HEARING GOLD’S HIGHLIGHTS OF 2011: LP’S
Presenting our final Highlights of 2011 list this year and similar to our Highlights of 2011: EP’s list, we selected 12 LP’s, again which have been enjoyable, meaningful and on heavy rotation for us here at Hearing Gold this year. This list is arranged in alphabetical order due to the fact that we couldn’t rank any one album better than the other as our experiences with them go beyond numerical rankings. As we have mentioned in Highlights of 2011: Tracks, most of these LP’s contain favorite tracks of ours which were previously excluded to avoid repetition. You can click on a cropped piece of the album artwork to play a selected track from the featured LP.
Blouse - Blouse released by Captured Tracks 11/01/11
The sultry vocals of lead songstress, Charlie Hamilton is the main reason for the LP’s dark, seductive ’80s mystique quality it’s got about it and that’s what drew us to this amazing LP. It seems as if nobody else executed new wave sensibilities as incredibly well as Blouse have this year and that’s something definitely worth noting.
Craft Spells - Idle Labor released by Captured Tracks 03/29/11
We’ve listened to this LP ten times over and still, it never gets old. It’s one of those go-to-albums that never fail with its infectious ’80s pop vibes and addictive hooks. Every single track satisfies and is as equally catchy and amazing as the next—definitely a unique and timeless album for us.
Gathered Ghosts - Gathered Ghosts self-released 07/19/11
Another Craft Spells mention on this list is Gathered Ghosts, the slower, downbeat side-project of Javier Suarez. The LP is said to have been written in his parents’ basement in Washington which makes sense because of its humble, small-town feel, aspects which we’ve found to be effortlessly genuine and overall brilliant.
Monster Rally - Coral released by Gold Robot 01/11/11
When we were shut in from the depressingly cold weather of winter outside, the psychedelic tropical summer calls of Monster Rally’s Coral was the perfect remedy for staying indoors and lifting our spirits. The ambitious 16-track LP is like taking a vacation in spirit, somewhere sunny and exotic and it gives a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside like when the rays of the sun hit your exposed skin for the first time in the warmer months.
Real Estate - Days released by Domino Records 10/18/11
Despite its release in the colder months, this was such a comforting album to listen to as it reminded us of those warmer yet breezy days just riding your bike in the suburbs or something rather picturesque like that. The hazy-surf pop gems on this one are uncomplicated and straightforward but by no means, any less meaningful. An LP that embodies ease and comfort is the best way we can describe this beaut.
Sad Souls - Apeiron self-released 09/14/11
Apeiron is so lush and serene and while the vocals are kept minimal, when they are heard, they are but soft coos. This LP is so subtle but the impact is still there with the stunning guitar melodies strummed throughout, so gentle it’s barely a whisper. This is the perfect album to listen to when you are about to sleep, with movements so graceful like a soothing lullaby. Not to suggest at all that it’s overly soporific, but rather it’s so stunningly delicate that it’s hard not to drift into a blissful dream-induced state with this one.
Seapony - Go With Me released by Hardly Art 05/31/11
The stunningly dreamy guitar-pop sounds coming off of this album are literally like the soundtrack to our dreams. Go With Me hits us hard with doses of nostalgia as its feel-good positivity remind us of those happy and carefree days. It’s rather amazing how simple melodies and arrangements can go so far and Seapony does it effortlessly like no other.
Still Corners - Creatures of an Hour released by Sub Pop 10/11/11
This is another one of the more soothing and delicate LPs on this list. We literally interpreted Creatures of an Hour from the name of the LP’s title: the sounds of the magical creatures coming out from tiny, hidden corners in the middle of the night—their whimsical coos wrapped in a warm psychedelia would be the result of this LP.
Tearjerker - Rare self-released 11/15/11
Rare was kind of an emotional purge of our inner turmoils. It kind of envelopes you in a hazy, self-contained shoegaze bubble with subtle yet moving melodies and unaffected vocals. Best method we found for playing this LP is to listen to it alone in your room, slowly drift away and finally get completely lost in its hypnotic drone.
Toro y Moi - Underneath The Pine released by Carpark 02/22/11
This was a great followup to the successful release of Causers of This. There are loads of new instant favourite tracks on this one, from “New Beat”, “Got Blinded”, “How I know”, etc. Basically the whole album. Chaz Bundick gets it right everytime with his disco-smooth funk tracks, and collectively his LP Underneath The Pine is fairly impressive.
Washed Out - Within and Without released by Sub Pop 07/12/11
Easily one of the chillest LP’s on this list is Washed Out’s Within and Without. Not to mention, this was a perfectly timed release because it was one of the LP’s that quickly became our summer playlist. Although this LP doesn’t break any new grounds, its consistency is appreciated. Gorgeous tracks fill up your headspace with lush sounds while it takes you to serene places from start to finish.
Youth Lagoon - The Year of Hibernation released by Fat Possum 09/27/11
Probably one of the best debut LP’s we’ve heard this year comes from Youth Lagoon. The first few tracks we’ve heard from newcomer Trevor Powers, which was a taste of this release, was the shiver-inducing “July” and “Cannons” and to say the least, it blew our minds. Don’t know what it is about the execution of these tracks but coupled with Powers’ vocals, it takes us back to our days of both childhood dreams and growth pains. When we finally listened to the whole LP, we knew that The Year of Hibernation was going to be on repeat forever.