- Sleigh Bells "Treats"– (Deerhoof + Death from Above 1979)/M.I.A. = Sleigh Bells. "Crown on the Ground"
- Band of Horses "Infinite Arms" – BoH get happy? All the elements that made their last two albums great are there, but there is an undeniable shift to several more up tempo songs. Opening for Pearl Jam earlier in the year and their own tour certainly exposed them to a lot more people. "Laredo"
- The Drums "The Drums" – Fantastic album with several standout songs. "Let's Go Surfing"
- Vampire Weekend "Contra" – Solid follow-up to their breakout first album, with the timely, commercial friendly “Holiday” standing out. "Holiday"
- Infant Sorrow "Get Him to the Greek" – The best album by a fake band since “This is Spinal Tap”. Each song is hook heavy and filled with double and triple entendres. "Going Up" "Furry Walls" "The Clap"
- M.I.A. "Maya" – Exactly the MIA album I expected, but after the success of “Paper Planes” I don’t think anyone else expected what came out. Elicited the jagged edges of her first album. "XXXO"
- LCD Soundsystem "This is Happening"– I was a big fan of the single “Drunk Girls” and its video long before the full album came out. Another solid album, and like "Sound of Silver", will have many repeat plays. "Dance Yrself Clean"
- Crocodiles "Sleep Forever" - I like "Hearts of Love"
- The Black Keys "Brothers"- I was waiting for this album. A small let down but still great. "Tighten Up" "The Only One"
- Arcade Fire "Suburbs" - My favorite AF album to date, though they could have cut 5-8 songs to tighten up the album as a whole in my opinion. "We Used to Wait"
Most Disturbing Video - Lots of contenders here (see 12 Most NSFW videos of 2010), Along with Crocodiles homage to the Manson family, the uncensored Russel Brand video (making the censored version funnier) "anti" drug video "Just Say Yes", but for me it was the hostage situation in the Spike Jonze video for LCD Soundsystem's "Drunk Girls"
Safest Rap Album for White Hipsters to like - Lots of contenders here also. I had to include this after Lil' Wayne was on so many lists a couple years ago. Kayne West album has to be at the top, appeared on a lot of "best of" lists, but veering into such unique territory his album is barely rap anymore. Big Boi's album finally came out and is good, but 6 years after OutKast's "Love Below/Speakerboxx" it sounds a bit dated. Drake? Disqualified because he's Canadian. If I must I would choose Big Boi's "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty".
Biggest Disappointment - While albums could be listed here, I'm going to say the non-release of a new Santogold album.
Who Will Still Be On the Radio in 5 Years: Ke$ha or Gaga? - Classically trained, I vote Lady Gaga
Best of 2011 (leaked by the band) - Deerhoof "The Merry Barracks","Super Duper Rescue Heads" - & - Yuck "Rubber"
Most Ubiquitous Use of an Effect - Echo. Remember when it was auto-tune? This year it was all about capturing the sound of recording in a huge, empty hall. This album list has plenty of examples. Don't believe me? Listen to your own list of albums and damn me for ruining your enjoyment.