Top Albums of 2011

Posted: January 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

Check out what rocked my world in 2011. A mad journey awaits you…

Top Albums of 2011

Granted, not all these albums were released in 2011. This is what I listened to in that calendar year…

10. Smith Westerns – Dye it Blonde

These guys must be somewhere between 17 and 21 years old, but have written an album that channels some of the best sounds of the 70’s, while maintaining a distinctly modern and relevant sound. It’s catchy, but its dirty, underground and swirling with an ethereal 70’s feel.

9. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

A band that keeps stepping it up. Personally, I wasn’t that overly taken with any of their older work. It was solid without being spectacular. Then this album dropped, with a multitude of powerful, anthemic, original and sometimes deeply moving songs. It includes one that sounds not a thing like Arcade Fire, almost more like The Knife, and is probably the standout track for a lot of people. Very strong album by one of Canada’s most consistent performers.

8. Washed Out – Within and Without

I’ve only had this one a while, and it’s Washed Out’s debut full length album, following on from a couple of really cool EP’s that I enjoyed immensely. His first foray into albums is a stunning exhibition of his skills. Dreamy, deep, moving and ahead of his time, all songs are distinctly different from one another, yet on the same page and fit beautifully into this one piece of work. He is young, independent and produces music in his bedroom. Get amongst it.

7. Bonobo – Black Sands

This album is the pinnacle of blissed out electro beats for this past year (yes, I am aware it was released in 2010). It has on so many occasions taken me to far away places that don’t actually exist, and that excite me greatly. It is also fantastic to snowboard to.

6. Pretty Lights – [Pretty much everything he’s put out]

He is a one man show, creating amazing electronic music using samples and fat bassy undertones. He releases all his music on his website for a donation (free if you are really that cheap) the way music should be released. Some of it is chilled and blissful, some of it heavy and powerful, some of it dark and complicated. No matter what there is something for everyone in Pretty Lights. He has released a number of albums and EP’s, of which I came across all at the same time, so I’m not going to divide them up. Listen to them all. Realistically, he belongs higher than number 6 in my list, but they are still somewhat watered down by sheer number (over 100 tracks in all). If all my favourites were in one release it would probably come close to number 1.

5. Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!

Another electro duo, hailing from Brooklyn NY, but one that stands head and shoulders above the rest with this release. Every track is catchy and individual and grabs you from the opening moments. Maintains an underground feel, while being slightly pop, an incredibly difficult thing to do, done best in recent years by Cut Copy. These guys remind me of Cut Copy, but sound effectively nothing like them… How does that make sense…?

4. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From the Vaccines

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a British indie rock band produce such a solid album. From start to finish it is full of catchy yet not too poppy brit rock style indie rock. Based largely on what I can only imagine to be a relationship breakup and the guy’s healing period, it is full of self-exploration, longing, sadness and loneliness; yet all carried out with an air of optimism. The guitar riffs and drum beats are super fun too, this one is really cool… I found myself continually coming back to this album.

3. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns

An example of true genius song writing. This guys voice is so unique, you could pick it anywhere, any time without hesitation.  His song writing abilities complement what is an amazing talent. These songs will get stuck in your head for months, and I mean in a good way. They are all so simple, yet so individually captivating and diverse.

2. Active Child – You Are All I See

If we are going off raw emotion, a sense of regret, loss and pain delivered with soaring beauty that an artist can convey, then this album would win by a country mile. If you’ve ever loved and lost, if you’ve ever taken pleasure in sitting on top of a mountain and taking in the view, or closing your eyes and being instantly transported somewhere else you will love it. Crazily haunting falsetto vocals, the use of a harp, and combining it with modern electronic instruments and a contemporary beat create something to behold. There are a couple of songs on the album I don’t go much on, but the rest are for the ages.

1. The Glitch Mob – Drink the Sea

This album is mind blowing. It just about creates its own genre. The power of it was encapsulated while backcountry snowboarding one day last march. Skinning up the inside face of a huge bowl, surrounded by ominous vertical cliffs standing 400m above, the track “A Dream Within A Dream” dropped, and music with power great enough to match that of the BC coast mountains finally existed. Sick!

Stupidly close but I couldn’t fit them all in

Suckers – Wild Smile

Yuck – Yuck

Warpaint – The Fool

Austra – Feel it Break

Honourable mentions

The Antlers – Burst Apart

Boy and Bear – With Emperor Antarctica

Blue Foundation – Life of a Ghost

The Cave Singers – No Witch

Cloud Control – Bliss Release

The Cribs – Mens Needs, Womens Needs, Whatever

Delorean – Subiza

Digitalism – I Love You Dude

Emancipator – Soon It Will Be Cold Enough

Florence And The Machine – Lungs

Foals – Antidotes

Foals – Total Life Forever

Friendly Fires – Pala

Gypsy and the Cat – Gilgamesh

An Horse – Rearrange beds

The Kills – Blood Pressures

Metronomy – The English Riviera

Miike Snow – Miike Snow

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – The Golden Years

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong

The Panics – Rain On The Humming Wire

Polock – Getting Down From The Trees

The Raveonettes – Raven in the Grave

Thieves Like Us – Again and Again

Tokyo Police Club – Champion

TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

Wild Beasts – Smother

Wild Beasts – Two Dancers

The xx – xx

  1. Frankie G says:

    keep on sharing the good work Ben, we love it ! Frank dog.

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