Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Best of 2011: Songs & Albums

If 2011 left something to be desired in terms of the number of solid album releases, there were some bright spots (notably The Weeknd doing double duty with House of Balloons as well as their Thursday mixtape).

Here’s a rundown of the albums that stood out, as well as a “Best of 2011” playlist.

Best Albums:

Nine Types Of LightTV On The Radio
After Dear Science and Return To Cookie Mountain, you’d think TVOTR would take a break and phone this one in, but no. They continue to deliver well-orchestrated songs with haunting hooks.

For fans of indie boy/girl groups like The XX and Beach House, Cults do male/female harmonies and serve up stylistic variety with a polished finish.

House Of BalloonsThe Weeknd
This album captures a perfect lazy-sexy sound, with vocals that borrow heavily from R&B. It’s sensual and a little disorienting – like the way you feel during the last hour of a very late night party.

Smoke Ring For My HaloKurt Vile
A carefully constructed album that’s both odd and pretty. The sound is laid-back and intimate, led by Vile’s unique voice. Maybe don’t listen to this while operating heavy machinery.

Bon IverBon Iver
The songs on this album seem to go on and on, though only two clock in at over five minutes. It’s as if with his peaking vocals and gently beautiful melodies Bon Iver has found a way to stretch out time.

What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?The Vaccines
Drawing from a canon that includes The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys, this British band delivers the sort of non-stop guitar-driven rock that makes even break-up songs feel incredibly happy.

Father, Son, Holy GhostGirls
Somehow Christopher Owens continues to make melancholy incredibly listenable. While it’s not as strong as the debut “Album,” it’s certainly a good effort.

Songs of 2011:

“Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)” – The Vaccines
“Something to Brag About” – Deer Tick
“Bedroom Eyes” – Dum Dum Girls
“Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys
“Go Outside” – Cults
“Taken For A Fool” – The Strokes
“Shake It Out” – Florence + The Machine
“You” – TV On The Radio
“The Magic” – Joan As Police Woman
“I Stand Alone” – Theophilus London
“East Harlem” – Beirut
“An Argument With Myself” – Jens Lekman
“Lost In My Mind” – The Head And The Heart
“Saying I Love You” – Girls
“Helplessness Blues” – Fleet Foxes
“Love Out Of Lust” – Lykke Li
“Midnight City” – M83
“Circuital” – My Morning Jacket
“Whirring” – The Joy Formidable

Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra) by The Vaccines
07 Something To Brag About by ShaynewithMWL
Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes by subpop
The Cults - Go Outside by pcagx
TV On The Radio - You by Interscope Records
Joan As Police Woman - The Magic by PIASBELGIUM
Beirut - East Harlem by artsandcraftsmx
Lost In My Mind by theheadandtheheart
Midnight City by M83

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