my top 50 albums of 2011...

Posted by Brad Schelden, December 18, 2011 01:15pm | Post a Comment
- Blouse (Captured Tracks)
Last year was when I first got obsessed with the label Captured Tracks. Both Wild Nothing and Soft Moon ended up in my top ten last year. This is the year of Blouse, Soft Metals and Craft Spells. This label can do no wrong and keeps putting out amazing albums one after the other. This album continues the Captured Tracks tradition of capturing that early 90's shoegaze sound that I am still obsessed with. This Blouse album fits in more with the soft rock side of shoegaze and dreampop. It is more like Beach House than the darker sounds of label mates Soft Moon. It is a beautiful album and I can't get enough.

kurt vile#2
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

This is not his first album but it really is his first album for me. This is the year that I fell hard for Kurt Vile. I could not stop listening to this album for a couple of months. There is just something about it that really got to me. The album is on the more folky side of things. Something that I need in my life every once in a while. He reminds me of Mark Kozelek and the Red House Painters. And listening to this album makes me remember the first time I discoved Mark Kozelek and was hooked for life. It really is that good.

Zola Jesus - Conatus (Sacred Bones)

Zola Jesus has given me exactly the album that I wanted from her. It is majestic and beautiful and dark and moody. This album is for fans of the The Knife and Fever Ray. And while we patiently wait for the next album by The Knife out next year, this album more than fills the void.  It is a dark emotional roller coaster. I really wish that artists like Bjork or Kate Bush would have moved in this direction. But thankfully we have Zola Jesus to bring us the album that we all needed in our life. A perfect album for dark and rainy winter nights. You should not live your life one day longer without Zola Jesus.

Veronica Falls
- Veronica Falls (Slumberland)
Slumberland has been another one of my favorite labels this year. I have always been a fan but they have really done a great job these last couple of years of sort of reinventing themselves and discovering a whole new group of twee sort of artists. It is the darker side of twee. This is really a fantastic little album from these folks from London. They released a couple of singles on Captured Tracks and have now given us this perfect pop masterpiece of a debut album. 

holy ghost!#5
Holy Ghost!
- Holy Ghost! (DFA)
Albums don't really get any more fun than this album. It captures that same feeling as Booka Shade's The Sun & The Neon Light from a couple of years ago. This is electronica raised on New Order and Depeche Mode. It is catchier than anything and is guaranteed to put you in good mood. I spent many hours of my life this year listening to this album. And I am not done with them yet. I keep finding myself going back to this record. And I always forget how much fun this album really is. It fits somewhere in between albums by Hot Chip, Telefon Tel Aviv or The Teenagers.

Washed Out - Within & Without (Sub Pop)

Washed Out is the only artist to appear in both my top tens last year and this year. The Life of Leisure EP from last year is still one of my favorite debuts of all time. Ernest Greene, the man behind Washed Out, has now given us his excellent full length album on Sub Pop this year. It is an almost perfect dream pop album. It fits somewhere in between Sigur Ros and Crystal Castles. It is what people like to call chillwave. It is basically just a more synth version of dream pop.  At times I have no idea what he is singing about. But this album takes me away to another sort of magical place. It doesn't get much better than this.

Soft Metals - Soft Metals (Captured Tracks)

I was of course first intrigued by Soft Metals because of their Patrick Nagel inspired album covers. But it really was not hard for them to win me over. My second favorite album from Captured Tracks this year. These songs would not be out of place on the soundtrack to Drive. This is the futuristic new wave that I love. Dark and synthy. This music is made for me. Soft Metals are from the beautiful city Portland. Which just happens to be one of my favorite cities. The songs are catchy and very addictive.

Gem Club
- Breakers (Hardly Art)
Hardly Art has been doing a good job at breaking my heart lately. They have just been releasing some great albums. First they reissued some amazing albums by Carissa's Wierd. And now this year they have released some amazing debut albums from Gem Club, Shimmering Stars and Seapony. This Gem Club album has really got to be the most beautiful and heartbreaking album out this year. For fans of Bon Iver and Jose Gonzalez and things that are amazing. This album might be hard for some to get through but it is worth the heartache.

Big Troubles - Romantic Comedy

Big Troubles! This album just sort of sneaked up on me. But I quickly got obsessed with it. A nice little feel good record for this year. You simply can't not like this album. Full of catchy and pop friendly songs. Big Troubles is sort of the perfect middle ground between a band like Pavement and a band like Blur. The songs are catchy and jangly and maybe a bit silly. But this is how pop music should sound. A perfect masterpiece of an album. Every song is just as good as the last on this album. Give me more Big Troubles.

- Soundtrack (Lakeshore)

Walking into this movie I had no idea that it would be my favorite movie of the year. It was a pleasant surprise. It was one of those movies where the music was just perfect. And the music was almost as important as the performances in the movie. It really played a big part of making the movie what it was. From the opening scene to the closing credits. This album is part soundtrack and part score. Cliff Martinez does a great job with the moody 80's score. And the tracks from Italians Do it Better artists Chromatics and Desire fit perfectly in the movie as well. A perfect soundtrack to a perfect film

Memory Tapes
- Player Piano (Carpark)

Shimmering Stars
- Violent Hearts
(Hardly Art)

The Raveonettes
- Raven In The Grave
(Vice Records)

- Father Son Holy Ghost
(True Panther Sounds)

Bon Iver
- Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)

John Maus
- We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

Cold Cave
- Cherish The Light Years

Teen Daze
- A Silent Planet
(Lefse Records)

- Go With Me (Hardly Art)

Puro Instinct
- Headbangers In Ecstacy
(Mexican Summer)

Craft Spells
- Idle Labor
(Captured Tracks)

Blood Orange
- Coastal Grooves

La Sera
- La Sera (Hardly Art)

Atlas Sound
- Parallax (4AD)

- An Album By Korallreven

The Drums
- Portamento
(French Kiss Records)

- Hurry Up We're Dreaming (Mute)

Det Vackra Livet
- Det Vackra Livet

Neon Indian
- Era Extrana
(Mom & Pop Music)

The Rip Tide (Pompeii Records)

David Lynch
- Crazy Clown Time
(Play It Again Sam)

Real Estate
- Days (Domino)

Sea Lions
- Everything You Always Wanted To Know About the Sea Lions But Were Afraid To Ask (Slumberland)

Dum Dum Girls
- Only In Dreams
(Sub Pop)

Friendly Fires
- Pala (XL Recordings)

- Thee Physical
(Lovepump United)

Com Truise
- Galactic Melt
(Ghostly International)

Hercules & Love Affair
- Blue Songs
(Moshi Moshi)

- Red Planet (Strange Attractions)

Gang Gang Dance
- Eye Contact (4AD)

Explosions In the Sky
Take Care Take Care Take Care

(Temporary Residence)

- Escape Velocity (Relapse)

Active Child
- You Are All I See (Vagrant)

Xeno & Oaklander
- Sets & Lights (Weird)

Esben & The Witch
- Violet Cries

Los Campesinos
! - Hello Sadness
(Arts & Crafts)

We Were Promised Jetpacks
In The Pit Of The Stomach

(Fat Cat)

Vivian Girls
- Share The Joy (Polyvinyl)

Acid House Kings
Music Sounds Better With You


The Artist
- Soundtrack (Sony)

Relevant Tags

Zola Jesus (24), Washed Out (11), Blouse (9), Gem Club (2), Big Troubles (1), Best Of 2011 (17), Kurt Vile (15), Soft Metals (7), Holy Ghost! (3), 80's (5), Drive (15), Veronica Falls (9)