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Rudy K.
Staff

Reviews 203
Soundoffs 94
News Articles 13
Band Edits + Tags 25
Album Edits 96

Album Ratings 1490
Objectivity 83%

Last Active 10-21-14 12:36 pm
Joined 12-31-08

Forum Posts 1,319
Review Comments 10,494

Average Rating: 3.30
Rating Variance: 0.58
Objectivity Score: 83%
(Well Balanced)

Chart.

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5.0 classic
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Source Tags & Codes
Badly Drawn Boy The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
Blur Parklife
Brendan Benson The Alternative To Love
Bright Eyes Cassadaga
Broken Social Scene You Forgot It In People
Clipse Hell Hath No Fury
Cut Copy In Ghost Colours
Death From Above 1979 You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
Deerhunter Halcyon Digest
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Halcyon Digest was just how warm everything sounded. Whereas Bradford Cox and company's earlier work tended to be unwieldy messes of noise thrown loosely under the shoegaze label, Halcyon Digest continued what 2008's Microcastle begun: transforming Deerhunter into a full-fledged rock band, feet firmly planted in pop territory and beckoning us to just relax and enjoy. When I first heard "Revival" I was astonished at just how straightforward everything was, how easy it was to connect to a band I previously had regarded as somewhat cold. But things aren't just direct; there's a depth to these songs that, coming from Cox, is not much of a surprise, but makes Halcyon Digest something more than just a really good rock album. Halcyon Digest is a record that seems destined to stand the test of time, constructed as it is out of the timeless building blocks of music: guitar, bass, vocals and drums, all done so effortlessly that it?s hard to believe Deerhunter have been doing this for years. In a way, of course, they have, but never so refined, so at ease. For Cox, someone whose constantly fidgeting around with demos and side projects, hearing him buckle down and produce a whole album's worth of immediately arresting music is a relief. Halcyon Digest is Deerhunter's most deft accomplishment yet, and they've done it not with bells or whistles or 20-minute-plus compositions but by writing perfect rock 'n roll, pure and simple.
Elliott Smith Either/Or
Elliott Smith XO
Elliott Smith Figure 8
Elliott Smith Elliott Smith
Fleetwood Mac Rumours
Fugazi The Argument
Girl Talk Night Ripper
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas...
Guster Lost And Gone Forever
Jeff Buckley Grace
Jeff Buckley Grace (Legacy Edition)
Modest Mouse The Moon & Antarctica
Of Montreal Satanic Panic in the Attic
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Ryan Adams Cold Roses
Shout Out Louds Our Ill Wills
Sigur Ros Heima (DVD)
Spoon Girls Can Tell
Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Talk Talk Laughing Stock
The Beatles Revolver
The Beatles Rubber Soul
The Elected Me First
The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
The New Pornographers Twin Cinema
The Olivia Tremor Control Dusk at Cubist Castle
The Veils Nux Vomica
Wilco Summerteeth
Wolf Parade Apologies to the Queen Mary
Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

4.8 classic
Yo La Tengo I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

4.7 superb
The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
I want to feel like this forever

4.6 superb
Elliott Smith Roman Candle
The Notwist Neon Golden
The Strokes Is This It

4.5 superb
Ambulance LTD. Ambulance LTD.
Andrew Bird Break It Yourself
Arcade Fire Funeral
Basement Jaxx Kish Kash
Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique
Beastie Boys Check Your Head
Beck Sea Change
Blonde Redhead 23
Blur Blur 21
Boards of Canada The Campfire Headphase
Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
Conor Oberst Conor Oberst
Death Cab for Cutie Transatlanticism
Do Make Say Think You, You're a History in Rust
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP
Everest Ghost Notes
Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel...
Florence and the Machine Lungs
Florence and the Machine Ceremonials
God dammit and I was so ready to blast Ms. Welch for selling out.
Fountains of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor F#A# (Infinity)
Guster Keep It Together
Japandroids Post-Nothing
Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins Rabbit Fur Coat
Jimmy Eat World Bleed American
Jonsi Go
Predictably, this album gives me a huge, throbbing boner that leaves me in some pain by the time Hengilas finishes up.
LCD Soundsystem Sound of Silver
M83 Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
Menomena Moms
Midlake The Trials of Van Occupanther
Miike Snow Miike Snow
Monsters of Folk Monsters of Folk
Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Noisia Split The Atom
Noisia’s first proper LP is a shining example of everything good that can happen when a groundbreaking trio mashes all their influences together and produces something truly original. Split the Atom has it all: breaks, electro, drum n bass, funk, house, et cetera. It’s a mishmash of styles that never seems like it’s about to collapse – the Dutch group have collected everything they admire about electronica and make it their own. Noisia are not afraid to take some risks, and Split the Atom promises to be the first in a long line of relentless, heart-stopping party starters.
Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
Okkervil River The Stand Ins
The Stand Ins is lyrically bleak and depressing, despite the often-upbeat instrumentation, and singer and writer Will Sheff is in fine form. Just check out opener ?Lost Coastlines,? where Sheff laments ?every night finds us rocking and rolling on waves wild and wide, well we have lost our way, nobody?s gonna say it outright,? along ?Lust for Life?-esque bass and drum line before exploding into an energetic outro of ?la la la?s.? With song titles like ?Singer Songwriter,? ?Pop Lie,? and ?On Tour With Zykos,? it?s not hard to figure out the theme of the record, but never once does Okkervil River bore or weigh down.
Pearl Jam Ten
Pulp Different Class
Radical Face The Family Tree: The Roots
Radical Face The Family Tree: The Branches
Radiohead OK Computer
Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt II
Ryan Adams Heartbreaker
Sigur Ros Takk...
Spoon Gimme Fiction
Spoon Kill The Moonlight
Stereophonics You Gotta Go There To Come Back
The Beatles 1
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Decemberists Her Majesty the Decemberists
The Dismemberment Plan Emergency & I
The Dodos Visiter
The Dodos do it all on their second album, an hour-long kaleidoscope of psychedelic folk, world music beats, and an constantly-shifting array of melodic ideas and lyrical thoughts that fairly blow one away on first listen. Drummer Meric Long’s training in the West African style of Ewe drumming pays off incredible dividends here, as his hard-driving beats and ridiculous sense of syncopation turns nearly every song into a clinic of talent. Add to that guitarist/vocalist Logan Kroeber’s mellower Ben Gibbard-ish pipes and talented strumming and you have a largely acoustic world-folk record that makes for one of the strangest and most exciting releases of the year.
The Dodos No Color
Like The Visiter but with an editor - in short, everything we wanted the Dodos to be.
The Dodos Carrier
The Fiery Furnaces Gallowsbird's Bark
The Futureheads The Futureheads
The Go! Team Thunder, Lightning, Strike
The Mountain Goats Tallahassee
The Mountain Goats The Sunset Tree
The National Alligator
The Postal Service Give Up
The Stills Without Feathers
The Stone Roses The Stone Roses
The Tallest Man on Earth The Wild Hunt
How can you not like a record with a cover like that? It's like Darnielle and Corgan had a baby in Sweden and it made beautiful, beautiful folk music that is at once whispery thin and insubstantial and at the other time incredibly fiery and affirming ("King of Spain," anyone?). Awesome
The Veils The Runaway Found
The Walkmen You & Me
The Walkmen Lisbon
The Walkmen Heaven
The War on Drugs Slave Ambient
The White Stripes White Blood Cells
The Wrens The Meadowlands
The Zutons Who Killed The Zutons
Thrice The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV
Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City
Everyone's dying, but girl - you're not old yet.
Voxtrot Raised By Wolves
Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Wilco Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
Wilco The Whole Love

4.4 superb
Cut Copy Free Your Mind
Okkervil River The Silver Gymnasium
PJ Harvey Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Sharon Van Etten Are We There

4.3 superb
Bibio Silver Wilkinson
Blind Pilot 3 Rounds and a Sound
Bonobo Black Sands
DM Stith Heavy Ghost
Elliott Smith From a Basement on the Hill
Elliott Smith New Moon
Kurt Vile Wakin on a Pretty Daze
I slept on Smoke Ring For My Halo. I'm wide awake for this.
Rogue Wave Out Of The Shadow
Spoon They Want My Soul

4.2 excellent
Beck Midnite Vultures
Caribou Our Love
Cymbals Eat Guitars LOSE
Ghostface Killah Twelve Reasons to Die
Kishi Bashi Lighght
4.2? oh word eli
She and Him Volume One
Most actresses who turn toward the music realm in order to diversify their image and develop yet another revenue stream usually are predestined for failure (see: Johansson, Scarlett), but indie heartthrob Zooey Deschanel’s first album has gone a long way toward dispelling that notion. She’s not the best singer, and the lyrics occasionally veer towards the simple and sentimental, but her heartfelt vocal approach and M. Ward’s (the Him) excellent backing arrangements and occasional vocal work create a timeless album of ‘60s Brill Building pop and twangy folk that bodes well for future releases.
The New Pornographers Electric Version
Yo La Tengo Fade

4.1 excellent
Alvvays Alvvays
Basement Jaxx Rooty
Burial Rival Dealer
Eleanor Friedberger Personal Record
Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park
L'Orange The Mad Writer
Local Natives Hummingbird
Lorde Pure Heroine
Mutual Benefit Love's Crushing Diamond
Neko Case The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight...
Sun Kil Moon Benji
Tegan and Sara The Con
The Men New Moon
The Rosebuds Sand + Silence
Woods With Light And With Love

