Opinions and Photo's By: Michael Rys
Hey all, I've been asked to compile a best of for the past year. I used to do this every year but stopped when I was just diggin so much out there it was too hard pick a best of em list. Its a little easier now because now that I book and promote shows I'm not getting gout to others shows as often so the field is narrowed. Also please remember this list is not a winners and losers list and my favorites are in no particular order. Just because your group or act is not on does not mean I didn't like it. Chances are if I reviewed your disc or show I enjoyed it because its not often I'll write about what I don't enjoy. I choose to stay positive, there are enough people that'll tell what they hate.

ON too it then...
Favorite Records of 2011
Michael Monroe- Sensory Overdrive- All of his solo records save for the 1st one remain in heavy rotation in my house this one will be another classic to me.Hands down awesome disc that reminds me daily about what I love about rock n roll
Glitter Trash-Wreckage-Detroit band with the distinct something in their music that makes it so. Rough,guttural, and honest.No fancy production no fancy anything.Simple fuck you if you don't like punk ala 1977.This disc if not picked up and released by some record label is destined become a highly sought after classic.
The Bloody Muffs- Heavy Flow-In my review of this record I kinda painted them as an east coast NYC version of Nashville Pussy but they rely less heavily on the T & A aspect of music.Their riffs,and songwriting style is where that comparison comes into play.It is a compliment.Heavy Flow is chock full o punk rock sing along,seedy subject matter and everything else you'll love to drive your neighbors crazy with
Favorite Metal Records of 2011
Tuck From Hell- Thrashing-Theses kids don't look old enough to drink or drive yet this debut album is the best metal debut Ive heard since Metallica's.They have much the same sonic dynamic as the former metal greats had too. While so many young bands continue the weird tunings and cookie monster vocals, these guys will show em all hows its supposed to be done.Cant wait for the next platter
Mobiledeathcamp-Clear and Present Anger- long awaited follow up disc to Black Swamp Rising finds Mobiledeathcamp no less powerful than their debut record but stretching their reaper skills into the far flung depths.One thing to keep in mind when your listing to this metal masterpiece...this is not a 5 piece band, and nope its not even 4..Three, that's all bare bones three making all that glorious racket.
Favorite Live shows of the year
Michael Monroe Live @ Peabody's Cleveland Oh - Ive waited like 15 years to see him tour the states and could have been happier. No let down at all , like some things can be when you build it all up. Great mix of old Hanoi material, the new record, old solo songs and even some great covers,plus the backing band was spot on awesome and would have been fun without Michael.
The Ruiners-Live at Woodchuck's Toledo Oh - Detroit rockers The Ruiners just know how to make a show fun. Acrobatic,sexy,silly and love what they do.Its infectious.The Ruiners go out of their way to involve the audience in whats going on. Yeah there is a stage but that stage is merely a suggestion and a place to hold drinks.Band members dancing with the crowd,having them sing along ,wrapping each other up in toilet paper during a song..oh and most important playing their asses off for 45 minuets. Lots of bands could and should take lessons form them on how to make rock n roll fun again.
The Godfathers- Live at Frankie's Toledo Oh - Not seeing these guys since the 90's I was a bit skeptical about how they would be after all these years,especially since shedding some band members.But they were more than I expected and then some.Peter on vocals still posses the venom in his voice and Del Bartel on guitar makes you not even notice that he's playing the guitar parts of what two guys used to do.Far form an oldies tour the new material they played sound like its destined to be classics's like Cause I Said So and She Gives Me Love.
Favorite Female Performers of 2011
Colleen Caffeine-Choking Susan- Always energetic and unique with her vocals and stage presence this gal is like my punk rock little sister. Every year a new record and touring somewhere across the globe.Catch her live if you can and you'll enjoy every moment
Nikki Darling-Crashdollz- Powerful and badass...Nikki mixes punk and hard rock vocal styles well with don't fuck with me or else snarl...I eat that kinda stuff up.Ive only caught them once lve so far and Crashdollz are a relatively new band so with more stage experience I'll be looking forward to seeing them again.
Laura Mendoza-White Shag- This Dayton Oh native now living in Detroit given her fantastic voice,great looks and sexy stage presence could by all right sell out and make pop music and be a success in no time. But she loves to rock and that she does.The band she heads up is beginning to heat up in Detroit and I have no doubt great things are in their future.Anxious to see them again soon and see how they evolve.Not only that but I've just a little harmless middle age crush on this one. LO

Favorite Male Performers
Michael Monroe- Yeah ok are you getting sick of reading his name yet?? I not tired of writing it. This guy is close to if not over 50 and is still strutting across the stage and dancing like he does.And... he does not look foolish doing it either. A rock performer that recalls the old days of when the guy onstage was the star and was more than likely gonna get your girl too.
Rick Ruiner- The Ruiners- Like I covered earlier its about fun and Rick knows that.He's a charming ,self effacing ,gentleman off stage.Once the platforms hit the hardwood its Tom Jones, Elvis, and Iggy all rolled into one.His stage moves would send most of us guys our age to traction. Rock On Rick,rock the fuck on!
Preston Woodward- State Ann Arbor Michigan's classic hardcore band State has had a busy few years .Preston is not one who relies on a back catalog of material onstage,they continue to produce brilliant hardcore.This man looks intense onstage and performs intensely also no matter there be 20 people watching or a couple of hundred.Challenges the band as well as the audience and will often venture out in to the stage front pit.I betcha he's a mellow guy at home because he sure lets the rage out onstage.
This section lists my favorite instrument players of the year---
all have been particular stand out at live shows this year
Jeff Pinkus- Honkey
Matt Myers-Bathousebetty
Dustin Aller-Grommet

Ginger- The Wildhearts
Del Bartle-The Godfathers
Ruyter Suys-Nashville Pussy

Rob Ruiner- The Ruiners
Adam Rice-Bathhousebetty
Bands who called it quits in 2011 that I'm gonna miss
CL1 - This Toledo street punk trio packed in this year with a final show at Frankie's in Toledo.No one around these parts played boot heavy sing along music like these boys.Appreciated much more in their out of town shows than they were here,Toledo at least those with taste are going to miss their gigs.
Grommet- This Detroit power trio cranked out three full lengths and 1 ep in five years ,that downright prolific for a band doing it all DIY. Heavy ,genre bending and very unique not just with song structure but subject matter too.Shows schedules got the best of a vital member and rather than continue under the same name with someone else they chose an honorable exit rather than settle. Still think there was some much more left with these guys.
Favorite New Bands

White Shag
Bloody Buffalo

Humanitarian of The Year-

Jenna Talia of Glitter Trash- I see alot of punk musicians blogging all the time about the popular movements in the news or on the streets these days.Its easy to do that form your warm living room.Yeah you can engage Jenna online about her comments and opinions but you'll also see her out on the streets cooking and serving the homeless,marching for human rights, and performing at a benefit show.Jenna's had a rough year herself as many have but she gets the special "up the punx" for giving and caring for others despite this.