|UserReviews 46Approval 98%Soundoffs 180News Articles 8Band Edits + Tags 57Album Edits 126Album Ratings 2020Objectivity 83%Last Active 05-18-11 3:40 pmJoined 08-01-07Forum Posts 129Review Comments 7,684
|A Yeti's 08|
?Third? is not only a reinvention of the genre (trip hop), but a logical progression for a set of some forefathers and that?s after only a 10+ year hiatus ? ?Third? is less a return to form as it is a reminder of quality. A high quality that Portishead have always held themselves to, and it just so happens they took their damn time to remind us of just how viable they are(were). ?Third? is not the same Portishead, they?ve moved from the lounge club to the movie screen, crafting serene gems that always manage to be as terribly frightening as they are beautiful. And Beth Gibbons ? let it be said her voice has aged wonderfully, she masterfully croons over bombast beats (Silence, Machine Gun, We Carry On), acoustic strums (Small, The Rip) and even sways her way through the surf rock of ?Deep Water?. She?s still as morose as ever, maybe even more so, but that?s not to say Gibbon?s lyrics don?t hold any heft. It?s not all melancholy, or bullshit; she exclaims ?I don?t know what I?ve done to deserve you/And I don?t know what I?ll do without you.? on ?Nylon? smile. May not be the happiest bit ever, but Gibbons sears past the deep drums and electronic clicks surrounding her voice nearly melting you as she cries out. Her voice has deepened, she sounds heftier, weathered, less kitsch and naive, but this plays to her as all kinds of new strength. On cuts like ?Machine Gun? who?s unsettling beat alone could be enough to turn some listeners away at first, that?s before Beth grabs a hold of it, and matched with her croons it somehow becomes gorgeous. Or check ?The Rip? and it?s slow build before it explodes from a great synth line to electronic bliss as Gibbon?s lights up giving her best performance on record. Exclaiming: ?Wild white horses/They will take me away?, leaving her mundane imagery behind for a little hope is an example of ?Third?s core. A little darkness breathes way to the light.
|2||TV on the Radio|
TV On The Radio pretty much ditched the complicated fuzz/anthem rock of ?Return to Cookie Mountain? for some dance hall, electronic, funk/fuzz rock, soulful balladry bullshit. And it was all for the better, not necessarily better than ?Return??, but for the better of the band. ?Dear Science? is like 25 minutes and 8 tracks shorter, but whatever, it?s still some boss music. ?Half Way Home? ?Love Dog? & ?DLZ? are the best songs that never made it onto ?..Cookie?, ?Golden Age?, ?Crying?, ?Dancing Choose? and ?Red Dress? are funk infused, rap, indie masterpieces. While their dance songs and rockers shine, ?Dear Science,? really lets it all go when it?s heart is showing ? tracks like ?Stork & Owl? and ?Family Tree? are gorgeous ballads, adorn with sweet horns and strings, while ?Lover?s Day? is probably the best song about a raucous fuck ever. Ever.
We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Year #1, Album #2(2!) ? ?We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed? sees the Campesino camp mature a little bit through acting just a bit more immature. As opposed to ?Hold On Now, Youngster?? their auspicious debut, where they seemed to be going over every line with red pen, ?We Are Beautiful,?? is more haphazard. ?Youngster?? saw all its lines end with just the perfect punch, just clever enough, and just enough emotion. Essentially showing they aren?t involved as much as observing from the outside, basically they were too good for themselves; this time around they seem to feel right in their own skin. Gareth takes over the vocals predominantly, and he?s basically crying about his ex, but he does it in such a way (You said he?s got his teeth fixed/ I?m gonna break them!), that exemplifies a sense of here and now (Oh we kid ourselves there?s future in the fucking!/but there is no fucking future!?) that most other frontpeople can?t attest to(My life was saved by a packet of 19 cigarettes/Held in my left breast pocket/for a closest friend). To say they have spirit is a bit cheap, they bombast through 10 tracks of glockenspiel infused, violin savvy indie rock. They keep the tensions high, the boy-girl interchanges sweet or biting and when they decide to slow it down on ?Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time? it pays off. It?s one of their most touching tracks, they grow up just a little, enough to see their faults and deliver a fucking great follow up.
