James Blake 2011

In terms of both solstice and the impending July 4th weekend cookouts, summer has fully sprung, and with it come the mid-year Best Of LPs lists. We offered our rundown last week, including Gang Gang, Prurient, Krallice, Pictureplane, Liturgy, Destroyer, Toro Y Moi, along with debuts from Austra, Iceage, Puro Instinct, Pure X, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Today we have a midterm report from SPIN, who eschew all of the aforementioned, but join us in paying props to PJ Harvey, Bon Iver, the Weeknd, tUnE-yArDs, Yuck, Fleet Foxes, Smith Westerns, Adele, and Fucked Up.

Here are those overlaps, and the other records that make up SPIN’s suggestions for 2011.5:

Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Big K.R.I.T. – Return Of 4eva
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
James Blake – James Blake
Adele – 21
Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light
DJ Quik – The Book Of David
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
The Strokes – Angles
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde
Panda Bear – Tomboy
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
Yuck – Yuck
Alela Diane – Alela Diane& Wild Divine

You can get some contextual editorial along for the choices over at SPIN.

Comments (89)
  1. Wow, never thought I would say this, but SPIN’s list is much better than stereogums. Love that they included Big K.R.I.T. This list is probably the best representation of the indie scene (or just good music in general) than most best of lists I’ve seen so far. Kudos Spin.

  2. Yea, The Spin list seems more accurate than Stereogums list. What has the world come to.

  3. Stopped reading the moment I saw Foo Fighters. Such a douchy band.

  4. I’m sad that i’m not seeing more love for “The Decemberists” their album is stellar the entire way through… Maybe it came out too early in the year.

  5. I just can’t comprehend the lack of love for Wild Beasts, Okkerville River and Radiohead. Also, I might be the only person here who absolutely hated James Blake’s album. I really did give it a chance.

  6. SPIN Magazine– the voice of reason among the July “best 2011 albums so far” lists.

  7. The list is great and all, but let’s talk… Lady Gaga? Where did that one come from?

  8. Not really better than Stereogum’s IMO because they make the typical Big Music Industry Mag mistake of putting too many crappy albums by veterans. The Strokes, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga have no place on a best of 2k11 list. And has no one really spent the time listening to Metronomy’s “The English Riviera”? Because it should be at least top 5 on every one of these stupid lists.

    • The Foo Fighters record was very very good.

    • The Strokes record was very very good. It got badmouthed because of the whole way Julian did his vocals, but after a fresh listen it is an excellent summer soundtrack. And the Foo set is their best in years. I was always a big Nirvana fan.

      • I don’t think anybody cares how it was made. I think the issue here is more with the end product just completely lacking. Julian Casablancas could have phoned in the entire thing from a tin can for all I care as long as the songs were good.

    • “too many crappy albums by veterans.”

      I’ll bet your mp3 player only has artist’s first and second albums.

      • cause evreyone knows that when you make 3-4 great albums the next is definitely gonna suck, right?

        • Of course there are artists that consistently continue to make oustanding albums and I eagerly anticipate every release. But sorry, the Foo FIghters and The Strokes just don’t qualify for that distinction: both bands fell off tremendously after their 2nd records and their sound is just straight up tired by now.

    • I loved Meteonomy’s last record. So far “The Look” and “She Wants” are the tracks that have stood out (I haven’t given it proper attention – it’s been background music on bike rides). What are your favorite songs on The English Riviera? Has it been a “grower” for you?

      • Not a grower at all really. Loved it immediately and have listened to it a dozen times and the sentiment remains. My favorite tracks are probably “Everything Goes My Way” (I’m a sucker for the female/male vocal trade-offs a la “Don’t You Want Me” and “Young Folks”) and “Corinne.” I think that overall, the record has a sound not unlike “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” so I figured it would really resonate with people.

    • I actually really liked many of the songs on the Foo Fighters’ Albums……Rope, Walk, These Days, Arlandria and especially Bridge Burning rank among some of their best. The new Strokes album has in my opinion a top 3 song in Under Cover Of Darkness as well as Macchu Picchu, Two Kinds of Happiness and Life Is Simple in The Moonlight……so you shouldnt be judging albums based on how old the band is….otherwise Abbey Road or In Rainbows would not make an end of the year list.

