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  1. #1
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    'Tis the season... to post your Top 10 Albums List!!!

    Or Top 5. Or Top 42. Or however long you want to make your list. I'll start...

    My Top 13 of 2011
    It was an interesting year in music. I’ve looked at a number of “year in review” lists from other online opinion-babblers, and something really struck me… no two lists are even remotely similar.

    The real story of this year? A critically acclaimed group led by a quirky guitarist/singer/songwriter rediscovers the joys of compelling songcraft and puts out a consistently listenable disc that deserves notice and warrants repeated listens. There, I’ve just described 9 of my top 13 selections.

    1. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
    The thing is, I’m not even really a Decemberists fan. They’ve always struck me as a little too precious and too self-consciously literate to draw me in. But this collection of songs is so memorable, so consistently enjoyable, that it’s undeniable. From the sing-along refrains of “Rox in the Box” and “Down by the Water” to the apocalyptic humor of the “Calamity Song” to the fragile, heartbreaking beauty of “January Hymn,” there is a lot here to love. Your grandchildren will be singing these songs.

    2. Wilco – The Whole Love
    Jeff Tweedy and Co. deliver a resonant song-cycle, bookended by two stunning, epic-length musical meditations. It’s more focused than their last effort, and more challenging (at times) than the one before that.

    3. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar
    This one is the surprise of the year for me. It’s the most engaging marriage of power-trio-pop and shoegaze-inspired noise since the heyday of Teenage Fanclub. Seeing their blistering set at Lollapalooza was simply icing on the cake. That little Welsh pixie and her two pals can bring the thunder!

    4. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean

    I know a lot of people were disappointed by the more accessible and radio-ready sound of this disc, but I mean… come on. This group of songs needed a treatment like this. I don’t care how “pop” it seems at first blush, it just sounds right to me. It’s warm, inviting, listenable, rich, smooth and chocolatey.

    5. REM – Collapse Into Now

    These guys have closed out their formidable career as a band with two late releases which more than made up for their previous detours into adult-contemporary territory. And while this disc doesn’t quite measure up to the high and hard-hitting standard of 2008’s Accelerate, it does include numerous memorable moments. Farewell, and thanks for all the memories!

    6. My Morning Jacket – Circuital
    A step back in the right direction after Evil Urges, this album was touted as a “return to their roots”. I think it’s more accurate to say that this represents the evolutionary step they should have taken after 2006’s Z album. It’s not as hard-rocking as that disc, but it’s just as soulful and heartfelt.

    7. The Black Keys – El Camino
    After several albums of gritty, basic, dirty-sounding blues-rock albums, this duo decided to update their sound a bit by bringing in uber-producer Dangermouse on a few songs on their last album. This album is more of that. Not tough to understand the appeal here, but can someone please explain all the mini-vans on the album cover art?

    8. Arctic Monkeys – Suck It and See
    When I first heard the obnoxious title, I cringed. When they leaked the first single, “Brick by Brick,” I cringed even harder… because that is one awful song. But most of the rest of the album is actually a very listenable exercise in 60’s-style guitar pop, with confident melodies and ridiculous lyrics.

    9. The Cars – Move Like This
    Apparently, what the world needed now was another Cars album. Thank god they didn’t try to “update” their sound… it’s a damn Cars album. Period.

    10. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

    This one takes more than a few listens to connect with, but its weirdness eventually won me over. Nervous, twitchy percussion undergirds some trippy vocal loops, guitars and electronics once again… this time taking you on a voyage from wakefulness, to dream to nightmare to reawakening.

    11. Steven Wilson – Grace for Drowning
    This two-disc set isn’t neo-prog, or prog-metal, or prog-space-pop or anything like that. It’s just old-fashioned, unapologetic prog that wouldn’t sound out of place in the King Crimson catalog. Listen at your own peril.

    12. The Boxer Rebellion – The Cold Still
    Their 2009 release, Union, was my pick for Album of the Year. This one didn’t grab me quite as much, but it still gets semi-regular rotation on my system.

