Friday, December 23, 2011

my 30 favourite albums of 2011

#30 Esben And The Witch: Violet Cries
You can really get lost in the mysterious and ghostly atmosphere of Violet Cries,
it is the perfect winter album.

#29 Future Virgins: Western Problems
A punk record with a hint of old-school garage sound... wonderfully fast and messy!

#28 Kuedo: Severant
This ultra mellow and futuristic/spacey sounding album can really expand your imagination.

#27 Patrick Wolf: Lupercalia
Refreshingly happy and wonderful.

#26 Mamaleek: Kurdaitcha
A crazy drone black metal album with electronica/industrial beats—think of Suicide meets Sunn)))—Kurdaitcha is one weird, but amazing sounding album.
Download the album for free here!

#25 Bangers: Small Pleasures
Raw and catchy skate/pop-punk album by a band from Cornwall.
Download the album for free over the Banger's Bandcamp page!

#24 James Blake: James Blake
It's crazy how such minimalistic vocal style and downtempo beats can convey so much emotion.

#23 Weekend Nachos: Worthless
Wickedly loud hardcore album!

#22 The Streets: Computers And Blues / Cyberspace and Reds
While I have included two separate albums here—a mixtape, Cyberspace and Reds released shortly before the official album, Computers and Blues—they feel like one big album for me. Both records are equally great and feature some of the catchiest beats and wittiest lyrics by The Street.

#21 Zomby: Dedication
Dark and mysterious grime beats make Dedication feel like something out of a dramatic thriller movie.

#20 Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues
I love this band and their incredible live shows! Although not nearly as good as their masterpiece debut, Helplessness Blues is still a damn fine folk album with unforgettable lyrics. The title track is one of the best songs of the year!

#19 Caves: Homeward Bound
Homeward Bound feels intimate and honest for its DIY and aggressively raw sound. It is fast, catchy and one of the most energetic records of the year!

#18 PJ Harvey: Let England Shake
Gorgeous up-beat music juxtaposed by some ironic and horrific lyrics.

#17 Sharks: The Joys Of Living 2008–2010
A great compilation that shows off the band's talent and potential; can't wait to hear their proper full-length debut, No Gods, out on March 20, 2012!

#16 Basement: I Wish I Could Stay Here
An album that echoes the melodic riffs, pounding drums and aggressive vocals of 90s emo... absolutely LOVE this record!

#15 Touché Amoré: Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
20 explosive minutes of shouted vocals and sincere lyrics over some ridiculously flawless production. Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me features some of the most memorable lyrics of the year in "Condolences": "If you fantasize about your funeral, I understand / I've been there before / If what's more important, is the music played / Than who'd attend / We are the same..."

#14 Yellow Ostrich: The Mistress
Alex Schaaf's soft and layered vocals make for a beautifully gentle album; "WHALE" and "Mary" are two of my favourite songs of 2011.

#13 Sundials: Never Settle
A fantastically nostalgic sounding album— it's like all my favourite punk/indie bands from the 90s merged to form a super band... think Jawbreaker + The Promise Ring + Guided by Voices + Pavement... so fucking good!

#12 Starscream: Future, Towards the Edge of Forever
The ambient and experimental chiptune rhythm make the album dynamically mesmerizing. Future, Towards the Edge of Forever is my favourite instrumental album of the year.

#11 Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat: Everything's Getting Older
A brilliant avant-garde jazz album full of soothing piano lullabies and minimalistic percussion. The best part about Everything's Getting Older is the fascinating lyrics and Aidan Moffat's wisely sounding voice provides engaging spoken-word stories, philosophies and rants.

#10 Cult Of Youth: Cult Of Youth
This strange record sounds like something out of an epic, medieval or fantasy adventure movie; the dark-theatrical-folky-raw-punk style make it he most unique sounding record of the year!

#9 Grieves: Together/Apart
A fascinating album that features some very sincere, personal and relatable autobiographical lyrics backed by smooth and minimalist production by Budo.

#8 Joyce Manor: Joyce Manor
Fast, youthful, energetic and catchy as hell style reminisce of mid-90s punk bands such as Jawbreaker and The Promise Ring. There is not one bad song in this S/T debut... the only setback is that it is over way too quickly!

Stream the entire album here.

"In your new leather jacket, you're somebody else. / It's not nice to meet you in a fortress of self. / Thanks to your new leather jacket, we're nobodies now."

#7 The King Blues: Punk & Poetry
What singer/writer Itch does so entertainingly well is his ability to include humour (often in a mocking fashion) to his serious subject matter. Punk & Poetry is filled with punk attitudes, folk passion, it is inspiring, angry and lively; and even if you don't pay attention to Itch's great lyrics, you would enjoy the album simply for its insanely catchy chorus!

#6 Timber Timbre: Creep On Creepin On
Creepily clever post-relationship lyrics and wonderfully strange arrangements produce an eerie sounding, yet very soothing folk-pop album.

#5 Bright Eyes: The People's Key
I think this is the most entertaining album of the year simply for Denny Brewer's spoken word contribution. In addition, this sounds like early Bright Eyes—Fevers & Mirrors with a little bit of Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. The People's Key features great lyrics and sharp (but not overly produced) production.

"I was dressed in white, touched by something pure / Death obsessed, like a teenager / Sold my tortured youth, piss and vinegar / I'm still angry with no reason to be..."

#4 The Front Bottoms: The Front Bottoms
Hands down the catchiest album of the year. The remarkable chemistry between the two members Brian Sella and Mathew Uychich makes this album ultra enjoyable! Together, they've created an youthfully fun and energetic sing-along record.

#3 Night Birds: The Other Side Of Darkness
Awesome fast classic surf-punk sound (Agent Orange) combined with the raw attitude of hardcore (The Shitty Limits). This one is pretty obvious based on my love for both 80s surf-punk and hardcore.

#2 Iceage: New Brigade
If you ever wonder what Hüsker Dü music with Ian Curtis-like vocal sound like, this is it. I just love the explosively noisy, raw, and carefree sound—really reminds me of old punk music. FUCKING BRILLIANT!

#1 La Dispute: Wildlife
The intensely emotional journey provided by Jordan Dreyer's vocal and lyrics is enough for me to choose Wildlife by La Dispute as my favourite album of 2011! It is full of engaging and compelling narratives like "King Park". A song about a drive-by shooting and the death of an innocent a boy, which eventually led to the killer contemplating suicide:

"Can I still get into heaven if I kill myself? / Can I ever be forgiven cause I killed that kid? / It was an accident I swear it wasn't meant for him!" —Very powerful stuff!

Perhaps the most memorable lyrics are the ones that sound like they came from Dreyer's subconscious; which in many ways, feel remarkably personal and frighteningly relatable.

"I know I never used to feel like this. / I used to never think of death or hear voices. / I used to feel like everything was perfectly in order, a normal life, / but I guess then came a departure."
—from "a Departure"

"I think the thing is that I shut off from everything. / From friends and family and my own ambitions. / From having fun. / I just shut off from everything."
—from "a Letter"

Wildlife is one of the most passionate and intimate albums I have ever heard and it features some of the best melodic hardcore music in recent years.

Stream the entire album here!

No comments: