Tara Thorne's Top 11 Albums of 2011

Coast writer since 1999

Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Jagjagwuar)
Its cryptic lyrics make its densely layered vocals and thundering drums even more beautiful somehow, as if Justin Vernon is daring you to come back over and over, try to figure him out.

Bright Eyes, The People's Key (Saddle Creek)
Conor Oberst is thinking out these days: "You and me, that's an awful lot. It's I and I." Indie rock's most navel-gazing troubadour has grown up.

Florence + The Machine, Ceremonials (Universal)
After working her late-blooming debut for three years, Florence Welch returns with a textured, expansive treatise on spirituality that would make Kate Bush proud (and probably nervous).

Jenn Grant, Honeymoon Punch (Six Shooter)
Halifax's best voice goes pop with a packet of upbeat danceables that doesn't lose an ounce of emotion in the transition.

Wild Flag, Wild Flag (Merge)
Dear Wild Flag, here is a line from your own "Romance" that describes how I feel: "Hey you've got me crawlin', you've got me spinnin', shake shim-my shake." Marry me Wild Flag.

Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys (Atlantic)

The Horrible Crowes, Elsie (SideOneDummy)

Dan Mangan, Oh Fortune (Arts & Crafts)

Rural Alberta Advantage, Departing (Saddle Creek/Paper Bag)

St. Vincent, Strange Mercy (4AD)

Chad VanGaalen, Diaper Island (Flemish Eye)

Tara grew up with dogs and boomboxes but loves cats and hates cassettes. The first time her byline appeared in The Coast was in 1998 as a letter-writer about Juliana Hatfield's show at the Marquee, for which she won letter of the week, which was a thing back then, but is not now.

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