4.0 excellent
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead The Century of Self
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Lost Songs
A Fine Frenzy Pines
A.C. Newman The Slow Wonder
A.C. Newman Get Guilty
Acid House Kings Music Sounds Better With You
AlunaGeorge Body Music
American Football American Football
Andrew Bird Hands of Glory
Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion
Annie Don't Stop
Araabmuzik Electronic Dream
As Tall As Lions You Can't Take It With You
ASAP Rocky Long. Live. A$AP
Atmosphere When Life Gives You Lemons...
The focus is on Ant and Slug’s gritty, industrial-colored lyrics and simple, rhythmic flow, telling black-and-white stories of crime, drugs, the projects, and any number of other things that influenced the two as they grew up in Minneapolis. “Dreamer” brings out the woodwinds and horns in a catchy fable about teen pregnancy while “The Waitress” wallows in funky bass and a bird-like flute while it unweaves a story about its subject. While occasionally the duo’s unremarkable voices tend to blur together and the lyrical matter is unrelenting, the ingenious production keeps things from going stale.
Neither is as technically talented as rappers like Nas or Twista, neither boasts the advanced studio wizardry of producers like Kanye West or Timbaland, and neither indulges in gangster posing like Young Jeezy or 50 Cent, but Atmosphere’s unique combination of realism and straight-to-the-point beats makes their latest another gem in a long line of excellent underground releases.
Bat For Lashes Two Suns
Beck Mutations
Beirut Gulag Orkestar
Beirut The Rip Tide
Bibio Mind Bokeh
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot
Black Milk No Poison No Paradise
Blink-182 Blink-182
Blink-182 Greatest Hits
Blur Blur
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
If there was such a thing, singer-songwriter Justin Vernon alias Bon Iver’s debut record would surely win Most Depressing Record of the Year. Almost entirely recorded in an isolated cabin in rural Wisconsin, For Emma, Forever Ago is a cathartic expression of break-up and recovery in the bleakest terms. The minimalist instrumentation, lo-fi recording, and Vernon’s haunting vocals all paint a picture of forlorn grief and regret in the frozen north. Forget rainy-day music; this is music to listen to while snowed in by the biggest blizzard of the year.
Boys Noize Oi Oi Oi
Brand New The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
Brendan Benson My Old, Familiar Friend
Bright Eyes Lifted or the Story is in the Soil...
Bright Eyes Lua
Bright Eyes The People's Key
British Sea Power The Decline of British Sea Power
British Sea Power Do You Like Rock Music?
Britney Spears Blackout
Burial Kindred
Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
Caribou Swim
Cat Power Sun
Chromatics Kill For Love
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Coldplay Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
Chris Martin and company were in danger of treading into soft-rock and piano drudgery on 2005’s X&Y, but Viva La Vida proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Coldplay weren’t content to sit on their laurels for their fourth record. Incorporating world music styles, multi-movement epics, and some of Martin’s best lyrics yet, Viva might be Coldplay’s best album yet, and is certainly their most original and experimental.
Conor Oberst Upside Down Mountain
Cults Cults
Delicately cute twee pop with your boy-girl harmonies, sticky-sweet hooks, summer love lyrics etc. etc. You'll either be reaching for a bag of bitters and a diabetes diagnosis or begging for more. Me, I like my sugar in excess, and Cults fills the prescription quite nicely.
Daft Punk Discovery
Daft Punk Alive 2007
Dan Mangan Nice, Nice, Very Nice
Dark Time Sunshine Vessel
Where Kanye West and Big Boi stole all the hip-hop critical acclaim and publicity this year, Vessel was the little rap record that could, flying under the radar and stealthily staking its claim as one of the best albums in the genre. Vessel is an apt name; Dark Time Sunshine takes you on a trip through the furthest fringes of the hip-hop universe, a sector populated by likeminded pioneers like Aesop Rock and P.O.S but still its own unique, innovative beast. This isn’t nerd-rap or hip-hop unpalatable to the average fan; MC Onry Ozzborne is easy to understand and even easier to listen to, weaving engaging tales as he does on “E.R” and “Little Or No Concern,” while producer Zavala runs the gamut from the propulsive, tribal “Defender” to the psychedelic layers of “All Aboard” without a dud to be found. This is a trailblazer for the new decade, a road map of where hip-hop can go and what it can do, and the kind of release that makes you believe that, yes, there always is something new under the sun.
Death Cab for Cutie Plans
Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs
Delta Spirit History From Below
Destroyer Kaputt
How many dicks does Bejar have to suck to get more songs on a New Pornos album good christ
Divine Fits A Thing Called Divine Fits
Dr. Dog Fate
Dum Dum Girls End of Daze
East India Youth Total Strife Forever
Eels Blinking Lights & Other Revelations
Eisley The Valley
Elliott Smith Live at Largo
Elliott Smith An Introduction To... Elliott Smith
Eminem The Slim Shady LP
Excision Shambhala 2010
Explosions in the Sky How Strange, Innocence
Explosions in the Sky All of a Sudden, I Miss Everyone
Feist The Reminder
Feist Metals
Oftentimes when artists feel commercial success is threatening their artistic credibility, they may record a
follow-up that often has the simultaneous goal of "getting back to my roots" and "alienating all the posers
who liked me because of that iPod commercial." I'm not entirely convinced that this wasn't Leslie Feist's whole
goal with Metals, an album that has a bleak, unwelcoming landscape as its cover and no candidates to
conveniently slide in next to "1234" at the Starbucks rack. Yet by refusing to kowtow to the single-oriented
modern market and soaking all of Metals in a morose sheen of understated production, Feist has turned the
spotlight back on what always made her a great artist to begin with: her songwriting.
Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine
First Aid Kit The Lion's Roar
Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
Seattle fivesome take rock back to its roots; and by roots I mean down in the country, woods, and backroads of Americana folk. After My Morning Jacket’s Evil meltdown, it’s reassuring to see a fresh band take up the mantle of good ole-fashioned country rock. Taking more of a pastoral angle than MMJ’s blazing guitar solos, Fleet Foxes is an album that calls to mind more the Appalachian Trail than the Pacific Northwest, complete with church-gathering harmonizing, various wind instruments, and frontman Robin Pecknold’s unearthly howl. Yet another of 2008’s great rookie records.
Flight of the Conchords Flight of the Conchords
While there’s something to be said for Flight of the Conchords’ live records and actual concerts, which is one of the funniest things I have been privileged to attend, their debut album does manage to translate a good portion of their irreverent humor into the studio. The songs, as usual, don’t disappoint, running the gamut from anti-war sex anthem “Ladies of the World” to the funky bedtime jam that Marvin Gaye has tried so hard to perfect, “Business Time.” Who can resist seductive statements like “two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven?”
Most of the songs benefit from the added instrumentation and production, with “The Prince of Parties” sounding like the Beatles if they stayed in India longer and were a comedy duo, and “Boom” is much more understandable and palatable with Bret’s clarified vocals and the faux-reggaeton production.
The only disappointment is the utter lack of new songs. While a compilation might be a necessity for casual fans or newcomers, Conchord lovers will already know pretty much every song on the disc, and one would’ve thought with the exposure the two have been getting, they would’ve jumped on the opportunity to release new material. But you can’t begrudge what they’ve already created, which is pure comic gold.
Foals Holy Fire
Foster the People Foster The People
Four Tet There is Love in You
Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand You Could Have It So Much Better
Free Energy Stuck On Nothing
Philadelphia five-piece Free Energy would seem to have everything they need to take the hipster blogosphere by storm – a place on DFA records and an album produced by the founder himself, James Murphy; a ringing endorsement from Pitchfork; a sound that cherry picks from a helluva lot of influences but somehow stands proudly on its own as something new. But being the next “cool” thing has never been what Free Energy was about. Their music is a refreshing throwback to ‘70s arena rock without being ironic – bombastic riffs that stick in your head like bubblegum, gang vocals that lend themselves admirably to road trip sing-a-longs, melodies that hearken back to ‘60s power-pop. Paul Sprangers sings about girls and summer love and absolutely nothing of higher import because, frankly, that’s all he wants to sing about. It’s unfortunate that Stuck on Nothing was released in the spring, because it’s a summer record through and through. Beach cruising, salty air and salty hair, bikinis, breezy car trips, pool parties, Slurpees that always seem to damn drippy, the smell of tanning lotion, sand that will stay in my car for way too many months, days and days of doing whatever the hell you want – Free Energy have made a soundtrack for all of these things, and made it seem effortless in the bargain.
Friendzone DX
Ghostface Killah Supreme Clientele
Girl Talk All Day
Girls Father, Son, Holy Ghost
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Christopher Owens, a genuinely fucked up individual by all accounts, writes some truly stellar pop music. People who dismiss Father, Son, Holy Ghost as a mere pastiche are doing themselves a disservice – Owens is the best young pop classicist in the business right now. What really sets him apart from his peers, though, is his totally guileless enthusiasm. He’s the type of front man who can give out a little yelp as the guitar buzzes back in on “Honey Bunny” and make it sound totally authentic, totally right. Which, incidentally, is how the rest of the record sounds. Combine that sincerity with the kind of ambitious song structures Owens has flawlessly constructed here, and maybe those Brian Wilson comparisons aren’t so far off now.
Givers In Light
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada
Gomez How We Operate
Goo Goo Dolls A Boy Named Goo
Grimes Visions
Gym Class Heroes The Quilt
When the Heroes falter, it’s usually because McCoy’s ideas tend to run dry around the end of the 14-song-long track list, and while his flow is generally acceptable, lyrically the Heroes will never be compared to Atmosphere or Mos Def. Luckily, the uniformly innovative, genre-bending production by Stump and Cool & Dre manage to keep The Quilt afloat through its hour run and produce a pop/rap album that manages to be catchy and progressive at the same time.
Handsome Furs Sound Kapital
Harvey Danger Little By Little...
Hellogoodbye Would It Kill You?
Hospitality Trouble
How to Dress Well Total Loss
Interpol El Pintor
Irving Death in the Garden, Blood on the Flowers
Islands Arm's Way
Islands A Sleep and a Forgetting
Jack White Blunderbuss
Jay-Z The Blueprint
Jay-Z Reasonable Doubt
John K. Samson Provincial
John Talabot Fin
Justice Cross
Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds
Kaiser Chiefs Employment
Kanye West Graduation
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
I like to use Kanye West’s own Twitter to describe My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: “”This is rock and roll life my people . . . you can’t stop the truth you can’t stop the music and I have to be strong or ‘they’ win!!!;” “I can’t be everybody’s hero and villain savior and sinner Christian and anti Christ!;” “I have decided to become the best rapper of all time! I put it on my things to do in this lifetime list!” Besides an abundance of exclamation points, Kanye’s often hilarious Twitter is everything that made his newest album such a masterpiece, from his Christ complex to his feuding with the media to his undeniable artistic brilliance. Guy might be a little crazy, but weren’t all the best a bit off?