    13. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
    I was never really much of a fan of these guys either. And there aren’t any true stand-out tracks for me on this album, but taken as a whole… it works. It reminds me of being 15 and sitting down in my best friend’s fake-wood-paneled basement, listening to Aerosmith Rocks for the first time.
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  2. #2
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    I maybe heard about 50 albums this year, some just sampled online or heard elsewhere, most not purchased, so can't really say that I know too much more than this list of my 10 favorites below. I've talked about many of them in one place or another around here, and all of them have been listened to at least a few times ...

    1. David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights - Left by Soft
    One of my favorite artists making the type of music I love, and it's right there with his best. This is the one I have listened to most this year, both at home and in the car. Trademark jangle rock like his "other" band, the Clean... and the Feelies (their 2011 Here Before is a noted absence from this list, but listened a couple times and didn't buy it) and Luna and all the others. And lots of beautiful guitar playing on this one, which is usually the case on his later solo records, but this one is special, almost like a NY & Crazy Horse record at times. And as usual, sounds pretty nice too, even if not very dynamic. Sadly, picked it up at the going-out-of-business sale for another local record shop. Very nice Ned Raggett review at AllMusic if you are interested. "Diamond Mine" posted at song of the day.

    2. Hypatia Lake - Ouroboros
    Really kind of surprised how much I like this record. Pretty hard rocking mix of Black Sabbath and some 90s shoegazer sound (they've been tagged as My Bloody Sabbath in the past), with some Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull and others mixed in. All works together very well. I like the previous one from a few years ago called Angels and Demons, Space and Time, but this one is a definite change, and for the better. They dropped some of the shoegazer layering, and really embraced their new power trio format to good effect. Strange lyrical themes throughout their works, with a setting in the fictional town of Hypatia Lake, and with an epic ongoing battle between good and evil as the backdrop carrying on from the previous album. "Only The Queen" posted at song of the day. Fun record for the winter months - and speaking of record, they do have it out on orange swirl 180gm vinyl at their bandcamp site, with glow in the dark silkscreened cover and all the psychedelic trimmings. Name your own price for the digital version, mp3 or flac or whatever. Probably shouldn't be this high on my list, and that Low record should be higher, but whatever, this is good stuff, and pretty much guaranteed not to be on very few (any?) other lists you see this year

    3. Wild Beasts - Smother
    This one has been working it's magic on me recently, and belongs on this list, but really not sure exactly where yet, so this may be a little high. Comes off a bit like a more fun version of Radiohead, but not the guitar-heavy early version, more like the later electronically-enhanced version. Which makes this record a little reminiscent of Australia's Augie March too (as I've said many times, everyone should have a copy of Sunset Studies), musically interesting and lyrically poetic, and emotional. Adventurous, without being pretentious. I guess one could say similar things about Coldplay or Elbow or a lot of other not very interesting Brit bands in the last 15 years, but this music seems more special to me. The closing trio of songs really makes the record for me, "Reach a Bit Further", "Burning", and the most amazing "End Comes too Soon" (all 3 posted at song of the day). Inseparable for me now, but that closer is pretty special. Great album all the way through, and one of the best I have heard this year. Not bad sounding either, still too loud, what you gonna do, but not bad as most. Comes in with a DR of 10 overall ...which isn't very good in the big picture (that's the same value as the PJ Harvey CD which sounds pretty good overall), but a lot of music has less dynamic range than the old days because of modern production techniques with the layers of background sounds. I was just listening to the original Talking Heads Remain In Light CD which is a pretty dense mix, and it still has songs that report DR 17, which is quite a transition. Music just isn't as subtle in the background levels as it was in older times, and the obligatory compression pushes those levels even higher in the mix.

    4. PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    Probably enough said already. I love a lot of it, but not all of it. My favorite PJ period is still the first two records, but in recent times I've developed a new-found love of Is This Desire?, and it is similar to this in that I love most of it, but not all of it. The high points are among her best, and she's one of my favorite artists. One of the most consistently well reviewed records this year, and even won the Mercury Prize. Her last couple records have gone back to more dynamic mastering levels and not as much compression, so that is really welcome.

