Favorite Albums of 2011: Joel Oliphint

This year’s list of favorites is fairly sedate (even for me), with just a little ruckus here and there. Lots of morning-coffee music, which I guess says something about my 2011. But music’s strength is its pliability. It can be whatever you need it to be at the moment, especially when we have instant access to virtually any song ever recorded, often for free. Judging by this list, I needed music to be a salve more than a release valve this year.

I also never expected my favorite album to come from someone who held the spot previously, but the iTunes “most played” playlist doesn’t lie. It’s a divisive one, but people who like it really like it.

I picked 15 favorites and several honorable mentions, plus a Favorite Columbus Albums list below — separate but equal in enjoyment and quality. As usual, I limit my lists to albums, so some EPs and 7”s I liked (e.g. Envelope, Sundown, Malefactors of Great Wealth, Dolfish) aren’t listed.

That is all.

15. Wussy – Strawberry

MP3: Grand Champion Steer

As Chip said about Wussy’s Chuck Cleaver, “One wouldn’t expect the heavily tattooed Cincinnati songwriter to produce his best collection of songs this late in his already highly-prolific career, but that’s exactly what he’s done.”

14. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light

TV On The Radio – “Will Do” by Interscope Records

13. The War on Drugs – Slave Ambient

MP3: Come to the City

12. Tom Waits – Bad As Me

Tom Waits – Bad As Me by antirecords

I’ve never been a Tom Waits fanboy, but this record grabbed me and didn’t let go.

11. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

MP3: Helplessness Blues

10. Crooked Fingers – Breaks in the Armor

MP3: Typhoon

Best songs since Red Devil Dawn.

9. Southeast Engine – Canary

MP3: New Growth

8. Centro-matic – Candidate Waltz

MP3: Only in My Double Mind

7. David Bazan – Strange Negotiations

MP3: Wolves at the Door

6. A.A. Bondy – Believers

MP3: Surfer King

5. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation

MP3: Cannons

4. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo

MP3: Jesus Fever

3. Bill Callahan – Apocalypse

MP3: Baby’s Breath

2. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & the Harvest

MP3: The Way It Goes

1. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

MP3: Holocene

By now, I know every moment on this album, but I’m still continually surprised by its beauty. Seeing Bon Iver in Philly would also make my Favorite Life Occurrences of 2011 list.

Honorable mention:
The Roots – Undun
The Black Keys – El Camino
Dawes – Nothing is Wrong
Joe Henry – Reverie
Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck
Richard Buckner – Our Blood
Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts
J Mascis – Several Shades of Why
Tim Easton – Beat the Band/Since 1966 Vol. 1
Thao & Mirah – Thao & Mirah
Joseph Arthur – The Graduation Ceremony

Favorite 2011 Columbus albums:
1. The Black Swans – Don’t Blame the Stars
2. Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine
3. Times New Viking – Dancer Equired
4. Psandwich – Northren Psych
5. Saintseneca – Last
6. Blueprint – Adventures in Counter-Culture
7. Bicentennial Bear – Lost Summers
8. The Regionals – The Regionals
9. Psychedelic Horseshit – Laced
10. The Lindsay – Deep in the Queue

Honorable mention:
P. Blackk – Blackk Friday
Moon High – Six Suns
Shane Sweeney – The Finding Time
Tin Armor – Life of Abundance
Alyosha Het – The Purgatourist

  • BIDS

    my best of 2011 list.
    (i included “mixtapes” as long as they’re all original material – just because they’re free does not make them any less an album in my eyes. and i have no limit or sequence because i think that’s arbitrary. a great album is a great album, and nearly impossible to rank in order.

    the weeknd – house of balloons
    active child – you are all i see
    bon iver – bon iver
    youth lagoon – the year of hibernation
    clams casino – instrumentals
    araabMUZIK – electronic dream
    balam acab – wander/wonder
    sepalcure
    oneohtrix point never – replica
    m83 – hurry up we’re dreaming
    SBTRKT – SBTRKT
    apparat – the devils walk
    TV on the radio – nine types of light
    james blake – james blake
    ASAP – rocky live.love.A$AP
    Main attrakionz 808s and grapes II
    kendrick lamar- section 80
    nacho picasso – for the glory
    shabazz palaces – black up
    iggy azalea – ignorant art
    watch the throne – the throne
    vast aire – OX2010
    panda bear – tomboy
    EMIKA – emika
    rustie – glass swords
    gotye – making mirrors
    the rapture – in the grace of your love
    pj harvey – let england shake
    david lynch – crazy clown time

  • Bobby Dyle

    have to agree 100% on top 3 – especially Bon Iver -best of the year hands down

    • Tim

      Bon Iver, Bon Iver FTW

  • Jason

    That Kurt Vile album is awesome. It kills me how good it is and how long it took me to get around to listening to it.

  • Holmders

    why is this categorized as “columbus”?

  • Pingback: Misra Records » The Black Swans — Best of 2011 Lists()

  • Pingback: Misra Records » Southeast Engine — Best of 2011 Lists()

  • Pingback: SOUTHEAST ENGINE: BEST OF 2011 LISTS, THE YEAR IN REVIEW | Southeast Engine()

  • Pingback: 3 Elliott Studio, Athens, Ohio: A Full Service Recording Studio near Ohio University » 12.30.11 – Southeast Engine’s Canary tops lists()