Drowned in Sound's Albums of The Year 2011



LIST SUMMARY
VIEW ORIGINAL LIST
List Rating
80
494 ratings
Genre Breakdown
Experimental (6), Indie Rock (5), Electronic (4), Indie Pop (3), Folk (3), Ambient (3), Singer-Songwriter (3), Drone (2), Art Pop (2), R&B (2), Alternative Rock (2), Indie Folk (2), Electropop (2), Experimental Rock (2), Neo-Psychedelia (1), Progressive Metal (1), Post-Punk (1), Blues (1), Hardcore Punk (1), Jazz (1), Shoegaze (1), Dance Pop (1), Dubstep (1), Pop (1), Rock (1), Hip Hop (1), Post-Rock (1)

1. The Antlers - Burst Apart

The Antlers - Burst Apart
May 10, 2011
Indie Rock
Critic Score
83
20 reviews
User Score
82
85 reviews

Burst Apart deserves all the plaudits that can be thrown at it; albums are rarely as unashamedly, gut-wrenchingly, genuinely emotional as this.

2. Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972
February 15, 2011
Drone
Critic Score
86
13 reviews
User Score
85
43 reviews

3. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
February 15, 2011
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
87
22 reviews
User Score
86
132 reviews

Let England Shake is neither damning, patriotic, nor angry and its gristly lyrics do not dictate the mood.

4. SBTRKT - SBTRKT

SBTRKT - SBTRKT
June 28, 2011
Dubstep
Critic Score
77
12 reviews
User Score
81
57 reviews

SERIOUSLY, this record is fucking good, flawless, almost, and hard to stop listening to.

5. Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow

Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow
November 21, 2011
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
84
17 reviews
User Score
79
20 reviews

And jolly spectacular it is too, which is never a guarantee

6. When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie

When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie
June 21, 2011
Electropop
Critic Score
80
6 reviews
User Score
83
6 reviews

Konkylie is an impressive, accomplished collection of songs from a band coming into their own.

7. Nils Frahm - Felt

Nils Frahm - Felt
October 11, 2011
Ambient
Critic Score
83
4 reviews
User Score
86
2 reviews

8. Bright Eyes - The People's Key

Bright Eyes - The People's Key
February 15, 2011
Folk
Critic Score
70
17 reviews
User Score
66
13 reviews

A collection of fleet, shimmering pop songs; a master-class in sonic splendour; a bold, beautiful and brilliant reinvention that should surprise as many as it will enthrall.

9. Beirut - The Rip Tide

Beirut - The Rip Tide
August 30, 2011
Indie Folk
Critic Score
78
12 reviews
User Score
81
33 reviews

The Rip Tide is neither a sandblasted version of Beirut, nor the band at their most idiosyncratic.

10. Metronomy - The English Riviera

Metronomy - The English Riviera
April 12, 2011
Electronic
Critic Score
71
10 reviews
User Score
81
49 reviews

11. St. Vincent - Strange Mercy

St. Vincent - Strange Mercy
September 13, 2011
Indie Pop
Critic Score
88
22 reviews
User Score
86
143 reviews

This is an album that rockets toward you, ricochets through your emotions and finally decides to lay you down on the floor, headphones on, tumbling around like a blissed-out cat in the sun.

12. Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver
June 21, 2011
Indie Folk
Critic Score
84
21 reviews
User Score
88
215 reviews

Justin Vernon and his crew have changed things up here for sure, but the results are every bit as beautiful as you might expect.

13. Tom Waits - Bad as Me

Tom Waits - Bad as Me
October 25, 2011
Blues
Critic Score
85
20 reviews
User Score
83
21 reviews

Bad As Me sees the performer reaching back into his bag of tricks to pull out a few favourites in a characteristically exhilarating, terrifying, heartbreaking, tear jerking, bone-rattling style.

14. Low - C'mon

Low - C'mon
April 12, 2011
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
13 reviews
User Score
81
5 reviews

C’mon is an intriguing, essential addition to their discography, one which might even propel the Minnesotans towards much wider renown.

15. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints

EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints
May 10, 2011
Experimental
Critic Score
83
18 reviews
User Score
80
47 reviews

Not easy, but often fascinating, wholly rewarding and genuinely cathartic.

16. A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Winged Victory for the Sullen

A Winged Victory for the Sullen - A Winged Victory for the Sullen
September 13, 2011
Ambient
Critic Score
82
5 reviews
User Score
84
9 reviews

17. Wild Beasts - Smother

Wild Beasts - Smother
May 10, 2011
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
19 reviews
User Score
83
55 reviews

It’d be reductive to try and describe a timeless album like Smother as a step up from its two predecessors.

18. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older
May 23, 2011
Jazz
Critic Score
75
7 reviews
User Score
NR

19. The Field - Looping State of Mind

The Field - Looping State of Mind
October 11, 2011
Electronic
Critic Score
80
19 reviews
User Score
82
18 reviews

This is Willner’s finest record yet, a composition of effortlessly gorgeous, technically fantastic, genuinely awe-inspiring music.

20. Destroyer - Kaputt

Destroyer - Kaputt
January 25, 2011
Indie Pop
Critic Score
85
20 reviews
User Score
84
92 reviews

He approaches near perfection by combining complex song structures with simple pop melodies.

21. Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges
February 22, 2011
Experimental
Critic Score
81
5 reviews
User Score
84
20 reviews

22. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
February 15, 2011
Post-Rock
Critic Score
71
13 reviews
User Score
81
21 reviews

Mogwai have released another jumper, but not quite like we know it.