In Ghost Colours
To say I?m a sucker for electronic music is an understatement ? I?m a little teen aged girl, I love the shit. I?ve been listening to this heavily all year and above all other electronic albums I heard, this was my favorite. Cut Copy are more live action electronica I guess, they use real instruments, and they may perform with a load of people on stage, but this means each song really has like 3 separate back beats. It?s pretty tight when you break it down, not to mention the infusion of shoegaze and samples only adds to the melodic quality of each song. For all of ?In Ghost Colours? bangers (?Feel the Love?, ?Lights and Music?, ?Hearts on Fire?, ?Far Away?, So Haunted? & ?Nobody Lost, Nobody Found?) they have some straight up beautiful tracks. ?We Fight for Diamonds? ? ?Unforgettable Season? and ?Midnight Runner? are a gorgeous suite in the mid section merging you between the organic beginning the sample full, pure electronic finish. ?Midnight Runner? is brimming with pretty fuzz as it fades into the beat of ?Unforgettable Season? which calls out to a lover to remain faithful during the distance. ?Midnight Runner? comes in softly with a warped beat and a guitar strumming as Whitford croons ?It?s a secret I?ve been keeping from you? a few times as the song builds into a flowing beat and piano. It?s all those little things that give ?In Ghost Colours? it?s edge, it?s tangible, you feel Whitford as his sings and yelps and his beats as they beg you to get down.
A Mad & Faithful Telling
Devotcka, a Denver group of Mexican/Eastern European Gypsies (lol, no) put out their 2nd best album with their 4th effort. ?A Mad and Faithful Telling? again is a little less epic, and a little shorter than their previous, better, effort, but it?s still great. ?Brasso Profundo? starts off ?Telling? with a bang, it?s violins and Spanish guitar floating over the bouncing upright base as Theo Urata cries out for his fellow revolutionaries. Now this is not very alien to them, it?s the mid song slow jam out they do before picking it right back up again to finish off. The song shows right away that this is no ?How It Ends?, and really is better for it. Had they just rehashed their ?Little Miss Sunshine? album, it would?ve been a waste, they dig deep into their southwestern influences and Urata digs into his theme of a South American revolutionary. Their form of bouncy gypsy punk works best on songs like ?Clockwise Witness? and ?Undone? and their ?No Cars Go? remake of ?Head Honcho? bears similar results. The slower songs like ?New World?, ?Blessing in Disguise? and ?Along the Way? shine as highlights as Urata croons and cries over beautiful string, horn and bell arrangements. Urata also has that voice ? and their drummer is boss; mm mmm good.
So, this album is righteous, in the fullest sense of the word. 30 something, ex punk band singer, chick living in NYC, DIY?s a badass solo debut mixing mod rock, dub, reggae, electronica, punk and nice helping of distortion. Did I forget to mention she?s badass? Or downright crazy? In cuts like ?L.E.S. Astistes? she hopes ?it will be worth what I give up? as she tries to ?stand up for the things I believe?, while ?Creator? she exclaim she is just that; ?setting friction to this bitch, creepin in just like an itch?. This is of course after the songs mingling tribal beat and bird like cries in the begining have already dropped and exploded to a bad bass line and a booming beat. By booming I mean ?Creator? will rock the shit out of any trunk you got?son. ?Creator? is followed by the acid washed ?My Superman?, which is then followed by the high flying mod rock of ?Lights Out? ? this is really where ?Santogold? shines, she seems to move effortlessly between styles, and she varies it up enough to keep every song interesting. Yes there?s the dub songs, and the mod songs and the electronic bouncers, but they are all pretty separate from one another, plus they all rock, so, kudos lady.
|7||Titus Andronicus |
The Airing Of Grievances
I wouldn?t really call ?The Airing of Grievances? and album as much as a collection of 9 arguments, and front man Patrick Stickles is more giving a first-hand account than ?singing?. He yelps and screams over most of Titus Andronicus? debut disc, which is a gem of indie-emo self loathing, too smart for my surroundings (New Jersey!) bliss. As his band mates boom and blast around his scream, twanging away on their guitars and smashing their drums and piano keys. Stickles may scream the odd ?We can betray each other in dreams every night.? Or ?What could the harm?/What a six week vacation from the use of my right arm??. Or maybe a chant of ?Do do do do/Do do do do/Fuck everything/Fu-uck Me.? Stickles is pissed sure, at himself, at god, as his parents, at the institutions he was force to attend but honestly, while he plays music, it?s like you couldn?t tell. He seems like he couldn?t be happier, even as he cries become blood curdling. It really show?s in the band?s music, it?s fast (for the most part), fist pumping, chant worthy, it just so happens to be that their lead singer kinda sounds like Bright Eyes and he kinda whines a little. But whatever, they could give a fuck less, and that why Titus succeed. ?Grievances? sounds like it was recorded in a submarine on shitty lowfi mics, as Stickles was in the next room screaming his lungs out. But it sounds fleshed out, real, and it works for them. They may be angry and bitter, but Titus Andronicus don?t skip on the life affirming pop with a debut to be reckoned with.
The Chemistry of Common Life
Hardcore, infused with all the strings, horns and bells and whistles you could ask for, with a great lead singer, this is some boss shit. Yes, maybe it?s a bit meandering, their instrumentals, though quite badass, are not highlights of the album. and yes, in a genre where technicality is held in an extremely high regard ? they?re not. But Fucked Up shine in their arrangements, they know how to build tension, to explode, and more importantly how to rock the fuck out. Pink Eyes(Damian Abraham), has a vicious growl and a scream that shakes the earth. Coupled with clean vocals from both male and female band mates his gravel pit of a voice is pulled up from average, to powerful. This is where they shine, issues with God, modern society, family, and materialism are prominent themes, and they handle it with class. They skip the pretension by not taking themselves too seriously, as well as having a sick drummer and guitarist. And ?Son the Father? is easily one of the best tracks of the year.
Welcome back old friend.
?Microcastle? sees GA based Deerhunter turn down the fuzz and learn to pretty things up a bit. Granted, their rocker ?Nothing Ever Happened? is probably the best thing they?ve ever record, with all it?s shoegaze infused ferocity and beautiful imstrumentation. ?Microcastle? has a kinder feel than ?Cryptograms?, and really that?s what pushes them past the mediocrity of their debut. ?Agoraphobia? & ?Never Stops? as well as enders ?Saved By Old Times? and ?Twilight At Carbon Lake? are quite gorgeous songs, and honestly, Cox showed he was capable of such things with his Atlas Sound project, but I never saw these coming. ?Agoraphobia? and it?s simple beat builds to beauty as Cox croons, ?Never Stops? and ?Little Kids? follow suit in their upbeat sound. Drawbacks can be found I?m sure, it?s a bit too short, sometimes the whole album can just pass you by. The mid section can be a bit too wonky asthey experiment their way around fractured riffs and weird drum beats all the while keeping it pretty minimalist. But, seriously, whatever, just sit back and enjoy ?Microcastle? and all its serene beauty.
Hold on Now, Youngster...
wtf? Where did this band come from? A bunch of seemingly too pretentious Brits pump out a matter of fact, rock document of modern life and love that is all at once compelling and infuriating. Leads Garreth and Alexandria Campesinos (hehe) share the torment and the disgust throughout ?Youngster?? as they gripe about love, life, the indie backlash/pimping. And do it all with a nose pointed high. Or so it seems, it?s when Campesinos show their skin, on tracks like ?This is How You Spell??, ?You! Me! Dancing!?, ?Please Don?t Tell Me To Do The Math(s)?, they get it. Problem is, they spend too much time trying to act like they don?t care, when it?s a no brainer that they do (just a little!). It?s fixed on their sophomore effort, and really it?s not that much of a drawback. ?Youngster?? scores and they don?t create a weak track here, seemingly teetering on the brink of bullshit and quickly pulling themselves out to greatness. Bravo, you bastards.
