Usually the High Five column is about what’s going on in the world of music news but this week I’m jumping on the bandwagon and posting my Top 5 albums of the year.

I. Lil B — I’m Gay (I’m Happy)

To enjoy Lil B you really have to dive in all the way. With literally thousands of tracks under his belt the last few years have seen this divisive rapper all over the place at times creating some of the dumbest music I’ve ever heard. This year however patience and fandom was rewarded with the release of his best work yet. Aside from some amazing mixtapes Lil B dropped his masterpiece in I’m Gay (I’m Happy) . Still rough around the edges his rapping improved exponentially as he touched on themes of race religion and depression. And who would have thought a Goo Goo Dolls sample could evoke so much feeling? Thank you Based God.

II. Liturgy – Aesthethica

Brooklyn black metal conjures images of upside-down crosses and cutesy séances on the Tumblr pages of so many Urban Outfitters employees but Liturgy defied the odds with their incredible sophomore album Aesthethica . Simultaneously the most pretentious and profound record released in 2011 the album is built on overly dramatic guitar riffs and truly inspired drumming. Also lyrics about steampunk. As hesitant as I am to use cheesy adjectives like “transcendent” few other words do Aesthethica justice.

III. Tim Hecker – Ravedeath 1979

Experimental music is in a fascinating place right now so there was no better time for neoclassical sound artist Tim Hecker to hit one out of the park. Ravedeath 1979 is not only Hecker’s best work but also one of the year’s best releases. Haunting and ethereal the album was built from recordings made in an Icelandic cathedral. From there Hecker’s sound manipulation brought the songs to otherworldly aural heights resulting in a cavernous work that’s dark but never dreary.

IV. B-Lines – self-titled

It’s always awkward when your friends are in a band. And the members of B-Lines are some of my oldest friends. Thankfully I don’t even need to pretend when I tell them I love their music. Bare-bones hardcore-flavoured punk that cuts the bullshit and gets to the point they have the wittiest lyrics and the rawest live show. Their self-titled 12-inch EP was the best thing they’ve done yet creating the most fun you’ll ever have in 11 minutes.

V. Drake – Take Care

Yeah I get it cool guy — you think Drake’s a douchebag. Thing is Drake kinda thinks that too. From the drunken confessions of “Marvin’s Room” to the sing-song triumph of “Shot For Me” Take Care is a year’s worth of diary entries lushly produced and expertly rapped. I also want to hate it but I can’t.

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