NOTE: there have been some edits, owing to holiday listening wherein some previously designated “honourable mentions” have ended up being better appreciated. It’s OK to do that.
Originally I was going to write about how I’ve lost touch with new music- four years since working 15+ years in the record store biz- but then all the lists came in and I checked them out and I realized…it was not a great year for music in general. This year I mostly just listened and listened and listened to albums I already owned or the steady stream of classic LPs I’ve been picking up and I hadn’t spent much time with previously (see: Genesis) or these:
(click on album cover for youtube links)
Foxygen We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar)
Predicted it when I first heard it late last year and here it is. My top. Dig it to death. Noticed a LOT of hate for this record ‘specially in the U.K. but as of yet I can’t see why. I think it has to do with their 60s influences/thievery but really, people aren’t used to this by now? At least 3 CLASSIC cuts on what I found to be a pretty great LP.
Cate Le BonMug Museum (Wichita)
Liked only a little of this record on first listen, ended up digging the whole thing, later. Her voice gets a lot of Nico comparisons but I hear more Yoko.
HookwormsPearl Mystic (Weird World)
This is almost exactly what I used to want an old band of mine to sound like. Happy just to have a some other people out there sounding like it now.
My Bloody ValentineMBV (MBV)
Hey, a new record from the band that people who don’t like rock music love. Loved it too.
Warm SodaSomeone For You (Castle Face)
Never got around to the Bare Wires - from whence at least one of these dudes came - but this was chock full of fun, well-crafted poppy punk (NOT pop-punk) songs.
Liking Phoenix has always been a questionable stance. I can’t really defend them, I just like them. That said, this LP was a bit of a disappointment from their previous (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) which I think is some sort of masterpiece but it grew on me.
Pye Corner AudioSuperstitious Century EP (Boomkat Editions)
Really, really enjoyed the full-length on Ghost Box so I was pretty happy to find something new out this year, even if it was only an EP. Not as thick with the John Carpenter-isms but still great. Looking forward to more.
Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin (Castle Face)
This was pretty good! Aren’t all their records?
Boards of CanadaTomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)
A practical favorite because it’s really relaxing, which comes in handy because I have a full-time job and a kid. It’s also more than a little bit boring but I liked it quite a bit in spite of that - or because of that.
Factory FloorFactory Floor (DFA)
Hey, I have a DFA release on my list! What year is it?
Honourable mentions: ClassixxHanging Gardens, Robert PollardHoney Locust Honky Tonk„ DucktailsThe Flower Lane, Eleanor Friedberger Personal Record, The StrokesComedown Machine,HaimDays Are Past, Daft PunkRandom Access Memories, The Focus GroupElektrik Karousel, Kurt Vile Wakin On A Pretty Daze,
Top 5 Reissues and compilations
William OnyeaborWorld Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? (Luaka Bop)
S.E. RogieThe Sounds of S.E. Rogie (Mississippi)
Various ArtistsCosmic Machine: A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avant-Garde 1970-1980 (Because Music)
Oneohtrix Point NeverThe Fall Into Time (Software)
Various Artists I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990 (Light in the Attic)
Cool. Of course I love these lists. Mine will follow. One of Cam’s picks will be on mine, but these are almost all great (tho’ I don’t know the Dizzee LP and I have a longstanding hatred of Animal Co. especially MPP).
Sounds a helluva lot like Bowie circa Hunky Dory yeah? Actually, it was recorded first, and that’s Mick Ronson on guitar with Gus Dudgeon producing (he produced Space Oddity as well as lots of Elton John). Lately Michael Chapman has experienced a career revival, and has been hanging out with Thurston Moore.
Don’t have this fine, fine record? No excuses, it was reissued by Lght in the Attic a couple years back and is necessary.