Friday, July 08, 2011

This Year In Music Is Awesome (So Far)

I've been told I say it every year. I've admitted, on more than one occasion, on this blog and in the flesh, that I say it every year. But who gives a fuck. This year has been especially great for new music. And why not be enthusiastic about it?

I'm far too lazy to put much real thought into this post, but I now have to try to keep up with the Joneses on The Bashionista's blogroll, so I'd like to post, in iTunes alphabetical order, the records I've been (virtually) spinning this year, with some brief words on each.

ADELE -- 21

Her name is in all caps in iTunes, and she sort of deserves it so I'm using that style here, too. Look, you probably have figured out at this point that I don't like pop music, and that when I find something in that vein that moves me, I get all giggly like a 13-year-old girl (See: West, Kanye). ADELE isn't going to win album of the year -- she's no Ella Fitzgerald (who had no need for caps) -- but Someone Like You is a stop-everything-you're-doing-and-listen kind of song.

Bon Iver -- Bon Iver

My arch rival Eric Zimmermann told me this record would change my life. It hasn't yet. And I'm not even sure I like it as much as his/their debut, which I nominated for my Album of the Year in 2008. I think what hurts this one, even more so than the first, is that I can't make out most of the words when he sings them. Does that comment make me old? If so, so be it. But still, great record.

The Decemberists -- The King is Dead

No, this is not going to be Colin Meloy's second Album of the Year. And to an extent it deserves some of the criticism it has been getting. But there are a couple songs that make it worthwhile, especially the Peter Buck-driven Calamity Song and the Gillian Welch-peppered June Hymn.

Fleet Foxes -- Helplessness Blues

The only thing that could keep this album out of the Album of the Year running would be for the mp3s to become corrupted and for me to have some sort of head injury that erased the record from my memory. Still, I think I'd find a way to re-discover it, and be charmed all over again.

Garland Jeffreys -- The King of In Between

Rolling Stone's Best New Artist in 1977 has been mostly laying low for decades. Then he comes out with this love letter to New York City -- Coney Island Winter being the highlight -- and all of a sudden I'm listening to happy roots rock. What's happening to me?

Gillian Welch -- The Harrow and the Harvest

I'm going to be honest with you -- I'd love to say that the eight-year wait for Gillian's new record (released on my birthday!) was worth it. It wasn't. Don't get me wrong, I am digging this album quite a bit. But I wish I had three of four more to mix in with it at my leisure. That being said, there is nothing like falling asleep to the perfect dance that is Gillian's and Dave Rawlings' guitars making love on tape.

Iron & Wine -- Kiss Eachother Clean

Poor Iron & Wine. Once Fleet Foxes' new one came out, my thirst for bearded folkies was quenched elsewhere. But, you know, once those mp3s become corrupted and I have my head injury ...

John Maus -- We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

If you don't like the song Quantum Leap, well, I guess I can't blame you. Fuck that, I do blame you. The '80s are alive and well.

Julianna Barwick -- The Magic Place

I ripped this on Twitter the day I bought it. And yes, it can try your patience if you're not in the mood. I'm not sure if I've gotten through any one track more than one time. But it's gorgeous and we're probably going to get married, so don't tell her.

Lykke Li -- Wounded Rhymes

Is it already too late to be cool for liking the song Get Some? "Like a shotgun/needs an outcome/I'm your prostitute/you're gonna get some." The window on everyone on planet Earth not knowing this song is closing very rapidly.

Mogwai -- Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

All year, whenever an awesome instrumental track pops up on shuffle, I wonder who it is for only a split second before realizing -- duh! -- it can only be Mogwai. Actually, that's been happening for years.

My Morning Jacket -- Circuital

I haven't given this one nearly the time it deserves. But the song Victory Dance alone is worth the $9.99 or whatever I paid for the full album on iTunes. (And the album art reminds me of Bioshock.)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- Belong

Speaking of the '80s being alive and well, My Terrible Friend is this year's best Cure song not by the Cure. Cure fans: Do you like this song or does it annoy you? I'm a Cure fan, but not an overprotective diehard, so more of this stuff in the world doesn't bother me one bit.

PJ Harvey -- Let England Shake

I can't say enough about this record, which totally kicks ass, so I won't even try. Check this space again in November for a certain list of nominees.

Radiohead -- The King of Limbs

Subtle, gorgeous, the best rock band on the planet doing what it wants any way it fucking wants to. Glorious.

Wye Oak -- Civilian

They had me at hello when I saw them live. Get the title track if nothing else.

Other stuff I've been listening to this year but don't feel like writing about tonight:

Aperture Science Psychoacoustics Laboratory -- Portal 2: Songs To Test By
Apex Manor -- The Year of Magical Drinking
Bill Callahan -- Apocalypse
Death Cab For Cutie -- Codes and Keys
Eddie Vedder -- Ukelele Songs
Figurines -- Figurines (with a song named Poughkeepsie!)
The Mountain Goats -- All Eternals Deck
Okkervil River -- I Am Very Far
Panda Bear -- Tomboy
R.E.M. -- Collapse Into Now


Bashionista said...

You and Fleet Foxes need to get a room . . . and then invite me over.

Matthew said...

Would Craig be OK with that?