Friday, December 16

The CDP's Top 20 Albums Of 2011 (5-1).

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5. Wugazi - 13 Chambers

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4. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2

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3. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Lenses Alien

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2. Saves The Day - Daybreak

Before we reveal my favorite album of 2011, here's a rundown of my previous picks for Album Of The Year:

2003 Winner: The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site
2003 Runner-Up: The Postal Service - Give Up

2004 Winner: Arcade Fire - Funeral
2004 Runner-Up: Communique' - Poison Arrows

2005 Winner: Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins
2005 Runner-Up: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

2006 Winner: The Velvet Teen - Cum Laude!
2006 Runner-Up: P.O.S. - Audition


2007 Winner: Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
2007 Runner-Up: Polysics - Karate House

2008 Winner: Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
2008 Runner-Up: Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line

2009 Winner: P.O.S. - Never Better
2009 Runner Up: fun. - Aim And Ignite

2010 Winner: The Hold Steady - Heaven Is Whenever
2010 Runner-Up: The Tallest Man On Earth - The Wild Hunt

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1. Louis CK - Hilarious

I've always set some unofficial rules for myself when it came to choosing my top albums of the year, and one of them was generally leaving comedy albums towards the bottom of the pack. This year, however, Louis CK was impossible to ignore. A career year to say the least, he was finally recognized as the best stand up comedian on the planet (a deserved honor), was nominated for an Emmy for his groundbreaking FX series Louie, and released one of the best stand up albums of all-time with Hilarious, my (far and away) choice for the Best Album Of 2011.

Although Hilarious was released in 2011, it was recorded in 2009 (in Milwaukee!). If you want to check out his latest offering, Live At The Beacon Theater, it can be downloaded for a scant $5 at LouisCK.net.

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section, tell me what your favorite album of 2011 was, and enjoy your weekend. The CDP returns Monday with the 2011 Year In Review.

Thursday, December 15

The CDP's Top 20 Albums Of 2011 (10-6).

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10. Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

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9. Adele - 21

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8. Patton Oswalt - Finest Hour

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7. The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

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6. New Found Glory - Radiosurgery

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. The countdown concludes tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14

The CDP's Top 20 Albums Of 2011 (15-11).

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15. Less Than Jake - Greetings From…

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14. I Fight Dragons - KABOOM!

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13. Cake - Showroom Of Compassion

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12. Deer Tick - Divine Providence

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11. M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. The countdown continues tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13

The CDP's Top 20 Albums Of 2011 (20-16).

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Honorable Mention - The Beach Boys - Smile

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20. Tennis - Cape Dory

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19. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

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18. The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts

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17. The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules

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16. Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day. The countdown continues tomorrow.

Monday, December 12

The CDP's 5 Assorted Favorites Of 2011.

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Track Of The Year - 'Imperial Walker' - IFIHADAHIFI

"This is what happens when you poke a badger in the eye."

The 2011 Capitol Protests were fierce, vocal and put the world on notice, but they were also done with intellect, DIY know-how, and what can only be described as unmistakeably twisted Midwestern humor.* Longtime Wisconsin noise powerhouse IFIHADAHIFI encapsulate all of these traits seamlessly, so it seemed fit for them to not only score the soundtrack to our solidarity, but provide us with the most memorable (and important) track of the year (at least where I'm from).

'Imperial Walker' is not only a call to arms, but a reminder of what the state of Wisconsin has been through since early February ("14 Senators on the lam"). As the Recall efforts heat up, IFIHADAHIFI has pledged to donate every penny of 'Imperial Walker' profits to Progressives United, an effort to keep the working man politically competitive with the billionaire businessman.

(*After Fox News aired footage of what looked like Wisconsinites vandalizing the Capitol and running rampant in the streets, eagle-eyed observers noticed that there were palm trees visible in the background, which of course meant that Fox aired incorrect footage of an incorrect riot in an incorrect city. The next day, hundreds of Madison protesters brought inflatable palm trees with them, decorating the Square with a flowering plant that wouldn't survive a minute in a Wisconsin February. We don't get mad. We mock.)

