In a few days, I’ll post the obligatory “best of”, my favorite Eleven Albums for 2011.
2011 was interesting because several of my favorite bands released new albums. However, in many cases, I considered their output as furthering the quality of their catalog, but not necessarily redefining themselves or topping their most cohesive, best works.
For example, M83’s album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming featured a killer, infectious single, “Midnight City” (which Pitchfork named Best Track of the Year) and some other highlights, but not much cohesion, with so many tracks that seemed superfluous. In fact, I prefer 2008’s Saturdays = Youth, which was more shoegaze and less synth.
“Midnight City” | M83
The Strokes album was similar. Are there better guitar riffs in recent memory than the ones supplied in “Under Cover of Darkness”? But does Angles come close to raw emotion and reinvented sound of Is This It ? Hardly.
“Under Cover of Darkness” | The Strokes
Explosions in the Sky’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care and Radiohead’s The King of Limbs are solid albums that work as a whole, but don’t necessarily shift or redefine their sound or compare with their most important works.
Neon Indian did rework his sound, as Era Extrana emerged with a far darker, more concealed feel than the casual, euphoric, dreamy synth-charm of 2009’s Psychic Chasms.
Fallout | Neon Indian
The album that I was looking forward to most this year, Panda Bear’s Tomboy, will make my list. Admittedly, Tomboy does not come close to matching the 2007 release Person Pitch. After repeated listens, Tomboy is a guitar driven, solid album that works well and furthers the reinvention of Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox, but does not match the fresh creative sound that emerged on the sunnier, more sampled Person Pitch.
“Last Night at the Jetty” | Panda Bear