Uncut Top 50

Hey, another year-end list! Today, we’ve already seen Paste and Q name their 50 favorite albums of 2011. Now the British rock mag Uncut also chips in, giving a list that’s heavier on doom-and-gloom visions and old-timey sounds than anyone could’ve expected. The magazine’s album of the year, it turns out, is PJ Harvey’s Mercury winner Let England Shake, a perfectly defensible choice. And the list, unlike the Paste one, serves as a nice reminder that tough and adventurous sounds can coexist alongside more traditional sounds just fine; Gang Gang Dance and Tim Hecker look just fine next to Gillian Welch and Fleet Foxes. And on a personal note, it’s cool to see good Baltimore dudes Arbouretum, who have flown too far under the radar for too long, sneaking in at #49. Check out the list below.

50 Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
49 Arbouretum – The Gathering
48 Cornershop Featuring Bubbley Kaur – Cornershop And The Double-O Groove Of
47 The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
46 Iceage – New Brigade
45 Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin
44 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
43 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
42 Jenny Hval – Viscera
41 Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
40 Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
39 Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong
38 His Golden Messenger – From Country Hai East Cotton
37 Little Dragon – Ritual Union
36 Jonny – Jonny
35 My Morning Jacket – Circuital
34 Fatoumata Diawara – Fatou
33 Low – C’Mon
32 Gil Scott Heron & Jamie XX – We’re New Here
31 Destroyer – Kaputt
30 Tim Hecker – Ravendeath, 1972
29 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
28 King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
27 Björk – Biophilia
26 The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
25 Bill Callahan – Apocolypse
24 Real Estate – Days
23 Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
22 Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
21 James Blake – James Blake
20 Ry Cooder – Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
19 Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
18 Tinariwen – Tassili
17 Feist – Metals
16 Jonathan Wilson – Gentle Spirit
15 Wilco – The Whole Love
14 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
13 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
12 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
11 Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
10 The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient
09 Bon Iver – Bon Iver
08 Wild Beasts – Smother
07 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
06 The Horrors – Skying
05 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
04 White Denim – D
03 Metronomy – The English Riviera
02 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

I’m going to have to check out this Josh T. Pearson album, huh?

You can check out Stereogum’s Top 50 Albums Of 2011 list here.

Comments (111)
  1. That Pearson record is pretty solid, but #5?

    • For whatever reason, the British mags all LOVE him while the stateside music press ignores him. Strange given that his music seems so deeply rooted in strictly-American musical traditions (and he’s from Texas).

      • The reason is very simple. Starting with Lift to Experience, Josh has always written songs that deal with his Christian beliefs (though the solo album also has a lot to do with his short-lived marriage and alcoholism), and the songs use Christian imagery. Most American indie kids look at that and go, “Eeeeewww!! You must be one of those ultra-conservatives. I’ll bet you’d love to convert me. Well, it’s not happening!” Well, it’s true that Josh has Christian beliefs, but he doesn’t want to convert you, he isn’t filled with hate for people who are different from him, and he doesn’t have backward social beliefs. Europeans generally don’t approach the music with this prejudiced attitude; they can appreciate his music on a personal level or in the way that many non-Christians appreciate, say, a painting by Michelangelo. And as long as I’ve mentioned to Lift to Experience, let me just say that the Texas-Jerusalem Crossroads is easily one of the best albums ever. Mr. Kevin Shields is a fan of Josh’s work with LTE and his solo stuff. Josh was chosen by mbv as the opener when they toured a couple of years ago.

        • Ummm… Sufjan Stevens? Dude gets tons of love here and uses loads of Christian imagery in his lyrics. The difference between Stevens and Pearson? I dunno, talent?

          • It doesn’t matter what Sufjan believes because as an individual and as a performer he is so inoffensive and tame; his beliefs blend into the background. It makes sense that if a Christian performer were going to be readily accepted and praised by indie culture, it would have to be one that seems practically neutered. There is nothing confrontational about him or his music. There is way more fire and brimstone in Pearson’s imagery and in his onstage persona. His southern roots, Christ-like (well, at least as Western culture has portrayed him) face, and cowboy fashion sense combined with these other things help to make him a much more polarizing figure. On a superficial level, he would seem to be everything that liberal indie culture should be against. By the way, I am sorry to hear that you like boring, innocuous music.

