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Our Top 10 Albums of 2011

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By: Staff

Tom Dozois' 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. The Coasts - The CoastsIke and Eric (aka hairy and baldy) of The Coasts are a cuddlier version of The Black Keys. I’ve told many about them and the response is always positive. My wife even likes this album…that is saying something. Trust me.

9. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness BluesThe sound that Fleet Foxes is able to achieve on Helplessness Blues is remarkable. It is warmer than my crotch in a sauna, but not as damp. You feel me?

8. Black Books EP - An Introduction ToI only include this on my list because I bought their limited edition green vinyl and I need them to become HUGER than Wham! so that I can pay off my 1994 Ford Taurus from the profit it generates. Seriously though, check out this amazing EP, it is like listening to The Band of Horses under water. I love the Black Books!

7. Cults - Self TitledI couldn’t stop listening to this album for about 3 months because it is packed full of song after amazing song. Cults deliver a smooth retro sound that hook you like a New Jersey Meat Hook. Look it up.

6. Dumbo Gets Mad - Elephants at the DoorElephants at the Door is one of the strangest albums I’ve listened to this year and I love the strange. The production is so lo-fi it almost sounds distorted. If you like Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti then you will like this.

5. Bon Iver – Self TitledSo, have you heard of BONE EVAIR? It’s pronounced Bon Iver. Apparently, they are up for best new artist at the Grammy’s. fucking Grammys. Justin Vernon proves he is not a one trick pony with his second release. Yes the SECOND release you dumbass, shart-dripping, nominating Fucks.

4. Givers – In LightIn light is the funnest! Breakout you hemp necklaces, burn some incense, and dance ALL NIGHT LONG.

3. White Denim - DWhat more can I say about White Denim? D was a contender for the number one slot. The band is SO diverse and may have thee (yes THEE) most skilled musicians in Indie music today.

2. Girls – Father, Son, Holy GhostOkay, I have written about Girls in my review, my best of Q3 list, and my best songs list. I will no longer write about how Girls are the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow God sent down from his pleasure room in Heaven. I’m done.

1. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re DreamingSynthtastic. I’m going to trademark this word. The dictionary definition will read M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and there will be a picture of me doing the robot in my Kanye West shutter shades. Perfection!  

Joel Frieders' 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. Gashcat - Reunion: This was such a strange band for me to fall in love with. It isn't that their sound is strange, but I specifically remember standing in my kitchen and saying "Holy shit this is fantastic" and then taking three shots of whiskey. It's outdoors, in the summer, in the morning, and it's fucking glorious.

9. Mutemath - Odd Soul: The drums on this album made me forget about a lot of other music for a good four weeks. I have loved this band since 2006 and Odd Soul is intoxicatingly rough and replayable. I remember telling my friend Danny about this album and I kept on playing him two songs over and over and once I got sick of those, I started going back and forth between two other tracks. Outfuckingstanding.

8. M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming: We all know this is a perfect album. It isn't in my top 5 because I hate when I love what other people love when I would prefer to Fuck with them vs. agree with them. Del and Tom are pussies, but they're right about this album being amazing.

7. Black Keys - El Camino: A newbie. This just fucking dropped and I'm already so in love with it it's bugging my wife and three small children. I love that I can now listen to Black Keys around people who don't know shit about indie music. Because it's crisper than other BKeys albums, it's easier for the dumbFucks to accept.

6. City and Colour - Little Hell: I love this fucking Canadian piece of shit like a long lost Canadian who writes terribly personal and gut wrenching music that makes me want to cry, run away and run away crying. Anyone who hasn't given this a shot because of how delicate is is probably uncomfortable in their sexuality.

5. Blue Sky Black Death - Violet (Noir Screwed)Loved the piss out of Noir. When they decided to remix it "screwed" (as the hip hoppers say) it gave it that weird foggy sheen that blasted it so over the top for me that I have it in its own playlist, by itself, with the title: Perf. This is fucking perf yo.

4. Sevonica - Sevonica: I have devoured this band's album like I went ape shit over Solid Gold last year. It's a comfortable traipse through an indie electro rock band I had never heard of until I was already a die hard fan. People might not know about these shitbirds now, but when they do, they will probably gobble their musicocks with more fervent fever than even I.

3. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia/UltraRoy and I listened to this on 8 occasions, front to back, no talking, only replaying There Will Be Tears and a few others. I have nothing to say about this album, but I wish I could see myself hearing it for the first time outside of rehearsal with Rubberoom. I remember going in and saying "We should seriously quit because I just heard the most amazing fucking album from Billy Ocean".