No Way Down
A group of Swedes mix high flying syth lines, great samples, a little heart and some bass that resonate heat. I honestly would listen to ?No Way Down?, the year?s best EP, to feel like it was summer, and regardless of the temp outside, I was on an island, sipping away on daiquiris. I?ve heard is described as ?post rave bliss?, and it?s quite fitting. They fill their lush electronics, with full horn sections, great vocal samples and beautiful strings plus, the whistle on ?June Evenings? is sooo where it?s at.
Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
Impressively beautiful, and quite utterly spellbinding at points 'Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill' is a flat out fantastic record. Liz Harris' brand of shoegaze is a fuzzy, confined mess of rapture. Somehow she's able to manage a great balance between her buzz and beauty, which aids to the albums great success. 'Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping' may also be one of the most gorgeous tracks I've heard in recent memory(or ever). It can be a bit long, and it's a grower -- kind of, but overall she's crafted a near masterpiece record.
For Emma, Forever Ago
Like I need to say why this gorgeous, touching effort deserves to be here. Shoegaze infused folk?yeah sure I wouldn?t love this. Plus ?Lump Sum? = gold.
The Roots on autopilot, thankfully autopilot = dark, dense, brooding, amazing hip hop. They don?t top ?Game Theory?, their 2nd best, but they do push themselves into a new area of sound that is at least as intriguing. ?Rising Down? offers up something somewhat new from the Roots, an assload of distortion, each of ?Rising Down?s songs are washed in it, they sound akin to listening to them as they play underground. It?s pretty f?in cool. Thought?s lines aren?t as tight as before, but thankfully this is no ?Tipping Point?. Granted, he does rhyme ?nigga? like 50 times on ?75 Bars?, but at least it?s surrounded by a seemingly huge and inexistent distorted thick bass line. It plays to ?Rising Down?s strengths, Black Thought may not always be on, but Questlove and the rest of them will be damned if they?re not on fire. The instrumentation on ?Rising Down? is enough to make this one of the best hip-hop albums of this year, thankfully Thought is still tight and their guests have honestly just gotten better (Mos Def, Peedi Peedi and Dice Raw slay), but Malik B is seriously missed. If they were smart, they?d just keep him around all the time, because it seems to work out all the time (see: Things Fall Apart & Game Theory).
Something For All of Us...
Lol Broken Social Scene solo outings, they?re always pretty good, but they?re always pretty scattered. Canning is able to bring himself out beyond the shadow of his BSS counterparts, but he does this mainly by purveying his key (natural) sound. He?s the everyman, and he shows it in full here. Taking the core BSS sound and building upon it (much like Kevin Drew), Canning shines. ?Something For All of Us?, ?Chameleon? and ?Possible Grenade? are the stand out rockers, ?All the Best Wooden Toys are Made In Germany? is a heaping of prog-indie bliss while ?Churches Under the Stairs? is one of the best BSS associated tracks ever. Canning leans more towards the community feel, as opposed to Drew?s reserved whispers and croons. And while Kevin turned up his vocals, Brendan chooses to wash his voice much like his bands albums. He?s softer, more pleasant even, and what seems to be the obligatory ?girl spot? on these ?BSS Presents? is held by Amy Milian (elegant and powerfully). ?Something For All of Us?? makes sense really, I?m yet to meet someone that finds nothing to love here.
