Omgigosh, 2011 is almost done. This is the music that got me through. Here’s our best album / ep picks!!!
25. Radiohead – King Of Limbs
Radiohead surprised fans with a new album in February announcing it five days before it’s release with out any press following it because they don’t need to.
24.Lil B “Based God” – I’m Gay
The living meme, rapper Lil B has one of the biggest outputs in the rap game releasing two albums and more mixtapes than I can keep track of, including one with 676 tracks over the last year. That’s not even counting all of the twitter feeds he fills @lilbthebasedgod. Despite not being a house hold name yet he is one of the most prolific and fascinating artists of our time with his personality outshining his often rough but hidden gem ridden music.
23. Tony Castles – No Service (ep)
Brooklyn’s next Yeasayer?
22. Metronomy – The English Riviera
Metronomy’s third disco tinged album will transport you to the English Riviera with a cocktail in hand. Still bummed I missed their recent trip through town.
21. Wild Beasts – Smother
I didn’t miss this show and it was spectacular. There were fellow Wild Beast fan boys/men singing their falsetto songs before the group went on; it was beautiful. It was one of my favourite shows of the year. Definitely not for those who don’t like melancholic music or people who get uncomfortable by men singing in falsetto.
20. Sean Nicholas Savage – “Flamingo”
Montreal’s DIY pop label Arbutus Records, home of Grimes and Braids’ latest release was up as free download. Sean Nicholas Savage brings you to a smokey Las Vegas lounge to great effect. In “Days Go By”, below it’s almost as if he’s channeling late 70’s Lennon.
19. Cults – Self Titled
Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin of Cults have put together one of the best pop albums of the year with their debut borrowing heavily from Spector-esque 50s and 60s pop to pleasant effect.
18. Hercules & Love Affair – Blue Songs
A retro disco album with hints of early house thrown in to help you dance away the pain.
17. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
Vice Records rocker darlings. At-lana’s Black Lips teamed up with producer Mark Ronson on this album. He proves his talents really filling out the Black Lips garage rock sound into a riotous party.
16. Born Gold – Bodysongs
Formerly known as Gobble Gobble which they deemed to silly of a name to continue on as, Born Gold have been tearing up every place they touch from basement to festival main stages around NA. Touring their butts off they have been building a very solid young fan base.
Their name change makes sense perhaps isolating them from older / new fans? They shouldn’t be put off, Born Gold are the modern dance party. It’s almost like it’s the electronic version of the Pixies as reinterpreted by the children of the late 80’s.
They happen to play Fortune with Grimes for the soon to be sold out show February 18th. Advertise with Winnie.
15. Lost Lovers Brigade – Little Skeletons
A late Vancouver entry with a November release. A compilation of singer / songwriter Elisha Rembold’s songs written over the last ten years finally being released. Little Skeletons is a beautifully haunting play from start to finish. It will take you away to a windy cabin the woods. At times surf rock-ish with two of the Apollo Ghost gents in the band backing Elisha’s country / Wanda Jackson-esque vocals.
14. Oh No! Yoko – Pau Pau (ep)
Wtf is a Pau Pau? Our favorite high school grads will take you back to that time in between childhood and adolescents when the world seemed like it could be yours and maybe it will be. They need to get to work on their follow up asap.
13. ASAP Rocky – LiveLoveA$AP (Mixtape)
Speaking of which, Odd Future may of created the most hype by a long shot for a new hip hop act but as far as listen ability goes ASAP takes it.
12. Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine + Freaking Out (ep)
Toro Y bro ditches the chill wave moniker for a full band disco sound. He still satisfies his old fans with the more electronic 80’s influenced Freaking Out EP which is just as boss as the full length. He reinvented himself opening up his sound.
Toro Y Moi – All Alone From the Freak Out Ep.
11. Tiger & Woods – Through The Green
An obvious play/extended joke on the sexiest man in the golf game perhaps? It has been a big year for the return of house music, not “electro” or “club” but warehouse. Tiger & Woods sound how I would love the next Daft Punk album to be. A crisp loopy filter house sound with an 80’s electro-funk feel created by two Germans.
10. Holy Ghost! – Self Titled
I feel like there is so much good music made these days and so much less money in the industry to properly push the top acts that an album like this can slip by and not be even bigger than it is. Holy Ghost’s debut is quite accessible. Their live show was one of my favorites of the year. If you are looking for someone to fill in for LCD Soundsystem this is your band. They managed to sell out Fortune Sound Club but they deserve to be filling at least something twice that size especially with the amount of analog gear they haul around.
9. Elite Gymnastics – Ruin (ep)
Minneapolis’ Elite Gymnastics reinvent dance music sounds of the past yet their music sounds fresh, new and unlike anything else.
8. Tennis – Cape Dory
Tapping into the pop sounds of the 50’s and 60’s Cape Dory is a pleasant melody driven “jingly jangly” pop album. I love every song on it but perhaps it’s not for everyone? Best bro / @Beatroutebc’s @glennalderson can’t stand them. Different strokes.
7. Austra – Feel It Break
Pronounced “Oh-stra” not “Ahhstra” as I had at least been saying. I still can’t believe we hosted this act in a tiny basement show. I was trying to tell people they would be the next Fever Ray thanks to a hot tip from fellow Toronto act Diamond Rings.
6. Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
This album has a raw feeling to it as if two top of their game rappers are at play rather than at work. Does that make any sense? Either way it’s a classic that people will listen to and rap heads will discuss many years from now.
5. No Gold – Self Titled
Local Vancouver chill bro act, No Gold are a pitchfork nod away from big things. You can hear the wealth of diverse influences from world music to house and disco and a willingness to experiment in their bizzaro pop gem of an album.
4. Gil Scott-Heron And Jamie XX – We’re New Here
A very odd remix album from one of the best new producers, Jamie XX (Of The XX) of the legendary Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 album, I’m New Here, his first in 16 years. Gil is best known for his spoken word work and is arguably one of the biggest pioneers of rap. The forward thinking album really grew on me as the year went on and I think became even more important with the passing of Gil right after the albums release and bringing to light his amazing although troubled life and body of work.
3. The Weeknd – House of Balloons
Releasing an entire trilogy of work, it was a big year for an act that started the year out as a mysterious unknown act posting videos on youtube. They are now one of the biggest acts I still havn’t heard on the radio. Perhaps still under the mainstreams radar releasing all of their material through their website for free? Or maybe it’s all of the singing about sex, drugs and after parties?
2. James Blake – Self Titled
James Blake brought the underground UK electronic sound to the masses with his ethereal voice. One of the big breakout acts of the year.
1. Drake – Take Care
Y U SO SAD YOUNG DRIZZY? YR number 1 bb.
For years the highest selling Canadian hip hop act has been late 80’s / early 90’s Maestro (Fresh Wes). Big ups Maestro but twenty years is a long ass time to be the highest selling Canadian rapper. Drake has finally changed that. I can’t find anything else to say about Drake that doesn’t make me sound like i’m riding his shit so i’m going to leave it at that.
posted by @tristanorchard