2. White Lies - RitualBrit rock. Horrible teeth, call their mom's 'mum', and they are fucking amazing at taking a style and making it really fucking loud. The first four songs on this album played over and over and over in January of this year. I've gone back to it every other month or so when I can't wrap my head around why I don't love things as much as this album.

1. White Denim - DNo question. I listened to White Denim's D in more people's cars than my own this year. I gave this to virtually anyone I thought cared about music. The guitar work and speed of this album makes it quite possibly one of the greatest albums I've ever heard. I'm no music critic, AT ALL, and this is seriously in contention with all that I want to hear if I had to only pick one fucking album to hear forever. Right now that is.


Dick Richardson’s 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. Gridlink - Orphan: There are very few bands still making music in the "grind as Fuck" category these days. Gridlink satisfies my dermatitis-like itch for lightening-fast playing with flying colors. I saw these guys live this summer and the dudes were practically jerking off their instruments simultaneously for a relentless half-hour. Exquisite.

9. Altar of Plagues - Mammal: Yes, I yet another atmospheric-esque black metal band in the top 10, so sue my beautifully pasty ass. Altar of Plagues has been my jam of choice for some time now and this EP is no exception to their streak of delicious music. I like to cook to this. Come cook to this with me. Bodacious?

8. Wolves in the Throne Room - Celestial LineageThere have been claims that this is going to be the last record for Wolves in the Throne Room, but I cannot fathom a better note to go out on than this. Setting aside all of the pretentiousness that gets associated with this band, this record sounds awesome and has definitely earned it's positive press. 420 listen to agrarian black metal every day. Rad.

7. Zombi - Escape VelocityThis whole album is short, sweet, and tosses some new flavor into the well-established ice cream smoothie of music that is the band Zombi. It seems like I hear more and more new bands trying to latch on to what these guys are doing, but thus far nothing has come close. Gracious.

6. Cynic - Carbon-Based AnatomyA rather brief EP that illustrates the members of Cynic are just getting warmed up. This is an incredibly odd record, even for this band. I want to say this is heavy metal for hippies, but doing so would just be weird and wrong. Check it out and see for yourself. Splendid.

5. Alarum - Natural CausesFans of old Atheist/Cynic/Death wishing that Chuck Schuldiner would rise from the dead and start shredding again will find this quite satisfying. For those already initiated with Alarum's previous work, get yo dome checked if you find yourself NOT concurring that this record was absolutely worth the wait. Spectacular.

4. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2I was lukewarm as hell about To the 5 Boroughs and didn't have the highest of expectations for this one, either. To much relief, I was quite refreshed when my filthy mitts were first placed on this record. It has survived many listens without going stale on me. Awesome.

3. Krallice - DiotimaKrallice has done it again. By "it" I mean create music that entrances you into this moronic stupor of staring at the ceiling wondering how can music played so goddamned fast for so long seem so incredibly slow and pass time so quickly. Flux capacitors in their amplifiers? Maybe. Superb.

2. World Under Blood - TacticalThe debut album by World Under Blood blew me the Fuck away. The songwriting is fantastic (you'll find yourself humming half of the tracks after the first listen or two) and the technicality is respectable without crossing the line into the land of excessive wankery. Bitchin'.

1. Capillary Action - CapsizedThis album is incredibly "out there" but still somehow feels so "right" when you listen to it. No one else is doing this kind of stuff on any level right now. Listening to this baby is like waking up after 24 years and realizing that there has been something seriously missing from your life since birth. Magnificent.


Del LeFevre’s 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. fucked Up - David Comes to LifeSomehow a Hardcore concept album becomes wickedly accessible with the addition of some GoGo girl vocals and power choruses. Reading that sentence back to myself I wonder how this album made the list...and that my friends is the fucking beauty of it!

9. Cults - Self TitledQuite often internet hype will let you down in the worst way. This was not one of those times. This debut delivered awesome track after awesome track and damn if Madeline Follin's soaring voice is what love at first sight sounds like.

8. Neon Indian - Era ExtranaNeon Indian followed the next level jump that Washed Out and Toro y Moi had put forth on their sophomore efforts and then some, With songs like "Hex Girlfriend" they're now the head of the chillwave class.

7. Destroyer - KaputtThis album kick started the Year of the Sax in January and stayed in my heavy rotation the rest of the year. It is so damn smooth.

6. Born Gold - BodysongsThis year Born Gold was for the lack of a better word "born" from the ashes of Gobble Gobble. With BodySongs they rose like a mighty phoenix with a plan to take over the end of days world party one freaked out happening at a time. They're fearless and i love them for that.

