Melissa’s Top 10 Albums of 2011

It’s been a pretty decent year for new alternative albums.  I’ve managed to pick just enough of them after dismissing a lot of the indie garbage that dominated the CD releases these past 12 months.  I believe this list embodies my tastes fairly well and I have conviction in my choices and their order.  So now that the year is rapidly coming to an end, let’s recap some music!

10. Newvillager – Newvillager

What drew me into this album was hearing the first song “Cocoon House.”  It has simple beats and melodies and what I love the most is the singers’ voices.  They’re deep, a bit raspy, and powerful.  “Lighthouse” is another favorite on the self titled album and the video is pretty damn cool too.

9. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

With her soothingly pleasant voice and fun rock and electronic music, Wounded Rhymes makes for a pretty noteworthy album this year.  “I Follow Rivers” is an absolute hit that I can and do listen to almost everyday.  The Magician also does an excellent remix of it.  My other favorites are “Rich Kids Blues,” “Get Some,” and “Jerome.”  If you haven’t checked this album out yet, I’d highly recommend it.

8. Washed Out – Within and Without

This album is fantastic.  It’s chillwave-synthpop music blended with the artist Ernest Green’s faded voice singing somberly, and really creates a scene for you.  My first pick of the tracks was “Amor Fati,” followed by “Echoes” aand “Eyes Be Closed,” but all of them really are great.  The way the songs lead into one another is lovely and collectively makes for a cohesive album.

7. Glassjaw – Coloring Book EP

Now, how could Glassjaw make another album that comes close to the fantastic and widely liked Worship and Tribute?  Well, they didn’t.  But Coloring Book EP has a distinctly different sound that can be described as musically noisy with a strong pulse and I’m a huge fan of it.  Each song is quite varying from one another and I honestly can’t pick a favorite song out of the 6 of them.  “Vanilla Poltergeist Snake” was the first to truly catch my attention and now I’ve been digging the slower “Daytona White.”  All of them are equally great, earning this EP a number 7 spot.

6. Foster the People – Torches

C’mon, “Pumped Up Kicks” is on Now 40. First of all, 40?!  When did that happen?  Secondly, that’s a hit song.  People love it!  And the rest of the songs on their first full length album Torches don’t fall short of the single.  It’s super indie pop and fun to sing along to with your friends to get, well, pumped up!

5. Rihanna – Loud

Honestly, need I explain?  God, I have the biggest girl crush on her.

4. James Blake – James Blake

Raw talent, extreme soul, and entirely unique.  This album is perfection.  From the first track “Unluck” to the final “Measurements,” there is not one second of anything that falls short of incredible.  It’s just absolutely beautiful and has true moments.  Songs that stay super light and airy, and ones with high intensity.  It’s all James Blake and it’s all amazing.

3. Portugal. The Man – In the Mountain in the Cloud

Damn, this is good.  After the release of their last album American Ghetto, I was hoping they would be able to put something out that I would love as much as The Satanic Satanist, and thankfully they did.  Such a full orchestrated sound, beautifully catchy melodies, and meaningful lyrics definitely earns them the number 3 spot on my list.  When Portugal. comes out with something great, it’s truly wonderful and deserves frequent listens and replays.  Although their lyrics are usually dramatic and somewhat existentialist, these songs always find a way to make me feel good.

2. Protest the Hero – Scurrilous

If there’s an album I probably played on repeat way too many times this year, this is the one.  I first got heavily into PTH after the release of their second full length album, Fortress, which deals with “goddess worship, and how there has been this degendering of the Lord and Savior, and the suppressed feminine” (bassist and lyricist, Arif Mirabdolbaghi).  Scurrilous has more personal and still exceptional lyrics but the sound stays true to progressive metal.  Songs range in topics from cancer and drug usage in “Tandem” and “Hair-Trigger” to pornography in “Sex Tapes.”  I think my favorite song lyrically on this album is “Tapestry” but the album as a whole is magical.  It’s top shelf and most definitely deserving of being runner up.

1. Rubblebucket – Omega La La

This album is literally perfect from start to finish.  Songs are extremely diverse from one another but they work as a perfect cohesive album which is why I am naming it the  number 1 album of 2011.  The lead singer has a great voice which blends with the strange instruments and machines the band uses to create a more trippy-sounding album than I was originally expecting.  “Came Out of a Lady” is an instant-love song for everyone I’ve showed it too.  Their next single is “Silly Fathers” which is equally as lovable.  Then there are the more off-beat songs like “Triangular Daises” which feels just the way it sounds.  One song is even in French!  My favorites have fluctuated quite a bit and I love each song the more I listen to them.  Truly fantastic album more than deserving of a full listening to.

I wanted to post the song “Raining” but I couldn’t seem to find it.  You’ll be checking out the full length soon anyways so you’ll hear it!

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