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Friday, December 9, 2011


And with this final part of my 2011 album list, I'm done writing about music until the new year rolls around.  I hope you've had a good time browsing the stuff that made the biggest impact on me over the last 12 months.  Be sure to visit next week for lists from each of SOTO's five contributors.  Enjoy.

PS - You can find all 25 of my favorite albums on one page here.

- 10 Through 1 -


#10)  White Denim - D

Over the years White Denim have gone from a band I didn't think all that much of to one I absolutely adore.  You could throw this jam-worthy effort on and stroll off to do something else, but I highly recommend headphones and all the attention you can give it.  I promise the effort put in will be worth it.

:White Denim - Drug:


#09) Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

For whatever reason this band tends to be given a hard time for continuing on as the best post-rock act around.  I don't get it.  Hopefully, they never change a damn thing and will continue on doing instrumental music in a way that leaves everyone else wondering why they can't be as good.

:Explosions In The Sky - Trembling Hands:


#08) Cymbals Eat Guitars - Lenses Alien

In 2009 this band landed at the very top of my year-end album list.  I didn't find this effort to be as great as Why There Are Mountains, but it's certainly still a very worthy follow up.  You need to get this if at any point in your life you've liked indie rock.

:Cymbals Eat Guitars - Another Tunguska:


#07)  Wild Flag - Self Titled

Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss are back together.  I'd probably put the LP on this list solely because of that, but thankfully they made it easy by churning out the sort of big, confident rock music that just isn't around as much as it used to be.  Here's hoping we get more than one album out of the band.

:Wild Flag - Future Crimes:


#06)  Jeff The Brotherhood - We Are The Champions

I had planned on just putting this somewhere near the bottom of my year-end album list, and then I realized it had to be much higher.  Why?  Because it's an LP that straight up punches you in the ear.  There wasn't much that I had more fun blaring in the car in all of 2011.

:Jeff The Brotherhood - Shredder:


#05)  Tune Yards - WHOKILL

Merrill Garbus is one of the more creative people on the planet, and I was super thrilled to see that she finally figured out a way to channel that crazy brain of hers into something that's accessible to everyone.  There's something for you on this experimental wonder, you just need to give it a shot.

:Tune Yards - You Yes You:


#04) St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

It's no secret that I adore Annie Clark, so her presence in the top five of this list shouldn't be surprising in any way, shape, or form.  With that being said, I don't see how you can listen to this and not just want to high five the hell out of her for all the nifty guitar work that fills Strange Mercy.

:St. Vincent - Cheerleader:


#03) Yuck - Self Titled

This band seems to be stuck in some sort of bizarre 90s indie rock backlash movement, but I think they've done an absolutely stellar job of paying tribute to that particular sound of yesteryear.  If you snatch up this effort be sure to grab the special edition for all the awesome bonus tracks.

:Yuck - The Wall:


#02)  Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks - Mirror Traffic

While I would have given my left arm for a new Pavement album, I was more than a little thrilled to see Malkmus put out such an inspired solo effort.  I think you'd be rather hard pressed to find anything else in 2011 that's as easy to like as Mirror Traffic.

:Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks - Brain Gallop:


#01)  Yellow Ostrich - The Mistress

The Mistress was the album I listened to the most in 2011.  I love the strange vocal loops, the warmth that fills every track, and the fact that there isn't a single moment on the album that doesn't have the ability to get lodged in your head for days.  I'd be surprised if I didn't dig this effort forever.

:Yellow Ostrich - Hold On:

What's that?  You'd like me to mini-list a few other things?  OK!

- Five Other Albums That I Fancied A Bit
1.  Tennis - Cape Dory
2.  Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
3.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - It's A Corporate World
4.  The Kills - Blood Pressures
5.  Chelan - Towers

- Five Albums That Seemingly Impacted Everyone But Me
1.  Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
2.  The Weeknd - House Of Balloons
3.  Washed Out - Within And Without
4.  Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
5.  Drake - Take Care

- Five Local Releases You Should Seek Out
1.  La Snacks - AA 7"
2.  The Lovely Sparrows - Tall Cedars Of Lebanon EP
3.  Elaine Greer - Annotations
4.  Leatherbag - Yellow Television
5.  The Long Tangles - Finer Things

- John Laird -

Unless otherwise expressly stated, all text in this blog and any related pages, including the blog's archives, is licensed by John Laird under a Creative Commons License.