Thursday, March 31, 2011

Quarter 1 Round Up - January

Artwork by Exploding Dog

After making a favorite of 2010 list, I was more aware than ever of how hard it is for one person to gather and absorb all the music out there. For this reason I will never make a "Best Of" list, I don't feel like I have the ability to make such judgements, but I can share favorites. Here's what I enjoyed the most (I apologize in advance for botching some release dates). I listened to more music than I ever have, winter was good for that. If you don't see something on the list that you think should be, feel free to leave a comment. If you think this is a lot come back tomorrow to see my February and March picks.

This was a great first month. Right off the bat people were claiming that James Blake's and Destroyer's albums are going to be on end of year lists. Those people are probably right.

Highlight: Shakey Graves - Roll the Bones //MP3: Built to Roam
Without a doubt this, is the best music I've heard in forever. I've already played it more than The Head & The Heart, my #1 album of 2010. I can never to listen to just one Shakey Graves song, I always find myself itching to play just one more, which turns into listening to the album on repeat. It's addicting and the epitome of simplistic perfection. I could tell you 1,000 things I love about this music (starting with the barely audible  "fuck" in the beginning of "Unlucky Skin") but you should really just go listen, it's name your price on bandcamp. What are you waiting for?

Braids - Native Speaker //MP3: Lemonade
Every time I shoveled snow, which was a lot this winter, I played "Lammicken" it was perfect. They are even better live. Glorious swirly soundscapes and those haunting voices are spellbinding.

Hands & Knees - Wholesome //MP3: Throw Me From The Bridge of Flowers
Indie rock with catchy sing-along choruses that blew some similar and more talked about bands out of the water. Hands & Kness are the type of music you just want to blast through your speakers on a bad day so you can yell/sing along at the top of your lungs.

Dolorean - The Unfazed //MP3: The Unfazed
These are some sad red wine soaked songs that sound like ballads and other times they walk a folk/alt-country line. They'll have you drowning in whiskey in the corner of a darkly list bar before you know it, but at least you'll have good music stuck in your head.  This band was championed by music blogger, Zach of WLFY, when he promotes a band the way he promoted Dolorean, I listen. 

Seryn - This is Where We Are // Click to DL: We Will All Be Changed
One of the prettiest albums I've heard thus far. Their song "untitled" is basically my ideal song starting off with some banjo picking, and then the deep bass notes of the accordion come in. Then it picks up and you want to stomp along to the beat which gives way to hand claps. The entire album is beautiful and showcase a wide array of folk instruments without ever feeling folky.

Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean
Loved half the songs, the other half were meh, but the good ones made up for it. Still, I didn't want anyone to forget about this one, the good songs are really good. (sorry for my first grade writing skills there)

The Decemberists - The King is Dead
If you hated this album, change the band name to "Debut album from a folk band", and you'll appreciate it a lot more. I came back to a handful of these songs more than I originally thought I would. Some parts are really good, just not what people wanted.

James Vincent McMorrow - Early in the Morning //MP3: If I Had a Boat
It's beautiful music and his voice cuts through. The banjo that's always in the background and the background vocals help elevate this record to the next level, otherwise I think he might have been trapped in singer/songwriter world. It was amazing to watch people instantly fall for "If I had a boat" upon first listen.

Still waiting to like it award goes to: Destroyer - Kaputt it's too static for me to sink my teeth into, but I think over time it will make an impact.

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