View Full Version : Albums of the year so far

21-06-2011, 09:31 PM
Reasons for starting this topic; partly because it's halfway through the year, partly because it has come to my attention that after a while of me bemoaning the lack of such I've been informed there is now a record shop in Oxford (http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4142669-chad-valleys-guide-to-oxford) and I quite fancy spending some money there.

Anyway I'm going to present my favourites of the year so far and look forward to recommendations (several of my favourite albums of last year were recommended to me by you fine RPS folk, including Janelle Monae, Sleigh Bells and Yeasayer).

Albums which I've obsessed over

Fucked Up - David Comes to Life

This is just a fucking good rock album. There haven't been enough fucking brilliant rock albums recently.


Lia Ices - Grown Unknown

Bit of a slow burn this album, I knw it was good but the fact I absolutely loved it kind of snuck up on me. Beautiful voice.


Tune-Yards - Whokill

I flat out refuse to type the ludicrous punctuation. Gloriously madcap stuff. Multi-layered vocals, riotous percursion and BANG BANG BANG OI!


Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

She's just lovely isn't she?


Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

Bless Kurt, I'd never heard of him before this year and he's also managed to crop up already in this list (he does some backing vocals in David Comes to Life). His solo effort this year is fantastic, great guitar work and anyone who calls their backing band "The Violators" deserves respect.


Other albums which I really like a lot

King Creosote and Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine


Josh T Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen


The Leisure Society - Into the Murky Water


Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact


Admiral Fallow - Boots Met My Face


Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler


Bon Iver - Bon Iver


Emmy the Great - Virtue


Other albums which are well worth checking out

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

Sons & Daughters - Mirror Mirror


PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys

The Unthanks - Last

Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo

Bright Eyes - The People's Key

The Arctic Monkeys - Suck it and See

Okkervil River - I am Very Far

Dananananaykroyd - There is a Way

Stuff that was mildly disappointing

Noah & The Whale - Last Night on Earth

The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts

British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall

Unpleasant Scott
21-06-2011, 09:38 PM
The King Blues - Punk and Poetry
Skindred - Union Black
Funeral For a Friend - Welcome Home Armageddon

21-06-2011, 10:41 PM
Panda Bear - Tomboy

No Animal Collective but it makes up for it with some beautiful and magical tunes and lyrics once you start actually being able to hear them that connect to you deeply.


The Antlers - Burst Apart

Beautiful, just beautiful really gets to you the subject matter and the tunes that are in this one album. It could have easily seemed a bit to depressing but it never truly gets that dark.


Death Cab For Cutie - Codes & Keys

A first half that is trying to tell some kind of story and a second half of catchy tunes(the first half is quite catchy as well) it definitly works and puts a bit of substance to it.


My Morning Jacket - Circuital

The one song i'm about to link to is a song that is awesome and i could listen to forever, it is that good, it is that catchy and it basically is the strong stuff of the album. The album is great and that shows you something.


Radiohead - The King of Limbs


I don't like Radioheads rock output that much, I more like there elctronic output like Kid A so I was very pleased about this album, sure its not as weird and definitely more listenable then Kid A but I don't grudge them for that. It does seem to be a bit to short and incomplete like they accidental left a few more songs off of it

Colonel J
21-06-2011, 10:45 PM
White Denim - D

21-06-2011, 10:59 PM
I forgot Radiohead was this year. That is what happens when you don't give me a physical copy to get my grubby paws on! I definitely liked it a lot but it definitely wasn't them at their peak.

21-06-2011, 11:07 PM
I've linked to this before but thought it would be worth restating. The whole of Emmy the Great - Virtue, as mentioned in the first post, is available to stream here (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2011/jun/07/emmy-great-virtue-album-stream). I'm afraid that's the only album I've fallen in love with for a long time now so cannot add anything else useful.

21-06-2011, 11:12 PM
Virtue is indeed excellent - thanks to whoever mentioned it a week or two ago in a thread here; it's been getting a lot of plays in Spotify recently!

Love Wounded Rhymes too. I could listen to Lykke Li all day, and will be seeing her (and Emmy the Great!) at End of the Road in September. Can't wait!

Can't think of anything to add off the top of my head, though. I haven't really been keeping up with new music this past year.

21-06-2011, 11:16 PM
Virtue is indeed excellent - thanks to whoever mentioned it a week or two ago in a thread here; it's been getting a lot of plays in Spotify recently!

That might have been me :)

21-06-2011, 11:32 PM

21-06-2011, 11:37 PM
For me it's The Wombats - This Modern Glitch. I never knew I was a techno fan.

22-06-2011, 12:23 AM
Until the next Manilla Road album comes out in August it's going to have to be Stained Glass Revelations by Negative Plane.


22-06-2011, 02:44 AM
Vintage trouble - The Bomb Shelter Sessions


22-06-2011, 04:04 AM
For me David Comes to Life by Fucked Up is probably gonna be album of the year, it is so far at least.

