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The best albums (so far) of 2011

A guide to the highest-rating albums from the first half of this year

It's August: a good time to take a breath - now that everything is slowing down (fewer announcements, fewer releases, all ready for the most important part of the year – September, October and November) - and take the opportunity to think about what 2011 has brought us so far. For example, if the year ended now, which albums would be the best ones? And which EPs? And what about the videos? The songs?

Without wanting to claim definitiveness, in the coming days we'll be giving you an overview of the best of this year so far. They will be lists in alphabetical or chronological order (there will be no number ones until December) that will allow for some order in the chaos of releases and ideas. It will be like stock market index: a clue as to what is working well, without the guarantee that those values will remain unchanged until the end of the year. A few of the records may burn up before that and other, better records will be released. Today we'll start with the albums PlayGround likes the most, in chronological order. As said, this is today's index; it might all be different four months from now.

Tennis: “Cape Dory” (Fat Possum)

1 8th January

Destroyer: “Kaputt” (Merge)

2 5th January

James Blake: “James Blake” (Atlas-A&M-Universal)

7 th February

Ghostpoet: “Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam” (Brownswood)

7 th February Ghostpoet: “Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam” (Brownswood)

PJ Harvey: “Let England Shake” (Island-Universal)

1 4th February

Nicolas Jaar: “Space Is Only Noise” (Circus Company)

1 4th February

Peaking Lights: “936” (Not Not Fun)

1 5th February

Tim Hecker: “Ravedeath 1972” (Kranky)

1 5th February

Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX: “We’re New Here” (XL Recordings)

21st February

Siriusmo: “Mosaik” (Monkeytown)

21st February

Julianna Barwick: “The Magic Place” (Asthmatic Kitty)

22st February

Toro y Moi: “Underneath The Pine” (Carpark Records)

22st February

Dustin O’Halloran: “Lumiere” (Fat Cat)

28th F ebruary

Lykke Li: “Wounded Rhymes” (LL Records-Atlantic)

1 st March

Cyclo.: “id” (Raster-Noton)

7 th March

Egyptrixx: “Bible Eyes” (Night Slugs)

8 th March

FaltyDL: “You Stand Uncertain” (Planet Mu)

14 th March

Hype Williams: “One Nation” (Hippos In Tanks)

15 th March

The Weeknd: “House Of Balloons” (Self-Released)

21 st March

Frank Ocean: “Nostalgia.Ultra” (Self-Released)

24 th March

Dirty Beaches: “Badlands” (Zoo Music)

29 th March

Britney Spears: “Femme Fatale” (Jive)

29 th March

Metronomy: “The English Riviera” (Because Music)

11 th April

Panda Bear: “Tomboy” (Paw Tracks)

11 th April

Grouper: “A I A: Dream Loss / A I A: Alien Observer” (Yellow Electric)

11 th April

Kode9 & The Spaceape: “Black Sun” (Hyperdub)

18 th April

tUnE-yArDs: “w h o k i l l” (4AD)

18 th April

Robag Wruhme: “Thora Vukk” (Pampa Recordings)

25 th April

Hyetal: “Broadcast” (Black Acre)

2 nd May

Fleet Foxes: “Helpnessless Blues” (Sub Pop)

3 rd May

Gang Gang Dance: “Eye Contact” (4AD)

10 th May

Mountains: “Air Museum” (Thrill Jockey)

1 0th May

Tyler, The Creator: “Goblin” (XL Recordings)

1 0th May

EMA: “Past Life Martyred Saints” (Souterrain Transmissions)

1 0th May

The Caretaker: “An Empty Bliss Beyond This World” (History Always Favours The Winners)

1 9th May

Dalglish: “Benacah Drann Dreachd” (Highpoint Lowlife)

23rd May

Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto: “Summvs” (Raster-Noton)

3 0th May

Kreng: “Grimoire” (Miasmah)

6 th June

Fasenuova: “A La Quinta Hoguera” (Discos Humeantes)

6 th June

Surgeon: “Breaking The Frame” (Dynamic Tension)

6 th June

AraabMuzik: “Electronic Dream” (Duke Productions)

1 4th June

Bon Iver: “Bon Iver” (Jagjaguwar-4AD)

2 1st June

John Maus: “We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves”

2 3rd June

Motion Sickness Of Time Travel: “Luminaries & Synastry” (Digitalis)

27 th June

Biosphere: “N-Plants” (Touch)

27 th June

Lil B: “I’m Gay (I’m Happy)” (BasedWorld)

29 th June

The Advisory Circle: “As The Crow Flies” (Ghost Box)

8 th July

Washed Out: “Within & Without” (Weird World-Domino)

11 th July

Prurient: “Bermuda Drain” (Hydra Head)

19 th July

Machinedrum: “Room(s)” (Planet Mu)

25 th July Machinedrum At this time of year, it's a good point to take a breath and reflect on what this season has brought us so far. Today, we list the best albums, according to PlayGround.

The best songs of 2011 so far

The best EPs of 2011 (so far)

The best videos of 2011 so far

Tennis Cape Dory Review: '' Cape Dory''

Destroyer Kaputt "Kaputt"

James Blake James Blake "James Blake"

Ghostpoet Peanut Butter Blues And Melancholy Jam

“Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam”

PJ Harvey Let England Shake

"Let England Shake"

"Space Is Only Noise"

Review: " 936"

" Ravedeath 1972"

"We’re New Here"

"Mosiak"

"The Magic Place"

"Underneath The Pine"

Review: " Lumiere"

Review: " Wounded Rhymes"

"id"

Review: " Bible Eyes"

Review: " You Stand Uncertain"

Hype Williams One Nation Review: " One Nation"

"House Of Balloons"

Review: " Nostalgia.Ultra"

Review: " Badlands"

Review: " Femme Fatale"

" The English Riviera"

Review: " Tomboy"

" A I A: Dream Loss / A I A: Alien Observer"

Review: " Black Sun"

Review: " w h o k i l"

Review: " Thora Vukk"

Review: " Broadcast"

Review: " Helpnessless Blues"

Review: " Eye Contact"

Review: " Air Museum"

Review: " Goblin"

"Past Life Martyred Saints"

Review: " An Empty Bliss Beyond This World"

Review: " Benacah Drann Dreachd"

Review: " Summvs"

Review: " Grimoire"

"A La Quinta Hoguera"

Review: " Breaking The Frame"

Review: " Electronic Dream"

Review: " Bon Iver"

Review: " We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves"

Review: " Luminaries & Synastry"

Review: " N-Plants"

Review: " I’m Gay (I’m Happy)"

Review: " As The Crow Flies"

Review: " Within & Without"

Review: " Bermuda Drain"

Review: " Room(s)"

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