|17|| ||Sigur Ros|
me? su? ? eyrum vi? spilum endalaust
Sigur Ros, the Icelandic masters of icy Post Rock return, sans the majority of their strings, with fresh take on their horns and, well, a shit ton of giddiness. Does it pay off? Oh yeah. The start off suite, the brilliant first 3, ?Gobbledigook?,? Inn? m?r syngur vitleysingur? , ?G??an daginn? are freak folk infused, post rock romps through what sounds like a vibrant, green, glowing Iceland, as compared to their old glacial, romantic sound. And that?s not to say ?me? su? ? eyrum vi? spilum endalaust? isn?t a romantic, gorgeous piece, but it finds its strengths in the warmth of its sound, not the ice that once encompassed it. The latter half of the album slows it down a bit, and Sigur Ros sound like their old selves. ?Festival? being the highlight of that portion, it clicks and softly meanders around for about 2 ? minutes before exploding as Sigur Ros generally do. This time around though, the focus has shifted from elegant, complex beauty to just flat out fun. You can dance to these songs (wtf!?), and it?s wonderful. It?s the 2nd weakest, among their catalogue, but that?s like picking the best shade of your favorite color ? in the end, it?s all really beautiful.
Quiet, understated, and beautiful, A Weather craft a delicate debut. From the gorgeous split family gripe of ?Spiders, Snakes? to the back and forth duet on ?Screw Up Your Courage? to the serene verses of ?Shirley, Road Shirley? this Baltimore quartet shines.
|19|| ||The Walkmen|
You and Me
I fucking love the Walkmen. This album makes the prospect of turning 30 seem not like the worst thing ever.
808s and Heartbreak
Why you gotta be so doctor evil?
|21||Flight of the Conchords|
Flight of the Conchords
I?m the hiphop hippopotamus, my lyrcis are bottomless.
I got this in February, love it until June, hated it until December when I realized that my first inclinations were right. These talented (douche bag) northeasterners come out the gate swinging, wait no, they come out the gate in polos, boat shoes, ray bans and a nice mixed drink. It?s like if Jimmy Buffet was pumping out afro-infused, violin toting, Strokes ripping indie pop ? but it?s great! ?A-Punk?, ?M79? and ?Campus? are all standouts in their own right, while the final 3, ?I Stand Corrected?, ?Walcott? and ?The Kids Don?t Stand a Chance? are all some of the best tracks from this year. It?s instantly accessible, easily aggravating, but all around fantastic music that transcends the seriousness and adds a breath of fresh air to semi-mainstream rock.
|23|| ||Lil Wanye|
Tha Carter III
Phone home! Phone home!
At Mount Zoomer
Krug didn't quite 'fail' me, but he's certainly the weaker half on '...Mount Zoomer'. Wolf Parade have seen themselves turn from a band, to a collective of musician, 2 whom are very distinct. Boeckner wails will all the fury of Bowie and Black, his detest for the concrete jungle and modern living is still very prominent in his songs on 'Zoomer', he's almost more prolific this time around. Sacrificing blunt song writing for a streamlined product that comes out sounding slicker -- but that's not to say they don't indulge in their progressive inclinations. I mean pretty much all of Krug's songs sound like Sunset Rubdown B-sides he just happened to record with his other band. Talk about prog indulgences, every record that band has done could easily be called 'A Day at the Renissance Fair'. This comes out full force on Krug's contributions to the album, which can be good (California Dreamer) or asinine ('Animal in Your Care'). Really, when they just let it all go and rock the fuck out for 10 minutes on the closer 'Kissing the Bee Hive', (the album's original title, wtf?)Spencer and Danny finally decided to get together and just be Wolf Parade again, it's quite mesmerizing.
sucking dick for drink tickets
at the free bar at my cousin's bat mitzvah
Come and join us in the trenches, red and purple by our side.
|27|| ||The Cool Kids|
The Bake Sale EP
|28||Tokyo Police Club|
So, logical progression from 'A Lesson in Crime'? Yes. Is it good? Oh hell yeah, 30 minutes of bliss, awesome guitar work, still spacey and synth soaked, and Dave Monk's voice has got all it's Casablancas power and frustration. Could they have made a better record? With out a doubt. But doesn't mean that 'Elephant Shell' is anything less than f'in sweet. 'Sixties Remake' & "The Harrowing Adventures of...' are they only really weak tracks here, and that's only if you're being nit-picky. It's just you've heard it all before -- but with all these boring additions it somehow sums up into something quite interesting and re playable.
