>> Monday, May 30, 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.
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.
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** The Antlers – “Burst Apart” ----- Their journey continues. From the master piece that was “Hospice” to this, this band does not disappoint. I am afraid of how much this record might take over my life.
**NEW** Architecture In Helsinki – “Moment Bends” ----- My good mood record. It carries a vibe into a room that cannot be hated.
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 Beastie Boys – “Hot Sause Committee Part Two” ----- I have friends that were really stoked about this record, so I picked it up, expecting to be blown away. But it is just tired. Nothing fresh, new or exciting, and has no direction.
**NEW** Beat Connection – “Surf Noir” ----- Seattle band, does not do a whole lot for me.
The Bell Brigade – “The Bell Brigade” ----- **NEW Review** So, a month ago, I thought this record was just “not so bad,” but now I love it. While I have been gathering nominees for my best songs of the year this, this band tops the totals. With 5 songs garnering 5 star ratings.
Big K.R.I.T. – “Return of 4Eva” ----- **NEW Review** Good but not great. Nice flow, decent lyrics. Kinda a throw back. But middle of the pack.
BOAT - "Dress Like Your Idols" ----- 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" ----- **NEW Review** I have gone from saying “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.” To abhorring this record.
The Boxer Rebellion - "The Cold Still" ----- **NEW Review** Does not stand out.
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" ----- **NEW Review** I was so excited for this record release, a northwest band that I expect to do major things. But I have been sharply disappointed. Feels rushed, like they just wanted to put out a 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."
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.
**NEW** Death Cab For Cutie – “Codes And Keys” ----- Just got it. Hope it’s good. I would like to jump on this train eventually.
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."
**NEW** Eddie Vedder – “Ukulele Songs” ----- I just got this, have not listened yet. But I have high hopes. Strange hopes, but high just the same.
Eisley - "The Valley" ----- Not loving it. Some songs are just too radio friendly versions of Paramore. And, I am not a fan of Paramore.
**NEW** Elbow – “Build A Rocket Boys!” ----- Has a great track or two, but is otherwise just cookiecutter.
**NEW** Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues” ----- I hear a lot of people tossing out words like genius and perfect when it comes to this record. And although, I am not one to really judge on that front, it is too much of the same for me. I mean, it is super good, and well made and all that junk, but it feels like one long song.
Florence + The Machine - "Lungs: The B-Sides" ----- A diversion from the record that was not needed, and only partially succeeds.
**NEW** Foster The People – “Torches” ----- Just got it, no opinion yet.
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. Has one great track.
**NEW** Friendly Fires – “Pala” ----- Just got it, no opinion yet.
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.
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.
**NEW** Idiot Glee – “Paddywhack” ----- I have only delved about halfway into this record, but every new song I hear makes me want to listen to more. So, that is a good sign.
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.
James Vincent McMorrow – **NEW Review** 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. It is simply a beautiful record. One of my favorites.
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** Kate Bush – “Directors’ Cut” ----- I just got this, like just now. But I have never been able to love an entire Kate Bush album. I’ll let you know.
**NEW** Let’s Wrestle – Nursing Home” ----- I feel like if this were 1999, I would love this English soft punk rock stuff. But now, it’s just eh.
Lissie – “Catching A Tiger” ----- **NEW Review** 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. I love this record hard.
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.
Lupe Fiasco – “Lasers” ----- Not bad, but not memorable.
Lykee Li - "Wounded Rhymes" ----- One of the best of the year so far.
**NEW** Manchester Orchestra – “Simple Math” ----- I have a soft spot for Manchester Orchestra. People who know me, know this, and accept it as one of my flaws. This record is no different. It is like a nice medium from where they were back on “Like a Virgin…” and their most recent release “Mean Everything….” And it is exactly what my year needed.
The Mountain Goats - "All Eternals Deck" ----- I have been converted into a fan. It has a quiet raw power that is hard to quantify.
**NEW** Musiq – “Musiqinthemagiq” ----- Unspecial.
**NEW** My Morning Jacket – “Circuital” ----- Just got it, have never been a fan. But I always try.
Noah & The Whale - "Last Night On Earth" ----- Tried way too hard. Unfortunately, fails.
of Montreal – “thecontrollersphere” ----- **NEW Review** It’s a mess of a record. I cannot get behind it.
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" ----- 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.
Pearl and the Beard – “Killing the Darlings” ------ I love it. They have taken their sound to a whole new, refined, mastered place.
Psychologist – “Waves of OK EP” ----- **NEW Review** 5 total tracks, and 3 of them have burrowed their way into my soul.
Rural Alberta Advantage - "Departing" ----- 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.
**NEW** Seapony – “Go With M” ----- Literally just purchased this 1 min ago. But I have been eagerly awaiting this Seattle bands release. I think its gonna be good.
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.
**NEW** SLOWWAVE – “Drag Lake Sin” ----- Just got it, no opinion yet.
Talib Kweli - "Gutter Rainbows" ----- Couple great tracks on a mediocre album.
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.
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.
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.
**NEW** The Vaccines – “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” ----- Just got it, no opinion yet.
**NEW** The Wave Pictures – “Beer In The Breakers” ----- There could be magic here. I wish there was. But as good as the songs are, and no matter how strong the lyrics can be, there is just something missing. I think it has to do with the voice. Hard to place.
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.
**NEW** White Denim – “D” ----- Just got it, no opinion yet.
**NEW** William Fitzsimmons – “Gold In The Shadow” ----- Just got it, no opinion yet.
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.
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.