The Best Albums of 2011

Selecting the best albums of a year is always difficult. It can also be impossible. To cover every record that’s come out in a year would be a ridiculous task. So I’ve assembled a musical brains trust to assist me with what could have potentially been a traumatic experience for me. I’ll post my full top 10 in another article at a later date but for now here’s

Where We All Agreed

These are the records that were unanimously agreed upon being truly great. They featured some of the usual suspects and some really exciting albums from big and small names alike.

Radiohead-The King of Limbs

Every time I go to listen to a new Radiohead album I find myself thinking “Maybe this will be the one I don’t like.” and every time I find myself enjoying it. Though, The King of Limbs is by far the most inaccessible album that the band have released, it is certainly a triumph on their behalf. It took me a few listens to truly appreciate the percussive and eclectic nature of the tracks but The King of Limbs is certainly an enriching musical experience if you let it be.

Key Tracks:Lotus Flower, Bloom, Morning Mr Magpie

Bon Iver-Bon Iver

Overnight sensation, Bon Iver outdid himself on an accidental concept album with his sophomore, self-titled effort. Bon Iver is a wonderful record that explores the effect that place has on the person. Front man Justin Vernon revealed that a lot of the tracks on the record were actually not relevant to the places they were named, but rather explored generalisation and uniform experiences in place. The acoustic soundscape of this record is blissful and inspiring; certainly a pleasant listen from beginning to end.

Key Tracks:Perth, Minnesota WI, Holocene, Calgary

Kasabian-Velociraptor!

The Leicester lads were back in force with their fourth record. Velociraptor! shows a band coming of age. From the first gong of “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” up until the final line of “Neon Noon”, Velociraptor! is hit after hit for the band who recently headlined Big Day Out and are off to take over Reading and Leeds too. It’s hard to pick just one track to define this album and all it’s different shades; “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” showcases their desert rock tendencies, “Goodbye Kiss” a Beatles influence, “Re-Wired” is classic Kasabian dance rock and “Switchblade Smiles” displays their synth-dance-rock persona. If you don’t like this album, you won’t like their previous, but it’s very hard not to find one track that you can appreciate.

Key Tracks:Re-Wired, Days Are Forgotten, Switchblade Smiles

The Head and the Heart-The Head and the Heart

I have to get something off my chest. Charity Rose Thielen is the most beautiful band member of any band ever. Having had the pleasure of seeing this blissful Seattle based outfit live at the ever so wonderful Falls Music and Arts Festival, I can say with no hesitation that their debut is everything you could want in an indie folk band. The piano driven tracks blend effortlessly into one another as the band sing about leaving town and harmonize to the utmost perfection. Of particular note is Charity…I mean Charity’s voice which is beyond angelic in every way. I can’t really do the album justice through my words, just know that it’s brand of folk is like conceptually like Mumford and Sons but with more flare, and a lovable nature that just can’t be ignored.

Key Tracks:Ghosts, Down in the Vally, Rivers and Roads

The Overall Lists

So there were too many albums to write definitive reviews of them all, what I have down however is compiled the lists of the brains trust so you can have all of our recommendations.

Samuel Profitt

1. Real Estate – Days
2. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
3. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
4. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
5. M83, Hurry Up – We’re Dreaming
6. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation
7. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
8. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
9. James Blake – James Blake
10. The Horrors – Skying

Andrew Marasa

1. Aloe Blacc – Good Things
2. Architecture in Helsinki – Moment Bends
3. The Black Keys – El Camino
4. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
5. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
6. Foster the People – Torches
7. Gotye – Making mirrors
8. Kasabian – Velociraptor!
9. Foo Fighters – Wasting lights
10. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart

Mahalia Lodge

1. Radiohead -King of Limbs
2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
3. Black Keys – El Camino
4. Head and the Heart – Head and the Heart
5. The Kills – Blood Pressures
6. Arctic Monkeys – Suck it and See
7. The Vaccines – What did you expect from the Vaccines
8. Gotye – Making Mirrors
9. Kasabian – Velociraptor!
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m with you

Sophie Harper

1. The Kills- Blood Pressures
2. Florence & the Machine- Ceremonials
3. Bon, Iver- Bon Iver
4. Little Dragon- Ritual Union
5. SBTRKT- SBTRKT
6. Mogwai- Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
7. Sparkadia- The Great Impression
8. Bombay Bicycle Club- A Different Kind of Fix
9. Active Child- Hangin On
10. Lupe Fiasco- Lasers

Jonothan Crowden

1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
2. City and Colour – Little Hell
3. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
4. Radiohead – King of Limbs
5. The Black Keys – El Camino
6. Kimbra – Vows
7. Foo Fighers – Wasting Light
8. The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart
9. Gotye – Making Mirrors
10. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

James Di Fabrizio

1. Jay Z and Kanye – Watch the Throne
2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
3. James Blake – Self Titled
4. CANT – Dreams Come True
5. Paul Motion – The Windmills of Your Mind
6. Thundercat – The Golden Age of the Apocalypse
7. Girls – Father Son Holy Ghost
8. Cat’s Eyes – Self Titled
9. Drake – Take Care
10. Ghostfunk – Self Titled

Phillip Cooke

1. Tom Waits – Bad as Me
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
3. Bass Drum of Death – GB City
4. Radiohead- The King of Limbs
5. Tyler Ramsey – The Valley Wind
6. Dirty Beaches – Badlands
7. City and Colour – Little Hell
8. Ryan Adams – Ashes and Fire
9. Tyler the Creator – Goblin
10. Kitty, Daisy and Lewis – Smoking in Heaven

Rupert Christie

1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
2. The Black Keys – El Camino
3. Awolnation – Megalithic Symphony
4. Kasabian – Velociraptor!
5. The Vaccines – What Did You Expect From The Vaccines
6. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See
7. Gotye – Making Mirrors
8. Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song
9. Foster the People – Torches
10. Beirut – The Rip Tide

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