Writing Albums of the Year lists is always a tricky one. It’s also one of my favourite tasks.
Unlike writers of major music magazines, I have not listened to every album released this year. Not even close. I can’t afford to buy heaps of CD’s, and go through each one and assess which is the best album. This list comes from recommendations, artists I have loved for a while and things I happen to stumble across, but most importantly, things that I have come to love this year.
Last year I did 10 albums, the year before I only did 5. I decided to increase this to 20, mostly because I felt there was too many great albums that deserved a mention, and also because I really like writing about things that I really like. It would make more sense if this was called ‘Anna’s Favourite albums of 2011’, but anyway, I hope you enjoy!
20. Mechanical Bride- Living with Ants
This album was a long time coming for 25-year-old Lauren Doss who had been on many bloggers radars since 2008. For me, she did not disappoint. This album is delicate, creative and possess a gorgeous stillness which is so difficult to master consistently through an album.
Standout Tracks: Magpie, Peach Wolves and Colour of Fire
19. I Break Horses- Hearts
I Break Horses is something which I fell in love with without realising so. I received this album from Bella Union and from the first play got drawn into the hypnotic beats and Maria Linden’s voice. Like a lot of music in 2011, this album was 80’s influenced, from a boy-girl duo, who are from Sweden. But I Break Horses do the 2011 thing better than most.
Standout Tracks: Winter Beats, Empty Bottles and Hearts
18. Ben Howard- Every Kingdom
This album didn’t get particularly amazing reviews, although good mainstream success, I think this is because there isn’t anything groundbreaking or new about it. But there is something so beautiful and so special about the sound of Ben Howard. I listen to this album a lot on the tubes and just walking around London and it slows everything down and if you close your eyes, you could imagine your in the Cornwall countryside. I think 2012 will also be a big year for him.
Standout Tracks: Only Love, Black Flies and Keep Your Head Up
17. Youth Lagoon- The Year of Hibernation
This album was recorded after 22-year-old Trevor Powers a.k.a. Youth Lagoon had his heart broken after a 4 year relationship and what he described as a year of hibernation which followed. Its dreamy and heartfelt built with gorgeous melodies and hazy lo-fi instrumentation. Over the last year its become a bit of a treasure of the underground and rightly so, a stunning listen.
Standout Tracks: Cannons, Montana, and 17
16. White Denim- D
This is White Denim’s fourth album, but the first one I have ever listened to. The psychedelic sounds and super catchy melodies are killer. It’s hypnotic and creative while being fun and the sort of thing you can dance to. I also love his voice.
Standout Tracks: Is and Is and Is, Drug and At the Farm
Numbers 15-11 are coming on the 4th!