Top 25 Albums of 2011

Well, here it is. Another painstaking list regarding the top full length albums of 2011. Of all the lists we put together for you this year, this was by far the most difficult. However, if there’s one thing you should gather from this list, it’s that we had another memorable year with plenty of records that will permanently earn a spot in your memory banks.

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Honorable Mentions:

The People’s Temple – Sons of Stone LP (Hozac Records)
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo LP (Matador Records)
Bad Weather California – Demos & Live Takes LP (St. Ives)
Fluorescent Heights – Tourism LP (Subsuburan Recording Co.)
Various Artists – Todo Muere Volume 1 (Sacred Bones Records)
The Hussy – Cement Tomb Mind Control LP (Slow Fizz Records)
Kitchen’s Floor – Look Forward to Nothing LP (Siltbreeze Records)
Cop City/ Chill Pillars – Held Hostage on Planet Chill (Florida’s Dying)

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25.)
The Men – Leave Home LP
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Track 7:
Few other records from the year can leave you feeling as insignificant as “Leave Home.” The Men stopped at nothing in their cataclysmic approach, combining both blood-curdling screaming and blown out instrumentation from front to back. After something as massive as this, who knows what we can expect in the future.

24.)
Chain and the Gang – Music’s Not For Everyone LP
Label: K Records
Track 1:
It’s hard to say, but there probably wasn’t a record that was more overlooked than “Music’s Not For Everyone” all year. This album is a bold statement consisting of an array of musical genres and influences, not to mention just a flat-out, rockin’ good time thanks to tracks like “Detroit Music” and “(I’ve Got) Privilege.” If you bring together a large group of talented musicians, chances are they’re going to have some fun while recording – as well as leave us with some quality material.

23.)
Panda Bear – Tomboy LP
Label: Paw Tracks
Track 7:
After a slew of excellent singles and really making us wait, Panda Bear dropped “Tomboy” and left us with this oddly unique but satisfying collection of music. Considering all the build up for the record, it certainly had an initial positive response. In fact, it still does.

22.)
Mind Spiders – s/t LP
Label: Dirtnap Records
Track 7:
With one solid LP under his belt as Mind Spiders, Mark Ryan rolls into 2012 with another full-length in the works. Right now there’s no telling what the new record will hold, but chances are it will deliver where this one feel a bit short – that being said, it’s still an awesome record, but we certainly weren’t challenged enough. Let’s hope for more punches in 2012.

21.)
Cult of Youth – s/t LP
Label: Sacred Bones Records
Track 6:
We still don’t think it’s wrong to call Cult of Youth’s extreme sound “pirate-punk.” This was their first album recording as a whole band and with results like these, you’ve got to think they will give it another go at some point. Perhaps in 2012?

20.)
Far-Out Fangtooth – Pure & Disinterested LP
Label: Siltbreeze Records
Track 2:
Far-Out Fangtooth and their scuzzy post-punk grumbles and drags its feet across the floor. However it’s invigorating to the point where you don’t feel the same lazy dirge that plagues these songs. Instead you find yourself listening with curiosity to the vast, sweltering landscapes that many of these tracks supply, swearing by Far-Out Fangtooth with each monumental song that passes.

19.)
Cosmonauts – s/t LP
Label: Permanent Records
Track 3:
Cosmonauts tore it up on our charts this year and rightfully so. Their self-titled LP was only the beginning of the madness which set them up for plenty of other gems down the road. Even at this point it sounds like these rowdy Californians are just getting started. We should have a new LP sometime in 2012.

18.)
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats – Blood Lust LP
Label: Killer Candy Records
Track 3:
It would be wrong to say that Uncle Acid and his Deadbeats weren’t underdogs this year. Where the hell did these guys come from? Who cares. Their patented form of doom-psych will leave you feeling threatened and vulnerable time after time due to the blistering guitars and pummeling rhythms that keep you coming back for more. With only 350 copies pressed to vinyl, I’m trying to get my hands on one just as bad as you are.

