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Best Albums of 2011: Fleet Foxes' Helplessness Blues

It felt like an eternity -- 35 months between

Fleet Foxes

' 2008 self-titled debut and their 2011 followup. But for a record as brilliantly crafted as

Helplessness Blues

, it was well worth the three-year wait.

The record's up for a Grammy in the Best Folk Album category and it has received generally stellar praise from music critics and fans alike, as Fleet Foxes have effortlessly carrying the weight of contemporary folk music on their shoulders.

Sadly, however, they're still not playing Miami.

From the opening lines of "Montezuma" ("So now I am older/Than my mother and father/When they had their daughter/Now what does that say about me") to the last note on "Grown Ocean," Helplessness Blues is like having your favorite novel sung to you. It's deeply personal -- sometimes dark, even -- but all the while magical.

If music was an institution of higher ed, singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold would graduate summa cum laude with an MFA in aural imagery. Folk off and rediscover Helplessness Blues, one of our favorite albums of 2011.

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