Because of the Advent of Spotify, I've had the chance to listen much more widely to new albums of 2011. This has meant, however, that towards the end of this year I've listened less deeply or repeatedly, to specific albums. This list (especially the runners up category) bears some witness to that change.
Additionally, this year the top ten is heavy on bands that have made my top ten list in previous years. I don't know what this says about my listening habits, but I do think 2012 will be a banner year for listening to completely new bands, since they are now so accessible on-line.
So here they are, the completely subjective last of best albums on Lutheran Confessions:
10 (tie). Vijay Iyer- Tirtha My favorite jazz album of the year.
10. The Decemberists- The King Is Dead Continuing their tradition of great story-telling.
9. R.E.M.- Collapse Into Now RIP R.E.M., you went out with a bang
8. Kaivama- Kaivama Finnish folk music by my friend Jonathan Rundman
7. Nate Houge- Reform Follows Function The best liturgical rock of 2011
6. Radiohead- The King of Limbs I know, not everyone was into it, but I thought it was subtle and beautiful, the basement sessions recording this are awesome to behold.
5. Steve Earle- I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive This album is TRUE.
4. Gillian Welch- The Harrow and the Harvest We waited so long, and at last a new gorgeous album.
3. U2- Achtung Baby 20th Anniversary Deluxe This album is as good as it ever was, plus b-sides.
2. Wilco- The Whole Love Wilco just keeps rockin it.
1. Beastie Boys- Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 This one is in its own category, it's in a class by itself.
Runners up (listed in no particular order, and no hyperlinks): Holy Ghost! Holy Ghost!; Bon Iver; The Head and the Heart; TV on the Radio; Girls, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; M83; tUnE-yArDs;