11/21 I've got to get caught up here...
Sonic Youth - The Eternal
Their best album since Daydream Nation. Better than the amazing "Sonic Nurse". Packed with great tracks: "Anti-Orgasm" and "Thunderclap for Bobby Pym" is probably the hardest they've ever rocked, "Antenna is a apogie of their slow-core groove they've recently developed, "Leaky Lifeboat" is classic Lower East Side rock, "Massage the History" is the best (and sexiest) long song they've ever done. Goddamn it I love Sonic Youth.
Phoenix - Wolfgagn Amadeus Phoenix
They finally made the enduring pop masterpiece they've been threatening for a few albums now. Brilliant songs, oblique and compelling lyrics, flawless arrangements, hyper-immaculate production. This is an easy choice for album of the year, we'll see.
Converge - Axe to Fall
- Converge has been making great albums for a while now, but I think this is their best. Relentless, heartless, inhuman and simply not fucking around. All-destroying, ferocious material that makes all other metal bands seem like they're pretenders. I've had a pretty crazy year this year and as they say in the Big Lebowski, this album just fits right in there.
Mastodon - Crack the Skye
- took a while to grow on me. It's a bit more sludgy and out-there than their other stuff, but much more emotionally involved and deep. I think I'm finally coming to grips with it. It takes some serious cojones to put something out there this ambitious and complex and some serious talent to make it rock this hard.
White Rabbits - It's Frightening
percussive driving modern rock from the fertile indie-rock fields of Brooklyn that sounds a bit like Spoon (not surprising considering the producer). They were on Letterman but got surprisingly little press. Regardless, the album is packed with great hooks and strong song-writing. Very under-appreciated album if you ask me.
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
- my favorite album by them, if not quite as revelatory as Panda Bear's solo album. They've turned up the disco and turned down the freak funk, which I think is a great idea. the kind of album that is all you want to listen to for weeks on end... which I have at various points.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
- Classic dance pop album loaded with convincing tracks, my favorite of which is probably "Skeletons". The YYYs make another album of the year contender. Karen O is the coolest front-woman since PJ harvey, IMO.
Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade
Terrific ambient black metal. Enveloping and cinematic, it sounds like being lost in a vast pacific Northwest forect in the middle of the night. Perfect 2 AM album.
Passion Pit - Manners
I challenge anyone to listen to this album and be in a bad mood. It's not possible. "Sleepyhead" is brilliant druggy pop and the rest of the album is amazingly consistent. Great stuff.
Pet Shop Boys - Yes
amazingly few people seem to have noticed that the Pet Shop Boys keep turning out fantastically world-weary and cleaver pop albums. This latest one is probably the best album they've done since "Very", it's even better than 2006's terrific "Fundamental".
Peter, Bjorn and John - Living Thing
- more experimental and darker. Really hard to grasp the first twenty times I listened to it. Now it's growing on me. Minimalist electronic folk par excellence. Moving up to 4 stars now...
The Decembrists - The Hazards of Love
I can understand wanting to stab these guys' eyes out with a dull pencil. Really I can. Outrageously pompous and pretentious with mannered vocals to match. But this album works. Listen to it and read "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
A bit too clever for it's own good, IMO. However, the conviction that the songs are written and performed with is convicing. This is an arch-typal "collegiate rock snob" record but I still like it.
Dan Deacon - Bromst
Epic Eno-inspired, ecstatic, uplifting synth-pop mini orchestras. The first four tracks are quite a combination then it loses a little steam. Deacon's cutesy mannerisms can be irritating as well. This guy just wants to make you happy though and he's largely successful.
The XX - S/T
Mazzy Star perfected this kind of blissed out chill-pop a decade ago but The XX is a worthy follow-up act. A bit of a slight album, but very catchy and listenable.
Morrissey- Years of Refusal
- yet another solid Mozz album. He's been on a bit of a hitting streak lately. This one reminds me of of the rock of Your Arsenal. It has some tracks that rank with his best.
- one of the first albums to be almost unlistenably noisy to me. I'm not going to lie, it's irritating to listen to but the youthful exhuberance and solid pop chops have grown on me. It's got a sun-blasted southern California charm to it that's catnip to me. There's also some good songs and a good sense of humor hiding under the screech.
St Vincent - Actor
I'm probably not giving this album it's full due. I think she's damned talented and she can really writie a song. This is just not really my kind of music, sorry. Still, I admit this is better than my ranking...
Grizzle Bear - Veckatimest
Am I the only one who finds this incredible boring? The song they do with Michael MacDonald is probably the best thing on here, how often can yu say that.
Lamb of God - Wrath
- They may have chops, but this is a pretty by-the-book mainstream metal album. About as memorable as any of a thousand other OK metal albums to me. I don't understand why some critics talked this one so much.
Prodigy - Invaders Must Die
- give it up, Liam. "Take Me to the Hospital" would have been a great track in 1992, but its time has past. Just do another Dirtchamber album and call it a day.
Crippled Black Phoenix - 200 Tons of Bad Luck
Royksopp - Junior
Future of the Left -Travels with Myself and Another
Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us
Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans
Megafaun - Gather, Form, Fly
Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Simian Mobile Disco - Temporary Pleasure
Little Boots - Hands
yacht - see mystery lights
The Antlers - Hospice
Mew - No More Stories Told
Metric - fantasies
Freeland - Cope
Baroness - Blue Record
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
Lou Barlow - Goodnight Unknown
The Thermals - Now We can See
Behemoth - Evangelion
Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg
Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
Miranda Lambert - Revolution
The Juan MacLean - The Future Will Come
Girls - Album
Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
U2 - No Line on the Horizon
Taking Back Sunday - New Again
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown