And I'll be the first to admit that this is probably the case with my list as it stands below. I'm sure I have missed some great music simply for the fact that I haven't been exposed to it. That being said, I have listened to a ton of great music this past year. And the 20 listed below are the ones I personally consider the cream of the crop. Each title links to a video from a song on the album. Enjoy.
1. The Cave Singers - No Witch Smooth, folksy goodness oozes from the seams of this Seattle trios third release. Great music to play while kicking back after a long day at the office.
2. Tapes n Tapes - Outside When all the 'Best Of 2011' lists were coming out, I quickly scoured them all to see how high each rated this record. Needless to say I was disappointed not to find it on ANY of them. This record has addictive riffs and catchy hooks laden throughout. I probably played it more than any other record this year. Given that, I would be very interested in hearing what you think about it after giving a full listen.
3. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues This second release from the Seattle folk rock artists is a beautiful, mellow, and harmonious compilation that will surely be as fresh and relevant 10 years from now as it is today.
4. Deer Tick - Divine Providence I've seen this record described as 'sophomoric' and 'a party album', which is probably true but hey it's also a lot of fun. There are elements of punk, twang, garage rock, and humor all blended together to make what was easily my favorite noisy release of the year.
5. Black Whales - Shangri-La Indeed I had never listened to a Black Whales song before getting my subscription to Spotify, but I really enjoyed what I found in Shangri-La. Yes, this is yet another Seattle band, and perhaps I am being a homer but if you haven't checked these guys out, believe me you won't be sorry you did.
6. Beirut - The Rip Tide Another beautiful record from Zach Condon full of Eastern European gypsy influences and indie vibes. Beirut continue to be one of my all time favorite bands and The Rip Tide picks up nicely where The Flying Cup Club left off.
7. We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships Pela was one of my favorite bands a couple of years ago, and I was pretty bummed when they broke up. And, although I hadn't followed the career of band members Billy McCarthy or Eric Sanderson there was no mistaken it was their new collaboration when I first hear We Are Augustines. This is a stunningly great record and on my most played list for 2011.
Devotchka - 100 lovers An eclectic, grand, and distinctly European sound, coupled with beautiful harmonies permeates this release. Don't be surprised if you find yourself daydreaming while listening to this record. Perhaps their best release to date.
9. My Goodness - My Goodness Terrific debut from this Seattle Blues Punk duo. Has the riffs to keep you coming back over and over again. Very similar to The Black Keys sound, but it has its own unique vibe.
10. Sallie ford & The Sound Outside - Dirty Radio Hailing from Portland, Oregon Sallie Ford had got unique pipes and a lot of fun rock and roll energy. This release is full of rockabilly leaning music that is simply fun to listen to.
The second 10. Honestly, any one of these could easily have cracked my top ten but although it was tough I had to choose. I also have one confession. Since they are not streaming it, and it was just recently released, I have only heard a couple of Songs from The Black Keys El Camino, but I am still ranking it in my top 20 because, after all, it's the Keys and thus is awesome.
11. Mastodon - The Hunter
12. Black Lips - Arabia Mountain
13. Fruit Bats - Tripper
14. Youth Lagoon -The Year of Hibernation
15. Black Keys - El Camino
16. My Morning Jacket - Circuital
17. British Sea Power - Valhalla Dancehall
18. Jeff The Brotherhood - We Are The Champions
19. Cage the Elephant - Thank You Happy Birthday
20. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Tell me readers, what where your top releases of 2011?