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Best Albums of 2011

Northern Wish

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Is it too soon? They've been popping up on a few sites so lets get the ball rolling.....

1. Kurt Vile- Smoke Ring for My Halo.

Amazing and perfect. No doubt about its perch at #1. This was in constant rotation and I still go back to it often.

2. My Morning Jacket- Circuital

Very strong from start to finish with some fantastic melodies and the usual Jim awesomeness. I liked this one a tonne more than the last effort.

3. Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

Another batch of great songs from an underappreciated UK songwriter with some punk blood. The addition of the band and itss full range of sounds makes the songs really shine

4. J Mascis - Several Shades of Why

This probably got the most # of plays, second only to Kurt Vile. More than a few people commented on some of the songs striking similarities to Eddie Vedders solo work, but I think its more that Ed sounds like J than vice versa.

5. Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire

This was the most heavily anticipated at my house, and while it didn't strike me on first listen - it was a slow burn that has secured a place in my Top 5 Ryan albums. Time will tell on that one, as a few of the lyrics are pretty saccharine.

6. Real Estate- Days

7. White Denim- D

8. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues

9. Middle Brother- s/t

10. Dawes- Nothing is Wrong

This has been a good year for me and new music as I am driving alone alot and thats the second best thing to the headphone treatment.

Now tell me about all of the albums I missed or forgot about.

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1) Bon Iver - Bon Iver

2) Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

3) Drive-By Truckers - Go Go Boots

4) J Mascis - Several Shades of Why

5) Middle Brother - Middle Brother

6) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

7) Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

8) The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient

9) Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwing

10) Deer Tick - Dear Providence

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I love how much love there is for J Mascis up in here! Been a fan since, fuck... god knows... maybe 13 y/o or so... but seeing him solo this year was a highlight of my musical career.

If you haven't seen it yet, you should check out his Edie Brickell cover, Circle of Friends. Saw it live this spring and had it in my head forever.

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I need more then top 10. Sorry. :)

1. Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know

Amazing album, I have been watching this lady for a few years now. Nothing but good things coming for this one, Her progression from album to album now three albums in get's me more and more excited to what she will be as an artist some day.

1.a The Barr Brothers Self titled. (although i think i had this downloaded in 2010 it was only released in sept 2011. love love love this album!!!)

2. Garage A Trois - Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil

Funky funky funky

3. Ron Sexsmith - Long Player Late Bloomer

What can you say. Ron keeps pumping them out. This album has a catchy song flow, which for ron sexsmith i find dosn't happen too often lol. Great aritst

4. Gillian Welch- The Harrow & The Harvest

Fell in love with this album recently,

5. Wilco - The Whole Love

Really pop oriented for Wilco. Amazing compositions. Really love it. Been spining this one every day

6. Tom Waits - Bad As Me


7. Primus - Green Naugahyde

Love everything primus does. This album is really great

8.Felice Brothers, The - Celebration, Florida

9. Middle Brother- s/t

10. Yuck - Yuck

Suprise album of 2011. Saw these Guys open for Tame impala. Worth looking into.

11.Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator

12.Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, The - La Carotte Bleue (Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl)

13.Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On

14.Grace Potter & The Nocturnals - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

15.Head And The Heart, The - The Head And The Heart

16.Levon Helm - Ramble At The Ryman

17.Bombay bicycle club a different kind of fix

18.Drive By Truckers Go Go Boots

19.Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

20.Steve Martin (2) and Steep Canyon Rangers - Rare Bird Alert

21.Warren Haynes - Man In Motion

22.Ryan Adams Ashes and Fire

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I was still deeply entrenched in the dubstep for the first 1/2 of the year so was a little late on the new-tune-train...only a few:

Destroyer - Kaputt

Can't get enough of this album. A perfect comedown album, even if you are sober.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Mirror Traffic

Really, no better or worse than the last couple....just really damn good.

Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune

Good ol' Canadjian rock.

Tom Waits - Bad as Me

Fantastic album - full of all the Waits-isms you would hope for and then some.