YoWell...wow, ok didn't see this coming. Honestly I expected another heaping pile of electronic bullshit with a few awesome tracks hidden beneath the sonic vomit. I was wrong! It's pretty awesome. The electronic acoustic sound Goldfrapp has adopted for 'Seventh Tree' shines through out. 'Clowns' mutters in an out of beautiful, barely discernible verses, while 'Caravan Girl' and 'Cologne Cerrone Houdini' find them adopting an almost vast/epic feel unseen in any other Goldfrapp LP. Plus 'Eat Yourself' is fucking awesome. They got more laid back, though I'm not sure how exactly, but it works tremendously. A truly beautiful album, with few missteps, but few innovations as well.
|30||The Hold Steady|
We're gonna build something this summer!
Soundtrack to a Vacant Life
Awesome, overlong, but awesome.
|33||The Long Blondes|
A solid follow up to equally as solid debut. The songs may have rocked harder before and the writing could have done with more quick quips and flowing narratives. but hey -- at least it's cohesive this time. The Long Blondes are able to keep their feet firmly planted in the post-punk that got them through 'Some One to Drive You Home' so successfully, and allow their hands to dabble around. The pulp they find this time is not mod life or 50s nostalgia, but lush lounge grooves and electro-pop of the disco floor. Kate Jackson's laissez faire croon spurt out tales of modern romance, nearly all soar, some fall flat on their face, but most of the time "Couples" is a little number that just keeps you coming back for more -- even though you know you shouldn't.
The Seldom Seen Kid
|35||Be Your Own Pet|
'Get Awkward' is good, no doubt about that. That is of course if you're down for BYOP's style of punk rawk with a little jammy/indie flair mix it all around Jemina Pearl's southern fried spunk and snarl and you've got yourself a hell of an album. Kind of...I mean you had a hell of an album, with their self-title debut. 'Get Awkward' sees the same slick riffs (a lot slicker than anyone this young should be putting out), an unquenchable punk spirit and, well, immense disdain for at least one boy in particular, but it can't hold it all together as well. 'BYOP's strengths were found in it's tongue-in-cheek lyrics, powerhouse guitar work and a nice dose of punk chord crunch. It's all still here, it's just not as new, fresh, or interesting. They seem to overcook it sometimes ('You're a Waste', 'What's Your Damage'), or not cook it enough ('Food Fight') , but I mean, then there's always the fist 9 tracks which are solid as hell. And Pearl's voice/scream/snarl can still carry the band on it's own, thankfully her backing band kicks major ass, so, she needn't worry.
New York City
Do you like my accent?
Paul's still got it.
|38||The Mars Volta|
The Bedlam in Goliath
Yyyesss!! It doesn't suck, oh man, thank god this time it doesn't suck. 'Ilyena', 'Calvalettes' and 'Soothsayer' are actually some of the tightest Volta tracks ever. 'Bedlam' much like 'Frances' has the tendency to jam the fuck out on the distortion, but not in a good way, in more of a stupid white noise way; and unlike 'FTM' everything else isn't absolutely killer. The first two tracks are alright and the mid section starts to drag out a bit. But, at least it's a great LP.
Dig Out Your Soul
the best thing they've put out since 'Morning Glory'.
Sun Giant EP
their s/t is balls
this is great
|Yeah, took my fucking time|
|i think i should check out 10|
|no Johnny Foreigner? :( LC! are brilliant.|
The comment for 39 is true but says so fucking little it really doesn't explain how it beats out anything else from the last year haha.
|Interesting list. Alot of good albums, but not alot that I'd put on a best of list. Canning's album was really disappointing for me, though it's cool to see Cut Copy make its way around here, I've seen them like 4 times live now, lol. BYOP's first album totally shits all over Get Awkward, and it's nice to see some Devotchka love here too.|
|nice list, i really like some of these like microcastle and visiter but i still need to check out a lot of this list, like grouper and air france.|
|Hmmm the more I think about it, the more I realize that yes, Sun Giant was much better than Fleet Foxes. Props on the Deerhunter, Portishead and Santogold. Real legit list.|
|Also, real old list.|