Top Ten Albums
10. The Mae Shi – HLLLYH
There are just not enough solid innovative rock albums out there, especially ones that just straight up rock. The Mae Shi do this extremely well.
9. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
I would say this was the summer album of the year. I feel I might be rating it too highly but they put on an amazing show and I’ve just gained such a connection with The Hold Steady this year that it’s hard not to rate it so highly.
8. No Age – Nouns
Great noise rock. More cohesive than Weirdo Rippers. They put on a great show. Also, one of the loudest shows I’ve been to. If you get the chance, watch High School Record, as well. It’s like if Napoleon Dynamite didn’t suck and was carefully written and directed by someone wanting to capture their high school experience and didn’t just clumsily want to make fun of the weird kid for being the weird kid.
7. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Mmmmmm delicious harmonies. I just love listening to this album. It just transports me to some sort of idealized, snowy countryside and relaxes me every time.
6. Spiritualized – Songs In A&E
I kept seeing this album all over the place so I finally gave it a couple spins and it’s pretty god damn good. I really like the diverse styles of the songs but how the album works so well as a whole.
5. TV on the Radio – Dear Science,
I could tell this was going to be one of the year’s best when I first listened to it. It’s just such a solid album. I didn’t really like Return to Cookie Mountain as much as other people did but, for me, this album felt more solid and I guess just tighter overall.
4. Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel
This album basically kept me from going crazy earlier this year. The whole thing is really solid, especially “Recent Bedroom”. I love Bradford Cox.
3. Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances
Punk rock at it’s finest. Amazingly kick ass lyrics over rock-out-with-your-cock-out, flippin-the-bird-to-everyone jams make for a fucking awesome album. The whole thing is just so fist-pumpingly awesome. I’m still really disappointed I missed their show earlier this year. But I look forward to hearing from them for years to come.
2. Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
Killer song writing. I get more out of each song with each listen. At first I was pretty unimpressed, even as a huge Grizzly Bear fan. But it’s really grown on me and I just love the whole orchestral sound of the whole album. No one writes songs quite like Daniel Rossen.
1. Deerhunter – Microcastle
By far my favorite album of this year. Ever since I really gave Cryptograms a chance, I’ve been hooked by everything Bradford Cox touches. This album has fewer tape loops and atmospherics, which I tend to like and loved on Cryptograms, but the song writing definitely ups the ante here and makes this album the best of the year. Weird Era Cont. is pretty great too, i just haven't listened to it nearly as much.
Honorable mentions/Stuff I didn’t have a chance to listen to very much
King Khan & The Shrines – The Supreme Genius Of King Khan
This album only misses the top ten because it’s not quite as solid as the others. Imagine everything awesome about 60s rock boiled down and led by a crazy awesome Indian dude.
of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping
This is a really good album but it’s just no where near as good as Hissing Fauna. I had it in my top ten for a while but mostly because of several songs I really like. “Nonpareil of Favor”, “Touched Something’s Hollow”, “Gallery Piece” and “Id Engager” are pretty great songs but the rest left a lot to be desired, particularly the lyrics. The choppy, schizophrenic song structures may have allowed ideas that may not have ever seen the light of day to be put on display but I think it left a lot of ideas undeveloped.
Man Man – Rabbit Habits
Solid album just not as good, especially lyrically, as Six Demon Bag.
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Great catchy popy interesting album but other than that eeeeh.
The Ruby Suns – Sea Lion
I really like listening to this album but once I’m done with it, I find it difficult to remember anything from it.
Crystal Antlers – EP
Definitely looking forward to hearing more from them and seeing them live eventually.
Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
From what I’ve heard this album is pretty good especially “The Twist”, “Heads Roll Off”, and “Keep Yourself Warm”
Health – HEALTH
Beautiful noise. But even as an ardent supporter (heatedly arguing with some of the pissed off crowd as they opened for of Montreal), I’d have to admit they’re sometimes hard to listen to (mostly because of my frequent head aches). But I think if they could create an album of songs like “Perfect Skin”, “Heaven”, and “Crimewave” they would have a classic on their hands. The new stuff I heard live sounds really promising.
The Dodos – Visiter
Love the guitar and rhythm.
Ponytail – Ice Cream Spiritual
Worth your time if not just for “Beg Waves” and “Die Allman Bruder”
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head – Glistening Pleasure
Catchy stuff just not quite solid as an album. They’re great live though.
Times New Viking – Rip It Off
Love the lo-fi noise of it all. Great album.
El Guincho – Alegranza
If Panda Bear grew up in Brazil, this is what his music would sound like.
Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules And Love Affair
Great danceable tracks. If you wish that Antony and the Johnsons or LCD Soundsystem had a baby, this album is for you.
Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
Sweet, sweet noise-tronics.
High Places – 03/07-09/07
Great songs. I definitely look forward to hearing more from them.
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
The “Crimewave” remix is amazing but the rest of the album isn’t quite as good. That being said it’s still pretty good stuff.
Islands – Arm’s Way
Just a bit too much polish and not enough heart.
Paavaharju – Laulu Laakson Kukista
Great to listen to when going to sleep. There are some really beautiful moments here but there’s also a lot of space.
Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III
Lil’ Wayne is probably my favorite rapper out there because he may be a lot like other rappers but he’s weird enough to take chances and experiment. Also, his rhymes are usually pretty good.
The Magnetic Fields – Distortion
Good album but a lot of it kinda sounds same-ish.
