Sunday, July 10, 2011

Favorite Albums of 2011...so far....

Meant to throw up a post before an extended holiday, vacation, hiatus....whatever you want to call it. But now that I'm back I'm examining the year to date in new music. Not a detailed look but impressions from albums I have and have not listened to yet...or maybe never will. Last year at this time I pretty much pigeonholed my favorite albums being from Beach House, The National, Vampire Weekend, Frightened Rabbit and Local Natives. The second half of the year saw some fantastic releases with Arcade Fire, Deerhunter and the Roots taking hold of my IPOD. The Foals sophomore release was the hard charger by the end of the year I found it to be an intoxicating fusion of Talking Heads in the Caribbean on holiday.

So what I'm getting at is it was a lot easier to pick my favorites out of a lineup by July 2010. Here we sit in July 2011 and looking back there have been several strong releases this year (It seems Smith Westerns and Destroyer were released eons ago in January, but they are 2011 releases). But pinpointing what I live to what I like to what is OK to what I don't care for is quite difficult. Also, I gave the cold shoulder to releases from Drive By Truckers, The Kills, Mogwai, Wire, and Gang Of Four because after one listen, I didn't hear anything to get me excited about reviewing or purchasing their new albums.

I'm basically just going to categorize what I've listened to and reviewed, what I've listened to and not reviewed
and what I intend to review in the next few weeks into seven categories. Maybe that will help decipher who's where at the end of the year...or by December, my thoughts may change and that Tennis album will be number one (The Vegas odds of this 200,000:1).

Category 1: The Front-Runners For Album Of The Year
Bon Iver-Bon Iver (Review Week of 7-18, 2 Full Listens)
Destroyer-Kaputt
Elbow-Build A Rocket Boys!
Fleet Foxes-Helplessness Blues
Kurt Vile-Smoke Ring For My Halo

Category 2: Highly Recommended
Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
PJ Harvey-Let England Shake 
The Dodos-No Color 
tUnE-yArDs-Whokill
Wye Oak-Civilian

Category 3: The Growers
Cut Copy-Zonoscope
Panda Bear-Tomboy
Smith Westerns-Dye It Blonde
The Decemberists-The King Is Dead
Tory y Moi-Underneath The Pine
TV On The Radio-Nine Types Of Light

Category 4: After The Dust Settled, A Bit Underwhelming
Iron and Wine-Kiss Each Other Clean
Radiohead-The King Of Limbs
The Go! Team-Rolling Blackouts
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart-Belong

Category 5: If Not Highly Recommended, At Least Solid (Either/Or)
Akron Family-S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
Bill Callahan-Apocolypse
Bright Eyes-The People's Key
Cass McCombs-Wit's End
Charles Bradley-No Time For Dreaming
Crystal Stilts-In Love With Oblivion
Dum Dum Girls-He Gets Me High (EP)
Foo Fighters-Wasting Light
Mountain Goats-All Eternals Deck
My Morning Jacket-Circuital
Okkervil River-I Am Very Far 
Parts And Labor-Constant Future
R.E.M.-Collapse Into Now
Social Distortion-Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes

Category 6: Have To Get Around To Listening To/Reviewing
Antlers-Burst Apart (Review Week Of 7-25)
Cults-Cults (Review Week Of 7-18)
Death Cab For Cutie-Codes And Keys (Review Week Of 7-25)
Woods-Sun And Shade (Review Week Of 8-1)

Category 7: No Thank You
Tennis-Cape Dory
The Strokes-Angles

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