Manchester Orchestra, White Denim, The Dear Hunter

In 2009, Georgia-based unit Manchester Orchestra put out the best rock release of the year with Mean Everything to Nothing. It's a tight, concise record, indebted to classics like Weezer's Pinkerton and Nirvana's In Utero, yet sonically adventurous à la Radiohead's OK Computer. Like many great albums, it went unappreciated and downright ignored by much of the record-buying public.

This year, the band has returned with Simple Math, a grandiose, sprawling album with string sections, children's choirs and guitar solos out the wazoo. Odds are it will be the among the best rock releases of 2011.

Yes, this is your cue to buy the fuck out of it and tell all your friends. Because if we don't support quality musicians like Manchester Orchestra, all we're left with is Hinder. And nobody wants that.

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Scott Heisel