

Yes, we start each and every episode of Bubbles in the Think Tank with NRBQ.  And there’s a reason.  If you had forgotten or thought it was gone, this will make sure you never forget.  It makes my heart feel so happy I think it might explode.  Monkeys don’t know how lucky they are.

Tom Staley We’re Gonna Be OK

Tom sent this cd to me at the very beginning of 2011 and I knew it would be on this list before the first track was finished.   It makes me hopeful every time I listen.

Chris Ligon & the Problems This Is Your Night

Described last night as “SILLY VERY GOOD,” Chris Ligon has everything you need to be a Bubbles in the Think Tank Favorite.  Silly overtones, poppy undertones, lyrical twists and some really good bad jokes.  What more do we actually want anyway?

Pete Donnelly When You Come Home  

Think Thank loyalists dig the vibe that Pete puts down throughout this disc.  It’s got the Philly sound on top of the one that is Pete’s very own.  I’m hoping to make it to one of solo gigs sometime while the record is still fresh from the oven!

P.J. O’Connell  Join The Crowd 

Live, P.J. has this knack of knowing just how much to play.  He gets on stage, does it and then stops leaving me on the edge always wanting more.  Somehow he manages to do that same thing here but in long player form.  Very impressive.

Jon Pousette-Dart  Anti-Gravity

This record is like a cool breeze.   I admit to a lack of familiarity with his earlier work and that I was only drawn to the disc for noted participation of Jim Chapdelaine.  It felt like the work of friends together all the way around.  That’s nice.

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages  Savage Kings

I first discovered Barrence while still living in Cincinnati in the 80s.  He was stablemates with one of my favorites of the time, The Auburnaires.  All these years later, Savage Kings keeps him rooted to my roots – recorded in the Nati at Ultra Suede, released by Shake It, and sounding like it should have been on the Federal label.  Yes, I like this very much.

The Fleshtones Brooklyn Sound Solution

Unlike any other Fleshtones release, this one is nearly all covers and it has the bonus guitar heft that comes with the addition of Lenny Kaye.   Extra fuzzy!

Neil Innes Innes Own World – Best Bits – Part Two  

Neil’s appearance in the B’s Knees confirmed that we’ll organize a listener field trip next time he crosses the pond.  His stories are always fascinating, his music oh so nice.  We declare Neil Innes an underrated genius.

The Bandana Splits  Mr Sam Presents the Bandana Splits

They don’t just focus on the 60s girl group sound…they know who the Dinning Sisters are and it shows.

Darling Pet Munkee  Glows in the Dark!  

Thanks to Marshall Frederick Stockwell Jr., our Titular Head of Research, for hipping us to this one.  Retro/psych/surf/sea-monkeys.  I am a child again.

Hugh Laurie Let Them Talk

We’ve loved Hugh Laurie for years at Bubbles in the Think Tank ever since we first saw “A Bit of Fry & Laurie” so many years ago.  It was shocking for us to hear people referring to Let Them Talk as his first foray into music.  But you know how we feel about people, so we ignored them and just listened to the record.  As it should be.  He even covers a Think Tank Classic!

Roy Sludge Too Drunk To Truck

Is Roy the busiest musician in Boston?  Sure seems like it sometimes.  And this disc makes me understand why.

Nick Lowe The Old Magic

Like a fine aged cheese, but even tastier.  I’ve always loved Nick, but I think he’s in his golden era.  That voice, those songs, those eyes…

Deerhoof  Deerhoof vs. Evil

This one covers a lot of sonic territory, not unlike other Deerhoof releases, but feels unlike other Deerhoof releases.  The cut we played on the show, “Super Duper Rescue Heads,” makes me feel like I have glitter all over me.  And that’s a good feeling.

Richard X. Heyman Tiers/And Other Stories

If your power pop favorite added rock opera atmospherics, this is what you get.  Lush is the word for it.

The Catbirds Viborate

It makes me very happy that Chandler has loud band, too.

David Greenberger, Mark Greenberg, Paul Cebar Tell Me That Before

David Greenberger & Ralph Carney Oh, Pa

David Greenberger & Dozens Near the Edge of the Penny Jar Spill

David Greenberger & Bangalore How I Became Uncertain

David Greenberger with Jupiter Circle Never Give Up Study

The mighty and prolific David Greenberger kicks our ass yet again, this time five times over.  And he’s got more coming out in 2012.  The stories, the music, his delivery… is it any wonder he may be the original Bubbles in the Think Tank Favorite?  This may be the year that he gets his own shelf in the collection.