23. I Break Horses - Hearts

I Break Horses - Hearts
August 23, 2011
Shoegaze
Critic Score
75
12 reviews
User Score
81
6 reviews

24. Austra - Feel It Break

Austra - Feel It Break
May 17, 2011
Electronic
Critic Score
73
11 reviews
User Score
82
26 reviews

25. The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient

The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient
August 16, 2011
Indie Rock
Critic Score
80
15 reviews
User Score
80
36 reviews

Given time and attention, the detail behind that wave of fuzz soaks through and seduces.

26. Fucked Up - David Comes to Life

Fucked Up - David Comes to Life
June 7, 2011
Hardcore Punk
Critic Score
83
18 reviews
User Score
80
27 reviews

27. The Weeknd - House of Balloons

The Weeknd - House of Balloons
March 21, 2011
R&B
Critic Score
83
14 reviews
User Score
86
81 reviews

For what The Weeknd have produced, regardless of what genre it is or isn’t, is a very good record.

28. The Horrors - Skying

The Horrors - Skying
July 26, 2011
Neo-Psychedelia
Critic Score
83
20 reviews
User Score
83
49 reviews

Skying leaves me perhaps more interested in where they'll go next, than where they are now.

29. Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen

Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen
March 29, 2011
Folk
Critic Score
76
11 reviews
User Score
81
3 reviews

It is unflinchingly honest, sharp and unfiltered.

30. Björk - Biophilia

Björk - Biophilia
October 11, 2011
Experimental
Critic Score
76
18 reviews
User Score
78
44 reviews

Biophilia carves out brave new territory for an artist who’s been colonising the fringes of music all her career

31. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.

Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra.
February 18, 2011
R&B
Critic Score
75
6 reviews
User Score
82
48 reviews

32. Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Radiohead - The King of Limbs
February 19, 2011
Experimental Rock
Critic Score
79
23 reviews
User Score
79
138 reviews

33. tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l
April 19, 2011
Experimental
Critic Score
85
21 reviews
User Score
83
95 reviews

With whokill, Merrill Garbus has somehow managed to encompass more ideas into just over 40 minutes than most artists manage in a lifetime.

34. My Brightest Diamond - All Things Will Unwind

My Brightest Diamond - All Things Will Unwind
October 18, 2011
Indie Rock
Critic Score
74
8 reviews
User Score
77
3 reviews

35. Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
March 1, 2011
Indie Pop
Critic Score
81
16 reviews
User Score
81
46 reviews

The mild disappointment of this record can be firmly classed as a first world problem in itself.

36. Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
March 8, 2011
Rock
Critic Score
79
17 reviews
User Score
83
55 reviews

37. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Tao of the Dead
February 8, 2011
Alternative Rock
Critic Score
74
15 reviews
User Score
79
3 reviews

Tao Of The Dead is Trail Of Dead taking the strengths and hallmarks of their 17 year career into one beautifully orchestrated concept and returning back to form.

38. Katy B - On a Mission

Katy B - On a Mission
April 5, 2011
Dance Pop
Critic Score
80
15 reviews
User Score
80
23 reviews

Essentially, the only tracks that aren’t commercial radio hits-in-waiting are the ones which already achieved that status.

39. Walls - Coracle

Walls - Coracle
September 27, 2011
Ambient
Critic Score
73
7 reviews
User Score
83
1 review

40. Mastodon - The Hunter

Mastodon - The Hunter
September 27, 2011
Progressive Metal
Critic Score
80
16 reviews
User Score
78
24 reviews

The Hunter is a pitch for the mainstream - but it doesn’t compromise on Mastodon’s core ambition.

41. James Ferraro - Far Side Virtual

James Ferraro - Far Side Virtual
October 25, 2011
Drone
Critic Score
75
6 reviews
User Score
81
3 reviews

42. Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch the Throne

Kanye West & Jay-Z - Watch the Throne
August 8, 2011
Hip Hop
Critic Score
78
15 reviews
User Score
79
76 reviews

To be disappointed with Watch the Throne is to be disappointed with the rap game in 2011.

43. Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler - Marissa Nadler
June 14, 2011
Folk
Critic Score
80
13 reviews
User Score
83
5 reviews

Marissa Nadler is a good record with a couple of standout moments within it.

44. Panda Bear - Tomboy

Panda Bear - Tomboy
April 12, 2011
Experimental
Critic Score
81
18 reviews
User Score
82
65 reviews

Here these 11 much shorter songs don’t so much buckle under Panda’s voice as become absorbed into it.

45. New Look - New Look

New Look - New Look
October 18, 2011
Electropop
Critic Score
85
2 reviews
User Score
NR

46. David Lynch - Crazy Clown Time

David Lynch - Crazy Clown Time
November 8, 2011
Experimental
Critic Score
63
13 reviews
User Score
72
7 reviews

47. Tori Amos - Night of Hunters

Tori Amos - Night of Hunters
September 20, 2011
Singer-Songwriter
Critic Score
74
7 reviews
User Score
75
7 reviews

48. Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance - Eye Contact
May 10, 2011
Experimental Rock
Critic Score
82
20 reviews
User Score
80
31 reviews

It’s challenging yet fairly catchy beneath all the layering. It’s abstract vocally yet painfully direct musically.

49. Lady Gaga - Born This Way

Lady Gaga - Born This Way
May 23, 2011
Pop
Critic Score
65
16 reviews
User Score
62
46 reviews

Born This Way essentially finds Gaga doing more of the same but with a few new production tricks.

50. Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise

Nicolas Jaar - Space Is Only Noise
January 31, 2011
Electronic
Critic Score
82
11 reviews
User Score
85
59 reviews
Original Source: http://drownedinsound.com/in_depth/4144253-drowned-in-sounds-albums-of-the-year--5-1

MORE 2011 YEAR END LISTS:


MORE YEAR END LISTS FROM DROWNED IN SOUND:


Check out our 2011 Year End Summary.