17.)
Creepoid – Horse Heaven LP
Label: Ian Records
Track 6:
Our hometown hero’s certainly had a year to remember. Through endless touring and trips to places like SXSW, they have also established a name for themselves. Looking forward into the new year, things will probably only get bigger. As a quick side note, these guys still have some big news to reveal about their debut album which they’re bound to drop soon enough.

16.)
Voyageurs – Freak Cave
Label: Self-released
Track 4:
Plagued by swirling psych guitars, crackling bass lines and plenty of lustful attitude, these southern psych-rockers took us by storm this year. Throughout “Freak Cave” these guys vary their sound from track to track, ranging from pedal-to-the-medal intensity to these slow and oozing psych drags-outs. If you missed this one during the year, now is your chance to catch up. Either way these guys are just getting started, so we can only expect more to come.

15.)
Blasted Canyons – s/t LP
Label: Castle Face Records
Track 5:
Blasted Canyons seem to have this notion of importance that comes along with their batshit complexion. The truth is, these guys are important whether they think it or not. No band but Blasted Canyons could take such obnoxious sounds and spin them into this totally relentless realm of noisy post-punk and actually make it work. Was this album just a one time deal? Let’s hope not.

14.)
TRMRS – Sea Things LP
Label: Resurrection Records
Track 11:
TRMRS have this innocence attached to their crunchy psych sound that ends up giving their album an overall messy complexion. In fact, that’s exactly what makes their songs so aggressive and memorable because they are constantly shoving sharp and shredded guitar shards down your throat. However through all the frantic madness of “Sea Things,” TRMRS never truly settle down, making them a worthy contender rolling into 2012.

13.)
Fungi Girls – Some Easy Magic LP
Label: Hozac Records
Track 4:
As a band, Fungi Girls continue to flesh out their sound while remaining consistent. “Some Easy Magic” shows us just how well they have captured the timeless wet and slippery psychedelic sound, which starts them off on a fresh foot going into 2012.

12.)
Pure X – Pleasure LP
Label: Acéphale
Track 4:
“Pleasure” was definitely one of our more anticipated albums coming into 2011. If you knew what to expect going into it, then this record was exactly what you wanted it to be. After a slew of excellent singles and an EP, Pure X came back strong and did not disappoint. Since the LP dropped they have been fairly busy, so here’s hoping for more in 2012.

11.)
Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise LP
Label: Circus Company
Track 5:
Clearly Nicolas Jaar had a breakout year. That was mainly due to his debut album “Space is Only Noise.” Right now this dude is only 21 years old, is the co-founder of the Clown & Sunset label and has more releases than I have fingers (don’t forget the latest Darkside EP either). Things are just beginning to unfold for Nico, so let’s see where he takes us in 2012. It should be interesting and unpredictable to say the least.

10.)
Graves – Summr Bummr LP
Label: St. Ives
Track 2:
This was our first real encounter with Greg Olin (or Graves) but hopefully it won’t be the last. Olin dropped this diamond in the rough on the just as anonymous St. Ives label, so it’s not a surprise that this stuff didn’t really catch on. The problem with that is that it should have. With all of Olin’s warming jazz-tinged folk and sharp lyrics, this album is truly one-of-a-kind.

09.)
Heavy Times – Jacker LP
Label: Hozac Records
Track 7:
Heavy Times did just what they do best on “Jacker.” Between their raging punk spirit, sharp-as-nails guitars and a no-rules attitude there’s something new to knock you on your ass around every corner of “Jacker.” Whether it’s the pummeling “Erase the Sun” or the positive punk vibes of “Skull Hair,” Heavy Times did not let us down.

08.)
Wax Idols – No Future LP
Label: Hozac Records
Track 4:
Speaking of excellent years, Hether Fortune is another name that now makes us think she can do no wrong. Not only did she play a huge role in the Blasted Canyons LP above, but she’s literally responsible for this entire record you see here. Just about everything you hear on “No Future” was a result of Fortune slaving away in the recording studio, so before you go and say she’s riding someone else’s coattails, check your fucking facts.

07.)
White Denim – D LP
Label: Downtown Music
Track 8:
White Denim have a knack for exceeding expectation – after “Last Day of Summer” it wasn’t clear where they’d go next, but “D” just might be their most accomplished batch of music to date. The musical talent of these four men is through the roof, to which their live show just may be the most entertaining and exhilarating thing you’d see all year. It’s tough to say what we’re going to hear next, but hopefully it will come sooner than later.

