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FILTER’s 20 Anticipated Albums of 2011

By Staff on January 18, 2011


FILTER’s 20 Anticipated Albums of 2011

It feels like only yesterday we were compiling our year-end roundup of albums from 2010, but as one thing ends, another inevitably begins. 2011 promises to be another great year filled with great releases across the board. Heavily rumored comebacks, anticipated debuts and—of course—the entirely unseen surprises are certainly in store for us. So, before we take a good long break from list making, FILTER sat down once more to compile some of the albums we're looking forward to most this year.

FILTER's 20 Anticipated Albums of 2011

Smith Westerns, Dye It Blonde (FAT POSSUM) — January 18

Though their 2008 self-titled debut was just reissued on Fat Possum this past summer (originally released with their hometown label, HoZac), we can’t get enough of this Chicago trio flaunting the smart dynamics of T. Rex and the dirty swagger of Bowie, and with an early 2011 release—lucky us—the band’s sophomore record is sure to be one of the first great albums of the year.

Cloud Nothings, Cloud Nothings (CARPARK) — January 25

Dylan Baldi is young, but it certainly doesn’t mean he’s naïve. The Cleveland teen recorded in his bedroom as Cat Killer before releasing a compilation of EPs and singles under the moniker Cloud Nothings on Speakertree (and then Carpark) in 2010. Now a complete band, Cloud Nothings’ first full-length promises to be a follow-up to those original, severe lo-fi recordings with a gleam of melodic overtones and clever lyrics.

Destroyer, Kaputt (MERGE) — January 25

The last full-length by Destroyer was nearly three years ago with 2008’s Trouble in Dreams, but that doesn’t mean it was the last we heard from Dan Bejar. The prolific, rotating-member of The New Pornographers and Swan Lake has put out two Destroyer EPs since (Bay of Pigs in 2009 and Archer on the Beach / Grief Point in 2010), but we’re entirely glad for another full dose of his signature poetic and playful words—there’s even an endlessly entertaining wiki dedicated to them—coming ASAP.

Iron & Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean (SUB POP) — January 25

Sam Beam melts our hearts. It’s true. And you’d be hard pressed to find a listenable argument that the man’s made a single less-than-satisfactory record. Even still, it’s a worthy challenge to top the wonderful The Shepherd’s Dog from 2007, and Beam’s forthcoming Warner Bros. debut might just rise to the occasion.

James Blake, James Blake (ATLAS/R&S) — February 8

One of the most hotly tipped debuts of 2011, you’ve likely heard something or two on this early-twenty-something British producer. He released three acclaimed EPs in 2010, including a single of a stripped down, glitchy take on Feist’s “Limit to Your Love” that quickly amassed popularity on BBC radio waves and charts. Drum machines, smooth and soulful vocals (not unlike Justin Vernon or Jamie Lidell’s) and a perfectly sampling of drum machines and dub—hey, America, it’s time to take notice on February 8.

The Boxer Rebellion, The Cold Still (ABSENTEE) — February 8

The England-based Boxer Rebellion has already made quite an impact overseas, but its newest, Ethan Johns–produced (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne) record The Cold Still has all the promise of being the band’s best yet.

The Streets, Computers and Blues (ATLANTIC) — February 8

We’ll be saying our goodbyes to The Streets with this final release by Mike Skinner (under the Streets moniker, at least), but we’ll always have the memories.

Bright Eyes, The People’s Key (SADDLE CREEK) — February 15

After juggling a multitude of other musical projects (Monsters of Folk, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band) for some time, The People’s Key is heavily rumored to be the last for Bright Eyes. And what a fitting goodbye to release the disc on Oberst’s 31st birthday.

Mogwai, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (SUB POP) — February 15

Scottish sonic soundscapers Mogwai seem to inherently know how to set the mood—sometimes without saying a single thing. Aided by longtime producer Paul Savage, Mogwai’s seventh will without a doubt be one to have near you throughout 2011.

Toro y Moi, Underneath the Pine (CARPARK) — February 22

Originally the second part of a planned two-record 2010 double-whammy, Chaz Bundick’s Underneath the Pine is the slightly delayed promise of live instrumentation to counter the lush, beat-laden debut of Causers of This. If he’s going for an organic sound, the album art speaks volumes.

Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes (LL) — March 1

After a brief retirement following the success of her 2008 breakthrough Youth Novels, the talented Lykke Li is back. But—wait a minute. It feels like she never left, right? Attribute that to the genuine catchiness and staying power of her multiple singles, sure to carryover into her sophomore record.

R.E.M., Collapse into Now (WARNER BROS.) — March 8

A bit by default, the laws of time dictate the expiration date of plenty of bands that had their moments in the sun. R.E.M.’s early, massively influential recognition in the college radio circles of the early ’90s seemed to set theirs at—oh, I don’t know—never. And they’ve managed to retain that oh-so-elusive perfection—relevancy—so far into their career, we can’t help but anxiously await what’s next.

Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring for My Halo (MATADOR) — March 8

This will mark the prolific, Red Apple-smokin’ Philadelphia rocker’s fourth full-length since he embarked on solo travels apart from his work with The War on Drugs in 2008. Vile (real name) treads a worn path through some of the greatest sonic territories, but his tale-spinning and word-wound lyrics make every record an alt-Americana adventure worth tripping.


The Strokes, TBA (RCA) — March 22

With hindsight, dozens of music ties, accolades, genres, and movements can be drawn from the New York scene and the 2001 debut of The Strokes. Ten years later, the group’s fourth is due sometime this spring after a five-year hiatus—and who knows what impact they’ll have on the next decade.

Obits, Moody, Standard and Poor (SUB POP) — March 29

Rick Froberg wears his punk pedigree proud with his more-garagey project Obits along with Sohrab Habibion, Greg Simpson and Scott Gursky, and it’s an altar we’re proud to pledge allegiance to.

Peter Bjorn and John, Gimme Some (STARTIME INTERNATIONAL) — March 29

It’s hard to gauge what’s coming next from the sixth by PB&J. 2006’s Writer’s Block and 2009’s Living Thing made significant impacts in epic pop—the trio’s moved well past whistling ditties since—and they always surprise us, so here’s to getting some from Gimme Some.

Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What (CONCORD) — April 12

Because it’s Paul Simon.

Panda Bear, Tomboy (PAW TRACKS) — April 19

Noah Lennox’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2007’s Person Pitch has come with enough build-up (and delays) in the past couple of months, and singles like “Tomboy” and “You Can Count On Me,” as well as B-sides “Alsatian Darn” and “Slow Motion,” and the occasional extra track ("Atiba Song") hint that Lennox is in top form on his newest solo release.

Black Lips, TBA (VICE) — April

Everything released by our favorite Atlanta ne’er-do-wells is worth a mention, but this release promises to be an especially noteworthy turn for the Lips because of one, single phrase: “produced by Mark Ronson.”

Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 (CAPITOL) — Spring

With the recent news of Adam Yauch’s progress in his fight against cancer, the future for the Beasties looks bright once again. The long-postponed, somewhat confusing Hot Sauce Committee Parts 1 and 2 albums may see the light of day in 2011, and Part 2 is up first, coming at us sometime this spring.


Individual Staff Picks


Alan Sartirana

The Vaccines, What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? (COLUMBIA) — March 21

Foster the People, EP (STARTIME INTERNATIONAL) — January 18 


Pat McGuire

Death, Spiritual · Mental · Physical (DRAG CITY) — January 25

Iron & Wine, Kiss Each Other Clean (WARNER BROS.) — January 25

Arbouretum, The Gathering (THRILL JOCKEY) — February 15

The Skull Defekts, Peer Amid (THRILL JOCKEY) — February 15

Papercuts, Fading Parade (SUB POP) — March 1

Obits, Moody, Standard, and Poor (SUB POP) — March 29

Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What (CONCORD) — April

Josh T. Pearson, Last of the Country Gentlemen (MUTE) — Spring

The Head and the Heart, TBA (SUB POP) — TBA

Six Organs of Admittance, Asleep On The Floodplain (DRAG CITY)


Samantha Barnes

Fleet Foxes, TBA (SUB POP) — TBA

How could I not be anticipating this after following the Facebook saga of, “The record's done! / Just kidding, we still have a ways to go!” this fall and Robin's newfound love for Twitter where he shares album updates alongside priceless gifs of himself and thoughts from a cross-country train ride?