Kishi Bashi 151a
Kiss Kiss The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left
Laura Stevenson Wheel
Lily Allen It's Not Me, It's You
Literature Chorus
Lost In The Trees A Church That Fits Our Needs
M. Ward Transistor Radio
M. Ward Hold Time
M83 Saturdays=Youth
Anthony Gonzalez, the brainchild behind electronica group M83, has always had a fetish for taking discarded, old sounds and turning them into something new. The group’s shoegaze approach to electronica, soothing sounds built atop waves and waves of sound and layers of production, are twisted into M83’s most accessible outing on Saturdays=Youth, a record that hearkens back to that cultural touchstone everyone wants to forget: the ‘80s! Lyrically focused on teen love and emo angst, the music is a blend of synthtastic new-wave pop and frothy, bubbling techno all buoying Gonzalez’s wispy voice. It would’ve made a hell of a soundtrack to the Breakfast Club.
Madonna Like a Prayer
Manchester Orchestra Mean Everything to Nothing
Manchester Orchestra Simple Math
Manic Street Preachers Journal For Plague Lovers
Minus the Bear Planet of Ice
Mister Heavenly Out of Love
Mos Def The Ecstatic
Motion City Soundtrack Commit This To Memory
My Kappa Roots The House of St Colme Burnt Down
My Morning Jacket It Still Moves
Nada Surf Lucky
Neko Case Blacklisted
Neko Case Middle Cyclone
Noah and the Whale The First Days of Spring
Oasis Definitely Maybe
Of Montreal The Sunlandic Twins
Oh No Ono Eggs
OK Go Oh No
Okkervil River Black Sheep Boy
Old Canes Early Morning Hymns
Panic! At the Disco Pretty. Odd.
Papercuts Life Among The Savages
Passion Pit Gossamer
Phoenix Bankrupt!
Phosphorescent Here's To Taking It Easy
In an off year for alt-country Matt Houck stepped up to the plate and delivered a straightforward home run, all muscular slide guitar and folky twang. But the best part is Houck's melodies, which are fleshed out and given new life with the colorful compositions offered by his expanded sound.
Phosphorescent Muchacho
Pinback Blue Screen Life
Pinback Summer in Abaddon
Porter Robinson Say My Name
Portugal. The Man The Satanic Satanist
Posse Soft Opening
Ra Ra Riot The Orchard
Ratatat Classics
Real Estate Days
Regina Spektor Far
Rhye Woman
Rilo Kiley More Adventurous
Rise Against Appeal to Reason
Rogue Wave Permalight
Ryan Adams Love is Hell
Ryan Adams Gold
Ryan Adams Cardinology
School of Seven Bells Ghostory
Serena Maneesh S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor
Criminally overlooked shoegaze out of Norway, Serena Maneesh crafted some of the strangest, most endearing music of the year. This isn’t your older brother’s shoegaze; this plain rocks, with angular riffs and thudding bass lines seemingly more suited for prog than pop. But for all its oddness, it’s an album that refuses to be ignored, and I’d gladly take this over the Ambien most shoegaze bands proffer up nowadays.
Sigur Ros ( )
Simian Mobile Disco Delicacies
Sleigh Bells Reign of Terror
Stars Set Yourself On Fire
Steel Train Steel Train
With their third record, Steel Train showed me that sometimes, good rock ‘n roll can be just that; no gimmicks, no existentialist musings, no 20-minute-plus compositions swollen with strings and harps and timpani. Steel Train put their money down on ace melodies and that simple trifecta of rock: guitar, bass, drums. They only come out with some of the best songs of the year, sugary offerings that are no less potent because they revel in their hooks and sing-a-long capabilities. Not to mention a song of the year in the heartrending “Fall Asleep.”
Strand of Oaks Heal
Sun Kil Moon Ghosts of the Great Highway
Swarms Old Raves End
Sylvan Esso Sylvan Esso
T.I. Paper Trail
Everyone knew house arrest couldn?t stop T.I. Going back to old-fashioned pen and paper to write down lyrics and finishing with around 50 songs for the album, Paper Trail?s 16 final cuts are some of mainstream rap?s best of the year. Hard-hitting beats combine with T.I.?s inimitable vocal dexterity and lyrics that fairly drip with venom to make an album of surefire commercial hits as well as a few that stand up to any cerebral rapper?s catalogue. And, of course, that Numa Numa sampling on ?Live Your Life? was true producing genius.
Taken By Trees East of Eden
Tame Impala Lonerism
Taylor Swift Fearless
Taylor Swift Speak Now
Tenacious D Tenacious D
Tenacious D Rize of the Fenix
Interested to see how this material will translate live without spontaneously combusting the entire audience into flames. Way better than Arcade Fire.
Tennis Ritual In Repeat
that dog. Retreat From the Sun
The Antlers Burst Apart
At this point, everyone knows the story behind Antlers, who finally made it (indie) big in 2009 on the strength
of a crushingly intimate record about an emotionally destructive relationship. It's a narrative that has colored
everything they've done since then, and nothing has been overshadowed by it more than Burst Apart. Peter
Silberman stated in an interview, "you can put [Burst Apart] on and not feel like it had to be a severe
emotional experience." For many, this directly defeated everything that appealed to them about the Antlers.
Those people missed out on one of the great records of 2011, a record that finally showcases the talents of
the band the Antlers and not just the lyrical prowess (still quite strong, I might add) of Peter Silberman
fronting some other guys playing instruments. Where it was Silberman's wispy falsetto that carried all the
emotional weight on Hospice, here it's the group, exploring a variety of textures and celebrating singledom
with major-key chords on opener "I Don?t Want Love." Maybe Silberman needed to get all of that poison out of
him on Hospice to make the best record of his career, because make no mistake - Burst Apart is that record,
and a strong harbinger of what's to come if the Antlers can keep evolving like this.
The Antlers Undersea
The Apples in Stereo Fun Trick Noisemaker
The Auteurs After Murder Park
The Avalanches Since I Left You
The Beatles Abbey Road
The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles Help!
The Beatles Love
The Bilinda Butchers Heaven
The Black Heart Procession Amore Del Tropico
The Black Keys Brothers
The Books Thought For Food
The Books The Way Out
The Brunettes Mars Loves Venus
The Dear Hunter The Color Spectrum
The Dear Hunter The Color Spectrum (Complete Collection)
The Dear Hunter Green
The Dear Hunter Yellow
The Decemberists Picaresque
The Decemberists The Hazards Of Love
The Exploding Hearts Guitar Romantic
The Fiery Furnaces EP
The Fiery Furnaces I'm Going Away
The Fireman Electric Arguments
The Gaslight Anthem The '59 Sound
The Go! Team Rolling Blackouts
The Good, The Bad & The Queen The Good, The Bad & The Queen
The Helio Sequence Keep Your Eyes Ahead
The Hold Steady Separation Sunday
The Horrors Skying
Ditching the monochromatic cover of Primary Colours for the hazy water landscape on the front of Skying was
the best thing the Horrors ever did. I was never a huge fan of their Bauhaus image and My-Bloody-Valentine-
meets-Ian-Curtis shtick, but Skying takes all that and adds in a healthy dose of watercolors. The guitar tone
on this album is something Kevin Shields would be proud of, but it's their focus on thick, drug-friendly
grooves and a heavy dose of trippy atmospherics that make this a new shoegaze classic.
The Jezabels Prisoner
The Killers Hot Fuss
The Kills Blood Pressures
The Lemonheads The Lemonheads
The Lemonheads Varshons
The Mountain Goats Heretic Pride
Singer-songwriter John Darnielle’s folk-rock project Mountain Goats has been a mainstay of the lo-fi scene since 1991, but it wasn’t until their last release, Get Lonely, that he started receiving mainstream attention. Unlike that record’s nihilistic, depressing attitude, however, Heretic Pride is a welcome breath of exquisitely produced, introspective indie rock. First, however, one must overcome Darnielle’s unique voice: an odd cross between Neutral Milk Hotel and Chris Carrabba, a rather terrifying combination. On songs like “Autoclave” it is tuneful and melodic, complementing the acoustic instrumentation well, but on ones like the title track, it can take an off-putting turn towards high-pitched and whiny. The production, however, is what truly elevates the album. From the graceful strings of “San Bernardino” to the vibrant percussion on “In The Craters On The Moon,” each track sounds fleshed-out and musically rich. The New Yorker once called Darnielle “America’s best non-hip-hop lyricists.” Now coupled with an amazing production team and far less morbid subjects, Mountain Goats seem ready for even greater success.
The Mountain Goats The Life of the World to Come
The Mountain Goats Transcendental Youth
Yawn.....what's this....another excellent Mountain Goats album you say? It'd be a surprise, at this point, for the Darnielle MG-5000 to take a detour into crunkcore and not come out with a superb record.
The National Boxer
The National High Violet
The New Pornographers Mass Romantic
The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely
The Raveonettes Lust Lust Lust
Coming off the heels of their sole major-label record, Pretty In Black, many thought that the Danish couple of Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner would continue the commercial, 50s-pop-fixation of that record. However, with their switch back to an indie label, Lust Lust Lust arrives as a ringing endorsement of their older, fuzz-guitar noise rock. Opener “Aly, Walk With Me” starts off with a slick drumbeat and a guitar that threatens to overcome the track with reverb. Foo’s and Wagner’s androgynous vocals are a highlight of the whole record, floating along smoothly in sharp contrast to the bursts of raw noise that the Raveonettes specialize in. Those same effects, however, are often a detriment to the band’s sound, as is apparent in the annoying static effect in “Sad Transmission” and “Expelled from Love,” sometimes sounding like you’re listening to the band play on a distant AM station located somewhere underground. Overall, Lust Lust Lust is a strong continuation of the band’s pop/noise blend that can at once be sweetly enchanting and nostalgic while still sounding unmistakably fresh.
The Roots Rising Down
The Roots retain the throne of alternative hip-hop with their eighth studio album, a record that continues this collective?s remarkable run of intelligent and socially conscious rap. ?uestlove?s beats and production as polished and stimulating as ever, but Rising Down modifies their traditional jazzy sound with murkier synths and more digital techniques that embrace a fairly dark mood. It?s appropriate for the often-political and critical lyrics of MC Black Thought, and the album as a whole comes off as a logical evolution in the sound of a band that is constantly growing.
The Shins Wincing the Night Away
The Sleepy Jackson Personality - One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird
The Stills Logic Will Break Your Heart
The Tallest Man on Earth There's No Leaving Now
Tilly and the Wall Wild Like Children
Tokyo Police Club A Lesson in Crime
Tokyo Police Club Champ
Tomba Disturbed
Trespassers William Different Stars
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
I always try really hard to ignore blogosphere hype that seems way too blown out of proportion, and after hearing the somewhat underwhelming opener “Mansard Roof” I thought I could safely file Vampire Weekend under “over-hyped Internet sensations.” But this is a record that grows on you, and while initially I found it amateur-ish, I can safely say that this is one of the great debuts of the year. Ivy League pedigree be damned; Vampire Weekend is a record that can be enjoyed by anyone with an appreciation for simple, catchy chamber-pop tunes.
Weezer Pinkerton
Weezer Weezer
Weezer Weezer (Deluxe Edition)
White Denim D
Widowspeak Almanac
Wilco Being There
Wild Nothing Nocturne
Wolf Parade Expo 86
Not as spastically enjoyable as Apologies, nor the experimental fapping of Zoomer, but it's own, unique beast, one that gets by on the markedly improved strength of Krug and Boeckner's songwriting rather than any tricks. Easily their most consistent album so far.
Wolfgang Gartner Firepower / Latin Fever
Wolfgang Gartner Wolfgang's 5th Symphony
Woods Bend Beyond
Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz!

3.9 excellent
Disclosure Settle
Eels The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Incan Abraham Ancient Vacation
Jenny Lewis The Voyager
Ladyhawke Anxiety
Pusha T My Name Is My Name
Take out most of the features here (save for Kendrick, Rick Ross (?!)), and you'd have one of the best rap records of the year. As is, it's about as stellar as one could have hoped for after all the delays that have plagued Pusha seemingly all his life.
Rosie June Listening Post
Shpongle Museum of Consciousness
Sorrow (UK) Dreamstone
Tegan and Sara Heartthrob
The Flaming Lips The Terror
A brief glimpse of eternity's waltz
The New Pornographers Brill Bruisers
White Denim Corsicana Lemonade

3.8 excellent
Anamanaguchi Endless Fantasy
BADBADNOTGOOD III
First Aid Kit Stay Gold
Hamilton Leithauser Black Hours
Mikal Cronin MCII
My Bloody Valentine m b v
Of Montreal Lousy With Sylvianbriar
Radical Face The Bastards: Volume One
Saintseneca Dark Arc
Smith Westerns Soft Will
Spoon Transference
Tennis Small Sound
The Veils Time Stays, We Go
Yellow Ostrich Strange Land

3.7 great
Bill Callahan Dream River
CHVRCHES The Bones of What You Believe
Guards In Guards We Trust
Lykke Li I Never Learn
Sean Nelson Make Good Choices
Shugo Tokumaru In Focus?
Surfer Blood Pythons
The Besnard Lakes Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO
The National Trouble Will Find Me
The New Pornographers Challengers
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Days of Abandon

3.6 great
Golden Grrrls Golden Grrrls
Spiritualized Sweet Heart Sweet Light
Tokyo Police Club Forcefield

3.5 great
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead So Divided
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Festival Thyme
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead The Secret of Elena's Tomb
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Tao of the Dead
22-20s 22-20s
311 Greatest Hits
A Fine Frenzy Bomb In A Birdcage
A.C. Newman Shut Down the Streets
Albert Hammond Jr Yours To Keep
Allison Weiss Say What You Mean
Andrew Bird Noble Beast
Andrew Jackson Jihad Knife Man
Animal Collective Feels
Annie Anniemal
Annuals Be He Me
Arcade Fire The Suburbs
Atlas Sound Parallax
Avi Buffalo Avi Buffalo
B.o.B The Adventures Of Bobby Ray
BADBADNOTGOOD BBNG2
Badly Drawn Boy About A Boy
Balthazar Applause
Band of Horses Infinite Arms
Basement Jaxx Scars
Basia Bulat Heart of My Own
Beach Fossils Beach Fossils
Beach Fossils Clash the Truth
Beastie Boys Ill Communication
Beastie Boys Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Beck Odelay!
Beck Guero
Beck Modern Guilt
Belle and Sebastian Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Belle and Sebastian The Life Pursuit
Ben Folds Five The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner
Ben Kweller Changing Horses
Benjamin Gibbard Former Lives
Bibio Ambivalence Avenue
Big Boi Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
Blur Modern Life Is Rubbish
Boards of Canada Geogaddi
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow
Borgore Borgore Ruined Dubstep (Part 1)
Brendan Benson Lapalco
Bright Eyes Fevers & Mirrors
British Sea Power Open Season
British Sea Power Valhalla Dancehall
Britney Spears The Singles Collection
Britney Spears Femme Fatale
Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record
What exactly are Broken Social Scene apologizing for with their new record? As the patriarchs of a mammoth scene, Broken Social Scene don’t really have anything more to prove. It’s fitting then, that Forgiveness Rock Record turns inward, focusing on beefing up the production and creating intricate compositions to get lost in. While it might be a tad grandiose (not to mention way too long), it’s exactly what one should expect from a band so wonderfully outsized as this one.
Broods Evergreen
BT These Hopeful Machines
Burial Untrue
Camera Obscura Let's Get Out of This Country
Cee Lo Green The Lady Killer
Chad VanGaalen Diaper Island
Chairlift Something
Clinic Free Reign
Cloud Nothings Attack on Memory
Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere Else
Coconut Records Davy
Cold War Kids Robbers and Cowards
Cold War Kids Mine is Yours
Coldplay A Rush of Blood to the Head
Courtney Barnett The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas
Crocodiles Endless Flowers
Cursive I Am Gemini
Cut Off Your Hands You and I
Cymbals Eat Guitars Why There Are Mountains
Cymbals Eat Guitars Lenses Alien
Daft Punk Human After All
Dan Mangan Oh Fortune
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse Dark Night of the Soul
Daniel Bjarnason Processions
Datsik Hydraulic/Overdose
Deadmau5 Random Album Title
Deadmau5 For Lack of a Better Name
Deerhunter Microcastle
Delicate Steve Wondervisions
Delta Spirit Ode To Sunshine
Demi Lovato Here We Go Again
Destroyer Destroyer's Rubies
Do Make Say Think Other Truths
Doves Some Cities
Dum Dum Girls Too True
Earlimart Hymn and Her
Earlimart System Preferences
Eels Hombre Lobo
Eels Tomorrow Morning
Eight and a Half Eight and a Half
Eleanor Friedberger Last Summer
Electric President The Violent Blue
EMA Past Life Martyred Saints
Everclear Slow Motion Daydream
Fang Island Fang Island
Feed Me Jack Anatolia
Feist Let It Die
Field Music Field Music (Measure)
Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
Flying Lotus Cosmogramma
Foo Fighters Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters The Colour and the Shape
Foo Fighters Wasting Light
Frank Ocean Nostalgia, Ultra
I find it interesting, and a little bit telling regarding Odd Future as a whole, that the best songs on Nostalgia, Ultra are largely based off other people's songs ("Strawberry Swing," "American Wedding," "Nature Feels"). For all their hype, there is really very little in the Odd Future crew that hasn't been done before. It's even more fascinating, then, that the most "unoriginal" (given the overabundance of midtempo R&B crooners in the Drake age) member of their crew has made the best album of all of them. Nostalgia, Ultra mixes modern and retro seamlessly, from its occasionally misogynistic lyrics to its cassette-break interludes named after '90s video games. But there's feeling here, and talent; for all the Auto-Tune, it's obvious Ocean can sing. It's the only kind of record in the Odd Future collective that can bounce from Radiohead to The-Dream as easily as it does and still sound so fresh, so real. With Odd Future, one can often get the sense that a lot of what they do is a bit fraudulent, a self-built image (who isn't guilty of this in hip-hop?). With Ocean, it never sounds contrived. And, hey, "Strawberry Swing" nearly shits all over anything Coldplay has done.
Franz Ferdinand Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
Fruit Bats The Ruminant Band
fun. Aim and Ignite
Future Islands In Evening Air
G-Side The One...Cohesive
Geographer Animal Shapes
Geographer Innocent Ghosts
Geographer Myth
Girl Talk Feed the Animals
Girls Album
Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
The capacity of human intelligence seems to limit the capabilities to expand upon any possible creative
aptitudes. Indeed, if one cannot even notice the facets that the ingenuities around him are comprised of, how
can he be expected to fashion a beast of his own? This inveterate sense of constraint is a great blow to the
veracity of mankind's abilities. It restrains us and holds our minds to the ground below, averting any
possibility of rising above ourselves to something greater; something not fathomed by the conventional mind.
This concept of seeking to go beyond one's self, known as "transcendence," is essentially a gateway to
unlocking pieces of ourselves that can lead to some of the most elaborate and significant creations of our
world. For many, this quest to transcend and form creations that were once considered unthinkable and
overwhelming consumes life. Certainly it is rare to find such people, but when they are found, creative
barriers are destroyed.
Goldfrapp Seventh Tree
It takes about six and a half minutes before a casual listener might realize their listening to an electronica outfit, as a drum machine explodes onto the scene halfway through ?Little Bird.? Whereas previous albums focused on Gregory?s innovative beats and textures, Seventh Tree?s focus is on Goldfrapp?s lovely, breathy voice. While the down tempo ballads that start off the album might initially turn off fans, later songs such as ?Happiness? feature beautiful, multi-tracked vocals and a bouncy pop beat and build a pleasant vibe that continues, with just a few bumps in the road (see snoozer ?Eat Yourself?), for the rest of the record.
Gorillaz Gorillaz
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci Barafundle
Guster Ganging Up on the Sun
Guster Easy Wonderful
Headlights Some Racing, Some Stopping
Heartless Bastards All This Time
Heartless Bastards The Mountain
Heavenly Beat Talent
Holy Esque Holy Esque
Hospitality Hospitality
Hot Chip In Our Heads
Idlewild Post Electric Blues
Infected Mushroom Legend Of The Black Shawarma
Interpol Antics
iNTRiKeT The Woods
Islands Return To The Sea
Islands Vapours
Jack Beats U.F.O.
Jack Beats Revolution/Out Of Body
Jack Beats Careless
Janelle Monae The ArchAndroid
Janelle Monae The Electric Lady
Japandroids No Singles
Jay-Z The Black Album
Jay-Z American Gangster
Jens Lekman I Know What Love Isn't
Jimmy Eat World Futures
Joanna Newsom Have One on Me
Jon Hopkins Immunity
Julia Holter Loud City Song
Justice A Cross the Universe
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience
Almost worth the mounds of hyperbolic acclaim it receives
Kelis Food
KiD CuDi Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
Kurt Vile Smoke Ring For My Halo
L'Orange The Orchid Days
Lana Del Rey Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence
Laura Marling I Speak Because I Can
Laura Stevenson Sit Resist
I wish every great female-fronted indie pop album was hailed as the best of the year, the world would be a much happier place.
LCD Soundsystem LCD Soundsystem
Liars Sisterworld
Liars WIXIW
Los Campesinos! Romance Is Boring
Los Campesinos! Hello Sadness
Lost In The Trees All Alone In An Empty House
Love Axe Phenomenomenons
Love Is All A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night
Ludacris Theater of the Mind
Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes
M. Ward A Wasteland Companion
Mac DeMarco Salad Days
Madonna Confessions on a Dancefloor
Major Lazer Free The Universe
Male Bonding Endless Now
Man Man On Oni Pond
Maps & Atlases Perch Patchwork
Maps & Atlases Beware and Be Grateful
Mark Ronson Version
Mates of State Re-Arrange Us
Metric Fantasies
MGMT Oracular Spectacular
Midlake The Courage Of Others
Miike Snow Happy to You
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson Summer Of Fear
Motion City Soundtrack Go
Muse Absolution
My Bloody Valentine Loveless
My Morning Jacket Z
N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo
Nada Surf The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy
Nas Untitled
Nujabes Spiritual State
Nurses Dracula
Oasis Don't Believe the Truth
Of Montreal Coquelicot Asleep In The Poppies
Of Montreal False Priest
Of Montreal Paralytic Stalks
Of Montreal The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy
OK Go Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
Okkervil River I Am Very Far
Parades Foreign Tapes
Passion Pit Manners
Paul Dempsey Everything Is True
Paul Oakenfold Ibiza
Paul Van Dyk Out There and Back
Pendulum Immersion
Perfume Genius Put Your Back N 2 It
Phantogram Voices
Phoenix It's Never Been Like That
Portugal. The Man In The Mountain In The Cloud
Pulp His 'n' Hers
Pulp This is Hardcore
Radical Face Ghost
Radiohead The Bends
Radiohead The King of Limbs
Ratatat LP3
Razorlight Up All Night
Real Estate Atlas
Regina Spektor Soviet Kitsch
Reso Valken
Rilo Kiley The Execution of All Things
Rogue Wave Descended Like Vultures
Royksopp Melody A.M.
Run the Jewels Run the Jewels
Ryan Adams Rock 'n' Roll
Ryan Adams Demolition
Ryan Adams Ryan Adams
Sambassadeur European
Savages Silence Yourself
School of Seven Bells Alpinisms
SebastiAn Total
Secret Machines Now Here is Nowhere
Sharon Van Etten Tramp
She and Him Volume Two
Shearwater Animal Joy
Shout Out Louds Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
Shpongle Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland
Shugo Tokumaru Port Entropy
Sigur Ros Agaetis byrjun
Sigur Ros Valtari
Simian Mobile Disco Attack Decay Sustain Release
Simian Mobile Disco Unpatterns
SKATERS Manhattan
Skrillex Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
From First to Last to simply first, Sonny Moore’s debut as an electro fiend with a penchant for wicked bass drops and unintelligible Auto-Tune somehow worked, in its own messy way. Skrillex will never win any critical awards, but as the rawest form of party starter, few could match up to the relentless stream of house, electro and dubstep that Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites spits out. Pills not included.
Sleeper Agent Celabrasion
Snoop Dogg Ego Trippin'
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Broom
St. Vincent Strange Mercy
stellastarr* stellastarr*
Submotion Orchestra Finest Hour
Submotion Orchestra Fragments
Sufjan Stevens Run Rabbit Run
Sun Kil Moon April
Superchunk Majesty Shredding
Surfer Blood Astro Coast
T.I. King
Taken By Trees Other Worlds
Tegan and Sara So Jealous
Tegan and Sara Sainthood
Telekinesis 12 Desperate Straight Lines
Temples Sun Structures
Tennis Young And Old
that dog. Totally Crushed Out!
The Apples in Stereo Her Wallpaper Reverie
The Apples in Stereo New Magnetic Wonder
The Auteurs New Wave
The Auteurs Now I'm A Cowboy
The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles Let It Be
The Beatles The Beatles
The Beatles Anthology 1
The Beatles Beatles for Sale
The Beatles Anthology 2
The Big Pink A Brief History of Love
The Black Crowes Before the Frost...Until the Freeze
The Black Keys El Camino
The Boy Least Likely To Best Party Ever
The Darkness Permission to Land
The Dear Hunter Orange
The Dears Gang of Losers
The Decemberists Castaways and Cutouts
The Decemberists The Tain
The Decemberists The King Is Dead
The Drums Portamento
The Duke Spirit Neptune
The Faint Wet From Birth
The Fiery Furnaces Widow City
The Flaming Lips The Soft Bulletin
The Flaming Lips At War With The Mystics
The Format Dog Problems
The Gaslight Anthem Handwritten
The Glands Double Thriller
The Hives Black And White Album
The Hold Steady Stay Positive
Hold Steady vocalist Craig Finn says the band’s fourth is about “aging gracefully,” but the righteous racket and vibrant storytelling these bar band rockers serve up seem as suggest that growing up is overrated. Slicker and better produced than their previous albums, it nevertheless retains the Springsteenian classic rock feel of their earlier work and Finn’s lyrics are as sharp and relatable as ever.
The Joy Formidable The Big Roar
The Killers Day & Age
The Libertines The Libertines
The Long Blondes Couples
The Long Blondes have an ace up their sleeve: firebrand lead singer Kate Jackson’s vibrant personality, powerful voice, and satirical lyrics, all of which dominate Couples. Lead single “Century” is about as New Wave as you can get in 2008, with Jackson sounding like Debbie Harry reborn and the music all Depeche Mode synths and bubbly bass lines. “Guilt” and “The Couples” continues the album’s theme of tragic relationships, but unlike the weepy Cure-mimicking love songs common in the New Wave-revival scene, Jackson is merciless and acidic towards her ex’s, defiantly proclaiming “guilt has nothing to do with it” to a dumped boyfriend.
Couples unfortunately slows down around the midway point, however, with songs like “Round the Hairpin” and “Too Clever By Half” meandering off into showy drum work and the kind of slow balladry that only stunts the album’s momentum. Half of an album of excellent songs and Jackson’s distinctive vocals, however, are more than most bands can offer today.
The Lumineers The Lumineers
The Minus 5 The Minus 5
The Mountain Goats All Eternals Deck
The New Pornographers Together
The Postmarks The Postmarks
The Rapture Pieces Of The People We Love
The Rapture In the Grace of Your Love
The Raveonettes Chain Gang of Love
The Raveonettes In and Out of Control
The Roots Game Theory
The Roots How I Got Over
Decidedly funky, well-written, produced, etc. etc. - decidedly Rootsian, in other words. It's just what I've come to expect from the Roots, and in that respect How I Got Over is almost a bit of a disappointment, the Roots playing it safe and meeting every single one of my expectations but never overwhelming them. Then again, there's nothing wrong with being one of hip-hop's most consistent bands.
The Roots undun
The Shins Chutes Too Narrow
The Shins Oh, Inverted World
The Strokes First Impressions of Earth
The Tallest Man on Earth Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird
The Thrills So Much For The City
The Veils Sun Gangs
The Walkmen Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone
The Welcome Wagon Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices
The Wrens Secaucus
The xx xx
Thrice The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II
Thrice Beggars
Thrice Major/Minor
Tiesto In Search of Sunrise 5: Los Angeles
Tiesto Just Be
Tilly and the Wall O
Titus Andronicus The Monitor
Two Door Cinema Club Tourist History
Two Door Cinema Club Beacon
Two Gallants What the Toll Tells
Vacationer Gone
Wait What the notorious xx
Wale Attention Deficit
Warpaint Warpaint
We Are Scientists Brain Thrust Mastery
Weezer Maladroit
Whiskeytown Pneumonia
Widowspeak The Swamps
Wilco Wilco (The Album)
Wugazi 13 Chambers
Wye Oak Civilian
Yo La Tengo Popular Songs
Youth Lagoon The Year of Hibernation
Great music to fall asleep to. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Yuck Yuck

3.4 great
Carly Rae Jepsen Kiss
Cold War Kids Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
EMA The Future's Void
Empire Of The Sun Ice On the Dune
Haim Days Are Gone
How to Dress Well What Is This Heart?
James Blake Overgrown
MaryLeigh Roohan Skin and Bone
Smith Westerns Dye It Blonde
St. Vincent St. Vincent
The Rosebuds Loud Planes Fly Low
Weezer Everything Will Be Alright in the End

3.3 great
Beyonce Beyonce
Boards of Canada Music Has the Right to Children
Boards of Canada Tomorrow's Harvest
Laura Marling Once I Was an Eagle
Great can't wait for a John Hanson staff review practically sweating with anticipation thanks for letting us know John!
Pure Bathing Culture Moon Tides
Shout Out Louds Optica
The Clientele Bonfires on the Heath
The Horrors Luminous
The Raveonettes Pe'ahi
The guitar solo on "Sisters" is enough to love this record more than anything they've done since 2010.
The Strokes Room on Fire
Youth Lagoon Wondrous Bughouse

3.2 good
Pretty Lights A Color Map of The Sun
Rogue Wave Nightingale Floors
The Thermals Desperate Ground

3.0 good
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Worlds Apart
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead Madonna
50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin'
A Sunny Day in Glasgow Ashes Grammar
A Sunny Day in Glasgow Sea When Absent
Alabama Shakes Boys & Girls
Albert Hammond Jr ¿Cómo Te Llama?
Alcest Shelter
Pretty bird, yeah, can you say pretty bird???
Alex G Trick
Alex G DSU
Alt-J An Awesome Wave
Amy Millan Masters of the Burial
Anamanaguchi Dawn Metropolis
Andrew Bird Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of...
Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Animal Collective Sung Tongs
Animal Collective Strawberry Jam
Animal Collective Fall Be Kind
Animal Collective Centipede Hz
I'm not saying you need to be on drugs to give this a 4 or above but you totally need to be on drugs to give this a 4 or above.
Arcade Fire Neon Bible
Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What...
Arctic Monkeys Suck It and See
Atlas Sound Logos
Au Revoir Simone Still Night, Still Light
Augustana Can't Love, Can't Hurt
Balthazar Rats
Band of Horses Everything All the Time
Band of Horses Cease to Begin
Bat For Lashes The Haunted Man
Beach House Teen Dream
Beach House Bloom
Beach Slang Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street
Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill
Beck Mellow Gold
Beck Morning Phase
Belle and Sebastian Write About Love
Ben Kweller On My Way
Ben Kweller Go Fly A Kite
Bibio Green
Big K.R.I.T. Live From The Underground
Big K.R.I.T. King Remembered In Time
Bleachers Strange Desire
Blind Pilot We Are The Tide
Blink-182 Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
Blink-182 Enema of the State
Blonde Redhead Penny Sparkle
Blonde Redhead Barragan
Blue Hawaii Untogether
Blur The Best Of
Blur The Great Escape
Blur 13
Boards of Canada In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country
Boards of Canada Boc Maxima
Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Boys Noize Power
Braids Native Speaker
Brand New Deja Entendu
Breakbot By Your Side
Brendan Benson One Mississippi/The Wellfed Boy EP
British Sea Power Machineries of Joy
Britney Spears Greatest Hits: My Prerogative
Britney Spears Circus
Broken Bells Broken Bells
Burial Street Halo
Burial Truant/Rough Sleeper
Carrie Underwood Some Hearts
Cate Le Bon CYRK
Chromeo White Women
Clipse Til the Casket Drops
Cloud Nothings Cloud Nothings
Coconut Records Nighttiming
Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty
Coldplay Parachutes
Coldplay LeftRightLeftRightLeft
Coldplay Mylo Xyloto
Crocodiles Summer Of Hate
Crocodiles Sleep Forever
Crocodiles Crimes of Passion
Crystal Castles Crystal Castles
Cults Static
Cut Copy Bright Like Neon Love
Cut Copy Zonoscope
Daft Punk Human After All: Remixes
Daft Punk Random Access Memories
Damon Albarn Everyday Robots
Datarock Red
David Guetta One Love
Deadmau5 At Play 3
Deadmau5 4x4=12
Deadmau5 >album title goes here<
Death Cab for Cutie Codes and Keys
Death From Above 1979 The Physical World
Deerhunter Weird Era Cont.
Deerhunter Monomania
DIIV Oshin
Dirty Projectors Swing Lo Magellan
DJ Quik & Kurupt BlaQKout
Dr. Dog Shame, Shame
Earlimart Treble & Tremble
Aaron Espinoza does a good job of imitating Elliott Smith, not such a good job of being Aaron Espinoza. A haunting tribute to the late singer-songwriter, but not one that stands up to any of its late hero's work.
Eels Shootenanny!
Eels End Times
El-P Cancer 4 Cure
Eminem The Eminem Show
Eminem Recovery
Everest On Approach
Excision X Rated
Explosions in the Sky The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
Explosions in the Sky Those Who Tell the Truth...
Fall Out Boy Folie a Deux
Field Music Plumb
Flying Lotus Until the Quiet Comes
Foals Total Life Forever
Foo Fighters There Is Nothing Left to Lose
Foo Fighters One by One
Foster the People Torches
Fountains of Wayne Utopia Parkway
Foxygen Take The Kids Off Broadway
Frank Ocean Channel Orange
Frank Turner Love, Ire & Song
Franz Ferdinand Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Fruit Bats Tripper
Future Islands On the Water
Future Islands Singles
Ghost Mice All We Got Is Each Other
Gold Panda Half of Where You Live
Goldfinger Hello Destiny
Goldfrapp Head First
Goldfrapp Tales Of Us
Gomez Whatever's On Your Mind
GOOD Music Cruel Summer
Gorillaz Plastic Beach
Predictably crazy and jagged around the edges, with just the kind of brilliant instrumentation and guest stars you'd expect Albarn to cook up. But for all its craftsmanship it's still a muddled, jumbled mess of an album, one more in love with the idea itself than in the songs, which too often meander about with no real meaning, aim, or (most importantly) hooks. Bring Blur back please.
Grizzly Bear Shields
Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy
Headlights Wildlife
Heartless Bastards Stairs and Elevators
Hot Hot Heat Elevator
How to Dress Well Love Remains
Human Highway Moody Motorcycle
Infected Mushroom Vicious Delicious
Interpol Turn on the Bright Lights
Irving Good Morning Beautiful
Islands Ski Mask
Jack White Lazaretto
Hey Dan Auerbach how you like deez nutz bro
James Blake James Blake
Janet Jackson Discipline
While Janet’s last two albums had many thinking she had lost her pop touch, Discipline throws her back into the club with a number of righteous jams and a few duds.
First single “Feedback” opens with its namesake before dropping back to a steel-drum rhythm and Janet’s seductive, Michael-esque voice telling the listener that “tonight my body’s an exhibition baby / don’t be scared to touch it / so come and get it babe.” Hey, no one ever said Jackson was a lyrical genius, but the production on the song by D’Mile and Darkchild is irresistibly danceable.
Not all of the songs on the album are as club-ready, such as the boring “Rock With U” and the embarrassing ballad “Can’t B Good.” Jackson’s inexplicable decision to include a number of interludes where she talks to a robot or says unintentionally comedic nuggets like “four words: love, faith, hope, destiny” stunt the album’s momentum.
Japandroids Celebration Rock
I could have sworn this came out in 2009 and was called Post-Nothing then.
Jay-Z and Kanye West Watch the Throne
Jenny and Johnny I'm Having Fun Now
Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue
Jenny Owen Youngs Transmitter Failure
Jimmy Eat World Clarity
Jimmy Eat World Invented
Kaiser Chiefs Off With Their Heads
Kanye West Late Registration
Kasabian Empire
Kelly Clarkson All I Ever Wanted
Killer Mike R.A.P. Music
Kimbra The Golden Echo
Knife Party Rage Valley
Lady Gaga The Fame Monster
Liars Liars
Lily Allen Alright, Still
Linkin Park Hybrid Theory
Linkin Park Reanimation
Locksley Don't Make Me Wait
Los Campesinos! Hold On Now, Youngster...
Love Is All Two Thousand and Ten Injuries
Low The Invisible Way
Lupe Fiasco Food & Liquor
Lupe Fiasco The Cool
M. Ward Post-War
Major Lazer Guns Dont Kill People... Lazers Do
Manic Street Preachers Futurology
Mariah Carey The Emancipation of Mimi
Marina and The Diamonds The Family Jewels
Mates of State Mountaintops
Matt and Kim Sidewalks
Menomena Mines
Metric Synthetica
MGMT MGMT
Midlake Antiphon
Mika The Boy Who Knew Too Much
Moby Last Night
Strict vegetarian and eternally bald hipster Moby returns to his platinum-selling roots on Last Night, turning toward a more electronica/dance style that characterized his hit club record Play way back in 1999. Beginning with the catchy “Oh Yeah” and continuing nearly unabated to the album’s closer, the epic “Last Night,” the record chronicles an all-night romp through New York’s clubs, anchored by Moby’s diverse, eclectic range of beats.
Strong points include the 80s-tastic “Disco Lies” and the Nintendo-mimicking sounds of “257.zero,” but the record bogs down a little with the slow jam “Degenerates,” and the second half of the record overall takes the energy level down a notch. Last Night’s potential for dusk to dawn bootyshaking, however, remains much higher than most of Moby’s contemporaries.
Mono Hymn to the Immortal Wind
Morrissey Years of Refusal
Muse Black Holes and Revelations
N.E.R.D. Seeing Sounds
Nada Surf The Proximity Effect
Nada Surf Let Go
Nada Surf If I Had A Hi-Fi
Noah and the Whale Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down
Oasis Dig Out Your Soul
Of Montreal Cherry Peel
Of Montreal Aldhils Arboretum
Orphans of Cush White Noize
Ought More Than Any Other Day
Palma Violets 180
Pantha Du Prince Black Noise
Passion Pit Chunk of Change
Paul Oakenfold Bunkka
Paul Oakenfold A Lively Mind
Paul Van Dyk The Politics of Dancing, Vol. 2
Pinback Information Retrieved
No one will ever accuse a Pinback record of sounding terrible; Rob Crow and Armistead Burwell Smith are
masters of lighting a slow burning fuse of groovy electric guitars and hypnotic rhythms that set in ever so
slightly. And it's predictably gorgeous. Where Information Retrieved fails is that it's content to be pretty and
nothing more. For a band that has always been adept at shading in the blank spaces during their career,
Information Retrieved is a shockingly humdrum drive, with many wonderful parts but nothing that really grabs
you. Pinback are still beautiful, but they're getting to the point where that's all they are.
PJ Harvey Let England Shake
Pop Winds Earth To Friend
Portugal. The Man Evil Friends
These are songs to blast at the beach, to sing along with the windows down, to enjoy as four-minute bits of
rock escapism. Hopefully it will garner Portugal. The Man the attention they deserve and draw more people to
a live show that is one of the best in the scene. Perhaps then the band will finally feel comfortable exploring a
sound that hasn't already been rehashed to perfection and back again with a numbing sort of precision.
Pure X Angel
Radiohead Pablo Honey
Radiohead In Rainbows
Raekwon Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang
Ratatat LP4
Regina Spektor Begin To Hope
Regina Spektor What We Saw from the Cheap Seats
Rick Ross Trilla
Rilo Kiley Under the Blacklight
Rogue Wave Asleep at Heaven's Gate
Royksopp Junior
Ryan Adams Jacksonville City Nights
Ryan Adams Easy Tiger
Ryan Adams Follow The Lights
Ryan Adams III/IV
Ryan Adams Ashes And Fire
Shearwater The Golden Archipelago
Shout Out Louds Work
Sigur Ros Kveikur
Skrillex My Name Is Skrillex
Sleigh Bells Treats
Smoosh Free To Stay
So Many Dynamos The Loud Wars
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Pershing
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Tape Club
Sondre Lerche Heartbeat Radio
Spoon Series of Sneaks
St. Vincent Actor
Stars In Our Bedroom After The War
Stars The Five Ghosts
Stars The North
Exceedingly pretty but it seems each Stars album has less songs that latch onto you than the one before. Here, there's "Progress," "Do You Want To Die Together," and a whole mess of frosty ballads between Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell that sound pristine yet strangely airy and insubstantial.
stellastarr* Civilized
Stereophonics Just Enough Education To Perform
Stereophonics Live From Dakota
Stereophonics Keep Calm and Carry On
Sun Kil Moon Admiral Fell Promises
Sunset Rubdown Dragonslayer
Super Mash Bros Fuck Bitches. Get Euros.
Taylor Swift Red
Ted Leo And The Pharmacists The Brutalist Bricks
Teenage Cool Kids Foreign Lands
Tennis Cape Dory
Tera Melos X'ed Out
The Antlers Hospice
The Bad Plus These Are the Vistas
The Beatles Please Please Me
The Beatles With the Beatles
The Beatles Anthology 3
The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night
The Bird And The Bee The Bird and the Bee
The Black Keys Attack & Release
The Bloody Beetroots Romborama
The Brunettes Structure and Cosmetics
The Brunettes Paper Dolls
The Clientele Minotaur
The Concretes WYWH
The Dear Hunter Red
The Decemberists The Crane Wife
The Decemberists Long Live the King
The Dodos Time to Die
The best way I can describe my feelings towards this album is that, while I thoroughly enjoyed it after a couple of listens and thought it was quite an acceptable folk-rock record with the kind of oddball touches the Dodos specialize in, it pales in comparison to Visiter. It's amazing how much more my ears perk up when "A Time to Die" fades out and my iTunes proceeds to the opening song of Visiter, "Walking." Time To Die is a good album, and would have made fairly great debut, but coming after what was surely one of the debuts of the year in the Visiter, it's a bit of a letdown.
The Drums The Drums
The Elected Sun, Sun, Sun
The Elected Bury Me In My Rings
The Faint Danse Macabre
The Fiery Furnaces Bitter Tea
The Format Interventions and Lullabies
The Futureheads The Chaos
The Helio Sequence Negotiations
The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams
The Horrors Primary Colours
The Kills Midnight Boom
The Men Open Your Heart
The Men Tomorrow's Hits
Only a drastic change if you haven't listened to the Men since 2011, Tomorrow's Hits nevertheless feels like the first time the band's album-a-year approach is catching up with them. It's almost lazy in its perfunctory drunken bar-rock, and while that sloppiness is almost surely intentional, it makes for an insubstantial album. It sounds like the Men boozily covering the Men. That's certainly an enjoyable experience, but any forward progress has stalled.
The Menzingers Chamberlain Waits
The Microphones The Glow Pt. 2
The Morning Benders Big Echo
The National Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers
The Notwist Close to the Glass
The Olivia Tremor Control Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume 1
The Postmarks Memoirs At The End Of The World
The Presets Pacifica
The Rapture Echoes
The Raveonettes Observator
The Shins Port of Morrow
The Sleepy Jackson Lovers
The Stills Oceans Will Rise
The Thrills Teenager
The Walkmen Bows + Arrows
The Walkmen A Hundred Miles Off
The Weeknd House of Balloons
The Weeknd Thursday
The White Stripes Elephant
The White Stripes Get Behind Me Satan
The White Stripes De Stijl
The xx Coexist
The Zutons Tired of Hangin' Around
Thee Silver Mount Zion Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
Tim Hecker Ravedeath, 1972
Titus Andronicus Local Business
Todd Terje It's Album Time
Tokyo Police Club Elephant Shell
Trevor Giuliani Subcontrario
TV on the Radio Nine Types of Light
Vampire Weekend Contra
Vessels Helioscope
Warpaint The Fool
We Are Scientists With Love and Squalor
We Are Scientists Barbara
Weezer The Green Album
White Rabbits Milk Famous
Wilco Sky Blue Sky
Wild Beasts Smother
Wolfgang Gartner Weekend In America
Woods At Echo Lake
Working For a Nuclear Free City Jojo Burger Tempest
WU LYF Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Wu-Tang Clan Wu-Tang Forever
Wu-Tang Clan The W
Young Jeezy The Recession
Listeners don’t come to a Snowman album looking for lyrical nuance or subtle metaphors, but they definitely do come for the Dirty South production, the gangsta vibe, and Jeezy’s imitable wheezy drawl, and The Recession has all of this in spades.
What saves The Recession from being just another lame Dirty South record is the production by a series of semi-famous producers like J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Drumma Boy, who create an appropriately dark, urban atmosphere replete with snare hits and rumbling bass to accompany Jeezy’s rants. While The Recession is never going to win any awards, it is a fitting late summer jam for those who like their hip-hop with more brawn than brains.
Young the Giant Young the Giant
Yuck Glow and Behold
Zammuto Zammuto

