My Top 20 Albums of 2011

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3. Jan. 2012, 12:12

For the third time i am making my personal top 20 best albums of the past year, but this time i thought i make some changes. First of all, i figured out, that this article will be mainly viewed by english speaking audience, so i switched to english. Secondly, I will try to say a few words about every album on the list, what I haven’t done before. Finally, I decided to speak about big disappointments as well as my predictions for the following year at the end of my little article.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.

20. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

Released 1/3/2011
Played 20 times
This is some king of tribute to the band that no longer exists. Despite that fact, there is nothing special about this album. I mean, it sounds really nice and surely deserves the 20th position in this poll, but there are at least 19 better contestants this year. Sorry R.E.M. It was a good run.

19. Monkey3 - Beyond the Black Sky

Released 1/1/2011
Played 33 times
A solid album. Better, than most of this year releases, but still, a bit weaker, than the best representatives of the genre. I may almost say that Monkey3 should share this place with White Hills with their H-p1 (they are not quite the same, but I consider them being from the same league).

18. Grouper - A I A : Dream Loss / A I A : Alien Observer

Released 11/4/2011
Played 27 times / 32 times
Another great album from a great performer. This time – divided in two parts. Nothing more to say, really looking forward to seeing her live this March!

17. uSSSy - ud

Released 18/6/2011
Played 14 times
One of the best Russian bands with their new Arabic-themed longplay. I encourage every fan to give them a try, and if you have a chance – definitely go see them live. Sufi ceremony will blow you away.

16. Earth - Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light 1

Released 7/2/2011
Played 20 times
A fine album, except there is nothing new here. A milder version of the Bees Made Honey, I’d say. I guess that’s the women influence right here. Be a man Dylan, show them who’s in charge!

15. Zodiac - Demo 2011

Released --/--/2011
Played 10 times
A very nice revivalist with their demo recordings, that already sound really well. Relationship to the Long Distance Calling makes it even better. Second best newcomer for me this year.

14. Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

Released 23/5/2011
Played 18 times
A new solo album from my best singer, what can I say? It’s a shame I’ve discovered it so late, that’s why I need to give it a couple more listenings. But boy, what a great opener (Benediction). For now – only 13th place.

13. Megafaun - Megafaun

Released 20/9/2011
Played 28 times
A great experimental album. Justin Vernon participated in writing some of the songs, though his influence is not that obvious. Some of the psychedelic tracks remind me of The Beatles – in a good way. A really underrated work, maybe even by me.

12. Crystal Stilts - In Love With Oblivion

Released 11/4/2011
Played 12 times
Number one album for me this year. It’s monotonous a little, I agree, but I have my reasons to like this album, personal stuff. Besides, Shake the Shackles is a killer. Saw those guys live in Berlin this summer – great experience.

11. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Released 20/6/2011
Played 58 times
Many magazines and music blogs name this album the AOTY, but I do not agree. Opening and closing songs are great, there is also Calgary, but apart from that – it is kinda boring. And you know it’s true. What’s for sure – Perth is one of the best songs of the year. Deserved 10th place.

10. Wire - Red Barked Tree

Released 10/1/2011
Played 57 times
Punk group in the past, 2011 another old-timers are rolling out a brand new mature album, that sounds just fine (Devo, you should make some notes here). Bad Worn Thing and Please Take are my personal favorites here. It’s a pity though, that the album leaked into the tubes in December 2010, the whole month before the actual release. Wire are coming to my city this spring, I wonder, what are they going to play – punk or new wave. We’ll see.

9. Htrk - Work (Work, Work)

Released 6/9/2011
Played 25 times
The whole album sounds a bit -like to me, so, considering that the genre is almost dead, I wonder – why now? Still, Work (Work, Work) is really dark and atmospheric, a good soundtrack to a late night trip in a big city. Berlin maybe (Ice Eyes Eis).

8. Karma to Burn - V

Released 27/5/2011
Played 27 times
Karma is not the same any more.. The one thing, that made K2B so unique, their speciality - numerated instrumental tracks lack intensity and drive. Surprisingly enough, tracks with vocal are better than ever, The Cynics alone is pretty awesome. Is this change in style a good thing – I don’t really know.

7. Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place

Released 22/2/2011
Played 42 times
Julianna Barwick is great exploration for me this year. Pretty similar to what Liz Harris is doing, but less dark and more diverse. Good dreamy tunes to listen to early in the morning – my best recommendations.

6. Fucked Up - David Comes To Life

Released 7/6/2011
Played 104 times
Queen Of Hearts LOVES , but Let Her Rest, man, it’s not only about that. I admire what these Canadian guys are doing – bringing punk into the masses. 4 exclusive singles, 1 fake compilation and 1 massive longplay – all about one man, and his name is David. The only problem with this album is, it’s very hard to listen to from the beginning to the very end in one sitting, you just get lost in all of those tracks. In spite of that the album is full of energy, and I bet it sounds even better live! So bummed to have missed the David Comes To Life tour.. And where the fuck is The Other Shoe? Oh wait, it was right Under My Nose.

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

Released 29/8/2011
Played 84 times
I feel terrible giving my favorite band only 5th place but can do nothing about it – the album is just not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, about a half of the album is brilliant, a good example is my favorite track – Brendan's Death Song. It’s just good old Peppers, nothing innovative here.

4. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Released 8/4/2011
Played 52 times
Foo Fighters have done a great job this year. I liked them before, but now they got so much better. Their style is evolving from to some sort of energetic aggressive with great production, and I just can’t get enough of it. 5 stars and the 4th place.

3. Times New Viking - Dancer Equired

Released 26/4/2011
Played 95 times
The most controversy release of the year in my opinion. It surely is a great comeback of a pioneer of a genre, that is in its stagnation phase. On the other hand, I just can not decided whether it deserves to be in top 5 best albums of the year or not. To be fair, it is rather plain and simple. The determinative factor is never the less – I fucking love the god damn lyrics. Want to Exist.

2. Yuck - Yuck

Released 15/2/2011
Played 73 times
These guys are Sonic Youth of the 10’s. Yuck do not try to invent something new, they are just following the steps of mentors from the 90’s and playing music, that we thought we will never hear again. I honestly don’t know whether they can be considered as a newcomer of this year or not, because they already had published some demo recordings back in 2010. But what I do know is that they are the young force of the modern . I put big hopes on you, Yuck, do not disappoint me.
PS: two and a half months from the release date and still waiting for the deluxe vinyl version of the album..

1. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

Released 7/3/2011
Played 81 times
10 songs and 9 hits – almost pure excellence (I am not really fond of Puppet to the Man, but people seem to like this song). Undoubtedly the best record of the year. If you haven’t heard it yet – go do it (it’s a grower, so do not hurry making quick decisions).
Created using OnDistantShores's Album Of The Year journal generator.



Now let us change the subject and speak about albums that haven’t impressed me as much this year. First of all, 2011 supposed to be a really good year for : Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Long Distance Calling, and even Sigur Rós had their new records - still none of them managed to touch my heart (maybe it is only me). I still haven’t heard And So I Watch You From Afar’s Gangs, perhaps it can save the situation.
Some other good artists that I like also performed not really well. For instance Zomby and Washed Out, as well as Toro y Moi released rather average recordings this year. Iron & Wine’s Kiss Each Other Clean supposed to be good, I even watched online the live presentation of the album, ended up forgotten for the rest of the year. A lot of new sounds and instruments were added – too puzzle-headed for me. The Black Keys presented their El Camino, a good sounding album, but not catchy at all – bummer. TNV’s brothers in arms Psychedelic Horseshit did their best resulting only one good song – Laced. Girls, Real Estate – well promoted, but not very good in a musical way. Electric Six’s Heartbeats and Brainwaves is decent, but very dull comparing to the their other works. Well, I can go on and on, but is that really necessary?

What is more important – what will 2012 bring us. The first release is actually already here - Let's Go Eat The Factory by the reunited Guided by Voices. Too early to make any comments on this one: the first impression is vague, so I hope it will grow for me. In the field I am waiting for the second Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light and the new EP from Grouper – expect them to be very interesting. Apart from that I only hope that Queens of the Stone Age will please us with a new record – that’s all I am asking for.

Some of the best songs of 2011 you can find in this Spotify playlist. Enjoy.
http://open.spotify.com/user/atomax/playlist/2l9RFq6jcRac8l6KTle8SF

Kommentare

  • smiling_p

    Nice selection!

    3. Jan. 2012, 22:26
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