Favorited ex.fm Songs

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Top 40 Albums of the Year (21-40)

Well school really got the better of me these last few weeks, but I'm back with some end of the year round-ups. I've got a top 40 albums list planned that will be broken into 4 parts over the next 4 days and then some other miscellanea the first day of the new year if all goes to plan.

This is the first year I've had this blog, but I've actually posted end of the year lists before over on last.fm (2008, 2009, 2010). Those lists are a good reminder that these end of the year lists are completely subjective and a product of a specific time. If I remade this list a year later (or even a month later), it would probably be fairly different. This is just meant to be a snapshot of how I feel about the year's releases as 2011 winds to a close. So with that out of the way, enjoy! (And let me know in the comments which albums you think I've left out or just if you want to chat about some of the ones that are on there).

Also, I should note that this is a great time to bolster your music collections. 18 of the 20 albums on this list are currently available for $5 or less over at Amazon, so go check some of them out.

40) Carlos Forster - Family Trees
This was the debut album by one of M. Ward's friends. M. Ward also produced the album, which isn't a surprise when you listen to it.

39) The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
This is a side project of the lead singer of The Gaslight Anthem. It didn't catch me as much as their last two albums did, but it is a good listen.

38) Beirut - The Rip Tide
This is the 3rd album by Zach Condon, who apparently is younger than me.

37) Memphis - Here Comes A City
Memphis will probably sound familiar to anyone who likes the band Stars. One of the two members, Torquil Campbell is also one of the Stars singers. This album could have been placed higher. I always come away thinking I really enjoyed it when I finish listening.

36) North Highlands - Wild One
I admit to not knowing much about this band or album. I only gave it a couple listens, but it came across as really catchy when I did. It is one I'll return to in the new year, which could send it moving up or down this list.

35) Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
Hello Sadness is the follow-up to the similarly well-titled Romance is Boring from last year. Their albums have some infectious energy that make listening to them a fun experience.

34) The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
This is my favorite album title of the year due to the fact that it is their debut album. "If You Wanna" and "Norgaard" are two infectiously catchy songs among my favorites of the year, but the album as a whole dragged a little too much to be placed higher.

33) Blink-182 - Neighborhoods
I actually haven't listened to this album more than a couple times, but it seemed enjoyable when I did. Maybe I'm still just giving them some good will for how much I loved their last release, their self-titled album back in 2003.

32) Okkervil River - I Am Very Far
As has been the case for most of their releases, I enjoy it, but I don't find myself craving it ever.

31) Dawes - Nothing Is Wrong
Early in the year I discovered Middle Brother, a band composed of members from Dawes, Delta Spirit and Deer Tick. This led me go back and listen to those originating bands. Dawes may be my favorite of the bunch, but none of them have quite lived up to that initial excitement I got listening to the new Middle Brother record.

30) Tennis - Cape Dory
Tennis is a husband/wife duo that according to Wikipedia met while studying philosophy in college. I knew there was a reason I liked them.

29) I Build Collapsible Mountains - The Spectator & The Act
This is the indie folk solo project of a Scottish musician who got his start in a post-rock band called The Gothenburg Address. He also put out a really good self-titled EP this year.

28) The Black Keys - El Camino
I just bought this album about a week ago. My initial impression is that I don't like it as much as Rubber Factory, their only album I am super familiar with, but it is enjoyable nonetheless and may grow on me more.

27) Destroyer - Kaputt
This album has one of the more unique sounds I heard this year, blending indie pop with jazz. The saxophone gets a bum rap in popular music, but Destroyer did their darnedest with this album to change that. For that, I commend them.

26) Jamaica - No Problem
Jamaica is actually a French band. This is a good upbeat electronic/indie pop or indie rock album. There are some pretty catchy tunes on here.

25) Laura Marling - A Creature I Don't Know
Ideally I would have talked about Laura Marling in a post already. I was unfamiliar with her until I saw her open for M. Ward a few weeks ago, but she really won me over by being charming and delightful on stage and playing some really good songs.

24) The Head And The Heart - The Head And The Heart
The Head And The Heart is an indie folk band from Seattle. Technically they originally released this album two years ago, but it just got a national release through Sub Pop this year, which is the first I'm hearing it, so it goes on the list.

23) The Kills - Blood Pressures
I've enjoyed The Kills before, but I think this is the first album that I enjoyed the whole way through.

22) Kathryn Calder - Bright And Vivid
Kathryn Calder is a member of The New Pornographers, and apparently she released an album last year too, but this is my first exposure to her. I was sold on her from the very first song on this album. I'm not sure what it was, but it really kept my attention.

21) Telekinesis - 12 Desperate Straight Lines
If I redo this list in a month or two, this album may end up 10 places higher. After every listen I come away thinking just how great and catchy and well-crafted the album is, but for some reason it still isn't one that I find myself going back to over and over and over again, so for now it is stuck on the outside of the top 20 looking in. Fun Wikipedia fact: Telekinesis is apparently the brainchild of one guy from Seattle but on tour he is joined by Cody Votolato, younger brother of Rocky Votolato (an old favorite of mine).

Congrats to anyone that made it all the way through that! Here are a few videos of some of my favorite songs from this part of the list.

A great regretful break-up song by The Vaccines.

Dawes performing a live version of album closer "A Little Bit of Everything" for Minneapolis radio station, 89.3 The Current.

And a song from Telekinesis, the top band on this part of the list:

Come back tomorrow for albums 11-20.

No comments:

Post a Comment