Category Archives: Best Of Lists

Favorite Albums Of 2012

best music bear 580 again

1. Beach House – Bloom

Beach House 1 (2012)

Beach House’s Bloom is a jewel to behold. It’s an album about love. The give and take, the beginning and end, the longing and fear. It’s even more lush and layered than the dream pop duo’s last record Teen Dream. Beach House continue to make music that is heavenly, dreamy, and magical. Victoria Legrand’s voice is incredible. It’s smoky and enchanting. Her haunting, gorgeous voice and Alex Scally’s exquisite guitar playing take each song to great heights. They capture images of love and disconnection in their lyrics that we all can relate to. I love this mesmerizing line in Wishes, “The moment when a memory aches. They understand how precious relationships really are, “One in your life, it happens once and rarely twice” (Wishes). We also see relationships falling apart in The Hours: “Frightened eyes looking back at me/ change your mind/ don’t care about me”. We’ve all seen those frightened eyes staring back at us. When a deep connection has evaporated. It hurts us and breaks us, as fear strikes our hearts like lightning. In the majestic Myth (my favorite song of the year) Victoria sings, “What comes after this momentary bliss? Help me name it”. Isn’t that what’s so beautiful about relationships? We’re invited by another to share our lives with them. To name together, to create together, to build something new. It might fall apart but sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it lasts. Whatever happens we’re told that the risk is worth it. Bloom keeps on giving each time I listen to it. All I can say is that I’m forever grateful for it.

Listen to Myth here.

2. The Shins – Port Of Morrow

the shins best of 2012

This is one of the most positive albums I’ve heard. It’s refreshing to hear an album so life-affirming. Port Of Morrow is full of remarkable pop songs and James Mercer’s reflections on marriage, love, and the importance of friendship are inspiring. He speaks of how joining together and facing life’s challenges with an other is better than going at it alone. The unity and solidarity of humanity that was expressed so well through artists like Simon & Garfunkel with their song Bridge Over Troubled Water now continues in The Shins’ music. In It’s Only Life James sings, “I’ve been down the very road you’re walking now/ It doesn’t have to be so dark and lonesome/ It takes a while but we can figure this thing out/ And turn it back around”. Admitting that we’re each broken and that we can learn from each other’s stories is a good step towards healing and becoming whole. In Fall Of ’82 James sings gratefully to his wife, “See you were my lifeline when the world was exploding”. Where would each of us be if someone hadn’t offered us a helping hand when everything was falling apart in our life? Simple Song may be the best feel good song of the year. It’s upbeat and extremely catchy. One of my favorite lines this year is in 40 Mark Strasse, “Every single story is a story about love, both the overflowing cup and the painful lack thereof”. This album calls us to tell good stories with our lives, to carry each other’s burdens, and to speak hope into each other’s lives.

Listen to Simple Song here.

3. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Meggilan

dirty projectors best of 2

Swing Lo Magellan is a strange, weird, fun, and surprisingly affectionate album. Offspring Are Blank starts the album of with a rocking bang. And by the second song you’ll certainly find yourself singing along with this chorus, “I’m About to Die/ About to Die”??…Weird. Near the end of the album we come to Unto Caesar. It’s one of the most fun songs I’ve heard the entire year. It’s fun because the band is having fun while singing and playing it. I mean in the middle of the song the girls are asking when they should bust into harmony. They’re also singing things like “We’re the high custodians/ Mop it!” Hilarious! Dirty Projectors definitely have a charming weirdness about them. I might say they’re the Wes Andersons of music. Even though it’s strange Swing Lo Magellan is a very accessible album. Dirty Projectors have a very unique sound. They have some prog-rock moments on here but the majority of their songs have pop and folk influences. It’s their fantastic harmonies that really hit the sweet spot though. The lyrics can be quite philosophical at times. I like the attitude in Dance For You, “There is an answer, I haven’t found it but I will keep dancing until I do”. In About To Die we are led to consider how we each waste our lives. Amber Coffman shines with her voice solo on The Socialites in which she sings about a character who is desiring to be accepted by people through her looks. Seeming to be pushed to the brink by the end of the song she sings the haunting line, “Who knows what my spirit is worth in cold hard cash?”. There are also great love songs on here. Impregnable Question is a tender and sweet love song which will fittingly be played at many weddings for years to come. Dave Longstreth sings tenderly “Though we don’t see eye to eye/ I need you/ and you’re always on my mind”. I treasure this endearing and wonderful record.

