Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Top 10 Albums of 2011

A funny thing happened when I was thinking of this list... Everyone, and I do mean everyone jumped on the new Black Keys album, adding it to their lists despite it being out for about a week. In an attempt to listen to that album and consider it, another one fell into my lap and so we had a bit of a delay. It was worth the wait, I promise.

#10. Wye Oak - Civilian [Merge Records]
The Baltimore duo of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner released their 3rd album in March and it was played all year long. Combining elements of Indie, Alternative, Folk and Dreampop, the album seems to grow and mutate with every listen.

#9. Common - The Dreamer/The Believer [Think Common Music]
This album was released on December 20th, I had a copy on the 14th and there is no way you can miss this album. After a few missteps, he gets back to his Chicago roots with the help of producer No ID. It's better than his classic Be, seriously.
Celebrate was played a few times on NYE.

#8. Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire [Pax-Am Records]
In 2009 Ryan Adams announced an indefinite hiatus due to disease that has permanently affected his hearing. The chances of us ever getting another Rock N Roll are slim at best, thankfully he can still strum an acoustic guitar. Ashes & Fire might be this generation's Harvest. A little help from Benmont Tench, Norah Jones & Glyn Johns doesn't hurt either. Don't believe me? Listen to the ENTIRE album below.
Ashes and Fire by ryanadams

#7. Arms - Summer Skills [Arms Inc]
This band found its way into 3 posts this year, so you hopefully already have their amazing album. No Chicago dates yet, but I'm sure they're coming. 2012 is going to be their year, I can feel it.

#6. SBTRKT - SBTRKT [Young Turks]
Beginning to end, it just flows. Not a single bad track. Wildfire was everywhere this year, but Pharaohs was just a good.

#5. Bright Eyes - The People's Key [Saddle Creek]
What was rumored to be a farewell to fans quickly turned into a rebirth. The boys from Omaha put out an album that seemed familiar and progressive at the same time. A personal highlight for me this year was flying to New York to catch them at Radio City Music Hall. Another full album for you guys...

#4. Childish Gambino - Camp [Glassnote]
The development from his early EPs to this album is insane. Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino stepped his game up and Backpackers is a beast. Sold out show at the Riviera in March with another killer, Danny Brown.

#3. Eddie Vedder - Ukulele Songs [Monkeywrench]
Every now and then I find an album that reminds me how emotional music can be. Some artists can elaborate the ups and downs of love so remarkably it gives you comfort. Ukelele Songs joins the long list of albums that help people close a chapter in their life and start something new.

#2. Tune-Yards - WHOKILL [4AD]
The first time I head this album I was confused and a little dizzy. It felt like so many things were coming at me from every direction. A lot of artists talk about taking the harder path, Merrill Garbus actually does it. A challenging record that is well worth the reward.

#1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver [Jagjaguwar]
From the moment I heard Calgary, I knew this album would be amazing. 3 concerts later, I am still in awe.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver by boniver

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