M83, the Pierces, Tune-Yards – Best Indie Albums of 2011 Thus Far

It may only be September but 2011 has already been a great year for indie music. There have been many new releases from both emerging and recognized indie artists. The most anticipated albums of the year have included M83’s, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” St. Vincent’s, “Strange Mercy,” and Feist’s, “Metals.” Let’s take a look at some of the best albums to be released thus far in 2011.

M83: “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” (Mute Records)

Anthony Gonzalaz a.k.a the mastermind behind the electronic/dreampop act M83 will release his sixth album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” on October 18th via Mute Records. The double album is a collection of cinematic and atmospheric sounds, providing the soundtrack to listener’s dreams. Fans of his previous album, “Before the Dawn Heals Us,” are in for a warm surprise. The new album feels somewhat similar to his previous material and in his album teaser video “Echoes” Gonzalaz shows a glimpse of his outlook on life and insight into the new album. He released “Midnight City” as the album’s first single and while that is one of the best songs on the album, other songs including “Splendor,” “New Map,” “Where the Boats Go,” and “Wait” are incredible. Gonzalaz spent the better part of three years working on this album and it shows.

The Pierces: “You and I” (Polydor)

“You and I” is the kind of album that lingers in your head long after you’ve listened to the last song.The Pierces are two beautiful sisters based in New York, although their roots are originally from Alabama. Their style of aching and swelling melodies is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac. The sisters were born two years apart and spent much of their childhood traveling with their self-described hippie parents. The Pierces released an album in 2000 that was largely ignored and have since worked to increase their popularity in the U.K. where their label currently is. The U.K. version of the album “You and I” was released in May 2011 and with songs including “You’ll Be Mine” and “Kissing You Goodbye” they’re an instant must have on any indie music playlist.

The Naked and Famous: “Passive Me, Aggressive You” (Somewhat Damaged)

The Naked and Famous is an indie band from Auckland, New Zealand. In 2010 the band’s single, “Young Blood” burst onto the scene making them number one on the New Zealand music charts. Although this album wasn’t released until late 2010, it’s still one of the best albums of 2011 with many of the album’s songs being featured on popular TV shows including, “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and others. The album is up for a number of awards at the New Zealand Music Awards (their version of the Grammy’s) including Album of the Year, Best Alternative Group, Single of the Year, Best Group, and several others. The best songs on the album include, “Young Blood,” “The Sun,” “A Wolf in Geek’s Clothing,” and “Girls Like You.”

Tune-Yards: “w h o k i l l” (4AD)

Every once in awhile an album will come out that will have you wondering just what the hell is going on. “w h o k i l l,” the 2011 release by Merrill Garbus, has you wondering just that. Garbus is a very strange, eccentric, and incredibly talented musician who has the voice of a chameleon – easily adapting to sound both male and female at times. Garbus experiments with her sound including loop pedals, trumpets, trombones, and a host of other noises infused with elements of funk, rock, Afro-pop, and just about everything inbetween. Don’t try to define the music Garbus makes. Just appreciate her for the uninhibited, noisy, yet carefully orchestrated delightfully unique sound she creates. “Bizness,” “Gangsta,” and “My Country” are easy favorites.

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