[Ed. Update: According to Pecknold’s Twitter, the album is finished and was mastered “a little while ago.”]


Wes Martin


The Wrens' motto: “Keeping Folks Waiting...since 1989.” An eight-year wait for the follow-up to the flawless The Meadowlands? No problem. It'll be worth it.


Mike Bell

I’m excited for so much this year—yay!!—but these are possibly my top picks:

Bright Eyes, The People’s Key (SADDLE CREEK) — February 15

Shugo Tokumaru, Port Entropy (POLYVINYL) — February 15


Connie Tsang

Cake, Showroom of Compassion (UPBEAT) — January 11

It’s been seven years since Pressure Chief and even if Cake just sounds like Cake, I think it’s comforting to know that they’ve got more for their fans.


Old 97’s, The Grand Theatre, Volume Two (NEW WEST) — TBA

For lovers of Old 97’s, Volume One was both classic and refreshing. If that’s any indication of what to expect for Volume Two, then there’s no doubt it will also get a warm reception.


The Boxer Rebellion, The Cold Still (ABSENTEE) — February 8

It only took one listen for me to appreciate this album. That says a lot.


Holly Gray

The Naked and Famous, Passive Me, Aggressive You (UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC) — March 15

Already a buzz-worthy band in 2010—I feel this New Zealand quintet are going to pull way ahead of the pack with some serious indie anthems. 


Foster the People, EP (STARTIME INTERNATIONAL) — January 18

They made a serious splash last year with their single “Pumped Up Kicks” and are ready to show the world what they've got. I'm completely certain these guys are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2011. 


Kate Crash, TBA (TBA) — TBA

Every now and again you run into something so robust you can't stop listening. That's how I feel with Kate. She's doing some really interesting things right now—very different from what's out there at the moment.


Tim Dove

Blink-182, TBA (TBA) — TBA

After a six-year hiatus, they are back together and are currently writing a new album. The last album (blink-182) was very out of the typical/expected Blink sound and the new album promises to be an even further exploration into these sounds.


Foo Fighters, TBA (CAPITOL) — Spring

Reports about the recording process include comments like, “their heaviest album yet,” and that they recorded it in Dave Grohl’s garage on reel-to-reel tape. They also recruited Nirvana producer Butch Vig and have called on Krist Noveselic and Bob Mould to lend some talents to the album. Should be awesome.


Matt Martin

Radiohead, TBA (TBA) — TBA

I know there is a slue of contrarians out there ready to flame me for this, but I don’t care. They have consistently put out challenging albums that vary drastically from their predecessors for years now, and not once have I been completely let down by any one of them. As a matter of fact, I (among many) have been floored by nearly all of them. And with In Rainbows’ unexpected/welcome return to a more guitar-driven Radiohead, I’m more than curious to see what trick they have up their sleeve this time…not to mention how they plan on releasing the damn thing.


Andrea Narvaez

Cold War Kids, Mine Is Yours (DOWNTOWN/MERCURY/V2)

The Naked & Famous, Passive Me, Aggressive You (UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC) — March 15

Tennis, Cape Dory (FAT POSSUM) — January 18

The Streets, Computers and Blues (ATLANTIC) — February 8


Wolf Gang, Suego Faults (ATLANTIC)

Bon Iver, TBA (TBA) — Rumored

Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne (TBA) — TBA


Breanna Murphy

Ducktails, Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics (WOODSIST) — January 11

New Year’s Resolution—I, Breanna Murphy, do solemnly swear not to use any of the following ridiculous adjectives to describe Ducktails: nostalgic, pool-psych, chillwave, summery, post-koozie-fi, beachcore, pot-rock. Oh, wait…


Clive Tanaka y su Orquesta, Jet Set Siempre 1° [reissue] (TALL CORN) — January 11

I stumbled on this cassette (yeah—one of those) last summer and was ecstatic to see it’s getting a digital and vinyl release early this year. There’s absolutely not a bad track on either side—Side A is “For Dance” and Side B is “For Romance,” so play them on repeat accordingly—and it was my NYE 2011 jam. All night, all right.


Panda Bear, Tomboy (PAW TRACKS) — May

Because I haven’t turned off “Alsatian Darn” since my 7” single arrived. I don’t know if anyone can ever top Person Pitch, but Tomboy might just do the trick.


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