06.)
Diarrhea Planet – Loose Jewels LP
Label: Infinity Cat Recordings
Track 7:
Diarrhea Planet offer up power-rock like no other. Melodic guitar shards, crashing percussion and their fist-in-air, in-your-face attitude are all elements in their propulsive sound. The positive vibes are overflowing continuously, not to mention the ridiculous army of four scorching guitars. The end result is heavily stimulated power-rock constantly driven forward by their friendly spirit and passion for the music.

05.)
Mike Adams at His Honest Weight – Oscillate Wisely
Label: St. Ives/ Flannelgraph Records
Track 6:
Who is Mike Adams? Apparently just some dude from northern Indiana. That description isn’t as fitting – it’s almost offensive – after listening to his debut record “Oscillate Wisely.” Instead of making him out to be your average Joe (which he probably wants), Adams sounds like some otherworldly musical mastermind whose bedroom pop will put all the others to shame. Every single one of these tracks are alive and breathing with rapturous energy, solidifying Mike Adams as a force to be reckoned with going into the new year. Let’s hope this isn’t all we get to hear from the guy.

04.)
Ty Segall – Goodbye Bread LP
Label: Drag City
Track 6:
At this point there’s nothing we can say about Ty Segall that hasn’t been said. The man does everything and he does it right. How can you argue with that? If Segall has any haters out there (is that possible?), that’s exactly why they hate him – because he doesn’t let the rest of us down. The best part now is that we’re left to see just where the hell he’s going to go next. Chances are it won’t be the obvious decision either – either way, you won’t have to look for Segall in 2012 because he will be prominent.

03.)
Dead Luke – Meanwhile… In the Midwest LP
Label: Moon Glyph
Track 2:
Dead Luke brings us on quite an unforgettable journey with “Meanwhile… In the Midwest.” Nobody could have predicted this above and beyond record which goes a long way to meld together psychedelic sounds and bluesy guitar rock. That being said, there’s probably a few out there that have taken a stab at this unique sound and failed miserably, but luckily for them now they have “Meanwhile… In the Midwest” to show them the ropes. It’s not clear what Dead Luke might bring for us in 2012, but if it’s anything like this we won’t know til it’s right in our face.

02.)
Natural Child – 1971 LP
Label: Infinity Cat Recordings
Track 9:
To put it simply, “1971” is one of those grower albums, which when other records wear out their welcome, this one is still shining in the corner begging you to come back to it. The record didn’t catch on nearly as well as it should have and it’s not clear why. If you didn’t get the memo while listening, these guys could probably care less too. Their care-free attitude is overshadowed by the passion they offer up in their songs, which you can hear it in both the vocals and instrumentation time and time again. In these parts it’s all about the beer, the music, the women and the weed, so fuck it. At least they have their priorities straight.

01.)
OBN IIIs – The Only and Only LP
Label: Tic Tac Totally
Track 4:
If every record could blow our face off like this one then making these lists would suck. Orville Bateman Neeley III stopped at nothing to deliver us the most rollicking, destructive and challenging record we’ve heard through 2011. Each of the twelve tracks have a mind of their own, leaving us to whimper in the dust around every new and unpredictable electrified guitar lick that rattles the very ground you walk on. Neeley has the drive and the talent to pull of such a record and with results like these he clearly wasn’t cutting us short.

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That’s going to do it for us for the year. Chances are we will resume our daily posting the second week in January, but that could always change. As always, we’re looking for contributors as well to help us in the new year. If you think you’re interested please get in touch. Thanks for another awesome year to the bands, record labels, individuals and other blogs alike that help out! You all rule!!!

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30 responses to “Top 25 Albums of 2011

  1. Nice selection but some great misses …
    Here’s my top 3 albums for 2011 :

    SIC ALPS : Napa Asylum (Drag City)
    THE MAGNETIX : Drogue Electrique (Slovenly Records)
    GIUDA : Racey Roller (Dead Beat Records)

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