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2011 According to… Kyle Minton

Read the rest of our end of the year coverage as well:

There is nothing I am more tired of in this season of lists than the arbitrary proclamation of having learned something in 365 days’ time, that seething need to present yourself as a changed or revolutionized human being after a year. Rather than justify my changed listening habits, I’ll tell you that in the year of 2011, I was still a resolute slave to the bombast of this year. I spent far too much time listening to that Explosions In the Sky Record, and damn if Wu Lyf’s Go Tell Fire To The Mountain didn’t scratch that itch even better than the post-rock giants managed to. I could tell you how I adored James Blake’s subtle movement in “Lindesfarne II,” but I was truthfully too entangled in the bass drop of “I Never Learnt To Share” to stake that claim. As for Wye Oak’s Civilian, well, let us just say that I spent more time engrossed in the static distortion of the title track than I did hearing the group pay tribute to fellow Baltimore artists Beach House with their slower routine. My point is to not admit some grand transformation at the end of the year, and instead relish in the yesteryear I preserved. These albums may have paved a changing of musical tastes on my end, but I dragged my feet and lagged behind in many others. As a result, you may find a glaring lack of Replica or We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves—it’s true, I didn’t travel that far from the realm of safe indie music. If you have to ask yourself about relative obscurity in observing the past year in music, then you’ve already missed the point of an honest retrospective look. That I didn’t stray far is perfectly fine; because if these albums of 2011 taught me anything, it’s that rushed change is frivolous, and true progression is a meticulously crafted thing. That being said—Replica was pretty damn gorgeous, wasn’t it? 

Favorite EP’s of 2011:

  1. Beach FossilsWhat A Pleasure
  2. Memoryhouse’s The Years
  3. The Appleseed Cast's Middle States
  4. This Town Needs GunsAdventure, Stamina & Anger
  5. James Blake’s Enough Thunder

Hear songs from most of these on Kyle’s Spotify playlist [link

Favorite Songs of 2011

  1. Wye Oak’s “Civilian”
  2. M83’s "Intro (feat. Zola Jesus)" 
  3. James Blake's “I Never Learnt To Share” 
  4. The Antlers' “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”
  5. Explosions In the Sky's “Postcard From 1952” 
  6. Bon Iver’s "Holocene" 
  7. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's “Even In Dreams”
  8. Mogwai’s “Rano Pano”
  9. Youth Lagoon’s “July”
  10. The Joy Formidable’s “The Everchanging Spectrum Of A Lie”
  11. St. Vincent’s “Champagne Year”
  12. Fleet Foxes' “Helplessness Blues”
  13. Panda Bear’s “Last Night At The Jetty”
  14. SBTRKT’s “Trials Of The Past (Featuring Sampha)
  15. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “How Can U Luv Me” 
  16. Future Islands’ “On The Water”
  17. Shabazz Palaces' “Endeavors for Never” 
  18. Zola Jesus' “Skin”
  19. Handsome Furs' “Damage”
  20. James Blake’s "A Case Of You"

Hear most of these songs on Kyle’s Spotify playlist [link

2011 was my female-powerhouse year. I can’t think of a year where I have more relished the sound of the opposite gender screaming in my ear, and with records like W H O K I L L, Strange Mercy, and even the softly spoken, soporific melodies behind Verdugo Hills, who could possibly blame me? While Merrill Garbus proved her ingenuity and Annie Clark thrust her brazen lines on audiences, it was Jenn Wasner and Andy Stacks who struck my heart with Civilian. It’s hard to forget how splendidly Wasner sang my favorite line from “Civilian” while opening for Explosions In the Sky: ”I wanted to give you everything, but I was still in awe of superficial things.” I could tangentially touch upon the subjectivity of these lists, and how I’m not out to prove Civilian to be even the best indie record of the year, but I expect Nothing Sounds Better readers to be keen enough to not need the argument. Mogwai took their instrumental sound to fuzzier, more distorted heights, Trevor Powers revealed his innermost thoughts and memories through Youth lagoon, and none of us can ignorantly hide Justin Vernon away in the closet of indie music ever again; these albums are my favorite bits of progression this year, and now that my loquacious attitude has been satisfied, I invite all readers to dive in. 

Favorite Albums of 2011:

Hear songs from most of these on Kyle’s Spotify playlist [link

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