    5. Low - C'mon
    I've always liked Low, especially those late 90s/early 00's records with Steve Albini at the controls. Things We Lost in the Fire, now that's an amazing record. Subtle charm that you don't often hear from a rock band. To be honest, I'm not crazy about the last few records, just not the sound of Low that I like the best, but I do like this one, especially the beautiful opening "Try To Sleep", and that monumental "Witches" song with the powerful wall of churning guitars. Mimi's "Especially Me" is another really nice one (posted at song of the day). One or two more of those and this would be even higher. As it is, some of it goes by without leaving much behind (yet), even though it can be very powerful at the time. It's a real grower though, and will continue to get better in my view, so may be sitting right there with David Kilgour in a month or two.

    6. We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships
    Cool title. By the now defunct Pela, who reformed as We Are Augustines. As mentioned in another thread, reminds me a little of what I loved about the first Old Canes record (the folk-rock side project of the Appleseed Cast), the hint of Jeff Mangum and the Neutral Milk Hotel in the room, but that feel was gone by the second time around. This has some of that, maybe some National, and something else kind of big, more epic rock sounding. A little menacing at times. Some good variety, but that something is still there throughout. Just got it a few weeks ago so don't know how long that new feel will last.

    7. Richmond Fontaine - The High Country
    Always high quality music and lyrics, very good if you like the style they've adopted on the last few records, kinda laid back and literate, with a couple rockers to mix it up. The CD is a bit loud, but not too bad, only eeks out a 9 on the DR meter. Still sounds OK. The vinyl probably sounds nicer. Great band and amazing record. John Askew produced this one and gives it some of that noir-esque sound he brought to that cool little Tracker record of his own, Polk. Another bought through their bandcamp site.

    8. Josh T. Pearson - Last Of The Country Gentlemen
    This one is mastered nicely, good levels, and the recording is pretty much live in the studio, recorded over 2 days in Berlin, with just a hint of reverb, maybe both natural and added, but gives it a nice warmth and fullness, especially on a good set of phones. One of those records you just can't listen to very often, too powerful and too much hurt, but brilliant. The foobar DR meter shows 12, which is rare these days for pop/rock music. But this isn't really from this era.

    9. Richard Buckner - Our Blood
    This can't possibly live up to my expectations, with his legacy of records from the mid-90s that is one of my favorite runs from any artist of any period, and it doesn't, but I still like it a lot. It's mostly just Richard by himself, doing it all, and does suffer some from the artist alone syndrome, I think his best music came working with the likes of Lloyd Maines and the Giant Sand/Calexico guys and Marc Ribot. But he is one of my favorites, and it is a good set of songs, just not great. Bloomed, Devotion + Doubt, Since, The Hill, those are all great.

    10. Widowspeak - Widowspeak
    Sounds quite a bit like Mazzy Star, but I do really like Mazzy Star. "Hard Times" at song of the day.

    10. Airbag - All Rights Removed
    Do we really need a new Pink Floyd? I wasn't sure after the first listen, but this relatively new Norwegian band is really very good. The CD suffers a little from modern recording practices, and only manages a 9 on the foobar DR meter, but doesn't sound bad, just not what it could in the right hands.
    Last edited by Davey; 12-22-2011 at 08:07 AM.

  3. #3
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    In no particular order, I guess these would be my favorites...

    ...as of now anyway. Sometimes I rediscover records months later that didn't do much for me right away, and I'm sure many others feel the same way.

    Wilco – The Whole Love More great music from my one of my favorite bands of the past decade. I got to hear a few tracks before seeing them live for the 3rd time.

    EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints Dark music the way I like it. What a great debut.

    Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean Seeing Sam and his band live really opened my eyes to this one. I just love it.

    Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Mirror Traffic Saw them on this tour and was pretty happy, although I think Stephen was a bit under the weather.

    Yuck - Yuck Cool Brit-pop with a 90s feel.

    Bon Iver - Bon Iver Despite the fact that Finchy introduced me to this band, I'm really liking this second effort. Intricate stuff that showcases Justin Vernon's vocals, and that's a good thing.

    Destroyer - Kaput Never listened to this band very much, and this is their 9th record. It's really, really good, and they're from Canada for cryin' out loud.



    Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys They can do no wrong.

