Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Quarter + Best of 2011 Thus Far... (revised)

TV on the Radio - "Nine Types of Light" (Interscope). File under: Latest bit of genius from five guys who are cooler than I ever have been or can ever hope to be. TVotR continue to impress me with nearly everything they do. Their latest is a more subdued and contemplative effort than its predecessor. It won't send you charging to the dance floor like 2008's "Dear Science", it is art-rock of the very highest order nonetheless.

Gruff Rhys -  "Hotel Shampoo" (Ovni). File under: Mellow, radio-friendly psych-pop Super Furry style. I suppose it is theoretically possible that Gruff will someday make a bad rekkid, but I'll believe it when I hear it.

Wire - "Red Barked Tree" (Pink Flag). File under: Is it 1979 again already?: Aging art-punks doing some of the best work of their careers Part 1. Lush guitar textures and arty literate lyrics abound.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears - "Scandalous" (Lost Highway). File under: Soul with garage rock sensibilities, or is it garage rock with soul sensibilities? A raging and sometimes downright nasty set of blistering rhythm and blues goodness. Think Sly meets Funkadelic and forms a supergroup with members of the MC5, Soledad Brothers, and Black Keys, combined with the dirty mind of Andre Williams and you're on the right track.

Adele - "21" (XL). File Under: People I would gladly listen to singing the phone book. A bit singer/songwritery in spots, but in its best moments (which are plentiful) it is supremely and sublimely soulful.

Lykke Li - "Wounded Rhymes" (Atlantic). File under: Swedish art-pop songstress meets Phil Spector in the Brill Building. 21st century pop sensibilities blended with "Wall of Sound" 60s girl group textures and melodies. Delicious.

The Kills - "Blood Pressures" (Domino). File under: Stomping mutant art/blues/punk monster. Alison Mosshart (aka VV) returns from a couple of years with the indie "supergroup" Dead Weather, and the Kills put out perhaps their best rekkid yet.

Gang of Four - "Content" (Yep Roc). File under: Is it 1979 again already?: Aging art-punks doing some of the best work of their careers Part 2. Biting, angular, nasal spikes of guitars and barked agitprop lyrics over vintage churning dance-punk rhythms.

Charlie Haden Quartet West - "Sophisticated Ladies" (Decca) File under: Great soundtrack to an imaginary Raymond Chandler film noir. Tasteful and atmospheric 30s/40s style classic jazz with delightful guest vocals by Melody Gardot, Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, Ruth Cameron, Renee Fleming, and Diana Krall.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Belong" (Slumberland). File under: Spiritual heirs to the My Bloody Valentine throne. Sophomore outing from spacey New Yorkers finds PoBPaH beefing up their shoe-gaze-a-licious sound with production and mixing help from Flood and Alan Moulder.

Mike Watt - "Hyphenated-Man" (ClenchedWrench). File under: Return of the master of the thunder broom. Watt returns to his minimalist punk-funk power trio roots with 30 slices (all but two are under 2 mintes long) of deliciousness in one tight little package. Perhaps his best since fIREHOSE's "Ragin' Full-On" perhaps even earlier.

Wagon Christ - "Toomorrow" (Ninja Tunes). File under: Goofy electro. It is well-established that my journeys into the Electronic section of the rekkid store are few and far-between, however, Luke Vibert's whacked-out sound collages never fail to entertain me in a big way.

Telekinesis - "12 Desperate Straight Lines" (Merge). File under: Sophomore slump, schlophomore slump: Michael Benjamin Lerner's second volume ups the edge slightly but maintains his charming college radio indie geek chic. Rapidly becoming indie-rock/power-pop darlings.

The Strokes - "Angles" (RCA). File under: New York hipsters return from time machine vacation to 1985. Everything about this rekkid, from the Cars influenced sound to the garish cover art to the wacky band photos, screams totally 80s in the best way. Their most fun rekkid since their debut.

See also: Asobi Seksu - "Fluorescence" (PolyVinyl). British Sea Power - "Valhalla Dancehall" (Rough Trade). The Feelies - "Here Before" (Bar None). P.J. Harvey - "Let England Shake" (Vagrant). The Idle Hands - "Life Is Beautiful EP" (The Pretty Kids Collective). Jonny - s/t (Merge). The Raveonettes - "Raven in the Grave" (Vice). The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Departing" (Saddle Creek).

No comments:

Post a Comment