Most Underrated Albums Of 2011

These albums deserved more. Whether that be more praise on year end lists or simply deserving at least a few more listens that they didn’t get, these albums were underrated in 2011. After debating my choices make sure to also add your own suggestions.

10. Jonti - Twirligig

“Firework Spraying Moon”

-This guy is Australian
-Sounds like the Beach Boys if they were influenced less by the beach and more by an intergalactic space party that somehow is happening in the land down under
-Unfortunately doesn’t sound like Men At Work or kangaroos and doesn’t even feature a didgeridoo solo

Obviously the number one concern you’re having right now is whether you have to be Australian or at the very least have eaten at an Outback Steakhouse to enjoy Jonti. This is a very valid concern. But even if you’ve never even seen a real boomerang before or hung out at an authentic Australian family’s place (I believe they call them “opera houses”) I’m sure you’ll find something to like about Twirligig.

9. The Drums - Portamento

“Book Of Revelation”

-Guitarist left between first album and Portamento
-The album name sounds kind of like portmanteau or “poor man’s toe” but in fact is neither of those things
-Like many albums this year, religious themes surrounded this

Sounds exactly like The Drums from their first album except this time they brought a cross to the beach instead of a surfboard. The main consensus seemed to be that there wasn’t much new here from their first album which is fair, but their first album was snubbed as well so The Drums are going to need to be given more credit at some point.

8. Bodies Of Water - Twist Again

“Triplets”

-You can swim in this band
-Uses an album cover cliché
-A boy AND a girl sing in this group

With the right endorsements, this album would have been easily swallowed up by the masses and hailed as brilliant as it’s basically a bunch of well-informed pop songs. But since those endorsements didn’t quite happen, instead it was quickly forgotten which is a shame.

7. Nat Baldwin - People Changes

“Lifted”

-Bassist for Dirty Projectors
-Has severe carpal tunnel in his arm and has trouble finishing shows due to the intensity of his upright bass playing
-Expressed jealousy of James Blake for simply pushing a button at concerts and everyone swaying back and forth when he has to put in so much work to reproduce his songs live

Unique and warm in a year dominated by cold electronic dance songs. Nat Baldwin is doing fine as a member of the critically-acclaimed Dirty Projectors, but his solo effort really should have gotten more attention than it did.

6. Dirty Beaches - Badlands

“Lord Knows Best”

-Goes by name that sounds like it came from an “indie band name generator”
-Born in Taiwan but now lives in Vancouver
-Plays every instrument himself

Dirty Beaches sounds like a drug-induced Elvis speeding down the highway on a motorcycle with a cigarette in his mouth and somehow making every note in his voice still count. That’s basically exactly what I want from a musician and I wish 2011 had had more artists like Dirty Beaches.

5. We Are Trees - Girlfriend

“I Don’t Believe In Love”

-They are trees
-Members of the band are still in college
-Sometimes confused for a small forest

Sounds quite a bit like early-Grizzly Bear but the songs are unique and beautiful enough in their own right to deserve more attention.

4. Widowspeak - Widowspeak

“Harsh Realm”

-The lead singer is a girl
-The guitarist has a mustache
-The word Widowspeak is a combination of “widow’s peak”

Simple haunting beats + attractive female lead singer who can actually sing = band that will conquer every heart someday. Somehow they achieve so much energy with so little and it’s wonderful.

3. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy

“My Boy”

Much like Youth Lagoon, Car Seat Headrest is the savior we need from the overly self-aware, energy and life-fearing rock that has plagued the last two years since the indie rock that dominated 2008 and 2009 in Animal Collective, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, and Grizzly Bear has become intertwined with mainstream institutions and in a collective fear of “indie losing its edge” has been replaced by chillwave, celerywave, and singer songwriters. Car Seat Headrest somehow created an album both instantly familiar while also sounding completely a product of 2011. This is not just another rehash of the artist’s influences as so many other bands have been doing but is instead a unique album that has the capability to inspire musicians in the future instead of just pointing them to older artists.

2. Pictureplane - Thee Physical

“Body Mod”

2011 was the year of electronic dance pop and Pictureplane came close to doing it best. Calling up unexpectedly zeitgeisty themes of trans-sexuality and using an off the wall software program that sounded completely unique amongst a sea of Ableton creations, Thee Physical was almost the most underrated album of the year. But that title goes to…

1. The Rapture - In The Grace Of Your Love

“How Deep Is Your Love?”

Let me begin by saying not only do I believe this was the most underrated album of the year, but in my opinion The Rapture also accomplished the best album of the year out of all releases in 2011. Once again, this was the year of the dance song and The Rapture accomplished this best with completely unabashed pop songs that showed no hint of using self-awareness as a crutch and simply reached for higher and higher hooks without looking down. When on the dance floor, I don’t want to be constantly reminded I look ridiculous because of course I do. Self-awareness is becoming a plague in music, and The Rapture gave us an album that had and needed none of it. Also, with this being a year of multiple overrated and failed raptures, we should give credit to the one that was ultimately successful.

For posting on your Myspace…

Most Underrated Albums of 2011

10. Jonti - Twirligig
9. The Drums - Portamento
8. Bodies Of Water - Twist Again
7. Nat Baldwin - People Changes
6. Dirty Beaches - Badlands
5. We Are Trees - Girlfriend
4. Widowspeak - Widowspeak
3. Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy
2. Pictureplane - Thee Physical
1. The Rapture - In The Grace Of Your Love

ADD YOUR OWN SUGGESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS

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