      • I don’t think you get my point. I’m not saying all later albums by veteran big name bands are bad. I’m just saying the Foo Fighters and Strokes albums are not on par with their earlier work and should not be in a Best of 2011 list that excludes better work by newer artists. I would put Destroyer’s “Kaputt” near the top of my list and it’s his what… 6th or 7th album? These big music mags like Rolling Stone and Spin always pull this shit because they probably have to stroke the egos of these acts and record labels to score interviews for future content. Either that or they really don’t have any taste. Regardless, I think their opinion is completely irrelevant now. Did you visit their website or buy their magazine? Nope. Instead, you’re arguing about it on Stereogum.com. I just felt compelled to defend this blog against those on here who were misguided enough to think Spin’s list was better.

  9. this list definitely aligns more with my taste than stereogum’s. BUT:
    1. i still can’t believe SPIN liked the strokes record
    2. like stereogum’s, this list needs 100 percent more cults

  10. The Strokes and Lady Gaga ARRGGHHH sincerely this is a joke isn’t?

  11. Glad to see James Blake and Lykke Li.

  12. No love for wild beasts? what is wrong with these lists!?

  13. Born This Way is a terrible pop album. Lifeless production, God-awful lyrics, and hideous album cover. Poker Face/Paparazzi/Bad Romance were great, but she just went downhill from there.

    I still don’t get the love for Adele. It’s just very terrible-to-mediocre pop saved by a magnificent voice. With that said, Rolling in the Deep is one of the best of the year, hands down.

  14. I’ve been listening to “Angles” a lot recently. Side A is a real solid run of catchy Strokes tracks and Side B kind of peters out but has some great moments too. The album’s short running time makes it an easy listen and I’ve found it to be a very enjoyable Strokes record.

    I also bought Fucked Up over the weekend, and, wow. Sorry Radiohead, but Fucked Up have you beat in the “Guitar Rock” category this year. “David Comes To Life” is like listening to a threesome between electric guitars. Enjoying it a ton.

  15. anything electric should not be on the list, nor should Gaga.

  16. Why all the hate for radiohead?.. I mean I can see King of Limbs not being on the end of the year list but c’mon it’s not that bad, really.

  17. I know I’m lame, but… where are The Deceberists? Telekinesis? Anyone?

  18. I think I like Stereogum’s list better.

  19. My Morning Jacket! Well, I think it’s good.

    • Ditto. Wasn’t the barn-burner I had hoped for, but it’s grown on me pretty well. Not perfect, but in my top 10 so far. But then again I think a number of the ones all the critics are creaming over are rather overrated, too.

  20. Surprised they didn’t put Washed Out they gave it a 9.

    I also wish these lists would replace Adele with a band like Wild Beasts, they actually deserve it….

  21. Agree to prety much everything but Lady Gaga and Foo fighters.

    Sorry but Born this Way is a disgrace.

  22. I like this list a lot better with the exception of the Iceage record being included on the other. This list has a much better balance and doesn’t try so hard to act as a tastemaker. I’m also glad the Arctic Monkeys got included. That album really is one of the best rock records this year.

  23. Am I the only one who feels like they must be taking crazy pills every time someone talks about the Foo Fighters being such a great band? They weren’t even good in their prime.

  24. Yea! Big K.R.I.T.!! Boo, the Strokes

  25. This list contains most of the same, predictable hipster stuff (tuneyards, TVOTR–although their album this year is legitimately good) and ironic pop-teat-suckling (Lady Gaga? talented musician; crappy music), but is saved by the Yuck album, which is the best album on this list by far.

    • were the other tv on the radio albums not good? i love yuck, but i’d definitely lump that in with “predictable hipster stuff” (see noise/throwback inspirations)

      • I’ll admit to liking songs on each of TVOTR’s previous albums, but none of them deserved the critical massage SPIN gave them. “Nine Types Of Light,” however, is magnificent.

        I’ll also agree to disagree with you about Yuck: hipsters hate the grunge/early 90′s post-punk scene–not “ironic” enough. (How the Pixies manage to escape this, I have no clue.) How Yuck manages to get play in the Pitchfork scene is a mystery, one for which I’m incredibly grateful, because they’re amazing.

