Album Of The Year 2011

Ok, 2011 is winding to a close, it's been a wonderful year for music. I have really enjoyed the best of 2011 music thread so I figured why not toss up a year end personal award thread.

It was a tough choice for me but after much deliberation my album of the year 2011 goes to (drum roll)....

Laura Marling "A Creature I Don't Know"

For me, it's timeless music, beautifully written and played with heart and soul. I cannot think of any women aside from Joni Mitchell that moves me the way Lara Marling does. Such an amazing talent. The chick is heaven sent.

Runner up to The Mountain Goats "All Eternals Deck"

And you?
I'd go with VHS head "trademark ribbons of gold"
Mine is Warren Haynes "Man in Motion"
Thanks for the link Richard, never heard of her before, and after seeing that you tube, I'm ordering the cd! What a talent.

My choice for 2011 would be Gillian Welch, "The Harrow and the Harvest" and Emmylou Harris " Hard Bargain".
You already know mine, bro.

Diamond Mine, King Kreosote and John Hopkins

If it weren't for you and NPR I might not have given it a try.

Good choices, yours. Like the Gillian Welch but she and Dave have done better.
Sarah Jarosz "Follow Me Down"
Who are these people?
The CD of the year is 'Marsalis and Clapton play the Blues'.

It is near perfect.
Ryan Adams-Ashes and Fire
produced my Gly Johns, outstanding material as well as sound
Thanks for the great suggestions above. I ordered three titles at Amazon a few minutes ago.

My favorite, I've already talked it up here at Audiogon. Black Dub, is Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade, Daryl Johnson and Trixie Whitley.

You Tube Live off the Floor
Shelby Lynne-"Revelation Road"
"Steady As She Goes"
Hot Tuna
Tom Waits 'Bad as me'.
HANK3 "ghost to a ghost/guttertown"
Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa "Don't Explaim"
i will give a nod to Steve Wilsons "GRACE FOR DROWNING
I too have very recently caught on to Laura Marling, and I agree that she is an amazing new talent. Just a wonderful voice and (some) songs just have such a wisdom for her age. I would add that her 2nd album, "I Speak Because I Can" is also quite beautiful, and the song "Blackberry Stone" may be her best work to date. Yes, my pick for artist/album of the year too, outside of jazz. On the jazz front, I have played Jarrett/Haden's "Jasmine" alot, and would be my choice in jazz.
I have really enjoyed Robbie Robertson's How To Be Clairvoyuant. A little help from Slowhand on this one.
I'm not sure what my nominee is - frankly I don't remember which albums I bought this year that were truly 2011 releases. I would have said Cowboy Junkies Renmin Park, and/or Demons, but I think they are 2010.

A top contender IMO would be Brian Eno "Drums Between Bells" (with words by Rick Holland). I'm sure it's not for everyone - but the music is fantastic, the fidelity is near perfect, and the spoken words are interesting and create a very unique concept (though this may be distracting for some).

Finally - I'm in with Laura Marling - had never heard her before but love the video and will pick up that album.
Marco...Diamond Mine was one I seriously considered along with the 2011 Tim Hecker releases, Ravedeath, 1972 & Dropped Pianos EP, but ultimately I knew the Laura Marling record was one that would stay with me. All great albums, it's hard to nail it down to one.

Nice list shaping up! Glad some of you folks enjoyed the video and hope you enjoy the album as much as I do.
Here's another Lara Marling video I can't resist sharing. It's the last song on the album, Sophia. Sophia is the goddess of power and a reoccurring character/theme throughout the record.
Man, only one? I truly liked each of the following, but for dramatically different reasons:

Steve Wilson - Grace for Drowning
Robbie Robertson - How to be Clairvoyant
Tierney Sutton - American Road
I loved both the Marling and the Mountain Goats records...thank you Richard for the heads up on those two.

I will go a different way, however, and (shockingly!) nominate Seeds We Sow by Lindsey Buckingham. As always, the lyrics have their clumsy moments, but he's got a lot on his mind on this one. Deception, mortality, justice in the universe, and the real personal cost of making "Tusk" instead of Rumours II - a decision that, in retrospect, Buckingham seems to believe (probably correctly) ruined his solo career. It appears that he needs to justify that choice 30 years later, and the obsessive element there speaks volumes about the guy.

To me, he is such an interesting mix of runaway talent and runaway ego that this very personal, introspective record is dominating my listening hours.

The comeback record from Kid Creole is also a terrific effort, modernized but recognizably old school. The Girls, Bon Hiver, Adele, Wilco, Paul Simon, and Foo Fighters all had new releases this year that I like a lot. All in, I thought 2011 was a great year!

My "years best" is Voice Of My Beautiful Country by Rene Marie..Very well recorded with front to back layering and wonderful songs.

Listen at.
The one I keep going back to is the Feelies- "Here Before." It has the classic Feelies jangly sound, but goes in fresh new direction. I hope they continue to play together.
The King Of Limbs, Radiohead. 37 min of pure heaven!!
Sounds real audio...what a beautiful voice. Never heard her before, nice album!

King of Limbs is good but I much prefer the TKOL remix's :)
Albert, also was really excited by Black Dub, having listened to a lot of their stuff on the internet (and following decades -- gulp -- of being a huge fan of Chris Whitley and Daniel Lanois, and more recently discovering Blade, they had me at the lineup). Many of the bare, clean recordings that they've put up videos for are nothing short of amazing. (My absolute favorite has got to be this one). But, that album...? What gives? Found it to be way over-produced and festooned with all manner of nonsense. Just wish Lanois used a lighter hand, 'cause with musicianship of that caliber, man, just get out of the way.... Sure would love to get my hands on high rez versions of the stuff on the interwebs, though.