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Book Of The Year - The Visible Man - Chuck Klosterman

I can't tell you what this book is about; it would ruin it for you. If you like (or even vaguely like) Klosterman, sci-fi, pop culture, psychological ramblings, voyeurism and unanswerable questions, however, The Visible Man will provide you with a fun, brief ride that will leave your perception of what it means to be 'genuine' permanently skewed.

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Film Of The Year - Warrior

(Honorable Mentions go to Super 8 and Harry Potter 7.5. I haven't seen The Muppets yet.)

Warrior was overlooked, made a modest amount of money and disappeared from sight. But it was also a critical smash, worlds better than it had any business being, and was easily the most exciting, emotional and profoundly dark film I've seen all year.

Regardless if MMA is your thing, the performances, gritty cinematography, soundtrack (provided perfectly by The National) and storyline will be more than enough to satisfy. A sleeper that should be rented or (hopefully) pop up on Netflix, Warrior has been accurately described by critics as 'heartbreaking and emotionally satisfying' and 'an unapologetic powerhouse of emotional conflict.' I promise you'll dig this one.

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Live Moment Of The Year - 2011 WWE Money In The Bank (Allstate Arena - Chicago)

I've seen some great concerts this year, but it's been the sporting events that really spoiled me in 2011. I wasn't in person to see the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl, but I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the Milwaukee Brewers clinching the division for the first time in 30 years; an experience I'll probably never forget (linked video shot by the Missus).

On the MMA front, I was fortunate enough to see Fedor fight in the United States, an absolute rarity at the incredible Strikeforce show earlier in the year. Also, I experienced a legit dream come true when I attended and facilitated a UFC event in Milwaukee a few months back.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to what I was lucky enough to experience at Money In The Bank at the Allstate Arena. If you're not a wrestling fan, you'll never understand this, but for those in the know, you'll remember it as being perhaps the greatest WWE PPV (and main event match) in WWE history. CM Punk literally walked out the front door of the arena as champion, cementing one of the most epic and organic rises to WWE greatness in over a decade. I mean, listen to these crazy bastards (myself included) cheer on their hometown boy, while simultaneously booing the face of the company right out of the arena. It was a true moment in time.

I remember leaving the arena, voice completely gone, with 15,000 others who were shell-shocked and in awe as to what they experienced. I was concerned that the crowd didn't come across on television as much as they did in the arena, but as the Missus scanned the websites and tweets on her phone, it became clear that we were fortunate enough to be in the audience for one of the coolest events a wrestling fan could have ever attended. It was awesome; end of story.

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Top 15 TV Shows Of 2011:

15. The Ultimate Fighter
14. Person Of Interest
13. Saturday Night Live
12. The Simpsons
11. Mythbusters
10. The Office
9. Beavis & Butthead
8. 30 Rock
7. Bob's Burgers
6. Adventure Time
5. Louie
4. The Walking Dead
3. Modern Family
2. Community
1. Parks & Recreation

At first, I figured The Walking Dead would be a lock at #1. But Season 2 has been a little lacking halfway in, and the arguments against it have become too hard to ignore. Modern Family is still as flawless as ever, but I can't help but think that Season 3 isn't as good as their Season 1 arrival in 2009. What I wanted were shows that are better now than they've ever been, continuing to cement their legacy and out-do themselves every week.

Community is doing just that; approaching Arrested Development levels of depth, callbacks and renegade satire of everything they find both ridiculous and beloved (an almost sure sign they're on the brink of cancellation; networks can't seem to deal with that). They throw everything against the wall, keep anything that sticks, and for those reasons, they are the most dynamic and sharp comedy on TV today. But they're not the best.

Parks & Recreation stood in the shadow of The Office for less than one season, but have cut their own mold as a powerhouse ensemble, giving us a show that seems to be hitting a stride of perfection that has lasted nearly two years now. They can literally do no wrong at this point; each character works so seamlessly with the other, that almost any combination functioning as an episodic lead will mine comedy gold. This is currently a great time to be a fan of TV comedies, but in 2011, Parks & Recreation has become untouchable in its combination of characters, stories, jokes and themes. A winner, top to bottom.

Sound off in the comments section with your favorites and enjoy your day. My list of the Top 20 Albums Of 2011 begins tomorrow and runs through the end of the week.