        • I think your views on hipsters are flat out wrong. That Yuck album is really tight but it’s drawn exactly from the sort of late 80s/90s stuff that hipsters (as well as pitchfork) love (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Pixies, Sebadoh, etc.)

  26. I love list season. We’ll never all agree on a list but at least we can bond over our mutual disapproval of Lady Gaga’s inclusion. Still haven’t checked out Fucked Up or the new Arctic Monkeys album. Worth a listen?

  27. ddogdunit  |   Posted on Jun 27th, 2011 -1

    how can anyone defend angles? have you heard the song “games” ? or what’s the other shitty one, track 4? the thing is seriously a shit sandwich, from a major strokes fan to another. “taken for a fool” is decent though.

  28. I don’t like a single record on this list, although to be hair there’s a few I haven’t heard

  29. I like this list better than Stereogums. Don’t agree with the FooFighters. The Decemberists def deserve some recognition for their album. I like the Strokes album quite a bit, despite a couple shitty songs on there. I like the 2nd half of King of Limbs, but thats only 4 songs. Big K.R.I.T is my favorite so far by a long shot, but I just DL Josh T Pearson yesterday and it’s amazing.

  30. Where’s the Wu Lyf and Bosco Delrey? Also really dig the new Handsome Furs.

  31. Stereogum’s list wins by the sheer fact it’s got Destroyer on it. Having said that, it might be on here too but I couldn’t see through the tears of laughter after seeing The Poo Shiters on there.

  32. Good to see they included Beastie Boys and Big KRIT. Hip Hop is not dead. I would include Battles on this list, though, and boot Bon Iver’s overrated LP

    • Speaking of hip hop not being dead, has anyone else listened to that Saigon album that (finally) came out this year? It’s one of the illest NY hip-hop joints since The Blueprint but has basically been ignored by everyone (except for the AV Club. But I guess I can always count of Nathan Rabin to right the world’s wrongs).

  33. Stereogum’s list is far better. This list is pretty mindie.

  34. Great list besides it not having Codes and Keys or Goblin

  35. My own top 20.

    James Blake – James Blake
    Limerence – Young Montana?
    Who Kill ? -Tune Yards
    Tomboy – Panda Bear
    Cults – Cults
    Goblin – Tyler The Creator
    Shangri La – YACHT
    What did you expect from the vaccines – The Vaccines
    In Love With The Oblivion – The Crystal Stilts
    Gloss Drop – Battles
    Rome – Danger Mouse Y Daniel Luppi
    Dedication – Zomby
    Colour Of The Trap – Miles Kane
    Naive To – Is Tropical
    Hot Sauce Committee pt.2 – Beastie Boys
    93 Million Miles – Africa Hitech
    Hyper Nomads – Jazzsteppa
    Thee Physical – Picture Plane
    Arabia Mountain – The Black Lips
    Discodeine – Discodeine

  36. Not to be the guy that says his band is the best. But I think Rise Againsts Endgame deserves some cred on this list

  37. Peche  |   Posted on Jun 29th, 2011 +1

    Where is Destroyer? ‘Kaputt’ is such a good album, maybe my favorite this year. Also, The Sea and Cake’s mini album and the new Dodos album deserve to place.

  38. White Denim, White Denim, White Denim, People!

  39. foo fighters and lady gaga above radiohead? no way.

  40. Have to agree with the folk that say this list is better then Stereogums…More open; more catholic; just bitchin’

    Kudos are in order.

  41. No love for the dodos album. For shame.

  42. MUCH better than Stereogum’s Top 30 or whatever they did

  43. Why is Simple Math getting the pass-over even in the comment section? You all have souls made of rabbit-food pellets.

  44. mwa ha ha ha….

    1 Bon Iver
    2 Gang Gang Dance
    3 Fleet Foxes
    4 Destroyer
    5 Yuck
    6 Wild Beasts
    7 The Antlers
    8 Panda Bear
    9 Explosions In The Sky
    10 My Morning Jacket
    11 PJ Harvey
    12 Arctic Monkeys
    13 Radiohead
    14 The Beastie Boys
    15 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
    16 Grouper
    17 Tune-Yards
    18 TV On The Radio
    19 The Strokes
    20 The Weeknd
    21 Smith Westerns
    22 James Blake
    23 Tim Hecker
    24 Bright Eyes
    25 Mogwai


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