    James Blake - James Blake This will give your sub-woofer a nice work out.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  4. #4
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    Yuck - Yuck Cool Brit-pop with a 90s feel.
    That Yuck CD may be the worst sounding one I heard this year. The foobar dynamic range meter registers something like 3. I'd post a waveform, but there isn't really one, it's just pegged the whole time. It did sound kinda fun, but I couldn't get past that awful mastering. You're a better rocker than me, Swish Baby!

  5. #5
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    I was going for the best records by content....

    Quote Originally Posted by Davey View Post
    That Yuck CD may be the worst sounding one I heard this year. The foobar dynamic range meter registers something like 3. I'd post a waveform, but there isn't really one, it's just pegged the whole time. It did sound kinda fun, but I couldn't get past that awful mastering. You're a better rocker than me, Swish Baby!
    ....not sound quality. I have to admit that I've listened to this in my car more than on my home rig, so it hasn't bothered me so much.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish View Post
    ....not sound quality. I have to admit that I've listened to this in my car more than on my home rig, so it hasn't bothered me so much.
    "I was going for the best records by content....not sound quality."

    Can someone get Swish his meds.
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  7. #7
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    OK, not really a list as I don't do those anymore, but here's a small selection of randomly ordered albums from this year that I realkly like for various moods. And yes, these picks change almost daily.

    When I wanna rock the fck out...

    OFF!: The First Four EPs
    Keith Morris and a guy from Red Kross and some new kids blow the joint apart with hardcore blasts straight outta 1981. This thing just smokes.
    Honorable mentions to Davilla666: Tan Bajo, Hunx and His Punx: Too Young to Be in Love, & The Misfits: Devil's Rain (mostly just for the song Where Do They Go)

    When I wanna chill the fck out...(electronic category)

    Nicolas Jaar: Space is Only Noise
    Most of you have listened to this for sure if you're interested in this sort of laid back dance-music influenced electronica. Headphone listening highly recommended, sounds ping all over the place with this one, almost seems designed with headphones in mind. This is one of those records I fully expect to still be listening to years from now.
    Honorable mentions to Ken Seeno: Invisible Surfer on an Invisible Wave, Jürgen Müller: Science of the Sea & Pulse Emitter:Spiritual Vistas.

    When I wanna chill the fck out...(acoustic category)

    J. Masics: Several Shades of Why
    Really nice intimate acoustic album from the Dinosaur Jr. frontman. I was never really much into that group, but this album has grabbed me enough that I've since delved back into their catalog...and I still like this as a whole better than anything they did.
    Honorable mention to Middle Brother:S/T, Exene Cervenka:The Excitement of Maybe & Beach Fossils: What A Pleasure.

    When I wanna hear something somewhere in-between...

    Washed Out: Within and Without
    I guess this is more Chillwave, but this album has a great pop sensibility and excellent propulsion throughout. A really cohesive listen from start to finish without getting boring or feeling too monotonous.
    Honorable mentions to Fujiya and Miyagi: Ventriloquizzing, The Cults: S/T & The Dirtbombs: Party Store

    When I wanna hear some droning oddball stuff...

    Zomes: Earth Grid
    Drones and tape loops. Not a ton of variety here, but the whole thing holds together and the individual songs keep my attention. The pacing is quicker and the loops more rhythmic than a lot of this sort of thing and I think that's probably what hooks me.
    Honorable mentions to: Prurient: Time's Arrow, Willamette: Echo Park, & Mountains: Air Museum

    When I wanna hear some soul music...

    Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming
    I still think this one really has one mega-track that carries the rest of the album. Thena gain when it is a song as good as The World (Is Going Up in Flames), that can be just fine.
    Honorable mentions to Jill Scott: The Light of the Sun &Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin.

    Other people who made stuff I liked a lot this year: Mind Spiders, Teenage Panzerkorps, The Kills, Barn Owl, Panabrite, Roy Ellis, Anthony Hamilton, Skybombers, Teen Daze, Girls, Run DMT, Sean McCann, Grouper, Balam Acab and several more I am forgetting.

    Song of the year even though I'm not so big on the rest of the album.... Post Break Up Sex by the Vaccines.