And now on to the tunes where that’s all I’ve got…

PauletteBike Riding In a Dress Hooray!” from Paulette and Stephan; Loved by Ones

The general sentiment whenever I play Paulette never wavers.  Sherry said last night “Hooray for Paulette!!! Love her!”   I said it last year and I’ll say it again, I don’t know how we lived life before Paulette.

Chandler Travis Three-ODrunk Angry People Shut Up

Released the day of our B’s Knees list, Chandler always knows how to get my attention.  I believe the Chandler Travis Philharmonette made the live performance radio debut of this tune last year at Bubbles in the Think Tank, and it became an instant classic.

They Might Be GiantsProtagonist” from Join Us

We love it for the Firesign-ish backing vocals on top of why we have loved everything we’ve ever loved from They Might Be Giants.  And that’s a lot.

The BarreracudasDon’t Roll Your Eyes” from Nocturnal Missions

Clearly something I must have bought while researching a theme show, there’s something glammy about this tune that stuck in my head.  That and their name makes me think of the Barracudas

David Wax Museum” from Everything Is Saved

It’s a joyous tune for having a broken heart.  Sometimes that is all I need.

Black GumSingle Life” from Black Gum

Surfy, fuzzy, harmony, released on cassette.  I love this song.

Max CapoteSi Nena” from Ana 7″

I had to make sure this tune was really from 2011.  The organ really did it for me, but this little dancer has it going on all the way around.

The Tandoori KnightsI Hear Someone Cry” b/w “Bhaji Blues” and “Wild Wild East”

If it’s on Norton, it’s got to be good.  King Khan and Bloodshot Bill return with this eastern delicacy that is hot on the “how silly would you like it” scale.  Thank goodness.

Ry CooderNo Banker Left Behind” from Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down

Ry channels Uncle Dave Macon after reading a Robert Scheer column.

MegafaunThese Words” from Megafaun

This song keeps me in touch with my leanings toward off-kilter tunes.  At least that’s what my junior high music teacher told me I liked.  I do believe she was correct.

Wild FlagRomance” from Wild Flag

From another band in the I-don’t-know-anything-about-them camp, I bought this track when I stumbled upon a sample of it working on a show this year.  It hooked me in so many ways that I just had to grab it.  Then I find that it’s a all-female quartet that includes the forever-popping-up Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia fame.  That certainly sealed the silly cred for us.

The CatbirdsGonna Keep Drivin’

Another song released the day of the B’s Knees, how could I not include this lovely ode to sobriety checkpoints?  Learn those lyrics, you never know when you’ll need them.

Fruit BatsSo Long” from Tripper

I admit that I only listened to this song in the first place while doing show research because of the band’s name.  But I was greeted with this airy, Lennony slice of goodness.

tUnE-yArDsBizness” from w h o k i l l

I was driving in Kentucky with January Fairy in the car when this popped up in my shuffle.  We looked at each other knowing it had to be on this list.

Endangered SpeechesRecord Companies

I’ll save the retelling of the story about this one since it’s in the show, but suffice to say that the Think Tank posse in attendance at their show was uniformly impressed by this tune lyrically and musically.  It even made an appearance in our 2011 Record Store Day special.

Thee Oh SeesThe Dream

A driving builder of a tune, to say the least.  Another of those groups in this list that seems to have been around forever, yet I live under a rock.




6 replies on “The B’s Knees – Best of 2011”

  1. It’s like I’ve been doing radio for most of my life or something…
    Thank you for all of the titular support! I need it.

  2. Dawn Young on

    We have the same taste: NRBQ, Jon Pousette-Dart and Chandler Travis are favs!

  3. Freddy on

    And the Catbirds into Darling Pet Munkee made such sense…

  4. Freddy on

    Just noticed that the Neil Innes Bonzo story had a Ry Cooder reference, and was then followed by the Ry Cooder song….you’re gooood..

  5. Freddy on

    What a fun show. What a great year for the show !
    Love these notes here too.You work so hard for your monkeys. Above and beyond.
    And I’m sure it’s fun working above and beyond on B’s knees.
    H to the EE !
    Thanks for being there for my best moments too….Hey, they’re playing our song right now !

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