Stream on your mobile:

2011-audio-almanac

1 Jens Lekman - An Argument with Myself

Album: "An Argument with Myself"

Released: Sept 2011

It's a bit of shame that after a 4 year break Jens opted to release just a 17 minute, five-song EP... but there's no need to raise a fuss about it. Every second of this album is tight, playful, and completely entertaining.

2011-audio-almanac

2 Miracle Fortress - Everything Works

Album: "Was I The Wave"

Released: April 2011

Smart move, Miracle Fortress ... moving away from the standard indie rock thing (whatever that means) and getting into a lot more spacey and electronic sounds.

2011-audio-almanac

3 M83 - Reunion

Album: "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming"

Released: Oct 2011

I initially wrote off "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" after reading that the album was going to be an "epic double album in the same vein as Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" (because, ugh, gross). It was actually a goofy viral web video of a guy pretending to be a back-up singer for the band that got me to listen to it again... I'm glad I did because the synth-pop oriented stuff on the album is fantastic.

2011-audio-almanac

4 Lykke Li - Jerome

Album: "Wounded Rhymes"

Released: March 2011

Who would have ever thought someone who cornered the market cutesy-poo pop songs could get ultra-bleak and channel Phil Spector's Wall of Sound?

2011-audio-almanac

5 Theophilus London - Why Even Try (feat. Sara from Tegan & Sara)

Album: "Lovers Holiday EP"

Released: Feb 2011

This was the first stand out song of the year for me. Tegan's done a lot of cross genre collaborations, but this is the first where she actually dials it down. The result is pretty great.

2011-audio-almanac

6 Making Friendz - Situation

Album: "Social Life"

Released: June 2011

No deep thoughts on this one. This is just a fuzzy summer jam, you guys.

2011-audio-almanac

7 Dan Mangan - War Blues

Album: "Oh Fortune"

Released: Sept 2011

Vancouverite, Dan Mangan, has built a loyal following over the last few years doing radio friendly folk stuff. In the past, I ignored his work but was handed a copy of Oh, Fortune as I got in the car to move out of province. His new album is wonderfully dark and ferocious. This got heavy rotation this fall.

2011-audio-almanac

8 Cut Copy - Where I'm Going

Album: "Zonoscope"

Released: Feb 2011

Less electronic and more organic sounds... which is surprizing because these guys were pretty good at kicking out the dance party jams.

2011-audio-almanac

9 Real Estate - It's Real

Album: "Days"

Released: Oct 2011

This whole album is straight up Pleasantville. The fact that they made a video for this song featuring a pack of adorable dogs shows they've mastered marketing to the Internet.

2011-audio-almanac

10 Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes

Album: "Only in Dreams"

Released: Sept 2011

I could have picked any song from Only In Dreams for my best of list. Cover to cover, this album is flawless.

2011-audio-almanac

11 Destroyer - Downtown

Album: "Kaputt"

Released: Jan 2011

Kaputt is my album of the year for 2011. When this album came out thousands upon thousands of words were spilled by bloggers debating whether or not the early 80's soft rock sound of this album was an intentional joke at the listener's expense or just a foray into something new for Bejar. I personally didn't care... the album was GREAT from first listen. The songs are catchy, sonically perfect, and just weird enough to make sense for a Destroyer record.

2011-audio-almanac

12 Pleasure Cruise - I Really Wanna Know

Album: "Business or..."

Released: Sept 2011

Never mind the music, I love the idea of with a Vancouver "super group" forming with a mandate of creating endless summer jams. Everything about the concept is perfect (and I'm not saying this just because half the band let me go apeshit DJ'ing at Damaged Goods this summer). Best of all, the music itself is great. Coming from the same school as the Dun Dum Girls and Best Coast but a lot more fun.

2011-audio-almanac

13 The Bilinda Butchers - Careless Teens

Album: "Regret, Love, Guilt, Dreams"

Released: June 2011

No idea how I stumbled on to this band. Definitely in that downtempo melodic space, but far too vital and instrument driven to get lazily lumped into the "chill wave" bucket.

2011-audio-almanac

14 Jamie Woon - Night Air

Album: "Mirrorwriting"

Released: July 2011

I feel like this guy didn't get enough attention in North America this year. Think earlier Jamie Lidell style soul, but playing over a minimalist digital groove.

2011-audio-almanac

15 Jamie xx - Far Nearer

Album: "Far Nearer"

Released: June 2011

Jamie xx had an insane year. I struggled to pick just one song of his for this compilation. His collaboration with Gil Scott-Heron went to some really dark and grimy places. Far Nearer, on the other hand, is one of the most joyful songs I've hear in years. So much so, instantly became my definitive summer jam for 2011.

2011-audio-almanac

16 tUnE-YarDs - My Country

Album: "w h o k i l l"

Released: April 2011

This album is insane. In a good way.

2011-audio-almanac

17 Washed Out - Eyes Be Closed

Album: "Within and Without"

Released: July 2011

While Within and Without was a dud, the Eyes Be Closed single came out at the right time to catch my attention. Just as the weather was getting warm and just as summer trips and events started to happen in bulk this song provided a perfect soundtrack.

2011-audio-almanac

18 The Weeknd - Wicked Games

Album: "House of Balloons"

Released: March 2011

Man, we all lost our minds when the House of Balloons mixtape came out. It was so sexy, soooooo mysterious, right?. We ate it up! Although, by the time the second mixtape came out I was like, dude, we get it... you really like fucking while on drugs.

2011-audio-almanac

19 Wil - Roam

Album: "Remember to Breathe EP"

Released: Nov 2011

I've followed Wil forever. The path his music has taken veered far away from my tastes, so much so that I completely dismissed his 2011 full length Heart of Mine. However, this song, a b-side possibly done by commission, is the kind of composition and production I always hoped he'd embrace. The sound is so much more contemporary and even teeters into Chad Vangaalen territory (without sounding like a facsimile). More of this please.

2011-audio-almanac

20 Ryan Adams - Chains Of Love

Album: "Ashes & Fire"

Released: Oct 2011

Remember the pre-release buzz for this album? Remember when everyone was betting this album would sound like Heartbreaker? This album didn't sound anything like Heartbreaker and that's a good thing. This was my favourite song from Ashes & Fire. Not sure if it's because the production teeters on crossing into sickly sweet territory or if its because of the line referencing being 32 years old or if it's something else. Don't really care, just happily enjoying it.