And for the record, Richard, many thank. Always look forward to your music threads. You always bring great stuff to the table, and encourage others to do the same. Made of win. Cheers.
Just an observation:

It seems as if the 'best' recordings, are the ones that are reproduced to greatest effect on your stereo systems. Small groups, females with guitar. All very acoustic. Any truth to this?
Mezmo...Many thanks for the kind words. Sometimes I wonder if my posts are much more than annoying! I really enjoy sharing music with the good folk here so glad it's mutual in some cases. I know my taste can push the boundaries of the typical Agoner's catalog but my hope is that folks here become more aware of how amazing some of the current artists are as well as some of the stuff going on outside the mainstream genres.

Rok2id....Not for me, nope. Kinda more coincidence that LMarling happened to be my choice but even in her case, the record is not a great recording at all. If you look at my input to the Best Of thread you will see that many of my suggestions are pretty far from small, acoustic etc. I will say that I do enjoy music that sound good on my system, yes, and on occasion will select things to play just for that reason. It could be a girl and a guitar but it could easily be bass heavy dub techno:)

Thanks for your answer. I guess I was just sort of put out that I did not recognize one artist listed. Could I be that much out of touch? AND, no one mentioned Wynton or Beethoven. :)
Happy Listening. BTW, the girl with the guitar was great on video, I don't think I would like it as much on audio only.
Rok2id - As far as my pick; Diamond Mine is a pretty raw, and unconventional recording. Not your typical audiophile fare. In general, I do prefer acoustic music and smaller arrangements myself (though my tastes are not limited to that), both with live performances and with music I listen to at home. I don't think the preference has anything to do with what sounds best on my system. The handful of live concerts I've walked out of have all been obnoxiously loud, amplified affairs...I have a very limited tolerance for it. Just a personal preference.
Love Laura Marling. Agree with everything Richard says.

The other sleeper album for me was the Throwdowns "Legs of our Own". Band is from Maui and gets no mainland support. Erin Smith is a witty song writer and the band is fantastic live. Guitarist sounds like Edge and the drummer is amazing. Has a nice dynamic drum soundstage.

I was underwhelmed by Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Coldplay and RHCP. I thought Wilco and Tom Waits rose to the occasion. I just heard the Black Keys album and think it is the best album they have ever recorded.

Best debut was by a band called Dale Earnhart Jr. Jr. Imagine the lovechild of Fleet Foxes and the Beatles. Really impressive stuff. I also loved the R & B sounds of Aloe Blaac. He broke in Europe, playing with everyone from Sir Paul McCartney to the best of British R & B. Think he will grow to be compared with Otis.
2011 has been really good and I'm not even sure I can say there is just one album of the year for me. "Portugal The Man", "Black Keys", "Atlas Sound" and "Abigail Washburn" all had very good efforts. However, I really the like the new release by "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds", a great sounding, well written album from top to bottom.

BTW, this is one of my favorite questions...I always find great, new music this way.
Aretha Franklin
The Delta meets Detroit
if you don't have it, get it.
Maria Rita 'Elo'
Add "The King of Limbs"

Listening to it more now than on release.

Looking forward to seeing them March 2012 in Phoenix.
Many fine albums, but for best(most important) of 2011 I'm leaning toward the Hendrix Winterland LP box.
Blaze Foley-Compilation
thanks Richard for the link to LM, sublime, what can i do to repay..anyway keep em comin, cheers!
John Alldis Choir
LPO - Karl Richter

Not 2011, but great, and time is running out.
Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Feist "Metals" is pretty darn good.
The Antlers , Burst Apart is amazing !!! I love this band, check Hospice as well.
Two come to mind:

Beach Boys - Smile. To finally hear what might have possibly been. Excellent sound on LP.

Destroyer - Kaputt. A post-modern nod to the 80s with a delightfully well conceived holistic soundscape. The vinyl edition features excellent sonics, as well as one additional composition on the remaining LP side. If you like later period Steely Dan, Roxy Music or Brian Eno, it may delight, though it's probably not for everyone.

A tip of the hat to Kate Bush's "50 Words for Snow", and PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake"; both very potent in their own right.

I'm completely underwhelmed by the Bon Iver record; musically and sonically it's not even in the same category as "For Emma..." (for me, though many disagree).

I'm looking forward to 2012. Happy holidays.
With musical taste like this, you could all have saved a lot of bucks, and gone with a BOSE table radio / CD player. Not trying to start a fight, just saying. What is it about this music that demands the high-end amps and speakers?

Who would want to dedicate the space and money to high end equipment. I prefer a simple digital rig and headphone amp. And all the music sounds great through phones and you eliminate neighbors complaining.

Just like grandma's Wave Radio.
I like to listen with headphones also. I have three very good pair. My question is: Do headphone amps really make a big difference? My amps and CDPs supposably have above average phone amps built in. Marantz PM 7200 and Marantz SA 8001.

Yes. I love the Luxman N100 tube amp and the new Ray Samuels solid state Dark Star. Both take up no space and with the right headphones sound incredible. I like the Seinheiser 800s, the Grado 500s, Sony 7506, and the Fostex B7s. I have my turntable hooked up to the Luxman and my DAC into the Dark Star.

I got rid of my rigs. Why, I love my grandsons more. They are 3 and 2 and I was always worried that a hundred pound speaker would crush them. Now I have a nice library away from the family.
Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams, by Various Artists was an enjoyable release on c.d. for me.
But I think the c.d. which I played the most in my car and on my Walkman was still Guy Clark's 'Somedays the Song Writes You'. There are just so many fine hooks and guitar solo's on this c.d. that lock me into repeat mode, wish it was out on vinyl.