Halfway Through The Year…favorite music releases?

I’m an avid fan of music so naturally I feel compelled to make a blog in regards to this.

I was considering doings songs and albums…but I honestly think albums is the best way to go about this. Mainly because I just can’t pick 5 or 10 songs that I love from 2011. On another, semi-related note 2011 has been fantastic for music.

OK…my top 10 through the first 6 months….keep in mind I’m a bit backlogged so I haven’t listened to much in the past 2 months.

Honorable Mentions: Beach Fossils – “What A Pleasure EP” ; Cut Copy – “Zonoscope” ; Clams Casino – “Instrumental Mixtape” ; James Blake – Self Titled

10. Frank Ocean – “Nostalgia, Ultra”

Genre: R&B
Grade: 85/100
Dope joints: Dust, We All Try

Ocean’s debut record evokes a really fresh outlook on contemporary R&B. Lyrically, Ocean is on another stratosphere in comparison to others, and though musically he (along with most of Odd Future) leaves a lot to be desired there’s a ton of promise on his debut record.

9. Mouse On Tha Track – “Swagga Fresh Freddie”

Genre: Rap
Grade: 86/100
Dope Joints: Bizness Is Bizness, Unwind feat. Shell & Foxx

Trill ENT has mirrored itself after early 00’s Cash Money Records, with in-house producer Mouse serving as the Mannie Fresh of the bunch. Though Fresh’s rapping was never worthy of note, Mouse proves on his first mixtape that there’s a lot more to like about him than most producers turned rappers. In fact, he may be the best one to come out in years.

8. Anna Calvi – Self-Titled

Genre: R&B, Pop
Grade: 87/100
Dope Joints: Love Won’t Be Leaving, I’ll Be Your Man

Calvi’s album may be the most interesting I’ve heard this year. She has this incredibly enticing aesthetic about her music…it’s like mature lounge music. It’s never over-produced or too much–she sounds just the same live as she does on her record. Calling this Pop music doesn’t do it justice. There’s a dark, gothic Cure-esque mystery behind everything on Calvi’s debut.

7. Egyptrixx – “Bible Eyes”

Genre: Dubstep, Post-Dubstep
Grade: 87/100
Dope Songs: Chrysalis Records, Naples

Egyptrixx debut record is one of the most enticing dubstep records my ears have ever had the pleasure of listening to. An early candidate for AOTY I see this album continuing to grow on me as the year comes to a close. There’s a fantastic use of drums, and sounds…and still these guys are completely accessible to people who don’t care for dubstep.

6. TV On The Radio – “Nine Types Of Light”

Genre: Art Rock, Funk, Indie
Grade: 88/100
Dope Joints: Will Do, New Cannonball Run

This may be the first TVOTR record that hasn’t been recieving tons of media buzz, but I’d argue this could be their finest release. They’ve often flirted with lo-fi/noise music, especially apparent on their earlier records, but this record sees a complete diversion from uninhibited white noise. The result as the cleanest sounding TVOTR, a sound that these guys can really pull off.

5. Gatto Fritto – Self Titled

Genre: Electronic
Grade: 88/100
Dope Songs: Invisible College, Beachy Head

Gatto Fritto create epic electronic jam sessions to perfection on this record. The production never bores, and though the first half doesn’t quite measure up to the second half, the record has an unparalleled consistency that I usually don’t feel with similar records. In fact, often music like this bores me.

4. The Weeknd – “House Of Balloons”

Genre: R&B
Grade: 88/100
Dope Songs: Loft Music, The Party & The After Party

Opposite of Ocean, The Weeknd relies on production to move his music. The music is obviously adult driven, and often makes me feel dirty just listening to it. Somehow, The Weeknd has perfected the sound of destruction in otherwise perfect situations. Kind of like watching your neighbor hit on the pool boy, or having sex with a 40 year old, successful lawyer.

3. Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

Genre: Glam Rock, Indie Pop
Grade: 89/100
Dope Songs: Weekend, The Only One

Smith Westerns are probably the most youthful band on this list. They also display an incredible amount of talent and potential on their 2nd record. For where they struggle lyrically, they make up for it with infectious vintage-pop tunes, and display an impeccable amount of musicianship for such a young age.
2. Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

Genre: Folk
Grade: 90/100
Dope Songs: Helplessness Blues, Battery Kinzie

The Foxes sound a bit older on this record…a bit more mature. I don’t think this will turn people off, but I think its reason as to why people aren’t so entranced with this record as they were with their self-titled record. I, personally, like this record WAY more than their debut…in my opinion only the “Sun Giant EP” is better than this in their discography.

1. Big KRIT – Returnof4eva

Genre: Rap
Grade: 93/100
Dope Songs: R4 Theme Song, Sookie Now feat. David Banner

It’s been a while since a rap record was my favorite record of the year…and though this is the half way point I’m going to have to be completely blown away to see anything top this record. This is, by all means classic southern rap. KRIT is Pimp Cee reincarnated. Dude has bars, is already a top producer, has one of the illest flows and deliveries in rap…and all on his 2nd LP.

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About realmikeclark

23-year old Journalism & Psychology graduate of the University of Connecticut.
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