We’ve got quite a few Music Designers here at DMX so we’ve got even more Best of 2011 posts for you. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 albums of the year from…

From Music Designer, Mandi LeBlanc:

1. The Strokes – Angles
One of my favorite bands, The Strokes are back, after a 5 year hiatus, with Angles, full of their signature indie rock goodness. I’ve missed you boys!

2. The Drums – Portemento
The Drums sophomore album, Portemento, touches on Death and broken relationships, with a punchy upbeat sound reminiscent of The Smiths and The Cure, all done with a New York vibe. I can’t help but want to dance around!

3. Foster The People – Torches
Foster The People debut their first album, Torches.  With their quirky brand of indie electro-rock full of catchy hooks and undeniably cool atmospheres, they had me dancing after every track. And they’re not bad to look at either. They also make fun videos:

4. Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
The Beastie Boys can do no wrong in my book. I have been jamming with Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA since they started and I have no intention of stopping. With Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, the boys bring a throwback sound to the record of when they were ruling the New York streets. Ad-Rock says it best himself on the track Too Many Rappers, “Oh my God, just look at me, Grandpa been rapping since ’83.” Yes you have, and please keep doing it.

The boys aren’t actually in this video, they are played by Elijah Wood (Ad Rock), Seth Rogen (Mike D) and Danny McBride (MCA), but everyone else in Hollywood is in this video.  Look close for all the celebrity appearances!

5. The Black Keys – El Camino
I know this album has been out a mere 4 days as I write this, released on Dec. 6th, but that’s how much I like it to add to my best of list. Ever since I heard 2004’s Rubber Factory from them, I have been a devoted fan. With the best guitar/drum chemistry I’ve heard and seen in a while, they continue to churn out rocking bluesy tunes with just the right amount of catchy pop choruses.

They are not in this video either, but a struggling actor named Derrick Tuggle dances his butt off to their first single, Lonely Boy.  Seeing as he’s already been on Ellen showing off his skills, something tells me he won’t be struggling too long.

From Music Designer, Janica Quach:

1. Mat Kearney– Young Love
As a longtime fan of Mat’s music it was refreshing to hear him return to some more hip-hop/spoken word on this record. The album is refreshing, fun and catchy – get ready for the melodies to get stuck in your head!

Standout Tracks: “Ships In the Night”, “Chasing The Light”

2. BigBang – Tonight
This highly-anticipated follow up to their successful 2008 Korean studio album, BigBang’s record, Tonight, is chock full of catchy melodies with hip-hop sensibilities and hard-hitting dance beats.

Standout Tracks: “Tonight”, “Love Song”, “Stupid Liar”

3. Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile – The Goat Rodeo Sessions
Yo-Yo Ma’s latest project is reminiscent of his past release “Appalachia Waltz” – not only does this latest project employ bluegrass influences, it also melds styles from Asian, Celtic, and Jazz music. Duncan, Meyer, and Thile’s songwriting and raw virtuosic talent make this record especially brilliant.

Standout Tracks: “Franz And The Eagle”, “Quarter Chicken Dark”

4. Jay Chou – Exclamation Point
Jay Chou’s 11th album, released on 11.11.11 – clever, right? The Jay Chou formula never gets old – the record has a wide array of musical styles that showcases Jay’s songwriting and producing talents.

Standout Tracks: “Hydrophobic Sailor”, “How Are You?”, “Shadow Puppetry”

5. Parachute – The Way It Was
From the first time I heard “Something To Believe In (Jeremiah)”, Parachute’s lead single off this record, I was looking forward to hearing this album – and it did not disappoint. With thoughtful songwriting and instrumentation – these boys really know how to make a record that’s hard to take off of repeat.

Standout Tracks: “Forever And Always”, “What I Know”, “Something To Believe In (Jeremiah)”

From Music Designer, Rochelle Matthews:
1. Jill Scott – From The Vault, Vol 1.
2. Jill Scott – The Light of the Sun
3. Mint Condition – 7
4. Joe – The Good, The Bad, The Sexy
5. Cee-Lo Green – The Lady Killer

From Music Designer, Pam Payano:
1. Wale – Ambition
2. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
3. Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday
4. Calle 13 – Entren Los Que Quieran
5. Talib Kweli – Gutter Rainbows

From Music Designer, Michael Griffin:
1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
2. Pat Metheny – What’s It All About
3. Thievery Corporation – Culture Of Fear
4. Booker T Jones – The Road From Memphis
5. J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science – Undercover

From Music Designer, Joel Oltyan:
1. Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do?
2. Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
3. I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today
4. Stacy Clark – Patterns
5. Selena Gomez – When The Sun Goes Down