Sing along as we go!
Today’s lists come from Brooklyn dream pop quartet Field Mouse, Mat Jones and Andrew Hamlet from electro-pop duo Pressed And, Jesse Litwa from NY punk rockers Broadcaster, Nick Harris from Philly’s Luther and Columbus, OH rockers Tin Armor.
Free track:”You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom”
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo
I appreciate when a musician can convey emotions so strongly with the melody and movement of a song without relying too heavily on lyricism. This album took up so much of my summer. “Runner Ups” is probably my favorite cut. I showed it to my dad, who astutely said “he’s got one foot in Bob Dylan, one in Lou Reed”.
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
Annie Clark is one of my favorite musicians. She can make her guitar sound like just about anything. All skills aside, she is also one of my favorite songwriters. This album is my favorite of hers so far, which is saying a lot, because I am crazy about her other two. This one utilizes her myriad guitar tones plus gorgeous synth sounds , and even her vocals contort with the mood of each song.
Wye Oak – Civilan
These guys are too good. I loved their last release, The Knot, and this is an excellent follow-up record. Jenn Wasner is one of my favorite guitarists, and have you seen them live? They are amazing multitaskers. Andy Stack plays keyboards and drums at the same time!
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
It’s hard for me to get into a double album because my attention span is not THE BEST, but this is an exception (so is Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but whatever). M83 has really made something special, and I adore super layered synth-pop when it’s done right. In this case it’s pretty perfect.
Wild Flag – Wild Flag
I’m a big Sleater-Kinney and Helium fan, so this is kind of a dream band for me. Carrie Brownstein is an all-around badass, and I’m so happy that she is making music again. “Romance” is such a solid opening track.
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien
A huge percentage of my music collection could be categorized as what once was simply called “indie rock”, and when I read some glowing reviews likening this record to old Modest Mouse and Built to Spill, I gave it a shot. It’s ballsy – the first track is 8 and a half minutes long, and the lyrics sprawl out like a crazy psychedelic anecdote, and most of the songs have hooks but no “chorus” – and I absolutely love it.
Free track “Raid”
Mat Jones’ Top 5
1. Bon Iver-Bon Iver
This is my number one because it emotionally resonates with me the most out of anything I’ve been listening to all year. Justin Vernon really advanced artistically as well, in that he managed to do something totally different from his previous work while remaining true to himself. This album is proof that he has depth and is a true creative spirit.
2. Fleet Foxes-Helplessness Blues
Helplessness Blues has all of the things I loved about Fleet Foxes when I first heard them: the beautiful harmonies, the lush instrumentation, and the powerful vocal delivery of Robin Pecknold. With this album they took their song-structuring ability to new places and also reached a more sophisticated level of lyricism that I really enjoyed.
3. James Blake-James Blake
It’s really inspiring to hear someone experiment so creatively with sound. Every song on here is such an interesting and unique composition. The production skills and pure musical talent are next level too.
4. Panda Bear-Tomboy
Panda Bear is probably my favorite artist. He is so consistently creative and always pushing himself to try something new. The amount of soul that he puts into his music is awesome.
5. Javelin-Canyon Candy EP
Tom and George are like sonic gold-miners. They can tinker with any sound they find and come up with something cool. They just make me want to dance all the time…even if it’s reeeeaaalll slow
Andrew Hamlet’s Top 5
I finished working at Merge Records right when the promotional version of Kaputt came in. I remember the first time I heard it thinking that this would be one of the classics of 2011, and it appears my intuition served me right. The saxophone and trumpet parts on this album are to die for, and the detached “day after the party has ended” vibe very much reflects the zeitgeist of this past year. This is Dan Bejar’s chillwave record.
2. Braids-Native Speaker
Braids is by far the best, most intriguing live band I saw this past year, and Native Speaker certainly reflects this.
3. Ducktails-Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics
In my opinion, Matt Mondanile is the most consistently creative guitarist in modern indie rock. Ducktails III shows a more polished version of Mondanile’s sonic experimentations, but the record still maintains the spontaneity and the “almost not good enough to make the record” sound that we have come to expect from Mr. Mondanile. And “Porch Projector” is one of the most beautiful 10 minutes of music I have ever heard.
4. Ital – Ital’s Theme 12″
Although I absolutely love Ital, this choice reflects more how impressed I have been with Ital’s label, 100% Silk (owned and operated by the wonderful Amanda Brown). 100% Silk has brought a new freshness to house music and has proven that glossy production is not necessary to get a club moving.
5. Born Gold – Bodysongs
Born Gold (formerly Gobble Gobble) has been working the DIY scene nonstop, and this compilation of road-tested avant pop certainly caught my attention this year. The fact that Bodysongs was released on the same label as Imbue Up doesn’t hurt either– <3 <3 <3 Crash Symbols.
Jesse Litwa (Broadcaster)
Andrew Jackson Jihad – Knife Man
Bomb The Music Industry! – Vacation
The Horrible Crowes – Elsie
I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United
Laura Stevenson & the Cans – Sit Resist
Lemuria – Pebble
Maritime – Human Hearts
Samiam – Trips
Stuck Out Here – Last Night, This Morning
Tomahawk Chop – Another Summer Lost
Nick Harris (Luther)
Limited edition “Siblings and Sevens” CD available at our webstore!
1. Static Radio – We Are All Beasts
2. Timeshares – Bearable
3. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
4. Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
5. Wu Tang Clan – Legendary Weapons
6. Lemuria – Pebble
7. Glocca Morra – Ghoul Intentions
8. Sigur Ros- INNI
9. Kite Party- Baseball Season
10. Banquets- Top Button, Bottom Shelf
Madeline – Black Velvet
Vacation – Vacation
Landlord – Beneath The Wheel
Tenement – Napalm Dream
Reverse The Curse – Hither & Yon
Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
Saintseneca – Last
Good Luck – Without Hesitation
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
Moon High – Six Suns
Remember to check back this tag for all the lists we’ve posted so far!