  8. #8
    Indifferentist Slosh's Avatar
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    Wow, I just looked and I have 45 albums or EPs from 2011 so far. I haven't had time to listen very much to all of them yet, however. Off the top of my head I'll go with:

    We Are Augustines - Rise, Ye Sunken Ships
    The Decemberists - The King Is Dead
    Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
    Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Mirror Traffic
    The Feelies - Here Before
    Rob Crow - He Thinks He's People
    Wilco - The Whole Love

    There's a bunch such as Kid Dakota, Richmond Fontaine, Tapes 'n Tapes, Wooden Shjips, Kurt Vile, Old 97s, Destroyer, Bill Callahan, Trail Of Dead, etc. that I need more spins with.
    Last edited by Slosh; 12-22-2011 at 08:02 AM.
    Originally Posted by Troy: She has that same kind of cleft-pallet, slightly retarded way of singing that so many other people find endearing.


  9. #9
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    15. Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials – I’ll admit it, the hippie chick look really turned me off and I never gave the first album a look. My bad. Florence can flat out croon and deliver with a conviction and energy that makes her stand out from most. Lots of comparisons to rock goddesses are out there and most are pretty spot on.

    14. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy. Hey, The National digs her, who the L am I to argue?

    13. Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes. The most unique sounding of all the albums I listened to the past year.

    12. Bon Iver – Bon Iver This record is pretty divisive. Allmusicguide.com pretty much trashes it. Of course this is the same brain trust that trashed The Nationals “Boxer” when it first came out only to have to have it ‘re-reviewed’ due to the initial reviewer being a complete and total idiot! I think it’s a gorgeous record overall. Rare is the album where everything is absolutely perfect . Even super models have a blemish or two, I’m prepared to live with both (the record and the super model)

    11. Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires If I had a single ounce of musical talent or ability, this is the kind of music I’d like to create. I first picked up on Gary Lightbody through his work with the minor Scottish super group, Reindeer Section. After listening to The Son of Evil Reindeer, I was hooked. This latest Snow Patrol record continues where they left off on the previous Snow Patrol records. Intimate, reflective, and uplifting pop songs that are well conceived and constructed and always delivered in a sincere, heartfelt if slightly over dramatic manner.

    10. Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams What’s not to like? You’ve got hot punk rock chicks. Throw in their Spectoresque snap, clap, and tap rock and roll and you have a pretty decent set up for a record. Reminds me a lot of the Raveonettes in all their B flat glory, I think I read they shared a producer. Wicked guitars and bass.

    9. Wild Flag – Wild Flag I’ve got a lot of females in the mix this year and deservedly so. If they could have recruited Kathleen Hannah (Le Tigre, Bikini Kill) this had the potential to be the best female rock record ever. As it turned out it was just awfully dang good. They put the rawk in indie rock.

    8. Wye Oak – Civilian Nothing all that innovative or new here. In fact, it seems a lot like these two read the “Indie Rock For Dummies” book and followed it to the letter. They didn’t jack with the formula, did it really well and ended up with a thoroughly enjoyable record from start to finish. More proof that a record doesn’t have to be ground breaking to be noteworthy.

    7. VNV Nation – Automatic I love this band. I love this record. Unless you know for a fact that you are into future pop or darkwave, you won’t. Soaring electronic dance floor anthems with a touch of indie flair and a regal dose of the German club scene vibe. VNV Nation will be at the Granada in Lawrence March 1’st!

    6. Washed Out – Within and Without A chill record so good you can listen to it anytime during the day or night. Hey, I still enjoy and listen to synthpop. It’s always gratifying when a record that is synthpop down to the core gets accepted by the masses. I think the Postal Service had the last big mainstream synthpop release. It’s also good to see this guy is on the Sub Pop label where he’s hopefully surrounded by enough people to help guide him through a decent follow up. One and done would be a shame.

    5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical this one is not on anyone’s list anywhere. I rather like that. After their hyped and very buzz worthy debut, it would seem that their second turd of a record created so much ill will that EVERYONE ignored this release. To bad, it’s amazing.

    4. Boxer Rebellion – The Cold Still This one was pretty much a no brainer. I’m a post punk whore and this is clearly the best post punk album of the year. Emotionally charged and powerful album. Non stop post punk bliss. This is another one of those that I love and well, let’s just say that most critics would disagree with such a high ranking.

