Yes, enough of the nearly men, let’s hear it for the real winners! Not a vintage year of music, but there’s still a lot of quality stuff out there. The list only contains a few name I’d consider new, so there’s a few familiar faces on it! See what you think, and feel free to bitch about the ones I left off!
11.Beach House – Bloom – Ok, I’m cheating as this is a top 10, but I really didn’t want to leave this one off! This is a wonderfully layered synth pop album with wonderful vocals that just drifts and wafts.
10. Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel – I have to say I didn’t really rate Fiona until I heard this album, as I thought she didn’t take enough risks, and played largely within herself. This… was a serious step in the right direction!
9. Mark Eitzel – Don’t be a stranger – ‘Lets go toast the twilight at the old horror house, it’s a grave yard, the music’s loud, the future’s bleak’…. and so starts Mark’s 13th solo album! He can really churn them out, but this one almost didn’t happen, with a number of health issues in the past year. We’re glad to have him back, and I hope to see him in Dublin soon!
8. Sharon Von Etten – Tramp – Sharon has always had a number of famous friends, and she has featured on a number of the National’s songs previously. It’s not surprise that her album featured the talents of Zach Condon (Beirut), Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Julianna Barwick, Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, Thomas Bartlett, and Aaron Dessner. Yes, she lived rough for a while also,so that’s where the album name comes from!
7. The Walkmen – Heaven – Not the walkmen’s best hour, but still, they’re just so good at what they do, I couldn’t leave them off. This album was produced by Fleet Foxes producer Peter Ek, and featured contributions from two of the Foxes, and one Cocteau Twin! It’s a lot quieter than their last few albums, but it’s an album I still go back to on occasion.
6. Peter Broderick – http://www.itstartshear.com – If the world cared what I had to say, this guy would already be a big star! This album is fun, inventive and quite beautiful as the song below will attest. Each song is a new toy for him to play with, as he moulds them as per whatever whim takes him. Some of them are simple and some layered monstrosities, but even the ugly ones are kinda pretty! Peter is from Carlton, Oregon, and has performed with Efterklang live, and really can’t do much wrong in my book!
5. Tame Impala – Lonerism – This was produced by David Fridmann, and sounds like a dreamy lost mercury rev album! It’s a collection of psyche rock songs that are nicely all over the place. The band themselves are a five piece from Perth, and good to see something special coming from down under! ‘He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac, ’cause he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back’
4. Dan Deacon – America – Has Dan grown up? The man who always seemed like a boy? Nah, don’t worry. While in some ways this is his most serious album to date, he still plays around and destroys the beautiful things he creates as much as ever. It is his first album to have live string sections and other musicians, as he moved away from the full electronic sound. It’s a nice blend of the two worlds, and interesting to see what Dan makes of it.
3. Kendrick Lamar –Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – This has been the only thing I’ve listened to for just about the last month! It’s been next to impossible to turn the damn thing off despite repeated attempts! I’m not normally a huge fan of rap, but this has so much going on, and so much complexity to it, that it really is something special. It’s a concept album telling the story of Kendrick taking his mother’s car and travelling to his girlfriends house, etc, but mostly it’s just about the songs! There’s a few gems in there.
2. Grizzly Bear – Shields – The only surprise about this album is that it wasn’t higher on the list, as I spent most of the year looking forward to it! When it arrived, it didn’t immediately dazzle as I’d expected, but still it was a Grizzly album, which is always a special event. The album was produced by the band’s own Chris Taylor, and was the first time they didn’t layer the vocals, so each voice is single, raw and untreated! It was also the first time that a number of the songs were co written by members of the band, as they tried cooperation for the first time! Another gem from the Grizzly guys…
1. Sun Kil Moon – Among the Leaves – Yes, after blathering on about how good this album is for the best part of the year, it’s no real surprise that it’s up top of the list! He’s one of the most difficult guys in music today, but he’s always had an amazing voice and this album was something of a departure, as he’s moved away from his typical love songs, into talking about his life. The results are quite bizarre, as the songs deal with hating travel, touring, getting v.d. (or stings as he nicely puts it!), younger talentless singers, filler tracks on albums, etc. It’s another sprawling one, at over 73 minutes.
‘London, London, it’s all the rage if your favourite colour’s beige, London, London, look left, look right, makes me think of death!’
So, that’s it for another year in sounds! Where does the time go, really. Seems only yesterday we were doing 2011, 2010…
Great stuff dude. Nice to see Mark top the list. And UK Blues is an incredible song.
Mark was a mile ahead in my humble opinion! Still, some good stuff this year. Nice to have a couple of new names in there also…