Best Albums of 2011

1. My Morning Jacket – Circuital

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2. Wilco – The Whole Love

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3. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

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4. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

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5. The Black Keys – El Camino

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6. Decemberists – The King Is Dead

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7. The Antlers – Burst Apart

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8. Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome

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9. TV On The Radio – Nine Types Of Light

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10. Lady Gaga – Born This Way

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Special mention goes to The Naked And Famous for their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You. It really is a gem, but it missed the top 10 by a drum beat.

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The Naked And Famous: 2011’s Sonic Boom!

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New Zealand’s The Naked and Famous are, so far, my favourite new band of 2011. Their debut album Passive Me, Aggressive You pulls together everything that’s good about popular music at the moment, while at the same time not coming across as commercial. Whether you hear their first single “Young Blood” in a club, at a friend’s house or on 5FM, the track is the epitome of cool every time.

Their sound is a mixture of dreamy dance-pop, dark sonic psychedelia and ripping up-beat melodies, as well as a healthy dose of noise. There’s definitely a lot in common with MGMT and LCD Soundsystem, but also hints of Radiohead, Animal Collective, Portishead, The B52’s and NIN. Yes, really.

Each song on the album is alive with youth and party, colliding synth-rock with dirty, edgier grooves in amongst the many memorable hooks. From the opener “All Of This,” you know you’re in for a road trip. There are brilliant ups and introspective downs along the way until arriving at the triumphant “Girls Like You.”

My favourite track at the moment is “No Way.” It oscillates between delicate female vocals with a restrained drum beat and an agitated guitar held in a wall of sound that reverberates over your ears… A lot like when you’re driving a little fast with the car windows completely open:

You can find out more about this fantastic band at their official website. Do that after you’ve bought or ordered yourself the album though, because Passive Me, Aggressive You will go down in history as one of those truly brilliant debut albums.

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