5. Bon Iver- Bon Iver, Bon Iver
This was at the top of a lot of lists. I really liked it; they matured a lot with this album. It breaks from some of their normal tendencies and takes some electronic risks that pay off. Anyone who hasn’t heard them is missing out on a great band with a bright future.
Selected tracks: Holocene, Beth/Rest
4. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues
This was one of my most anticipated albums of 2011. It is Woody Guthrie back from the dead. Great folk poetry and lyrical hooks and harmonies that get stuck in your head. Robin Pecknold shines brightest yet on this album, his voice is soothing, while challenging. Great road trip record.
Selected tracks: Helplessness Blues, Grown Ocean
3. Middle Brother- Middle Brother
Yet another folk album. This was the best one in a long time. Best new band, hands down. Comprised of songwriters from Dawes, Deer Tick, and Delta Spirit. I think they are better than the other 3 bands combined. It is witty, self-deprecating, funny, and soulful. It rocks like the Beatles and then rolls like Dylan. Must listen to for hipsters and folk lovers alike.
Selected tracks: Blue Eyes, Middle Brother
An unexpected wonder that was unequalled last year. Thanks to good friend for suggesting and making me listen to this album. I had given up in this band, but this record renewed my faith. Solidly at that. It is musically their best work, vocally their best work, and lyrically genius and funny. I listened to this album more than anything else in 2011. Go. Buy. It. Now.
Selected tracks: Second Song, You
1. The King of Limbs- Radiohead
There is so much to say about this album. I did as much when it was released. Other than the Beatles, I do not know of a band who consistently raises bar with every single album without fail. While it may not be my favorite Radiohead album ever, it is their best musical work to date. I am not sure why I am writing this. You either like Radiohead and already know all of this, or you don’t and this album can’t change your ignorant opinion. I know, a little harsh.
Selected tracks: Lotus Flower, Codex
Not a GREAT year for music, but a pretty good year. All said and done, I did not have a musical void to fill with billboard top 20, so from that viewpoint, I am pleased.
One of my favorite films, and novels, is High Fidelity. So in accordance with the game played in that story, I will be doing “Top 5” lists and reviews over the next few days for the past year.