>> Monday, May 2, 2011
Inspired by Stevie's Up And Coming Book List, I am going to start the same thing with my music purchased for the year. I found this to be really useful in 2010, that I am starting even earlier for 2011.
My favorite blog to write is my year end music review. And it be honest, I start it in January of each year. I start collecting music as soon as possible, and use a smart playlist to amass them all in one place for easy listening and examining.
Below you will see a quick list of the albums I have picked up so far this year. I will try to update them every month or so. If I have an opinion of the record, will post a quick note, but keep in mind, I may change mine.
Adele - "21" ----- So far, easily one of my favorites. I am not sure how long it will stick with me. It is so emotionally ripe, that it wears me out to listen to it. For now, that is a great ride, but it might get tiresome.
Angus & Julia Stone - "Down The Way" ----- Yes, this was released in 2010. But I consider the last quarter of last year, a part of this one. It is too hard to fall in love with a record in 3 months, let alone, digest it enough to know if its crap or not. But, so far, this one is NOT crap. It’s mellow and breezy and wonderful.
**NEW** Alexander – “Alexander” ----- It’s like Edward Sharpe (understandably) meets Simon and Garfunkel (unexpected). I was anticipating it to be a little bit too one note, but it has actually gone the other direction. Not sure if that is a good thing or not yet, I’ll let you know.
**NEW** Atmosphere – “The Family Sign” ----- It seems as though, Atmosphere cannot let me down. Now, I am not sure that this album will reach the peaks that “Sevens Travels” or “…Paint That Shit Gold” did, but it’s well on its way.
**NEW** The Bell Brigade – “The Bell Brigade” ----- So far, not at all bad, but not at all memorable. Except for the song Losers. That one I love.
**NEW** Big K.R.I.T. – “Return of 4Eva” ----- All I know about this record so far is that it has a horrible name. Have not gotten to give it one spin, just got it yesterday.
BOAT - "Dress Like Your Idols" ----- **NEW Review** One of my favorite NW bands, but don’t use this record to fall in love with them. This record feels completely rushed and it’s very frustrating.
Bow Ribbons - "Bow Ribbons" ----- If in the right mood, this record can be perfect. Super melancholy, moody, Janis sounding, folk rocking, creative record. Again, only fits one mood, but that mood needs a soundtrack.
The Boxer Rebellion - "The Cold Still" ----- I have only had this for a few days, but so far, I am becoming a fan.
**NEW** Brett Dennen – “Loverboy” ----- I fathom that when summer rolls around, this will be my album of choice. It is windows down music. I think I love it.
The Cave Singers - "No Witch" ----- I was so excited for this record release, a northwest band that I expect to do major things. I have not given it the listen it deserves yet (blame Adele), but from what I have heard, it is a stout record.
The Civil Wars - "Barton Hollow" ----- I love this band. This record, their first full length, is exactly as it should be. Is it for everyone? No, probably not. But, for a folk/blues/singersongwriter hound like me, it is wonderful.
Cold War Kids - "Mine Is Yours" ----- Easily the most disappointing record of the year. Still does not come within an iota of this bands debut. They lost their way. They went from sounding distinctly like COLD WAR KIDS, to trying to sound like a radio friendly, borderline KINGS OF LEON tribute band. I have nothing against the Kings, but they could not hold a candle to Kids "Robbers & Cowards."
**NEW** Crystal Stilts – “In Love With Oblivion” ----- Picked this on an “if you like this lo-fi garage rock band, you’ll love these guys” recommendation. And that person was just wrong. There is nothing to hold onto on this record. Slips right through earfingers.
The Dodos - "No Color" ----- This is the record I have been waiting for from the band. As I wrote on my recent Song Of The Day, "The band learned from their mistakes, simplified, honed into what made them stand out in the first place, and embraced it. So many bands think they need to evolve so much that they force it and fall short of themselves, most never recover from this mistake, but not the dodos."
Eisley - "The Valley" ----- Not loving it. Some songs are just too radio friendly versions of Paramore. And, I am not a fan of Paramore.
Florence + The Machine - "Lungs: The B-Sides" ----- **NEW Review** A diversion from the record that was not needed, and only partially succeeds.
**NEW** French Horn Rebellion – “The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion” ----- picked this up hoping to find this years Chromeo, and so far, it is filling that void, not sure if it has the staying power.
Grouplove - "Grouplove" ----- My favorite "EP" (Not identified as an "ep" but with only 6 tracks, it is not a full length) of the year. Every track is keeper. This record makes me want summer to be here now. Listen and you will understand.
Hercules & Love Affair - "Blue Songs" ----- Not memorable, but not forgettable. Some great tracks. Some awful ones.