    3. Iceage – New Brigade The best punk rock album I’ve heard for a very long time. Effed Up made it on a lot of lists but I prefer this Danish effort by a wide margin. Short, angry, and directly to the point, everything a punk rock record should be.

    2. M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming Not nearly as nuanced, complex or as emotionally demanding as “Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts, but certainly not any less impressive. Whereas others showcase their ability to create atmosphere, M83 has an uncanny ability to go beyond that and invent whole new worlds with their music. The scope and expanse of this record was not intended to be contained by an ipod (although it accompanied me through many workouts the past couple of months). This is why we continue to have real stereos. Enthusiastic, joyful and triumphant, this record is a gem.

    1. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead After my first listen the immediate thought was that the Decemberists just out REM’ed REM. Well, maybe not very early REM but certainly the crappy REM of the past 17 years.. After reading the album notes it made sense of course with the inclusion of Peter Buck. I’ve not been the biggest Decemberists fan and shortly after getting this I moved on to other releases but all throughout the year I kept coming back to this record. So by virtue of number of spins, this album gets anointed my favorite disc of the year.
    Last edited by Jim Clark; 12-22-2011 at 10:22 AM.
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  10. #10
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Just an FYI, Washed Out already had a couple EPs and things before this album. If you like this one, you may wanna go back and check 'em out. Here's a video for ya:


    Washed Out: Feel it All Around

    Also...totally agree that Dum Dum Girls is really good. I still need to give a listen to that Wild Flag.

  11. #11
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody View Post
    Just an FYI, Washed Out already had a couple EPs and things before this album. If you like this one, you may wanna go back and check 'em out. Here's a video for ya:


    Washed Out: Feel it All Around

    Also...totally agree that Dum Dum Girls is really good. I still need to give a listen to that Wild Flag.
    I'll have to punch that up tonight. I have to share this fish bowl of an office and it's already hard enough to pretend I'm working when I'm really posting my year end faves : )
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  12. #12
    3LB
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    cunning linguist 3LB's Avatar
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    In no particular order:

    Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
    Wilco - The Whole Love
    Yukon Blonde - s/t
    3- The Ghost You Gave To Me
    Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion - Future Past
    M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    White Willow - Terminal Twilight
    Man On Fire - Chrysalis
    Discipline - To Shatter All Accord
    Karmakanic - In A Perfect World
    Repost this on your wall if you love Jesus.

  13. #13
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB View Post
    In no particular order:

    Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
    Wilco - The Whole Love
    Yukon Blonde - s/t
    3- The Ghost You Gave To Me
    Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion - Future Past
    M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    White Willow - Terminal Twilight
    Man On Fire - Chrysalis
    Discipline - To Shatter All Accord
    Karmakanic - In A Perfect World
    Interesting list, as usual. I've only heard a couple of these (Wilco and M83), have you mentioned many of them around here? I've seen the Jane's Addiction around, but thought it would be kind of stale, guess not.

  14. #14
    slightly, all the time jonnyhambone's Avatar
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    Sort of in order, though that changes by day/mood:

    * PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    * Richmond Fontaine - The High Country
    * Destroyer - Kaputt
    * iceage - New Brigade
    * Bon Iver - Bon Iver
    * Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
    * Helms Alee - WeatherHead
    * Meg Baird - Seasons On Earth
    * Jesus Lizard - Club
    * Grails - Deep Politics
    * M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    * Key Losers - California Lite
    * Wye Oak - Civilians

    I wrote up what I thought of each album and have some choice videos on my year-end music posting here -->
    jonnyhambone blog

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    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyhambone View Post
    Sort of in order, though that changes by day/mood:

    * PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    * Richmond Fontaine - The High Country
    * Destroyer - Kaputt
    * iceage - New Brigade
    * Bon Iver - Bon Iver
    * Shabazz Palaces - Black Up
    * Helms Alee - WeatherHead
    * Meg Baird - Seasons On Earth
    * Jesus Lizard - Club
    * Grails - Deep Politics
    * M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    * Key Losers - California Lite
    * Wye Oak - Civilians

    I wrote up what I thought of each album and have some choice videos on my year-end music posting here -->
    jonnyhambone blog
    Your top 10 list is 40% correct : )

    Really enjoyed reading your blog too. Nice job!

