PeteHatesMusic’s Albums of 2011

Yesterday, we listed our top songs of 2011. Amazingly, the Jingle Cats missed out on the top honour. But they have a chance to redeem themselves in today’s post – PeteHatesMusic’s Albums of 2011 (spoiler alert: they do not redeem themselves).

2011 was a fantastic year for music, as exhibited by yesterday’s post. Although we were marred by songs such as Rebecca Black’s Friday, we had great songs from Jamie xx, Radiohead, and many more. But did songs from those acts help contribute to give them a top album this year? I’m not telling you! Actually, that would defeat the purpose of this post, so I guess you win. Check out the PeteHatesMusic albums of 2011. Feel free to tell us how stupid (or hopefully amazing) our picks are in the comments, and what albums you are looking forward to in 2012.

PeteHatesMusic – Honourable Mentions
In no particular order (except by height of lead singer, in descending order):

The Decemberists – The King is Dead: The Decemberists replaced their epic storytelling and concept albums with a country-esque change of direction. It worked – they made a solid album, and surprisingly had a Billboard #1 album.

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues: No sophomore slump for this gang (just bed bugs instead!). In a similar vain to the first album, Robin Pecknold’s vocals and songwriting, mixed with the gentle melodies of the band, produce another great album.

My Morning Jacket – Circuital: Kings of the live show “circuit” (get it?!), My Morning Jacket keep their winning streak alive with their latest effort, Circuital. Can we forgive them for appearing in the Vampire Diaries, though?

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes: The Sexy Swede with the cool name, Lykke did not disappoint with her follow up album. Interesting lyrics and a contrast of poppy and dark songs will keep you from leaving the house coming back for repeat listens.

Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact: An off the wall album, with lots of synth noodling and solos (think Pink Floyd’s Echoes at times), this album is surprisingly solid.

Austra – Feel It Break: A Canadian Polaris Prize nominated debut album is a pretty good debut for any band. Electro synch-pop from Toronto, with enchanting vocals, is a must have.

The Antlers – Burst Apart: This was Bono’s album of the year, and Bono doesn’t allow copying. Generally slow and melanchony (don’t let it put you off), it is stunning at times.

Danger Mouse and Daniele Lippi – Rome: A soundtrack for a movie that doesn’t exist – that sounds like something the enigmatic and creative Danger Mouse would do. Guest spots from Jack White and Norah Jones aren’t to be missed.

The Black Keys – El Camino: The Akron, Ohio hit machines keep at it, releasing an album only a year after their last effort – plus they recorded the shelved second Blakroc album in between. More upbeat and with more balls than the last album, it’s another winner (much like their promotion and first music video for Lonely Boy).

Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials: Bigger choruses, bigger vocals, and bigger instrumentals equals…well, a bigger and better second album.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Technically not a debut from the former Oasis song writer, Noel’s first solo effort shows he can still write and sing a damn good tune (or 10).

Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972: Electronic instrumental album from the constantly creative Canadian, Tim Hecker continues his high level of music with his 6th effort. Dark, moody, confusing – sounds like my girlfriend it is one of Tim’s best efforts.

City and Colour – Little Hell: Singer Dallas Green left Alexisonfire to focus on his solo outfit, City and Colour, and focus he did. With his heavenly vocals and ability to write a simple, yet beautiful and catchy song, Dallas has written his third outstanding album, and perhaps his best effort to date. And no, I don’t have a crush on him…..

Cut Copy – Zonoscope: Sadly not as catchy and outstanding as previous effort, In Ghost Colours, it is a slight change of direction for the Aussie electro pop band.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Belong: Their second album (seems to be a lot of those on this list) continues in the same pop vain as the first album, producing more enjoyable poppy songs for you and yours.

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for – free candy! the top 5 albums of the year! To see the videos for the key tracks, click Page 2 at the very bottom of the post.

5 – The Throne – Watch the Throne: Collaborative album from Kanye West and Jay-Z is what you expect – lots of bling! in a good way. Great beats, amazing verses (see: Jay-Z’s Silence of the Lambs rap and amazing delivery ala Hannibal Lecter in Murder to Excellence), and all the bravado you’ve come to expect from the 2 kings of hip hop. And throw in a “it had to happen” Beyonce cameo, and you have all the makings of a Top 5 album.

Key Tracks
(To see the videos for the key tracks, click Page 2 at the very bottom of the post)
Murder to Excellence

4 – Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See: It took awhile for it to grow on me, but once it “clicked”, this album was on loop. The Monkeys continue to grow, both lyrically and musically. The album is more poppy, in the style of Cornerstone, but they do throw in a few hard rocking tracks, for fans of the first 2 albums. The last 4 tracks form an amazing end to a fantastic album.

Key Tracks
Brick by Brick
Piledriver Waltz

3 – Radiohead – The King of Limbs: Another self-released, “Surprise!” release from the Oxford quintet. In the eyes of many people, it suffers from being only 8 tracks long. But when the song contains no filler, and a beautiful second half to the album, I would argue that I’d rather have 38 minutes of near-perfection, than 50 minutes of tracks I want to skip. But next time, if you’re going to release two 2-song singles in the 8 months following the album, perhaps bundle them up, eh boys?

Key Tracks
Lotus Flower

2 – The Field – Looping State of Mind: After two great albums from Swedish electronic artist, Axel Willner continues down his regular song path, but adds more live instruments to produce his best effort to date on his third album. The instrumental songs build, add layers, and repeat themes that you’ll lose yourself in and realize it’s 10 minutes later and you’ve burned your dinner (it’ll be worth it).

Key Tracks
Looping State of Mind
Then It’s White

1 – Cults – Cults: Album of the year, and one of the best debut albums in recent memory. This two-piece Manhattan band produces simple indie pop at its finest. Madeline’s airy vocals, reminiscent of the great pop vocalists of the 60s and 70s, takes centre stage over the pleasant, 3-chord, pop music background. Break out of the winter blues by throwing on this album of warming indie pop beauty. Or turn on the fireplace and have some beer – but if you need a soundtrack to do that, this album is it.

Key Tracks
Go Outside
Bad Things
Oh My God

So what does 2012 have in store? A new Tool album, a second effort from Noel Gallagher, new Paul McCartney, Shins, an Atoms for Peace album (Thom Yorke’s solo project with Flea), and perhaps new releases from Godspeed You Black Emperor, U2, Radiohead , Beastie Boys, The National – but maybe this is wishful thinking.

Thanks for reading in 2011 – keep reading in 2012 or else my depression will spiral out of control. Good thing I have bands like Cults to cheer me up.

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7 Responses

  1. Dale says:

    Cults! Brilliant stuff! No Bon Iver, M83, PJ Harvey?

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