**NEW** Hey Rosetta! – “Seeds” ----- This band has a sound that is hard to describe. It's like if you take the delicate mastery of Hey Marseilles and combine it with the chaotic perfection of Los Campesinos! you would stumble into these Canadians. It works.
J Mascis - "Several Shades of Why" ----- I have started to describe this Dinosaur JR frontman's solo release as a beautiful hybrid of Tallest Man On Earth and Solo Eddie Vedder. I hate making such bold comparisons, but it suits.
**NEW** James Vincent McMorrow – People are calling him the Irish Bon Iver, and although I hate when people do that, it is not far off. He has a quiet genius about his sound. I think I am going to like this record.
Jessica Lea Mayfield - "Tell Me" ----- I didn't know apathetic could be sexy. But someone. Jessica Lea Mayfield makes it happen. Her voice has an "I have feelings, but I don't give a shit" vibe to it that is impossible to describe until you hear it. Now, does that voice make this a good record? I think it might.
The Joy Formidable - "The Big Roar" ----- This is the kind of band that can only be played loud. Right now, one of my favorites, but I can see how it could become grating.
**NEW** Lissie – “Catching A Tiger” ----- Lissie reminds me of Justin Nozuka. Not in any tangible way, but in the way that both their records snuck up on me, and from song to song, they can become completely different artists. They are both chameleons.
**NEW** Loch Lomond – “Little Me Will Start A Storm” ----- This is a record that I am excited to fall in love with. Seems like it is more suited for grey days, but we have plenty of those.
Lulu & The Lampshades - "Cold Water EP" ----- Quirky and great. I wish there were more.
**NEW** Lupe Fiasco – “Lasers” ----- Not bad, but not memorable.
Lykee Li - "Wounded Rhymes" ----- Best of the year so far.
The Mountain Goats - "All Eternals Deck" ----- **NEW Review** I have been converted into a fan. It has a quiet raw power that is hard to quantify.
Noah & The Whale - "Last Night On Earth" ----- **NEW Review** Tried way too hard. Unfortunately, fails.
**NEW** of Montreal – “thecontrollersphere” ----- Just picked it up, have not listened yet, will update later.
The Oh Wells - "The EP that We Love" ----- This little Canadian band has made me realize that I cannot just blanketly decide to shun all things from a country. Great EP. Cannot wait to see what they can do with a full length.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - "Belong" ----- **NEW Review** Was in love after too spins, but it was beer goggles. I am firmly in like. I love it musically, I just wish it had a different voice.
**NEW** Pearl and the Beard – “Killing the Darlings” ------ I just got this, but I love it. They have taken their sound to a whole new, refined, mastered place.
**NEW** Psychologist – “Waves of OK EP” ----- One great song, but not a great record.
Rural Alberta Advantage - "Departing" ----- **NEW Review** This has moved from a record that I really wanted to like but was having trouble getting behind, to a record I cannot stop listening to. It is the frontrunner.
Seryn - "This Is Where We Are" ----- The Head and the Heart told me to buy this record. And since they are one of my favorite bands, I figured their advice in music could not be far off, so I picked it up. And, lucky for me, they were very very right. One of those bands that you take mental note of, so you can come back and enjoy more later.
Talib Kweli - "Gutter Rainbows" ----- Couple great tracks on a mediocre album.
**NEW** Tune-Yards – “W H O K I L L” ----- One album of this was great, two, is too much. I need to see growth, I am disappointed.
**NEW** TV On The Radio – “Nine Types of Light” ----- This is one of those records that you do not realize you like until you already like it. Its got that familiar, yet new, feeling to it.
**NEW** The Unthanks – “Last” ----- So far so eh. I have found myself both liking and dismissing this album at the same time. I’ll give it a better spin later and update you.
We F.A.M. - "Reality Check" ------ NW Hip-Hop group that at times is spectacular, and at times has too many cooks in the kitchen. But unlike most hip-hop records the good far out ways the bad on this self produced album. Some tracks stand so far out, that I am sure the will pepper this website by years end.
Wye Oak - "Civilian" ----- One of my favorite records right now. I just sings to me. I am not going to get all over wordy for once. It's just super good.
Youth Rescue Mission - "Youth Rescue Mission" ---- This Seattle band, by way of Montana, has me all in a tizzy. This group of siblings make noises to die for. I keep trying to string together other artists to give you a good description/comparison of style/sound, but all combo's fall short. Yes, you can hear a bit of The Head and the Heart, a dollop of Blind Pilot, a tad of Hey Marseilles, and a smidge of Choir of Young Believers, but in only the littlest of amounts. They are distinctly their own. And I am loving it.
**NEW** Yuck – “Yuck” ----- In all the ways that Crystal Stilts does not work, Yuck does. I feel like this is going to be like when I found the dodos back in 2009 and they took over my life. It’s good.