The votes are in, and have been counted; this is the first instalment of Hitsville readers’ albums of 2011.
50. PATRICK WOLF - Lupercalia
Reclaiming his mojo after the angsty and flat The Bachelor, P-Wolf gave us his best album since The Magic Position. Stacked with lovelorn pop tunes and the most romantic of ballads, it’s shocking how the London troubadour isn’t one of the biggest singer in the country right now.
49. DEATH GRIPS - Exmilitary
Fearsome, fearless and furious, Death Grips are the most exciting new thing in hip-hop, even more so than OFWGKTA. With all the intensity and rage (and shouting) of hardcore punk and the undeniable innovation of the best of the genre, Death Grips are enough to impassion any cynic.
48. CHILDISH GAMBINO - Camp
Recently slated by Pitchfork and lauded by our editor, Donald Glover is proving to be a polarising act, musically at least. Camp represents his first properly released album; thirteen tracks of eclectic beats, punchline after punchline and what almost seems like therapy for Gambino. Dude’s got a lot of issues, but if he’s getting them out through music as good as this, it’s fine by us and you, it would seem.
47. ST VINCENT - Strange Mercy
The difficult third album appears to have not occurred for Ms Annie Clark. “Strange Mercy” blends electronica with parts of her old sound to create an enticing record, full of twists and turns. “Surgeon” is a cracker.
46. FLEET FOXES - Helplessness Blues
More pastoral folksiness from the bearded six piece. One has to hazard a guess that the dark, cold nights by the fire and reappearance of knitwear in your wardrobes was the primary reason for this one popping up here; blokes with acoustic guitars are the best musical accompaniment for winter.
45. NOAH AND THE WHALE - Last Night On Earth
Also known as “The album where NATW got massive”. Seems like recording in LA turned the London folk quartet into actual rockstars. The songs on Last Night… have a wonderful FM rock sheen as well as the big hooks to back up the slick production. It’s also a big volte-face from the maudlin miserabilia of The First Days Of Spring. You’re glad they cheered up?
44. SMITH WESTERNS - Dye It Blonde
Scuzzy and unpretentious, Chicago’s Smith Westerns are reminiscent of the best of British rock over the last forty years, which should come as no surprise to those who know their influences; T.Rex, Oasis, Suede and Bowie. Any album that contains the fantastic “Weekend” deserves a spot on this list.
43. REAL ESTATE - Days
It’s always great when bands just decide to write good songs and do away with all the other shit in the pop world. US three piece Real Estate are just that kind of band. Yes, there are a million and one jangly indie bands out there, but Real Estate just do it so damn well. You clearly think so too, voting their charming and melodic second album into the Top 50.
42. TOM WAITS - Bad As Me
The mad old uncle of rock’s latest album was exactly what you’d expect in both sound and quality. It’s hard to describe a Tom Waits album without diving headfirst in the sea of cliché, but there’s no one out there like him. Going all out with his trademark howl, as well as reining it in on some more restrained tracks, Bad As Me serves as the perfect jump-off point for those new to the iconic madman.
41. BATTLES - Gloss Drop
Possibly the least likely band to ever soundtrack Hollyoaks, the New York three piece achieved it with their second album. It’s pop, but done by a math rock band, which sounds like the best thing ever. Gloss Drop is groovy, playful but also highly technical and rewarding to attentive listeners. Also, Gary Numan features on one track, which is always gonna get some votes.