On my tumblr page I posted my five favourite albums of 2011, and I embed a playlist playing a track from my 20 favourite albums. I wanted to do a little write up of my top five and list the other 15 albums that appeased my ears last year. As anyone already knows, I am not at all a punctual person and have left it until 10 days after the new year to even consider sitting down and writing this post. So here I am, finally, my top 20 favourite albums of 2011.
Read on for list!
1. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
There were a stupid amount of fantastic albums released this year, and some from my favourite bands to listen to such as Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie. I gotta say, I wasn’t as impressed with my usual favourites as I would have liked to have been. I have this theory that Pitchfork is trying to move this Electronica music phase into the next section of ‘cool’ because every single album that incorporates some sort of Electronica gets like a 10 out of 10… and for the most part I hate Electronica, therefor hating the phase every artist is going through this year. Both Death Cab and Bright Eyes have added hints of Electronica to their albums this year and I was not digging it. A few records this year have changed my mind on Electronic influenced music, such as M83, Cults’ debut record and this band right here, Smith Westerns. Now, you could argue that Smith Westerns aren’t really Electronica, and I would definitely agree with you, but they are definitely apart of the chill-wave style that has been really killing it lately. (I would throw them in a salad bowl with the likes of Beach House). This style of music has really been doing it for me. It’s ambient enough to appreciate the art in it and catchy enough to want bounce along to the beat. And I absolutely loved the video for Weekend. They just look like these punk kids from the 80’s, hanging out and being goofy. Catching glimpses of the 80’s influenced Synth, they really did go for the chilled, garage-band sound. I wouldn’t say they were lo-fi but they definitely add elements of a hollow sound in a small space. It’s a very very cool sounding record and in-spite of my hate for Electronica music – Caribou and LCD Soundsystem, I’m looking at you – I am starting to come around to it, making my favourite album of 2011, Smith Western’s Dye It Blonde.
2. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
The Vaccines debut record launched on March 14 and they received a lot of hype before its release. They hail from the U.K. and absolutely kill it when it comes to indie-rock ‘n’ roll. They have all the pop flavour you could ask for, with enough hooks and very catchy riffs to keep their tunes stuck in your heads for days. I’d say they are very early punk influenced drawing from the rhythms of the Ramones and every other punk band on the planet. No longer will you think of the Flu Shot, with lyrics like
“The angel’s game, F Scott Fitzgerald
The evening news and the morning herald,” from Wreakin’ Ball (Ra Ra Ra) you will be sure to be singing along every time you hear the word ‘Vaccines’. The most fun I’ve had with a record all year.
3. The Strokes – Angles
To be honest, I have just become a recent fan of The Stokes with the release of this record. When these guys came out with their first two records, I was really into bands like Linkin Park… I know, a little embarrassing, but Meteoria is still a fantasic record. I guess you can say my music taste has changed slightly, but I digress. Angles does every thing right. It innovates and stay’s true to their original sound, with a little more recording equipment this time around. Compared to their first album, Is This It in 2001, Angles stays away from the low quality style that is the defining attribute of their early work and cleans up their act. #repeat album all day
4. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical
My number four is by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. On this record I would say that these guys have also changed their sound a wee bit, also adding a bit more Electronica to it, but in a much more pop’y way. It’s not trying to be pretentious, or artsy, it’s trying to be catchy and fun. This record bumped The Wombats’ This Modern Glitch of this list because they do almost the same thing for me, with these guys capturing a little more talent. They both have the catchy up-beat, fun style to them. That’s why both couldn’t fit on here, I wanted the best variety in my top five, from each style. There is not one thing I liked more than the other on this record, I just really enjoyed this listen.
5. Beirut – The Rip Tide
Beirut is definitely one of my favourite bands, being very unique from most western music these days. With a huge emphasis on the accordion, and ukulele, they have a very European sound to them and that does not change with The Rip Tide. Zach Condon sticks to his very own created conventions here and that is nothing to complain about. Comparing each record to the others, The Rip Tide does sound a little different with softer and warmer tones – in my unprofessional opinion – but everything the recipe orders is present. Beirut’s songs transcend to such epic proportions at times, such as in The Peacock, with Condons vocals pressed hard against the harmonies of the remaining instruments, that it’s extremely hard to ignore. You drop whatever it is you are doing, and you just stare in awe at the wonderful sound of the much needed break from western music that is The Rip Tide.
6. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
7. The Wombats – This Modern Glitch
8. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
9. Arkells – Michigan Left
10. Cage The Elephant – Thank You, Happy Birthday
11. Tennis – Cape Dory
12. Hey Rosetta – Seeds
13. Explosions in The Sky – take care, take care, take care
14. The Black Keys – El Camino
15. Real Estate – Days
16. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
17. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math
18. Cults – self titled
19. City and Colour – Little Hell
20. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing
This is a 20 song playlist with one track from each of my favourite albums of 2011. Enjoy!