Best Albums of 2011
‘Twas a great year for music…
It’s that time again where we scroll through our iPods and remember the best albums of the year. Since most of our writers have varied tastes in music, it’s nearly impossible to have one single, solitary list that represents everyone’s music tastes. That’s why we’ve decided to each pick our Top 5 albums of the year for your listening pleasure.
If you’ve been too busy this year to check out a lot of music, then this list of albums is a definite must! To hear a sample from our favorite albums of the year, check out our Spotify Playlist.
In alphabetical order by writer…(Maria is our newest writer, so welcome Maria!)
- The Decemberists – The King is Dead: I’ve been a fan of The Decemberists for close to a decade but a couple of songs on this album have become my all-time favorites of theirs. Check out “Don’t Carry It All” and “Calamity Song.”
- Wanda Jackson – The Party Ain’t Over: Wanda is the undeniable queen of rock ‘n’ roll! This is an essential additiona to any fan’s collection.
- Various Artists – Rave on Buddy Holly: From The Detroit Cobras to She & Him, artists pay tribute to Buddy Holly with great deference. Even the Kid Rock track is good!
- The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts: This band has an awesome way of mixing sounds from all kinds of music to make sweet songs and crazy dance songs. There is a track for almost every mood. I love it.
- Steve Earle – I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive: Steve Earle is an American legend. I recommend picking up this collection of timeless folk songs and checking him out live.
- Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire: Ryan Adams’ best album to date. Simple evidence that Adams has matured in many ways and remains one of the best songwriters out right now.
- The Head & The Heart – The Head & The Heart: I’ve been very lucky to have been tipped to this one early on. Every time I listen I fall more in love with this album. The line “god have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways…” just kills me.
- Joseph Arthur – The Graduation Ceremony: Arthur is among the most prolific artists we have and this sees him back to the Redemption Son ear. A true album about the tribulations of love and is everything you love about his style…lush and brutally honest.
- Dawes – Nothing is Wrong: There is just not enough space to explain how incredible this record is, how gifted a songwriter Taylor Goldsmith is, and how impeccable the harmonies that Tay, Taylor and Griffin sing are. The fact that they have special guest Jackson Browne on the record can give you a small hint about how special this band and record both are.
- M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming: I won’t lie. The first listen of “Midnight City” raise my eyebrow. I wasn’t sure what I thought. Then after a few listens, I realized Anthony Gonzales finally found the perfect middle ground between his love for 80′s pop music, and the loud, blistering white noise he showed us so early on in his career.
- Laura Stevenson & the Cans – Sit, Resist: The more I hear this album, the more I like it. Lots of details come out in repeated listens.
- Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside – Dirty Radio: I may have burnt myself out a little on this one earlier this year. It’s a very c lose #2.
- Childish Gambino – Camp: I was a little hesitant to include this one because it’s so new, but I’m so addicted to “Heartbeat” right now.
- David Wax Museum – Everything is Saved: Surprisingly, my only Boston based band on the list. 2012 will be a huge year for these guys.
- Wild Flag – Wild Flag: Members of Sleater-Kinney throw a party and invite Mary Timony. Exactly what I wanted this album to be…which is a good thing.
- Bon Iver – Bon Iver: The first time I heard “Holocene” from Justin Vernon’s project Bon Iver, my knees buckled and my heart fluttered. Recorded in a converted veterinarian clinic, the elaborately arranged Bon Iver is a beautiful compliment to its predecessor For Emma, For Ever Ago.
- Cut Copy – Zonoscope: If Cut Copy’s album Zonoscope doesn’t make you want to dance, you might want to check your reflexes. Tracks from the New Zealand based dance-rock group like “Need You Now” and “Take Me Over” are the perfect addition to any dance party.
- Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost: Chris Owens, how I love thee…The second album by San Francisco’s Girls draws inspiration from classic artists like the Beach Boys and Elvis Costello. Sure to make indie girls swoon, Owens pays homage to his mother on tracks like “Honey Bunny” and “My Ma.”
- The Black Keys – El Camino: Can you believe that this is The Black Keys’ seventh studio album? The Grammy winning duo from Akron, OH continue to deliver “vintagey” blues-rock sounds and catchy riffs that make your feet tap and fingers snap.
- CANT – Dreams Come True: Dreams Come True is Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear fame, and first solo project under the CANT guise. Recorded in a week and half, Dreams Come True’s hauntingly mysterious tracks make this album the perfect soundtrack for any gray, rainy day.
- We are Augustines – Rise Ye Sunken Ships: I’ve officially worn this album out. It’s the epitome of a rock and roll record from members of the former band Pela. It’s difficult to put out an album that is dynamic and heartfelt, yet catchy as all get-up.
- Bon Iver – Bon Iver: I’ve been a huge fan of Bon Iver and this album did not disappoint. The music is the ideal soundtrack to set the mood for a reflective day. A nice surprise was the pseudo-sounding Phil Collins-ish Beth/Rest.
- Architecture in Helsinki – Moment Bends: Delicious and pop-stounding, this Australian band came back from the disaster-of-an-album Places like This. On Moment Bends, the band sticks to what they know best: great hooks and instrumentally-filled bliss.
- Destroyer – Kaputt: Released in January, a lot of folks forgot about this amazing release. Not me. Granted I’m a Dan Bejar-aholic and this album is a great addition to Destroyer’s discography. Full of witticisms and interesting melodies, you always know a Dan Bejar song when you hear it…and that’s hard for most band’s to achieve.
- The Rural Alberta Advantage Club – Departing: Canadian indie rockers are back at it on their second album. I’ve been smitten with this band since their debut Hometowns. In this release, they show a bit more maturity with lusher tracks but still the uncanny knack for interesting lyrics.