Top 40 Albums of 2011: Part 2 (30-21)

The saga continues. As promised, here is the second installment of my best of 2011 countdown.

30. Weekend – Red EP  - One of my favorite albums from 2010 was Weekend’s self titled debut, and this EP sees the band experimenting with more melodic passages and more focused song writing. It hints at great things to come.

29. Dopehead – Plaid Palm Trees - A relatively unknown rapper, Dopehead dropped a stellar album this year. He rolls with Danny Brown, and it shows.

28. Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil - Unfounded criticism from Pitchfork might have turned people away from the latest Deerhoof album, but I’m not so blindly trusting. This album is whimsical, beautiful, and edgy. Deerhoof continue to occupy a level all their own.

27. Wild Beasts – Smother - Smother seemed to run below the radar this year. Maybe that’s because at first listen it sounds a little par for the course when compared to previous Wild Beasts albums, but after repeat listens it becomes clear that this is a finely tuned slab of melancholy.

26. Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place - A beautiful collection lo-fi ambient experimentation. The Magic Place is best experienced with a fresh cup of coffee, a pack of smokes, and the rising sun.

25. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact - One of my favorite electronic/IDM bands returned in 2011 with their best material to date. This floor shaker is arguably the best collection of baby makin jams to drop this year.

24. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up - The Seattle hip-hop masters dropped one hell of an albums this year, and it’s success is due to clever beats and intelligent flows.

23. Araabmuzik – Electronic Dream - Exercise album of the year? Electronic Dream starts off with a bang and does not let up. This is an album that thugs and Burning Man patrons can agree on.

22. Kate Bush – 50 Words for Snow - This one came out just a few weeks ago and totally took me by surprise. I’ve always been a Kate Bush fan, but that’s because I like all the dramatic gusto she injects into her music. 50 Words for Snow is still as dramatic as you’d expect from Bush, but with a gentler, more solemn approach.

21. John Maus – We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves - A weird album from a weird dude. John Maus finally put all the pieces together and released an album that captures his unique vision of pop music.

Stay tuned for part 3, coming sometime tomorrow.

Top 40 Albums of 2011: Part 1 (40-31)

1 year ago I made the first post on Miniature Tundras showcasing my top 20 albums of 2010. Well, the time has come for another edition of my year-end favorites. This time around I managed to pick my top 40 albums of the year but, instead of just plopping down a big list, I’m releasing it in stages. For the next few days I will be counting down my favorites (with brief commentary) until I reach the coveted number 1 spot. Enjoy!


40. Amen Dunes – Through Donkey Jaw - Super satisfying psych folk from upstate NY.

39. James Blake – James Blake - This was a great album at the start of the year, but it was eclipsed by many others and lost much of its luster after repeat listens.

38. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo - Easily Vile’s most consistent output. A great rainy day album.

37. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy - Weirder than Actor, but oh so much more involved. Annie Clark is a fucking peach.

36. Jens Lekman – An Argument With Myself - I’m a sucker for Lekman’s dry wit, and this EP did not disappoint.

35. JEFF The Brotherhood – We Are The Champions - This album reminds me of Weezer, but in the best possibly way. Ridiculously catchy garage rock for every occasion.

34. Grouper – A I A: Alien Observer/Dream Loss - Personally I don’t think Grouper gets enough love. This double album is blissful collection of hazy soundscapes that will tuck you in and whisk you off to dreamland.

33. Crystal Stilts – In Love With Oblivion - Not terribly different from their 2009 debut, but more focused and to-the-point. A fun record.

32. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost - I wasn’t a huge fan of this album at first but it slowly won me over and now I’m hooked. Best mixtape of the year.

31. A Winged Victory for the Sullen – s/t - Achingly beautiful ambient/modern classical from the genre’s finest. This album is stunning.

20 plays

Araabmuzik is the alias of hip-hop producer Abraham Orellana. Earlier this year (July, to be exact) Araab released Electronic Dream, which is a drastic change in form from the hardcore rap beats Orellana had been producing for acts like Cam’ron and Busta Rhymes. Electronic Dream showcases the versatility of this up-and-coming producer, and highlights a fascination with club and house music that is absent from his previous work. Here we get a glimpse into the mind of a producer who isn’t content in the confines of hardcore rap, and Electronic Dream shows Orellana spreading his wings and twiddling knobs in a way that few expected. I grabbed this album when it dropped in July, but slept on it until recently and I have been kicking myself for not blasting this banger all summer. The album comes off a bit on the cheesy side at first, but it will quickly burrow its way into your brain and have you begging for repeat listens.

Recommended if you like: Star Slinger, ASAP Rocky, Clams Casino, Balam Acab, or Shabazz Palaces.