          • sufjan is a master of melody and lyricism…only those with no understanding of his themes would consider him inoffensive and tame….granted, his modus-operandi is not to confront, but to woo (does all music and message need to be confrontational?)…there’s wisdom in subtlety and nuance, and to be able to say something grand and in ‘parable’ without the clunkiness of literalism…

        • You’re nuts dude. You can talk about god all you want if you have fuckin jams. and you can dress like a cowboy badass all you want to. Matthew Houck does that shit. And hipsters fucking love him. The bottom line is that Josh dude doesn’t have any jams. NONE. And I listened to the whole album. Not one jam on the whole thing. That’s why people don’t like it.

          • “They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus/ That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes/ But if I talk about God my record won’t get played Huh?”
            I don’t know if this really contributes anything meaningful to the discussion at hand but what they hey, we’re all better off hearing from Yeezy every once in a while.

        • Poor Christians just can’t seem to ever catch a break here in Merica. I definitely think his album deserved poor pub but top ten is a huge stretch.

      • we americans prefer governors of texas who assume the voting age is most likely 21, have trouble recalling their main issues, etc. a brilliant and completely original talented musician? naaah. nothing to see there.

  2. No Beirut? Come on Uncut… wait… what the hell is uncut?

  3. My reaction is caught somewhere between “I hate this list and I haven’t even looked at it yet” and “If you’ve seen one list, then you’ve seen them all …”

  4. Round 3, lets go.

  5. I haven’t listened to a number of these albums, but credit where credit is due: I’m suspecting several of these won’t be seen on any other lists, so props to Uncut for going against the grain.

  6. Destroys Q’s abomination of a list.

  7. Props for including Mikal Cronin and The Caretaker, but at least half of this list is garbage. Somewhere in there is a decent Top 25.

  8. I can’t wait for the comments! Uncut lists are #2 for commentors. #3 was Paste and #4 is Q but #1 for sure was the Rolling Stone Greatest Guitarists list.

    • There should also be a Stereogum’s Top 50 Commenters of 2011 list (and not just Best and Worst Comments of the Year. I’m talking about pure, straight up bias in favor of certain commenters based on skill level and execution.)

      • Smart money’s on godsdog

      • 20 Harveyz01
        19 smokeallyouwantandseetheplanets
        18 Dr. Feelgood
        17 middledistancebummer
        16 richie almost-dies
        15 woozefa
        14 gophermachine
        13 Ocelot Stomp
        12 Chris Trash
        11 The Wastelander
        10 Connor Johnson
        09 raptor jesus
        08 donnytilla
        07 MikeyObviously
        06 Michael Robenalt
        05 The Aura of the H-Man
        04 Michael_
        03 thedutchessofthomyorke
        02 godsdog
        01 djfreshie

        • Whoever downvoted this list is an asshole.

          Also the brilliance of thedutchessofthomyorke outranking Michael_!!! Yes.

        • TOP 10! HOW REAL IS THIS?

          Hahaha, just now comen’ round to that A$AP. Did any of these Top 50 lists have Shabazz Palaces? Otherwise I can just ignore them, right?

          • None of them do, but whatever. The point of these lists isn’t to create a discussion. It’s so people who are enthusiastic about music can take the advice of people whose jobs it is to critique music and check out new artists.

            Anyone actually complaining about who is on and off lists will be forever deigned a knuckledragging mouth-breather by me. It’s almost as crazy a waste of time as complaining about people complaining about who is on what list and where wait what? shoot.

          • Point being, ignore away. I would ignore them. Unless you love Uncut magazine?

  9. Said it on the Q list and I’ll say it again: where the hell is Fucked Up? Both of these lists missed the best album of the year!

  10. Zola Jesus, “Conataus” or Planningtorock “W”

  11. those lists fucks me up, happy for Metals but where is Ceremonials? I’m also a fan of Laura Marling but ACIDK it’s very far from the awesomeness of Ceremonials

  12. Nice to see the love for Josh T. Pearson.

  13. I disagree with a lot of this stuff, but I always support a list that has actual character. A lot of these lists end up feeling like a generic aggregate of every music writer in the world’s opinion. I doubt we’ll see such an eclectic Top 5 from Rolling Stone or P4k…

    05 Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
    04 White Denim – D
    03 Metronomy – The English Riviera
    02 Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
    01 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

  14. Why is everyone acting like Deerhoof didn’t put out an album in 2011? Aren’t they the best band in the world?

  15. 3 list. All terrible. So when is Stereogum doing a year-end list again because these are horrid

  16. every list forgot shabazz palaces. well, I guess every list so far doesn’t really care about rap music in general, but you don’t have to care about rap music to realize that shabazz palaces is dope.