5. Active Child - You're All I SeeEasily the first and only time I've heard a harp rock....rock smooth silky r&b voiced by an angel voiced falsetto This is baby making music for eunuchs.

4. Holy Ghost - Holy GhostThese NYC disco dancers make good on their promise as the heirs to James Murphy's vacated throne as the kings of DFA Records. The addition of Michael McDonald on the album closer pretty much locked up a top 5 slot way back in April.

3. Bon Iver - Self TitledSomehow Justin Vernon and Co knew my scene needed more Winwood... and more saxophones. This album is lush, beautiful, and at times super kitschy. It is all things to everyone and I fucking love it.

2. Cold Cave - Cherish The Light YearsDark, impassioned, and unrelenting from start to finish. Overpowered by the onslaught and as the darkwave takes you over you find yourself looking for a leather jacket, a black t, and a vampire goth chick to dance with.

1. M83 - Hurry Up, We're DreamingDouble albums are usually bloated spectacles of overindulgence and filler. This is not the case with M83's Hurry Up We're Dreaming. It is a sonic trip through through your R.E.M. cycles that ends too soon every time you listen to it. Waking Life never felt so good. Saxophones never sounded so badass. 

Brendan Ryan’s 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia/Ultra: This was the ultra-cool album of the year. I still love it, and I'm going to recommend it to you again next time I see you. Be warned. 

9. Bon Iver - Self Titled: I'm still listening to this, still getting misty, only now I'm out of candles and bubblebath. I need to get to bed bath and beyond soon.

8. Decemberists - The King is Dead: This very wintery album was in danger of not making the list, then it turned in to winter again. How convenient. Great record.

7. Feist - Metals: Feist put out an album without anything even resembling '1234'. Good for her, this shit is amazing.

6. James Blake - Self Titled: I wanted to hate this, but even the Feist cover is awesome. 2012 is going to be huge for this kid.

5. Radiohead - King of Limbs: Underrated and quickly forgotten about, this record was actually solid front to back and worth all the pre-release hype.

4. WU LYF - Go Tell Fire to the Mountain: I made this weird collective my band to obsess over in 2011. I'm a lot more strange than I was this time last year.

3. Cults - Self Titled: If this band started an actual cult, I'd join it. How are they going to follow this?

2. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes: Lykke Li's coming out party was a high point of the year. Also, she performed half naked.

1. Adele - 21: Pop perfection and blue eyed soul. What's not to love here?

Brandon Backhaus' 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. Tyler the Creator – GoblinOk, Fuck this guy I know – All baby Grave Diggaz and all that shit. I still think that the crew should be called Grave Robbaz… but I’m fucking lame like that! Which is exactly the reason someone like Tyler the Creator and the rest of the Odd Future kids got their collective peach fuzz mustaches ridden this calendar year. They don’t give a Fuck what crusty old Fucks like me think, haven’t done their homework, and don’t plan to.

9. Kendrick Lamar – Section 80I don’t even know what to say except that this man child has signaled a changing of the guard. And the only thing different about the new guard is that they are smarter! All the contradictory rap shit is still there, the hard the soft, from gangsta to grandma’s love. But there is also a sensibility that was missing prior. Something that understands what came before. This dude is the anti-Tyler the Creator. And so Kendrick was seemingly struck by lighting, but then again dude was wandering through a field in a thunderstorm wearing an aluminum foil tracksuit holding a pitchfork high. Ya heard?

8. Serengeti – Friends and FamilyDifferent, different, different. We are finally getting to the point where interesting music is getting play. Serengeti’s talkish off-the-beaten-flow made for one of the acutest listens of the year. Plus I gotta give love to weird rap!

7. Crystal Antlers – Two Way MirrorI’m including this album on the list more from catching their residency at the Echo over the summer. It remains one of the most memorable shows of an otherwise event heavy season. The genuine energy coming from these guys was infectious. Each song was a romp of indie rock epicness.

6. 1, 2, 3 – New HeavenThis is probably my “go out on limb pick here but I have to thank the Syffal fam for turning me onto this fun band out of Pittsburgh. I listen to “Confetti” and “Little Cure” more times that my I should probably admit.

5. Flash Bang Grenada – 10 HatersGive it up for LA’s Nocando and Busdriver. These fucking weirdos made the swaggiest non-swag rap record ever! The album is gripping with enough tongue twist ripping for any hipster bitches mushroom tripping. Certifiably dope, and local, this release is dripping more creativity than bar rag licking.

