Favorite Albums of 2011

I, too, stare blankly at the lists of names and albums in this thread.

curst’s description of White Hills has me intrigued, though.

Kudos to those who actually describe the music rather than just offer up unadorned lists (and I say this as someone who really likes lists), it helps tremendously when I’m not familiar with the artist/album.

That is some eclectic taste in music.

Of all the songs I’ve heard so far, yours are the most interesting. Where do you find this stuff?

Gotye - Making Mirrors
Pop music that everyone in Australia (from top-40-car-singers to pitchfork-reading-hipsters) liked. I agree.
Full Album
Music Video: Somebody That I Used To Know

Harmony - Harmony
Raw as fuck punk rock with… three harmony vocalists over the top?! As a review says:

The whole thing – music, words and visuals – has a feel all its own, which is hard to contain in a review. Suffice to say, this is a darkly magnificently Australian work of art. The stuff that reaffirms your belief in malevolent, cantankerous rock. […] The stuff that stinks of sweat and beer and sleepless nights and punched walls. The stuff that keeps you alive.

Single: Cacaphonous Vibes

Laura Marling - A Creature I Don’t Know
I’m sure you know what she sounds like, but if you don’t, tl;dr is female guitarist doing the new-folk thing, now with a proper band. It’s beautiful stuff.
Single: Sophia

Other tidbits:
Best Music Video 2011: Hermitude - Speak of the Devil
Best <3min Opening Track 2011: Jordie Lane - Diamond Ring (music for 70s Vegas)
Best Song Off Florence + The Machine’s Otherwise Disappointing Album 2011: No Light, No Light
Favourite Song For Reasons I Am Unable to Adequately Convey 2011: Felicity Groom - Under Oath (I also love the album)
Most About The Internet Without Needing to Reference a Single Fucking Meme 2011: Kikuyu - Infodome

So, I’m really bad at best of lists for anything really for a couple of reasons:

  1. I can never remember all the things I did
  2. I can never remember whether they came out the year that I did them
  3. I don’t do nearly enough things to have any sort of interesting opinion
  4. I don’t like to jump on the shiny new thing bandwagon right away

All that being said, Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues made my summer. I love it when an album can define a point in my life. Montezuma will always be that song that takes me to early summer in Chicago, before the heat got too bad and certain parts of my life began to completely fall apart.

And that’s really all I’ve got. Nothing else I listened to this year made it into that special place where I can hear a song and suddenly remember the way a time smelled. Not that I didn’t listen to any other music that I adored, but a lot of it was old, and the new stuff just kind of made it’s way into the fold.

I dug King of Limbs too. That’s all.

Agreed, although I think there is a lot of criticism that is straight up popularity backlash. And fair enough, Thom Yorke and company have to a certain extent crawled up their own butt. The thing is that their own butt happens to be a pretty interesting place - artists who fall into this trap (U2 or Coldplay) start believing their own hype. A friend of mine who knows a good deal of well respected musicians said that you can’t go out in front of giant crowds of people who love you night after night and not have it fuck your head up.

I think it’s fucked with Thom Yorke, but in the sense that he is rejecting the parts that he needs to reject, and not just giving people the same record over and over again. That’s respectable.

I’m a huge Radiohead fanboy so this is definitely not the case with me. I thought King of Limbs was interesting and that it would have made a good disk of bonus material to an album proper but, for my tastes (and that’s all I’m talking about here) it was too understated. Nothing about the album hooked me enough to keep me coming back for the repeated listens necessary to appreciate what they were doing.

I am entirely of the opinion that this is my own personal failing. Radiohead put out an excellent album that was not to my liking.

I want to thank Rightbug for rating The Joy Formidable’s ‘The Big Roar’ so highly. That made me curious so I checked them out on Youtube and got hooked. I picked up ‘The Big Roar’ and the ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’ EP and have been listening to them almost non-stop since. Great stuff.

You’re welcome! Someone on these boards brought them to my attention so I am just paying it forward. Anyone who likes the album should check out their EPs and live stuff as well – I’ve yet to find a track in their catalog I didn’t love and two of my favorites (‘Greyhounds in the Slips’ and ‘While The Flies’) don’t appear on the album.

Thanks also to the folks recommending Fucked Up. I’ve been listening to that album all day and digging it.

Finally, a late addition to my honorable mentions list… A friend of mine listed Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybear’s new album, Scandalous, on his year end list and it’s a fantastic bit of funk:

I think my stand-out albums of the year would be:

Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
Okkervil River – I Am Very Far
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Beirut – The Rip Tide

Runners up to Fleet Foxes, Dodos, King Creosote, and Wye Oak.

Best song, though, probably goes to Abigail Washburn for “Bring Me My Queen.”

M83 - Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (a double-LP that doesn’t suck? and in fact is mostly great? how the hell did anyone ever pull this off)

This is my favorite new album, though I didn’t follow that much new stuff from 2011.

Can’t believe I’m seeing any Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost on here. That album’s rises and falls (and choirs) got me through a really rough motorcycle trip.

VOMIT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze6rg4ixjOI

I haven’t given too much thought on this yet. I know I’d have Yuck somewhere on the list, but I’m putting it out there that Wugazi 13 Chambers was the mash-up album of the year.

Spotify playlist of all the albums mentioned so far (that are available on Spotify…minus Rightbug’s 40 extra albums, sheesh):


Nice! Thanks for that.

Very awesome. Thanks for compiling that!

It gets worse! Reviewing other people’s year-end lists, I’ve fallen in love with Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit’s album Here We Rest:

Jason Isbell (formerly of the Drive By Truckers) has sort of a Southern singer-songwriter sound which reminds me of James McMurtry.

Thanks also to Nightgaunt for reminding me of that Abigail Washburn album which had fallen off my radar.

+1 I gave that a relisten this year as well. Devin Townsend = pure win. I was going through his entire catalogue. All of it is worth it.

Also +1 for the YOB Atma mention.

My friend asked me to recommend some music to him, so I wrote these down. They’ll do. No order.

Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Patrick Wolf - Lupercalia
Future Islands - On the Water
Drake - Take Care
The Weeknd - House of Balloons, Thursday, Echoes of Silence
Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital
Wild Beasts - Smother

I’ll come back and add some links later.

So thanks for the A.A. Bondy and Radical Dads recommendations. Really great stuff.

I’d like to add to records to my best of that I forgot about:

John Maus - We Must Become the Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves

John Maus is a weird guy. He’s a political science teacher and lo-fo electronic songwriter. He goes from shallow to irreverent to heartfelt to menacing to goofy sometimes in a single song. He’s known for repetition, riffing on 80’s pop in an intelligent form of deconstructionism, and what some would consider less than serious lyricism (Cop Killer you can safely ignore the fan made video if you want.) But when he’s sincere (well as sincere as a guy like that can get,) man does it hit. Check out Believer. I enjoy his less serious material, but I don’t think it would work with the context of the more impassioned songs.

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

Not a lot to say about this except - iz good

In Chicago, there is a Burger bar called Kuma’s Corner that does gourmet burgers that are all named after doom metal bands, and plays exclusively doom metal on the jukebox. The YOB burger is delicious - that is sadly how I discovered the band. http://www.kumascorner.com/ Oh and listen to Zebulon Pike! Links in the metal thread.