Listen to Impregnable Question here.

4 – Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

kendrick lamar best of 1

Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is the most empathetic record of the year. It’s cinematic and powerful. Rapper Kendrick Lamar grew up as a good kid in a mad city. His good aspirations were twisted by the dark influences of gang life. With this album he zooms in on Compton and offers the listener a ride through the darkest parts of the city. Kendrick wants us to understand the temptations of young men and women in Compton: sex, living life like rappers do, drugs, getting money, gaining power, and raising hell. Kendrick masterfully presents the mindset of the gang-life. He shows us how it’s appealing to so many young people, how they get stuck in the system, and also how it’s ultimately horrific and unfulfilling. Kendrick excessively brags on Backstreet Freestyle and presents us with an image of a completely egocentric person. In the Art of Peer Pressure Kendrick sings of the conflict in his soul, “Really I’m a peacemaker, usually I’m drug free, but I’m with the homies right now”. Kendrick shows us the stark and troubling reality of life in Compton. He wants us to see the truth in all of it’s messiness and be repulsed by it. Whether it’s his uncle Tony shot twice in the head or himself foaming at the mouth from cocaine, or the deadly egoism of youth who disregard the dignity of other people and desire to be kings of the streets he presents us with the dark system of a city that demands as Kendrick puts it, human sacrifices. Not only does Kendrick give us a powerful message he supports it with great music. His rapping is superb and the production, beats, and music are top-notch. In Swimming Pools (Drank) it actually sounds like you’re inside a bottle. There’s even a Beach House sample on Money Trees. With Good Kid Kendrick calls us to let go of our selfish dreams and to begin dreaming big like Martin Luther King did. I believe that is Kendrick’s message. He hopes that the kids in Compton will dream bigger. That they will rise above the violence and pain that surrounds them. Near the end of the album Kendrick remembers his mom’s inspiring words: “Come back a man, tell your story to these black and brown kids in Compton. Let ’em know you was just like them, but you still rose from that dark place of violence, becoming a positive person. But when you do make it, give back, with your words of encouragement, and that’s the best way to give back”. Kendrick does give back with this record. He invites those who are dying of thirst to plunge into holy water and hopefully arise from it changed for the better and set free.

Listen to Sing About Me, Dying Of Thirst here.

5. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

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Fiona Apple poured her soul into The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Fiona sings in Every Single Night, “I just want to feel everything”. You can tell from this album that she clearly does try to feel everything. It’s quite an experience listening to this album because Fiona is so honest and vulnerable right in front of you. She’s one of the best lyricists of this era. This record’s instrumentation is so raw and crisp. She has a very versatile and impressive voice as well. When Listening to the The Idler Wheel it’s as if you’re hearing Fiona share very personal stories with you from her diary. She shares all, the messy and the excruciatingly painful. She tells us about her struggles with anxiety in Every Single Night, “Every single night is a fight with my brain”. In many of the songs Fiona expresses the pain that she’s experienced in her relationships. She sings in Valentine, “My teardrops seasoned every plate/… while you were watching someone else/ I stared at you and cut myself”. The powerful Left Alone is an arrow straight to the heart of our isolated culture. Fiona sings, “How can I ask anyone to love me when all I do is begged is to be left alone?”. There are also very imaginative and bold images that Fiona draws with her words. She screams passionately in Daredevil, “Look at me/ I’m all the fishes in the sea!”. The sexiest love song of the year goes to Fiona Apple’s Anything We Want. She sings, “And I kept touching my neck/ To guide your eye to where I wanted you to kiss me when we find some time alone/ And then we can do anything we want”. Hot Knife even has sweet Beyoncé-esque backing vocals in the chorus. The Idler Wheel is such an impressive album because Fiona is being so real, so honest, and so open. Liberating albums like this don’t come out every year. This is a clear masterwork.

Listen to Anything We Want here.

