For The Record(s): Best Band Albums of 2011

 

 

TV ON THE RADIO
NINE TYPES OF LIGHT
Single ‘Will Do’ has already sealed itself in the greatest post-break up songs canon in our book, that alone makes the album a significant release for us (we’re sensitive like that). Nine Types of Light might not have been as experimental as its predecessor Dear Science, this is the band playing it safe after all, but TV on the Radio settling for stable ground is still more exciting than the average twee band. Nine Types of Light is to TV on the Radio what Kid A was to Radiohead – still a good release despite the hype.

CULTS
SELF-TITLED
Goddammit, what is it with this year’s amount of self-titled albums?! But we digress. Cults, the boy-girl duo hailing from Brooklyn, delivers some of this year’s most exciting twee pop. We never thought we’d say that, but there’s a reason for ‘Go Outside’s’ inherent viral quality, it just that infectious. The rest of the album proves to be the same, although admittedly this could be due to the band’s wise decision to keep everything short and sweet. There’s only so much twee we can take.

BATTLES
GLOSS DROP
Sophomore albums tend to be met with a multitude of expectations, so much so that it’s almost a custom for critics to make quote-ready disavowals of them. Gloss Drop, to be pandering ourselves (and punny), battles the pressure its critical darling predecessor Mirrored has set upon them. Making it harder for the predominantly instrumental band is the fact that they not only have to live up to the hype but also attempt to do so without an arguably pivotal member; founding bandmate Tyondai Braxton. Regardless, Gloss Drop is still a testament to Battles’ status as the best pairing of man and machine next to LCD Soundsystem.

M83
HURRY UP, WE’RE DREAMING
Arguably the finest release by M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is near flawless in execution (although opinions may differ). A hotchpotch of childhood nostalgia dipped in the fuzzy landscape of pop experimentations, the album is melancholia and ecstasy tangled together on one hell of a concept album.

R.E.M
COLLAPSE INTO NOW
It’s not everyone’s favourite, yet we can’t help but think that the negative reaction to Collapse Into Now is post-disappointment bias. It’s easily their best release since the band lost their way. To quote Azmyl Yunor quoting frontman Michael Stipe; “’Let’s show the kids how to do it,’ so here’s hoping the kids are listening and taking notes.”

GIRLS
FATHER, SON, HOLY GHOST
Girls’ second album showcases some of the sharpest songwriting ever to come out of 2011 releases. Disregard the simplicity of the lyrics, this ain’t no Beth Cosentino rhyming crazy with lazy, yo. Underneath the plainness is deftly constructed songs that veer from the oft-beaten paths of traditional twee retro-mining wankery.