top 11 of 11, albums

Yep, the earth has made another circle around the sun, and us little earthlings are busy making lists and resolutions, looking back over the last twelve months, and getting over hangovers from last night’s festivities.  Which were great by the way.  Here’s one of my lists for 2011, which I think was a pretty amazing time in general.

Jenn’s Top 11 Albums of 2011
(in alphabetical order, because what else would you expect)

Clem Snide “Clem Snide’s Journey” (click the link!! do it, you won’t be sorry!  lookit that uke go! omg a whistling solo!)~ There’s nothing like a cover to make you realize a song doesn’t really suck.  It’s just all the drunk events and people associated with those songs that suck.

Craft Spells “Idle Labor” (Captured Tracks) ~ Yep, it was made in a bedroom.  See Washed Out below.

Feist “Metals” (Cherry Tree / Interscope)

Florence + the Machine “Ceremonials” (Island Records) ~ A friend said he imagined a stadium of people singing this album at the top of their lungs to him during his morning run in the snow.  I cannot imagine a better description of the physical and emotional response this album elicits.

Kurt Vile “Smoke Ring For My Halo” (Matador Records) ~ Where has Mr. Vile been hiding from me?  We really got to know each other during a foggy afternoon involving a strange lollypop and several hours on the couch.

The Morning Clouds “Wasted Youth Blues” EP (Lefse Records) ~ Know how you go to your friends’ art openings/concerts/theater events/etc to offer support and good will?  Not saying your friends aren’t awesomely talented and interesting, because they are.  But these kids are the real deal, and I’d be buying tickets to see them even if they weren’t good buddies.  They don’t need this disclaimer.

The Kills “Blood Pressures” (Domino) ~ Oh my little Kills, how long have I loved you?  Each album is great.  Their dedication to art reminds me of the VUG and that scene in the 70’s.  Keeping it pure.

The Raveonettes “Raven In The Grave” (Vice Records)

Widowspeak “Widowspeak” (Captured Tracks) ~ Enough with the Mazzy Star comparisons, this stands on its own.  Also, on the “Gun Shy” single the cover of Wicked Game is amazing (see Clem Snide, above).

Wilco “The Whole Love” (dBpm) ~ My favorite since “A Ghost is Born”.

Wye Oak “Civilian” (Merge Records) ~ These kids make some thick atmosphere happen.

The ones I haven’t been intimate enough with, yet, but plan to get snuggly soon, admittedly this is cheating:

Gillian Welch “The Harrow and the Harvest” (Acony Records) ~ Dave and Gillian, you are a fine wine.

Jolie Holland “Pint of Blood” (ANTI) ~ When I saw her perform, my friend was standing next to me, and had a good cough going on.  Jolie reached into her violin case and gave him a Ricola.  Enough said.

Lykke Li “Wounded Rhymes” (LL Recordings)

Washed Out “Within and Without” (Sub Pop) ~ Chillwave, it can be so good, and so terrible.  When it’s good, it just washes over you like a soft sparkly blanket of stardust on a warm beach.  When it’s terrible, it sneaks up on you, until you wonder why you feel all edgy and annoyed, and realize the album you’re listening to is the culprit.  “Amor Fati” is a track that could be on repeat for about two days and I wouldn’t complain.  The best thing about chillwave, and this is admittedly dismissive of the genre and a criticism of its form, is that it is wonderful background music; it is atmospheric as a rule, gives a “vibe” and fills in the gaps of sound in a room, rather than being an aural centerpiece.  The good stuff also survives under slightly closer scrutiny.

Zee Avi “Ghostbird” (Universal Republic) ~ She was supposed to have played UkeFest Denver last year, but did not.  I have hope.

There are many more, but I have kept you long enough.

HAPPY NEW YEAR DENVER AND WORLD.  And thank you for the infinite inspiration

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