4. Zola Jesus – ConatusHaunting, local, and something I should have definitely reviewed. How I was turned onto Ms. Jesus was an incredible story unto itself involving transcontinental travel, coincidence, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Not the kind of music I usually love, but there is something magic in the range of her haunting voice. The theme for this year’s list could be genre-bend. I’m not really sure where to categorize this record, but that’s what ultimately I love about it.

3. Open Mike Eagle’s – Rappers will Die of Natural CausesThe second release from local good guy rapper Open Mike Eagle, “Rappers…” is a well-constructed treatise on the truths of #raplife! So many artist glamorize what it is like to be involved with music, Sir Eagle sets the record straight. This album made reality check itself before it wrecked itself, it’s so hard. Open Mike Eagle probably gets sick of people calling him smart, and I definitely don’t mean it in the “for a black guy he’s so articulate way”… I’m saying that shit because seriously I would never play this mother fucker at Words with Friends even though Facebook keeps suggesting I do so.

2. 13 and God – Own Your GhostThis Anticon collaboration record between Germany’s The Notwist and Themselves. The album is the lush accompaniment and beautiful resonant songwriting as Doseone punctuates with rapid fire lyrics coded in the language of the gods. I gave this shits a ten out of ten and I meant it.

1. Astronautalis - This is Our ScienceAs far as advancing music, pushing genres, and overall songwriting ability this indie rap masterpiece takes the cupcake. Best album of the year by far! From indie swooning scenester bitches to full-fledged monster gangsters, I’ve gotten more, “Who is this right now?” off of this record than any other. Astro puts his wit-riddled banter on display over gritty blues vocal stylings, and all this is accompanied by a slew of lush musical backing. If you haven’t check out this record, you’re hardcore sleepwalking dude.


Tim Baker’s 
Top 10 Albums of 2011

10. 123 - New Heaven: I feel in love with these dirty pricks form Pittsburgh. A wild collection of pop styling’s mixed with indie sensibilities and raw anthems. It’s like the goth kid if he was also a jock who banged cheerleaders.

9. Santah - White Noise Bed: So rich and luscious, these big pop songs found their way into my kidneys and liver and dirtied them up in a way that made the years of excess seem like child's play. White Noise Bed is intoxicating and lush and makes me want to masturbate with my tears...of joy.

8. Alberto Archangeli - Pop Down The Rabbit Hole: It is like the best movie soundtrack ever but by one dude. Think of Elliot Smith making voyeur porn with The Beatles and emotional stability. I would let this Italian bastard’s voice get to second base for sure.

7. Danny Brown - XXX: This was really the only hip hop album that mattered this year. Danny Brown is a fucking monster, he has mastered the craft. XXX has the uncanny ability to jump between genres and eras without ever sounding corny or forced or Norwegian.

6. Wu-Lyf - Go Tell Fire To The Mountain: 2011 was the year of over hype and unfair expectations for new bands/artists, for my money only one band met the hype and expectations. Wu-Lyf. fucking epic genius, groundbreaking, earth shattering and incoherent; I wouldn't want it any other way.

5. Thee Oops - Taste of Zimbabwe: I almost left this fucker off because I thought it was 2010 but no sir the best 80s So-Cal punk album of the century has come out of Italy.

4. Imaginary Cities - Temporary Resident: Wow. I saw these fuckers on some video playing an acoustic jammy and I thought "quaint and quirky, I can get down with that." Then I throw the album in the man pod and it kicks my balls through the roof of my mouth. Edgy, swelling, and eclectic indie pop with what appears to be a hybrid of a siren and a banshee manning the vocals. Melodic and powerful with a hint of passion that makes me uncomfortable in all the right ways.

3. White Denim - D: D is like a warm down mattress pillow made of sex and opium; equal parts erotic, sensual and relaxing. Its heady in all the right ways and still knows the way to a man's heart is showing a little tert*

*Thats code for unreal geetaring.

2. Luke Temple - Don't Act Like You Don't Care: This man is a god damned genius. Everything he does makes my nerves tingle in ecstasy; smart, moving, haunted and brilliant. Don't Act Like You Don't Care has a warm and worldly way about it that makes you long for the unrealized dreams you had as an young prick filled with ideals.

1. Vanaprasta - Healthy Geometry: This album here is fucking perfect, an exciting blend of pop sensibilities jammed with smart, heavy and hard guitars. It is constantly zigging when you thought it was going to zag, unexpected as it is grounded. The musicianship is stellar and that voice!! Good god that voice makes me want to do things that would make my parents uncomfortable and Jesus aroused. Hands down Healthy Geometry is the best album of 2011.

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