Alex B's Top Ten 2k11
10.) Wilco, The Whole Love
Wilco returns to form with a record that brings back the exhilarating tension between experimental pop and alt-country that made records like Being There and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot such enduring pieces.
9.) Mayer Hawthorne, How Do You Do
Hawthorne’s infuses pseudo-sexist humor into his revival of the guiltiest pleasures of 70s soul. In doing so, he’s made a record that keeps listeners off balance in the best possible way.
8.) Tune-yards, WHOKILL
Quirky, experimental pop that thrives on the pings of toy pianos and trashcans set against Merril Garbus’ dynamo-through-a-tin-horn vocals.
7.) The Decemberists, The King is Dead
I’ve heard it said that this is the best R.e.m. album since Automatic for the People. I’m inclined to agree.
6.) The Antlers, Burst Apart
Tightly crafted and elaborately textured indie-rock.
5.) Jens Lekman, An Argument With Myself (E.P.)
The Swedish crooner’s witty and eclectic mix of Cole Porter, calypso, dance beats, and tragicomedy makes for an inviting , e.p. I can’t wait for the full album to come out.
4.) Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues
The Fleet Foxes take a step forward trading some of the elaborate CSNY-style vocal harmonies for a sparer, occasionally rock-driven sound.
3.) St. Vincent, Strange Mercy
I was ready to jump on the “I’m so over St. Vincent” bandwagon until I heard the new album. Annie Clark weaves some very catchy hooks into her usual avant-industrial-opera.
2.) The Head and the Heart, The Head and the Heart
A buoyant and melodic record of nearly flawless, folk-pop love songs.
1.) Wye Oak, Civilian
Like a lot of people, I found Jenn Wasner’s haunting vocals and Andy Stack’s minimalist burn on the drum kit compelling stuff. I think that what strikes me most about the Wye Oak record is the way it’s able to capture a sense of drama and even sublime terror without feeling overbearing or dour. This is a highly listenable and yet striking album.