>> Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Inspired by Stevie's Up AndComing 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.
I realize this list has gotten exceptionally long, and I appreciate you reading it. So to help cut things down a bit, I have removed the records that I dislike from the main list itself, and placed them at the bottom under a subcategory. I have also removed the majority of those negative reviews. I just hate saying means things.
I have changed the format of the list entirely, instead of alphabetical, as it has been all year; I have opted instead to compose this list as it is in my head, in categories. I apologize if that makes it harder to find the albums you are looking for, but, now that this list has grown to 130 albums; it’s getting a little hard to reformat from the mess that is my mind, onto paper. So, I give you my true breakdown.
Best of the year so far….
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.
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 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.
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.
Campfire OK – “Strange Like We Are” ----- Another NW talent explosion. Special special special. If the Head and the Heart never happened, Campfire OK, would be the best band in the northwest.
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.
Dawes – “Nothing Is Wrong” ----- This is a new record with serious staying power. It is one of those records that have 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.
Girls – “Father, Son, Holy Ghost (Album 3)”
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.
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.
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.
Lykee Li - "Wounded Rhymes" ----- Far and away the most well-crafted album of the year. It is nearly perfect from beginning to end and you know directs you through the ebbs and flows of her heart.
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.
Middle Brother – “Middle Brother” ----- I always hold my breathe for these supergroups (Delta Spirit, Dawes, and Deer Tick) they always seem to let me down, So, far, this has my hopes up. So far so very good. They kick the shit out of Monsters of Folk.
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.
Slow Club – “Paradise” ----- I know this record just came out a week ago, so for me to already have it lumped in with this group is a bit surprising, but, this record, and its imported bonus disc have taken my world by storm. Easily, the best record of the year. I expect this to be number one.
Wye Oak - "Civilian" ----- One of my favorite records right now. It just sings to me. I am not going to get all over wordy for once. It's just super good.
Borderline. Awesome and could get there, or could fall off….
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.
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.
Bryan John Appleby – “Fire on the Vine” ----- This NW singer songwriter is BLOWING up my iPod right now. There is not a spoiled track amongst the bunch.
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."
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.
Frank Ocean – “Nostalgia/Ultra” ----- I have only had this a few days, but so far, I am really really digging it. Strong, singular voice in the R&B game.
Generationals – “Actor-Caster” ----- Unique to the point of awesome.
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.
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.
The Lonely Forest – “Arrows” ----- Fantastic. I am actually pissed that I passed over this record for so many months. It is honestly great and has a very good chance to make the top 13.
Lulu & The Lampshades - "Cold Water EP" ----- Quirky and great. I wish there were more.
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.
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.
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” ----- 5 total tracks, and 3 of them have burrowed their way into my soul.
The Weeknd – “House of Balloons” ----- An R&B record that holds no punches. It is so overtly honest; it is sometimes hard to listen too. But then, when you do, you realize how brilliant it actually it.
Typhoon – “A New Kind Of House” ----- So far so good. Unique kind of noise.
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 combos 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.
In a weak year, this could be something….
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.
Architecture In Helsinki – “Moment Bends” ----- My good mood record. It carries a vibe into a room that cannot be hated.
City And Colour – “Little Hell” ----- Growing on me everytime I hear it.
Florence + The Machine - "Lungs: The B-Sides" ----- It is hard for me to hate this record. It has like 3 fantastic tracks and the rest are throwaways. It stands no chance to make my year end list, but it not bad enough to move to the short of awesome pile
French Horn Rebellion – “The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion” ----- Picked this up hoping to find this year’s Chromeo, and so far, it is filling that void, not sure if it has the staying power. Has one great track.
Is Tropical – “Native To” ----- I think out of all newer records, this record has the best chance to grow on me.
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.
Mat Kerney – “Young Love” ----- Standard Mat Kerney stuff. So, in other words, awesome.
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.
Toro Y Moi – “Underneath the Pine” ----- Considered by most as Chillwave artist, Toro Y Moi has never been my thing. However, with this most recent record, he has surpassed that label and really come into his own. Strong album.
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.
Enjoyable, yet forgettable….
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.
Amos Lee – “Mission Bell” ----- This singer songwriter finally has his groove back. Is it enough to bounce him into the top 13 of the year? Doubtful.
Beat Connection – “Surf Noir” ----- Seattle band, and although I have never been a dance/electronica fan, I have been sucked into Beat Connection.
The Boxer Rebellion - "The Cold Still" ----- Did not stand out, but now, as the summer wanes on, it is starting too.
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.
The Cool Kids – “When Fish Ride Bicycles” ----- I am excited to give this one a go. I have been scouring the world for a new fantastic hip hop record. I hope this one is it.
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.
Cut Copy – “Zonoscope” ----- Much like their last record, it has a few stand out tracks, and a few clunkers. Middle of the road.
Fink – “Perfect Darkness” ----- He is great at what he does, but does not stray far from that, although, I wish he would.