Xiu Xiu – Women As Lovers
Solid Xiu Xiu album but I didn’t find any heart breakers or breath takers on this one.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Solid album, just haven’t listened to it much. I want to download more and I guess understand his career as a whole first, I guess.
Portishead – Third
I definitely need to listen to this album more.
Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer
I’ve listened to it maybe once after I reviewed it early in the year. That being said, I did enjoy it and I definitely look forward to hearing more from them.
Black Mountain – In the Future
Solid Zeppelin/prog rock revival jams.
Andrew Bird – Soldier On
Looks like the next album will be pretty good.
Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
I just wasn’t very impressed, although I do really like “Light and Music”
Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
Too much rap focus and not enough weird stuff. Still a great album though.
The Bug – London Zoo
Haven’t really listened to it a whole lot but I definitely like it. The guy’s voice kinda bugs me though.
Sigur Ros – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
Pretty good but it’s just no Agaetis Byrjun.
Beach House – Devotion
Haven’t listened to it enough to really judge it other than I liked it.
I can't remember which one of his albums came out this year but he's freakin awesome and everything I've heard by him is pretty gosh darn kick ass.
Stuff I didn’t really get around to
Brian Eno & David Byrne – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Why? – Alopecia
Drive-By Truckers – Brighter than Creation
M83 – Saturdays = Youth
Mount Eerie – Lost Wisdom
DJ/rupture – Uproot
Air France – No Way Down EP
The Very Best – Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit are The Very Best
Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Common Life
Santogold – Santogold
Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down in the Light
Marnie Stern – This Is it and I Am it and You Are it and so Is That and He Is it and She Is it and it Is it and That is That
Los Campesinos – Hold on Now, Youngster
These are all bands and artists that I have come across in this past year and I just felt I should document my musical growth I guess. A fair amount of them I’ve known about for quite some time but they just never clicked with me until this year.
I heard his name dropped so many times that i figured i should find out what the fuss was all about. And then I found out. Everything I've heard from his early glam stuff to his ambient stuff to even his producing is pretty amazing. I absolutely love Here Comes The Warm Jets and the more i listen to Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy and Another Green World the more i love them.
I can't get enough Tom Waits. There's something about his personality and the disparate elements that make up his music that keeps me wanting more. At first I didn't see what the big deal was but then I listened to the live VH1 album where he tells stories about his songs and I went back and fell in love with Raindogs.
Phil Spector girl groups
I honestly haven't given this collection a lot of listens (Back to Mono) but what I have listened to has made me appreciate the influence it's had over the music I love.
The Magnetic Fields
69 Love Songs is pretty darn awesome.
It's nice to hear an artist make such quiet intimate music. Rarely is music this affecting.
The Olivia Tremor Control
Andrew Jackson Jihad
Amazing lyrics, addicting music.
Let It Be is such a good album.
I really only listened to Daydream Nation and other select songs by them and then I realized the mistake I had made.
Amazing lyrics. American Water was definitely a grower and now I love it.
Sure I liked a fair amount of his songs but it wasn't until I downloaded some full albums and really took the time to listen to them that I feel I really started appreciating his work.
Same deal as Bobby D.
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
I had Trout Mask Replica for a long time but I could never really get into it. I saw the objective importance the weirdness of the album had on influencing future music but that didn't make me like it anymore. It wasn't until I got into Tom Waits that I went back and was able to appreciate Captain Beefheart.
I had III for a long time but there was just too much on it and too many demos and b-sides that I'd always lose interest and move on. Harmacy and Bubble and Scrape changed my mind about them.
The Mountain Goats
I'd always liked "This Year", "Woke Up New" and "Cotton" but it wasn't until I listened to All Hail West Texas that I couldn't get enough.
A great band with amazing guitar that, for whatever reason (even though I saw J. Mascis live years ago), I just didn't get around to listening to until this year.
I'm not exactly sure if it was this year or the end of last year that I really got into them but I'm going to put them on here because of how awesome they are. It's like if Bikini Kill was more interesting and made music with the Pixies.
At first I saw him as being a sort of novelty in electronic music but "Avril 14th" single handedly made me take a closer look.
They're just so awesome. I just couldn't get enough of them this summer.
Similar to Microphones in the lo-fi bedroom rock intimacy of the album and the lyrics which made me instantly fall in love with them.
Definitely a grower but it was ultimately the lyrics that sold me. Also, "Notorious Lightening"
My Bloody Valentine (Stuff that’s not Loveless)
I finally got around to listening to more than one of my all time favorite albums Loveless and other than the early overly-gothy EP or two they made some damn good music.
Great, inventive punk. It's always nice to see bands experimenting and changing styles.
I finally had enough distance from my days in jazz band to actually appreciate jazz.
Recently I got around to actually giving Funhouse and Raw Power good listens and they definitely live up to the hype. It's sad to see how burnt out he is now though (see video of him at Madona's birthday [Side note: evidently Mike Watt is in this video too. I hope for his sake he was either there for the novelty or because he's friends with Iggy Pop]).
Amazing rhythm section and sexellent jams. I may not really understand krautrock as a genre but I know that I love this band.
Awesome, inventive electronic music. S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D. is amazing.
Also, why are MGMT popular? They're really just so boring. I just don't get it.
Big ups to anyone and everyone who's given me recommendations throughout the year. They, as well as all ya'lls comments and conversation, are always appreciated. Thanks!