Archive for the 'Best of 2011' Category

2011 – Wrap-up and Mix

^ first, a mix. It’s not ALL songs from my top 20 albums either. I do like other things too. ūüôā

And had a couple of requests for an extended list, so here it is. A few that narrowly missed the top-20 just came out, and if I’d had them longer and given them more of a chance, they could’ve climbed up. Artists, next time, release your albums before November, kthxbye!

1. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
2. The Antlers – Burst Apart
3. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
4. The Kills – Blood Pressures
5. Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
6. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
7. Lia Ices – Grown Unknown
8. Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
9. The Black Keys – El Camino
10. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
11. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
12. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
13. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
14. Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
15. Eleanor Friedberger – Last Summer
16. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
17. Disappears – Guider
18. Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation
19. Vetiver – The Errant Charm
20. Bjork – Biophilia
21. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
22. Sophie Zelmani – Soul
23. Little Dragon – Ritual Union
24. Gudrid Handottir – Beyond The Grey
25. My Morning Jacket – Circuital
26. Radical Face – The Family Tree: The Roots
27. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
28. Tom Waits – Bad As Me
29. Feist – Metals
30. Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
31. Anna Ternheim – The Night Visitor
32. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical
33. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
34. R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now
35. Rachel Goodrich – Rachel Goodrich
36. Bell X1 – Bloodless Coup
37. Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams
38. Wilco – The Whole Love
39. Wire – Red Barked Tree
40. Marketa Irglova – Anar
41. Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler
42. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
43. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Mirror Traffic
44. Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam
45. Release The Sunbird – Come Back To Us
46. CANT – Dreams Come True
47. Babette Hayward – You Might Be Somebody
48. The Roots – Undun
49. Wild Flag – Wild Flag
50. Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
51. Thea Gilmore – John Wesley Harding
52. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
53. Blood Orange – Coastal Grooves
54. The Black Belles – The Black Belles
55. Alela Diane – Alela Diane & Wild Divine
56. Snoop Dogg – Doggumentary
57. Washed Out – Within And Without
58. Ringo DeathStarr – Colour Trip
59. Pterodactyl Plains – In The Air
60. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

that’s enough; all 60 of these I do like! You can listen to my 20 favorites on my Spotify playlist. Add me on there!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for following along. Thanks for talking about music, making recommendations, and sharing stuff with me. On to 2012!

- almostaghost

My Top 10 Releases for 2011

For most of 2011 I was under the impression that I have become some old hag that simply couldn’t stand the “noise” coming out these days. I could barely find any new music that I liked or thought was compelling enough to listen to more than one time. Granted, I spent most of the year listening to the bums serenade me from the alley way and half the year without computer speakers as I awaited my belongings’ arrival in Seattle. I also spent the larger portion of this year without a car. It wasn’t until I was without a car that I realized my most intimate time with music is blaring it through my car speakers while dancing/driving or prepping for a social situation. This list is the best I could do considering my having a very music-less year (listening to Nirvana and Death Cab blare from the EMP down the street hardly counts). Since I can’t be bothered to pick favorites, this list will be in alphabetical order.


Austra: Feel it Break

Beat and The Pulse

Beat and the Pulse is such a good song. It has all the components to it that warrant pretending you are in the music video while at home alone in front of the mirror. I love screaming along to this album, and I love the weird NSFW video that you can’t seem to find unedited anymore (Oh no! TITS!). For some reason I thought they were from Australia but instead they are from Canada.


CANT – Dreams Come True

Too Late Too Far


When I saw that Grizzly Bear had a member split off to start his own musical project I was all over it like a cat in heat. There are some awesome dancy numbers on this album with slower counterparts. “Too late too far” speaks to me, every time I hear that song I can’t help but tell my cat “this song is so good!”. Anyhow the rogue member is Chris Taylor, apparently born in Seattle (yay!), and once stared me down when I went to see Grizzly Bear live in Orlando when they were a mere opening band. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I am flattered nonetheless.


Class Actress – Rapprocher

Keep You

I’m not exactly sure why I kept ignoring recommendations that I should check out Class Actress, but I’m glad I finally caved. There are so many catchy songs on here. I haven’t heard pure pop¬†genius on the level of ¬†“Sheilia – Atlas Sound” until I heard¬†her song “Keep You”. I don’t care what kind of music you are into, you will have that song stuck in your head. You’re welcome.


Neon Indian – Era Extra√Īa

Suns Irrupt

Psychic Chasms was on constant rotation in my car so this is a no-brainer. This album has to be in everyone’s top list. If it isn’t, you hate music.


Purity Ring – Ungirthed 7″


Ok… so I can be bothered that Purity Ring is in my top 2 for favorite of 2011. I can’t wait until an album is released. They are categorized as chillwave but I think that is bullshit, they are 5 triangle symbols away from being witch house and I refuse to take that back. The two songs they do give us makes me feel like a starved music whore that can barely rustle my jimmies with what I have. I need more.