6. Passion Pit – Gossamer

passion pit best of 2

No album glistened like Passion Pit’s Gossamer this year. It’s an album that feels like it was made for summer-time and days at the beach. There are infectious pop melodies and sing along sugary choruses. There’s bombastic pop singles like “I’ll Be Alright” and flat out sexy songs like “Constant Conversations”. “Hideaway” has some of one of the most euphoric choruses that I’ve heard this year. There are meaningful lyrics on this record as well. On Gossamer lead-singer Michael Angelakos delves into his own mental illness and the complexities of love and life. Michael has heavy burdens that weigh on his shoulders: bipolar disorder, depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. He hasn’t faced these issues alone though. He spoke recently about his fiance Kristy Mucci in an interview with Pitchfork’s Larry Fitzmaurice as being, “The one who’s saved my life so many times.” He went on to say, “I was really terrible to Kristy. I scared her a lot. I attempted to jump out the window of our apartment, and she tackled me to the floor”. That image of Kristy fiercely taking care of him, saving him, has stuck with me throughout the year. It’s beautiful. We all need someone to save us, to care for us when we’re at our lowest. “On My Way” is a beautiful song in which Michael proclaims, “Just believe in me, Kristina/ All these demons, I can beat them”. He goes on to sing, “Let’s get married, I’ll buy a ring/ And then we’ll consecrate this messy love”. As Michael shares his life struggles with us he offers us solidarity with him. We alongside him need healing in some area of our lives. Michael also gives this good advice in the Pitchfork interview, “I don’t think people talk about mental illness a lot, but they need to know it’s OK to talk about how they are feeling. I wish more people would get help when they feel like they need it– not just to look to medicine, but to the support of others”. Gossamer is a superb pop album that offers healing. Here’s some words of wisdom from Angelakos to leave you with: “We all have problems, and we all have something to say”, and remember, “everyday’s another chance”.

Listen to I’ll Be Alright here.

7. The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

tallest man on earth best of 2012

The Tallest Man On Earth continues to seemingly effortlessly put out some of the best singer-songwriter material around these days. This is a standout folk release from this year. I can only sit down, smile, and admire it’s beauty whenever I listen to it. I love the rawness and lo fi production of all Kristian Matsson’s releases. It makes it sound like it’s from an older time. No song this year moved me quite like “Little Brother”. There’s true pain and compassion heard clearly in Kristian’s voice and deep love in the story of an older brother who’s concerned about his younger brother’s well being. Like a prayer he sings, “If you could only lose these miles”. Similar to Bon Iver, The Tallest Man on Earth’s lyrics are mysterious and allusive, but that is what makes each listen so rewarding. Kristian speaks human truths through honest poetry. His hope-filled words, “We will end up somehow with a peaceful mind and you’re leading me now” encourage me. That’s the kind of artist Kristian is, he empowers people.

Listen to Leading Me Now here.

8. Perfume Genius –  Put Your Back N 2 It

perfume genius best of 2

Though Mike Hadreas might sound frail he truly is strong. He is facing the darkest parts of his life and is searching for love and peace. Put Your Back N 2 It is one of the most utterly beautiful albums of the year. With the piano and his quivering voice Mike creates exquisite songs. Compassion is radiant in the song Dark Parts. Mike powerfully sings, “The love you feel is stronger”, he goes on to say, “I will take the dark part of your heart into my heart”. All Waters is one of the most moving songs ever penned for the equality of the LGBT community. Mike sings, “When I can take your hand on any crowded street/ And hold you close to me with no hesitating”. Mike is gay himself so his songs often deal with his sexuality and the discrimination he’s faced in his life. There is darkness and haunting images in this record but oh there is such beautiful light. The last song, Sister Song, is a beautiful hymn of assurance and peace. Author Robert Fulgham once said, “Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away”. Mike has fought for peace with this record. That’s what makes it so beautiful.

Listen to Dark Parts here.

9. The Walkmen – Heaven

the walkmen best of 1

The Walkmen have given us a sunny and optimistic record with Heaven. Hamilton Leithauser sings in Heartbreaker, “These are the good years/ ah they best we’ll ever know/ these golden light years”. Heartbreaker is one of the best beach pop songs of the year. The Walkmen simply know how to craft great songs. They combine the sounds of rock, pop, and folk brilliantly. Hamilton also brings great punk energy to many of the songs like The Love You Love in which he basically howls the chorus. They have a older, refined sound which is nice to hear these days. Their music is so warm and graceful. The lover’s plea in “Heaven” displays the courage and endurance that is required in a marriage beautifully, “Don’t leave me, Oh you’re my best friend, all my life you’ve always been / Remember, remember all we fight for”. The Walkmen are a band that impress with every release. They’re dead on when they sing, “We can’t be beat”.

