Top 5 LA Albums of 2011 by DJ Valida

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While all of the KCRW DJs get together each November/December to share their Top Ten Albums of the year, we’ve asked DJ Valida to select her 5 favorite LA  albums of the 2011!

Foster The People/Torches/Columbia

I’ve been in love with Foster the People ever since I first heard “Helena Beat”. It’s interesting that I didn’t register “Pumped Up Kicks” at first…And not because I didn’t like it –I just never heard it. It was “Helena Beat” that opened the doors. “Pumped Up Kicks” followed, then “Houdini”…And when “Torches finally came out I was a happy camper. It’s some truly great, super hooky song-writing, sans fromage…And the fact that my 2-year old niece always commands me to play “Pumped Up Kicks” when we get into the car is what sealed the deal for me. Top LA album of 2011! (But I’m not letting her have my FTP yellow shoe-laces…those I’m keeping!)

(Editor’s Note: Download Valida’s remix of “Houdini” here)

Hanni El-Khatib/When Will The Guns Come Out/Innovative Leisure

I think I’ll always stay a garage rocker in my heart, especially when contemporary artists, such as Hanni El-Khatib do such a great job of revisiting a time when dirty, ear-shattering garage riffs reigned supreme. All you needed was a good voice and a great drummer and you were ready for the world-takeover…Oh wait, Hanni’s already got both. Brace yourselves…Those guns have definitely already come out.

M83/Hurry Up We’re Dreaming/Mute

The track “Midnight City is anthem of the year, no doubt. But it’s the more obscure numbers, such as “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire”, that showcase the multi-layered depth of M83’s artistry. Not just anyone can write a great song about a frog fairy tale…and who cares if this is a blog about Top 5 LA albums and frontman Anthony Gonzalez is from France. He lives in LA now and we’re claiming him as ours!  In my book, M83 are as LA as that cute little French Market Café on Abbot Kinney.

Midnight City by M83

Grouplove/Never Just a Happy Song/Atlantic

Every time I play “Naked Kids” I smile.  I can’t help myself. This has got to be one of the most feel-good songs ever!  Grouplove gets major points for always lifting my spirits and transporting me back in time to when I was 17 and had the most memorable beach day with my friends. I can still feel the sand between my toes. Another standout is “Colors”, though it conjures up a different set of emotions entirely.

The Sister Ruby Band/In Cold Blood/Star Fish Records

This band needs more….hype! They just arrived, but give it a year and it’ll catch on…I promise. Every single song on “In Cold Blood” is a diamond that cuts through to the heart. There are no fillers here. Johnny Ruby, although in the early spring of his career (very early 20s) sounds like he’s been around the block a couple of times and he’s not holding anything back. All the songs are so beautifully crafted in that psyched-out-Americana-meets-shoegaze-folky vein…it’s so easy to fall in love with them.

The Sister Ruby Band / 96 Dreams (feat. Sugarplum Fairies) by thesisterrubyband

– Valida