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Best Of 2011

The Top 25 Indie Albums of 2011

by Stephanie Benson

The Top 25 Indie Albums of 2011


There were few predictable patterns in indie music in 2011, other than a lot of great newcomers, two of whom top this list. There were some curious trends sprinkling the landscape though, from all that sassy saxophone (check out our Indie Gets Sax-y playlist) to the seeming beginnings of a '90s revival (see Yuck, Big Troubles and The Joy Formidable). Beyond that, our favorite albums of 2011 comprise a pretty diverse bunch. Our list features perennial favorites like PJ Harvey (with one of her most conceptually compelling releases in years); TV on the Radio, Wilco and Radiohead (who all rarely falter); and Destroyer (a true leader in the year's saxed out soft-rock sounds). Others, like The Antlers, The Drums, M83, Bon Iver, Wye Oak, Kurt Vile, St. Vincent and Panda Bear, continued to churn out stunning efforts as well. Then there are the newbies: James Blake, who, at just 22, created perhaps the most idiosyncratic record of the year, one that needs a few listens to fully get; and Youth Lagoon, another youngster who made some of the most understated and poignant pop in recent years.