2011 was too great of a year for music for me to try to synthesize a single top 10 list, so here are the best albums I heard since I compiled the last one.
10. A$AP Rocky LiveLoveA$AP
09. Atlas Sound Parallax
08. Future Islands On the Water
Eighties-inspired indie synth pop doesn’t get much better than this.
07. The Weeknd House of Balloons / Thursday / Echoes of Silence
06. Girls Father, Son, Holy Ghost
05. M83 Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
04. John Maus We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
03. St. Vincent Strange Mercy
04. Youth Lagoon The Year of Hibernation
02. Danny Brown XXX
At 30, Detroit rapper Danny Brown’s confidence in his craft allows him to mix true-to-life tales of the daily struggles of poverty and addiction with track-length boasts about his cunnilingus skills.
01. Wye Oak Civilian
Even after more than fifty spins, I’m still amazed that Wye Oak can rock so damn hard with only two people. Jenn Wasner earns every bit of her cool stage demeanor by layering booming, rich vocalsover rock-and-folk infused guitar and bass riffs, while Andy Stack simultaneously plays keyboard and drums. If that looks impressive in print, it sounds even more impressive live. (h/t Danny Atwood)
Honorable Mention: Those Guys Are Still Making Records?
Mogwai Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
Yes, and they’re still pretty damn good at that whole post-rock thing they do.
Honorable Mention: Pretty Sleepin’ Music
Julianna Barwick The Magic Place
Drink some hot tea and just drift off…
Honorable Mention: Oh, Yeah, He’s Actually Street
50 Cent The Big 10
After two disappointing studio albums, Fifty came back hungry enough to remind us that he’s still the dude who straight up mirked Weezy and Ricky Rozay in their primes.
Dishonorable Mention: Most Disappointing Album
Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV
It’s a bad sign when, from one album to the next, you go from being the best rapper alive to staying quiet on the hottest track.
11 Best Videos from Other Albums:
01. Doomtree “Bolt Cutter”
02. Bill Callahan “America!”
03. The Black Keys “Lonely Boy”
04. French Montana “Shot Caller”
05. Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know”
06. The Horrors “Still Life”
07. Katy B “Easy Please Me”
08. Of Monsters and Men “Little Talks”
09. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire “Huzzah!”
10. Pusha T “Trouble on My Mind”
11. Real Estate “It’s Real”
Other Stuff To Which I Listened:
The Antlers Burst Apart, ARMS Summer Skills, Bad Meets Evil (Eminem & Royce Da 5’9) Hell the Sequel, Bill Callahan Apocalypse, The Black Keys El Camino, Carnivore I’m Ancient, Cult of Youth Cult of Youth, David Guetta Nothing But the Beat, DJ Quik The Book of David, Doomtree No Kings, Frank BroylesUntitled EP, Frank Ocean Nostalgia, Ultra, Freddie Gibbs Cold Day in Hell, French Montana Mister 16: Casino Life, Fucked Up David Comes to Life, Gang Gang Dance Eye Contact, Gotye Making Mirrors, Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame Ferrari Boyz, The Horrors Skying, The Throne (Jay-Z & Kanye West)Watch the Throne, Katy B On a Mission, Kurt Vile Smoke Ring for My Halo, Mac Miller Blue Slide Park, Megafaun Megafaun, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Of Monsters and Men My Head Is an Animal, Pharoahe Monch W.A.R., PJ Harvey Let England Shake, Pusha T Fear of God II, Real Estate Days, Reigning Sound Abdication… For Your Love, The Roots Undun, SepalcureSepalcure, Toro y Moi Underneath the Pine, Wale Ambition, The War on Drugs Slave Ambient, We Were Promised Jetpacks In the Pit of the Stomach, Wild Flag Wild Flag, WU LYF Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, Young Jeezy TM:103 Hustlerz Ambition