Listen to Heartbreaker here.

10. Chairlift – Something

chairlift best of 33

Chairlift are a synth-pop duo who bring back the sounds of 80’s in the best ways. Caroline Polacheck’s vocals have continued to impress me throughout the entire year. She has a mesmerizing, soulful voice that she stretches in many compelling directions. I Belong In Your Arms sounds like a hit straight out of the 80’s. It’s an epic love song. Wrong Opinion is an enchanting, dark, and cold pop song. I’ve never heard anything like it before, it sounds like pop music from the future. In it Caroline sings painfully about drifting apart from somebody she loved, “I laid my guts on the table and you said no/…I see the sun rising over the edge/ Did you miss it or ignore it?/ I see the beginning where you see the end”. This album presents us with a young group that have a lot of talent and promise.

Listen to I Belong In Your Arms here.

Best Of The Rest…

11. Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

12. Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE

13. Taylor Swift – Red

14. Grizzly Bear – Shields

15. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

16. Purity Ring – Shrines

17. Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur

18. Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

19. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – The Heist

20. Grimes – Visions

21. Cat Power – Sun

22. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

23. Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror

24. Jessie Ware – Devotion

25. Frankie Rose – Interstellar

26. Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

27. Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

28. Jack White – Blunderbuss

29. The xx – Coexist

30. Beth Orton – Sugaring Season

Hope everyone had an awesome year! Wishing you a sweeet new one as well 😀

Big thanks to my brother Joel for the Bear Swag artwork!

 

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My Favorite Albums Of 2012 So Far

Beach House – Bloom

With music that is heavenly and magical and lyrics that are heartbreaking and beautiful, Beach House have once again created a pop masterpiece. Each song has something poetic and profound to say about love and relationships. Beach House remind us how precious relationships are in the song Wishes, “One in your life, it happens once and rarely twice”. Victoria Legrand’s vocals are as lovely as ever on Bloom. She honestly has some of the best female vocals I have ever heard. I can’t recommend this band’s music highly enough. Bloom is my favorite record of the year so far.

Listen to Bloom here.

The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now

The stories that Kristian Matsson’s sings about are vivid and full of humanity. His acoustic music is raw and timeless. One of the most haunting songs I’ve heard this year is “Little Brother” which is about a brother facing both his younger brother’s trials and his own trials. There is such honest feeling in this song. You can hear real pain in Matsson’s voice as he’s singing this song. When you hear something like that you can be sure you are listening to something special; something honest, true, and powerful.

Listen to the single “1904” here.

The Shins – Port Of Morrow

It’s been refreshing to hear such a positive pop album from The Shins this year. This album encourages us to cherish our friendships, be grateful, and to carry each other through the darkness in our lives. Can’t ask for much more from an album than that. This record is a gift.

Listen to Port Of Morrow here.

The Walkmen – Heaven

The Walkmen sound wise and reflective on their new record. This may be due to the fact that they have had 12 years of experience together. The Walkmen explore the ups and downs of life and love on this record with unrestrained honesty. This album is like a camp fire, always warm and always inviting.

Listen to Heaven here.

Jack White – Blunderbuss

Jack White continues being a master of rock and roll with his new solo record. It’s a strange, fun album in which Jack offers many interesting perspectives on love, relationships, and women. It’s one hell of a rock record.

Listen to Blunderbuss here.

Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It

This is a record with short songs that are each extremely powerful and beautiful. Mike Hadreas’ piano music and vocals express human brokeness and longing to great effect.

Listen to Put Your Back N 2 It here.

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Jason Pierce is a rocker who sounds like the Beatles and sings songs that express feelings of depression and doubt but are also hopeful. Pierce wrestles with God, love, and drug addiction in his lyrics. Sweet Heart Sweet Light is a comforting hand to hold in this messy life.

Listen to Sweet Heart Sweet Light here.

Frankie Rose – Interstellar

Frankie Rose’s angelic vocals and her dreamy, outer space pop music makes this a memorable record.

Listen to Interstellar here.

Japandroids – Celebration Rock

If you wanted an album this year that you can seriously rock out to and that will leave you grinning ear to ear, well here you go! Japandroids capture the energy of youth within this record and give you reason to celebrate life.

Listen to Celebration Rock here.

