Make Mine Music: 2011 Albums

Yes, it’s getting towards the end of the year. That means it’s time for lists to start coming. O! Those Glorious Lists! But here’s the thing, I don’t have extensive music lists like I do for movies. I can tell you what movies I’ve watch this year and I think I’ve done a pretty ok job keeping up with all the good ones (I’m gonna watch you one of these days, Uncle Boonmee) but I have no idea if I’m doing the same with music. I’m just not as immersed in that as I am with film. So here’s where you come in. I’m gonna give you a collection of the music that I’ve really gotten into this year and you tell me what I’m missing. Drop me a comment with your suggestions. There will be a follow-up post with mini-reviews of your suggestions. Here we go, in alphabetical order!

Adele – 21

I don’t know if there’s a better song this year than Someone Like You. That song is amazing. Adele’s got the powerful vocals I like to see in my soul singers. Anything with that kind of voice is going to catch my attention. And if the songs are as well written as Someone Like You they pretty much can’t do any better.

The Antlers – Burst Apart

Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out is a hell of a song. This band mostly does the somber thing. They’re my placeholder for The National this year, I think. I do like the starkness of this album, and there are some killer guitar parts.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – Scandalous

Like The Black Keys but funkier. The horns really kick this band into high gear. Won’t you take me to Booty City?

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

I like the sax solo at the end of Beth/Rest, though I seem to be the only one. This year seems to be the year of the sax solo, which is fine by me. Look for two more to pop up later in this list.

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

I was nervous when I heard that this album was going to skew towards the country sound, and it surely does, but it works with the Decemberists writing. Rox in the Box is a kicker.

Foster the People – Torches

I started listening to this album about a week before Pumped Up Kicks took off. The rest of the album is just as good as that song. This is the closest I’ve heard to a successor for Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Pop delight.

Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

I listened to this album’s predecessor a bit and it didn’t hook me at all. After loving this album to pieces I went back to see if I was wrong. I wasn’t. There’s just something off about that one that isn’t off about this one. It does the kind of in-vogue americana thing with the surf and all that jazz, and it does it very well.

Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

Here’s the next sax solo in Big Burned Hand. Iron & Wine have continued to grow his/their sound and this album is really cool. Sax solos!

M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

This is my first M83 album and it is glorious. Midnight City is super great. When I heard it on a Victoria’s Secret commercial last week I was impressed but not surprised that it had caught on so quickly. That song is a beast. I’m going to have to keep listening to pick out more excellent songs but it won’t be a chore. SAX SOLO!

Middle Brother – Middle Brother

Indie-folk-rock super-group comprised of the lead singers of Dawes, Deer Tick, and Delta Spirit, this has a good chance of being my album of the year. The three distinct vocal styles work well together and album-closer Million Dollar Bill highlights each of them excellently. Someday is the best song on the album.

The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck

Here’s another guy that continues to grow his sound. If you can dig his voice there’s a good chance you’ll love this album. These are some of the best written songs I’ve heard in a long time.

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

The only artist I’ve seen in concert multiple times, St. Vincent is just amazing. Cruel is one of the catchiest songs of the year, and the video is totally great, too.

TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

It’s not as good as the previous TVotR album, Dear Science. It is still pretty great, though. Will Do is good stuff.

Wilco – The Whole Love

A bunch of different kinds of songs here. The 7 minute opener is great. A return to some of the more experimental aspects of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

So that’s it. Tell me what I’ve missed. I’ve left of a few albums that I haven’t given full attention to yet, so if you’re recommending something give me a good reason to listen to it. To the comments!

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10 thoughts on “Make Mine Music: 2011 Albums

  1. The Decemberists and Adele are definitely competing for my top album and some of the other stuff there is good. Only a couple of those I still need to check out. Anyway, some notable things off your list:

    Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours
    Young The Giant – Young The Giant
    Lenka – Two
    Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

  2. I would suggest Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials based on your love of Adele. They are certainly not the same, but I think similar enough to be a win, and in my opinion Ceremonials is a better album, and I loved 21.

  3. Most of those are awesome and would make my list. My favourite album of 2011 so far is Black Up by Shabazz Palaces, so that would be my first nomination. #2 is Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes. Other top ten worthy albums are:

    James Blake – James Blake
    Cults – Cults
    Tune Yards – Who Kill
    The Weeknd – House of Balloons
    PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
    Bjork – Biophilia
    Braids – Native Speaker

    I swear I’m forgetting some good ones, but that’s what I’ve listened to and loved

    ‘Noke

  4. Interesting list. I was a little disappointed in The Decembrists’ CD but still think it’s a solid record. The Mountain Goats’ one is excellent, and I also like how he continues to evolve their sound. I just picked up the Wilco CD and haven’t even listened to it yet. I’ve heard really good things about it. I still need to check out a lot of the albums on your list.

    Looking at some of the comments, I’ll second the mention of the Tuneyards CD, which is really original. I’m sad to have missed their concert this month here. The James Blake album is also good; his voice is haunting. I’ve also really enjoyed the new albums by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Handsome Furs, and The Raveonettes this year off the top of my head. Finally, I think Bright Eyes’ new record is the best that I’ve heard from him in a while.

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