Hello friends, and most friends alike. The recent best of lists have just been great. But no list is complete with one’s own subjectivity, which is why I’ve decided to add on. I have no quarrels about any of those picks. In fact, I liked them so much I wanted to make my own. These picks have been something I’ve listened to endlessly since the start of the year and feel would make other’s lives richer if they did the same. And this is where we shall begin.
Ladytron – Velocifero
One can only beg for an album like this. Ladytron’s previous work strived to be more electronic, and whilst this doesn’t fall far from the tree, they’ve managed to insert cute and catchy pop riffs into songs such as Ghost and Runaway. I fear for what their next work might be because of such a success like this. And by success, I mean something I couldn’t stop listening to for months. Incidentally, I saw them live before the cd even dropped in stores, so most of the songs on their set list where rather new. Their raw energy can not be matched on disc and such a fantastic light show can and most definitely will be compared with Pink Floyd. Yeah. I said it.
Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell
I wonder how old these guys can be. Their music, I’m sure, isn’t meant to appeal to someone of my age and stature, but it most definitely does. They sound like something 14 and 15 year old girls long to have in their life, but have not met one person who has appreciated their work as much as I have. When learning of their full length album coming out, I put their EP”s on repeat to get myself psyched. A lesson in crime and Smith have been worthy, but this trumps them both. As an added bonus you even get an extra disc full of a few remixed tracks when you purchase this cd. I’m sure few did though. I feel they are probably misunderstood on which direction to take their music. I mean, they must certainly want fans other than guys like me, right?
Sia – Some People Have Real Problems
I remember first learning about Sia. It was a cold, dark knight. Yeah, I spelled it. I was listening to a certain show my favorite radio station does for people like me who stay up past midnight. And one of her songs just popped right on it. I was thrust into spiraling emotions when hearing the sheer depth of her words. I was then put on a quest to find her music. Her cd had not yet been released in the U.S. Fuck, I though. It was ok, I got it eventually. And then this came out. Her follow up to Colour the small one. I prefer the previous, but this just struck me in such a way I can’t explain. With tracks like Academia and Lentil, I just longed to listen to more. I even went so far as to buy her live album that came out between her last album and this one. Anything I could hear by this woman, I wanted. I missed a rare opportunity to see her live by waiting too long to purchase tickets. Apparently, I’m not her only fan as the single show I’ve ever seen her play in my region of the globe, was sold out. She is one of the few artists I would probably travel out of my town to see. And that’s saying a lot.
My Brightest Diamond – A Thousand Shark’s Teeth
One of my biggest obsessions is trying to remember how I found out about an artist. I discovered this wonderful little band in The Rolling Stone of all fucking places. They interviewed Colin Meloy of the Decemberists about something. This was a time when I would kill for new music, and once did, but that’s a different story. He mentioned My Brightest Diamond. He said it was a band he was listening to at the moment. Being really into the Decemberists at the time, I had no other option than to take poor Colin’s advice. And take it I did. I went through many hoops to obtain her first cd, which can still make a grown man cry. Whether that man is me, I can not say, but she has such a voice one can only dream about listening to. The kind of voice that makes you want to tell others about. Like I am now. When I gained covert information about a non-remixed follow up to her first cd Bring me the workhorse was coming out, I went ape shit. After months of waiting, this was the result. I always find it amazing when an artist touches my emotions perfectly with that one special song. On her previous album it was Gone away. On this fantastic record it was To pluto’s moon. I had the distinct pleasure of seeing her play this live. Even more impressive was the intro to the song. She used those things you wave around as a kid that makes those “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” noises. They’re about a foot long, almost any color of your choice, ridges on the side. How amazing to use a childhood object to portray such a sadness that only an adult can feel. The only downside was her incredibly short set. Maybe 10, 11 songs. But no matter. Being able to catch her was a gift itself.
Health – Disco
Not too much to say about this band, because they don’t have much to say themselves. I find it hard to like a band with very few words in their music. Granted, they are a noise band, but I still feel that’s a little strange. What’s nice about this album is that this is most of their hits remixed by more vocal, lesser known bands/dj’s. Sadly, I prefer this cd to their only other one, Health. It’s probably a band’s worst nightmare to sound better remixed than their original recordings. But what can I say? They are a noise band after all. The remixes just add so much more… noise!
Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair
Probably the most baffling thing about the previous music blogs was not seeing this in there. With Crystal Castles and Cut Copy alike, Hercules and Love Affair takes such a bold move with their music by infusing it with little bits of disco and dance. I hate to categorize the music I listen to as dance, or disco for that matter, but this was a very danceable record. With hits such as Blind and Hercules Theme, one can’t help but get that tingly feeling in their leg. Which feeling is that? Well, it might be the feeling of an erection hitting your leg, which, for obvious reasons, I hope isn’t happening. Why, you ask? Well, the singer on a few tracks is Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons. Yes, that’s a man. Yes, that’s a very, very gay man. But, the tingly sensation I would hope you’d be getting is that of rhythm. A common feeling, yes, but one usually invoked when the music is good and the bitches are hot. While I know not of any hot bitches, it may be the good music. I can’t help but listening to this cd over and over. It’s a nice, fresh take on disco, which is such a worn out concept. Hopefully this band can sustain without the vocals of flamboyant male singers.
Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge
Lightspeed champion isn’t anything new or original, but a very relaxing wave of rock. I don’t really know how else to categorize him. Recorded by Saddle Creek producer Mike Mogis. Saddle Creek, as we all know, also put out other great artists such as Bright Eyes, which Mike is a part of, The Faint, and Art in Manila. I imagine this was a very big change for singer Devonte Hynes, formerly of the english punk band the Test Icicles. He only played guitar for them. What made him branch and record his own album? Who knows? But I’m not complaining. I had this in my car for at least a month. I can’t tell you what it is about him that I just got addicted to, but I yearn for more.
Honorable mentions – Spoon, Morrissey, Atmosphere, She Wants Revenge, Vampire Weekend, and The Duke Spirit.