Deadmau5 - 4x4=12

Technically late december 2010...it was nominated for a Grammy this year...Try and drive slow when this is on. (He puts on a helluva live show too) fuck chillwave.

I do like the new J. Mascis, but don't think it is strong as More Light (with the Fog), my fave non Dino Jr. release - the Edie Brickell cover has been released as a 7" tho BDunn!

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Here's mine:

1. Tune-Yards - w h o k i l l

2. Gillian Welch - The Harrow & The Harvest

3. Ryan Adams - Asses of Fire

4. Miracle Fortress - Was I The Wave?

5. Charlotte Cornfield - Two Horses

6. Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces

Also I still haven't heard the third Kevin Breit & Harry Manx album (Strictly Whatever), which came out this year. But I bet it's awesome too!

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1.Fruit Bats -Tripper – This album wins because in the end of the year playback, I like (nay, love almost) every song for completely different reasons. It's everything I want in music. Bouncy, groovy, jammy, spacey, every song a different bite.

2.Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues – Mystical, Spiritual, Harmonious Musicianship. True Composers and each song, wonderful complexities.

3.The Dodos – No Color – The spiritual heirs to the Dirty Projectors for me this year. Rhythmic, Quick Changes and Raw Energy. Love the drumming and acoustic on this. Lots of great songs.

4.Bon Iver – Bon Iver – There is similarity and difference to the sound he brought this time and yet at once can be only Bon Iver. Signature songs, no one like him.

5.TuneYards - WhoKill – Totally Original, Totally Wacky, the most interesting and fun album of the year

6.Iron and Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean – Sam Beam got a band! And it was good. Full rich sounds, tons of instruments and different beats keep this fresh.

7.Middle Brother _ Middle Brother

8.Dawes – Nothing is Wrong – I Love the Southern California 70's AM Country Revival Moment. One of these bands is Dawes, and the other is made of up the main songwriters from Dawes (aforementioned) Delta Spirit (no album this year)and Deer Tick (terrible album this year) Both do it for me the same, in the same way, but Middle Brother gets the nod for a little less cheese and a better version of “Million Dollar Billâ€

9.Wilco – The Whole Love – This band has gone from writing some of my favorite songs to playing my favorite music. The musicianship is AAA and is all on display from the first 7 min masterpiece.

10. Radiohead Live from the Basement King Of Limbs – This soundtrack from the unbelievable video covering of most of the songs from the super cool King of Limbs. Watch it, then just listen to this and then tell me its not waaay better than the album.

11.My Morning Jacket – Circuital – I love the fuzz and stomp on this album. MMJ makes another batch of super tunes in a new sound. Moving forward.

12. White Denim – D – Brahm tells me he's been trying to get me into this band for years. Psfft. Super psychadelic, jammy indie.

13.The Sheepdogs- Learn And Burn – The summer (and the Guess Who) in a nutshell. Perfect for July.

14. Yuck - Yuck- Love, love , love from my Dinosaur Jr heart!

15. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost – This one caught me by surprise with how much I went back to it. Deeper than its seems on early listens

16.The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh – Haunting music that sounds great by candlelight and with a shot of bourbon

17.The Decemberists – The King Is Dead – Great songs that got a lot of play morning times around here.

18.The Black Keys – El Cammino[/b] – C'mon. Just cause its been out for 8 days doesn't mean it can't crack the top 20. Can't wait to see it on everyone's top ten next year. BOOMBASTIC!

19.Young The Giant – Infectious. I tried but I can't turn away from those first four tracks.

20 .The Rural Alberta Advantage – Departing – So tough to make the last cut but it had some real keepers.

Things getting a hard evaluation based on other top 10 lists

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

The Antlers- Burst Apart

Cults – Cults

The Roots – Undun

Real Estate - Days

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine

Single of the Year – Peter Bjorn and John – Second Chance

Offerings from Beloved Bands That Fell Short

Ryan Adams- Ashes and Fire

Deer Tick – Divine Providence

Elliot Brood – Days Into Years

Mother Mother – Eureka

Blitzen Trapper- American Goldwing

Bright Eyes- The People's Key


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This year has been pretty wacky for me so I haven't had a chance to listen to nearly as much as I'd like to, so keeping in mind I haven't listened to hardly anything in-depth, here's a list of albums that I really liked on first listen.