Chairlift – Something

It’s Caroline Polachek’s rich, emotive vocals which make this young band something to watch out for. Chairlift’s synthpop music compliments her voice well. I can only imagine that this band has a bright future.

Listen to Something here.

BADBADNOTGOOD – BBNG2

This young group of guys are making some fresh, ferocious jazz music. With a rebel spirit BBNG are a rising, special band.

Download BBNG2 for free here.

Sleigh Bells – Reign Of Terror

Derek Miller’s loud guitar music and Alexis Krauss’ sweet and fiery vocals are a great mix that make Sleigh Bell’s music unique and vibrant. Reign Of Terror further shows Sleigh Bells to be an exciting group that have their own convincing swagger.

Listen to Reign Of Terror here.

Sigur Ros – Valtari

There’s something holy about Sigur Ros’ music. With Valtari they have crafted another glorious post rock album that leaves you space to think, dream, and imagine.

Listen to Valtari here.

Kathleen Edwards – Voyageur

Kathleen Edwards is a singer-songwriter with country and folk influences. She has a beautiful voice and her music is easygoing even as she explores some darker themes in her songs.

Listen to Voyageur here.

 Royal Headache – Self Titled

This Australian garage rock band make fun, positive, and soulful rock music. So throw your cares away and dance a little why don’t you?

Listen to Royal Headache here.

John Talabot – Fin

A very solid dance album that is full of jungle rhythms and pulsating life.

Listen to Fin here.

There has been some great music that’s come out this first half of the year. I’m looking forward to hearing what the rest of the year holds for us in music.

What are some of your favorite albums of the year so far?

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My Favorite Albums Of 2011

Top 10

1. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

I am so excited about the direction Fleet Foxes are heading in with their music. I love their first self titled record with its beautiful harmonies and great songwriting but I was hoping Fleet Foxes would write some more relatable lyrics with their next release. And they did! You’ve heard the saying, “The examined life is not worth living”, well Robin Pecknold (lead singer) seems to have taken that to heart and crafted an album in which he examines his life and the mysterious world that we live in. With this record Fleet Foxes created a folk record that is for the people and speaks of our fears, anxieties, love, and finding our place in this mysterious world. “Helplessness Blues” is one of the best folk anthems of the year. In this song Pecknold sings, “If I had a orchard I’d work till I’m sore,” which is a metaphor that alludes to the classic folk song written by Pete Seeger “If I Had A Hammer”. In the epic near 8 minute song “The Shrine/The Argument” you can feel Pecknold’s pain in wake of a breakup with a lover. When Pecknold sings, “When you talk you hardly even look in my eyes,” you can hear the pain in his voice. It is a powerful song that even has a crazy sax solo at the end. We would all do well to ask ourselves the question Pecknold asks in the first song of the album “Montezuma”, “Could I wash my hands of just looking out for me?”. We need more artists like Fleet Foxes who encourage people to examine their lives and make changes in themselves and the world they live in. Though Fleet Foxes delve into weightier subjects with this album they don’t sacrifice their great sound and harmonies. Helplessness Blues is a thoughtful and great album. We all can rest happily knowing that folk music is alive and is in good hands with Fleet Foxes. Well done Fleet Foxes, well done.

2. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

There’s nobody out there making music quite like Annie Clark aka St. Vincent. She blends pop sounds with guitar shredding and has vocals that can be sweet, delicate, and also fierce at times. There’s more focus on guitar work in this album and her sound becomes even more unique because of it. Strange Mercy is a lot of fun to listen to because it has so many diverse sounds and memorable lyrics. It’s the humanity Clark portrays in the stories she tells that make this record one of my favorite records of the year. Whether she is singing about not wanting to be a cheerleader or a dirt-eater anymore or about trying to hard to be clever in “Cheerleader”, or singing about depression in “Surgeon”, or telling a story about a single mother’s love and mercy for her son in “Strange Mercy”, she tells stories that are humanistic. Clark delves into our insecurities and flaws as human beings but she also sings about people making changes in their lives or just trying to do their best in the face of resistance. She also sings about sex, love, desire, and heartbreak in the songs “Neutered Fruit” and “Dilettante”. There are also little things that I notice and love in this album, like the way Clark sings the word “air” in a crackling whisper in the song “Champagne Year”. Strange Mercy is a rewarding album each time I listen to it. This album also makes me excited for St. Vincent’s future releases. Annie Clark is so good that I believe she’ll get even better with time. Strange mercy, beautiful mercy, Annie presents both to us masterfully with this album.