    • Yes! that probably the innovative record of the year. and fun!!!

    • good call! so refreshing to have some rappish type music come along and actually be different than anything i have heard. should have guessed it would be coming from a dude that was in digable planets. STILL playing their reachin’ album.

    • yeah like you i’m befuddled to the why SP has been a consistent omission, glaring one at that. It’s a really dope album, and really rewarding for something that ISNT that difficult or abstruse as many might believe. Like Jaybarty i think it was fun!

      Weirdly with this list, there isn’t another list I agree with MORE at the same time disagree with MORE! I For example I really enjoyed the pj harvey and gillian welch’s albums. It not hard to believe that they could be the best of the year. But then again some of the omissions are criminal (the aforementioned shabazz, and maybe less criminally, the weeknd). But then conversely I love the fact that ritual union is in there and equally appreciate the omission Take Care.

  17. Best list today!

  18. Fuck yeah Metronomy!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Hi, I’m incognikto, and I’m president of the Destroyer’s Kaputt Is Too Damn Low Party. Please join me in denouncing this list for this very reason. Thanks.

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  21. Along with no My Brightest Diamond, Handsome Furs’ Sound Kapital deserves a spot on at least one of these lists. And I think Emmy the Great deserves some consideration American press. She’s good.

    • True, Sound Kapital was great. And, I am a Decemberists fan, have been for years, but was I the only one really not digging this newest album? These listers seem to love it.

  22. No M83 = not a valid list

  23. would’ve liked to see Girls, Yuck, Atlas Sound, and The Weeknd, but i agree with a lot on this list


  24. Really please for War on Drugs but there’s some stuff in there I wouldn’t have so highly & no mention of some of my favourites – Chapel Club, WU LYF, The Civil Wars, The Head & the Heart, Girls, Other Lives, Kendrick Lamar etc etc…. I’ve yet to look at the Q list but I have a feeling I know what I’m in for – Kasabian, Florence & Noel Gallagher per chance?

  25. I guess Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Here We Rest just doesn’t cut the mustard. Sad. The zombie infestation is happening right in front of our eyes, except instead of a typical hollywood zombie, we have what are called hipsters. Idk, about you all but, happy hipster hunting!

  26. There was a time when I was concerned that I only like the PJ Harvey album because I knew it would have the approval of a lot of list-makers. But man, I just really enjoy listening to that album. It’s definitely somewhere in my favorite 3-4 albums this year, despite being the only act I really wanted to see this year that I didn’t get a chance to see.

  27. I like that White Denim is included.

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  29. Not that I would expect them to have them, but 50 albums of the year list is complete without Take Care or Watch the Throne.

  30. Nice to finally see a list with Unknown Mortal Orchestra on there. It’s definitely one of the most addictive albums of the year.

  31. best list so far by far. nice to see Wild Beasts and The Horrors in the top 10.

  32. These list make me can’t wait for the Gummys

  33. So glad I haven’t seen any “This list sucks, check out MY list at http://www.aaaaaa.com” assholes on here yet. And yay for PJ Harvey. Easily my favourite album this year

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  35. a) This list is okay with me because Polly Jean Harvey friggin rocks. This is the year Rid of Me finally ‘sunk in’ on me. I’d listen to it a few times over the past couple of years, and I while I appreciated it, I didn’t really feel it in my bones until this year. Yeah it came out 18 years ago, but it’s probably one of my most spun records of 2011. While I haven’t listened to Let England Shake a ton this year, I’m giving it a listen right now, and it’s pretty great. How many artists on this list put out great albums in the early ’90s. I like to think in some alternative timeline Liz Phair is putting out new and exiting material.

    b) To all those who say that King of Limbs is too high I have two questions: 1) Do you really think Pablo Honey is better? I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you if you do, I’m just curious; and 2) Does an albums place in the artists discography have a bearing on its ranking compared to other artists? My take KoL is probably not on the first tier of the Radiohead discography, but it has it’s definite charms. I predict that it’s going to become the Black and Blue or New Morning of the Radiohead catalogue. (Of course I find both of those albums charming as hell)

    c) I’m going to resist the urge to bemoan this lists failure to confirm exactly with my tastes to meekly point out that this is the first of the year-end lists that I saw that sent me scrambling to my emusic account. If this holds up, it’s going to be an expensive account.

    d) That being said, I was really expecting a consensus behind my pick, the brilliance of Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and at least a mention of Washed Out’s Within and Without. Sorry couldn’t resist.