Black Keys - El Camino (so good)

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Wolfroy Goes to Town

Bry Webb - Provider

Camp Radio - Campista Socialista

Chad VanGaalen - Diaper Island

David Dondero - A Pre-existing Condition

Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band - American Legacies

Destroyer - Kaputt

Geoff Berner - Victory Party

The Luyas - Too Beautiful To Work

Miracle Fortress - Was I the Wave?

My Morning Jacket - Circuital

Rich Aucoin - We're All Dying to Live

Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces (listened to this a lot)

Scott H Biram - Bad Ingredients

Shotgun Jimmie - Transistor Sister

Snailhouse - Sentimental Gentleman (according to my iTunes it's my most played album of the year, by a longshot, really loved this one)

Timber Timbre - Creep on Creepin' On

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l (what Scottie said)

Weird Al - Alpocalypse (this album came in handy on so many days when I needed a laugh)

Wild Flag - Wild Flag

Just got the Wilco disc so hoping I enjoy it too.

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The Sandro Perri album is easily my favorite of the year, and it's not even close. I've been a fan since the second or third Sappyfest and it feels like everything finally came together for him on this recording.

The Bon Iver/Fleet Foxes/Kurt Vile/War On Drugs/etc are all wallpaper albums for me. Good and inoffensive, but nothing memorable. I hesitate to put Dawes in that group because I think they're on the verge of something amazing. But there's something keeping me from being 100% sold (the odd cringe-worthy lyric maybe?) on them. Anyway, my list is something like...

1. Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces

2. Megafaun - s/t

3. White Denim - D

4. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

I really enjoyed the Wilco, MMJ, Colin Stetson, Shabazz Palaces, Charles Bradley albums too. And there's a ton of stuff I've yet to hear from this year.

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Gotta agree with a handful of people's calls. Sandro Perri's is probably my favourite of the year but I have to agree with Scottie about Fruit Bats Tripper being imminently re-listenable, likewise with that Gillian Welch album which is handily top 5. Likewise with Tune-Yards W H O K I L L -which is just stupid stupid good. The Weeknd House of Balloons needs to be in any top ten and I'd throw Frank Ocean, Nostalgia Ultra in there as well.

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The Roots: Undun (wasn't all that enthusiastic about it on my first listen but now I think it is a work of genius)

The Black Keys: El Camino (Love at first listen...I don't think Danger Mouse has produced anything I haven't thought was amazing)

Black Joe Lewis: Scandalous (I was shocked when I saw him live and realized how young he was...He's got a voice that sounds like he's been around forever...worthwhile checking out)

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: Soul Time (What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes is my favourite song of the year)

Lou Reed and Metallica: Lulu (just kidding...it's a big flaming turd...it amazes me that anyone would actually release it...I actually thought it was a joke the first time I heard the single...sometimes when a major label artist gets total artistic freedom they produce Sgt. Peppers...not this time...)

Primus: Green Naugahyde (at first I dismissed this one because it was too similar to Fizzle Fry...it was only after I saw them perform it live that I gave it a second listen and I'm glad I did)

TV On The Radio: Nine Types Of Light (It amazes me that they just keep producing amazing work...it's got to stop at some point, right?...Perhaps, but not yet...)

Tom Waits: Bad As Me (see above)

Nguyen Le: Songs Of Freedom (an album of covers by Vietnamese guitar god Nguyen Le...Check out his Hendrix tribute called Purple too)

William Shatner: Seeking Major Tom (I don't really think this is half as good as Has Been, the album he did with Ben Folds, but I'm amazed the guy is still going with as much energy as he does at the age of 80...I'm half his age and I don't think I'd be able to keep up with him)

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