5. Yuck – Yuck
When you think about it, is it really that much of a surprise that Yuck was one of 2011’s breakout bands? Everything was so perfectly calculated. The awful band name, the hideous album cover, and the tracks that brought back that ‘90s alternative feel; they all worked like a charm. But Yuck isn’t the kind of album that was used as a simple nostalgia piece. It is a record for those who never truly experienced the ’90s. Tracks like “The Wall” and “Georgia” allow me to understand the decade of my birth more than any Pavement or Dinosaur Jr. album ever did. Older cynics have no choice but to complain, but this album wasn’t made for them.
4. Boris – New Album
It’s almost as if this album was written for me. A record that mixes J-rock with dreampop? Not to mention it was made by Boris? The regularly silent Wata makes a hell of a performance, while Takeshi sings with the conviction of someone decades younger than him. It all sounds so real, almost as if Boris had never been a sludge metal band. Their inclusion in this list isn’t so much a testament to how much I liked the album, as much as the flawless genre-hopping seen in this record.
3. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
When I first listened to Girls’ second full-length it didn’t exactly click with me, but something told me it eventually would. And click it did. Father, Son, Holy Ghost walks the perfect boundary between catchy and ambitious. The hooks in songs like “Magic” and “Honey Bunny” are huge, but so are the ideas in “Vomit” and “Just a Song.” This heartbroken piece of music is a perfect image of a band taking a predictable genre and taking chances with it.
2. SBTRKT – SBTRKT
Despite the fact that modern trends dictate otherwise, 2011 was a great year for electronic music. Much like hip-hop, we saw many newcomers who released top-notch full-length debuts. SBTRKT was undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the genre this year, and in my eyes the biggest. The UK producer’s full-length is lonely but easily accessible and catchy. The guest features all mix perfectly with the atmosphere created in the tracks, from bouncy in “Pharaohs” and aggressive in “Wildfire” to mellow in “Right Thing to Do.” At the end of the day SBTRKT has proved that there is still quality electronic music out there.
1. Radiohead – The King of Limbs
It’s blasphemous to think that The King of Limbs is a disappointment based solely on its length. Everything that makes Radiohead great is in that album, all compacted into 38 minutes. If you are looking for a solemn piano ballad, you have “Codex.” If you are looking for a gloriously atmospheric opener, you have “Bloom.” If you want a haunting electronic track, you have “Lotus Flower.” If you want an unsettling dark track, you have “Give Up the Ghost.” If you want to hear the whole band working together in unison, you have “Good Morning Mr. Magpie.” If you want the best album to come out this year, you have The King of Limbs.
Top 10 Songs:
10. Thee Oh Sees – “Corrupted Coffin”
9. Girls – “Magic”
8. Atlas Sound – “Terra Incognita”
7. G-Side – “Came Up”
6. Main Attrakionz – “Bossalinis & Fooliyones Pt. 2”
5. SBTRKT – “Right Thing to Do”
4. The Weeknd – “Thursday”
3. Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”
2. The Antlers – “French Exit”
1. Massive Attack/Burial – “Four Walls”
Biggest Surprise: Death Grips – Exmilitary
Biggest Disappointment: Capsule – World of Fantasy
Best Live Show: Deerhunter
Most Anticipated 2012: Deerhunter