2011’s Top Albums: #20 – #11

If the uncertainty regarding yesterday’s ten albums whether or not they belonged on the list at all, today’s uncertainty relates to some of the albums themselves. A full half of these picks have been in my playlists for less than a month and I have my doubts about whether I can give them a fair evaluation in such a short period of time – especially since I’ve been cramming with some other albums that got somewhat less favorable treatment.

Nevertheless, it’s fair to say that these five (Austra, The Joy Formidable, Wilco, Nicolas Jaar and The Black Keys, if you’re keeping score at home) all made pretty good first impressions. While it’s hard to say how time will change how I feel about this bunch, I’m pretty sure that even after a more careful consideration, they’ll all be deserving of a spot somewhere in the rankings.

So while there’s still some uncertainty, these unknowns feel most appropriately slotted in this portion of the list which is the core of what I would consider 2011’s “second tier” of albums. For me, there was a clear top eight, followed by another group of (for now) 13 that goes down through Peter, Bjorn and John at #21 that stood out above their peers.

Anyway, I have to run out the door right now, so I’ll have to throw in Spotify links to some of the album highlights later on. Note that The Black Keys are one of two artists in the countdown whose albums are unavailable on Spotify (Bill Callahan being the other). They did make “Lonely Boy” available however, and I threw in a link to their performance of “Gold On The Ceiling” from the David Letterman show.

20. Austra – Feel It Break
Darken Her Horse | Beat and the Pulse
19. Noah and the Whale – Last Night On Earth
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. | Give It All Back
18. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie | Whirring
17. Devotchka – 100 Lovers
Bad Luck Heels | Contrabanda
16. Sondre Lerche – Sondre Lerche
Private Caller | Living Dangerously
15. Wilco – The Whole Love
Capitol City | Whole Love
14. Givers – In Light
Up Up Up | Meantime
13. I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today
Get In Line | Battleships
12. Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
Keep Me There | Space Is Only Noise If You Can See
11. The Black Keys – El Camino
Lonely Boy | Gold on the Ceiling (live on Letterman)
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