Happy New Year! – Albums I Loved in 2011

Hi, Everyone!  Well, it’s that time of year again!  The time when I get to pontificate about the top releases of the year.  However, as usual, I have a really difficult time ranking things.  This is something that carries over from my work as a professor.  After all, what is the difference between a 93 and a 94?  I know it when I see it, but just how to explain?  So, I’m just going to wimp out present some of the albums I loved in no particular order.  For those of you looking for a more ordered (and possibly comprehensive) list, I would recommend checking in with Pitchfork, Slowcoustic, or NPR Music.  All right, let’s get on with the show!

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First Listen: New Fleet Foxes, The Antlers

NPR’s First Listen Series does it again!  Easter Monday brings us the long-gestating new album from Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (out 5/3) – as well as The Antlers’ own Burst Apart (out 5/10).  Why wait?  Click here for Fleet Foxes, and here for The Antlers.  Enjoy!

First Listen: Fleet Foxes – “Battery Kinzie”

Fleet Foxes debuted a new track from their forthcoming album – Helplessness Blues – on Radio 1, this evening, and now you can hear it, too!  The album’s out 5/3 on Sub Pop/Bella Union, and you can bid on a vinyl test pressing to help the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund by going here.  And now, “Battery Kinzie!”

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Free Robin Pecknold EP!

Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) announced today, via twitter (@FleetFoxes), that he was giving away a new, three-song EP: “So, I recorded three acoustic songs a couple weeks ago in LA with my friend Noah. One is a duet with my friend Ed Droste from the amazing band Grizzly Bear, one is just a new solo jam, and one is a cover. Here’s a link to download them: [Link]”  It’s definitely an exciting set of recordings, and the duet – “I’m Losing Myself” – is poignant and gripping.  Hear it below, and then go grab your own:

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