  36. Ok, I’ve actually only listened to 15 of those albums, so I’ll give them credit for what I can give them credit for:

    Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Yes, first list to include them! They deserve to be higher, but hey..

    Jenny Hval – Viscera: Pretty obscure norwegian release, impressed they got it here!

    Bon Iver and PJ Harvey – Yes, they both deserve to be top 10

  37. Merry List-mas, Top 5 most wonderful time of the year

  38. No list has love for EMA

  39. This list is definitely different than I would expect most to be.

  40. Girls “Father Son Holy Ghost” should MOST DEFINITELY be on this list.

  41. Judging from what I’ve been seeing around the net, I have a really uncreative top 10. Oh, well.

  42. Good to see lists not subscribing to the “bon Iver at #1″ memo; PJ Harvey is all kinds of better than Bon Iver’s latest. I have been surprised at the low positioning of “Strange Mercy”, on this list and others. I thought it was top 10, if not 5, of the year.

  43. youth lagoon, gang gang dance :(

  44. At least this list is better than Q’s…

    Still, why is Unknown Mortal Orchestra so low?

  45. Man, 3 lists so far and no love for Austra? What the what?
    At least Anna Calvi’s gotten some mention so far…

  46. Hey at least we don’t have to hear about fucking Kanye and Ariel Pink this year…YAYYYY!!!! theres ONE good thing about this years listS:)

  47. I’m not going to argue about positions on the list because how do you really rank albums of different genres against one another. But any list without M83 on it this year is pretty dumb. Also, why no love for Soft Metals, Puro Instinct or Walls on any of these? Nice to see that people enjoyed “The English Riviera” as much as I did, but I still don’t “get” what people see in PJ Harvey. She’s always sounded dated to me. That Jonny album was insufferably boring, and this is from someone who loves Teenage Fanclub. Yuck, Washed Out, The Smith Westerns and Youth Lagoon are also glaring omissions.

    • Wait, what Jonny album? The ones she did with John Parish? I would hardly call those good albums to judge PJ Harvey by (she doesn’t even do any of the songwriting except for vocals).

  48. I have to agree with surlyduck, M83 deserves at least some standing in the list. I also feel that TV On The Radio- Nine Types Of Light was one of the best releases all year, its still constantly in my player. What about The Bastards Of Apocalypse- The Bastards Of Apocalypse, probably the best fusion of electronic and blues music out there. They’re such a catchy talented group, where is their nod? And the fact that Paul Simon made the list and Robbie Robertson didn’t is a shame. I felt Robertson’s disc had so much more to offer where as Simon’s felt like recycled bits from the Simon & Garfunkel era. I think the Beastie Boys- Hot Sauce Committee Pt. II was another killer disc 2011 turned out, wheres that album? With all these abstract musicians out why has nobody acknowledged Neon Indian- Era Extraña or Alice Cooper- Welcome 2 My Nightmare. All of these deserve a standing in this list, phenomenal discs by incredible bands, And not that I expect to see it anywhere but Wednesday 13- Calling All Corpses was a pretty solid release.

  49. 10 albums better than ‘helplessness blues’?? ummmm, no. screw everyone being entitled to an opinion. that album is amazing. half those albums ;isted before it, not so much. oh well. i guess nevermind about the opinion thing.

  50. and just noticed the latest album from ‘girls’ seriously is not considered a top 50 of the year? come on. ohhh, that is why i don’t read UNCUT. makes sense now.

    • if you dont read uncut, why do you care about the order they like music in?

      • same reason you care enough to ask me that question. boredom i am guessing. i like to read things. sometimes i comment on them. even though i really do not care. just thought it was a great album, def not for everyone but odd they found so many albums better. oh well.

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