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[Best of 2011] Eli’s List

Editor’s Note: This morning starts our rundown of our writers’ favorites of 2011. We didn’t give them any real guidelines – just that each one would get a post with which to talk about what they liked over the previous 12 months. A couple of writers are voting “present,” but between Dave and I and the rest of the guys, there will be a bunch of different takes on what was the best of the preceding year. We think it presents a good picture of how diverse our assembled group is in taste.

We’ll be interspersing normal posts as well throughout the week, with the results of our Reader Poll coming at some point as well, but this week might be a bit lighter as we wind down the year and enjoy the holidays. Please feel very free to leave comments, criticisms, etc. as you see fit, and we hope you all enjoy the lists and your holidays as well.

What follows are currently my favorite 10 albums of 2011, presented alphanumerically by band name with unhelpful and yet totally tweetable explanations. If your favorites didn’t make the cut it is likely because I haven’t heard them yet. If I had, I think they’d probably be listed here, don’t you?

Akron/Family // S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
A slash, a colon and a Roman numeral, and that’s just in the first six characters of the album title!

Akron/Family // So It Goes [mp3] from S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT

Ben Sollee // Inclusions
Cello? You’ll have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel.

Brett Dennen // Loverboy
A tall glass of pure joy with splashes of Paul Simon, Van Morrison and Stevie Wonder.

Cass McCombs // Wit’s End
Ditto the previous comment, except the opposite.

Cass McCombs // County Line [mp3] from Wit’s End

Eleanor Friedberger // Last Summer
The Fiery Furnaces by any other name still sounds just as weird sweet.

Eleanor Friedberger // My Mistakes [mp3] from Last Summer

In the Country // Sounds and Sights
This spot, reserved for the yearly release by the Bad Plus is occupied in their absence by another incredible genre-busting piano trio.

Iron and Wine // Kiss Each Other Clean
Sam Beam’s farts smell like roses.

Roadside Graves // We Can Take Care of Ourselves
An album based on the novel The Outsiders; its inclusion here is based on its novel excellence.

Roadside Graves // Love Me More [mp3] from We Can Take Care of Ourselves

White Denim // D
If an album was judged solely by the volume at which it was listened, this one would probably be tops.

Zun Zun Egui // Katang
If only it were possible to listen to this music with more than two ears at a time.

Zun Zun Egui // Fandango Fresh [mp3] from Katang