Shad[]wb[]x – Lady Doome EP


How quaint! The alphabet allowed me to put my top 2 next to each other! However, I regret I already said I felt like a music starved whore in reference to Purity Ring because now I have to become something far more depraved to express how much I love Shad[]wb[]x. I have not been this excited about an artist since oOoOO. If I could pick an artist that fully envelops what I love about music, I wouldn’t hesitate to put this on like an overzealous hipster stuck teaching elementary school music. I love artists that prompt me into imagining having secret, dirty car sex to their music. Anyhow, I could gush on and on about how I would lez out for her but her music speaks for itself. For the addict: she has some youtube videos of her performing two songs that you can’t get on the EP.

Starfucker – Reptilians


I have been having a love/hate relationship with chillwave. I love the conception of chillwave, the early releases of MillionYoung, Discovery, Toro Y Moi still get me excited. Then, as time passed, it seemed that everything that was released by those bands were steps backwards and newer bands aiming for their style became copies of copies. If I already own Causers of This and Be So True, why would I download a band that sounds like a cover of something that was done right the first time? This is why I like Starfucker – Reptilians, it feels like a progression of chillwave rather than a stake of claim to the genre.

Tropic of Cancer – The End of All Things

Chrome Vox

This album isn’t exactly new music, but a compilation of ¬†songs. I think. Honestly I know nothing about this band, the bits and pieces I read only confuse me. I know it is a duo, they signed with a label in the UK, their music reminds me of a very dark Psychic Ills, yes this is dark synth wave, and I really like their music.

Visions of Trees – Sometimes it Kills EP

Sometimes It Kills

Normally I’d be pissed that something like this is labeled as Witch House, but I actually ended up liking the band despite my expectations. Visions of Trees is more like Gang Gang Dance or Panda Bear. They have an ethereal electronic sound that is a bit more beat heavy than their counterparts. I imagine their music as the background to frolicking through a forest in springtime when suddenly awestruck by a beautiful waterfall, pink mist, and a group of prancing unicorns but, sensing the outrageous circumstances and their rare presentation, you decide to rest and observe nature silently while contemplating the finite within the infinite. There is nothing wrong with being a hippy every once and a while.

Washed Out – Within and Without

Far Away

This is a solid album, start to finish. I don’t find myself skipping between songs every time I put this album on, that is a music miracle.


- betweenthesound

cyanide breathmint’s best of 2011

This seems to be getting more difficult every year! 2011 was filled with so much great music and I feel like I had such little time to appreciate that. This year’s rankings were truly the hardest ever to compile. Looking past the sheer volume of great new (and “newish”) acts which have emerged, old favorites returned with new offerings, there’s also the fact that my tastes have been diverging in two distinct directions.

My love for shoegaze has has come into the forefront this year, somewhat shattering the usual suspects for top 25 positions. Nevertheless, all those beautiful walls of noise simultaneously crashing down upon my ears couldn’t ever make up for good song writing and talented vocalists. I think that’s reflected in the mix of albums in this year’s Top 25.

I had originally planned doing “reviews” for the top 10. However, I only had enough patience and focus to get the top spot for you. I have included a sample mp3 for each of the top 25 albums. If you would like to grab all of these at once (plus a few bonus tracks), click here.

[UPDATE DEC 26 2011] The honorable mentions have been updated after reading my colleague betweenthesound’s amazing 2011 write up. If you haven’t seen that, you should go read it now¬†(or perhaps right after you finish this post). She managed to (once again) slam me with a gang load of records that were way beneath my radar, but that would definitely have put huge dents in my Top 25 list as it stands.

Without further ado, here they are…

Top 25 Albums:

25) Asobi Seksu РFluorescence

Asobi Seksu – Counterglow

24) The Mountain Goats РAll Eternals Deck

The Mountain Goats – High Hawk Season

23) The Dodos РNo Color

The Dodos – Companions

22) Radiohead The King Of Limbs

Radiohead – Morning Mr Magpie

21) Brute Heart РLonely Hunter

Brute Heart – Hunter

20) Future Islands РOn The Water

Future Islands – Give Us The Wind

19) Dearling Physique РDeadeye Dealer

Dearling Physique – Oh This Currency

18)¬†Neon Indian – Era Extra√Īa

Neon Indian – Polish Girl

17)¬†‚ąÜAIMON – AMEN


16) Thurston Moore РDemolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore – Orchard Street

15) Screen Vinyl Image – Strange Behavior

Screen Vinyl Image – My Confession

14) The Vera Violets РIn Between Fires

The Vera Violets – Down Tonight

13) The Horrors РSkying

The Horrors – Endless Blue

12) Ladytron РGravity The Seducer

Ladytron – Moon Palace

11) The Antlers РBurst Apart

The Antlers – Every Night My Teeth Are Failing Out

10) Active Child РYou Are All I See

Active Child – Shield & Sword

09) I Break Horses РHearts

I Break Horses – Winter Beats

08) Atlas Sound РParallax

Atlas Sound – My Angel is Broken

07)¬†Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know

Laura Marling – All My Rage

06) Zola Jesus – Conatus

Zola Jesus – Hikikomori

05) PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

PJ Harvey – In The Dark Places

04) M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

M83 – Raconte-Moi Une Histoire

03) Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi

Anna Calvi – Love Won’t Be Leaving

02) Brief Candles – Fractured Days


Brief Candles – The Sentiment

01) Ringo DeathStarr – Colour Trip

In nearly every review, interview, blurb, or blog post post you’ll read about Ringo Deathstarr, you’ll find three common elements.