2.9 good
ASAP Rocky Live.Love.A$AP.
Camera Obscura Desire Lines
U2 Songs of Innocence

2.8 good
Au Revoir Simone Move in Spectrums
Danny Brown Old
Sleigh Bells Bitter Rivals
Poppier than their debut but without the dreamy haze that permeated Reign of Terror, Bitter Rivals attempts to split the difference and ends up gaining nothing. Chose a half measure, when they should've gone all the way.
The Strokes Comedown Machine
tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack

2.7 average
Arcade Fire Reflektor
Would have made for a swell EP.

2.5 average
!!! Strange Weather, Isn't It?
Akron/Family S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT
Alt-J This Is All Yours
Andrew Bird I Want to See Pulaski at Night
Arctic Monkeys Humbug
Ariana Grande Yours Truly
Badly Drawn Boy One Plus One is One
Badly Drawn Boy Have You Fed The Fish?
Band of Horses Mirage Rock
Beach House Devotion
Beach House’s music perfectly coincides with their name; as one might take a trip over to a beach house for a weekend of relaxation in the sun, so does the band’s music resemble a peaceful reverie of calm days where there is absolutely nothing to do. While doing nothing does have its benefits, it does get old. This is Beach House’s mistake; rather than party it up occasionally, they maintain the same pace throughout their second record, Devotion, trying as hard as possible to keep the noise down and not disturb the neighbors.
Lead single “Gila” epitomizes this problem. Rather than develop on the musical ideas they present at the beginning of the song, the duo is content to ride along gently on vocalist Victoria Legrand’s dreamy lyrics while a fuzzy guitar and piano follow along.
Lyrically the album is strong, focusing on themes that would behoove its title: loyalty, love, friendship, and their opposites. Legrand has a haunting, ethereal voice that perfectly fits the record’s mood, and it’s surprisingly soulful in a quiet sort of way. While the chill-out tempos and Legrand’s comforting voice make for a potent musical sleeping aid, Devotion’s failure to deviate from the band’s dream-pop formula makes a full listen through the album ultimately boring. Hey, it’s better than Jack Johnson.
Beastie Boys Hello Nasty
Beck One Foot In The Grave
Ben Folds Way To Normal
Ben Kweller Sha Sha
Ben Lee Awake Is The New Sleep
Ben Lee The Rebirth of Venus
Beyonce I Am... Sasha Fierce
Beyonce 4
Blink-182 Dude Ranch
Blur Think Tank
Blur Leisure
Boards of Canada Trans Canada Highway
Brand New Daisy
Brett Dennen Hope for the Hopeless
Bright Eyes Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Britney Spears In The Zone
Britney Spears Britney
Broken Social Scene Broken Social Scene
Burial Burial
Carly Rae Jepsen Curiosity
Carrie Underwood Play On
Cat Power Jukebox
Chairlift Does You Inspire You
Childish Gambino Camp
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Hysterical
Coldplay Prospekt's March
Conor Oberst Outer South
Cursive Mama, I'm Swollen
Daft Punk Tron: Legacy
Danny Brown XXX
Daphni Jiaolong
David Cook David Cook
David Guetta Pop Life
Delta Spirit Delta Spirit
Delta Spirit Into the Wide
Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
Doves Kingdom of Rust
Dr. Dog Be The Void
Dragonette Bodyparts
Drake So Far Gone
Drake Take Care
Earlimart Mentor Tormentor
Meet the new Earlimart: same as the old Earlimart. That is to say, Aaron Espinoza continues his Elliott Smith impression and the music is a pleasant, if not particularly revolutionary, brand of hazy shoegaze pop/rock.
Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid
Manchester Britpop band Elbow is one of the most critically acclaimed bands on their side of Atlantic, but commercial success has continued to elude them, and the group is practically unknown in America. The Seldom Seen Kid, their fourth album, aims to reach wider audiences with its epic brand of indie rock, with vocalist/guitarist Guy Garvey’s distinctive British tenor leading the way.
The record starts off with slow burner “Starlings,” mostly a bubbling synthesizer and Garvey’s tender voice punctuated by occasional blasts of horn. Ultimately boring, the band luckily picks up the pace with the quintessentially British-sounding “The Bones of You,” which sounds like a mix of the Verve’s intelligent witticisms and Blur’s innovative instrumentation.
The highlight of the record is obviously Garvey, whose velvet pipes expertly complement his dreamy storytelling, as is most evident on lead single “Grounds for Divorce,” where he describes feelings of nostalgia as “there’s a hole in my neighborhood / down which of late I cannot help but fall.”
Sadly, Garvey’s talents as a songwriter can only go so far, and unfortunately The Seldom Seen Kid suffers from the same affliction as its starting record: it is too ponderous to hold the listener’s attention for long. Songs drag along on waves of noise and guitar, with only Garvey’s voice to lead a path through the musical bog.
Elbow Build A Rocket Boys!
Garvey has a lovely voice, but Build A Rocket Boys! is all shiny textures and pleasant listening and altogether very, very boring.
Empire Of The Sun Walking On A Dream
Exit_International Our Science Is Golden
Explosions in the Sky Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
"Unexciting instrumental music" - Adam Downer
Factory Floor Factory Floor
Flight of the Conchords I Told You I Was Freaky
Flogging Molly Float
With Float, the band is living by the adage ?if it ain?t broke, don?t fix it.? The band has remained stuck in their own culture, maintaining virtually the same gimmick since their debut album of Pogues-inspired rock and leading to albums that generally sound the same from one song to another. That isn?t to say the gimmick doesn?t work. ?The Story So Far? and the title track slow the tempo down and focus on singer Dave King?s soulful vocals and, on the latter, a wistful fiddle. Generally, however, much of Float sounds like a manic leprechaun singing jigs about drinking too much and poverty-stricken city workers with the metronome turned up way too far.
Florence and the Machine MTV Unplugged
Foo Fighters In Your Honor
Fountains of Wayne Sky Full of Holes
Foxy Shazam The Church of Rock and Roll
Freddie Gibbs ESGN
Free Energy Love Sign
Future Honest
Ghostface Killah The Pretty Toney Album
Ghostface Killah Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City
Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple
St. Elsewhere was a debut worthy of the heaps of praise it accumulated from the press, a eclectic, diverse arrangement of alternative hip-hop mixed with Danger Mouse’s extraordinarily experimental production and Cee-Lo’s oddball lyrics and fluid phrasing. The Odd Couple is pretty much St. Elsewhere redux, and considering the potential within these two guys, it’s unerring sameness is frustrating.
Gomez A New Tide
Gorillaz Demon Days
Grizzly Bear Veckatimest
Groove Armada Love Box
Hellogoodbye Everything Is Debatable
Hop Along Get Disowned
Iceage New Brigade
James Blunt Back To Bedlam
Jay-Z The Blueprint 3
Justin Bieber My World 2.0
Justin Timberlake The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2
Kaiser Chiefs Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Kaiser Chiefs The Future is Medieval
Kaiser Chiefs Start the Revolution Without Me
Kanye West The College Dropout
Kanye West 808s and Heartbreak
Kasabian West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
La Roux La Roux
Lady Gaga The Fame
Lana Del Rey Paradise
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening
Lights The Listening
Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV
Linkin Park Meteora
Locksley Be In Love
Los Campesinos! We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Lost In The Trees Past Life
Madonna Hard Candy
Manchester Orchestra Cope
Mariah Carey E=MC²
Metric Live It Out
MGMT Congratulations
Mika Life in Cartoon Motion
MSTRKRFT Fist of God
Mumford and Sons Sigh No More
My Morning Jacket Evil Urges
My Morning Jacket Circuital
Nada Surf The Weight Is a Gift
Nada Surf High/Low
No Age Everything In Between
Oasis Be Here Now
Of Montreal The Gay Parade
OFWGKTA The OF Tape Vol. 2
Paramore Brand New Eyes
Paul Van Dyk In Between
Peter Bjorn and John Writer's Block
Placebo Battle For The Sun
Ra Ra Riot The Rhumb Line
Radiohead Kid A
Radiohead Hail to the Thief
Rihanna Talk That Talk
Saint Pepsi Hit Vibes
Selena Gomez and the Scene Kiss and Tell
Selena Gomez and the Scene When The Sun Goes Down
Shabazz Palaces Black Up
Silversun Pickups Swoon
Simian Mobile Disco Temporary Pleasure
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Let It Sway
Spokes Everyone I Ever Met
Spoon Got Nuffin
stellastarr* Harmonies for the Haunted
Stereophonics Language.Sex.Violence.Other?
Sun Kil Moon Among the Leaves
Super Mash Bros All About The Scallions
System of a Down Toxicity
T.I. T.I. vs. T.I.P.
The All-American Rejects When the World Comes Down
The Apples in Stereo Travellers in Space and Time
The Beatles Yellow Submarine
The Black Keys Magic Potion
The Black Keys Turn Blue
The Darkness One Way Ticket To Hell And Back
The Dear Hunter Black
The Dears No Cities Left
The Dears Missiles
The Faint Fasciinatiion
The Flaming Lips Embryonic
The Futureheads This Is Not the World
The Game LAX
The Get Up Kids The Guilt Show
The Hives Lex Hives
The Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever
The Jezabels The Brink
The Kooks Inside In/Inside Out
The Kooks Konk
The Kooks have perfected the formula for the perfect pop song with "Always Where I Need To Be": doo-doo-doos in the chorus, Pritchard’s amusing but contrived Jagger-esque howls, and a stuck-in-your-head beat.
“Mr. Maker” is recycled Britpop, “Shine On” is dripping with the corniest sentiments this side of the Goo Goo Dolls, and Pritchard’s lyrics generally could use more than a little work. But it is guitarist Hugh Harris that saves the album. From the multi-tracked wizardry of “Do You Wanna” to the tasteful strumming on “Sway” to the ridiculously bouncy riffs and solos on virtually any song, Harris’ work makes the album a relatively pleasing memory of Britpop’s heyday.
The Libertines Up The Bracket
The Postmarks By The Numbers
The Raveonettes Pretty In Black
The Sounds Something to Die For
The Thrills Let's Bottle Bohemia
The Verve Forth
The Verve are old pros at creating songs that practically live in their own atmosphere, and the layers of sound that decorate Forth lead to tunes that reveal new, subtle differences with each listen. Such care produces songs that regularly pass the five-minute mark and beyond; six songs go well over the six-minute mark, and while at times it can be the album?s biggest plus, it also tends to lead to tracks that drag rather than evolve. It's the Verve being the Verve, which is good at putting one to sleep but not too much else.
The War on Drugs Future Weather
The Watson Twins Talking To You, Talking To Me
The White Stripes Icky Thump
Tiesto In Search of Sunrise 3: Panama
Tiesto Kaleidoscope
Tilly and the Wall Bottoms of Barrels
Tilly and the Wall Heavy Mood
Tinted Windows Tinted Windows
tUnE-yArDs w h o k i l l
Tyler the Creator Goblin
U2 No Line on the Horizon
Usher Raymond v. Raymond
Voxtrot Voxtrot
Wavves King of the Beach
We Are Scientists TV en Français
Weezer Raditude
Weezer Hurley
Wilco A Ghost is Born
Women Public Strain
The only strain here is in making it through the whole record.
Woods Songs of Shame
Wye Oak Shriek
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Mosquito
Yeasayer Odd Blood
Yellow Ostrich The Mistress

