The Top 25 Albums of 2011

2011 was the year that my music consumption changed. It was only a few short years ago that I was spending quite a bit of money on physical and digital music, almost all of which I purchased at Amoeba or on Amazon. Sadly, this year I spent a small fraction of what I normally do. I say sadly because I’m conflicted about it. On the one hand I want to support the artists that are making the music that I love and on the other hand I want convenience. I want to listen to anything, but I don’t want to purchase everything just to see if it’s worth purchasing. I don’t care about having thousands of CDs, some of which are of questionable quality. I plan to get rid of nearly all of them in 2012. I care about building a collection of hundreds, maybe thousands, of vinyl albums that matter most. A collection that gets passed along. I don’t care about owning all the rest.

Most of the time I’m listening to music at my desk or on the go, but for the times I want to really listen I grab a record from the shelf, fire up the stereo and drop the needle on side a. There’s just nothing like it. Nothing sounds like it and nothing feels like it. I’ve been hoping that artists would start catching on to the needle drop movement, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’d pay a premium for it and judging from the underground market for it, I know I’m not alone. But I digress. This year I streamed more music than I ever thought I would. Convenience won out and thanks to MOG’s high bitrate, it didn’t come at the cost of quality, which is exactly what has kept me from earlier streaming services. While I wasn’t as regular with the monthly mixes, I consumed just as much music as I ever have and saw a ton of live music. Here’s a MOG mix that I made to accompany the list. I’ve also provided MOG and Amazon links for pretty much everything on the list. What did you listen to in 2011?

25. Portugal The Man – In The Mountain In The Cloud [MOG] [Amazon]

24. SBTRKT – SBTRKT [MOG] [Amazon]

23. Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation [MOG] [Amazon]

22. Grails – Deep Politics [Amazon]

21. Yuck – Yuck [MOG] [Amazon]

20. Widowspeak – Widowspeak [MOG] [Amazon]

19. Peaking Lights – 936 [MOG] [Amazon]

18. Austra – Feel It Break [MOG] [Amazon]

17. White Denim – D [MOG] [Amazon]

16. Real Estate – Days [MOG] [Amazon]

15. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me [MOG] [Amazon]

14. Tycho – Dive [MOG] [Amazon]

13. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy [MOG] [Amazon]

12. Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise [MOG] [Amazon]

11. A.A. Bondy – Believers [MOG] [Amazon]

10. The Weeknd – House Of Balloons [Legal Download]

9. Cut Copy – Zonoscope [MOG] [Amazon]

8. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues [MOG] [Amazon]

7. Fucked Up – David Comes To Life [MOG] [Amazon]

6. Washed Out – Within And Without [MOG] [Amazon]

5. Atlas Sound – Parallax [MOG] [Amazon]

4. The Horrors – Skying [MOG] [Amazon]

3. Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys! [MOG] [Amazon]

2. James Blake – James Blake [MOG] [Amazon]

1. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo [MOG] [Amazon]

2011 In Music | MetaFilter

2011 In Music | MetaFilter

That List I Did For Sub Pop

So honored and stoked that Sub Pop asked me to do this. As you can probably imagine, I really stressed about this. Like, a lot. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. My wife helped me put some finishing touches on while she was half-asleep next to me the night before I sent it. Please go check the rest of the lists out as well. There are some incredible ones there.

Ten Lists I Considered, But For Various Reasons Decided Not To Go With, Before I Settled On A Reverse Alphabetical List Of Ten Albums That Will Make It Look Like You Know What The Fuck You’re Talking About When Someone Asks What Your Favorite Albums Of 2011 Are

  • Ten used albums I tried to sell to Amoeba in 2011, but couldn’t because they wouldn’t take them.
  • Ten artists you didn’t hear in 2011, but should have and probably will once everyone else’s lists are published.
  • Ten female music artists I asked permission from my wife to sleep with, only if the opportunity were to present itself.
  • Ten albums that, if mentioned in the context of best albums released in 2011 in my presence, would result in me punching you in the face.
  • Ten artists or bands that released an album in 2011 and whose name rhymes with a fruit or vegetable. 
  • Ten reasons the Metallica and Lou Reed collaboration is one of the worst albums in the history of music.
  • Ten albums released in 2011 that I tried to sync with The Wizard of Oz. 
  • Ten albums I decided to add to my own top of 2011 list, only after reading other people’s lists.
  • Ten albums I added to my top of 2011 list but never actually listed to.
  • Ten albums released in 2011 that I’m embarrassed to say I like.

A Reverse Alphabetical List Of Ten Albums That Will Make It Look Like You Know What The Fuck You’re Talking About When Someone Asks What Your Favorite Albums Of 2011 Are

Washed Out Within And Without
Kurt Vile Smoke Ring For My Halo
Jessica Lea Mayfield Tell Me
The Horrors Skying
Fucked Up David Comes To Life
Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
Elbow Build A Rock Boys!
James Blake James Blake
Atlas Sound Parallax
A.A. Bondy – Believers