1. Trio from Austin

They’ve actually gone through a couple lineup changes over the past 5 years, but have mostly stuck to this formula. The creative element is lead vocalist/guitarist Elliott Frazier.¬†After bassist Alex found her way into the band (2007) by apparently just showing up for practice, things have mostly settled down, just finding the right drummer (as of this writing / hopefully “final” – that’s¬†Daniel Coborn).

2. These guys sound like My Bloody Valentine

Drownedinsound put it this way ”¬†If in the meantime you‚Äôve lost your copy of¬†Loveless, you could do far worse than listen to¬†Colour Trip.” Yeah, it’s true. Too bad Loveless

3. The bassist (Alex Gehring) (now going by “galexy”) is so hot

So there, that’s out of the way.¬†If it’s a more recent post you might read about how these kids just toured the UK/Europe with The Smashing Pumpkins. I have to admit kind of hate those dudes, but ultimately it means more exposure for Ringo Deathstarr and so I guess it’s not a bad thing. Moving beyond those tidbits, you get into a the music.

In case you haven’t noticed I don’t do traditional reviews. I leave it to others to finely dissect the record. Instead of telling you how it sounds (just listen for yourself), I offer you how the record felt.¬†Colour Trip hit hard for me. This was probably my favorite record Fever Ray’s 2009 debut, and going back further it would have to be Snowden’s Anti-Anti (2006). Before I totaled my car, this record could very often be heard at extremely high decibels pulsing through the streets of Baltimore weekday evenings. Dark ¬†reverberation¬†and the haunting fuzz draped chanting of Alex form the basis of my song of the year – Two Girls (stream/download below). For the life of me I can’t tell you what the fuck she is¬†saying, but she is¬†saying¬†it just right. Besides being the single most addicting track of 2011, there’s an equally worthy video directed by Alex, which you can also find below. Be forewarned: One might say it’s NSFW.

Ringo Deathstarr- Two Girls

Honorable Mentions [Highly Recommended]

Austra – Feel It Break
Girls – Father Son Holy Ghost
Hunx & His Punx – Too Young To Be In Love
Metronomy – The English Riviera
Radical Face – The Family Tree – The Roots
Shad[]wb[]x – Lady Doome [EP]
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Washed Out – Within & Without

Honorable Mentions [Enjoyed]

Arc In Round – II [EP]
Apparat – The Devil’s Walk
Battles – Gloss Drop
Björk РBiophilia
Big Black Delta – BBDLP1
Bombay Bicycle Club – A Different Kind Of Fix
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Brazzaville – Jetlag Poetry
Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island
Class Actress – Rapprocher
Com Truise – Galactic Melt
Computers Want Me Dead – Computers Want Me Dead
Cut Copy – Zonoscope
Destroyer – Kaputt
Dolorean – The Unfazed
Ducktails III – Arcade Dynamics
East River Pipe – We Live in Rented Rooms
Echo Orbiter – More Batteries
Feist – Metals
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Grimes & d’Eon – Darkbloom [split ep]
Haley Bonar – Golder
Haujobb – New World March
Hercules & Love Affair – Blue Songs
High Places – Original Colors
IAMX – Volatile Times
Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean
Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
LAKE R‚Ė≤DIO – Delta
Little Insects – Brighter Than Darkness
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete – On Welfare
Lumerians – Transmalinnia
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Malajube – La Caverne
Morpheme – Infection
Niva – Feverish Dreams [EP]
Mogwai – Earth Division [EP]
Music for Headphones –
Niva – Feverish Dreams [EP]
ohGr – Undeveloped
Passwords – Passwords
Phantogram – Nightlife [EP]
Pipes You See, Pipes You Don’t – Lost in the Pancakes
Prefuse 73 – The Only She Chapters
Rachel Goodrich – Rachel Goodrich
Seapony – Go With Me
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
Starfucker – Reptilians
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Mirror Traffic
Stevie Nicks – In Your Dreams
Stumbleine – All for your smile
Taken By Cars – Dualist
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
The Rosebuds – Loud Planes Fly Low
The Sea and Cake – The Moonlight Butterfly
Tropic of Cancer – The End of All Things
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
Tycho – Dive
Ume – Phantoms
Vondelpark – nyc stuff and nyc bags [EP]
Wagon Christ – Toomorrow
Warm Ghost – Uncut Diamond EP
Wooden Shjips – West
Woodsman – Mystic Places
Wire – Red Barked Tree
Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
Yuck – Yuck
††† Р† EP

- breathmint