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Nonesuch Albums Make Year's Best Lists from American Songwriter, Paste, Uncut, Q, Mojo

2011 Best: Paste, Uncut, American Songwriter, Q, Mojo

There's still more than a month to go before 2011 comes to a close, but already the music magazines have begun to weigh in on the year's best music. American Songwriter, Paste, Uncut, Q, and Mojo have all published their lists of the Top 50 Albums of the Year, and included among them are a number of Nonesuch releases: the latest albums from Björk, Ry Cooder, Jessica Lea Mayfield, and The Low Anthem, as well as the soon-to-be-released album from The Black Keys, due out next week.

The Black Keys' new album, El Camino, though it's not out till next week, has landed in the No. 9 slot on the American Songwriter list of the Top 50 Albums of 2011. Jessica Lea Mayfield's Nonesuch debut album, Tell Me, which was produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, is on the list at No. 17. See all of American Songwriter's choices for the year's best at


Included on Paste's list of the 50 Best Albums of 2011 is The Low Anthem's Smart Flesh, released in February as the follow-up to the band's 2009 Nonesuch debut album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.

"If you decide to give Smart Flesh your full attention (and you should), you’ll hear an album full of echoes, hushed vocals and stripped-down beauty," writes Paste's Bonnie Stiernberg. "You’ll be greeted by gorgeous harmonies. And most importantly, you’ll hear some great stories. It’s the lyrics that make Smart Flesh truly shine with richly developed characters ..."

The Black Keys' still yet-to-be-released new album, El Camino, has made its way to this list as well. "The Black Keys’ seventh album isn’t due out until next Tuesday, but we sat in a publicity office in New York last month, just to get a preview," writes Paste's Josh Jackson, for "Dan Auerbach’s giant, fuzzy, bluesy riffs and Patrick Carney’s propulsive drums." The album's first single, "Lonely Boy," has also made Paste's list of the 50 Best Songs of the Year, as it "proves that the band’s still got a handle on crafting amazing hooks."

(Jackson also nominates mandolinist Chris Thile and guitarist Michael Daves's duo debut, Sleep With One Eye Open, as an album that should have made the list.)

To read more and see the complete list, go to


Over in the UK, Uncut magazine's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2011 includes Ry Cooder's album of modern-day protest songs, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, saying "Cooder’s hot streak continued with this rowdy, indignant set of American folk songs for a new Depression … The sort of album one imagines Woody Guthrie would have made in 2011." The album also makes Uncut's list of the year's Best of Americana, as does The Low Anthem's Smart Flesh.

Also on Uncut's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2011 is Björk's most interdisciplinary project to date, Biophilia. Noting the many facets of the Biophilia project, Uncut focuses on “the fundamental brilliance of the actual music, which proved to be a ravishing negotiation between cutting-edge technology and emotional viscera.”

(The list also includes Fatou, the debut album from Fatoumata Diawara on World Circuit; her debut EP, Kanou, is out on Nonesuch in North America.)

Uncut has an additional list of the 30 Best Reissues, Compilations, and Box Sets of the Year, which includes Tell My Sister, a three-CD set comprising newly remastered editions of Kate & Anna McGarrigle's beloved 1976 self-titled debut and its equally praised 1977 follow-up, Dancer with Bruised Knees, plus a third disc of previously unreleased songs and demos—45 songs in all. Uncut calls the discs "The foundations of one of music’s most enduring dynasties."


Björk's Biophilia has also made Q magazine's list of the 50 Albums of the Year, which encapsulates the album this way: "Life, the universe and everything come together on Icelandic visionary's seventh album."

Mojo, which also includes Biophilia on its list of the year's best, notes the album's universality as well, saying "Björk had the whole world in her hands." Fatoumata Diawara's album also makes the Best Albums list. Among the magazine's additional best-of-the-year lists are Best Soundtracks, which includes Jonny Greenwood's Norwegian Wood, and Best Americana, which includes both The Low Anthem's Smart Flesh and Wanda Jackson's The Party Ain't Over.

The latest issues of Uncut, Q, and Mojo are on newsstands now.


Clash Music includes both Björk and The Low Anthem on its list of the Top 40 Albums of 2011.

The Low Anthem's Smart Flesh comes in at No. 27. "Building on the modest majesty of Oh My God Charlie Darwin," writes Clash's Gareth James, "this stunning folk record has lost none of its impact and still has the capacity to evoke tears and wonderment in equal measure. The human condition set to music."

Björk's Biophilia is No. 12 on the Clash list. "Squeezing her musical spurs into the flanks of all our natural forces," says Matthew Bennett, "she conjured a twenty-six-girl Icelandic choir, her molten voice and the moon’s gravitational lust to strand us in her restless sea. Again."

Read more and see the complete list at


To pick up these "year's best" albums, head to the Nonesuch Store, where all CDs, LPs, and DVDs are 34% off SRP as part of the store's fourth anniversary sale and include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album at checkout.


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