Monday, December 12, 2011

The Best Albums Of 2011

After countless hours of record shopping, listening and headache-inducing contemplation, I present my picks for The Best Albums of 2011. I also invited a few of my trusted friends to share their favorites as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to listen to every single album that was released during 2011, so out of the ones that I've heard, these are my absolute favorites. I know that in a month I will discover an album that I missed and it'll deserve a place on here, but this list is immortalized at this point in time. I would love to hear your opinions and your own lists, so be sure to post feedback in the comments section all the way at the bottom. If you would like to purchase any of the albums / songs - please click on the album titles to be redirected.

Please enjoy and be sure to keep up on my daily postings by clicking LIKE over at the Life On This Planet Facebook Page.  Happy Holidays.  - Bret.

Bret Helm
Life On This Planet Blog / the band Audra

Video about my list

My Top 25 Albums of 2011
25.  Social Distortion - Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes
24.  Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
23.  Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
22.  Brett Anderson - Black Rainbows
21.  Yuck - s/t
20.  Steve Kilbey / Martin Kennedy - White Magic
19.  Emmylou Harris - Hard Bargain
18.  Gavin Friday - Catholic
17.  Moby - Destroyed
16.  Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
15.  Tim Booth - Love Life
14.  Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming
13.  Tom Waits - Bad As Me
12.  Steve Earle - I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
11.  The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong
10.  Beady Eye - Different Gear, Still Speeding
09.  R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now
08.  Low - C'mon
07.  Zola Jesus - Conatus
06.  The Raveonettes - Raven In The Grave
05.  TV On The Radio - Nine Types Of Light
04.  Nick 13 - s/t
03.  M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
02.  Peter Murphy - Ninth
01.  Glen Campbell - Ghost On The Canvas

15 Rad Songs Not On Any Album Listed Above (no order)
01.  White Lies - Bigger Than Us
02.  Lana Del Rey - Blue Jeans
03.  Lana Del Rey - Video Games
04.  David Lynch - Good Day Today
05.  R.E.M. - We All Go Back To Where We Belong
06.  Death Cab For Cutie - You Are A Tourist
07.  Cut Copy - Need You Now
08.  Noel Gallagher - If I Had A Gun
09.  Cold Cave - Villains Of The Moon
10.  Bret Helm - I've Wasted So Much Time
11.  Mazzy Star - Lay Myself Down
12.  Iron & Wine - Tree By The River
13.  Blondie - Mother
14.  Radiohead - Codex
15.  The Decemberists - Rise To Me

Ivan Rose
Musician / Charming Horses
Ivan is a talented musician, and a good friend of mine. I met him at a Bauhaus show years ago. His newest musical project, Charming Horses, has an EP coming out in early 2012.

My Humble List For 2011
10.  David Lynch - Crazy Clown Time
09.  Joyless - Without Support
08.  Zola Jesus - Conatus
07.  Tom Waits - Bad As Me
06.  The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Belong
05.  Noel Gallagher - High Flying Birds
04.  Ringo Deathstarr - Colour Trip
03.  True Widow - As High As The Highest Heavens...
02.  Pure X - Pleasure
01.  The Raveonettes - Raven In The Grave

J. DeWolfe
Musician / Drummer of Audra
I met Jason in 2001 - he's one of my best friends, and has been a bandmate in Audra since his first show with us - back in Chicago circa 2002.

Top Ten Of 2011
10.  Trap Them - Darker Handcraft
09.  YOB - Atma
08.  Obscura - Omnivium
07.  Bjork - Biophilia
06.  Absu - Abzu
05.  Tombs - Path Of Totality
04.  Peter Murphy - Ninth
03.  Junius - Reports From The Threshold Of Death
02.  Mastodon - The Hunter
01.  Jesu - Ascension

Jaymz Todd
Album Cover Designer
I cannot recall when, or where, I met Jaymz, but one thing is for sure - we bonded over the love a certain Manchester band called James. Over the last few years, he has designed the covers for two Audra releases and my first solo single. He buys tons of new releases each year - in 2011, it numbered over 135.

31.  The Horrors - Skying
29.  Warm Ghost - Narrows
28.  Mirrors - Lights And Offerings
27.  Win Win - Win Win
26.  Zola Jesus - Conatus
25.  Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
24.  The Roots - Undun
23.  Tammar - Visits
22.  The Twilight Singers - Dynamite Steps
21.  Wild Beasts - Smother
20.  Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
19.  Theophilus London - Timez Are Weird These Days
18.  Active Child - You Are All I See
17.  Destroyer - Kaputt
16.  Skinny Puppy - Handover
15.  Cant - Dreams Come True
14.  Cold Cave - Cherish The Light Years
13.  Wale - Ambition
12.  Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
11.  Odonis Odonis - Hollandaze
10.  Ume - Phantoms
09.  Colourmusic - My ____ Is Pink
08.  The Horrible Crowes - Elsie
07.  Drake - Take Care
06.  Kanye West / Jay-Z - Watch The Throne
05.  Dreamers Of The Ghetto - Enemy/Lover
04.  Blood Orange - Coastal Grooves
03.  Beyonce - 4
02.  Gardens & Villa - Gardens & Villa
01.  Future Islands - On The Water

10 Biggest Let Downs Of The Year (no particular order):
01.  Battles - Gloss Drop

Sarah Quarrie
Music Enthusiast
I have known Sarah for a long time. We both grew up in Chicago, though we didn't know each other then. She has an extensive knowledge of music, and in the past has turned me on to some rad bands. She once rescued me from a near-fatal fall down a staircase at Toad's Place in New Haven, CT

Top 15 Albums of 2011:
01.  Young the Giant - s/t
"Although Young the Giant's debut received mixed reviews, in my opinion it is one of the most underrated albums of the year as I discovered it is the album I've listened to the most in 2011. I can't get it out of my head. Emotion is evoked through both the melodies and vocals (the singer's voice/tone is simply lovely), they just stick with you. Morrissey loves them so at least I know I am not insane in thinking I hear something in them that grips me." - Sarah

Ryan Orr
When I first met Ryan, he was probably around 10 years old and was armed with a new, untuned guitar. Now he's an accomplished musician and songwriter. He goes to more concerts in a month than most people do in a lifetime.

Top 20 Albums Of 2011:
20.  Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
19.  M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
18.  Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
17.  August Burns Red - Leveler
16.  Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
15.  Atmosphere - The Family Sign
14.  TV On The Radio - Nine Types Of Light
13.  We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach
12.  Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
11.  Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
10.  Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
09.  Wilco - The Whole Love
08.  Sigur Ros - Inni
07.  James Blake - s/t
06.  Bright Eyes - The People's Key
05.  City And Colour - Little Hell
04.  Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math
03.  Death Cab For Cutie - Codes And Keys
02.  Bon Iver - s/t
01.  Radiohead - The King Of Limbs

Thank you for reading!  Leave your comments and lists below!  Cheers, Bret :)