My Up and Coming Music List. Updated 7/4/11

>> Monday, July 4, 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.

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** Apollo Brown – “Clouds” ----- New record, all instrumental, but it is easily listenable. Sounds like it was designed to be the score of your life.

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.

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.

Beat Connection – “Surf Noir” ----- Seattle band, does not do a whole lot for me.

The Bell Brigade – “The Bell Brigade” ----- 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” -----    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.

**NEW** Bon Iver – “Bon Iver” ----- Everyone keeps building this album up, and although it is dreamily good, I does not live up for For Emma, Forever Ago. Maybe, I need to let go of that expectation, and I will be able to love this record like it deserves.

Bow Ribbons - "Bow Ribbons" ----- 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" ----- Does not stand out. 

**NEW** Brandi Carlile – “Live At Benaroya Hall With The Seattle Symphony” ----- I generally steer away from live albums, I’d rather just see the show, but this is special. It’s full of beauty, life, sorrow, and perfection.

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. But I have been sharply disappointed. Feels rushed, like they just wanted to put out a record.

**NEW** City And Colour – “Little Hell” ----- Just got this one. I’ll let you know.

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” ----- **NEW Review** 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. My least favorite record of the year.

**NEW** Cults – “Cults” ----- This record is garnering rave reviews from bloggers across the net, and although I do find myself a toe tapping from time to time, it is just pretty good.

**NEW** D/R/U/G/S – “Love/Lust EP” ----- They have a dance hammer dulcimer song on this record. But that is about all I can say about it.

**NEW** Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “It’s A Corporate World” ----- I just picked this one up like 2 weeks ago. So far it has not screamed “listen to me” yet. But it’s not bad.

**NEW** Dawes – “Nothing Is Wrong” ----- This is a new record with serious staying power. It is one of those records that has teeth. I am very excited about it, and do not be surprised when you see it on the best of list at the end of the year.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Codes And Keys” ----- **NEW Review** Completely forgettable. Phoned in. 

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."

Eddie Vedder – “Ukulele Songs” ----- **NEW Review** An unremarkable record, which makes me sad. 

Eisley - "The Valley" ----- Not loving it. Some songs are just too radio friendly versions of Paramore. And, I am not a fan of Paramore.

Elbow – “Build A Rocket Boys!” ----- Has a great track or two, but is otherwise just cookiecutter.

**NEW** Ellie Goulding – “Lights” ----- I love her voice. It’s a little poppy, but every nowandthen, that works for me. This is one of those times.

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.

Foster The People – “Torches” ----- **NEW Review** This is a good mood record. Fun to listen too, but not the most memorable.

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.

Friendly Fires – “Pala” ----- **NEW Review** Still not a fan. It’s not bad, just not for me.

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.

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.

**NEW** James Blake – “James Blake” ----- People talk about this record like it is genius. But I am not sure I see that yet. So far, just eh.

James Vincent McMorrow – “Early In The Morning” ----- 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 somehow, 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** Julianna Barwick – “The Magic Place” ----- I was reading a few “best of the year so far” lists and this record kept popping up, even landing the number one spot on a couple. So, I am going to check it out.

Kate Bush – “Directors’ Cut” ----- **NEW Review** Sadly, my anti opinion of Kate Bush holds true. It all just blends into the background.

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” ----- 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.

**NEW** LMFAO – “Sorry For The Party Rocking” ----- Just got it, now opinion yet.

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.

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.

**NEW** Matt Nathanson – “Modern Love” ----- This record reminds me of all the reasons why I love singer songerwriters. It is fun, insightful, impactful, romantic, nostalgic, and warm. It’s like a blanket.

**NEW** Middle Brother – “Middle Brother” ----- One of those supergroups (Delta Spirit, Dawes, and Deer Tick) that always seems to let me down, has my hopes up. So far so good. They kick the shit out of Monsters of Folk.

The Mountain Goats - "All Eternals Deck" ----- I have been converted into a fan. It has a quiet raw power that is hard to quantify.

Musiq – “Musiqinthemagiq” ----- Unspecial.

My Morning Jacket – “Circuital” ----- **NEW Review** Damn, I wish I could like this.

Noah & The Whale - "Last Night On Earth" ----- Tried way too hard. Unfortunately, fails.

of Montreal – “thecontrollersphere” ----- 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 two spins, but it was beer goggles. I am firmly in like. I love it musically; I just wish it had a different voice.

**NEW** Panda Bear – “Tomboy” ----- Too new to review.

Pearl and the Beard – “Killing the Darlings” ------ I love it. They have taken their sound to a whole new, refined, mastered place.

**NEW** Peter Bjorn and John – “Gimme Some” ----- I don’t get the fuss.

Psychologist – “Waves of OK EP” ----- 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.

Seapony – “Go With Me” ----- **NEW Review** Nice airy indie pop rock from Seattle does not disappoint. It does not illicit screams of joy either, but it is solidly in between. 

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** Shabazz Palaces – “Black Up” ----- NW hip-hop is coming on strong this year. Yet another example.

SLOWWAVE – “Drag Lake Sin” ----- **NEW Review** Great lyrics, bad songs. 

Talib Kweli - "Gutter Rainbows" ----- Couple great tracks on a mediocre album.

**NEW** Tennis – “Cape Dory” ----- The perfect summer record. It makes me want to play this with my windows down on a road trip somewhere.

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.

**NEW** Typhoon – “A New Kind Of House” ----- So far so good. Unique kind of noise.

**NEW** Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Unknown Mortal Orchestra” ----- Too new to review.

The Unthanks – “Last” ----- So far so eh. I have found myself both liking and dismissing this album at the same time.

The Vaccines – “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” ----- **NEW Review** Impressed with this debut album. Some great things here, and if the band can hold steady, they will make very big noises. 

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.

White Denim – “D” ----- **NEW Review** Has not stood out yet. 

William Fitzsimmons – “Gold In The Shadow” ----- **NEW Review** One lovely track here and there, but other than that, very unspecial. 

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.


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