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

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    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey View Post
    Interesting list, as usual. I've only heard a couple of these (Wilco and M83), have you mentioned many of them around here? I've seen the Jane's Addiction around, but thought it would be kind of stale, guess not.
    About 5 or 6 of my picks are full-on prog, so no, not a lot of mention but for a post or two. Hell, my list might look different a month from now.

    I do have that Airbag you mentioned, it rather surprised me it made your list. It is good, but so much of what I listen to has that same vibe, that it doesn't stick to me the way it might have several years ago. But for someone out of the Pink Floyd prog loop looking to revisit that sound, its a slam dunk, provided they haven't already OD'd on acts like Porcupine Tree, RPWL, Katatonia, Anathema, Riverside, Satellite... just the ones I know of. I will say that the guitar soloing on All Rights Removed is stellar, very Gilmouresque, and save for PT or Satellite, a step above the others I've mentioned.

    Maybe if I'm not feeling to lazy, I can expand on picks.
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    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB View Post
    In no particular order:

    Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
    Wilco - The Whole Love
    Yukon Blonde - s/t
    3 - The Ghost You Gave To Me
    Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion - Future Past
    M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    White Willow - Terminal Twilight
    Man On Fire - Chrysalis
    Discipline - To Shatter All Accord
    Karmakanic - In A Perfect World
    3 - The Ghost You Gave To Me. This band has been compared to Coheed & Cambria as well as TooL, and while there are instances where such comparisons might be warranted, they're just lazy. The lead singer has a higher than usual register, but no where near as high as Claudio Sanchez. 3 certainly does match C&C's knack for writing catchy anthems. If 3 ever got as dark Tool on past efforts, they don't here. This effort is as much Tesla as it is Tool or any other alt-metal act. Call it Arena-core .
    No, call it a great album. Never as plodding as a Tool album, its more akin to off-shoot Aperfect Circle. Never veering into emo territory ala C&C either. Musically complex without being dense, its songcraft before chops. It gets catchier every time I listen to it. Beware though, its a very modern sounding production.
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    3LB
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB View Post
    In no particular order:

    Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist
    Wilco - The Whole Love
    Yukon Blonde - s/t
    3- The Ghost You Gave To Me
    Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion - Future Past
    M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
    White Willow - Terminal Twilight
    Man On Fire - Chrysalis
    Discipline - To Shatter All Accord
    Karmakanic - In A Perfect World
    White Willow - Terminal Twilight is yet another album from a Scandinavian band with female lead vocal, but it would be unfair to lump them in the company as Evanessence or The Gathering. Yes, the musical motif waver twixt Goth and art rock, but where one might expect to find progmetal tendencies, this band opts for avant-garde flourishes, along with nods to newage, post-rock, and of course, prog by way of Scandinavian folk. The lead singer's vocals are layered in spots, resulting in brief reminiscence of The Cranberries, while in others instances she evoke Bjork. In fact, this music isn't too far removed from some of Bjork more lucid, etherial moments. One tune even involves a collaboration with No-Man's Tim Bowness (on lead vocal), besting anything I've heard from him in years.

    So maybe there are times when White Willow might draw comparisons to other female lead Goth acts, there are songs on Terminal Twilight that contain more ideas than many Goth acts' entire repertoire.
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    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LB View Post
    I do have that Airbag you mentioned, it rather surprised me it made your list.
    Yea, it was kind of a bonus pick, could substitute a bunch of others in its place. Was just revisiting the Washed Out release, and it was sounding pretty nice filling the house. Sometimes I just listen to an album on headphones these days, and you don't always get the full effect. On the other hand, sometimes on headphones it all comes together, which might be the case with Airbag. Could be that I've just been listening to Floyd a lot lately, so it just felt right.

    Today it's the 2011 reissue of an old favorite from the new millennium, Giant Sand's Chore of Enchantment. It combines the original CD with the The Rock Opera Years alternate version, which I'd never heard before, except for a couple songs. So that kind of puts me back on track, eh?

