Best Album’s of 2011 (David’s List)

By DAVID A. MANN

Ask me another day and this whole list could be changed around. But here’s my Best Albums of 2011, as it stands on New Years Eve 2011:

10. “Wounded Rhymes,” Lykke Li – Lykke Li put out a spacy pop album in February 2011 that I continually returned to whenever I was in the mood for something classic. Many of the tunes on this disc have kind of an early 1960s feel that’s wonderfully retro. “Unrequited Love” was a favorite track.

9. “Arabia Mountain,” Black Lips – I love Lo-Fi garage rock. And when I came by “Arabia Mountain” last summer I was hooked. “Bicentennial Man” was a favorite track. Incidentally, this was one of my last purchases at Ear x-tacy, so the album will probably always be special to me.

8. “Days,” Real Estate – A great collection of laid back songs from an intriguing group out of New Jersey. It’s not one that I went back and listened to a hundred times but they have kind of a dreary sound that’ll sync up well with the gray winter days to come. The album’s opening track, “Easy,” is a great example.

7. “We Are The Champions,” Jeff The Brotherhood – Unreal gritty rock with a hint of psychedelia from a Nashville two-piece consisting of two brothers. This is what I put on as a palette cleanser after listening to something somber. “Ripper,” a mostly instrumental track, will be a go-to favorite for years to come.

6. “Goodbye Bread,” Ty Segall – It’s a trippy rock record that I found charming because of how fundamental it feels. In a lot of ways Ty Segall reminds me of Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett. There’s a feeling when you’re listening to either artist that the whole melody is an ill-timed strum away from falling apart. “My Head Explodes,” was a go-to track.

5. “The People’s Key,” Bright Eyes – Bright Eyes’ latest albums seemed to get mixed reactions but I loved it. The band moved in a different direction, a bit less folkie, a bit more Avant-garde – and the switch really took me by surprise. “One For You, One For Me,” is a great example of that transition.

4. “Wicked Will,” The Ettes – I guess there are a handful of bands out there that are similar to The Ettes (see the Dead Weather or the Kills.) The matter of which I like better would probably change from day-to-day, but I will say that The Ettes have the edge when it comes to being masterfully catchy. “You Were There,” is a great example on their latest release.

3. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost,” Girls – I’ve loved all three of Girls albums. They take the best sounds from the 1950s and mix them together with the drug-addled sensibilities of the 1960s and the result is magical. Their latest release was surprisingly more upbeat than their two priors but tracks like “Just A Song” really take you back to their roots.

2. “The King Is Dead,” The Decemberists – Here again is a record that caught a lot of mixed reviews from critics. The Decemberists dialed back the pretension a notch to produce a wonderful folk rock album. But I heard more than one person complain that they sounded too much like R.E.M. as a result. What the hell is wrong with that? Every track is great but “June Hymn,” will have me thinking warm thoughts all winter.

1. “Nothing Is Wrong,” Dawes – There are moments on this album that are down right corny. But I loved every one of them. Though they come from Los Angeles, Dawes offers a soulful, Americana sound that’s like musical crack for Midwesterners such as myself. They’re great musicians and even better storytellers. “Million Dollar Bill” was a somber favorite.

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About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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