Favorites of 2011 (So Far)

I generally offer a quick count of my current favorite records after the first quarter of the year passes, a quick recommendation of the stuff that’s really stuck with me thus far, so I’ll follow suit here. These are ten albums that have impressed me during the first three months of 2011, and yes: One, some, all, or none* of them could end up on my year-end list come December. Note that, as is my custom, I’m only counting albums that have officially been released at this point in the year, which means that some favorite April releases– Low, Emmylou Harris, etc.– are going to be “exempt” form this sampling. But I strongly suspect you’ll see them on later lists…

* Well, no, that last part probably isn’t true. The first album on this list is perhaps my favorite new recording in three or four years, so it’s unlikely that it will be knocked off altogether…

01. Over the Rhine
The Long Surrender

02. Sam Phillips
Cameras in the Sky

03. Hayes Carll

04. DeVotchKa
100 Lovers

05. Josh T. Pearson
Last of the Country Gentlemen

06. Buddy Miller
The Majestic Silver Strings

07. PJ Harvey
Let England Shake

08. The Decemberists
The King is Dead

09. Gregg Allman
Low Country Blues

10. R.E.M.
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4 responses to “Favorites of 2011 (So Far)”

  1. bloop says :

    Nice list. My present top ten:
    Let England Shake, PJ Harvey (9.5)
    The Long Surrender, Over the Rhine (9.5)
    The Unfazed, Dolorean (9.0)
    The King of Limbs, Radiohead (8.5)
    James Blake, James Blake (8.5)
    build a rocket, boys!, Elbow (8.5)
    Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron & Wine (8.5)
    Computers and Blues, The Streets (8.0)
    The King is Dead, The Decemberists (8.0)
    Tao of the Dead, …And You Will You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead (7.5)

    Still a lot I’m digesting or haven’t heard, including about half of your list.

  2. Josh Hurst says :

    For what its worth, I excluded the Elbow album as part of my “only stuff that’s officially released already” rule– though now that you mention it, it HAS released in Britain, so I guess I should have included it! Regardless, I’m fairly certain it would have made my ten. Review coming soon, I think.

  3. Scott says :

    Yeah, I’m surprised by R.E.M. in particular (not that you like it – just that they made the list).

  4. Josh Hurst says :

    I was as surprised as you were– but I try to be honest on these things, and I’ve listened to the R.E.M. a fair bit. Not that I think it’s in any danger of becoming a new R.E.M. classic, or of showing up on my year-end list… but I grew up with them, and it’s nice to hear them stretching themselves a bit, for what seems like the first time in a long time.

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