Well here is a quick rundown of some of the better music (in my opinion) so far this year. It would seem as we are about 5 months into this year, the music from my standpoint has been pretty stellar. There are already a couple albums which I can see myself keeping on a regular rotation.
One of the ideas that seems apparent is that with the influx of information being shared, i.e. the internet, the “Scenes” are being sped up and much more disparate. While I would classify much of the list here below in the broad category of “Psychaedelic” it’s sub-genres could fill up a telephone book.
I am also much more aware of how our forebearers of rock and roll laid their seeds in sounds which are minutely being disseminated by bands now. For Example, I can imagine that an entire genre of music was created by the song ‘Blue Jay Way’ by the Beatles not to mention other awkward moments like “Revolution No. 9”.
My other point is thinking how even the most obscene rock and roll like “Metal Machine Music” which was abhorred by many critics that did not have the last name of “Bangs” is cherished and copied on purpose or by accident by artists today.
While artists might starve and record companies might blame downloading for their woes, there is not a shortage of ideas, thoughts and sounds being present in music today. As with our society, we have an influx of music which I can only listen to a very small percentage of. Thus with any list, this one feels incomplete but only a prefix tasting of some of the better sounds I have laid my ears upon the first couple months of this year.
1. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
This album still takes the cake for the best album of the year. This album still gets weekly airplay by me, on sometimes multiple occasions.
2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
As I sit here writing this post I am listening to ‘I Live With You’ as it smashes through your eardrums, another very important release has hit our eardrums. The mixing of Art Rock, fragile pop moments, it’s another one of those albums that needs several spins before the pieces of the puzzle come into place. This album does not have any singles and sometimes feels a bit unsure of itself, especially in the middle but is beginning another element of rock that is going back to studying music’s roots in a contemporary era.
3. Various – Dark Was the Night
It is very rare that I will appreciate a compilation album, but this benefit double CD is a “”Who’s Who” of indie rock that adds just the perfect amount of spice. For someone wanting a taste of the ‘Pitchfork Circuit’ this is a good place to start.
4. Lotus Plaza – Floodlight Collective / Deerhunter –Rainwater Cassette Exchange (EP)
This Deerhunter offshoot offers momentary glimpse into the lives of lives of musicians in the band not named Bradford Cox. Of course Deerhunter is never short of recording new material. Fresh off their double album Microcastle/Weird Era Cont., you can also get their stunning new Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP that continues on the beautiful shoegaze/psychaedelic music that keeps my blood flowing.
5. Wavves – Wavves
This would seem like a hit or miss with folks as they found the music unappealing or rather sounding like Kurt Cobain’s cousin Frank. Maybe that is why I like it or maybe it’s the fact of their meltdown in Spain this week. Not a good start to a tour. Let’s hope they last until Pitchfork at least!
6. Dan Deacon – Bromst
Music that makes you want to jump around with 500 of your closest friends. Quirky and infectious.
7 . Japandroids – Post-Nothing
A mixture of My Bloody Valentine ear-bleeding guitars and punk. If there are any cowebs up there in the brain, this is a good way to clean them out.
8. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
The first of two Chicago bands back to back. While critics such as Jim Derogatis might find Bird’s lyrics to challenge the most inane part of the dictionary, I still find his Nick Drake impressions endearing.
9. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
Unlike some of their albums where they felt cohesive, this one does not. Not to say that it is bad whatsoever but feels more like R.E.M.’s –New Adventures in Hi-Fi, ala a collection of the sounds of Wilco since their inception. A little bit of everything.
10. Woods – Songs of Shame
A mixture of prepubescent Velvet Underground. Their lead singer invokes early Elf Power songs intermixed of Folk songs filtered through New York Coffeehouses listening to the Moldy Peaches.