Best of 2011: January Essentials

Starting now, I’ll be doing a monthly wrap-up of the best albums and releases. I’ll shoot for five a month, but we’ll see how it goes.

Destroyer – Kaputt: Cantankerous singer-songwriter-genius Dan Bejar gets sexy and synth-y on the totally unexpected Some Girls of chillwave. [REVIEW | Buy from Merge]
>> “Chinatown”: mp3

MINKS By The Hedge: As much an ’80s 101 course as it is a stunning distillation of shoegaze, New Wave and C86 influences by a new band that already sounds deep into its career. [REVIEW | Buy from Captured Tracks]
>> “Cemetery Rain”: stream

GeoticMend: Free guitar loop-centric ambient record from Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld. I’ve been falling asleep to it for days. [REVIEW | Download from Geotic]
>> “Find Your Peace”: mp3

The Radio Dept.Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010: A strong, if incomplete, overview of the band’s extensive non-album discography. [NEWS POST | Buy from Labrador]
>> “The One”: mp3

Apex ManorThe Year of Magical Drinking: Assured, ramshackle power-pop from members of defunct greats the Broken West. [REVIEW | Buy from Merge]
>> “Under the Gun”: mp3

Also notable: Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean, Lia Ices – Grown Unknown, Dolorean – The Unfazed, John Vanderslice – White Wilderness, Foster the People – Foster the People EP.

Related: 2011 Album Release Calendar