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

No song hit me harder on first listen this year than Bon Iver’s “Perth”. It is a truly epic song with great guitar playing, military like drumming, and the beautiful horn playing near the end of the song. Bon Iver’s self titled album is truly magical. Justin Vernon (lead singer/ songwriter) builds upon the beauty of his first album For Emma Forever Ago with this record. Where For Emma mostly had folk, acoustic arrangement this album takes that same formula and adds lush instrumentation. The lyrics are great on this album. Vernon is truly a musical poet. Phrases stick with you from these songs and also are moving and powerful each time you hear them. An example being when Vernon sings in the beautiful song Holocene, “And at once I knew I was not magnificent”. When he sings this he seems to me to have sung some of the most humble and honest words of any singer-songwriter this year. I also love the very first line in Perth where Vernon sings, “I’m tearing up, acrost your face”. To me it seems like he’s singing about the shared emotion of a relationship breaking apart. Though the whole album was pleasantly surprising on first listen, the final song “Beth/Rest” was definitely the biggest curveball Vernon threw with its 80’s piano ballad feel to it. Justin Vernon has proven himself to be one the most exciting artists of this day and age, and I believe he will be surprising us with great music for many years to come.

4. Low – C’mon

If you’re looking for one of the best alternative albums that is both dark and beautiful from this year then look no further than Low’s C’mon. This was the first Low album I’ve listened to and I’m glad I gave it a chance. It’s a very affecting piece of work. The music is orchestrated beautifully on every song, and the songs are easy to sing along to. This is a dark record but there is also glimpses of hope in it as well. Low give us reassuring words, like the repeated phrases “My love is for free my love” and “I’m nothing but heart” in two of the record’s songs. C’mon is a record for the down and out, the poor in spirit, the lost, and and the broken hearted. We all need a record like this sometimes.

5. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

This marvelous concept album about the Great War came out early this year and is certainly one of the strongest releases the year. PJ Harvey created with this album a powerful and haunting meditation on war and its affect on people and the world. Harvey familiarized herself with war by researching the history of conflict, including the Gallipoli Campaign, and reading modern-day testimonies from civilians and soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. A cool fact about the recording of this album is that much of it was recorded live in St. Peter’s Church Eype in Dorset, England. Let England Shake belongs in a place beside all the acclaimed novels, films, and art pieces that depict war and its horrors.

6. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

One of the best surprises of the year for me was Lykke Li’s album Wounded Rhymes. She has a truly unique pop rock sound. Lykke Li’s vocals are great, sexy, and expressive. With deep drum sounds her music has an even tribal sound to it. There are aggressive and fun songs on this album such as “Youth Knows No Pain”, “Get Some”, and “Rich Kid Blues”. There are also beautiful pop ballads such as “Love Out Of Lust”, “I Know Places”, and “Sadness Is A Blessing”. The more I listen to this album the more I love it.

7. Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

When I first heard the song “Honey Bunny” off Girl’s Father, Son, Holy Ghost I knew I was in for special album. I immediately loved this song, it’s so much fun to listen to. It’s fast with a pop rock sound and has great lyrics, like, “I’ve been messing with so many girls/ who can give a damn who I am?/ They don’t like my bony body, or my dirty hair.” It’s a short song, only two minutes and thirty three seconds, but it became my favorite track of the year. Another standout song from this record is “Vomit”. It’s a slow, burning song about foolishly returning to one’s own mistakes. It was named after the verse in the Bible in the book of Proverbs that goes like this: “As a dog returns to his vomit, so does a fool return to his folly”. This song is epic. It moves slow for the majority the song, then rock outs, and then a gospel choir sings powerfully at the end. My other favorite track is “Forgiveness” which is about forgiveness and the good and bad we possess in our soul. This song includes zen like lyrics at the very end of the song: “And I can see so much clearer when I just close my eyes”. Girls are able with their music to create a classic sound, that is also fresh. Christopher Owens (lead singer) is able to convey pain and honest feeling with his voice. With mindful lyrics that connect with our humanity and music that is timeless, Girls have made one of the best records of the year.

