[SKOA Presents] The 50 Best Albums Of 2011: 10 - 6

10. Metronomy - The English Riviera [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

With their first two albums, Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe) and Nights Out, U.K. four piece Metronomy established their niche with a somewhat-awkward-yet-completely-awesome blend of electronic synths, smooth basslines and subtle guitar riffs. With their third studio album, The English Riviera, Metronomy has shown that they know exactly what works for them and have gone a step forward by fully embracing it and perfecting it. The allure of this album comes with its undeniably awkward charm, with every song coming across as a little bit 'off,' and it is exactly that which makes this album so different and appealing when compared to everything else we've seen this year. From the charming presentation of "Everything Goes My Way," with its subtle whistles and the calming vocals of guest artist Roxanne Clifford, to the amazingly groovy bassline on "The Bay," to the catchy synth work throughout "The Look," it all just works beautifully to Joseph Mount's vision. And it is Mount himself who adds the largest dose of charisma to the project, with his lyrical style and vocal work working synonymously with the instrumentation that backs him up. The English Riviera shows Mount's, and the entire band's, ability to stand out above the rest. With a unique and visionary musical style and unquestionable talent, Metronomy have crafted an album that is one of the most charming and interesting packages released this year. —Adrian

9. The Kills - Blood Pressues [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

Following up their 2008 release, Midnight Boom, Alison "Sexhair Mosshart" (as Rocko and The Audio Perv refer to her) and Jamie Hince released their fourth studio album, Blood Pressures this past April. The album is nothing short of sexy with tracks like "Satellite," "Damned If She Do" and "DNA." This was quite an abitious undertaking overall for the duo and they managed to pull it off quite well, with only a few less than stellar moments throughout. Mosshart has truly come into her own on this album in particular after solidifying her place as a frontwoman in her time working with The Dead Weather. I think it is safe to say that the SKOA staff will continue to look forward to more from the duo in the years to come. —Kibbe

8. The Roots - Undun [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

The greatest band in late night hit the nail on the head with their most recent concept album, undun. The album tells the story of fictional character Redford Stevens (named after a Sufjan Stevens song) reverse-chronicling his struggle and downfall in the ghetto. Undun is vintage Roots material although it features a bit more singing than previous albums thanks to special guests like Icebird's Aaron Livingston, Phonte and Bilal and is filled with tons of emotion from the subject matter down to the music production. However, unlike any other Roots record, undun features four beautiful orchestral pieces, one being the instrumental song "Redford" from Sufjan Stevens that the main character was based on, which adds on to the all around feeling of the album. Although a late entry this year, The Roots prove to millions to why they are one of the greatest hip hop acts ever with this beautiful opus ,while other mainstream acts just stroked their egos putting out the same ol', same ol'. —Rocko

7. tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l  [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

tUnE-yArDs w h o k i l l is unlike anything else I've heard this year, possibly in my lifetime, and, in every way, this is a good thing. Merrill Garbus' experimental project is something magnificent, a jumbled amalgamation of African and Eastern influences and modern techniques and technologies such as looping and drum machines. On the surface, it sounds like something that would not and should not work, but, somehow, Garbus executes it wonderfully. Garbus herself is what makes this project, though, as her vocal work is so versatile and the way she presents her music, and herself, is so utterly carefree and delightful. Her use of looping her own voice in album opener "Bizness" is absolutely perfect, and, when combined with her powerful vocal range, it manages to work in a fantastically spine tingling way. In "Wooly Wolly Gong," Garbus' oft powerful voice takes an eery turn, embracing Thom Yorke levels of creepy-yet-beautiful subtlety, and "Es-So" sees her encapsulating a Beck-esque persona as her voice mingles perfectly within a slightly offbeat rythym. Garbus has somehow created something so different, so odd and unexpected, that it works in every facet. w h o k i l l is so unique in its presentation, so strong in its blend of vocals, styles, and influences, and such an achievement on Garbus' part, that you would be hard-pressed not to be impressed with everything she has done here. All I can say at this point is bravo Merrill Garbus, for you have crafted something so nontraditional and so beautiful that I can only be excited for what your talent will create next. —Adrian

6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Unknown Mortal Orchestra [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

Unknown Mortal Orchestra took over the whole blogosphere as one of the freshest bands to come out in 2011 with their selft-itled debut album. The lo-fi, break-heavy psych rockers short but sweet album features a lot of memorable melodies with tracks like "Ffunny Ffriends," "Thought Ballune," "Little Blu House," "Bicycle" and the funk/soul tune "How Can You Love Me," and was a nice change compared to most of this year's releases. —Rocko