Jams O'Donnell
22-06-2011, 09:35 AM
The record that's grabbed me most this year so far has been EMA's Past Life Martyred Saints. Sample song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BacPDrDeY8U

Also of note:
Death Grips, Ex-military, stream it here: http://thequietus.com/articles/06320-death-grips-exmilitary-review
Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 , stream it here: http://hotsaucecommittee.com/

moth bones
22-06-2011, 10:22 AM
Excellent, recommendations to investigate.

My unreserved favourite thus far is PJ Harvey's 'Let England Shake', a superb album that is imo the best thing she has done by a distance

22-06-2011, 10:30 AM
I have to say this year more then most I've gotten to follow music quite well, I use A.V Club for my reviews not because there reviews are so good(a lot of times they seem to think a review is comparing bands to other bands i've never heard of) but because it sometimes has the whole album on an Amazon widget that i like to listen to to see if i like it and if it doesn't I get a good idea about what the album is like to check it out.


I forgot Radiohead was this year. That is what happens when you don't give me a physical copy to get my grubby paws on!

Even though I've got it I keep kind of forgetting its there, I'm the same I like it but it definitely seems a little to forgettable for the band.

22-06-2011, 12:43 PM
The best so far:

Instra:mental - Resolution653

Eyptrixx - Bible Eyes
If there was any justice in the world this would be the kind of pop song that got to No.1. Plus Night Slugs have been one of the best labels in the UK for over a year now, so buy everything they put out.

Laurel Halo - Hour Logic
Only just posted this on another thread but it bears repeating, this is someone to keep your eye on.

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

Grimes - Halfaxa

Harald Grosskopf - Synthesist
Are reissues cheating? Everyone should own this.

Surgeon - Breaking the Frame

Hype Williams - One Nation

Good but not the best:

Hyetal - Broadcast
Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years
Horrid Red - Pink Flowers
Braids - Native Speaker
2562 - Fever
Boxcutter - The Dissolve

22-06-2011, 12:51 PM
Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Really liking this, and the whole album in fact. Never been a massive Bon Iver fan in the past but after hearing this I might investigate some more.

23-06-2011, 01:18 AM
keeping up with new music is hard and I just gave up a couple of years ago so I think I have bought only two new albums this year, PJ Harvey and Radiohead, and I like let england shake more. actually I love the new PJ Harvey album, it was the only thing I listened to for weeks after buying it.

The JG Man
23-06-2011, 01:46 AM
I'm really rubbish with getting new music. I still like my CDs though, so there's that I guess.

Bought 3 (new) albums this year; Foo Fighters 'Wasting Light', Queens of the Stone Age (self-titled re-release) and Radiohead.

I thought King of Limbs was alright. It felt like just a lot of noise at times. I really like Lotus Flower though.

I hadn't heard QOTSA's debut album so was surprised to find out two days before release it was being re-released with a couple of extra tracks. Definitely lacks some of the refinement found on some of their later albums, but it's still so very good. Very consistent and some great riffs.

Wasting Light though gets my vote. I cannot stop listening to it and it has such an amazing start to the album. Even its filler is very good. Of course that supposes you like Foo Fighters. I know a lot of people don't like them for a variety of fair-enough reasons, but I do so there you go. After the album got leaked, they put up their entire album on their site (http://wastinglight.foofighters.com/) in high quality. I'll also leave the link for 'White Limo''s music video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebJ2brErERQ) because it's very amusing.

For what it's worth, I also went and bought all four of Metric's albums. None from this year (although their latest, 'Fantasies', was from last year. So that's a thing)...I should probably take some notes from this thread.

23-06-2011, 03:34 AM
Cut Copy - Zonoscope: Bright Like Neon Love was a great album for wearing headphones while doing something else. There was a strong 80s synth pop vibe and video game-like bloops and blips, but lyrics were sparse. It was clearly a DJ crossing over into something a little different, reminiscent of a similar journey made by Schneider TM years earlier. The follow up, In Ghost Colours, saw Cut Copy flesh out into an honest-to-goodness studio & concert line-up. There was still an 80s influence, but it was more like New Order, including semi-romantic, adolescent lyrics. But boy did it sound great, and boy was it good for filling a dance party. The live touring show sounded almost exactly like the album versions, and the group were honestly playing their instruments. This year's Zonoscope is an excellent album, still sounding like the 80s, somewhat more reserved, but takes pages from the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense era, Toto, and other groups that added a lot of odd percussion and made synth pads less of a priority. Get past the album's first track and you'll see what I mean. Great cd, worth listening to on a long car ride or airline flight. Headphones or out loud.