8. Destroyer – Kaputt

Kaputt by Destroyer is an album that is just plain fun to listen to. It’s a sophisticated pop album, which has an 80‘s pop sound fused with great horn arrangements. The lyrics are abstract and they’re written very well and paired with the great music they create a very listenable album. This album has a classic yet innovative sound. When Dan Bejar sings “Don’t be ashamed or disgusted with yourselves,” in the song “Blue Eyes” I believe he is speaking to us all.

9. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart are a band that possibly would have been even more popular in the 80’s. Their heart on sleeve lyrics and sugary hooks would fit in the 80’s pop scene perfectly. But the nice thing is that this music belongs just as much in this day and age as it does any other year. Belong is an album that I think best captured teenage love within its music and lyrics this year.

10. Washed Out – Within And Without

“Your faith decides the world you are going to find,” sings Ernest Greene aka Washed Out, in the very optimistic song “Amor Fati”. Washed Out is a chill-wave band who creates beautiful music that true to the genre’s name is easy to chill to. Washed Out’s music glistens, shines, and flows like a stream. I always walk away feeling good after listening to this album.

11-50

11. The Antlers – Burst Apart
12. Wild Beasts – Smother
13. Typhoon – A New Kind of House
14. TV On The Radio – Nine Types of Light
15. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
16. Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
17. Grails – Deep Politics
18. Wilco – The Whole Love
19. A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Self Titled
20. Okkervil River – I Am Very Far
21. The Black Keys – El Camino
22. Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
23. Cults – Cults
24. Beirut – The Rip Tide
25. The Roots – Undun
26. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
27. Eleanor Friedberger – Last Summer
28. The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love
29. Active Child – You Are All I See
30. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck
31. EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
32. Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know
33. F—D Up – David Comes To Life
34. Korallreven – An Album By Korallreven
35. Wye Oak – Civilian
36. Cut Copy – Zonoscope
37. Big K.R.I.T.  – Return Of 4Eva
38. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
39. Switchfoot – Vice Verses
40. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto
41. Little Scream – The Golden Record
42. Panda Bear – Tomboy
43. Youth Lagoon – The Year Of Hibernation
44. Gotye – Making Mirrors
45. Mint Julep – Save Your Season
46. Austra – Feel It Break
47. James Blake – James Blake
48. tUne – yArDs – W H O K I L L
49. Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep
50. Nicholas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise
Another great year in music! What were some of your favorite albums of the year everybody?
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Honorable Mention 2011

These are the albums from 2011 that didn’t quite make my top 50 albums, but I still enjoyed them. As I look at my end of the year lists I believe there are a lot of albums that will still grow on me. Back in 2010 I didn’t immediately love the Beach House album Teen Dream, but it grew on me and became one of my top favorite albums of 2010. My top 50 albums will be posted soon. A lot of great music graced my ears this year and I’m grateful. Hope you had a good year too. Cheers!

Now for the honorable mentions:

Adele – 21

M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming

Feist – Metals

Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Florence & The Machine – Ceremonials 

Julianna Barwick – The Magic Place

FareWell Poetry – Hoping For The Invisible To Ignite

Drake – Take Care

Atlas Sound – Parallax

Kendrick Lamar – Section .80

Grouper – Alien Observer

Dominant Legs – Invitation

Yuck – Yuck

Over The Rhine – The Long Surrender

Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep

Jaimie Woon – Mirrorwriting

Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours

Bodies Of Water – Twist Again

Future Islands – On The Water

Little Dragon – Ritual Union

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Favorite Songs Of 2011 So Far

Bon Iver – Calgary

Bon Iver’s whole new album is fantastic. It’s hard to pick a favorite song, I enjoy them all.

Beyonce – 1+1 

The soul of this song is so great. Beyonce’s voice is dynamite, and this is one of her best songs if not her best. It’s an epic, sexy ballad.

Destroyer – Blue Eyes

Some of my favorite lyrics of the year, “I sent a message, in a bottle to the press, it said ‘Don’t be ashamed or disgusted with yourselves, Don’t be ashamed or disgusted with yourselves”.

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

There is great angst in this song. Fleet Foxes have become a very great folk band.

Explosions In The Sky – Postcards From 1952

I wish Explosions In The Sky’s music could play in the background of so many moments in my life. At least it can within my memories and thoughts.