Foster The People – “Torches” ----- This is a good mood record. Fun to listen too, but not the most memorable.
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.
Holy Ghost! – “Holy Ghost!” ----- Great toe tapping fun.
Lupe Fiasco – “Lasers” ----- Not bad, but not memorable.
The Mountain Goats - "All Eternals Deck" ----- I have been converted into a fan. It has a quiet raw power that is hard to quantify.
Pusha T – “Fear Of God” ----- I have been searching for great hip-hop all year, and nothing has really stood out. But now, I have stumbled into the Pusha T “Fear of God” mixtape. And I have to say, this half of Clipse, has not lost his flow.
Ravenna Woods – “Valley of the Headless Men” ----- Yet another band that makes me so supremely proud to be a music fan in The Great Northwest. Closer to Fleet Foxes then THATH, but still uniquely their own.
Seapony – “Go With Me” ----- Nice airy indie pop rock from Seattle does not disappoint. It does not illicit screams of joy either, but it is solidly in between.
Shabazz Palaces – “Black Up” ----- NW hip-hop is coming on strong this year. Yet another example.
Tennis – “Cape Dory” ----- The perfect summer record. It makes me want to play this with my windows down on a road trip somewhere.
The Vaccines – “What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?” ----- Impressed with this debut album. Some great things here, and if the band can hold steady, they will make very big noises.
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. It’s got that familiar, yet new, feeling to it.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “Unknown Mortal Orchestra” ----- Great songs, scattered amongst throw away tracks. But the good far outweighs the bad.
Just plain forgettable….
Apollo Brown – “Clouds”
Barry Brother’s Band – “Yawnin’ in the Dawnin’” ----- This is a newer record, that to be honest, I did not expect anything out of. But, some songs have really really stood out.
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.
Bright Eyes – “The People’s Key” ----- I wish I could get on the Bright Eyes train. But, I just can’t.
Clams Casino – “Clams Casino” ---- Aside from the “Cold War” remix, the album is unspectacular.
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.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “It’s A Corporate World”
Friendly Fires – “Pala”
J Mascis - "Several Shades of Why"
Let’s Wrestle – “Nursing Home”
Musiq – “Musiqinthemagiq”
My Morning Jacket – “Circuital”
Panda Bear – “Tomboy”
Peter Bjorn and John – “Gimme Some”
Talib Kweli - "Gutter Rainbows"
The Wave Pictures – “Beer In The Breakers”
White Denim – “D”
William Fitzsimmons – “Gold In The Shadow”
The Cave Singers - "No Witch”
Cold War Kids - "Mine Is Yours" ----- I was not more disappointed in a record this year then I was in this. Now, this disappointment earlier in the year made me label this as a bad record, its honestly not, but its not great either.
Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”
Givers – “In Light” ----- I was excited for this record. Based on what Up Up Up sounded like, but in the areas where they do not overreach, they just are not very good.
Howie Day – “Ceasefire” ----- What happened to Howie Day? I feel like he was trying so hard to find himself successful, that he just flat lost who he was.
LMFAO – “Sorry For The Party Rocking”
The Middle East – “I Want That You Are Always Happy” ----- The most disappointing follow up to a super fantastic EP ever.
Psychologist – “Propeller EP” ----- Psychologist, intended his record to be split into two EP’s, but I wish he would have just released a singular album. “Waves of OK” far out shines “Propeller.” But possibly as a whole, it could have worked fantastically.
BOAT - "Dress Like Your Idols"
Death Cab For Cutie – “Codes And Keys”
Eddie Vedder – “Ukulele Songs”
Eisley - "The Valley"
Elbow – “Build A Rocket Boys!”
Hercules & Love Affair - "Blue Songs"
James Blake – “James Blake”
Kate Bush – “Directors’ Cut”
The Kooks – “Junk in the Heart”
Marissa Nadler – “Marissa Nadler”
Noah & The Whale - "Last Night On Earth”
of Montreal – “thecontrollersphere
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - "Belong"
SLOWWAVE – “Drag Lake Sin”
Tune-Yards – “W H O K I L L”
The Unthanks – “Last”
Special Category for the worst records of the year, so far beyond Ungood, it needs to be distinguished….
The Beastie Boys – “Hot Sause Committee Part Two”
Bow Ribbons - "Bow Ribbons" ----- The worst record I have picked up in 5 years.
Crystal Stilts – “In Love With Oblivion”
Julianna Barwick – “The Magic Place” ----- It is like indie-elevator music. I cannot, for the life of me see the big deal.
Too new to review…..
The Boom Booms – “Hot Rum!”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Hysterical”
Fishboy – “Classic Creeps”
Gavin DeGraw – “Sweeter”
Grouplove – “Never Trust A Happy Song”
Jay Z & Kanye West – “Watch The Throne”
Lil Wayne – “Tha Carter IV”
Neon Indian – “Era Extraña”
Oh Land – ”Oh Land”
Release the Sunbird – “Come Back To Us”
St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy”
Sweet Baboo – “Girl Under a Tree EP”