My Top 45 Albums of 2011

1. James Blake – James Blake

It took me a while to actually sit down with this album, but once I did, James Blake went on repeat for many times a day and for many days. Its repetition, weird vocals, and its deceitful simplicity hooked me more than anything else this year, because it all seemed to run against my expectations – of James Blake, and a lot of today’s popular music. It almost feels like a blue-eyed soul album, but stripped of its flash, and focused onto the bass level. My favorite track off the album is “I Never Learnt to Share.”

2. Big Troubles – Romantic Comedy

I felt nostalgia for Romantic Comedy on my first listen, as though it was one of my favorite albums from the 90s, and I hadn’t heard it in years. The album is packed with wonderful pop songs, perfect for singing along to, and the melodies are ingenious. My favorite track off the album is “Minor Keys.”

3. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

I’ve always tried getting into PJ Harvey, through different points in her discography, because I loved her in Desert Sessions. But nothing ever sprung out for me… until Let England Shake. This album cements the theory for me that PJ Harvey is an excellent songwriter and singer. My favorite track off the album is “The Glorious Land.”

4. Crystal Antlers – Two-Way Mirror

I want to see Crystal Antlers live, probably more than the others in my top five, because of how exciting Two-Way Mirror is. These songs are not just well-written, but they have a highly-charged energy that attacks me and wakes me. They have a neo-psychedelic sound, but they also remind me of bands like Les Savy Fav. My favorite track off the album is “Dog Days.”

5. Battles – Gloss Drop

I didn’t like what the lack of Tyondai Braxton might mean for Battles, but luckily, Gloss Drop still delivered most of everything I loved about the band, prior to Braxton’s split. The album does such a thing where when I hear its percussion, I want to be a drummer; and when I hear the guitars, I want to master the guitar. My favorite track off the album is “Wall Street.”

6. Death Grips – Ex-military

7. The Field – Looping State of Mind

8. Panda Bear – Tomboy

9. The Strokes – Angles

10. SBTRKT – SBTRKT

11. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

12. The Kills – Blood Pressures

13. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic

14. Elbow – Build a Rocket Boys

15. Lisa Hannigan – Passenger

16. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

17. Feist – Metals

18. WIM – WIM

19. tUne-yArDs – w h o k i l l

20. Beirut – The Rip Tide

21. Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials

22. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

23. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

24. John Maus – We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

25. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

26. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation

27. Gil Scott Heron & Jamie xx – We’re New Here

28. Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil

29. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

30. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact

31. Nils Frahm – Felt

32. Zomby – Dedication

33. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient

34. Gui Boratto – III

35. The Antlers – Burst Apart

36. The Horrors – Skying

37. Curren$y – Weekend at Burnie’s

38. Robag Wruhme – Thora Vukk

39. Gold Panda – Companion

40. Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years

41. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

42. Thievery Corporation – Culture of Fear

43. Hercules and Love Affair – Blue Songs

44. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

45. 6th Borough Project – One Night in the Borough

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