Typhoon – The Honest Truth

Great song from Portland, OR band Typhoon. Love the lyrics, “Be kind to all of your neighbors, because they’re just like you and you’re nothing special unless they are too”.

F—D Up – The Other Shoe

Damn this song rocks! As Pink Eye screams and Jennifer Castle sings the chorus, “We’re dying on the side!”,  it makes me love this hardcore pop song.

TV On The Radio – Second Song

The first song (or second song) I truly loved this year. When the beat picks up it’s such a golden moment.

Okkervil River – We Need A Myth

The utter beauty of this song floored me and still does floor me. The yearning to believe and hope in something is expressed poetically in this song.

The Mountain Goats – Never Quite Free

A beautiful song about hope and peace.

Washed Out – Before

My summer chill song.

Radiohead – Give Up The Ghost

One of Radiohead’s most beautiful songs.

Raphael Saadiq – Over You

This guy is bringing back soul music and it’s very enjoyable.

Lykke Li – Love Out Of Lust

Lykke Li crafts some very unique, beautiful pop songs.

Wye Oak – Civilian 

One of the most beautiful, haunting songs I’ve heard this year.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – The Body 

Sugary, sugary pop…

The Strokes – Machu Picchu

Great rock song with island vibes.

The Joy Formidable – The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie

“Love is the everchanging spectrum of a lie, a lie to hide behind when nothing’s right… Can’t you see I’m good?” It’s a sad song that gets me each time I listen to it.

The Antlers – Corsicana 

I love Peter Silberman’s vocals.

Big Krit – R4 Theme Song

Can’t forget hip hop! Doesn’t Justin Scott (aka Big Krit) look like a fun person to hang out with? His rhymes and style are slick!

Hooray For Earth – Bring Us Closer Together 

If you want a pop song to sing along to check this out.

Grails – Future Primitive

Let this post rock band take you on an adventure.

SBTRKT – Hold On

An emerging talent from the UK. If you like dubstep or James Blake this is worth a listen.

PJ Harvey – The Last Living Rose

PJ Harvey has created one of the best albums about war ever. This a great song from the album Let England Shake.

Note: Songs are in no particular order, enjoyed them all!

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My Favorite Albums Of 2010

1. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

3. The National – High Violet

4. Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People EP

5. The Walkmen – Lisbon

6. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

7. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

8. The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt

9. Jónsi – Go

10. The Roots – How I Got Over

11. The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever

12. Menomena – Mines

13. Shad – TSOL

14. The Drums – The Drums

15. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest

16. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening

17. Typhoon – Hunger And Thirst

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Honorable Mention 2010

Beach House – Teen Dream

Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away

Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

Janelle Monae – The ArchAndroid

Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Darker My Love – Alive As You Are

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Best New Artists Of 2010

The Drums

This band came out of nowhere and surprised me in the best way possible. Their pop is so enjoyable, sweet, and thoughtful. This band is (cliche word coming folks) magical.

Mumford & Sons

These English folk rockers are such a great new band. Great things are happening for them now and I believe they are a band that will last a long time. They really have a unique sound. Marcus Mumford sings with such raw emotion. Their album came out early in the year and has been playing all year long for me.

Surfer Blood

Typhoon

Freelance Whales

Y La Bamba

Sleigh Bells

Stornoway

Glasser

Fang Island

Warpaint
Frank (Just Frank)
Mimicking Birds
Active Child
Grouplove
Joy Formidable

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My Favorite 2010 Albums to Listen to

Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

Shad – TSOL

Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

Best Albums Of 2010 So Far


The National- High Violet

Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More

The Tallest Man On Earth- Wild Hunt

The Hold Steady- Heaven Is Whenever

Jonsi- Go

Shad- TSOL

Shearwater- The Golden Archipelago

Broken Social Scene- Forgiveness Rock Record

Delorean- Subiza

Band of Horses- Infinite Arms



Honorable Mention:

Blitzen Trapper- Destroyer of the Void, Josh Ritter- So Runs the World Away, Sam Amidon- I See The Sign, The Black Keys- Brothers, The Dead Weather- Sea of Cowards, She & Him- Volume Two, The New Pornographers-Together, Mimicking Birds- Self Titled, Joanna Newsome- Have One On Me, The Radio Dept.- Clinging To A Scheme.

Here are some tracks from some of the best albums of 2010: http://listen.grooveshark.com/#/playlist/Best+of+2010+So+Far/30448083

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