Friday, July 8, 2011

2011 So Far...

Half of 2011 has come and gone and already people are shaping up what their end of the year lists are looking like. A lot of bands have released some very very good records this year, but not a lot of what has been released has blown me away and left me wanting more. Many albums have failed to surpass their predecessors in my opinion. Take for example, Bon Iver. Everyone loves that man's falsetto siren of a voice and as of right now it's Pitchfork's favorite album. But not one track on that record captivated me like "The Wolves (Act I & II)" did or half of the other songs on For Emma. We can argue and nitpick over why certain releases this year should be loved or disliked, but let's just get into it instead, I guarantee you this list will change drastically come December.

1) tUnE-yArDs - W H O K I L L

This album is a chaotic mess of swirling sounds that just somehow manage to come together into a powerful and ingeniously fun record. Frontwoman and ukeleleist Merrill Garbus's voice is what really makes Tune Yards work for me, she has an uncanny ability to sing with such varying character that makes every single track on Whokill unique.

Download via Mediafire:

2) Bill Callahan - Apocalypse 

Apocalypse is easily the most aptly titled record of the year. Callahan is to country/folk like Cormac McCarthy is to literature. Callahan paints a bleak Dante-esque landscape of "the country" that becomes more and more daunting the further he travels down the rabbit hole, however the closing number "One Fine Morning" breathes a sigh of relief and signals a more hopeful and redemptive sign of hope showing us the beauty of the prairie. His lyrics have the ability to seem cryptic and extremely present at the same time. Bill Callahan is our generation's Townes Van Zandt folks, get used to it.

Download via Mediafire:

3) Cut Copy - Zonoscope

With LCD Soundsystem sadly gone, there is room at the top for the next huge dance/electro/punk band. Australia's Cut Copy has put forward their candidacy with Zonoscope. This album is a party from start to finish. The opening track "Need You Now" makes me feel like I can run track at The Olympics and the epic 15 minute closing track "Sun God" is the best long dance jam I have heard since The Juan MacLean's "Happy House." It's going to be hard to top this album as best dance album but we'll see the year is young and there's still a new Rapture album to be released. 

Download via Mediafire:
Need You Now

4) Low - C'mon

Some of you may be scratching your heads on this one, I haven't talked about this record on the blog yet and Pitchfork gave it only a 7.2 but they're fucking idiots. I am fairly new to Low though they've been around awhile and I've heard their most acclaimed record The Great Destroyer but I think this one is better. C'mon weaves in and out of sparse quite lullabies and pounding anthems. This album has something that very records I've heard this year have, drama. The members of Low are clearly going through some sort of internal struggle that translates beautifully into their music. Check out my favorite track "Majesty/Magic" which starts out ominous and slowly builds and builds.

Download via Mediafire;

5) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

The title track for this album helps the rest of the record out immensely, because it is my favorite song of the year so far. "Helplessness Blues" is the kind of song that this country needs to hear right now, a politically charged track that has a deep rooted philosophy attached to it. It's the kind of track that can help people through tough times and help them to see the light. It just so happens that one of the prettiest sounding bands, Fleet Foxes gets to deliver this message. While Helplessness Blues is not as memorable nor does it surpass their previous album, it is certainly more complex and they don't rely too heavy on the harmony which is exactly what I wanted from this band, so thanks guys!
Download via Mediafire:
The Shrine/An Argument

There were a lot of other albums that barely missed the cut that you should expect to see towards the end of the year and should check out in the meantime:
Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts, Man Man - Life Fantastic, PJ Harvey - Let England Shake, The Weeknd - House of Balloons, Shabazz Palaces - Black Up, Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread

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