OTR's Favorite Albums of 2011 :: Part 1

Another year has passed and 2011 has left us with some amazing albums! Here is a list I compiled from my favorites as well as favorites from fellow contributors Michael and Erika. We all have slightly different tastes so together it leaves us with a nice representation of the year. These are in no particular order (that would be too difficult/unnecessary to do). Enjoy and thanks for listening! Have a great holiday weekend!

Hooray for Earth :: True Loves

Hooray For Earth was without a doubt the album I listened to the most in 2011. I listened to it when I was inspired to write, happy about something dumb, sad about something dumber, while I was questioning government policies, when I was showering, while I walked to the train, when I was playing board games in the park, while I was laying on the beach eating lobster rolls in Montauk, While I was closing down the bar I worked at... You get the picture, I listened to this album a lot. EO

MP3: Sails - Hooray for Earth

Is Tropical :: Native To

MP3: Land of the Nod - Is Tropical

Destroyer :: Kaputt

Destroyer's 'Kaputt' is probably my favorite record of the year. So smooth and well produced. It's an instant classic. Got many plays from me at home and in my car. Those type of records always stick with me. "Savage Night at the Opera" is near perfection. RM

MP3: Savage Night at the Opera - Destroyer

Azari & III :: Azari & III

Disco house fun. RM

MP3: Reckless (With Your Love) - Azari & III

The New Division :: Shadows

Dark, melodic, atmospheric. Beautiful. RM

MP3: Opium - The New Division

Cut Copy :: Zonoscope

Not as great as 'In Ghost Colours', but they definitely tried to expand their sound and opening track "Need You Now" carries the album on it's shoulders. One of my favorite tracks of the year. Always gets the crowds riled up when I play it out with it's great gradual progression until the peak where he sings "know we're going crazy, but I need you now" at the top of his lungs in full desperation mode. I think we can all relate to that feeling. Always great live too, one of my favorite shows of 2011. RM

MP3: Need You Now - Cut Copy

Foster the People :: Torches

This one got big huh. Who will be able to look back on 2011 and not recall "Pumped Up Kicks" getting blasted practically everywhere. Despite that it still took a hell of a lot of listens before I finally started to grow weary of it and there's lot of other great indie pop tracks here to keep you interested. Now to see if they can handle the difficult sophomore transition. RM

MP3: Waste - Foster the People

Noah and the Whale :: Last Night on Earth

Really enjoyed this indie pop record. Their lead singer has an amazing voice and they had a bunch of great remixes that allowed me to play it on the dance floor as well as my apartment. RM

MP3: Tonight's the Kind of Night - Noah and the Whale

The Drums :: Portamento

Really wasn't expecting to like the new Drums album that much, but I was wrong. Stronger/more varied album than their debut, meaning no sophomore slump here and we all know how often that happens. RM

MP3: Hard to Love - The Drums

Starfucker :: Reptilians

Since it's release last March, this fantastic sophmore album from Portland's Starfucker has been a staple of my 2011 soundtrack. This album is a solid work of smooth electronic synth melodies, great vocals and just the right amount of bleeps, it's amazing single "Julius" being the flagship example. MU

MP3: Julius - Starfucker

The Strokes :: Angles

Seems most best of list's this year forgot/ignored The Strokes, but I'm not sure why. They put out a really fun dancey record with some excellent tracks that saw them change things up a bit. Probably their best since their classic 2001 debut 'Is This It'. I prob would have picked a different first single though, maybe that was it. RM

MP3: Games - The Strokes

The Horrors :: Skying

Another instant classic. The Horrors changed their style again. This time into more of a shoegazey/post punk style and I love it! I didn't think I could like them more and I did. A great late night smokes album. RM

MP3: Still Life - The Horrors

Washed Out :: Within and Without

As one of the original ambassadors of the Dreamwave movement, Washed Out has refined the genre down to a science. This album is so smooth and easy on the ears its like a soft pillow of music to lull you into a magical dream land. Easily his best work to date. MU

MP3: Eyes Be Closed - Washed Out

Real Estate :: Days

Real Estate's 'Days' is easily within my top five albums of this year. An album that is, from start to finish, just plain and simple feel good shoegazey indie rock that's warm, inviting and filled with nostalgia and good feelings. MU

MP3: It's Real - Real Estate

Raveonettes :: Raven in the Grave

MP3: Forget That You're Young - Raveonettes

M83 :: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Posssibly the best single to come out in 2011 is M83's "Midnight City" what an amazing track! I liked the album, but I feel it suffered a bit from being too long and instrumental. I'd have cut about half of the tracks and made it a one disc of the best stuff. Then it'd prob be as good as their magnificent 'Saturdays = Youth', but hey I'll take "Midnight City" and the music that he creates which is better than most of the stuff out there, even on his bad days. RM

MP3: Midnight City - M83

Gotye :: Making Mirrors

Found out about this late in the year. "Somebody I Used to Know" is probably one of my favorite songs of the year along with M83's "Midnight City". Heartbreaking and beautiful. I found myself pressing repeat many times with that one and the amazing video for it. RM

MP3: Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye

Metronomy :: The English Riviera

Thanks to Spotify and Facebook, I know that all my friends were constantly listening to this album as well. It's smooth transitions between pop and electronica make it an album that doesn't get old. I've had a new favorite track weekly since it was released. The kind of fun you remember. EO

MP3: The Bay - Metronomy

St. Vincent :: Strange Mercy

This album finally tames her previous art rock efforts with this beautiful quirk-pop album. It's brutally honest and leaves itself to interpretation which ultimately makes it very accessible (hence it being on everyones best of lists). You don't have to get the depth of her songs to be transfixed. Did I mention she's stunning? EO

MP3: Cheerleader - St. Vincent

The Rapture :: In the Grace of Your Love

MP3: It Takes Time to Be a Man - The Rapture

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