2.4 average
Lily Allen Sheezus
She and Him Volume Three

2.3 average
Panic! At the Disco Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!
Ra Ra Riot Beta Love
The Strokes Angles

2.0 poor
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dea
50 Cent The Massacre
50 Cent Curtis
Animal Collective Here Comes the Indian
Animal Collective Hollinndagain
Ariana Grande My Everything
Ashlee Simpson Bittersweet World
With Bittersweet World, the younger, more tone-deaf Simpson sibling has wholeheartedly embraced the ‘80s, beat-tastic sound that has been gaining speed in the pop world over the years. The result is a mixed bag. Lead single “Outta My Head” is built on a nagging guitar beat and a simple drum machine, but sadly the lyrics are ridiculously inane (“what you lookin’ at me for huh? / show me respect or I will show you the door”), and Ashlee fails miserably at sounding sassy.
The album isn’t totally worthless, however. For every cringe-inducing break-up song (“Little Miss Obsessive”) and pointless bad-girl posturing (“Rule Breaker”), there are a couple bright spots: the dark pulse of “Murder” and the whirling guitar pop of “Ragdoll,” and no one can ever accuse Ashlee of lacking energy. All in all, Bittersweet World is more of a party than her earlier efforts, but still a plastic, manufactured one at that.
Ashley Tisdale Guilty Pleasure
Badly Drawn Boy It's What I'm Thinking - Photographing Snowflakes
Beastie Boys To the 5 Boroughs
Beck Golden Feelings
Beck The Information
Black Kids Partie Traumatic
Blink-182 Cheshire Cat
Britney Spears Oops!...I Did It Again
Britney Spears ...Baby One More Time
Britney Spears Britney Jean
Coldplay X & Y
Daft Punk Daft Club
Death Grips The Money Store
Deerhoof Breakup Song
Dirty Beaches Badlands
DJ Sprinkles Midtown 120 Blues
Drake Thank Me Later
Electric Six Fire
Eminem Encore
Eminem Relapse
Flo Rida R.O.O.T.S.
Foo Fighters Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Fountains of Wayne Traffic And Weather
Foxy Shazam Gonzo
French Kicks Swimming
fun. Some Nights
Something's wrong when the best song is a bonus track.
Groove Armada Soundboy Rock
Groove Armada Black Light
Guillemots Red
Hot Chip Made in the Dark
Iggy Azalea The New Classic
Imogen Heap Sparks
Interpol Our Love to Admire
Interpol Interpol
Jack Beats All Night
Jay-Z Kingdom Come
Jay-Z The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse
Jessie James Jessie James
Jimmy Eat World Chase This Light
Justice Audio, Video, Disco
Justin Timberlake Justified
Kaiser Chiefs Education, Education, Education & War
Kanye West Yeezus
"It's only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It's only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness.
Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That's all it is."

-Kanye West
Kasabian Kasabian
Katy Perry Teenage Dream
Kele The Boxer
Kings of Leon Only By The Night
Lady Gaga Born This Way
Lana Del Rey Born to Die
Lil Wayne Tha Carter III
An overblown, bloated, scattered collection of egoism that had just as many misfires as it had genuine hits. 2008 was without doubt the year of Weezy, but there is such a thing as too much Weezy; the over-saturation of Lil Wayne on the airwaves led to Tha Carter III as not having much more than that which you haven’t already heard. It was ambitious and defiantly creative, but not the modern rap masterpiece many critics made it out to be.
Linkin Park Minutes to Midnight
Lupe Fiasco Lasers
Macintosh Plus FLORAL SHOPPE
Madonna American Life
Mariah Carey Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel
Miley Cyrus Breakout
Miley Cyrus Bangerz
Modest Mouse Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Neutral Milk Hotel On Avery Island
Oasis Heathen Chemistry
Oasis Standing on the Shoulder of Giants
Oasis The Masterplan
Of Montreal Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
Panic! At the Disco A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
Radiohead Amnesiac
Raekwon Immobilarity
Razorlight Slipway Fires
Scarlett Johansson Anywhere I Lay My Head
School of Seven Bells Disconnect From Desire
Secret Machines Secret Machines
She and Him A Very She & Him Christmas
Skrillex More Monsters and Sprites
Skrillex Bangarang
Slim Thug Boss of all Bosses
Spoon Telephono
Stereophonics Pull The Pin
Stereophonics Graffiti On The Train
Sufjan Stevens The Age of Adz
Please, Sufjan, don't go where I can't follow
Sun Kil Moon Tiny Cities
System of a Down Steal This Album!
T-Pain Thr33 Ringz
Tapes N Tapes Walk It Off
The songs on this latest record are more easily categorized under indie rock than the grab bag of styles that marked 2006’s The Loon, and while this increased focus benefits the overall flow of the album, some of the songs tend to sound too similar. The funky guitar line and fixed bass on “Hang Them All” imparts a sense of urgency that characterizes Walk It Off, as if the band is desperately trying to tell someone that they matter. Singer Josh Grier’s warbly vocals will either be a turn off or a pleasure depending on the listener, although on songs such as “Headshock” they make the song. Aside from the tango-ish tune “Conquest” and the relaxed vibe of “Say Back Something,” most of Walk It Off suffers from the Strokes Syndrome, or sounding remarkably the same throughout much of the record, that has afflicted too many guitar-rock bands in recent memory.
Tenacious D The Pick of Destiny
The Antlers (together)
The Bravery The Bravery
The Bravery Stir The Blood
The Dears Degeneration Street
The Fiery Furnaces Rehearsing My Choir
The Fiery Furnaces Blueberry Boat
The Fray How to Save a Life
The Fray The Fray
The Futureheads News and Tributes
The Gaslight Anthem American Slang
The Killers Sawdust
The Killers Battle Born
It's hard to choose a favorite among so many great tracks, but "From Here On Out" is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation, dignity. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it's not too late to better ourselves. Since, Elizabeth, it's impossible in this world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It's an important message, crucial really. And it's beautifully stated on the album.
The Knife Tomorrow, In a Year
The Raconteurs Broken Boy Soldiers
The Raveonettes Raven in the Grave
The Sounds Crossing the Rubicon
The Veils Troubles of the Brain
The Weeknd Kiss Land
Uffie Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans
Usher Here I Stand
Weezer The Red Album
At this point, it’s hard to say that Weezer’s latest was a real disappointment, as I’ve expected nothing but that from this once-proud band since 2005 (yes, I hung on even after Maladroit). The Red Album was trumpeted as the band’s comeback, and while it showed a few fading signs of the old Weezer, the band’s delusions of grandeur and Cuomo’s declining lyrical abilities made it instead a last gasp, “Pork and Beans” reminding me only of what could have been.
Weezer The Red Album (Deluxe Edition)
Wolf Parade At Mount Zoomer
Yeasayer Fragrant World

1.5 very poor
50 Cent Before I Self Destruct
Beck Stereopathetic Soulmanure
Borgore #NewGoreOrder
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Some Loud Thunder
David Guetta Nothing but the Beat
Death From Above 1979 Romance Bloody Romance
Discovery LP
Eminem Relapse: Refill
Jessica Simpson Do You Know
Jonas Brothers Lines, Vines and Trying Times
Julian Casablancas and The Voidz Tyranny
Justin Bieber My World
Miley Cyrus The Time of Our Lives
N.E.R.D. Nothing
Of Montreal Skeletal Lamping
Kevin Barnes has been cruel to me. After the one-two punch Satanic Panic in the Attic and Sunlandic Twins turned Of Montreal into one of my favorite bands, the experimental squall of Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? was interesting, to be sure, but turned me off more than a little after the perfect electronica-meets-power-pop of the aforementioned records. Skeletal Lamping is perhaps even more disjointed and uneven than Hissing Fauna, a record that bounces from random idea to opaque lyric to out-of-the-blue musical flourish with the attention span of a ADHD-afflicted schizophrenic six-year-old with a sugar rush. Barnes is no doubt a kind of musical visionary; just not the kind I expected or really even wanted.
Owl City Ocean Eyes
Razorlight Razorlight
Ryan Adams 29
Ryan Adams Orion
The Apples in Stereo Velocity Of Sound
The Killers Sam's Town

1.0 awful
Girl Talk Secret Diary
Kevin Federline Playing with Fire
Lil Wayne Rebirth
Owl City All Things Bright And Beautiful
Like having an orgasm and saving the rainforest, all at the same time.
P.O.D. When Angels and Serpents Dance
Paris Hilton Paris
Pussycat Dolls Doll Domination
Weezer Make Believe
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