    Thanks for the followup descriptions!

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    I bought the We Are Augustines after hearing Pela...

    Quote Originally Posted by Davey View Post
    I maybe heard about 50 albums this year, some just sampled online or heard elsewhere, most not purchased, so can't really say that I know too much more than this list of my 10 favorites below. I've talked about many of them in one place or another around here, and all of them have been listened to at least a few times ...

    6. We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships
    Cool title. By the now defunct Pela, who reformed as We Are Augustines. As mentioned in another thread, reminds me a little of what I loved about the first Old Canes record (the folk-rock side project of the Appleseed Cast), the hint of Jeff Mangum and the Neutral Milk Hotel in the room, but that feel was gone by the second time around. This has some of that, maybe some National, and something else kind of big, more epic rock sounding. A little menacing at times. Some good variety, but that something is still there throughout. Just got it a few weeks ago so don't know how long that new feel will last.
    ...but it's too recent an acquisition to make my 'best of' list. Ditto the Richmond Fontaine.
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    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

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    3LB
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    I admit, that new Mastadon is a grower. They ditched the prog element and are less full-on stoner than their last album. They've reigned in the tendency to jam as well. Its even more akin to hard rock than metal, ala Queens Of The Stoneage. I've been listening to mostly '11 purchases this week and the Mastadon songs really pop. Funny how one's reaction to material changes when doing the random thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidFi
    The Cars – Move Like This
    Apparently, what the world needed now was another Cars album. Thank god they didn’t try to “update” their sound… it’s a damn Cars album. Period.
    It's pretty good, but part of me wishes Ric Ocasic could have worked with Todd Rundgren, who's take on The Cars five years ago was spot-on. It might have put this album over the top (in a good way). Its a solid effort, even if it is missing at least one great single, IMO.
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    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish
    Destroyer - Kaput Never listened to this band very much, and this is their 9th record. It's really, really good, and they're from Canada for cryin' out loud.
    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyhambone
    Destroyer - Kaputt
    LOVE IT! This is one of my favorite releases of the past year, and one of the better and most unique ones of the past handfull of years. Dan Bejar takes all of his scorn and bitter observations of the American Way (and, yes, that includes ALL of N. America with his Canadian lineage and his semi-removed/askance perspectives on our USA-ism's in general), and channels them through the musical canon of the past 20 years, with special attention paid to the late eighties/early nineties. Horns are brilliantly deployed in late night jams that stretch almost all the way back to Steely Dan-era cool. Just the right amount of synth. and eighties pseudo-funk liven the tracks that, in the end, in true Destroyer style, are most informed by the atmospheric moments of mid-70's Bowie. And that ain't a bad thing at all.
    Just heard this one for the first time yesterday, and it is good. Lots of variety, and got some of that Steely Dan/Bryan Ferry/David Bowie soul feel running through it as jonny mentions, and the lyrics have a quirkiness I like. Is this the start of a new yacht-rock revival? Wish it sounded a little better and wasn't mastered so loud, more like the music that inspired it, but could say the same about all new pop music (including pretty much everything on my list, with the exception of Josh Pearson). Overall, nice listen, though can't say that I'm a big fan of the sound and production. The drum machine and bass is just too loud throughout for me. Could just be cause I'm listening to it on phones, though looking at the audio editor now I see he does often have the beats set to full level.
    Last edited by Davey; 01-02-2012 at 11:25 AM.

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    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    So explain something to my, oh music guru,

    Quote Originally Posted by Davey View Post
    That Yuck CD may be the worst sounding one I heard this year. The foobar dynamic range meter registers something like 3. I'd post a waveform, but there isn't really one, it's just pegged the whole time. It did sound kinda fun, but I couldn't get past that awful mastering. You're a better rocker than me, Swish Baby!
    Since Yuck is categorized as a 'low-fi' band, a genre which typically records with technical flaws and limited frequency response, would you tend to say your criticism may be a tad heavy-handed?

    Just wondering.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

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    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Google 'low fi' and then shoot me a reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    "I was going for the best records by content....not sound quality."

    Can someone get Swish his meds.
    Otherwise, maybe the mirror should be your friend.
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

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