23-06-2011, 07:15 AM
I'm really surprise to see that so many people here like King of Limbs. I'm a huge Radiohead fan and I think it's easily the weakest album of the post-Kid A era.
Actually, 2011 is full of disappointments so far and lots of albums turned out to be not as good as expected. Maybe I'm just more critical than I was last year, who knows. I simply haven't discovered any mindblowing albums yet, like last year's Anathema, World's End Girlfriend or Oceansize.
Of course there are are still numerous great albums:

Letlive - Fake History (Post-Hardcore)
This is actually a re-release. I'm not a big Post-Hardcore fan but this is just amazing. Not a single wasted second, not a single bad or even mediocre song. The range of the vocalist and the musical abilities of the rest of the band are outstanding. How this band has managed to stay unknown for so long is beyond me.


Unexpect - Fables of the Sleepless Empire (Avantgarde Metal)
"I have no clue what's going on but this amazing" - a friend. It's really not easy to explain Unexpect to people without having them listening to it. Basically, they play extremely complex extreme metal but they also incorporate pieces from pretty much every other genre in existence. The result is certainly not for everybody and will most likely be too much for casual listeners. Those who pull through will be rewarded with one of the most unique albums of the last years. No matter what, it's certainly a big improvement over the messy Flesh Aquarium.


The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - From The Stairwell (Darkjazz)
The ideal album to listen to alone at night. A flawless and very atmospheric experimental jazz/ambient album and thus highly recommended.


Tesseract - One (Prog Metal, I guess)
Now, I'm not really buying in that whole Djent hype but what can I say? Some of the albums are just really good and this by far the best of the lot. Very nice songs and great six-part suite on top of it. Yes.


And So I Watch You From Afar - Gangs (Post-Rock)
I didn't expect too much from this but I was pleasantly surprised. No song has quite the punch of Set Guitars To Kill from the first record but the individual songs are a lot better now. For people who like the more energetic kind of Post-Rock.


Ulver - Wars of the Roses (Avantgarde)
It's Ulver, alright. It's not a masterpiece like Blood Inside or Perdition City, that make you cry because they're just that good but it's certainly on par with Shadows of the Sun. If you don't know Ulver, well, it's about time.


Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (I think at this point nobody knows what this is band is playing anymore)
Colors and The Great Misdirect are two of my all-time favourite albums. This EP contains only three songs but wow. It seamlessly continues where The Great Misdirect ended and Specular Reflection is so far my favourite song of the year. It's going to be very hard to top this one.

Note: this is only a clip, the full song is about twice as long.

23-06-2011, 09:25 AM
Trying to limit this to five, in no particular order of sorts...

Bright Eyes - The People's Key. My album of the year at the moment. A great, great return after Oberst's meddling solo albums and other forgettable fluff he's been doing since (the amazing) Cassadaga. Everything you want from a Bright Eyes album mixed together with some wonderfully vibrant, energetic rocker feel. Everyone sounds rejuvenated and it's really audible in the music.
Jejune Stars (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sni54pm08lg)

Moby - Destroyed. The "soundtrack for empty cities at 2am" sounds exactly like its description would make one assume it sounds, and I'm loving it because of it. The atmosphere is brilliant and the quality during the 72-minute album is consistently excellent - I wouldn't change a moment. Moby's been really revitalised ever since he moved onto his own label and this makes the excellent Wait for Me a few years back sound like a practice round. One of the albums that has really captivated me this year and is a frequent late-night zone-out soundtrack.
Sevastopol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUL3_RZVnXE)

Guillemots - Walk the River. I'm not the one to ever use the term "return to form" because I loathe it and hell, I even quite liked the universally disliked Red. But despite all that, this would be an apt time to use that phrase: if Red brought the band element of Guillemots really together (with what the debut being entirely written by Fyfe, etc) but felt like a mess, Walk the River is an album created by that same band now that they've learned to perfectly function as one creative writing unit. It's a different sort of beast than either of the past albums though: a more atmospheric, moodier journey. Works brilliantly. It's a bit on the overlong side and the 1-2 tracks that wouldn't mind going away are annoyingly easy to point out, but other than that it's an album that keeps on giving more the more I listen to it.
Walk the River (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yef2PF2AteU)

Radiohead - The King of Limbs. Speaking of something that keeps sounding better and better whenever I listen to it. Yeah I'm one of the weirdos who really love this one. Love the density of the sound, the atmosphere of it all. I even like "Feral" which seems to be the weak spot for many. I don't think there's much anything new I can say about this as it's been popping up steadily even in this thread.
Bloom (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwVVCrEax1A)

Rubik - Solar. More loopily quirky yet massively instant pop tunes from Rubik. On their last album they transformed from the angst-rock of their early days to the colourful, vibrant, upbeat prog-pop monstrosity they are now and Solar continues on that path. It's a bit more toned down in its sheer sense of wonder from its pre-decessor and replaces it with a tighter focus on the structure of the whole album. One of those albums that sound like a concept album even if they aren't. The key focus is still on the utterly inresistable, massively infectious hooks and sense of fun (even when the lyrics are full of apocalyptic doom) that radiates from everything.
Sun's Eyes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfZzbnhAucc)

Also notable albums:
Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys!
R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now

Really enjoying this year so far. A very good album year.