A while back, I came out as a self-proclaimed prophet of musically anointed ones…only to go into a period of silence worthy of the inter-testamental era (part of which was due to school and the other part due to a slightly incapacitating disability in my left hand which keeps me from typing with ease). In any case, I have come back out of the wilderness, having exhausted ways to prepare locust with honey, and am here to declare some praise-worthy tunes for those with ears to hear.
To begin by updating you from my last post:
- Lightspeed Champion: middling effort, almost a bit too melodramatic/fussy
- Sleeping States: downloaded a few songs (on par with lo-fi homemade genius of former recordings), but still don’t own the whole album
- The XYZ Affair: unknown what will happen to the album they had in the works
What about the album from Frightened Rabbit? Well, that brings me to the shortlist of albums that WILL LIKELY BE on my best of 2010 list. FR’s album is INCREDIBLY GREAT–on par with their unbelievably brilliant last album & a sign of their lasting power. So, the short list? In no order other than as they come to me:
- Frightened Rabbit/The Winter of Mixed Drinks
- Titus Andronicus/The Monitor (these guys are like a mix of Joe Strummer/Shane MacGowan, early Dinosaur Jr., the high points of Rancid, and some kind of American conspiratorialism welded together–it’s kind of a marriage of classic rock n’ roll and alternative/indie via a variety of road stops…the only problem is that they have an occasional tendency to repeat some lyrics ad infinitum, which is a pet peeve of mine, and the punk ethos requires that some of the singing is off key, which is hard to listen to when you have perfect pitch)–I have to give a shout out to Rob Kirkendall for hooking me up with these guys
- Tame Impala/InnerSpeaker: first off: their name is lame impala. But their sound, the tones and eras and magic and youth and coolness they emit, is so GORGEOUSLY CLASSIC (if you love the Beatles, the vocalist channels John & George’s best qualities; if you love classic rock, they have instrumentation that brings to mind the Who, Jimi Hendrix [but not the guitar], The Edgar Winter Group, etc.; definite psychedelia [though I can’t cite any particular groups), but yet in spite of all this, it doesn’t feel derivative but somehow distinctively of this time–as if all that had never existed and they just invented it…
- The National/High Violet: you already have this
- The New Pornographers/Together: you SHOULD already have this. Half of it is my favorite album of the year…Neko Case IS the Midas touch, but everyone in this supergroup is talented beyond measure
- Owen Pallett/Heartland: now this guy is a true discovery. I’ve heard he did some orchestration for indie bands (Arcade Fire, etc.), but all I really know about him is from this album. He is a musical brother to Andrew Bird, a cousin of Sufjan, from the genus of chamber-pop…lovely, fascinating, highly original. Often, a song intentionally veers toward the brink of dissonance, but it never goes over
- Josh Ritter/So Runs the World Away: I need a few more listens to definitively place this album on the list, but it has potential
Some varying levels of disappointment: Band of Horses, Broken Bells, Jonsi (is that ok to admit? I love him still…), Teenage Fanclub (embarrassingly weak), She & Him. Disagree? Feel free to prove me wrong in the comments!
I don’t really have any prophecies at the moment…maybe The Walkmen, Cloud Cult, Interpol in September/October? I could use YOUR recommendations if you have any. Until later…
What follows is my unsolicited list of the finest 10 music albums of this year. Full disclosure: I have a rather limited musical palate and have been called a bit “elitist” when it comes to music (i.e. all tastes are not equally valid), so I apologize ahead of time for any arrogant presumptions or pretentious hype.