25 Albums Worth Listening To From 2011

In comparing the last two years of music, I feel like 2010 had a lot more “stand out” albums, while 2011 had an abundance of complete and transcendent albums.  I mean, last year it was easy – we had HUGE albums coming from all genres. Most publications had to either chose the huge LCD farewell album, the huge Arcade Fire rock anthem, the he huge Janelle Monae space soul album, the huge Kanye West Hip-Hop odyssey or the huge Robyn pop masterpiece as their year end choice… The difference in 2011 is that the years best albums and best songs weren’t made by the worlds largest headliners. Sure we had a new Black Keys, a Kanye & Jay-Z pairing, a new Radiohead, a Bjork, a new Florance, a new Beastie Boys – but looking back on it, each of those albums seemed to fall a little flat.  I’m not saying any of them were baaad, in fact they were all good albums, but I guess I’m trying to say is, they all didn’t live up to their standards.  In 2011, it wasn’t  just the “Big Boys” who were in control; in 2011 we saw bedrooms turn into musical landscapes and folky front porches turn into stages. Rap crews went from hanging on the corner to singing huge record deals while established musicians and bands risked a lot and stripped down their sounds in an attempt to try something new.  The results were fantastic.

I had a wonderful time collecting music in 2011.  There were so many different stages I went through, so many different sounds I feel in love with.  At one point I was obsessed with the modern folk scene, the next moment I felt revived by the underground Hip-Hop world.  One moment, chillwave was the only thing playing in my headphones and the next thing I knew I found myself indulged with the emerging San Francisco garage punk scene.  In the end, being a listener was a blessing. With an overwhelming amount of wonderful projects to dive into, the world of music has never felt larger.  The list below is more than “the best albums of the year”…they are simply the albums I fell in love with, the albums I routinely wanted to share with others and the albums that I consistently played through out the year.  And looking back on it all, there is no way I was in love with, talked about or played any other album more than the lyrical masterpiece by Dawes entitled, “Nothing Is Wrong”


#25. WU LYF – Go Tell Fire To The Mountain

“Heavy Pop”

#24. Big K.R.I.T. – Return Of 4eva


#23. Low – C’mon

“Try To Sleep”

#22. Jamie Woon – Mirror Writing


#21. Theo Parish – Uget

“Slowly Surely”

#20. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest


White Denim – D


#18. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up

“Echo From The Hosts…”

#17. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact

# 16. My Morning Jacket – Circuital


#15. Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal – Chamber Music

#14. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient

“Come To The City”

#13. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming


#12. The Roots – Undun

“One Time”

#11. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

“One Tour (Live)”

#10. Hayes Carll – KMAG YOYO (And Other American Stories)


#9. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

“The Words That Maketh Murder”

#8. Wilco – The Whole Love

“The Art Of Almost”

#7. Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise

“I Got A”

#6. The Antlers – Burst Apart

“I Don’t Wan’t Love”

#5. Bon Iver – Bon Iver


#4. Destroyer – Kaputt


#3. Atlas Sound – Parallax

“Terra Incognita”

#2. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

“Live A River”

#1. Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

“Time Spent In Los Angeles”


Honorable Mention

*Sepalcure – Sepalcure

(House / Minimal)



* TV On The Radio – 9 Types Of Light

(Indie Rock / Industrial)

*Tom Waits – Bad As Me


*Tedeschi Trucks Band – Revelator

(Blues / Jam)